Find traditional fonts for certificates

Certificates that you create and print yourself can be useful for businesses, schools, organizations, and families. Installing a few lines of font and printing the certificate on parchment paper will give you a professional looking product – as long as you use the correct font.

For a traditional looking certificate, select Blackletter or a similar font for the certificate title. These styles have a decidedly Old English look that screams “certificate” or “diploma”. From there, add scripts and other fonts as needed to complement the look and readability.

  1. Blackletter and Uncial Fonts
  2. Script and Calligraphic Fonts
  3. Classic serif and sans serif fonts
  4. Tips for using fonts

Blackletter and Uncial Fonts

Blackletter fonts give your certificate a traditional look and there are plenty of fonts to choose from to make your certificate look professional.

  • Textura fonts such as Minim provide the typical Blackletter look and feel.

  • Rotunda fonts are slightly easier to read than Textura and some other Blackletter fonts.

  • Schwabacher fonts have a sharp edge.

  • Fraktur fonts have some Schwabacher curvature combined with some Textura text.

Uncial fonts may be instantly recognized as a holiday font, but it’s not just for St. Patrick’s Day.

  • JGJ Uncial is lush and easy to read, but still has that traditional certificate feel.

  • Karlovy Vary Style Charles is a particularly lavish font.

  • Old English Text MT and Parchment are other blackletter style fonts. Old English is the traditional Blackletter style. The parchment has extremely ornate capital letters that can be difficult to read, as well as formal but lush and fluid.

Script and Calligraphic Fonts

A formal script or calligraphy style font for the recipient’s name is a nice addition to the certificate header in Blackletter font. You can also use script or calligraphy for the title if you want a modern certificate.

  • Bispo is a free font described as “in the style of cursive administrative calligraphy”.

  • If you want something like Blackletter or Unicial styles and a script or calligraphy font, try Matura MT Script Capitals or Blackadder ITC. Both fonts have quirky, distinctive capitalization that makes them best suited for small chunks of text, such as a recipient’s name.

  • Connected formal fonts such as Edwardian Script ITC, Vivaldi, Exmouth, Scriptina, and Freebooter Script are elegant choices for issuing a certificate, especially for a recipient’s name.

Classic serif and sans serif fonts

If you have a lot of text, such as a long description, Blackletter and Script fonts are difficult to read, especially at small sizes. It’s good to have parts of your certificate in serif font. Classic serif fonts like Baskerville, Caslon, and Garamond make your certificates look traditional yet readable. For a more modern style certificate, consider some classic sans serif fonts like Avant Garde, Futura, or Optima. Be bold and mix the Blackletter font style header with the sans serif for the rest of the text.

Tips for using fonts

Size and capitalization are important with these fonts.

  • When using some Blackletter fonts, keep in mind that they may contain old style letters (such as “s” which looks like “f” or “A” which looks a bit like “U”). Alternative letterforms can be added if you don’t like the old style.

  • Avoid ALL COVERS with blackletter and script fonts if you want the recipient to be able to read the certificate.

  • If you want to reduce the size to 15 points or less, switch to a sans-serif or sans-serif font, which is more readable.

  • Three fonts, such as letterhead, calligraphy text, and serif for small text, are the maximum number of fonts you should use on a single certificate.

  • Pay close attention to letter and word spacing, especially when placing title text on a curved path.

These aren’t the only fonts you can use for award certificates, but they are styles that will give your certificates a traditional, formal, or semi-formal look, especially when combined with traditional parchment wording and graphics.

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