Articles and News

Information and news on trophies, plaques, awards and engraving is listed below.

22/01/2016 Effective engraving and design on your trophies - By Tim M Lee

Effective engraving on your trophies and plaques Having great engraving on your trophies and plaques can be as important as the design and materials. An inexpensive trophy or plaque can be more effective than an expensive one if effective engraving or printing is used. The engraving is about conveying what the trophy is for, and your message can be made more effective through good graphic design. For example, a corporate trophy or plaque will need a different layout and design than a sporting award. There are a number of ways to ensure effective engraving and design which are organised below depending on the purpose of the award. With new technologies used in the industry today; logos, fonts and even images can be laser engraved or printed onto trophies and plaques. Working with an awards company who have qualified graphic designers will ensure your engraving and personalisation adds to the design of the overall trophy rather than diminishing it.

Corporate trophies and plaques

The purpose of corporate awards is too celebrate contributions to the company; it can be meeting specific targets such as sales or new customers as well as more general categories like leadership or teamwork. The designs for these kinds of trophies and plaques need to both reflect the company brand and values, as well has the specific reason it is being presented for. The easiest way to incorporate branding in the engraving is too include the company logo. For acrylic and crystal awards these can be laser engraved in high quality; for plaques they can be either laser engraved or printed in full colour. The next step is to choose a good font. If there is text in the logo then this font can be matched in the text for the trophy or plaque. Alternatively a different font can also be used and when done effectively this can add to the overall feel of a design. For example sales trophies could use bold and flashy fonts or layouts to reflect the values and personalities of the sales team members. Lastly the layout and font sizing is very important. The dimensions and shape of the award need to taken into consideration, otherwise the engraving can make it look out of proportion or off centre. Angled or round shaped trophies will often look better with text that is laid out to follow the curves or angles in a design. Important elements need to be highlighted with bigger text and proportions should be maintained against the rest of the layout. As for the text itself, make sure the recipient's name is included and stands out. Handing out generic 'top sales' or 'best performer' awards will have less impact than a personalised trophy. What they received the award for is also important followed by any other messages you like to include. The picture below demonstrates how the engraving design is able change the feel of the plaque. Script fonts and a good balanced layout give a formal impression that would not exist if a simple arial font were used.

Sports and personal trophies and plaques

These kinds of awards can be more flamboyant than corporate designs. With sports awards it is all about the team. So team colours should be incorporated where possible in the materials used as well as the engraving and personalisation. Since pictures and photos can be laser engraved or printed, these can also be incorporated. Presenting a trophy to the coach and management with an image of the team included is a great personal touch. The photos need to be converted to a watermark when printed and into a half-tone image if they are being engraved. Make sure your trophy shop has a good designer who is able to retain the detail and clarity of your images before engraving.

6/10/2015 IRF latest engagement report - By Tim M Lee

The The Incentive Research Foundation has just released it's latest study on employee engagement. Key takeaways from the paper include a new definition for employee engagement, an evolution it's initial conception. Defined by them now as going above and beyond for the company. There is no widely accepted definition and this is not a new one, but i think it aligns well in that it includes a focus on the connection between employees and their company, rather than purely on employee's own behaviours.

This leads in to their next key takeaway which is in which elements of one's role do they engage in. Drilling down to more specific tasks in one's role ensures one's engagement and related behaviours actually translate into positive outcomes for the company. They split these roles into a number of categories. Obviously there is the core role, the most obvious and important aspect to one's job. For example a sales manager's core role will be to meet sales targets. However they also identify some other non-core roles which include; innovation, team players and organisational citizens, and improving one's skill sets. It was found that also focusing and measuring performance in these areas has a significant effect on engagement levels.

In terms of recognition to reinforce these core and non-core roles, it is important when presenting trophies and plaques to reward the correct behaviours and achievements. While most companies will run a sales award program it is mostly measured in core role elements such as most sales, highest dollar sale etc... To improve the effect on engagement levels through recognition and reward programs it is key to also pay attention to the non core areas. Presenting trophies for innovation, team spirit and most improved are examples of categories that will reward these behaviours. It is a relatively cheap exercise to present a few more awards at your next event or to rename and change the engraving on some existing trophies. Please visit to read the full report

30/07/2013 Creating a sporting team culture in the workplace - By Tim M Lee

Sports team represent the utimate in dedication and hard work, all the name of recognition and appreciation from others. Emulating this in the workplace can have big improvements in productivity, profit and individuals reaching their potential. As social animals we value acceptance and recognition from others. Non professional sports teams have no financial incentives yet players train and play hard to achieve their goals.

One facet common to all sporting events is trophies and awards. This is a tangible recognition of their achievement and represents a goal to work towards. Having a recognition program in the workplace is key to developing a sporting culture and trophies should be given out regularly to keep people motivated and feeling valued.

At Xpress Awards we focus on creating quality trophies, awards and plaques that reflect the achievements people are being recognised for. We are able to embody the company branding and values in our designs, to make the trophies sought after and a worthy incentive for people to work towards. Have a look through our website for some examples of our work and give us a call with any questions.

8 /02/2013 Why trophies and awards can be more effective than pay rises and bonuses - By Tim M Lee.

The below infographic has some great information on how to motivate employees to give thier best. It highlights several key points

- Disengaged employees cost you money in terms of retraining staff, lost customers through poor service, and lowered productivity.

- Engaged employees are a great asset to your company through productivity, creative input and return on investment.

- Money is not the key driver of motivation and engagement. Positive affirmation and gifts are two key drivers which can be achieved through giving regular trophies and plaques in an employee recognition programme.

We propose that having a recognition programme and giving out regular awards, trophies and plaques can produce all the benefits of a highly engaged workforce. While the reasons for this are easy to extract from the below infographic there are other positive side effects of running a recognition programme; a culture of excellence and performance can be created in your company. Since giving awards and trophies is a reward for achieving some task or measure you can inspire not only the winner but others to strive for the same reward. This creates a "ratchet effect", the bar is raised as employees look to better themselves from the last performance. As others are also competing for this recognition the performance of the whole workforce is improved.

When implementing these programmes it is important to keep employee justice high. That is the reward must be seen as possible and those recieving it must be seen by others as deserving. Thus it is important to have trophies or plaques for a range of achievements so employees do not become bitter about not recieving awards or resenting those who have won one.

The gift, trophy, award or plaque must also be seen as being fitting to the achievement. Giving out cheap plastic sports figurines is fine for school sports teams but corporate awards need to have a little more polish.

For more information about running an employee recognition programme as well as suitable trophy or plaque designs please contact us at


Why give out trophies and awards? By Tim M Lee

Being rewarded and valued by others is a key part of being human. We all appreciate being recognised for our efforts, especially when we put in our best or extra effort. While a pat on the back or a simple thank you feels great, for larger achievements or contributions a trophy or plaque can be a better option. It makes the achievement more 'official' and provides a lasting reminder which can also be shown off to friends and family. On top of this it can push us to achieve more in the future which is great for personal developement and wellbeing. On the other side of the coin, not being recognised can have a negative effect and discourage people from giving their best on future occasions.

Recognition is very important in organisations for the above reasons and the research backs this up. The JRA / NZ Herald best places to work survey shows that recognition through employee feedback is a key factor in firms performing well. The measure used in the survey is employee engagement, a popular HR measure. High engagement also contributes to other measurable business success measures such as low employee turnover, productivity, profitability and job satisfaction. Xpress Awards specialises in creating corporate awards, trophies and plaques tailored to your company branding and values. Have a browse through our examples and give a call with any queries.