Diplomas – Matting Makes a Big Difference

Graduation Day… one of the greatest milestones anyone can achieve. Whether it’s from grade school, high school, college or any other class – that diploma or certificate is a sense of accomplishment that should be preserved.

That’s why framing a diploma correctly should be a decision not to be taken lightly by any customer – and great care for it should be expressed by the custom framer.

When a client brings in a diploma, always begin with the mat selection first. Crescent’s official Color Guide specifier, which showcases school colors is a great resource guide to refer to.

Many framers look for a school color as a top mat that is not so vibrant as to take away from the diploma itself. You may also choose a suede or linen mat in the same school color to add a richer textured look that a diploma deserves.

You then can add the more vibrant school color as a second mat, typically showing 1/4” to 3/8” and may add the third school color showing 1/8” to 1/4” that will border the paper color of the diploma to coordinate the desired finished matted look.

One can also add a V-groove in the top mat showing the core of the mat, usually white, or add a fillet inside the bottom mat opening.

Sports Colors Specifier
Diploma V-Groove
Diploma V-Groove

Adding a V-groove to the top mat is a great way to make the presentation of a diploma or certificate look even more custom and prestigious.

When we framed the DePaul college diploma (above), we chose the DePaul blue (Moorman Suede, Marine Blue – 7113) as the top mat, in a suede texture. The second mat used is also a suede in the Crescent Moorman line of matboards (Bordeaux – 7112) and then we added a gold fillet to go up against the diploma. We then choose a mahogany color frame to pick up the color of the middle mat which then pulls your eye toward the certificate.

Midwestern Diploma

Adding spacers between the top mat and middle mat is a great way to add dramatic depth and visual appeal to a piece.

Some customers will prefer their matting to match the colors in their diploma such as shown in the above photo. While others may want to consider more traditional colors which you may want to educate them on so they can make a more knowledgeable decision.

During the Industrial Revolution (Late 1800’s) specific colors were assigned to signify certain areas of study leading to specific professions and or careers. These colors were only standardized in the United States and Canada. European institutions have always had diversity in the academic dress.

North American institutions employ a definite system of dress thanks to Gardner Cotrell Leonard from Albany, New York. After designing gowns for his 1887 class at Williams College, he took an interest in the subject and published an article on academic dress in 1893. Soon after he was asked to work with an Intercollegiate Commission to form a system of academic apparel. The system Gardner Cotrell Leonard helped form was based on gown cut, style and fabric; as well as designated colors to represent field of study.

If you are working with a certificate, doctorate, diploma or degree not listed below in our reference chart; normally the trim hood color from the Academic Ragalia Hood color will denote the professional color(s).

Academic Areas of Study Color Guide

All PhD degree certificates warrant two mats. The top mat denotes the PhD Dark Blue (Crescent Select, Moody Blue – 9553), and the sub-mat represents the registry or profession.

UV glass is a must as you do not want all the effort the diploma represents to fade away with time. We back the diploma with an acid free board to preserve it. We do not recommend dry mounting so as to keep the certificate in its original state. Remind the customer to make several color copies of their diploma before framing in case they ever need to reference it. When matting and framing is completed, it should be as impressive as the accomplishment achieved.

2 Replies to “Diplomas – Matting Makes a Big Difference”

  1. Excellent suggestions – I think the only thing I missed was attcahing the diploma to the back mat with Japanese hinges.

    But gather the articel was mainly on the mat colors.

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