Organizations have a variety of alternatives when it comes to creating awards to properly recognize individuals or groups.

However, the vast amount of options accessible these days may be too much for you to handle — just choosing from the various materials would give almost any group a lot to think about. Considering that, it may be beneficial to review the distinctions between the various options of materials used for making awards.  A little research here can help you make the best decisions for each customized award that you need to design. 

From metal to plastic, stone to acrylics, and, of course, crystal and glass, the number of alternatives available based solely on the material of the award can be extensive. Which is best for each company or individual is determined by a variety of factors, including budget and timeliness.

The following is a quick overview of different sorts of materials available for making customized awards, which can assist you in making better judgments about having a customized trophy or plaque made, as well as how to proceed once some basic decisions have been made.


Metal awards can appear classy and attractive, and customized casts can be manufactured for almost any shape imaginable, although the cost of doing so may be extremely expensive and time-consuming. If your company is just interested in giving out a few awards or requires a fast turnaround, there may be better choices available.

However, even within the metal category, there are so many options – from copper to steel – that businesses will never run out of options. This makes it easier for any organization to find the appropriate materials to celebrate its award recipients.


While it is not always feasible to get customized wooden trophies made, there are plenty of customization choices for existing award shapes. From adding photographs and ornate seals to almost any type of engraving, the choices are varied and, in most cases, very affordable.

In many cases, wooden awards have a depth and meaning that other materials do not, and they can show recipients how much they mean. 


Custom glass awards are very popular, especially in the corporate world, and are surprisingly inexpensive compared to other kinds of awards. Like wood, glass awards can be beautiful to look at and appear fine when displayed on a shelf, but they are also often heavy.

Glass is among the many materials that may be shaped or engraved and have that particular transparency, but it is less clear than most varieties of crystals. However, glass can be colored on certain occasions, and it is also the least expensive of the glass/crystal options.

Jade glass has an appealing color, and it also costs typically half that of the price of crystal. These two elements alone contribute to it being one of the most popular options for organizations wishing to recognize and reward loyal employees.

Furthermore, there is a variety of glass known as “starfire” or “crystal clear” glass that has the greatest clarity among all glass types. It has a subtle blue-green tint, similar to jade glass, but it is much lighter. It’s a good compromise between jade glass and more expensive crystal, and it’s popular among organizations because its subtle hue makes angles and edges stand out more.


Crystal awards have a similar appearance to glass, starfire, or jade glass, but have better clarity and are created from somewhat different materials. Furthermore, as with glass, there are a variety of possibilities available, including optical crystal and lead crystal.

Lead crystal is similar to most types of glass awards in terms of quality, but it is clearer and considerably harder to the touch, and it looks to shine a little more than the less expensive options due to the lead oxide within it.

Optical crystal, on the other hand, delivers the highest clarity since it is manufactured by heating the crystal to a temperature high enough to eradicate bubbles and other flaws. Optical crystal is the most expensive of all alternatives due to its more sophisticated manufacturing process.

Because of the high cost of crystal, it may not be ideal for every organization, but its striking aesthetic ensures that award recipients and everybody who sees it enjoy it.


Acrylic, a plastic with many of the same properties as glass and crystal but with several distinct advantages, is another “clear” custom award alternative. For one thing, it is clearer to look at than glass, but not as clear as crystal, yet is substantially lighter. This means that the material is not as prestigious as glass or crystal, but it is also substantially less expensive and easier to work with because it is a plastic that can be cut, molded, and printed.

Furthermore, plastic can be tinted to almost any shade to mimic other materials like jade, solver, or gold, which gives organizations more alternatives when recognizing someone. Acrylic can also be used with other materials like wood or metal because of its flexibility.

However, there are certain things to consider when it comes to engraving custom acrylic trophies, because certain approaches to the process may provide better results than others. The good news is that, once the correct procedure for the material is determined, it is typically easier to engrave on acrylic than on any other type of material, which makes it ideal for even the most intricate engraving requests.

The Importance of Custom Awards

Custom awards provide a powerful way to recognize a job well done, a contribution that is particularly noteworthy, or to honor a person for a service that is exceptional in some way. Custom awards provide an opportunity for you to tell the story of your organization, department, or team in an entirely new way. You can choose to recognize an employee, a project, a specific event, or something else entirely.

We Make Custom Awards and Trophies in Texas

Give your best people the best awards and trophies! Hill Country Awards and Trophies in Texas has been delivering award-winning trophies, awards, and other supplies to customers in the Hill Country for over 30 years. We offer a wide selection of award products, including crystal awards, acrylic awards, metal awards, and more. We also offer customized awards, logo plaques, and engraved plaques. Our expert award designers can help you find the perfect award for any occasion. Call us today at +1 512-756-6712 / +1 830-693-0009, or email us at to get started!