How to Design Virtual Race Medal

As running races transition to virtual format, race directors and runners are adjusting to a new form of races. There are things that are simplified, namely race day logistics, road closures, permit etc. Other things got complicated, such as fulfillment and distribution of race kits, marketing. How to design a virtual race medal that is attractive and appealing can also be a great challenge. You do not have to be a graphic designer to make a great medal, but as race organizers you are the best person to come up with ideas and visions. Our talented designers will make it a reality!

Important consideration to design a virtual race medal

Before starting to design a virtual race medal, there are a few important considerations, we will go over them one by one:

  1. Medal plating color
  2. Medal shape, size and thickness
  3. Ink colors
  4. 3D or not 3D?
  5. Special Design Elements
  6. Ribbon designs

Medal plating color

A medal is first created by molding in zinc alloy material. It is then electroplated with a color/finish that you see on finished race medals. The choice of electroplated color finish is endless. Not only you can go with our standard plating colors, we can also customize plating colors using Pantone Color (PMS), creating a truly one of a kind custom color medal.

blue medal santa run medal
Santa run medal plated in custom blue

Medal shape, size and thickness

Next, you will decide the shape of the medal. While the standard shape is circle, there also many medals that are rectangular, square, oval. Since a medal is custom molded, it can be in any shape you desire! Create a custom shape medal in your logo, or come up with something completely unique!

clover shaped medal
5K medal in the shape of a clover

A standard size medal is usually around 3″ in diameter. Any race medal over the size of 5″ is oversized. We would recommend the minimum of 3″ medal to look and feel substantial.

For thickness our medal is usually 3mm. Obviously, the thicker the medal, the more substantial it is. A lot of runners love the feel of thicker race medals. It will also weigh more and thus increasing the shipping cost.

Ink Colors

The next item to consider is ink colors. Since race medal colors are mostly filled by hand, your quote will indicate the number of colors. When you design the virtual race medal, pay attention to the number of colors you are using. More colors in the medal will increase the costs, however, many runners do love very colorful medals!

Glitter ink race medal
Race medal with glitter ink

Special ink can also add magic to the virtual race medal such as glow in the dark ink medal, transparent ink medal, and glitter ink medal.

3D or not 3D?

One way to greatly enhance the medal design is by making certain elements 3 dimensional. 3D medals add depths and another level of interest in medal designs. Keep in mind though, we do not usually color fill 3D design elements, so they will be in the plated medal color.

3D horse race medal
3D horse race medal

Special Design Elements

custom bracelet race medal
custom bracelet race medal

Once you have determined your medal plated colors, shape, size, thickness and ink colors, it is time to think about the wow factor. In terms of special design elements, the sky is the limit. Start with the theme of your race, whether it is community 5K, beer run, pizza run, from there, come up with a special feature of the medal that ties in with the theme.

wine bottle opener medal
wine bottle opener medal

For example, a 5K running race sponsored by the police department can include a police badge in the medal as part of the design. A beer opener virtual race medal or wine opener race medal is a wonderful option and a great keepsake. Many trail runs and ultra marathon endurance races are belt buckle race medals so they are double duty. A race that celebrates women using a custom bracelet as medals. Nothing is impossible in terms of race medal designs!

80s theme rubiks cube medal
80s theme rubiks cube medal

Neckband Design

Last but not least, it is time to think about neckband. It is usually printed in vibrant full color, so any number of colors in the design will work! Incorporate brand colors, sponsor logos, tagline. It is a great place also to indicate the distance or organizers of the race. Make sure to review the neckband with the medal design and see if they complement each other.

Medal Collector’s Sets

national park medal set
national park medal set

If you organize more than one race a year, one way to encourage signups in multiple races is collector’s set. Sign up and complete a set of number of race and get a special finisher medal, or make the medals from a series combine to become a special medal, by interlocking medals or magnetic medals. Our designers can review at all the races you have in the year and help you come up with a creative way to connect all the race medals. Since you are already marketing one race, wouldn’t it be nice to get signups for multiple races?

medal set that connects by magnet
A set of medals that connect by magnet
Special collectors medal
Special collector’s medal for runners who complete all 3 races

We hope this article has been helpful for your virtual race medal designs. As always if you need ideas or want to get a project started, don’t hesitate to contact us!