It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you have worked hard and achieved something – a qualification, perhaps, or if you have conquered a personal milestone – it is great to receive a certificate and commemorative enamel or embroidered badge to keep.
While you are unlikely to carry your certificate around with you, a badge that celebrates your achievement is easy to wear and is likely to attract plenty of attention from those who admire what you have done.
And while nowadays you can earn online badges for just about anything – for watching 1,000 YouTube videos, for checking into Foursquare, and even for reading Google news – there is nothing like having a physical badge that you can wear with pride.
The very fact that you can earn badges online demonstrates just how much we enjoy collecting these marks of honour, even if they are playful and fun.
But think back to your childhood or teens and how you felt when you received your cloth badges or pin badges that marked the successful conclusion of a period of learning. Those achievement badges are probably still in your keepsake box or drawer.
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award
The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme is one of the most prestigious schemes in the UK and uses badges to reward participants.
Since it was founded in 1956, more than seven million people have taken part in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme in 136 countries – with more than two million in the UK alone.
Today there are more than 280,000 young people working towards their bronze, silver and gold awards by participating in volunteer work, physical activities, expeditions and skills work.
It is quite an achievement to attain the gold DofE award and only 215,000 have been awarded in the UK since it began 56 years ago and many have rightly worn their gold badges with pride.
Learning to swim is a life skill and millions of children and adults have amassed their cloth badges or had theembroidered badges sewn onto their towels or swimming costumes to prove their attainment levels.
From learning the simplest of tasks, such as submerging your face in the water while taking part in baby and parent classes, up to five metre swimming badges to life-saving, endurance swimming achievements and competitive awards, water babes can receive badges at all levels of competence. Do you still have yours?
Many sports and leisure organisations recognise the efforts of their participants with bespoke badges. From gymnastics and dance to football and rugby, badges are the ideal way to show that students are progressing and achieving ever more complex skills.
The Pony Club
One of the most prestigious of these sporting organisations is The Pony Club, which has a number of achievement badges for learner riders. These include non-equine-related badges, which are similar to those awarded by the Scouts Association, such as stargazing, public speaking and identifying wildflowers and animals. There are also horse-skills related achievement badges, all of which can be sewn onto riders’ Pony Club sweatshirts.
For further ideas on how you could design a badge to be proud of, please download our eGuide 'How to Turn Your Idea into a Badge'.
Guest Post: Robert James is the director of Badges Plus, a family-owned, British manufacturer of quality, hand-finished badges and other keepsakes. You can read more of Robert's articles by subscribing to the Badges Plus blog here. You can also find him on Google+ and Twitter.