How to Create a Digital Certificate

Digital credentials present an amazing opportunity for educational institutions, companies, and individuals to validate professional achievements. With so much of our lives taking place in the digital environment, it is no wonder the sharing and promoting of career developments are also digital. 

Digital credentials provide a secure and convenient way to validate achievements, skills, and qualifications. Understanding how to create and issue these documents is paramount.

In this article, we will discuss how to create a digital certificate, what information you should include and the safest way to store information. 

By mastering the art of creating digital credentials, educational institutions can streamline their workflows, reduce administrative overheads, and enhance the credibility of their courses. Likewise, individuals can take control of their certificates, securely share them with potential employers, and navigate the ever-evolving landscape of career advancement.

Step-by-step for creating a digital credential

Creating and issuing secure and easily verifiable certificates often require technical expertise, including cryptography, data encoding, and secure storage implementation.

At Diplomasafe, we create digital credentials for every need, ensuring that the documents are accurate and easy to share. 

Here are the steps you should take to create a digital credential:

Define the credential structure

Determine what information you want to include in your digital certificate. This typically includes the recipient’s name, the name of the issuing institution, the type of credential, and possibly a unique identifier.

Later in this article, we will discuss what kind of information you should feature in your digital credentials. 

Choose a digital credential format

Decide on the format of your digital credential. There are different options available, and each format has its own advantages and use cases:

JSON-LD (Linked Data)

JSON-LD is a format that represents structured data using the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) syntax. It provides a way to embed machine-readable information within a digital credential, making it easily consumable by computer systems. 

JSON-LD allows for rich and granular data representation, enabling the inclusion of detailed metadata, such as issuer information, recipient details, competency frameworks, and evidence of achievement. This format facilitates interoperability and data portability, making it suitable for sharing and integrating digital credentials across various platforms and applications.

Open Badges

Open Badges is a format specifically designed for recognizing and validating learning achievements and skills. It consists of a collection of digital images, called badges, that represent specific accomplishments. 

Open Badges are embedded with metadata, including issuer details, criteria for earning the badge, and evidence of the achievement. The format is based on an open standard, allowing for easy integration with different systems and platforms. They are typically issued by educational institutions, organisations, or online learning platforms and can be displayed on social media profiles, e-portfolios, or websites. 

Extensible Markup Language (XML)

XML is a widely used format for structuring and representing data. It allows for the creation of customised schemas and can be used to define digital credentials with specific data elements and hierarchies. XML provides flexibility in defining metadata and can be easily parsed and processed by computer systems.

Common Education Data Standards (CEDS)

CEDS is a comprehensive set of data standards specifically designed for educational information. It includes a standardised framework for representing various aspects of education, such as courses, programs, assessments, and credentials. 

CEDS provides a consistent and interoperable format for exchanging digital credentials across educational systems and institutions.

IMS Open Badges

This format is an extension of the Open Badges format mentioned earlier. It follows the specifications set by the IMS Global Learning Consortium, which is focused on promoting interoperability and standardisation in the education technology sector. IMS Open Badges provide additional features and metadata fields to enhance the richness and interoperability of digital badges.

W3C Verifiable Credentials

Verifiable Credentials is a standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that focuses on creating tamper-evident, privacy-preserving, and interoperable digital credentials. It defines a standardised format for representing verifiable claims and evidence of credentials. W3C Verifiable Credentials leverage blockchain technology and cryptographic techniques to enhance security, privacy, and trust in the digital credentialing ecosystem.

Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) Formats

Self-Sovereign Identity is an emerging concept that emphasises individuals’ ownership and control over their digital identities and credentials. SSI formats, such as DID (Decentralized Identifier) and VC (Verifiable Credential), provide a framework for creating portable, privacy-enhancing, and interoperable digital credentials. These formats focus on secure peer-to-peer interactions and offer new possibilities for decentralised credential management.

Design the visual layout

Create a visually appealing and professional design for your digital credential. Consider incorporating the colours, logos, and branding elements of the issuing institution. Ensure that the design is clear and legible, even when displayed on various devices and screen sizes.

Generate a digital signature

To ensure the authenticity and integrity of the digital credential, you’ll need to generate a digital signature. A digital signature provides cryptographic proof that the credential has not been tampered with since its creation. 

Encode the credential information

Convert the relevant information of the digital credential into a machine-readable format. For example, if you’re using JSON-LD, you’ll need to structure the data using the appropriate JSON syntax and include the necessary metadata.

Store the credential data

Determine where you will store the digital credential data. You can choose to store it on a centralised server, a decentralised blockchain network, or a distributed ledger system. Consider factors such as security, scalability, and accessibility when making this decision.

Issue and verify the credential

When issuing the digital credential, provide the recipient with a unique copy of the document, either by email, a secure online platform, or another suitable method. 

To verify the authenticity of the credential, recipients can share it with potential employers, educational institutions, or other interested parties. The recipient’s data can be cross-checked with the stored credential data to verify its validity.

Implement security measures

Ensure that appropriate security measures are in place to protect the integrity and confidentiality of the digital credentials. This includes securing the storage of the credential data, implementing access controls, and regularly monitoring for any potential vulnerabilities.

Consider interoperability standards

To ensure compatibility and interoperability with existing systems and platforms, consider adhering to industry standards such as the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL), Open Badges Specification, or other relevant standards.

What information to include in digital certificates

When creating a diploma or certificate, the information to include will depend on the specific requirements of the issuing institution or organisation. However, here are some common elements typically included in a diploma or certificate:


Clearly state the type of credential, such as “Diploma,” “Certificate,” or “Degree.”

Name of recipient

Include the full name of the individual receiving the credential. Ensure accuracy in spelling and order of names.

Issuing institution

Clearly state the name of the institution or organisation issuing the diploma or certificate. This could be a university, college, school, training centre, or any other relevant entity.

Logo and branding

Incorporate the official logo, seal, or other branding elements of the issuing institution. This helps establish authenticity and reinforces the connection to the institution.

Field or program of study

Specify the field or program of study for which the diploma or certificate is awarded. This could be a major, specialisation, or specific course of study.

Date of issuance

Include the date when the diploma or certificate is issued. This provides a reference point and indicates the currency of the credential.


Include the signatures of authorised individuals, such as the institution’s president, chancellor, dean, or registrar. These signatures add a level of authenticity to the document.

Official designations

If the diploma or certificate includes any honours, distinctions, or special achievements, such as cum laude, magna cum laude, or specific awards, ensure they are clearly mentioned.

Accreditation or certification information

If the institution or program holds specific accreditations or certifications, include relevant information to highlight the quality and credibility of the credential.

Security features

Consider incorporating security features to prevent forgery or tampering, such as watermarks, holograms, or embossed seals. These features help ensure the authenticity and integrity of the document.


Digital credentials have become an essential part of modern education, encouraging individuals to share their achievements and institutions to make certificates more accessible, secure, and easily verifiable.

Creating a digital certificate requires planning and technical knowledge, ensuring that the document is readable and tamper-proof. 

As experts in digital credentialing, Diplomasafe can help you create reliable and secure certificates, offering more credibility to your business and encouraging the continuous professional development of individuals across industries. Contact us to learn more.