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Share Certificates Design Evolution
Startup Guides 3 min read

SeedLegals share certificates get a design refresh

Published:  Jan 27, 2023
Katy Tomlinson

Product Marketing Manager

Anthony Rose
Expert contributor
Anthony Rose

Co-Founder and CEO

Share certificates on SeedLegals have had a make-over! The certificates you generate on SeedLegals now have a fresh new look, with a design based on feedback from our members.

In this post, we’ll show how share certificates on SeedLegals have evolved over the years and present our new design. Take a look – and then message us to let us know what you think.


A throwback to the pre-digital age….

Companies are obliged to provide their shareholders with a share certificate for each shareholding. It’s a throwback to the days before the internet, when share certificates were ornate pieces of paper, stamped with the company seal and probably framed and hung on the wall by the shareholder.

Now the world has gone digital, should share certificates even exist at all? In one sense, they’re a proof of ownership that could possibly be better represented on the blockchain. In the UK, the company’s Share Register records everyone’s share ownership so the share certificate is a combination of legal requirement and eye candy – something that we hope your investors are delighted to receive at the end of your funding round.

Given that share certificates are obligatory, they’ve been available on SeedLegals since we launched in 2016. Tens of thousands of investors have received them to record their investments done on SeedLegals. So how has the design of SeedLegals share certificate evolved over the years, and why did we give it a makeover for 2023?


Design 1: Traditional bank, circa 1880s

When we started SeedLegals, the whole legaltech thing was new so we figured that instead of coming up with a snazzy modern design for our share certificates, we’d go for formal and traditional.

Think how a traditional bank looks: a grand, imposing façade, with sturdy Greek-temple-inspired columns. The whole look is designed to give an air of permanence and solidity. Well, that was our design inspiration. After a bit of Googling and Photoshopping (we were only four people back then, and – I’m not sure we should be admitting this – the CEO was the designer…), we came up with our first certificate, which served us faithfully from launch in 2017 until 2020:

Image (3) 2

Design 2: Happy

As SeedLegals grew to become the number one closer of funding rounds in the UK, we decided it was time to ditch the reference to the past.

We came up with a design that combined our visual style with the traditional shape and function of a share certificate. The design brief was simple: ‘happy, but certificate’. This design took us from 2020 to late 2022:

Image (1)

Design 3: Smart and functional

We rather liked our bright, happy share certificate design, but we sometimes had feedback from founders and investors that it was a bit too informal – they expected something more serious as proof of their investment. Time to dial down the branding.

In 2022, we set the design team a new challenge: smart, functional, modern. Our team came up with a range of designs in different shapes and formats. We tested the designs with users and chose the winner:

The new design will launch on SeedLegals in February 2023.


Will my share certificates change?

Any new share certificates you create from February 2023 onwards, and existing certificates that haven’t yet been signed and archived, will automatically update to the new design.

Any share certificates that are signed and archived won’t change.

Want all your shareholders to have the same new certificate design? No problem – you can unarchive existing certificates, which will cause them to update to the new design. Don’t forget to archive them again.

If you’re not sure how to check certificates are archived, or how to issue share certificates, read our handy guide.

The future of share certificates

In the future, who knows? Maybe share certificates won’t exist and all this will be on the blockchain…?

Whatever happens, we aim to be ahead of the curve. 🤖⭐

Have your say

What do you think of the new design? We love to hear your feedback – email us at [email protected]

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