The Emblem resemble a giant Ring with wings on the sides, much like the winged rings seen on the title screens of the early Sonic games for the Sega Mega Drive. In Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, and their respective ports, Sonic's head is seen in the Ring. In Sonic Heroes on the other hand, the Emblems have the Speed, Fly and Power symbols on the Ring.
In gameplay, Emblems are collectibles that the player can obtain in order to gauge their progress in their respective games. In addition, collecting Emblems also unlock various unlockable contents in their respective games, such as minigames, playable characters, extra levels or achievements/trophies. However, each of these features a different amount of Emblems to be collected.
In Sonic Adventure, its enhanced port Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, and the 2010 remaster, Emblems are optional items that can be collected. There are a total of one-hundred thirty Emblems in the game. In gameplay, they can be obtained through the following methods:
- Each Action Stage has three Emblems: one awarded by simply completing it, and two others obtained by completing certain tasks. A total of ninety six Emblems can be collected in Action Stages.
- By finding them in the Adventure Fields. Twelve Emblems can be found there.
- Through Sub Games. With the exception of Icecap and Boss, every Sub Game has two Emblems to collect: one by beating a default high score, and the other by beating the player's own high score. A total of ten Emblems can be collected here.
- By finishing first in the Jewel Races in the Chao Race. Five Emblems can be collected in total, one per race.
- By watching each of the credits all the way through. Seven Emblems can be obtained.
The player can see the Emblems they have collected at the "Emblem Results" menu in the Trial mode. While Emblems serve no real purpose in the game, collecting all one-hundred thirty Emblems allows the player to use Metal Sonic in Sonic's Action Stages and Sub Games in the Trial mode. Also, in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, collecting Emblems unlocks Sega Game Gear games that can be played in the "Mini Game Collection" menu. The Emblem requirements for unlocking said games are as follows:
|Number of Emblems||Game unlocked|
|20||Sonic the Hedgehog|
|110||Sonic the Hedgehog 2|
|120||Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine|
In Sonic Shuffle, emblems are handed out to players at the end of a board as prizes for certain accomplishments, with the player having the most emblems and Rings being declared the winner. They are awarded for the following achievements:
- Collecting Precioustones (one is awarded for each Precioustone collected)
- Having the most Rings at the end of the board
- Winning the Stage Clear mini-game at the end of the board
- Fulfilling the board's quest
- Winning the most duels (Versus Mode only)
Sonic Adventure 2
- In the Tiny Chao Garden, the player's Chao will sometimes say that they found an emblem and tossed it.