In almost any design, less is usually more, and due to the size of lapel pins and coins, this rule-of-thumb is even more important to follow. Although we can literally fill your pin from edge-to-edge with extremely fine designs, you won’t want to get out a magnifying glass to read it all. To the naked eye, a crowded pin will look like "muddy."
Pick one element as the central focus of your pin – one graphic or piece of text – and eliminate, reduce or make all other elements secondary. Leaving “white space” (not necessarily white, but a space with no text or graphics) on your pin will make it easier to read and more attractive to look at.
Many customers sketch their idea on a full-sized sheet of paper. The first thing we do in our studio is reduce the sketch to the final pin size. We suggest that you try this too – either on a copy machine or by making a tiny hand drawing. You’ll immediately see that your 10 word slogan will be in lettering 1/64th of an inch tall or that the eagle in the tree looks smaller than an ant on a molehill. In this reduced size, it will be obvious whether the pin will read well as-is, or need tweaking to make an attractive piece that you’ll be proud of. Your price quote will be based on the pin’s longest dimension - vertical or horizontal (not diagonal). We can produce items in any size, but most pins we design are 1.00” – 1.50”. If a pin is too small, it can be hard to read; if it’s too large, many people won’t wear it. For easy reference, think of the coin sizes shown here. Notice the legibility difference between the largest and smallest coins. A round or square pin will often look significantly larger than a narrow rectangular or oval pin of the same size.
Some companies offer only “cookie cutter” pins – rectangles or circles with your design contained within that shape. We are pleased to let your imagination run wild with any shape you can envision – usually at no additional charge. Think outside the box! Your pin can be the shape of your state, an animal, a shooting star, etc. You can also create dramatic effects by beginning with a standard shape (rectangle or oval) and then extending elements beyond the frame – as if the extended object is “jumping out” at you.
Four colors plus the metal color are included in the cost of your pin. Additional colors are available for a small extra charge. To see available colors, click on the graphic to the left. The choices are absolutely staggering. These are colors of the Pantone Matching System® (PMS). Each color is assigned a number. Let us know which PMS color number you like and we will match it exactly. Please keep in mind that a computer monitor does not represent truly accurate color, but it's pretty close.
Flat color is not your only option - translucent enamel and glitter enamel can replace standard enamel to give your pin extra an sheen.
When designing your pin, remember that unless you are ordering a printed pin, due to the manufacturing process, colors can not touch each other - each color must be “trapped” by raised metal. For example, blue letters on a white background will be outlined by a very thin band of shiny, uncolored metal. Think of a coloring book in which the lines are gold or silver, rather than black. For smaller text we recommend using metal, rather than colored letters.
Color is attractive, but you don't need to fill your entire pin with it. Use the reflective luster of the metal to make a statement. Or don't use color at all. A pin without color is particularly effective with when you're trying to achieve a subtle or sophisticated effect.
When you receive a design from us, keep in mind that your computer screen or paper printout can’t do justice to the finished product. The contrast of the colors against the metal will be MUCH higher on the final pin. Your proof will not be nearly as stunning as the final product.
Block letters - all capital - are the easiest letters to read. Script letters are difficult to produce and difficult to read. Larger, bolder lettering can be filled with color, while smaller, more delicate fonts must most often be reproduced in the metal color. Some pins can be effective with very limited wording or even no lettering at all, if the image is strong enough. One advantage of a pin with no words is that people may wear it more often – as jewelry rather than an advertisement.
Your text doesn't need to be the same on every pin. With additional printing or engraving, you can change things like "years of service" or add sequential numbering to make a more collectible pin or coin.
Gold, silver, nickel, black nickel, copper and brass plated finishes are standard finishes.
Antiquing is a darkening process, used on pins to make details stand out. The entire pin is chemically tarnished and then the raised areas are polished, making them lighter while leaving the recessed areas dark. Antiquing is most effectively used on uncolored pins.
Satin plating provides a softer, more sophisticated look to your pin. It is also used most effectively used on uncolored pins.
Epoxy and Varnish are high gloss coatings that that cover your pin. Epoxy is thick and slightly domed, while varnish is very thin and invisible. These finishes are necessary to protect the design of printed pins, but are not necessary (as often believed) to protect enameled pins. Some people prefer the glossy look of epoxy and varnished coatings, but we feel the pins maintain a higher quality "jewelry" effect without using them.
Two-Tone Plating gives the richness of both gold and silver luster to your pins. This process is most effective when used on uncolored pins.
Sandblasting and Texturing provide a slighted "rough" matte finish to contrast background areas with the more shiny raised areas of gold or silver. Many other granular and patterned background textures are also available.
Bent Die pins are used to give the pin a slightly rounded appearance, such as a badge or half-ball.
Cubic pins are used when you need a shallow relief 3-dimensional pin with rounded details, such as a face or statue.
2-Level pins also are used to create a dimensional effect. A second emblem without a pin attached is welded to the lower level, creating a "stepped" 3-D look.
Cast pins are used for a variety of dimensional effects. This process is used for deep relief 3-dimensional designs and also when a delicate, intricately cut effect such as lace or a spider web is desired.
Puzzle Pins are two separate pins, cut so that they can fit together to make a complete set. Two halves of a heart are a common example of a puzzle pin.
Danglers are a main pin that has a second emblem hanging by a chain or ring. Danglers are often used to add a year or level of achievement to the main pin. Several danglers may hang below each other, marking levels of achievement or more years of service or participation.
Bobblers are a main pin with a second emblem attached by a small spring, providing an effect similar to a bobble head doll. Blinkers are a sure attention-getter. These pins with embedded flashing lights can be used to simulate eyes, traffic lights, etc.
Spinners have a second level attached above the main pin, using a pivot that allows the second level to freely spin like a wheel of chance or clock.
Sliders have a second level attached above the main pin, using a channel that allows the second level to move up and down or from side to side. An example of this type would be an ocean as the main pin, with a surf board as a second level sliding across the ocean.
Lenticular pins show depth, movement or transformation using a multifaceted surface, similar to vintage Cracker Jack prizes with changing pictures.
Gem Stones will add dimension and, of course, an extra elegance to your pin. The stone chips can be used just decoratively or as design elements to represent eyes, fire, etc. Stones are available in many sizes and colors, and can be glass, crystal or actual precious gems.