If you want to make a challenge coin for your team, you're not alone. Some of history's greatest military, political, and business leaders have used challenge coins to recognize star performers and encourage team comradery. Here's the thing: the design of a challenge coin is important. A well-designed coin can mean the difference between someone proudly carrying and showing off the coin you've presented and tossing it into a desk drawer alongside the never-used paper clips and busted cell phone.
When creating a challenge coin, there are numerous factors to consider. The good news is that you don't have to be a graphic designer to create an eye-catching coin. Here, we've gathered five challenge coin design elements as well as a few resources to help keep your team's coins out of the junk drawer and on display where they belong.
When most people think of design, they think of artwork. With good reason. The art and words you use to express the coin's purpose and power. Here are a few ideas to get you started on deciding what artwork to use in your challenge coin design.
The design of challenge coins does not have to be complicated. Use an existing logo if your team identifies with it. Simply send us an image of your logo, and our wizards will turn it into a coin. Consider adding important dates, location details, or your team's motto to the back to further personalize the piece.
Examples can help you get ideas. If you don't have a specific logo and aren't sure where to begin, look through existing coins for inspiration.
The colored material poured into the coin's metal base is enamel. You have the option of using hard, soft, or no enamel at all. Each contributes a distinct aesthetic to the finished product.
The metal base of a soft enamel coin is only partially filled with enamel. This results in some raised metal edges, which add texture and become a design feature of the coin. The raised metal edges of the mountain range give this coin a nice 3D effect. Click here for 3d Brass Soft Hard Enamel Antique Gold Flag Challenge Coin.
A hard enamel coin has a metal base that has been overfilled with enamel and polished down. This results in a smooth surface devoid of the raised metal texture. Although hard enamel coins are more durable than soft enamel coins, they do not handle intricate designs as well. In the finishing process, minor details can be polished away. We created this hard enamel coin for the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Florida.
This coin's shield, flags, and copy are all smooth to the touch. The design relies more on the enamel color fill because there are no raised edges.
You can also create a coin with no enamel. These coins will be monochrome, displaying only the metal's color. This example is from our archives and demonstrates how much you can achieve with a simple concept and a single color. These coins resemble common currency and can have a nice, classic appearance.
The term "plating" describes the coin's metal core. It divides each enamel color and serves as the design's outline. Plating is an important, if occasionally disregarded, component of design. Make sure the plating color you select complements the enamel and artwork colors.
The two most popular plating colors are silver and gold. Gold has a more premium appearance and contrasts beautifully with red enamel. Blue and other cool enamel colors go well with silver. This coin tells an important marketing message in a way that is difficult to miss thanks to the inventive use of silver plating and a single, bold color.
Size is important in challenge coin design. Weight and shape also apply. Keep in mind these crucial components as you plan your new coin.
The typical challenge coin is a round disk, similar to the loose change in your pocket. But it's not the only choice available. Customized shapes can be striking and make a strong impression. Check out this bad boy we created for a fantastic group of soldiers. You are not required to see even the slightest word or coin interior detail. Just by looking at its intricate outline, you can understand exactly what it is about.
The most common coin size has a diameter of 1.75 inches. However, there are a few reasons to consider a larger or smaller coin. If you have a lot of text or intricate details, a larger coin will provide more surface area on which to express those elements.
Sometimes you'll make an entire set of coins for various levels of achievement. A smaller coin would work well here so that it can be easily displayed. Smaller coins, like the ones in this set, are also less expensive, so they can help you save money if you're on a tight budget.
When designing a coin, the weight, and thickness are frequently the last things on people's minds.
However, the weight of a coin can significantly alter its overall appeal. The most common thickness of a challenge coin is 4 millimeters. A thicker, heavier coin feels more valuable and allows for more inscriptions on the outside edge. However, thicker coins are more expensive, so they may not be suitable for all budgets.
The purpose of the challenge coin is an important component of the design process. When the finished product serves the intended purpose of the coin, you know you've nailed the design.