So you’re interested in having your own custom lapel pin made? That’s awesome! We’re here to help! If this is your first time dipping your toes into the lapel pin world, than read this before making any big decisions when it comes to the style or type of pin that you buy. This guide will teach you what makes a pin type and what uses and applications of pins work best for each type. Let’s begin with the major types and their descriptions.
LAPEL PIN TYPES
Soft Enamel: A full color pin style based off the Die Struck method of manufacturing.
Hard Enamel: A high quality custom pin type that achieves a jewelry-like, smooth, polished finish with enamel colorings.
Die Struck: A pin type devoid of all color that is made of raised and recessed areas created from the Die Strike on a lapel pin blank.
Silk Screen Printed: Similar to the printing method that many graphic t-shirts are made with, this pin type allows color to be placed on a pin without the traditional “metal borders” around each color.
Offset Printed: A 4-color printer (CMYK) reproduces a high resolution computer graphic on a lapel pin blank.
Trading Pins: Not necessarily its own type of pin, but these pins are sports themed Soft Enamel pins.
LAPEL PIN USES AND APPLICATIONS
Award Pins, Recognition Pins, Pins for Employees: The high quality, jewelry like Hard Enamel style is perfect when you need to convey how important the pin is and the person receiving it.
Giveaways, Gifts: Soft Enamel finds its home as a the go-to type of pin for conventions, conferences, “goodie-bags”, corporate gifts and giveaways due to its traditional nature, colors and, of course, its affordability.
Flag Pins: These popular pins are almost exclusively made in the Hard Enamel style of lapel pin. Most pins that you will actually wear on a suit lapel would be best made as Hard Enamel regardless of design.
Hospitals, EMS and Frontline Workers (Police, Fire): The Hard Enamel pin is the easiest to clean due to the smooth surface. The Soft Enamel paints along with textured surfaces of Die Struck pins makes them harder to wipe down when cleaning and disinfecting.
Fundraisers, High School, Middle School: When trying to maximize your fundraising efforts, the affordability of Die Struck and Soft Enamel pins fits the bill. Be sure to opt for Rubber Clutches when thinking about custom pins in use around children as it is inherently more safe for our youth.
Universities and Colleges: Soft Enamel pins are a great compromise when considering use and your school’s budget. The raised and recessed areas of these types of pins convey the esteem of tradition and the usage of the school’s colors make the pins all that more personal to the recipient. A custom pin is a perfect Orientation Day gift or a Graduation Day memento for any student.
Etsy: You’ll find most Etsy enamel pins are Hard Enamel. There is a certain expectation of quality that Etsy customers expect so don’t stray too far from the norm in this realm.
Storefronts, Retail: Soft Enamel pins find a home on the impulse section of a storefront but if you have a clientele that has higher end taste or your other products are higher end, consider Hard Enamel.
Youth Baseball and Softball: For economic reasons, trading pins have leaned to the Soft Enamel style. The larger sizes of these types of pins can make the Hard Enamel style incredibly expensive.
Running For Office, Mayor, Commisioner, Sheriff, Judge, Senator, Congressional Representative, Governor, President: Putting your best foot forward means having a great look lapel pin and choosing a Hard Enamel one won’t lead you astray.
Gifts for Donations and Supporters: You might want to keep costs down when handing out freebies so look to Soft Enamel and Silk Screen pins to ease these into your budgets.
People, Portraits, Landscapes, Etc: If you’re dead set on reproducing a photograph as a pin then Offset Printing is the only custom pin type for you.