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What to Consider When Creating Custom Challenge Coins for Your Organization

January 9, 2020

What to Consider When Creating Custom Challenge Coins for Your Organization

Challenge coins have a rich military history and are still highly valued by those who earned coins during their time in the service. Perhaps because of their popularity with military personnel, challenge coins have also become common in civilian culture among EMS services, fraternal orders, and even corporate culture. Whether you’re looking to create custom challenge coins for fundraising, training commemoration, achievement acknowledgment, or promotional purposes, you’ll find that creating your own coins is easy with high-quality on-demand manufacturing. Before making your order, you’ll want to consider the following 5 variables: 

1. How your coin will be used

Are you a commanding officer looking to distribute a high-quality coin that will reflect the significance of your rank? Are you looking for a truly unique coin that will stand out among others in your local police and firefighting collection? Or, are you a corporate leader looking to offer a unique item to commemorate high-level training at your company? 

Each of these situations might necessitate a different style of challenge coin. For instance, most (but not all) military challenge coins need to be small and lightweight enough to be carried in a pocket or on a keychain. On the other hand, a coin that’s designed purely to stand out could be a unique shape or an unusually large size without compromising its purpose. Once you decide how your coin will be used by those who receive it, you’ll be better able to design a coin that works for you. 

2. Which artwork will be featured

Do you already have a logo, design, photograph, or other artwork prepared to use on your challenge coin? Great! Ensure that your designs or photographs are high resolution, and get the files ready to deliver to the manufacturer. Keep in mind that you’ll probably need designs for both sides of the coin, not just the front. 

If you don’t already have artwork in mind, or you’re not sure how to put together a full double-sided coin design, make sure to partner with an on-demand manufacturer that offers design services. The best companies give you access to a designer who can help you create what we call a “tech pack” of design files — for free

3. Which materials you prefer

Challenge coins are commonly made from a mixed metal base that’s later plated with the finish of your choice. When you go to create your challenge coin, you’ll need to be prepared to make other material-related decisions. Do you want colorful enameling? Would you like silver, gold, brass, copper, gunmetal, or rose gold plating? Shiny, antique, or brushed finish? What kind of border would you like your coin to have? 

All of these decisions are easy to make with the guidance of an expert partner. At The/Studio, our online product creation tool walks you through each of these choices step-by-step with visual examples so you can get a good idea for what your selections might look like on the final product. 

4. What kind of “extras” you’d like to add

Depending on your manufacturer, you may be able to ask for extras or upgrades that make your coin even more special. For example, we offer the following advanced options for custom challenge coin orders:

•  Bottle opener function

•  Spinning centerpiece

•  Epoxy coating 

•  Sandblasting

•  Glow-in-the-dark enamel

•  Rhinestones

•  Ultra-lightweight aluminum core

•  Sequential number engraving

In addition, we offer a wide variety of packaging options that will make your challenge coins ready for immediate presentation. Velvet pouches or boxes, acrylic cases and stands, and PVC envelopes are all available for your selection. 

5. How much you want to spend

Finally, and most importantly, it’s important to set a budget for your challenge coin based on conversations with your manufacturing partner. Depending on how many coins you order and what materials and extras you choose, your coins could cost anywhere from $2-15 per unit. 

If you’re looking for a high-quality and cost-effective option at the lower end of that range, we recommend choosing an option like a 1.5” brass coin with fewer than 5 soft enamel colors and a smooth or rope cut border. Even within this seemingly-simple framework, creators have a wide range of artistic freedom to design a truly spectacular coin. In fact, this is one of our most popular and commonly-ordered coin styles. 

The main indicator of per-unit price is how many coins you order. Most standard manufacturers don’t give you much choice in this matter — so if you’re looking to make a small batch or a limited edition item, be sure to partner with a company that has low or no minimum order quantities.

Choosing a Custom Challenge Coin Manufacturer

Most of the considerations above depend on your partnership with a high-quality on-demand manufacturing company. Not all manufacturers will work with you on your design, guide you through material choices, or allow you to order a limited run of 15 challenge coins. Traditional manufacturers aren’t exactly known for their flexibility. By partnering with a company like The/Studio instead, you can order the challenge coin of your dreams while keeping in line with your priorities for price, quality, and service. 

The/Studio is a full-scale on-demand manufacturing firm that helps creators around the world produce custom products at a fair price and with 100% satisfaction guaranteed. If you’re looking to create outstanding custom challenge coins for your organization, check out our DIY online product creation tool or contact us today.