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Lapel Pin Types

A Complete Guide to the Different Types of Lapel Pins

Congratulations! You’re celebrating five years as a company. Or, maybe, you’re receiving a much-deserved award. Or perhaps you’re finally being initiated into a club you’ve put a lot of hard work into.

No matter the event, lapel pins are the perfect accessory to commemorate the occasion. But how do you know the type of lapel pin to choose? Read on to find out!

The History of Lapel Pins

Lapel pins have a history in the United States dating back to the Civil War. However, the techniques used to make the pins have existed for thousands of years.

Types of Lapel Pins

Ancient Egyptians used enamel to decorate pottery and jewelry, with evidence of this was found buried with mummies in tombs at the time. Researchers agree that the Ancient Egyptians founded this cloisonne technique, and from there, other Western countries as well as China and Japan incorporated it into their own decorations.

As for the United States, all soldiers in the Civil War, whether from the Union or the Confederacy, wore lapel pins to differentiate between the sides. Then, by World War I, pins became signifiers for different honors and awards in the military.

In recent history, pins have made a comeback in the fashion world. Since 2014, there has been what some have called a “pin revival,” as indie artists began to manufacture pins with hundreds upon thousands of different designs.

You can find pins with the traditional flags, plants, foods, emojis, cartoon characters, words, and phrases – just about anything you can imagine. The fashion craze even led to New York City’s first Pin and Patch show, where around 2,000 people came to view a gallery full of them.

Soft Enamel Lapel Pins

Soft enamel is one of the most popular styles of lapel pin. The most notable feature of a soft enamel pin is the raised metal edges that create a unique texture.

All pins start with a mold, but with soft enamel, we add an outer layer of metal to the base. You may also add color to the metal plating depending on the pin’s design.

Next, we fill in the metal mold about halfway with enamel. This is what makes the edges of the pin raised. Afterward, we bake the pin in an oven to set the enamel.

Hard Enamel Lapel Pins

Unlike soft enamel, hard enamel pins are smooth to the touch. This is because, in the manufacturing process, we overfill the mold with enamel.

You color the enamel and then bake. We repeat this process for each color in the pin design. Then, we polish the layers down so the design is smooth with no raised edges.

Last comes the electroplating. We place shiny metals over the design to give a hard enamel pin its glossy finish.

Die Struck Lapel Pins

Die struck pins have the most classic look. These mono-color pins are cast with copper or brass. These softer metals allow for more detailed designs to be stamped into the mold.

Die struck pins are made through the same process as hard or soft enamel pins, they simply don’t use enamel paint. This makes the production process faster than other types of pins.

Offset Printed Lapel Pins

Offset printed pins allow for the most color and detail in your design.

First, we cut a piece of metal into the shape of your lapel pin, but the metal is left completely smooth. Then, we apply a base color to the pin. The design you choose is offset printed with a UV printer and adhered to the base. Finally, we apply an epoxy coating to keep the pin scratch resistant and looking shiny and smooth.

These lapel pins also have a quick production time because the metal requires no etching.

Quick Lapel Pins

Quick pins are just what they sound like – pins that are manufactured and shipped out as fast as possible. These pins are suitable for any type of event and can get to your doorstep in less than a week.

We offer free shipping on our quick pins so there is no added stress on needing your custom orders fast.

Choosing the Correct Lapel Pins

There are many lapel pin options to choose from – so how do you know which is the right product for your event? Most of the time, it comes down to the complexity of your unique design and your personal preferences. But we do have some tips to narrow down the options for you.

Soft and hard enamel pins are the most popular options. They are made in similar ways, and they both allow for vibrant colors and the same amount of detail. However, if you prefer a textured feel, soft is the better bet – hard enamel will always be smooth.

Soft enamel is cheaper than hard enamel to produce, but hard enamel is available in smaller sizes.

Die struck pins are perfect for achievement or award pins, as they look like little trophies you can wear. With their recessed, sandblasted backgrounds and polished and raised surfaces, these pins keep things simple, classy, and official.

Offset printed pins are the fastest to produce and have the cheapest costs. If you need your pins as soon as possible, this is the way to go. They are also perfect if your design is complex and contains a lot of colors.

Ready to Order?

We hope that with this guide, you understand the difference between all the lapel pins available to order.

We here at MetalPromo are always available to help you choose the best custom design for your special event. Click here to receive a pricing quote on your order today!


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