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Soft Enamel Pins vs. Hard Enamel: What’s the Difference?

A common question when designing a custom lapel pin is what’s the difference between soft enamel pins and hard enamel? The answer is in the details of the pin.

Have you been noticing all of these cool lapel pins and might want to get some for yourself? Wondering how you get started and what you need to know? You’ve come to the right place.

With lapel pins making a comeback, you have a lot of options that you can choose from to customize and make the pin everything you imagined it to be.

One of the decisions you have to make is between soft enamel pins and hard enamel pins. What does that mean? For someone that hasn’t gotten lapel pins before, those terms probably don’t mean much.

If you’d like to find out more about lapel pins and what you need to consider when you are creating them, keep reading to learn the difference between soft enamel and hard enamel pins.

How to Create a Soft Enamel Pin

Soft enamel is a very popular type of pin. It gives the pin a raised texture look which also feels a little different than hard enamel pins when they are finished.

The image you want gets stamped into the metal and then cut down to the right size. This can be anywhere from a small pin, such as 0.5″, to a large 4″ pin.

The soft enamel metal plating process, such as with gold or nickel, has to happen before the enamel gets filled. Because of this, only some of the metal finishes that you may like can actually be done with soft enamel.

For a pin to become plated with a colorful metal, such as black or another custom color, you can only use soft enamel. The enamel gets added in after the plating process to the recessed areas.

When finished and the enamel is dry, you may notice that the enamel has a soft and bumpy feel to it. If you would like, epoxy resin can coat the soft enamel if desired. This helps to flatten the enamel a little more and also give it more protection.

How to Make Hard Enamel Pins

These types of pins are more durable and sturdy than soft enamel pins. A lot of people will choose this pin instead because it has a very clean look.

Hard enamel pins become filled with the color enamel after the image is stamped in and cut out. Each color is cured in the oven one at a time, which can add to the expense of this pin because it takes a lot more time.

The pin is then polished down to be smooth and flat with the metal die lines. Because the grinding process is crucial, not all metal finishes work with the hard enamel pins. Gold or silver metal plating are some common options that you may use with a hard enamel pin.

After the colors are added and the pin has been polished, it is electroplated and polished one more time. This completes the pin.

The polishing process is done multiple times and it makes it a little harder to get specific detail in hard enamel, such as thin lines or small engravings.

Hard vs. Soft Enamel Pins: Which is Better?

The truth is that most designs that you may want, whether it is an image or a drawing, can likely be done with either option. A big part of the decision will come from your own preference on which you like better.

The way that both of these types of pins look are way different from each other. Hard enamel is much more refined and smooth while soft enamel is a little more quirky and unique. Another difference is that soft enamel can really get all of those minute details onto the pin while hard enamel is going to look a little bit more specific each time.

A big part of the decision may be the price. Soft enamel is notoriously cheaper than hard enamel because it does not involve such an intense process to make. Hard enamel pins have to be polished and cured several times to achieve their look.

You may decide that one type is better for certain occasions while the other type is more suitable for other occasions. For example, military lapel pins can be made from hard enamel because it may look more professional and classic.

The great news is that you can easily make custom lapel pins that work with either soft enamel or hard enamel. If you have an event coming up or just want to make some pins for fun, you may want to experiment with both options to see which you like better.

One of the great things about being able to make these types of pins is that you can be creative! The sky is the limit and you can make pins that showcase exactly what you were hoping for.

Choosing the Best Lapel Pin for You

When you are deciding between soft enamel pins and hard enamel pins, it comes down to what you like the best and what you plan to do with the pin.

Remember that hard enamel pins are more durable, but they also cost a little more to make. A soft enamel pin is a little less scratch-resistant, but it can have a unique look about it that is hard to find elsewhere.

If you want to get some information about our lapel pins and how you can order them, check out our website to learn more. We have plenty of options to choose from!

5 Tips for Designing a Custom Medal for Your Event

Thinking about utilizing a custom medal for your next event? Check out these tips to help you design one that your recipients will love!

Everyone loves getting trophies and medals, right? Getting a physical reminder of an event you took part in is a great feeling. But sometimes designing those prizes can seem complicated. How do you make your medals stand out? Is a really unusual design too much? Maybe keeping it traditional is better for your event. Trying to design a custom medal that will make your event memorable shouldn’t be that complicated though!

Here are 5 tips we think may help you put that final touch on that every single one of your recipients will love.

1. Know Who Your Audience Is

The most important tip on designing a custom medal is knowing who your recipients are. Is this event raising money for a particular charity? Maybe it’s for an annual sporting event.

Big events draw a lot of people. You will want to choose a design that is common to all of them. And will remind them of or your organization.

2. Focus On Your Community

Since a lot of different people will be involved in your event, focusing on your community will help you narrow down your custom medal’s design.

What brings you all together? Finding the relevant, common interest for your community is going to be a great feature in your medal.

You want your event to be remembered. But you also want your home to be remembered as well.

The 2018 Winter Olympics did this. Their medals unusual designs were meant to resemble the trees found in Korea.

These medals called to mind Korean traditions and values. As well as Olympic traditions as well. This design was simple. But it is one that will be remembered for a long time.

3. A Little Nostalgia Goes a Long Way

A custom medal is a great way to reminisce about your event. A little bit of nostalgia will help make your event great.

One way to do this is to incorporate bright colors into your designs. These kinds of designs could call to mind childhood talent shows. Or maybe a Little League baseball game.

Or maybe call to mind the classic military challenge coins in your medals. These designs are timeless and traditional.

A fun and important event deserves to be remembered.

And your recipients will love a medal that helps them remember that fun time.

4. Modernize Your Custom Medal Design

On the flip side of traditional, are the more modern style medals many organizations love.

Unusual medal colors, cutouts and brightly colored ribbons can help modernize your custom medal. Paying attention to trends in design and color choices may help you create a truly unusual and memorable medal.

5. Keep Your Ribbons Sturdy

When designing your medals make sure you do not skimp on your ribbons. Having a sturdy ribbon will ensure your medals last for a long time.

Ribbons don’t have to be boring either. Choosing a color to match your medal is a great way to incorporate a timeless and fun look into your design.

Choose the Right Medal for Your Event

Medal designs can be timeless and unusual. They should bring to mind your event. And your community in one glance.

With our help, we will help you design a medal every single one of your recipients will remember and love for years to come.

Contact us for information on pricing and the order process.

Top 5 Benefits of Using Custom Medals

Are you in the planning stages of an event and want to make it special with custom medals for participants? Here are the top 5 benefits of using custom medals.

Whether you’re planning an event for the public or looking to reward employees, there’s always the problem of what to offer.  Should you award cash, plaques, or certificates? Should you limit it to event winners, high performers, or should everyone get something?  Custom medals provide you with a solution to most of these problems. Even better, they offer many other benefits.  Let’s jump in and take a closer look at those benefits.

Custom Medals Raise Your Profile

At some point, you probably participated in or even won an event that got little or no coverage. Everyday people and the media love a bit of spectacle.

Sure, watching someone cross a finish line or eat 7 pies is exciting, but it’s over in a flash. Getting custom medals lets you do an awards ceremony. That’s the kind of thing media outlets like to cover.  It gives them an opportunity to capture footage of the winners getting the medals. That improves the chances of the event getting into the public eye.

Creates a Sense of Value

Just as viewers like spectacle, participants like getting something physical to take home with them. It creates a psychological value to participating and winning.  For example, you can make larger, custom medals for the winners. You can do a larger run of smaller participation medals for everyone else.  It encourages participation by offering value to everyone.

Brand Building

Awarding medals offers an opportunity for brand building.  Let’s say fun is one of your brand values. Let your medals reflect that attitude.  The first place medal might say, Supreme Champion, or feature a big gold star. You might put a big thumbs up on the second place medal. Third place might get a hand making the OK symbol.  The mild silliness of the medals becomes another reinforcement of the brand’s commitment to fun.

Improve Employee Engagement

Businesses often struggle with employee engagement. This isn’t helped by the tradition of annual reviews. Employees crave recognition at the time they perform well.  The military handles this by handing out challenge coins for accomplishments. Don’t offer feedback months after the fact.  Adopt challenge coins or custom medals as a way to reward employees at the time.  They’ll feel acknowledged, which encourages better engagement.

Foster Goodwill

Another stumbling block in regards to employee engagement and happiness is family goodwill. Spouses, children and even parents often pay a price when employees stay late.  Use family events to acknowledge that sacrifice. For example, give spouses or children medals of their own. It fosters goodwill by showing you realize employees live much of their lives beyond the business.

Parting Thoughts

Custom medals offer many benefits for events and businesses.  They help solidify your brand and raise your profile.  They create a sense of value for event participants.  They also offer a way to foster goodwill and improve employee engagement.

Metal Promo specializes in customized metal products, such as medals, pins and challenge coins. To learn more about our offerings or to place an order, contact us today.