Enamel pins adorn the lapels of sports fans everywhere.
These iconic collectibles have boomed in popularity in recent years. However, they’ve gone hand in hand with sports for decades.
Indeed, Olympic pins have been around for 123 years! They’ve been purchased, sported and traded by avid fans and collectors around the world since 1896.
All sports teams benefit from having branded enamel pins designed and manufactured. They create a sense of solidarity among teammates and fans alike.
The best pins are a badge of honor. They provide an inconspicuous means of celebrating and supporting your team, no matter the situation.
But first, you have to design something people will be proud to wear! Want to learn how to do it?
Read on for 6 top tips for designing epic enamel pins for your sports club.
All good design work begins with a preliminary concept.
This is a basic idea of how you want your final pin to look. Think of it as a blueprint. You need to establish an initial draft of the end product.
Putting pencil to paper and sketching out your ideas is the best way to do it.
Don’t try and be perfect from the get-go! All great design goes through iterations. Your first sketches will inevitably be edited over time. First, though, you need to brainstorm a selection of different options and pick the best of them.
Look for inspiration anywhere.
Of course, you have a distinct advantage if your sports team already has a logo. You can simply take that logo (or elements of it) and transform it into a pin design.
Alternatively, think about the name, mascot and ‘personality’ of the team. For example, are you known as ‘the ravens’, ‘the lions’, or ‘the wolves’, etc? Then work those animals into the design.
Okay, you’ve settled on a design that you and your teammates like.
It’s time to look at it with a critical eye.
Designing a lapel pin demands a focus on practicality as well. Unlike a mere logo, this design will be made into a physical product for people to wear. Through constraints of the manufacturing process, you can’t necessarily do everything you want!
Gaps between parts of the drawing mean holes need cutting, patterns demand complex processes, and so on.
That extra detail may look awesome in your drawing. But it might translate to a messy final product.
Equally, as a rule of thumb, simpler designs are cheaper designs. More work for the manufacturer means more money for you to pay them.
Simplify your design by removing unnecessary detail and avoiding complex shapes and styles.
The size of your enamel pin is another key consideration.
Again, it has practical and aesthetic implications.
Think about the shape and size of your design. Most pins are approximately 1 to 1.5 inches in length. However, you find pins as small as 0.5 inches and as large as 2 inches.
Smaller pins may be easier to sport and display. However, they also reduce the level of detail you can get away with. Likewise, they can be fiddly and easier to lose.
Larger pins can be cumbersome and sit awkwardly on the lapel, bag, display board, and so on. Multiple pin posts may be required on the back to help anchor it.
Draw out scale versions of your pin design in different sizes. This will give you a better idea of how the final product will look, fit and feel.
Your sketch will need transferring to digital form.
A digital copy is helpful in multiple ways. First and foremost, pin manufacturers normally require it! Now, we always send customers a digital copy, prior to manufacture, for them to sign off.
However, not all manufacturers do - some offer to create a digital file for you, but it’s likely to come at a cost. Some people opt to do it themselves as a result.
‘Vector files’ of your design will support the manufacturing process. This means the size of the design can be altered on-screen without impacting its quality.
Many different pieces of design software are available to carry out the task. Photoshop, of course, is the most common and comprehensive. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive! Adobe Illustrator is another example.
Thankfully, there are free-to-use options too. GIMP and Inkscape are both free to download, with a bit of practice, totally fit for purpose. This guide should help you find the best program for you.
This penultimate step has two major implications:
Price and aesthetics.
It’s time to decide the craft/finish of your enamel pin.
Generally speaking, there are two primary options to decide between: soft and hard enamel. The one you choose will affect the cost and appearance of your pin.
Soft enamel is cheaper. However, it’s also less durable in nature, which makes pins susceptible to scratches in the absence of an epoxy coating.
This enamel has a concave appearance, where metal lines rise above the enamel. It’s less smooth to touch.
Hard enamel is your premium product! You pay more for what’s a high-quality, long-lasting and durable material. The finish is hard, flat, smooth to touch, and polished in nature.
The best choice for you will depend on your budget.
The back for your enamel pin is just as important as the front.
You need to decide how your pin will actually function! There are all sorts of backings to choose between. As you might expect, factors of price, durability, and style come into play again.
Everything from a classic safety pin design to a butterfly clutch and basic stick pin is possible.
It depends entirely on your wants and needs. This post on how to wear a lapel pin might help you choose.
Finally, all that’s left to do is send your design to a pin manufacturer, like us, to bring your design to fruition!
There you have it: 6 top tips for designing a distinctive enamel pin for your sports team.
Recent years have seen an explosion in pin popularity. However, enamel pins have been enjoyed by sports teams and fans for decades.
They’re the perfect way to show support and create a sense of togetherness around the team.
Hopefully, this post has provided the information you need to design the best pin possible.
Want to make your pin idea a reality? Click here to get a free quote for its manufacture.