FROM AN EXPERIENCED CHALLENGE COIN DESIGNER
If there is one thing that 16 years of experience has shown us it is that there are a thousand answers to this question. I you are reading this the chances are that you have seen a few hundred different coins in your time and they vary wildly.
WHERE TO START WITH YOUR CUSTOM COIN DESIGN
The first place to start is with the purpose for the coin. Let’s start with military coins and in the next entry talk about civilian coins. If it is a military coin then ask; is it an award or is it a morale item? Is it presented or sold?
FOR PRESENTATION COINS
The key to a presentation coin is that it identifies the person or people doing the presentation. If it is a commander’s coin for example does it recognize the commander by name or by rank? A common practice with commander coins is to put the rank insignia on the coin. If the coin is purchased with official funds you will want to double check before putting a name on it. If it is a coin shared by the Commander and Sergeant Major then both ranks should be displayed and/or the wording reflect this. And key is that the coin not give the impression that it favors one or the other presenter. A term like, “PRESENTED BY THE COMMAND LEADERSHIP TEAM” works well. Then you might want to say why it is presented. “FOR EXCELLENCE” or “WELL DONE”.
FOR UNIT COINS OR MORALE COINS
What is the message you want to give? If it is a coin that all unit members can purchase then cost is a consideration but remember that the ‘cooler’ the coin is the more you will sell. As you make the design, ask yourself, “is this something that I would want to show to my friends?” And does it help to “roadmap” my career.
ONE WORD OF CHALLENGE COIN ADVICE
Avoid the kitchen sink. It may seem like a good idea to put the regimental crests for every Military Occupational Specialty in your unit but it adds little to the coin. Nobody is going to point to the tiny crest and say, “those wings are for my job”. And as soon as you do put them on your coin the military will assign you a new mess-kit repairman and someone will be left out. Likewise you may want to consider the temptation to just add one more thing. If there is one piece of advice that is critical it is this. Print out your design in actual size and see what it looks like. You don’t want it to be ‘junky’ or to have features too small to be clearly recognizable. I know that you want to remind everyone that you have jeeps and wheelbarrows in addition to the tanks in your unit and are loathe to think that the jeep driver will be left out but resist the temptation. You are an armor unit. The jeep driver is proud of that. (I know. There are no jeeps anymore. HMMWV if you prefer.)
WHO DOES THE COIN DESIGN?
With us the answer is easy. We do. And we design challenge coins for free. We can take your ideas or rough draft and give you a measured drawing in as little as a few hours and no more than a day or two. Give us a call or drop us an email. We are happy to work very hard to make your coins special.