10 Things to Know When Designing and Ordering Challenge Coins

Posted by Signature Coins | Monday April 29th, 2019 | Topic: Customers

Maybe you’ve never heard of a challenge coin, and it’s your first time ordering one. Maybe you have a full rack of challenge coins at home and you order a new set annually for your organization. Whichever is the case, the options can be daunting, and it can be hard to know where to start. To ease the process, here are 10 helpful things to know about designing and ordering your next set of challenge coins.

1) It doesn’t need to be coin-shaped

While challenge coins have historically been coin-shaped (they are coins after all), it’s not a requirement. Challenge coins come in all shapes and sizes. We can create any design in any shape requested, whether it’s a ninja star, flag, plane, spaceship, mascot or stylized caduceus with a 3D spine and skull.


2) Spell and detail check

Spot checking your information at the beginning of the design process can go a long way towards avoiding a headache down the line. We do our best to get all the details right, and we perform multiple checks during production, but you know your name and rank better than we do!


3) Adding someone’s face? Get it offset on a 2D coin

If you want to exactly recreate someone’s likeness, the only way to do that is with a picture. We can incorporate an offset print into most coin designs, or can make a face into a 2D design in a more stylized form. We always recommend against making a 3D face on a challenge coin.


4) 3D takes coins to the next level, literally

If you want your coin, or a particular element, to stand out and pop off the face of the coin, 3D is the answer. We can add depth and detail to a 3D coin that brings your design to life and gives it texture.


5) Fifty coins are our minimum order, but not the best deal

There are fixed setup and production costs inherent in creating every run of coins. These costs can be spread out over larger quantity orders and bigger orders can actually speed up production times if you order at least 300 coins. You also get a FREE MOLD at this quantity and over. We can offer substantially lower unit price costs for orders of 100+, and highly recommend ordering 100 coins over 50, because there’s only a 10-15% difference in cost for double the coins.


6) We offer unlimited FREE revisions

Maybe you change your mind, want an extra detail, or you don’t like how a design has come out after seeing the first proof. No problem! Our artists and designers can revise and make changes based on your feedback and send it back for review free of charge as often as it takes to make it perfect. Whether it’s a small adjustment here or a complete redesign, we’re here and eager to help.


7) No design? No problem

We have a team of professional artists and designers to help you. If you have no design in mind, we work with you to interview, research and otherwise help you fully conceptualize the perfect design. We can start with anything from written descriptions to napkin drawings. Our artists and designers take into account any special emblems, symbols, colors or major identifying factors important to you.


8) Epoxy is no longer necessary

Epoxy was important in the early days of coin making to prevent rust and paint from falling out, but it’s more of a liability than a benefit these days. Epoxy can scratch and yellow over time and make the details underneath hard to see. Our coins aren’t printed; they’re stamped out of brass (die-struck) allowing you to run your finger across the surface of the coin and feel the levels. Choosing quality coins gives your ensures you get a custom-machined piece of metal, not a sticker. 


9) Get a coin at least 1.75” in size

Bigger isn’t always better, but your design can lose out on a lot of detail with a smaller coin. A coin 1.50” is barely bigger than a quarter, and you could lose out on many of the fine details you’ve worked into a design. 2.00” is our most popular size. A difference in 0.50” diameter from 1.50” to 2.00” doesn’t seem big, but it’s a whopping 77% difference in surface area. 


10) Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute. If you do though, we can help

Shipping is free to the Continental US, and we can ship via the fastest available service at no charge using UPS or FedEx Next Day Air. If you have an event, we can almost certainly hit the date, but sometimes planes break down or there are weather delays, so we always like a buffer of a day or two if possible.