From Westeros to Tatooine, Pop Culture Challenge Coins Span the Galaxy

Posted by Patrick Moyer | Friday April 12th, 2019 | Topic: Products

Personal Coins With Public Appeal

The whole point of making a set of challenge coins is to have something special that represents the character and history of your team, and sometimes sneaking in a few nods to your favorite pop culture icons is the best way to make the perfect design. Challenge Coins with pop culture references have a wide appeal because they are so relatable and recognizable outside of your team while still maintaining a sense of personality and individual spirit. 

Here at Signature Coins, our job is the help you create something personal, meaningful and, most of all, original. This means that our art team makes every design from scratch based on your ideas and inspirations alone. While we cannot make coins that infringe on copyrighted materials, a lot of the teams we work with want to find ways of honoring their favorite movies, shows and classic characters wherever they can. Take a look at some of our favorite pop culture designs and let us know what you think!

Epic Game of Thrones Challenge Coins


With the final season of Games of Thrones set to begin any day now, we thought the best way to celebrate in our own office was to share a few of our favorite coins that incorporate a special nod to the series. 

The scales on the back of the Mother of Dragons coin have a life-like, reptilian shimmer thanks to the black translucent paint added over the high polish gold plating. The coin was designed for an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in Seattle that is made up of the Seattle Police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Coast Guard, and several other departments. Just like in Game of Thrones, there is a constant struggle between the powers that be (but in this case, it’s a lot more friendly).


This second Game of Thrones challenge coin is actually a Star Wars Challenge Coin. It sounds confusing, but almost all of our 501st Star Wars coins mash up a few different aspects of pop culture in one design. Instead of the House Banners of Stark, Targaryen, Lannister and other great houses of Westeros, these house flags each represent a different garrison in the 501st Legion.


Star Wars Challenge Coins for Vader’s Fist


You can’t talk about pop culture without talking about Star Wars. The 501st, also known as Vader’s Fist, is a worldwide charity organization with the mission of giving back to the community and bringing joy and excitement to people in need. 501st Challenge Coins like these are used to raise money for specific charities, to raise awareness of important causes and to promote support for the 501st Legion. The entire, worldwide charity has written consent from Lucasfilm to use Star Wars characters and locations in their promotional efforts, and the only way to get one of these awesome coins is through the 501st themselves.

Garrisons all over the world come to us looking for unique designs themed around their different events and projects, making for some of the most memorable designs we have ever had the opportunity to work on. It gets really fun when the coins incorporate multiple pop culture references like the Game of Thrones inspired Star Wars coin from earlier. Some other characters we have worked into our Star Wars challenge coins include Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Mary Poppins just to name a few.

Different Takes on a Japanese Icon


With the release of Godzilla: King of Monsters just around the corner, we thought it would be the perfect time to show off a couple of different takes on the iconic character. This first coin shows Godzilla wading through the famous Great Wave Off Kanagawa, pulling a submarine out of the surf. The design was created for the Commander, Submarine Force, 7th Fleet (CTF-74) of the United States Navy stationed in Japan. If you understand Japanese, you will probably get a laugh out of what the sailors have to say about being pulled from the ocean.


This custom shape coin shows a different side to Godzilla than most other depictions we have made. The coin was christened The Hurt Lizard in reference to the movie The Hurt Locker and was created for the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Suicide Prevention Hotline. Usually, Godzilla is associated with power, destruction and strength, but in this design, he is shown in a much different light with crutches and a cast on his leg. The idea was to remind people that soldiers may look indestructible, but even the strongest people need help sometimes.

Both of these coins show how different a design can be even when based on the same pop culture reference. While familiar images and characters help people outside of the group understand your design, they still offer plenty of room to add your own personality.

Showing Off a Sense of Humor with South Park Coins


These two designs show how pop culture finds its way into all walks of life. They are both personal takes on famous South Park internet memes, but they were created for completely different teams. 

The Cartman coin was made for soldiers in Qatar while the second coin was made for a group of 501st Legion volunteers that collect coins. While these two groups rarely interact, each can appreciate the other’s design thanks to a shared sense of humor. It just goes to show that pop culture challenge coins are perfect for representing an inside joke, while still allowing anyone to have a laugh with you.

Military units and charity organizations are not the only ones making custom coins based on popular characters from TV and film. Movie companies will sometimes offer special coins to the cast and crew involved with specific projects or use them to promote the release of a new film. In any case, referencing well-known characters is a great way to make a memorable design.


Creating Your Own Pop Culture Challenge Coins


Adding pop culture references to your challenge coins makes the designs more relatable and recognizable for everyone, not just the people on your team. It can help you tell an inside joke by referencing popular internet memes like the South Park coins, or it can be used to raise awareness and support for a certain cause like the grenade-shaped Godzilla coin or any number of the custom Star Wars coins we have created for the 501st.

The most important thing to remember when starting on your own design is that we can only reference pop culture. There is a fine line between referencing and infringing on someone else’s intellectual property. If you have an idea you think would be perfect but are not sure if it will work, just give us a call. Our friendly sales team will help you create something unique and original with just the right amount of pop culture mixed in to make the perfect design. In the meantime, let us know what you think of the pop culture challenge coins we have made so far!

Patrick Moyer Blog Author

Patrick Moyer

Patrick Moyer studied communications, professional and persuasive writing and marketing at the University of Central Florida. He is a full-time copywriter for Signature Promotional Group and spends all of his free time working on his next novel. Books, movies and late night brainstorming sessions around the kitchen table are his favorite pastimes, and his love of stories has him searching for the message hidden behind every custom design that comes through the office. If you think your Signature order deserves to be featured in a blog, give us a call or contact us explaining why at https://signaturecoins.com/contact