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We’ve all seen them and nearly all of us have worn one at one time or another: The colorful lapel pins that show our support for a team, express our dedication to a cause, announce that we have voted, and even that we can cross a security line.Astronauts and Olympic athletes trade them with people from other countries. CEOs hand them out to employees who’ve gone above and beyond. Other companies reward years of service by dedicated workers. Politicians around the world wear one to show loyalty to their nation.
Why are pins so popular and used so widely in so many different ways?
It’s not simply that they can be made in ‘most any shape, accommodate nearly any design and are inexpensive to buy and use. Rather it’s that wearing one seems to be coded in our DNA because, in one way or another, they have been a part of civilization since the days of the Egyptian pharaohs. In fact, the earliest recorded use of a sort-of lapel pin dates back to 1800 BC when craftsmen invented inlaying and enameling. The Greeks refined the process some 600 years later when they began using colorful powdered glass to fill in the spaces between wires in filigreed designs.So decorative lapel pins have been with us for roughly three thousand years.
Each year, New Mexico hosts the International Balloon Fiesta where more than 500 hot air balloons floats through the Southwestern sky. It’s a remarkable sight unmatched anywhere in the world as anyone who has seen it or – even better – ridden in one during the event can attest.A few years ago, I got to ride in one of the balloons and, to commemorate my first ascent, received a pin from the pilot after we touched down.Likewise, when I went on a week-long salmon fishing expedition in Alaska I was given a pin commemorating the remarkable seven days by our guide. It means a lot to me and every time I wear it I remember the incredible experience.There are even international competitions between school kids called Destination Imagination and Odyssey of the Mind where children trade pins that they design with their counterparts from all over the world. It helps youngsters learn about geography and other cultures. I know several adults who still have the pins they received as grade schoolers because they’re a vivid reminder of the first time they had direct contact with people from other lands.
I have an acquaintance who grew up in Minnesota and told me his first experience with a pin was just before he became a teen. His family’s neighbor for a while was Hubert Humphrey, at the time Lyndon Johnson’s vice president.Whenever Humphrey and his family were coming home from Washington, the Secret Service would go to each house on the road to give family members a tiny, tri-colored pin to wear. It indicated to police and agents guarding the vice president that they were allowed to enter and leave the “security bubble” around the vice president’s summer residence.On the day Richard Nixon was sworn in as president after narrowly defeating Humphrey in the 1968 election, agents came around to collect the pins. My friend wanted to keep his as a souvenir. But the agent at the front door told an unhappy boy as he handed his over, “Son, these are for presidential security, not keepsakes.”
Beyond the sentimental value of a pin, they provide a positive ROI to public and private organizations that use them. Grade and high schools as well as colleges and universities use them as a low-cost but effective and profitable fund-raisers for everything from marching bands to athletic teams and scholarship activities.Savvy organizations that partner with companies who sponsor their event or activity use pins to showcase the corporation’s financial contribution. For example, the Kentucky Derby Foundation partners with businesses around Louisville and the state to commemorate the annual running of what may be the most-famous horse race in the world. Pins are provided to each sponsor to hand out to customers or clients, suppliers and employees.But it’s not just high-ticket corporate donors who see the value of using pins. Businesses of all sizes find that they boost morale of employees and foster a sense of teamwork and togetherness. Whether the pin is to recognize someone’s length of service, to launch a new product or when it enters a new market, or to promote an initiative such as upgrading a creaking computer system or reinforcing plant safety.
The various uses of a pin are limited only by the imagination of the person or entity wanting to employ one. And you don’t have to be a creative genius who can draw or write anything. In fact, many of our customers start out with only a vague idea of what they want and how they’d like to use a lapel pin. Part of the value-added we provide is that we can help refine your notion and create the design, recommend the style that’d be appropriate and suggest additional ways of using the pin effectively.Clearly, a PIN has become much more than the password you use to login to your computer or access your online banking information.PinProsPlus is a supplier of a wide range of custom products that show off a company, its logo or product, employee achievement and teamwork, charities, military and first responder units, sports teams from little leagues to big leagues, and banners. We design and make custom lapel pins, hard enamel pins, custom challenge coins, custom button pin& many promotional products.