Enamel Pins vs. Lapel Pins: Any Difference?

October 16, 2023

Lapel pins are a fun and interesting way of relaying a particular message. It's a great way of showing off your personality in a small and compact way. But is there any difference between enamel pins and lapel pins? Well, let's find out.

Enamel pins are becoming a huge trend in various facets of today's world. From business to fashion and design to art and culture, enamel pins are not only versatile but can be a robust and subtle way of attaining attention. Do you want to show off your personality or say something in a subtle and captivating manner? Are you looking to advertise an event or a business? Do you want to offer a gift to a friend or award a colleague for achieving a target? Well, enamel pins will enable you to get noticed the way you want. Whether you own a business and want to advertise it or looking to promote and sell your, enamel pins will do the trick. But is there any difference between enamel pins and lapel pins?

Apart from the difference in names, there's no main difference between enamel pins and lapel pins. If anything, lapel pins and enamel pins are more of the same thing. So whether you call them enamel pins or lapel pins, they are an imaginative way of relaying different messages. While others collect them, you can wear your lapel pin to show off your personality, to relay a particular message, and to add a decorative touch to your fashion and overall look.

Let's highlight some important factors revolving around enamel pins.    

Table of Contents

What is an Enamel Pin?

Also known as a lapel pin, an enamel pin is a small pin worn on the lapel of a jacket or a coat. Although it serves no real purpose when worn, it can add a touch of classy decoration to an outfit and relay a particular message. Enamel pins come in different sizes, shapes, and styles.

How to Use an Enamel Pin

Here are some common ways to use lapel pins.

Recognizing and Rewarding Achievement and Success

Lapel pins are an excellent way to recognize achievement and success that an employee has attained. They can also be great for rewarding individuals for performing excellently in an event or a contest. Awarding lapel pins to individuals who have won a contest and is a great way of making the event or competition more memorable.

Inform and Provide Recognition

Wearing an enamel pin is a nice way to easily distinguish a member of a certain organization, community, or company. It's a unique way of informing others about the type of work that you do and the type of organization that you belong to.

Corporate Identity

Enamel pins look excellent when worn by employees of a particular organization. They're a great way of identifying the employees and also promote the brand. You can use lapel pins to designate achievement and membership.

Collectibles and Unique Gifts

Enamel pins can be great gifts and unique collectibles. You can use them as a token of appreciation to someone special. You can also make it your hobby to collect enamel pins. Some people even make it their job to collect and trade enamel pins. For instance, the demand for enamel pins that are designed as cartoon characters and themes such as Betty Boop, Disney, and Hard Rock Café have surged in recent years leading to the creation of pin trading expos.

Different Types of Lapel Pins/Enamel Pins

Here are the different types of lapel pins.


These are real flowers that sit in the buttonhole and are generally worn during weddings and proms.

Floral Lapel Pins

They look like flowers but are made of materials such as wool, satin, and polyester. These are among the most popular lapel pins and can be in the form of stick pins or normal lapel pins.

Stick Pins

These lapel pins are long, thin, and made of metals. The lapel sits at the top of the metallic pin while the needle and the cap are placed at the bottom of the pin.

Mini Pins

These are the real enamel pins as they're made of metals. They're more refined than the above-mentioned types of lapel pins. Whether it's a country's flag or just a simple decorative pin, these types of enamel pins are symbolic and have great significance.

Hard Enamel Pins vs. Soft Enamel Pins

When looking to design or buy lapel pins, it's important to know the difference between a soft and hard enamel pin. The main difference between soft and hard enamel pins generally revolves around how the pins are finished in terms of paint and not how they're made.

A hard enamel pin has its surfaces filled with paint to ensure that it's smooth while a soft enamel pin isn't filled to the level with paint.

Soft Enamel Pins

Soft enamel pins are the most common types of lapel pins as a thin coat of paint is used within the imprinted metal. It's easy to tell a soft enamel pin by the way paint creases up against the metal.

Soft enamel pins are simple to design and are quite affordable. It's great if you're looking for an enamel pin that has higher margins. Soft enamels are substantially cheaper than hard enamel pins and can be dyed with any color. The finer details of soft enamel pins are rendered slightly better and are a good option if you want a glittery pin.

Hard Enamel Pins

These types of pins are generally classy and look more professional than soft enamel pins, though they can be more expensive. Even though the process of designing and creating hard and soft enamel pins is the same, the difference comes with the type of finish. Hard enamel pins are generally finished with a buffed sheen that levels both the paint and the metal to create a flat and smooth finish. In other words, you can easily tell a hard enamel pin by its flat, smooth, and even surface.

Many people equate the leveled surface of hard enamel pins with quality and are of jewelry quality. Hard enamel pins are great if you want a transparent pin but may cost you about 40% more. The paint may take quite some time to dry but will be of great quality than soft enamel pins.

A Hard enamel pin can be a great choice if you want a lapel pin with a "wow" factor. You'll avoid the perception of having a "cheap" pin.

Other Styles of Lapel Pins

While soft and hard lapel pins are the most common enamel pin styles, other styles of enamel pins include:

Cloisonne; Enamel Pins - An ancient technique for decorating metalwork objects. They have a jewelry-like appearance and are a great choice if you want an enamel pin that has separated colors.

Die Struck Enamel Pins - This is the classic design of decorating metalwork designs, especially if you do not want to use color.

Offset Printed Enamel Pin - This can be an excellent choice if you want a lapel pin with a wide range of details and colors. It gives you maximum flexibility without distorting or altering your pin's design.

3D Cast Enamel Pin - This can offer a higher level of detail and depth than the standard 2D. It's a great style if you want a pin with multiple surface levels and angles.

Laser Screen Lapel Pins - This is an economical option of the Cloisonne; lapel pin. They're unique and can be designed using a photo from your camera.

Tips To Ensure Your Lapel Pin is Perfect

While there are various designs to choose from when creating a perfect lapel pin, you can also come up with a design that suits your style and preferences. The most important thing to do is to use simple fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman when lettering. You should avoid using complex fonts as it may not come out the way you desire. They may also be a lot difficult to read. That being said, just keep it simple and it will be attractive.

You can use small details when coloring the metal but this will, of course, depend on the style of enamel pin you choose to use. Whether you choose to use the most common types of pin styles such as soft and hard enamel pins or go for other enamel pin styles such as Cloisonne, Die Struck, or Epola, there should be fine lines that separate the colors. This should act like walls where the colors are filled in.

And if you do not want to have metal lines that separate the colors, you can go with what's known as Screen Printing Process. You can also use the die struck pin style, which is technically a soft enamel pin but without the colors.

You should also choose a great color for your lapel pin! Whether it's a single-tone or two-tone lapel pin, go for a color(s) that will look great on your lapel pin. In addition to the texture of the metal, the color will give your lapel pin a superb effect.

Size also matters and you should choose an appropriate size for your lapel pin. You need a lapel pin that can be noticeable. It has to be powerful and of good size; not too small, not too big.

Bottom Line

Apart from the words, enamel and lapel pins are more of the same thing. There's no difference between the two. Instead, there are different styles of enamel pins and it's great to know what works for your enamel pin. Whatever style of enamel pin you choose, have fun when designing your enamel pin and it will certainly be worth it.

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