Things To Consider When Designing a Custom Coin

October 16, 2023

So, you have decided you’re ready to design your own custom coins. This is a very exciting time and possibly even a little stressful if you have never created a coin before.

We will be speaking about the purpose of your coin, the coin size and available space, metal finish and reviewing your custom coin design at actual size prior to production. If you apply the following tips you should have no problem designing a coin you will be proud to share with the world.

Table of Contents

The purpose of your coin

Get a feel for who it is you’re designing this coin for and why your custom coin design should be significant. Why are you making this coin? Is it recognizing a specific act or service? Is the coin a symbol of pride and solidarity? All custom coins are designed with purpose, even if it's as simple as honoring a single deed, paying your respects, or just to be sold to raise money for a cause. You are designing a symbol and symbols have a purpose. 

Metal finish or plating options

In my opinion metal finish is one of the most critical design choices. Plating is something you have absolute control over and selecting the correct plating option can make all the difference to not only the finished product but help expedite the manufacturing process. You should always select a plating option that is in alignment with your coin design or to put it another way, a metal finish that contributes to your overall challenge coin design.

For example, if you have a lot of yellow in your coin design then perhaps a shiny, antique or matte gold metal finish is your best option. Some custom coin vendors charge upgrade costs for certain metal finishes. In an effort to never stymie creativity and to make our coins as affordable as possible, we never charge upgrade fees for specific metal finishes. All our metal finishes are the same price! We have many finishes to choose from, such as: gold, silver, copper, dye metal colors, and black nickel all with antique finishes for even more custom looks.


We often hear people talk about location in real estate, location, location, location. I believe a similar mantra for custom coin design exists and its space, space, space. As great of a medium as customized coins are, they are not the most spacious promotional product available, and how much space you have will be determined by your desired coin size, and both the number and detail of design elements. The phrase, less is more is certainly applicable to coin designs and give a clean, polished look.

Too often people decide on coin size while remaining fluid with their design. This can lead to issues specifically when it comes to font sizes and any type overall. You may view a coin design on a 28-inch monitor and think what is this designer talking about when he says something is too small to paint or that type is going to be too small to read. Objectively reviewing your coin design at actual size is not only highly encouraged but absolutely crucial. If you have a ruler, grab it and hold it up to your monitor and scale the image of your design to the actual size. Believe me when I say this will save you any headaches or surprises when your custom coins arrive.

Does my design have too many paint colors?

Frequently people fall in love with the idea of enamel paint color. Enamel paint color is great but using too many colors may not only add cost but it will very likely add to the overall production time. Every step in the manufacturing process takes time and coloring is a big contributor to production time. Don’t look at enamel paint color as the only color you get. You also have the color of raised and recessed metal. Don’t be afraid to use it to its fullest potential.

Painted areas are NOT raised. Painted areas are recessed and filled with paint. A lot of people seem to be under the impression that painted areas can in fact be raised but that is not true! Epoxy may contribute to this myth but rest assured, painted areas are NOT raised!

We can produce any enamel paint color using the Pantone Matching System solid coated chart (PMS c) that can be found online. This chart will give you a vast color selection that can be used to make your design color pop and match your branding or creative visions.

Everything I have said here is solely about trying to deliver the best quality product in a reasonable timeframe. I don’t say these things in an attempt to extract more money from your pocket or disparage your ideas. If we say something is too small or we don’t think it will render well it’s because we care about you and want you to be happy with the final product, after all we are the pros at PinProsPlus. We have seen a lot of designs over the years. I don’t want to see anyone end up with a coin they’re not as happy with as they could have been had they applied this information.

In the end it’s your design, your coin and your ideas. All we can do is try and steer you in a good direction. If you choose to go against good information and honest recommendations then that’s entirely up to you. That’s the beauty of free will and freedom of choice.

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