How to Design a Lapel Pin

Designing a lapel pin for your own needs and uses can be a very exciting project. Many people have a general idea of what they want their lapel pin for (fundraiser, social gathering, business meeting, conference or trade show) but they’re not exactly sure what they want the lapel pins to look like, or how to begin designing one for that matter.

If you don’t have the time or creative liberty to design your own lapel pin, don’t worry; many custom pin manufactures will actually design your pin for you (most of the time free of charge with an order). If you’re like me and like to have control over things, you prefer to design, or at least begin the design, of your lapel pins yourself.

Ok, let’s begin, shall we?

Assuming you already have a purpose for a lapel pin, we’ll begin by identifying key points in the design of your lapel pin. Let’s begin by determining the colors you’ll use. For a company/corporate or logo lapel pin, most of the time you’re going to want to stick to your company’s color scheme. If you can, make sure to look up the corresponding Pantone colors so that you can provide these to the design company. You’ll also want to choose your metal plating in this phase. Some options include 14K gold, Silver or Brass depending on your personal preference.

After your colors are selected, begin to outline a sketch of the composition of your pin design. Will the lapel pin be a circle, or, a square perhaps? Maybe you want your lapel pin shaped like your logo with no solid background – that’s entirely possible!

Figure out if you want to include other elements aside from just your corporate logo. Maybe a slogan or byline and something to signify your company’s direction or goals. A visual symbol that tells people what you’re about, or something that communicates a theme for an event or tradeshow. For example say your company is holding a conference in Las Vegas, maybe displaying the well-known “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign on your pin design would be an idea. Maybe an image of a full-house hand of cards, or a slot machine. Something that communicates your ideal or goals. Remember, lapel pins are a very powerful communication device, and even though they’re small they can speak your company’s ideals to people just walking by you who see the pin on your tie, shirt collar or lapel.

Creative Ideas to Communicate Your Company Message

Sometimes a simple logo pin will suffice, but what about if you want to get across a message without including a bunch of small wording on your pins that nobody will be able to read?

Time to be creative!

Let’s say your company builds boats. You have a logo and you know your company’s colors. You know you want to include your logo (maybe the logo has an image of a boat, maybe it does). This is the perfect way to show off your company’s image. Your lapel pin would ideally consist of your corporate logo, along with an image of an attractive boat that your company sells or makes. Possibly in the water, with the sun setting or rising in the background, perhaps some cat-tails or other aquatic vegetation at the edges of the design to show some detail. What about adding some seagulls in the horizon flying about? Think pale blue skies and deep blue water with wave detail etched in 14K gold. See where I’m going with this? Open your mind’s eye and let your creative imagination go to work.

The Office Supply Warehouse

So your company does something exciting… It sells office supplies. Ok, OK so it’s not that exciting, but that doesn’t mean the lapel pin you design to represent your company can’t make your company look exciting. You’ve included your logo, but your colors are kind of stale (maybe a bit boring?) and you need to spruce things up. What about adding an image of a stack of papers curling up at one end almost forming a C like they’re being blown in the wind from a desk top. Maybe a pen or pencil drawing out your company’s slogan. Oh! What about a stamp stamping on your company logo or the shape of the pin is actually a ring-bound binder and your logo is on the first sheet of paper? Maybe the theme could be a thumbtack stuck through a sticky note and your logo is displayed on the note with your slogan in a hand-written looking font.

Let’s Break it Down

Below I’ve listed the most important aspects to consider when designing your own lapel pins. If you have anything you’d like to add to the list, please let me know and we’ll get it put up here.

Colors (be consistent with your company’s colors or corporate branding guidelines)

Shape – Do you prefer a circular shape or square? Even in the shape of your logo.

Slogan or byline – What do you want to say to your potential customers?

Creative images – Think of ways you can visually communicate your company’s message without going overboard.

Plating (14K gold, Silver, Brass, Copper, etc)

Size (not too big for a lapel pin now, ya here?) About 3/4″ to 1″ seems to be the most widely accepted. Nobody wants to wear a dinner plate.

Type (Hard Enamel, Soft Enamel, Die Cast, etc)

So you’ve learned a little bit about designing your own lapel pin. Hopefully I’ve been able to lead you on the right path and maybe even save you a few bucks in design charges.

Designing your own pins is a great feeling and is rewarded when you hold the actual pin in your hand that you (yes YOU) designed and can be proud to wear.

The possibilities are near endless if you just put your creative mind into gear. Next time your company needs to customize lapel pins, try to take on the task yourself. There’s a little pride that comes with knowing that you designed your company’s pins, and people around the office will be giving you high-fives.