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How To Design Enamel Pins, Step By Step Guide [2019]

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What Size Should I Make My Medals?

Posted by Craig Davidiuk - 03 May, 2019

How do you create medals that look and feel like the "right" size? It all starts with your design. The amount of detail in your art usually is what drives the sizing decision. This is why it's an advantage to let your supplier of choice view the design before getting it approved by your event committee or board of directors.  We can tell you of a number of instances where a professional designer has submitted art that creates manufacturing issues and they don't turn out the way they wanted.  We love getting completed designs, but be prepared for us to suggest edits that are a result of stamping or casting limitations. 

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1) Print Out Your Art On Paper At Actual Size

The vast majority of submitted art is drawn at three times scale on a letter sized document. It's also common for designers to zoom in and out on their screens in order to see details and overlook the fact that you are zooming in on some very small details that might be illegible on your finished medal. 

Remember we are stamping the bases out of metal. It's totally different than designing a logo for a website. If you print out your pin at actual size, you'll notice issues with 

  • too much detail
  • illegible text
  • enamel areas that are too small to hold colour

 

Note that we usually make the text on medals UPPERCASE. We typically space the text out with a spacing of 80-100 to allow space for the letters. This is especially important if you are getting antique finishes. If the letters are too close together you can't read the text because the raised area isn't large enough for the buffing wheel to remove the antique. 

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2) How Much Detail Is Too Much? 

Learning to design for medals takes a long time. You have to completely reinvent how you design because you are using a base metal in your design in addition to enamel and electroplating. This video does a deep dive into how to use base metal in your designs. 

 

  • Remember, when we stamp your design in metal, we are creating raised areas and lowered areas. Utilizing base metal for art elements like motion lines, hair or outlines is crucial. Once you grasp how to do this as a designer, you are well on your way to overcoming one of the most confusing topics in medal design.
  • Designers often over compensate by having so many colours and so much detail that there isn't much room left over for the base metal. White space is really important with medals. 
  • The minimum area that can hold a colour is 2mm. We have a video and a cheat sheet that can guide you. 

 

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About The Author

Craig-Headshot-18-temp

linkedinCraig Davidiuk has been in the promotional products his entire life. His family owned and operated a pin factory until 2002 and he eventually took over the company in 2012. He also has a diploma in Media Resources from Capilano University. Today his company is one of the leading suppliers of custom pins, medals and swag in Western Canada.

He is a father of one son with his wife, Courtney. Craig enjoys skiing, mountain biking, DJing, playing saxophone and world travel.  The Davidiuk family resides in 100 Mile House, BC.