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Optimizing Artwork for Custom Lapel Pins

Written on June 24, 2019 at 4:43 pm, by

Custom lapel pins are a unique canvas for your original artwork and designs, but working a design onto metal isn’t the same as sketching it on paper or Photoshop. Between stroke lines and a small display surface, there are physical criteria for what’s possible when turning artwork into a custom pin. Luckily, our art team at AllAboutPins works with clients every day to optimize their artwork for custom pins. With this post, let’s walk you through the basics of preparing your artwork for custom lapel pins.

Adding Stroke Lines and Outlining Your Pin Design

Our lapel pins are die-struck from a custom mold based on the original artwork with enamel paint filling the colored areas after the design is stamped into the metal. In your artwork, it’s important to outline each colored part of a design with separate stroke lines so those areas can be individually painted after the design is stamped. When color is added those stroke lines form borders that keep the color in a single area. Otherwise, the enamel paint would just flow freely into areas of your custom pin design much like the paint bucket tool in Photoshop.

Your partitioned areas shouldn’t be narrower than 0.75 pts or they’ll be too small for the color fill. Meanwhile, linework on a pin design needs to be at least 0.5 pts thick in Photoshop (this should be true in most other art programs.) It’s simply not possible for the pin molds to catch lines or details smaller than that. Starting with your stroke lines at those minimums ensures your vision is faithfully reproduced on the final pin and can save a few days of revisions before going to production.

Color and Custom Pins

Color is one of the most important details on any custom pin design so we’ve gathered up the following three most important details to know about working with color in lapel pins.

Color Your Custom Pin Designs in Pantone

AllAboutPins uses Pantone colors to paint our custom pins. And we’re diligent when it comes to finding Pantone colors matching the colors in a client’s artwork. But chances are, you’ll probably know which exact shade or hue of color best matching your original vision before we do. Instead of spending days running color swaps back and forth, picking out the exact Pantone color conversions, you want when you send your design to us will save you time better spent on deciding how you want to customize a design.

Don’t Forget About Your Custom Pin Plating

The raised areas of your pin will reflect the color and look of your custom pin plating. Decide early on which plating you want and factor in how gold, silver or black metal might change the look and atmosphere of your lapel pin design.

Simplify or Remove Gradients or Shading

You can’t add gradients or shaded effects to custom pins due to how enamel paint is poured into the outlined details of a design. If original artwork has shaded details or color gradients, your best bet is to remove the shading and replace the gradient with a solid color instead.

Limit Your Custom Pin Design to Seven Colors

Keep an eye on how many colors are in your pin design to keep production costs low and to save time on production. AllAboutPins offers up to a maximum of seven free colors in any single design and we recommend keeping your color scheme within that limit to minimize costs.

Working With Text on Custom Lapel Pins

At the popular sizes of 1” to 2”, most custom pins aren’t leaving much space for tons of text or big fonts. So it’s essential to make sure any text on a design is both minimal and legible. For most designs, the text is going to be an accompaniment to the main flair of the design and helps define what kind of atmosphere or character you’re trying to express.

Here are a few easy ways to make the text on your custom pin as legible as possible:

  • Contrast your text color with the main colors of the pin: Use dark paint to contrast a bright color scheme or bright lettering for a pin using a lot of dark colors. If you want to be creative, you can actually raise the text on your pin so it uses the natural plating of the pin instead.
  • Outline text with a distinct textbox or another design flourish: This will help naturally draw attention to the text and keep it eye-catching even if you’re designing a very detailed custom pin.
  • Keep the text short and succinct: Doing so helps maximize your pin size and make sure you can make the text as readable as possible. We recommend most pins use no more than a couple of words or a short phrase at the most.
  • Proofread all text: It’s all too easy to make a spelling error even in a post-spellcheck world. Proofreading any text you work into a pin design is an essential step to avoiding a major headache later. Not to mention, if you’re adding a name or a unique quote, you’ll know better than we do whether or not it’s spelled correctly.

At AllAboutPins our art team works every day with clients to design, proof, and revise artwork for eye-catching custom pins. With over a decade in the industry, the team knows how to adapt and optimize your vision for near any pin design from fully-rendered art to napkin sketches.

Custom Pins 101: Cardstock Backing

Written on June 3, 2019 at 3:54 pm, by

Not only does custom backing make your pin stand out more, its another creative tool for putting your brand first. From retail pins to online shops, many designers use custom cardstock to add visual impact and personal branding to their custom pins. If you’re eager to add cardstock to your next order, AllAboutPins has your back.

What is Custom Cardstock Backing?

Cardstock backing is a packaging option for custom pins where your pins come attached to a stiff paper backing. However, adding a custom backing card gives you much more than just a quick surface to hang a pin. Well-designed cardstock builds your brand and improves your pin’s visibility, all in one neat package.

With custom backing, you customize the look, shape, color, cut, and size of the cardstock to create unique looks often as imaginative and unique as the custom pins themselves.

Customizing a Pin’s Custom Cardstock Backing

All About Pins is happy to offer custom pins in just about every size and shape you could want. In fact, there are fewer design restrictions on your artwork than there is designing your pin in the first place. As a printed sheet, it’s possible to customize every part of a pin to

Cardstock Thickness

Most backings are about as rigid and thick as a business card but at your request, we can use a thicker cardstock on any custom pin order. Customers who go for a thicker backing often want bigger physical impact when a customer handles their pin or to simply make for sturdier packaging for the pin.

Cardstock Size

The most popular sizes for cardstock backing is 3 x 2.5 (the size of a business card) and 2 x 2 (size of a passport photo.) However, that’s not a hard rule, we can go ahead and make cardstock in just about every size and shape depending on your needs.

Cardstock Shape

No need to leave your custom pin’s backing as a boring rectangle. All About Pins can customize the shape of your pin backing into more whatever shape you want whether you simply want rounded corners or a completely unique shape. Custom shape cardstock makes your pins more visually interesting products, making them much more recognizable products.

Cardstock Text and Fonts

All About Pins can add whatever text or font you want on one or both sides of your cardstock backing. With no limitations on your font choice, or even making your own custom fonts, the written script of your backing is as much a part of the creative design as your initial art proof.

Adding Custom Cardstock Back With AllAboutPins

It’s easy to add custom cardstock to your pins with AllAbout Pins, simply note your interest in cardstock backing when designing your pin and any one of our associates work one to one with our clients to create a quote and add the backing design to the pin’s art proof.

Whether you’re making a small order of 50 or need cardstock backing for an order of 1000 pins, there are just a few things might need to know to get started:

  • The price of adding cardstock depends on the size, shape, color, and text of your cardstock backing. Factors such as whether you cut the cardstock into a unique shape or use full-color can
  • If ordering multiple pin designs as part of a series, you can pin multiple designs onto the same cardstock for multi-product packaging. This allows you to package your multiple orders all-in-one to be sold as a single product.
  • You can customize the thickness and type of cardstock used for your custom backing. From as thin as a business card to a stocky cardboard thickness, we can change the thickness of your backing to accommodate heavier pins and to add value to your specific order.

Upgrade Your Custom Pin

If you want our honest opinion, a cardstock backing can be a serious upgrade to nearly every type of custom pin you may want to use. For retail pins, cardstock backing makes your custom pin and your personal branding more eye-catching and presentable. Award pins can take advantage of cardstock backing to list a recipient’s achievements, projects or outstanding deeds creating a much more personalized reward. Promotional business pins can include information about your company’s services or products as a novel business card. Whether you want to

Ready to get started? Contact AllAboutPins and ask about custom cardstock at any point of your order before production begins. As one of our premium packaging options, we can show you just how much more impressive your pins can become.

Custom Pins 101: Creating a Lapel Pin Color Palette

Written on May 20, 2019 at 4:49 pm, by

More than any other design element, our artists at AllAboutPins spend much our changing color schemes and helping our clients experiment with different shades to give their custom pins the exact look they want. You don’t need to be a professional designer to make a color palette for your custom pins. A little knowledge of color theory and a spark of imagination are all it takes to effectively use color to express personality and personal creativity in your custom pin designs.

Getting Started With Color at AllAboutPins

With custom pins, picking an effective color scheme is more than an aesthetic choice, it builds an emotional connection with your audience, sets the mood of your design, and whether you like it or not, frames the first impression people get when they see your custom pin. Getting a clear idea of what colors you want on a pin means identifying what visuals are essential to the design. Pay attention to the most important details in your design and use colors that complement each other and highlight the most important details on your custom lapel pin.

The perfect color scheme is going to be different for every client and every organization. External and internal factors like how your pins are being used, design requirements from your organization, and personal taste can all influence the ideal color choice. Luckily for you, AllAboutPins uses the Pantone color system to ensure your color choice will always match what you see on our artwork matching whatever shade you need. Whether you need a specific color for branding or organizational purposes  we can always find the right shade to visually match your exact needs. Knowing which details on your pin are most important will help guide you to choose colors that will naturally focus around those details.

Color and Custom Lapel Pins

Does your design have important text? You’ll want the text colored to stand out from the rest of the design at a glance. Does your pin feature colors from a flag or organizational emblem? Find ways to complement those intrinsic colors. Identifying the main features of your pin and any existing colors you’ll have to use give you an easy starting point for your overall design.

However, unlike a blank canvas, when creating a color scheme for your custom pin you’re working with a number of physical limitations you’ll either need to work around or find a way to implement.

The significant of these limitations include:

  • Custom lapel pin plating: The metal finish of your pin. The color and look of your pin’s plating set the color of your pin design’s canvas. Black or dark metal can be used to simulate black linework, while a bright high-polish metal can add a gleaming effect to your design.
  • Size of a pin: As inherently small wearables, custom pins are rarely larger than 2” and usually around 1”. This means most monochromatic and dull colors are going to have a hard time getting noticed if you don’t have a few colors to help make a design contrast and visually pop.
  • The enameling process: Color is added to a custom pin through enamel paint placed into the pin’s recesses. However, this process works like the paint bucket tool in Photoshop allowing only one solid color at a time to be added to within a pin’s linework. This means no natural gradients and each spot of color needs to be clearly defined within a recessed area.

Creating Focus With Color in Custom Pin Design

After identifying the most important parts of your design, it’s time to create a visual focus around the details you want people to see first. With AllAboutPins, you can create a color palette with up to seven different colors giving you potentially hundreds of different options for an effective color palette.

However, based on our own experience designing coins for clients and working with them to get the perfect shade there’s a few solid ways to get the most out of your color palette.

  • Contrast is your friend: With a visual surface as small as a pin, you need to take advantage of every shade to create maximum visibility. Highlight details such as text or specific images to bring those details into focus at a glance.
  • Dark or light background colors: Your background color is the most prevalent color on the pin so make sure it’s distinctly dark or light so you can build contrast or highlight with your other colors. For example, using a light color scheme means dark-colored text standout and become much easier to read. While using a black backgrond allows you to use bright colors to highlight the most important details.
  • Use your pin’s plating as a color: From polished silver to dull black metal, your pin plating is more than just a canvas it’s a quick way to add dark linework or metal detailing around specific design elements in your custom pin. For pin designs based off of artwork with dark ink lining, you can use black metal to replicate the lining effect and create a sharp visual.

Custom Pin Color Inspiration

Like any visual medium, custom lapel pins have their own unique set of design parameters and goals. But custom design isn’t supposed to be a headache and AllAboutPins is dedicated to helping you create colorful designs that match your exact needs. If you still can’t decide, don’t be afraid to ask any of our expert staff! With over 15 years of experience in the industry, we’ve seen designs in every shape and color. And remember, if it’s not the right shade the first time, we offer free revisions on our artwork.

Preparing Custom Pins for Retail

Written on May 10, 2019 at 4:45 pm, by

Making the move from click to brick? Or maybe you’re putting up a pop-up shop with your custom pin designs? Going from packaging custom pins for delivery to preparing your product for retail isn’t as simple as throwing pins on a shelf.

Basics of Retailing Custom Pins

Before customers hit payment confirmation, they’ve scanned your pin designs, looked through your curated photos and made decisions based on the look and feel of your website. However, your options in a physical shop are more limited by space, time and the ability to immediately convince people to make the purchase.

However, there a few advantages that shouldn’t be undersold. For one, retail locations give customers a touchpoint to immediately interact with your pins and more directly visualize how a custom pin might wear on clothes or display in their collection. The convenience of online shopping aside, people love touching and physically holding the things we buying.

Attractive presentation is just as important as an appealing pin design and this remains the same whether you’re selling custom pins online or in-store.

When it comes to retail display, you’ve got three basic goals to fulfill:

  • Presentation: A good custom pin design attracts an audience on its own but finding ways to highlight a design helps lure interest. Online, you have the ability to zoom in on a pin or carefully photograph a design for the best possible appeal. But between limited floor space and inherently small product, you’ve got to be more clever about how you present your custom pin designs for retail and market them in a live environment.
  • Visibility: You can have a great custom pin design with beautiful colors and a snappy quote but if no one actually sees your design, you’re going to have a hard time actually selling it. Unlike an online storefront, you can’t just look for new communities or places to link your shop too. In a retail environment, visibility depends on the placement of your product and physical strategies to draw attention to them. From raised shelves and art displays, look for ways to increase the look of your small product.
  • Protection: Put a custom pin on display and people are going to want to handle it and see how it look worn, this means a lot more hands touching your custom pins and a lot more chance of mishandling causing scratches or scuffs to your retail products. Don’t get us started on the dangers of shipping your pins from storage to display shelf either. Online, you never need to worry about a customer deciding not to take a sale because your pin is scratched or your packaging is bent but you don’t have that luxury when customers are looking right at a physical product. Investing in a bit of extra protection ranging from a simple plastic sheath to solid case goes a long way in protecting your pins during the retail shuffle.

Build Brand and Pin Visibility With Custom Cardstock Backing

One of the best ways of increasing both presentation and visibility of custom pins on a display shelf is to pin it on the back of custom cardstock. Cardstock not only makes custom pin packaging more visible, but it also gives you an extra surface for broadcasting your brand. Bonus points for unique cardstock shapes or adding art that complements your pin design and increases that all-important presentation.

At All About Pins, we freely offer our expertise to clients to find the right cardstock size and color combinations to complement their pins. Some of our clients spend almost as much time working the details and text of their cardstock backing as they did design their pins in the first place! Our advice, always go for bold colors and art with a unique shape for your custom pin’s cardstock backing. It’s much more eye-catching and makes a stronger impression on a customer looking for something outside the box.

Some clients spend almost as much time tweaking designs and colors for their cardstock as they do designing their pins in the first place! However, the end result is definitely a much more visible product.

Model Your Custom Pin Designs on People and Props

Perhaps the biggest advantage a physical location has over an online shop is the ability to touch and handle a product before you buy. Take it up a notch by actually wearing or displaying your custom pins on shirts, lapels, hats or anything else you think your pin would look best on. You’ve probably seen this tactic used in mall shops around the country with employees wearing their store’s clothing or products but this is especially effective with custom pins due to their visual flair.

Wearing your own custom pins can be even more effective in-store if you find ways to pair complementary designs or pin series in an outfit or display that strikes greater pinspiration on how a customer might style it for themselves.

Invest in Premium Presentation Cases

Custom presentation boxes are another great way to present your custom pins as more than another kitsy bauble but a jewelry-grade accessory. Specialty cases might be something you’d more readily associate with fine jewelry, which is exactly why they’re great additions to your pin’s presentation. They help your product stand out from the crowd and that always gives a boost to your sales lift.

While we offer free plastic poly bags with each order, investing in clear acrylic cases or velvet packaging adds an exceptional visual impact to your pin’s presentation that raises your design’s perceivable value. Not to mention, the presentation cases are easier to store and display in a retail space while doing a better job of protecting your actual product.


We hope these quick tips help you make your pin retail-ready! Still need help? AllAboutFPins is an experienced manufacturer of high-quality custom pins in every shape and size. We’re happy to turn your creative designs into eye-catching custom pins. Call us or shoot us an email with any ideas and our team of experts will get to work!

Selling Custom Lapel Pins: Choosing an Online Sales Channel

Written on May 3, 2019 at 9:19 pm, by

Like finding the perfect location for a brick and mortar shop, choosing the perfect sales channels for marketing custom lapel pins depends on many factors. Who’s your target audience? Do just want to just get your custom pins out on the market or are you building your own brand? Which channel has the easiest interface?

While you’re not paying rent, online shops have to also factor the cost to sell lapel pins on a platform based on listing fees and commissions. Choosing an online sales channel becomes a careful balancing act between finding a niche for your custom pins and accessing a big market.

The Big Fish: Selling Custom Pins on Amazon and eBay

Even a decade ago, Amazon and eBay were making big splashes in online retail. Now, they’re a household name synonymous with online shopping or world domination depending on who you ask. Both platforms give sellers access to millions of potential customers for your custom pins. But, your own brand might run the risk of getting overshadowed by these big names.

Amazon: The Worldwide Department Store

Where 55 percent of online shoppers start their search, Amazon is the world’s biggest online marketplace of anything you could ask for. Selling on Amazon instantly gets your custom pins in front of thousands of potential customers. Not to mention, fraud protection for both buyers and sellers protecting your business from fraud and boosting buyer confidence.

Order fulfillment by Amazon gives your pins access to the platform’s vaunted free two-day shipping and leaves the often messy task of shipping errors and returns to the Amazon platform. However, getting your brand or personal work to stand out is going to be a struggle. Amazon is one of the biggest online retailers and it’s easy for your personal brand to get subsumed by the platform’s effort to create a streamlined shopping experience. When customers buy something off of Amazon, they’re probably going to say “I bought off Amazon,” rather than buying it from you.

eBay: The Internet’s Auction House

Once the biggest marketplace online, eBay has lost ground to Amazon and other specialized selling services but the auction-based website remains one of the internet’s biggest retail platforms with 177 million active users. Not to mention, eBay’s market platform has a reputation as the go-to place for rare vintage and custom collectible items with many more users looking for specialty items like custom pins.

For pin designers just getting started, eBay doesn’t charge a fee for your first 50 product listings every month (though they do take a commission on sales,) letting you test the market for your designs and build up a portfolio of products or keep your shop small if you want to selling custom pins as a side gig. While eBay is known for its auction-style listings, it has long adopted straight purchases of products on its platform as well.

While still providing a streamlined shopping experience, eBay’s online sales channel lets you customize and personalize your own shop to a much greater degree than Amazon. Unfortunately, just like Amazon, eBay puts its own branding first and foremost on its listings, with your shop information squeezed at the very bottom of your own listings.

Selling Custom Pins on Smaller Platforms

Once, eBay was the only major sales channel the average person could list off the top of their heads. However, today’s market is filled with dozens of smaller online sales channels catering to specific markets and interests.

Etsy: The Creative Boutique

A shopping platform reputed for crafty knickknacks and custom accessories, Etsy is a great place for new brands or designers to establish their personal niche. At 47 million visitors a month, Etsy’s platform is noticeably smaller than both eBay and Amazon but its customers are part of a creative crowd much more likely to be interested in custom lapel pins.

In fact, Etsy’s biggest selling point (pun intended) is the interests of the people who shop on Etsy. While customers on eBay or Amazon are on the lookout for a great deal, shoppers on Etsy are looking for unique customized items with creative designs. A well-designed pin collection can do very well for itself on this platform by targetting specific creative niches.

Compared to channel giants eBay and Amazon, Etsy is much more supportive of shops establishing their own brands by putting sellers at the forefront of their product pages and offering easy ways to personalize and manage a shop with minimal setup fees for sellers to get their shops off the ground. However, Etsy does charge a listing fee for each new product and takes a commission from each sale.

Social Media: Everyone’s Internet Channel

Chances are you’re already plugged into social media and use it as an elementary part of promoting your designs and letting people know about your custom pins. However, more than a few social media channels also allow users to sell directly on their platforms, and we’re not talking the yard-sale social media blasts your friends make whenever they move, but fully-functioning e-commerce platforms.

With just about everyone already logged in, selling custom pins on social media can simplify the startup process, especially if you or your brand already have a ton of followers. As pins are a highly visual product, we recommend using established social media channels with a strong emphasis on images and pictures like Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. One big downside to selling on social media is that as big of an audience there might be, people simply don’t visit their Facebook pages specifically to shop or spend. You’ll need to work much harder to find actual customers unless you’ve got an established following or you’ve really put your A-game to promote and find a niche.

Making a Choice

Obviously, you want to choose a platform that’ll get you the most customers and the biggest profit margins, but each online sales channel caters to a different audience and a different selling mentality. If you’re simply looking for a place to get your pins on the market, then Amazon and eBay have the biggest audiences and streamlined shopping. However, if you’re looking to build your brand and create a market identity, then Etsy can be a great place to grow. It all comes down to identifying your selling needs and finding the right platform for your needs.

Just getting started with your custom pins? All About Pins can get you started. With over a decade of experience designing high-quality pins for artists, designers, and major brands, we’re one of the leading manufacturers in the market.

Start a free quote today and get a full-color art proof of your custom pin design.

Personalizing Custom Lapel Pins With Backstamps

Written on April 16, 2019 at 8:32 pm, by

Putting personal brand forward in your products is often the difference between a one-time sale and a long-term customer. But, when it comes to something at the scale of a custom lapel pin, getting room to brand can be tricky.

That’s why we recommend adding a custom backstamp to your lapel pins, especially if you’re retailing your original work. Stamping your organization or business onto your pin’s back keeps you visible and puts your brand first. Today, we’re exploring the ins and outs of personalizing custom lapel pins with a backstamp.

All About Custom Backstamps

What’s a backstamp? Exactly what it sounds like. Backstamps are recessed or raised images stamped onto the back of a custom pin with a separate mold. Unlike a shirt tag or a product label, which are legally required, adding a custom backstamp is up to you but they’re highly recommended, especially if you plan on retailing your custom pins.

Backstamping maximizes space on both the front and back of a pin design. With many clients using the backstamps for logos, business names, personal signatures or sequential numbering on a limited run. However, depending on your contracts and work with other businesses or organizations, you might also use a backstamp for copyright information.

Benefits of Backstamping Your Lapel Pins

While most people will want to add a backstamp mainly to keep their personal brand visible, there’s actually quite a few benefits to be reaped from this custom design add-on.

Here are a few ways custom backstamps can help personalize your order of lapel pins:

  • Adds a professional touch: The core of good branding is being able to present you or your business to a customer in a distinctive way. A backstamped pin shows you’re an established business with products to offer.
  • Send a message: Backstamps give you a medium to communicate with your customers after they’ve bought a pin. Tell them how the pin is part of a limited release, increasing a pin’s value. Add a name to the pin, that way they can look it up and find more of your work. Ultimately, it’s a new medium to define your work and draw more interest in any future designs.
  • Fulfill your legal requirements: Not the most exciting benefit of a backstamp but being able to add your copyright information and that of anyone you’re partnered with will cover any legal requirements for any partnerships or properties you incorporate into a pin design.
  • Makes your brand standout: As a visual accessory, many pin designs don’t have space for web URL or phone number to look up your business. And to be honest, most people aren’t too keen on buying or wearing a pin that’s little more than a display for your website. A custom backstamp lets you add that information to the back of a pin where it won’t disrupt the flow of your design but keeps you close whenever a previous buyer needs a separate coin.
  • Makes your brand standout: Let’s be honest, chances are people are buying your pins mostly because they like your design or art. But by leaving a customized mark on a pin, the pin is no longer just a colorful expression for the customer but a distinct marker making your pin designs stand out from the rest of the competition.

Backstamping Lapel Pins With AllAboutPins

Adding a backstamp to your AllAboutPins order is simple, just mention you want a backstamp when talking to us online or over the phone about your order and send us the design you want to be stamped onto the back of your pin. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind when adding backstamps to your custom pin order.

  • Cost: Whether making an order of 100 pins or 1000 pins, adding backstamp to your pin order only costs a one-time fee of $45 for the mold. This is a one-time fee, meaning you can use that same mold for any future orders you make with us either on the same pin design or any new designs you might want to design with our services.
  • Design: While there are many different ways you can design and customize a backstamp, your options are much constrained compared to your choices for the choice of the pin. Backstamps can be raised or recessed and shaped with any text or image that fits into the back of your pin. If your stamp is recessed you can choose a single color-fill option(we recommend a color darker than your pin’s plating for better contrast.) If using your backstamp for personal branding, we recommend a logo paired with snappy text such as a name or website.
  • Space: For obvious reasons, your backstamp can only be as big as your custom pin’s size and shape. If you plan to reuse a backstamp for other pin orders, you’ll want to make sure your backstamp’s design fits into any future pin you might order or you’ll need to purchase a new backstamp for a redesign.

Whether your retailing your pins on an online shop like Etsy or hosting a crowdfunding campaign for your custom pins, using a backstamp to personalize your custom pins is worth investing in. Custom backstamps are one of the best design add-ons for strengthening your personal brand and building a stronger image for your business.

If you’re interested in learning more about your design options with AllAboutPins, visit our blog for more design resources including:

Choosing a Crowdfunding Platform for Custom Pins

Written on April 3, 2019 at 4:03 pm, by

Our guide to crowdfunding custom lapel pins stressed the importance of creating pin-friendly designs and organizing a campaign. However, just as essential to any crowdfunding campaign is deciding which platform to host it on!

In today’s post, we’re covering the main factors for deciding a crowdfunding platform for custom pins and taking a look at how the four biggest names in crowdfunding measure up to each other.

Crowdfunding Platforms and Their Audiences

While associated with ambitious business startups like mobile farmer markets or cutting-edge virtual reality gadgets, crowdfunding is also a godsend for pin designers. And we’re not just talking about upfronting production costs, starting a campaign is a great way to build a following for your custom pin designs.

However, like any marketing effort, it pays to know where your audience is and where it’ll be best to run a campaign for the best visibility. If your custom pins appeal to a narrow audience with an established community then reaching them on a platform focused on their interests is much more effective.

For example, Kickstarter’s model focuses on creative projects and products specifically bans cause-based fundraising. On their platform, you’ll find people looking specifically for new products or interesting designs that pique interest. Meanwhile, GoFundMe focuses specifically on cause-based fundraising. So, nonprofit lapel pins have a better shot at reaching out to people with a mission in mind.

Know Your Goals and Needs

Are you looking for startup capital to get your original pins on the market? Or are you using it as a marketing tool to advertise a new idea and drum excitement back to your existing business or Etsy shop? Understanding your motivations helps target your core audience and decide which platform is going to be the best way to reach them.

Some platforms are going to be better if you have an existing following for your designs. While others are suited for just drumming up that initial wave of support and interest.

If you’re an established designer or artist, subscription crowdfunding platforms like Patreon are a good way for followers to support your work long-term. Subscription models bring steady income helping cover manufacturing costs for custom pins which you can use as rewards for contributors. Meanwhile, if you’re just getting started or running an online shop, then single project platforms like classic Kickstarter or Indiegogo are a good way to reach a big market and follow-up later if you gain traction.

Choosing between the four biggest platforms for custom lapel pins

One size doesn’t necessarily fit all when it comes to crowdfunding platforms and deciding where you launch a campaign is an important decision. To help you decide the best platform for your designs, we’ve collated a list of from the biggest crowdfunding sites along with a description of their platform and audiences. Each has advantages and disadvantages making them ideal for specific pin designs or personal goals so be sure to explore your options fully before committing to a platform.

Kickstarter

A name synonymous with crowdfunding, Kickstarter is the world’s biggest crowdfunding platform with over 150,000 projects funded and over $103 million raised for custom pin designs and other art projects. Boasting 15 categories and a universally known name, you’re guaranteed to find a niche for your designs.

If you’re making a pin based on original artwork or inspired by pop culture, Kickstarter’s vast reach and community tools are invaluable for hitting both funding goals and building a following. However, competition is stiff and it can be easy to get lost in the crowd when new campaigns are being launched everyday on Kickstarter.

Indiegogo

Another of the biggest names in crowdfunding, Indiegogo has been described as the Pepsi to Kickstarter’s Coke. While very similar to Kickstarter, the platform’s major main difference over Kickstarter is the ability to choose “flexible funding.”

With flexible funding, you collect all funds from a campaign even if it fails to reach its goals. It’s a solid feature, helping pin designers get partway toward their goals even if they don’t quite hit the mark. But, this can also backfire if a pin campaign fails to gain broad traction as you’re still contractually required to fulfill your promises to donors. Indiegogo features better integrated marketing tools such as In-demand funding and retargeting for continuing to market and gain funding after a campaign has ended.

Patreon

Popularly used by content creators on YouTube and other Rather than give a one-time donation for a project, backers on Patreon provide subscription-based monthly support for an artist’s work. Artists often use custom pins, stickers or other deliverables as a monthly reward to their subscribers, with content creators often creating new pin designs based on community votes or suggestions on their Patreon page. The platform is ideal if you’re committed to creating new designs each month and/or have an existing following.

GoFundMe

With a focus on personal causes, GoFundMe bills itself as a platform to raise money for personal emergencies or charitable causes. GoFundMe is ideal for crowdfunding custom pins designed for social advocacy or charity. Like Indiegogo, campaign owners can keep funds raised even if the campaign fails to meet its goal, and campaign organizers can make their campaigns pure donation platforms without the traditional setting backer perks.

Picking a platform for success

These days, the internet is inundated with crowdfunding platforms for nearly every cause or community and each year the number of crowdfunding platforms continues to grow and evolve. As of 2017, there are nearly 200 crowdfunding platforms for nearly every conceivable project, cause or event. We’ve covered some of the biggest crowdfunding platforms on the market in this article alone but there are other platforms from Razoo to Rockethub focusing on different communities and different goals. Choosing a platform that works for you boils down to knowing your own goals, knowing who your pins appeal to and applying that knowledge to finding a platform that reaches the people who’d be most interested.

5 Add-ons to Make Custom Lapel Pins Pop

Written on March 22, 2019 at 4:50 pm, by

Everyone wants their custom lapel pins to “pop.” To have that visual punch to make a custom pin more noticeable or more interesting. From bright colors and shining metals, we offer thousands of design options so clients can design the most striking pins. However, in our experience, many clients aren’t aware of our most impressive options for adding a unique touch to their custom lapel pins.

Let’s change that! We’ve gathered five unique customizations you can use to add visual “pop” in nearly every design.

What is “Pop?”

“Pop” is the special element of a custom design that makes it stand out as visually interesting and attractive. For custom lapel pins pop can take the form of an eye-catching color scheme, a unique design based on popular culture or just a unique touch that sets it apart from other pins. In essence, pop is a core part of what makes a design attractive and interesting.

Exactly how you make your design pop is going to differ widely with every pin design but trying one of these unique customizations can add a unique visual touch to your pin that’ll make it really stand out.


Glitter Paint Your Custom Pins

One of the most popular ways to add spark to a pin, glitter paint makes even a plain design immediately eye-catching, flashy, and most importantly, it’s all the rage among pin collectors. It’s best to add it to details taking up a large area such as a design’s background or body to better contrast with the surrounding details of the pin.

Design Tip: While glitter paint can look great on a soft enamel pin, it also gives it a flaky feel to the physical pin. If you plan to add glitter paint to a pin, go for a hard enamel pin to seal the surface and give it a smooth sparkling finish.

Using Rainbow Plating

Vivid at a glance, rainbow plated pins use anodized metal that radiates different colors when it turns or shifts. The look of a rainbow plated pin is a lot like a holographic trading card and just as popular. Rainbow plating is especially striking for designs incorporating a silhouette or a lot of empty space to best show off the changing colors.

Design Tip: You can make a striking and colorful pin without any paint enamel paint when going with rainbow plating. But, if you want to add some colored details or text, use strong neutral colors like black or white to better contrast with the anodized metal.

Spinner Pins

Most popular with baseball trading pins, spinner pins are made by attaching two pins with a rivet allowing it to spin freely. Spinner pins open the door to creative designs you couldn’t make with a static pin and the novelty of a moving pin is not to be understated.

Design Tip: Spinner pins have motion inherent to their design imagine scenes of movement and action when thinking of a design. Instead of tacking on a moving part to a random aspect of static design, plan to involve the movement from the start of the design.

Danglers

Danglers attach a smaller piece of metal to a pin design much like a small keychain. They can be cut-to-shape to complement your central design. The addition makes your design pop by adding both movement to the pin that you can take advantage of to add text that people will immediately notice. One use we’ve noticed with clients is to order a pin one year and simply order danglers to decorate the pin each year after that to highlight their years of service at an organization or business.

Design Tip: A dangler bit is a great place to add an event’s year or a person’s name if you want to personalize a pin to a specific date or event. If you want to go all-in you can actually design a pin to feature multiple danglers with different designs on each.

Magnetic Pin Backing

Most pins tend to, well, pin onto clothes or surfaces for display. Magnetic backing instead lets you keep it attached without poking holes into your clothes. Great for keeping your stuff in good condition but you’re probably asking, “how does this add pop?”

Simple. Part of what makes a pin appealing is the ability to wear or display them on different surfaces. With magnetic backing, you can wear a pin not only clothes and fabric, but also for display on fridges, laptops shelves, and any magnetic metal surface. A magnet back gives your pin designs a much bigger selection of options for display and presentation.

Design Tip: One of the more creative uses for magnetic backing is to incorporate it into your design. You can hide a message or design piece behind a detachable pin bit that’s magnetically attached and detach it for show and tell.


Your Custom Lapel Pins

Custom pins are all about designing and making it your own but everyone wants a pin that’s attractive and eye-catching. Incorporating one or more these options immediately gives most designs an extra pop, but like any other customization, the most effective way to build a design to have an idea of what custom additions you want to add from the onset so they can be incorporated into the core of your design.

At All About Pins, we work with customers each day who want to take their unique spin on designs and different presentations, let us help you find the best choice for your custom pins. Want to learn more about your design options? Read more of our articles for making your custom pins unique and special:

Your Guide to Crowdfunding Custom Pins

Written on March 11, 2019 at 9:32 pm, by

Cheaper than shirts, widely-appealing and easy to ship, custom pins are one of the most popular items on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

Not only does crowdfunding custom pins help individual pin designers tackle the startup fees, its an invaluable tool for promoting original designs and projects. However, less than 50 percent of all art projects are successfully funded often due to poor execution or overly ambitious goals. So how do you reach your goals and add your custom pins to the success stories? AllAboutPins has your back with this guide exploring basic pin design and pre-planning, as well as following up on a crowdfunding campaign as you gain traction.

Adapting Your Designs as a Pin

Before launching a campaign, you need to develop pin designs that look good on paper and wears well as a pin. Not every great art piece is going to be a great pin design without working around the physcial limitations of pin manufacturing. The biggest challenges you’ll come across at this stage are the size limits and options for adding color onto a pin.

To take your design from the drawing board to the final pin design try to follow these guidelines:

  • Use solid colors only: Pin designs should only be in solid colors, enamel paint is unable to do transparent colors or gradients.
  • Simpler is Better for Smaller: We cannot stress this one enough. Most pin orders are no larger than 2” and tend toward 1” or 1.25”. That’s a tiny display surface and complicated designs with fine details will lose those detail when produced as a pin.
  • Clear Linework: Make sure to have clear connecting lines throughout your design because each piece of linework will become a metal die line separating the color-filled areas on the final pin.
  • Make More Than One Design: We’ll talk more on this later but you should have more than a single design ready whether it be the same design in multiple color palettes or multiple designs following an overall theme, people like to see a variety of choices and designs.

Setting Up Your Project for Success

A lot of project leaders trip up at this point believing a good pin design or idea will sell itself. However, designing your pins was just the first step, now it’s time to lay the groundwork for success by outlining your goals and finding the best way to put your pin designs in the best light. A campaign’s success starts in the planning stages and you should think clearly about every aspect of your campaign’s goals and  Following these five guidelines will help ensure your custom pin campaign succeeds.

Know Your Costs and Set Strategic Goals

Knowing how much you need and where to set your goals is an important step to not just custom pins but any crowdfunding campaign. To help get started, remember, we give all clients a free quote for their projected order when they contact us. Don’t forget about calculating distribution on your end as well as our production quote especially if you need to send them to international backers. Thankfully, many crowdfunding platforms have options for handling shipping costs and distribution logistics.

Try setting your goal as low as you can manage, then scaling up with stretch goals once you reach the initial goal. This is especially important if you’re using an all or nothing platform like Kickstarter where your project receives no funding at all if you fail to reach a lofty goal. For a collection of custom pins, try not to set an initial goal exceeding $1500 and aim to keep your goal around $350 to $1000. By keeping your overall goals within this range you can more quickly reach your initial goals before considering more ambitious plans as stretch goals.

Prepare high-quality art of your pins as pins not just sketches

Sketchbooks and canvases are great for getting your ideas down and literally hand-crafting a design, but when it comes down to a design you plan to promote for a pin project, you need a crisp digital art proof.

Not only does it look more polished and professional for presentation but digital proofs are often much closer to how the final product looks than a hand-drawn draft. If you need help with this part, remember, we offer free art proofs of your designs as part of getting a free quote for a project. The art proofs we provide free with each quote are optimized to fit into a template of a pin’s design and give you a clear idea of the final product.

Give potential backers options but don’t get too ambitious

While there are many examples of custom pin campaigns that reached their goals for a single design, the most successful crowdfunding campaigns for custom pins are overwhelmingly collections or sets of custom pins following a theme. People love choices and making your designs part of series or set gives backers options from picking their favorites from or collecting a whole.

However, remember each pin design constitutes a separate order and increases the cost of production and your campaign’s goals, accordingly. To keep your goals low for a big collection of pins try financing part of a set, say one to three designs you’re confident will be most popular, before opening up the rest of your designs as stretch goals.

Make Your Timeline

One of the biggest factors in maintaining trust and confidence is setting realistic timelines for your pins. Your backers expect you to be on time with your deliverables and it’s essential to consider possible delays ahead of time and fit them into your timetable.

If you’ve already contacted AllAboutPins for a free quote and developed a final art proof of your project, then you’ve already shaved a few days off. However, you should still expect to take at least two to three weeks for us to produce your order and then a couple of days to deliver your pins to your address.

Setting Reward Tiers

If you’re making a list of potential backer perks for your pin campaign, one of your rewards will likely be getting a physical pin. In fact, many of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns for custom pins have solely used their own pins as their awards for backer pledges, this includes the Tiny Pantheon campaign on Kickstarter which overshoot its goal over 40 times over and the Hockey Pride Pins on Indiegogo, which reached 345 percent of its funding goals.

On average, we’ve noticed successful pin campaigns tend to price backer tiers for custom pins around $8 to $15 but you should take into account the added cost of any special customizations or personal touches for your own project. However, it’s important to give your backers multiple options for supporting the campaign ranging from low-cost backer tiers without rewards to modest reward tiers that may offer alternative rewards such as art prints or stickers of your pin designs. It’s even easier to diversify reward tiers when you have more designs on hand, by creating backer tiers that award multiple pins or give option.

Prepare to Promote Your Pins Before, During and After Your Campaign

Fundly, a crowdfunding platform launched in 2009, found campaigns on their siteare 126 percent more likely to succeed when their organizers update supporters and successful campaigns had organizers update their backers at least four times over the course of the project. You should be prepared to do the same and transparently communicate with your supporters before, during and after your campaign. If you’re an established artist or brand with a following, reach out to own network! Your campaign should not be a surprise and you should be drumming up interest in your pin designs long before.

Prepare to get the word out about your pins on social media, YouTube or any other major platform you have a presence on. If your designs would be interesting to a niche community or fandom, pitch those communities on their own social platforms such as Reddit or Tumblr (but don’t spam them) those people are going to be your target audience. Finally, once you’ve done it, reached your goals and fulfilled your promises. Keep in contact with your supporters! You’ve just created a small community of people who know they can depend on you to keep your promises and develop a product they’d be interested in and that’s marketing gold.

Helping Reach Your Funding Goals

Whether you’re an experienced artist or new to the world of design and e-commerce, AllAboutPins is all about supporting your endeavors. As a producer of high-quality pins for over a decade, we’ve worked with clients from every background and with nearly every conceivable idea.

Ready to take your designs public? Get started with a free quote!

Understanding Volunteer Motivation and Giving Impactful Recognition

Written on February 26, 2019 at 5:46 pm, by

Understanding Volunteer Motivation

Working as a nonprofit,  a passionate force of volunteers and partners form the backbone of your efforts. Volunteers donate their time and energy doing the groundwork that moves a cause forward. Showing appreciation isn’t just gracious, it’s essential for maintaining a healthy organization and reaching its goals.

Small gestures like personal thank you notes or throwing a big banquet can be great for morale and personal recognition but these gestures ring hollow if not backed by an understanding of what moves your volunteers. Making an effort to recognize your volunteers, not just as a workforce but as individuals who believe in your cause and want to see their efforts making an impact.

Understanding Volunteer Motivations in Your Nonprofit

If donors are the lifeblood of an organization, your volunteers are the organs keeping it all working and you are maximizing your goal when you invest in your volunteers. However, there’s a big difference between what motivates a volunteer and what motivates an employee working for a company. For many volunteers, the work they choose to do is key to their identity in a much more personal way.

Volunteers are driven by internal personal beliefs or reasons related to your organization’s mission and many of them want to know how their efforts are making an impact. These people aren’t a workforce whose services you are paying for, they’re partners who share your mission and are willing to give their time to see that mission fulfilled. 

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Karl spends 10 hours a week volunteering at the local animal shelter because he loves the animals and wants to make sure they’re cared for. Meanwhile, Jane spends her weekends serving food to the homeless with her church group due to her faith in performing charity for the needy. Karl’s love for animals and Jane’s faith drive them both to volunteer, not out of a desire for compensation but to see a broader goal achieved. Of course, volunteers might have secondary motivations. Karl might want experience with animals as a future vet and Jane wants leadership experience for her own nonprofit. Volunteers each have their own reasons for volunteering but everyone likes to see their work making a difference and that difference being recognized.

Validating Volunteers With Volunteer Award Pins

Award pins have been used for years to recognize the efforts of outstanding employees and volunteers in their organizations or businesses. Bearing the symbols of an organization or business, they’re not just an accessory, they’re a means for people to highlight their involvement with an organization and the impact of their work. They might be one of many items used as physical awards but they’re a more distinguished item than shirt or mug, awarded for success.

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Unfortunately, some organizations hand award pins away like cheap tokens rather than actual recognition. Simply giving an award or thanking employees isn’t enough. Your awards need to be linked to accomplishments and backed by demonstrated progress showing the impact volunteers are making with your organization. Remember, volunteers need to be recognized for their involvement not simply as a workforce but as partners helping bring a mission to fruition. Design custom award pins directly highlighting specific accomplishments, goals achieved or a major difference made for your organization’s mission.

Results-Based Awards

One mistake many organizations make when awarding custom pins is choosing to recognize factors like time spent or tasks performed instead of a volunteer’s impact made. After volunteering hours each week, both Karl and Jane know they’ve given their time and skills to an organization. What they want to know is how their efforts have paid off.

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An award pin given to Karl for his involvement in a major animal rescue operation becomes a mark of personal pride. An award pin recognizing Jane’s involvement helping people after a natural disaster reflects gratitude and pride in her good works. You want your pins to reflect specific achievement as part of an organization, not merely broad involvement. Awards are meant to recognize outstanding actions after all and it goes a long way to highlight how far you’ve come together.

 

Wrapping Up

At the end of the day, remember that your volunteer workforce isn’t some amorphous mass of labor. They represent a group of individuals who believe in your cause and should be treated as such. Your award pins need to recognize the individual impact of a volunteer and celebrate the results of their contributions. If you’re looking to begin using custom award pins in your organization, follow the advice we’ve outlined here and send us a message to learn more! Our team at All About pins has over 10 years of experience working on custom pins of every stripe and are happy to lend our advice and expertise to help honor your volunteers.