It’s no secret people (including us at AllAboutPins) love free stuff and custom promotional pins have long been an effective branding tool for both businesses and organizations. But while people are all about free swag, you want your custom pins to do more than sit in the bottom of a bag. To start creating an attractive design promoting your organization or business, we’ll start with the core parts of your business identity and how it’ll influence your pin design.

Getting Started With Custom Promotional Pins

Promotional pins aren’t just accessories, they’re marketing tools and tools need a different frame of mind going into their design than retail or award pins. Whether for a business, an event or an organization, promotional pins have a story to tell and an effective promotional pin delivers a clear message at a glance. However, most people aren’t really attracted to the prospect of becoming walking billboards even if it’s wearing free stuff. Like an accessory pin, a good promotional pin should still have an attractive design.

When working on a custom promotional pin, take a moment to think about the following:

What is the message behind these promotional pins? 

Are you promoting a specific event or cause? Getting the name of your business out there? Think about what exactly you want people wearing or seeing these custom pins to think when they see them. Whatever your message is, it’s going to be the central part of your design and needs to be the first thing people think about when they see your pin.

Who is the audience you’re targetting? 

This question ties directly into the previous question. Just who are you hoping to reach out to with these pins? For example, a jaunty music festival is going to attract a very different audience than a business convention. Figuring out what your audience looks like gives you a better idea of what design is going to be attractive to them and how to better reach out to them. 

Who are you?

What organization, business or event are these pins trying to express? For example, if you’re a cause-based nonprofit then you and your typical audience probably have organizational colors and symbols that are really relevant to your cause. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to run a business then imagery that characterizes your business or its services may be more relevant. For example, if you run an ice cream shop then a pin design of a scoop of ice cream in various colors could represent the variety of flavors your business can offer.

Design Choices and Tips for Ordering Promotional Pins

Now it’s time to start implementing your ideas into a pin design. With custom promotional pins, you’re communicating a direct message and attracting support for your organization or business. But while the main goal of your pin is to deliver a message, a custom pin is still an accessory at the end of the day. And accessories need to be visually attractive and eye-catching. Here are a few quick tips on what kind of design choices and customizations will help elevate your design.

Choosing Your Pin Style

If you want to learn more about how different pin styles differ, we’ve written a full write-up here. For the cleanest look and sleekest full-color design, we recommend going with a cloisonne pin for a high-quality and smooth look. However, a lot of promotional pins are used as giveaways and a smaller business or event might be working under a tight advertising budget. In that case, soft enamel might be the way to go. Soft enamel pins have made quite the comeback these days and allow you to keep a full-color design with a textured look.

If you think a simple design is best for your message and overall aesthetic, then a die-struck pin might be what you’re looking for. These stamped pins use a plain polished or antiqued metal surface to deliver a metallic look that wouldn’t be out of place for an award or medal. 

Ordering in Bulk

Ordering in bulk will help you cut costs on each individual pin and score you a better deal.  While we don’t recommend ordering 4000 pins to promote a local cooking workshop. Big events like music festivals or promoting a cause for a major nonprofit can save on advertising costs for a long-term promotional. 

Centralizing Your Identity

From a company logo to a brand emblem, look for ways to use your promotional pin’s visuals to tie back to your business or organization. Subtlety can be more effective than just emblazoning your branding over the surface of the pin. But adding a backstamp can be a good way to keep your information handy and remind people of your group’s exact identity. Adding custom cardstock can also give you more space to add information about what your promoting.

Distributing Custom Promotional Pins

Once you’re given the final go to have your pins manufactured, the next step is getting them out there! Unlike flyers, promotional pins aren’t an item you can just plaster the town with. You need to take focused action to make sure your pins reach the highest number of people who’d be potentially interested in your goods or services.

For distribution, events like tradeshows or conventions are natural places to share your promotional pins as a giveaway or as part of a business card. However, big events aren’t the only places you can get your pins out there. Attractive promotional designs are great in-store products for loyal customers or even as prizes for promotional contests organized by your business. This way, your promotional pins aren’t just another quick giveaway, but an effective engagement tool for building interest and support from your customer base.


At AllAboutPins, we’ve helped clients both large and small improve their events through high-quality custom pins that make a big splash. If you’re looking for more inspiration, visit our gallery for a look at just some of the high-quality designs we’ve helped bring to life. And don’t forget, send us an email at info@allaboutpins.com or visit our Facebook if you ever need help!