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. However, less than 50 percent of all art projects are successfully funded often due to poor execution and overly ambitious goals. As a pin manufacturer, AllAboutPins has seen success stories and nonstarters alike. Let’s take a look at some of your best options for turning your creative designs into a successful campaign.

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!