Design Tips for Challenge Coins

When it comes to personalized gifts, there are few things more custom-designed than a challenge coin. What began as a way to build camaraderie and establish bragging rights in the military has since proliferated into a way for the civilian world to materialize a specific occasion or moment in time. When looking into designing a challenge coin, there are good ways and bad ways to go about it. This article intends to highlight the best things to consider when commissioning a custom challenge coin.


One of the easiest things to consider when designing a challenge coin is something to represent why the coin was issued in the first place. For example, the announcement of a wedding could include a pair of bells, hearts or even an overlapping pair of rings. A coin commissioned to celebrate the birth of a child could feature the traditional symbol for the child’s gender if this is known (♂ or ♀), a baby bottle or even a stork carrying a bundle. Regardless of the specific symbol you choose, it should be able to convey a great deal of information regarding what the coin signifies after just a few seconds of being viewed.


Once you have an idea of what your symbol is going to be, you should consider the colors you want to use. Anyone with a basic understanding of color theory can tell you that not every pair of colors is pleasant to look at. Every color is complemented by another and consulting a color wheel is a great way to narrow down what colors to use or avoid. For example, if the prevailing color of your coin is going to be a shade of blue, you would do well to pair it with either an orange or golden yellow.


After you have narrowed down what symbols and colors you want to use for your coin, you need to consider what you want it to actually say. While the most obvious idea is to choose the date relevant to what the challenge coin symbolizes, you might instead double-down on your symbol by making it double as a number. In this situation, you might choose to celebrate your 20th wedding anniversary by using a large 20 in the center, possibly with the specific wedding date engraved along the rim.

While people have much flexibility when it comes to designing challenge coins, visibility and conveyance are more important. You want to give someone a coin with colors and iconography that really “pop” and properly commemorates what it was made for. By carefully considering symbols, color and text you will have created a truly beautiful piece of tactile art.

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