The Wild World of Pins!

If you were given the task of ordering pins for your organization would you know enough about them to get not only what you need, but the best pin for your money?
Here are 7 things you need to know about lapel pins.

1.) Hard enamel vs. soft enamel:
Hard enamel pins (sometimes referred to as semi-cloisonné or imitation cloisonné, pronounced “kloi-zuh-ney”) are the most durable pin style. The colors are true and bright with the enamel at the same level as the metal separations between colors. Soft enamel, however, will be lower than the metal separations with a more painted in look. Often a clear epoxy is added over soft enamel colors to make the surface of the pin smooth.

2.) Epoxy:
Like a coat of clear nail polish for soft enamel pins. It protects the enamel and gives the pin a bright, smooth look. Unfortunately, over time and with exposure to sunlight, epoxy can yellow.

3.) Struck pins and Cast pins:
These terms refer to how the pin is fabricated. Struck pins use a die to create the raised and recessed marks in the metal which are filled with enamel or otherwise finished. Most pins are struck. However, when working with an intricate outer shape, or if your design calls for interior cutouts or 3D details in the metal, a cast pin might be recommended. When casting a pin, the hot metal is poured into a mold to create the final shape.

4.) Plating:
There are many options for plating lapel pins, and not all of them are available on all pins. Some may be available but only at an additional cost. Plating is usually available in gold, silver, copper, brass, nickel or an antique version of each. Options can also include black nickel or black dye, which coat the metal in black.

5.) Antique finish:
A finish that works especially well for one color pins, this process tints the recessed areas of the pin darker and allows the raised areas to be brighter or more polished.

6.) Sandblast finish:
This process is similar to the antique finish, but with a more textured appearance. The pin is sandblasted, and then the texture is polished away on the raised areas, leaving them smooth and shiny.

7.) Photo print or 4-color process vs. enamel colors
Most traditional pins are the semi-cloisonné or imitation cloisonné. There’s another option in the photo print or 4-color process where the artwork is digitally printed directly onto the surface of the pin. An epoxy dome is usually added to protect the printed image. Depending on your design and the application, you might consider this option.

I hope this tutorial has boosted your confidence in your readiness to confront the jargon of pin ordering! Remember, the customer service team at Sky High Marketing is always ready to answer your questions and guide you through the ordering process to make sure you get the stunning impression that you are looking for. Contact us right now for help on your next project.

Colleen M. Feldner
Marketing Coordinator, Sky High Marketing