Creating quality challenge coins is not childs play

2 Mar

Creating quality challenge coins is no longer enough.  As a challenge coin company you must possess the ability to look beyond the surface of a coin design and see what lies beneath.  We recently manufactured a special shape coin that I didn’t believe could be a bottle opener due to the constraints of the design.

A prospective customer came to us with the following parameters.  He wanted his coin to be in the shape of an A-10 aircraft – top view, no larger than 2 inches in size and wanted his challenge coin to have the ability to open bottles.  If you’ve ever seen a special shaped coin or know the shape of an aircraft then you know the challenges I faced.  I used vector artwork that I had on file for the view of the aircraft he wanted to use.  Upon spending a little time with this artwork I had an epiphany.  I ran through all my necessary calculations to obtain proper tolerances for a functional bottle opener.  Wouldn’t you know I came up with a solution that hit every parameter the customer required, without the need to build a big obtrusive hole into the coin design to accommodate the bottle opening feature.  I was and still am astonished and proud of my discovery.  By taking some additional time I was able to see something in the design that no one else did, but more on that later.  I don’t have the luxury of an engineering background.  I have only been designing coins for almost seven years, yet I was able to accomplish something that I’m sure more seasoned designers would be envious of.  After all, the customer for this coin design said he had received artwork from approximately eleven different vendors before deciding on us.  This is a perfect example of free artwork not living up to expectations.  He received artwork that missed on his desired parameters until he came to us.

custom challenge coins

In our industry we have a big problem with companies creating free artwork prior to any form of commitment.  The reality is that anyone with the right software can create an outstanding, life like coin design.  The functionality or lack thereof is not really considered by those companies issuing free challenge coin artwork.  After all, what can you really expect when your design is just one on what I am sure is a long list of people wishing to see free artwork.  “Can you show me what it’s going to look like?” is a common question we receive.  Perhaps a better question is “Can you tell me if my design will be functional and or feasible in the real world?”.  Isn’t functionality and feasibility much more important than how it’s going to look?  I have years of experience working with custom coins.  You would think I have a strong grasp on what’s going to make your coin design elite and how I will use my years of experience to your benefit.  I have come to the conclusion that it’s best to keep my design ideas to myself or reserve said ideas for use on my customers’ coin designs.  Information that is learned through experience shouldn’t be discounted or given away.

The moral of this story is: know what questions to ask, don’t emphasize receiving free artwork just to see what your challenge coin design is going to look like.  There are more important issues that exist beyond what something looks like.


One Response to “Creating quality challenge coins is not childs play”

  1. Movers Phoenix March 5, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    Thanks for the great tips. Excellent post!

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