Choosing A Color Palette for Your Lapel Pin or Challenge Coin

by | Aug 25, 2022 | Custom Pins, Custom Coins, Custom Pins and Coins

A Guide to Collecting Lapel Pins

Custom lapel pins and challenge coins are fantastic accessories to celebrate, motivate and congratulate your staff, fans, and customers. However, taking your ideas from conceptual to collectible involves important design decisions that can make or break a memorable moment. First impressions are everything; In recent research compiled by Colorcom noted that 92.6% of respondents reported they put the most importance on visual factors when purchasing products, while 84.7% said that color accounts for more than half of that. With color being one of the first and most significant visual factors we assess, picking the perfect palette can seem daunting. Thankfully, with Galaxy Design Squad in your corner, you’ll be a pro at determining color essentials for your project! So, where do you start?

Focus First

Form fits function, so deciding the piece’s focus will create the foundation from which every other design element is chosen. For example, are you trying to draw the eye to important, colorful text, or will you showcase a specific image? Are you aiming for a modern glossy finish or a more vintage style? Do you need gradient coloring that screen printing can provide? Galaxy Design Squad has created them all! So, we can offer various references to shape your ideas.


Narrowing down a particular palette is easier when you understand the dynamics of contrast. Lighter colors against a darker background (or the opposite) will use tonal contrast, which the eye uses to detect patterns. With a surface as small as a pin, it can be helpful to use hues opposite your background color so that important text or images pop in comparison.

Plating and Palettes

Metal plating is another foundational element when building a color palette for your pins or challenge coins. Most pins’ surfaces are created with metal “outlines” to which color is added. Galaxy Design Squad offers a variety of finish options that serve as a background for added color: polished or antique gold, copper, or silver, black nickel or metal, and specialty options like colored or rainbow metals. Plating color is a great tool to complement or contrast your color selections.

Size Considerations

While there’s more space to fill with larger challenge coins, custom lapel pins are typically only 1-1.5″ in size. Since they are inherently small, using colors or tones that are very muted or similar will likely lack the “pop” it needs to be eye-catching. Therefore, when choosing a palette for smaller custom lapel pins, limiting color selection to just a few can often work in your favor.

Branded Color

Picking pigments is slightly less complicated if you use a brand color palette to guide your collectors’ items. These specific colors will often be found on an organization’s logo, website, and print materials—some pigments are so iconic to a brand that they are trademarked! Such as Tiffany & Co.’s iconic Tiffany Blue, which was trademarked in 1998 and John Deere’s eye-catching yellow and green combo, which was trademarked in 1988. So, if you’re creating custom pins or coins for a company or organization, branded materials are an excellent place to start.

Color Basics

If your challenge coin or pin is a blank canvas, color theory basics can be an excellent guide for getting it right. You may have learned in elementary school that the three primary colors of blue, red, and yellow can be expanded into the secondary colors we see in the rainbow (orange, green, violet) by blending them. These secondary colors can be expanded even further into tertiary colors such as Red-Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, Blue-Green, Blue-Violet and Red-Violet. When arranged in a color wheel, colors opposite each other (like blue and orange, yellow and purple, red and green) are complementary, and those side by side are analogous. Galaxy Design Squad’s designers can help you use these to create dynamic color harmony, which is an essential component for an attractive, engaging visual experience. If you’re looking for that one-of-a-kind color or have fallen in love with Pantone’s Color of the Year, but can’t imagine what it would look like on a pin – don’t fret! We use the Pantone Solid Coated Matching System to ensure high-quality colors that produce the same result whether you purchase one pin or 50!

For a Stellar Experience, Choose Galaxy Design Squad

At the core of our team is the drive to ensure every customer is enthusiastic about their high-quality, artistic designs and palettes and that every expectation is surpassed for the world’s best customer service experience. Whether you’re new to designing custom lapel pins and challenge coins, or they’re a staple of your business, you can be confident that Galaxy Design Squad will make sure you’re inspired, included, and informed from start to finish. Call us today to get started on your next piece!

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