7 Ways To Make Unique Custom Challenge Coins

Follow our tips in making unique custom challenge coins that make the gift that much sweeter.

Whether you’re looking for the right way to say “thank you,” want to support a friend that’s going through a tough time, or if you just want to create a sense of camaraderie in any organization, customized challenge coins are a great way to make it happen.

You want your coin’s design to be as unique and special as the person you’re giving it to — but you’re struggling to come up with ideas that make you tick.

Read on to learn more about how to create unique custom challenge coins that will bring people together, honor another person, save a life, or just serve as a reminder of how much you care.

1. Highlight an Important Date

Printing an important date somewhere on a challenge coin is a wonderful way to make it even more special to the person receiving it.

Custom Memorial CoinYou could give a coin with the date of a family reunion printed on it to everyone who attended your festivities. You could give your husband/wife a coin with the date when you first met on it before they head off for deployment.

If you want to honor a deceased loved one, you could even create a coin with the departed’s birth and death dates on it.

2. Recognize a Specific Accomplishment

While custom challenge coins are often given to multiple members of an organization, profession, or military unit, they’re also great ways to celebrate a special occasion in someone’s life.

Air Force Challenge CoinWe also love the idea of creating a special challenge coin in honor of someone’s college graduation, their new job, their move to a different city, or even the birth of a new child!

The possibilities are endless here, and the coin serves as a lifelong reminder of an achievement that changed someone’s life for the better.

Why not try using them as wedding favors, too?

3. Include Life-Saving Contact Information

Another great tip for understanding how to make unique custom challenge coins?

Create coins that are specifically designed to help people remember important phone numbers like suicide hotlines, roadside assistance numbers, or even advocates for victims of abuse.

This is an excellent way to spread the word about a cause you care about and have a genuine impact on the lives of others at the same time.

Check out this list of some of the most important emergency contacts that you should have in your phone.

This kind of challenge coin is especially excellent for elderly people who live alone, or people with learning differences who may have trouble remembering the number they need to call in case of an emergency.

Having this tangible reminder can save lives.

4. Select a Special Quote

Another way to make personalized and unique custom challenge coins that much more special?

Include a short and sweet quote on one side of the coin.

You could select a quote that you know means a lot to the specific individual, or use the same quote on all your coins to motivate your team towards success. Whenever your team is feeling lost, stressed out, or just in need of a little wisdom, they can take out the coin and read it to get the boost they’re looking for.

5. Go for Unique Edges

When designing challenge coins, many people are so focused on the look of the face of the coin, that they completely neglect the possibilities that the edges offer!

Coast Guard Honolulu Challenge CoinYou can choose from all different colors and textures, including a thicker rope design, silver or gold, or even edges that contain a few words circling the coin.

Check out our gallery to get a better understanding of the different kinds of edges that are possible.

6. Try an Unexpected Shape

You don’t have to go for the traditional circular shape when you’re designing your custom challenge coin!

If you want to know how to make custom challenge coins unique, sometimes straying from the standard shape can take things to the next level.

For example, you could have the coin made in the shape of a medical cross if you’re giving them to emergency response teams. You could have the coin made in the shape of a Scouts-syle merit badge if you want to honor a member of your corporate team.

Want to reward members of a Habitat for Humanity volunteer team? Go for a triangular shape that mimics the look of a house.

7. Find a Quality Challenge Coin Company

The number-one thing to keep in mind when you’re ready to design unique custom challenge coins?

Make sure you find a quality, experienced challenge coin company that will communicate with you to ensure they come up with a coin that exceeds your expectations.

They should have verified reviews on their website, take pride in their work, and have even offer you free design services if needed.

Ready to Bring Your Unique Custom Challenge Coins to Life?

We hope that this post has helped you to realize the limitless possibilities you have when it comes to designing customized challenge coins.

Are you ready to start creating challenge coins to give to family members, friends, servicemen and women, or even your fellow employees?

If so, we want to help you make it happen.

Reach out to us today for a free price quote on your unique custom challenge coins.

We’re also happy to make design suggestions, help you to realize your vision more clearly, and fill you in on any of our current specials.

We look forward to helping you create something that will hold meaning to those you give it to for years to come.

What is a Challenge Coin? And How it all Began

What is a Challenge Coin

What is a Challenge Coin? And How it all Began

Did you know those non-monetary incentives are as effective as monetary incentives when it comes to employee motivation?

For a long time, challenge coins have been a popular way of motivating teams and developing a sense of camaraderie.

This tradition is deeply rooted in the military and there is a long history to it. Today, challenge coins are commonplace in workplaces, corporate events and even in sporting.

So “What is a challenge coin?” you might ask. In this article, we shall discuss what these coins are and the history behind their existence.

What Is a Challenge Coin?

These are coin-sized medallions given to soldiers in recognition of their achievements.

Each unit in the military has its own unique coins.

Each new member receives a coin. Soldiers who perform exemplarily well during battle are also appreciated using unique coins. There are also other coins presented to soldiers as they rise in rank.

In the military, the more challenge coins you have the more respect you garner. The main idea behind challenge coins was to instill a sense of unity and pride as well as acknowledge valiant effort and excellence.

The History Behind Challenge Coins

Though challenge coins can be traced back to the US military, there are contradicting theories as to when and why they were actually first used.

The Most Common Theory

This theory takes us back to the First World War.

Many people volunteered as the US was building its first Army Air Service. Among the volunteers was a wealthy lieutenant. He ordered several coin-sized bronze medallions to be made as he wanted to give the members of his unit a memento.

He put a small leather strap in his medallion to wear around his neck. During service, he was fortunate enough to survive when his plane was shot down over Germany.

He was captured by a German patrol unit who took all of his identifiable items. They did this so that he had no way to identify himself if he escaped. The only thing they left on him was his pouch with the medallion in it.

Later on, he was taken to a small town near the front lines of the war. He managed to find civilian clothes and escape.

He stumbled into a French outpost where he was presumed to be an enemy because they were wary of people not in uniform and did recognize his accent.

The French soldier wanted to execute him because they also couldn’t ID him.

The lieutenant remembered he still had his pouch around his neck and showed them the soldiers his unit’s insignia. Luckily for him one of the French soldiers recognized it and he was spared.

As an apology for almost executing him, the French soldiers gave him a bottle of wine. He was then able to get back to his unit and since then it became a tradition that for all soldiers to carry a unit-coin at all times just in case.

Second Theory

There also those who have another version of how challenge coins came to be.

In this theory, the tradition started in Vietnam. An infantry-run bar tried to keep non-infantry men away by forcing them to buy drinks for the whole bar if they had no proof they had been in combat.

Initially, infantry men used bullets to prove their combat experience. It then got a little out of hand with grenades and other unexploded materials.

Later on, the accepted item of proof became a medallion with the insignia of the unit. That’s when the coin check tradition began and which still continues today with the coins referred to as challenge coins.

What’s the Challenge Behind Challenge Coins?

Though the introduction of challenge coins is unclear as they were first used in an unofficial capacity, there is some clarity as to when they truly became challenge coins.

As soldiers collected artifacts of war during the Vietnam war, they would place them on the bar and see who had the biggest memento and best story. The perceived loser would buy a round for all the parties involved in the challenge.

To avoid losing, soldiers started coming with dangerous explosives. This attracted the attention of the administration which opted to introduce the challenge coins to avert disaster.

The tradition of the challenge still goes on. Any soldier can initiate it by holding their coin in the air, placing it on the table.

Those being challenged have to draw their coins in a similar manner. If anyone does not respond correctly, they have to buy a round for the entire group. If everyone produces their coin, it is then up to the challenger to buy drinks.

How Are Challenge Coins Used Today

They are still a very big part of military culture. Service men pride themselves in the coins they collect for valor and rank. However, challenge coins have also been adopted in other fields for various reasons. The following are some of them.

To Recognize the Efforts of First Responders

Firefighters and law enforcement agencies have adopted the use of challenge coins to honor special accomplishments in the line of duty.

Government agencies and politicians have also not been left behind. They use challenge coins to create a sense of honor and unity at a time of tragedy by recognizing the efforts of first responders. Even citizens can be awarded.

Branding

These days, institutions leverage the respect people have on challenge coins to promote their brand. Instead of just issuing business cards, companies are giving out branded challenge coins during conferences, trade shows, and sales events.

Sports teams and schools have not been left behind either. During sports and local community events, mascot and logo branded coins are handed out.

Awarding and Creating a Sense of Unity

Personnel and team members who discharge their duties exemplarily well are awarded coins. This boosts their morale to continue working hard as well as challenge the rest of the team to work as hard.

Institutions have also begun issuing different teams with unique coins to help create a sense of unity and belonging. This then improves teamwork and cohesiveness.

Leverage the Power of the Coin

What is a challenge coin really? Well, what began as a simple gesture among servicemen is now one of the best tools for instilling espirit de corps that extends well beyond the military.

Organizations can now leverage this power to create cohesive teams and grow their brand.

Metal Promotional Products has one of the most creative custom coin building teams in the country. Click this link to get a free quote on all our promotional products.

4 Cool Challenge Coins Ideas to Enhance Your Event

Challenge coins have a long history of promoting a sense of community and showing support for fellow service members within the military.

However, as the popularity of challenge coins continues to grow, many companies, industries, and even non-profits have started to embrace the promotional and morale-boosting aspects of creating challenge coins.

Whether you want to create a challenge coin to recognize an employee, celebrate a friend’s birthday, or raise money for a cause, there are a few things you need to know first.

In this post, we’re sharing with you some of our most effective tips and ideas on how to create cool challenge coins. Read on to find out how to create the perfect design for any profession and occasion.

1. Design Your Own Artwork

If you want to create a custom challenge coin that’s truly unique to your organization, one of the best things to do is design your own artwork. It’s also a great way to encourage teamwork in your office or unit. You could host an artwork contest amongst your employees, and have your team members vote on their favorite designs.

You could also involve your target market by uploading a few of the top designs to your brand’s social media account. Your followers could then vote on the design they’d like to see on the coins.

Remember that artwork doesn’t always have to be serious — it just has to mean something to the people you’re giving it to. Maybe you’d like to reference an inside joke that always breaks the tension in your office, for example.

Perhaps you’d like to print a design of a landmark in your hometown on your challenge coin, to show pride in where you live and the community you serve. The sky is the limit, so don’t be afraid to be bold when you’re designing your challenge coin artwork.

Other popular artwork ideas include your state’s flag, a sports team’s mascot or logo, or even a memorable date for your company or unit.

2. Consider the Finish and Plating

The overall look of a custom-designed challenge coin can be altered by the chosen plating and finish.

For example, for a memorial challenge coin, a black metal plating might the best option. If you’d like to reward one of your employees for becoming the salesperson of the month, a polished gold plating would fit this theme well.

Another element to consider is if you’d like your custom challenge coin to have a hard or soft enamel finish. Despite the name, this doesn’t actually refer to how soft or hard the coin is.

Instead, it’s all about the texture. If you prefer a smoother coin, then you should opt for a hard enamel finish. However, if you want to get creative with the coin’s texture, then soft enamel will be a better option. The best finish for your coin will also depend on the number of colors and design elements you’ve chosen to include.

3. Don’t Forget the Edges

What’s the final secret to bringing cool challenge coins to life?

It’s all about the edge of the coin. This is a beautiful, small detail that can have a huge impact on the overall design.

If you’re designing for a fire department, for example, you might want to go with the traditional choice of a scalloped spur cut edge. For a corporate challenge coin, an oblique line edge will give your coin a finish that’s similar to a merit medal.

If you want to take things to a more elegant level, opt for a stunning diamond crosscut edge. You can also choose two of the classic edge choices, a flat cut edge or a sleek rope cut edge. Remember that the type of edges you choose will also impact the overall feel of your coin.

4. Giving out Your Cool Challenge Coins

Last but not least, you also need to think about how you’re going to give out your cool challenge coins and the significance you want to attach to them.

For example, if you’ve lost a fellow officer in the line of duty, the coins could be a heartwarming memento to give to the other members of your unit at the memorial service.

You could also create custom challenge coins to give to the family members of fallen servicemen and women.

If the coins are a part of an employee engagement initiative, you could create a game surrounding them to promote and improve company culture. For example, every time an employee holds up a coin, everyone in the office collaborates in a five-minute brainstorming session.

The last person to hold up the coin has to get coffee for the rest of the team!

Plan an employee recognition party, and give out the coins as a wonderful party favor.

Are You Ready to Create a Custom Designed Challenge Coin?

We hope that this post has helped you to understand the design elements to think about when bringing cool challenge coins to life.

Ready to place an order for custom designed challenge coins for your next company event? Want to use coins to help raise awareness about a cause that’s close to your heart?

We can help with that.

If you’re still in need of a little design inspiration, feel free to browse through our gallery.

When you’d like pricing information, or if you’d like to speak to someone about the different design options for your custom challenge coin, feel free to reach out to us.