Tips for Designing a Masonic Challenge Coin

Masonic Challenge Coin Design Tips

A masonic challenge coin brings your fraternity together. Here’s how to create a meaningful design that represents your brotherhood to anyone that sees it.

What if the key to bringing your frat brothers together could fit inside your pocket?

The Masonic challenge coin is becoming more and more popular among fraternities, from college fraternities to police and fire fraternities. It provides a portable and stylish way to verify who is (and who is not) among your fraternal order.

However, a challenge coin can only be cool and stylish if it has a cool and stylish design. Otherwise, no one will want to take it out of their pocket.

If you want the hottest challenge coin around, keep reading to discover our top design tips!

The Point of a Masonic Challenge Coin

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to designing an awesome Masonic challenge coin. First, though, it’s worth addressing what the point of these coins really is.

Some fraternities treat it as part of a brother’s initiation. In this sense, getting a challenge coin indicates full admission into the brotherhood.

In a related sense, some fraternities offer challenge coins to friends of the brotherhood. This is rarer, but it helps to underscore how close you see the relationship between this person and your order.

The original purpose of the challenge coin is pretty simple. Someone can initiate a coin check by taking out their fraternal coin. Every brother in the area must now produce their own coin.

If someone does not have their coin on them, they must now buy the next round of drinks. If the challenged man produces a coin, though, it’s the challenger who buys the drinks.

This helps encourage everyone to have their coin on them at all times!

Power of Symbolism

When you hear about a fraternal coin, you might be thinking of something simple. However, traditional Masonic coins actually used a lot of imagery that was tied to their symbolic beliefs.

For example, Masons truly valued the labor that we perform each day. A challenge coin with laboring hands or tools helps to symbolize how important this person or this order takes their work.

Many of those masonic values are still shared by brotherhoods such as the Fraternal Order of the Police. Giving a member such a symbolic coin helps to reward their own hard work while underscoring the brotherhood’s belief in labor.

Acronyms Ahoy

In addition to symbols, many traditional Masonic coins used acronyms. In most cases, these acronyms were very highly specific.

For example, one common acronym was “H.T.W.S.S.T.K.S.” This long acronym actually stood for “Hiram the Widow’s Son Sent to King Solomon,” a Bible story that plays prominently in Masonic culture and society.

If you want to blend old and new, you can create acronyms that correspond to your own order’s values. These special acronyms can help your brotherhood feel tighter, and they make for an interesting conversation piece if any non-brothers end up seeing your coin.

The Right Size

We’ve been focusing a lot on symbols and acronyms. However, there is a more fundamental question to answer: just how big should the coin be?

For the most part, challenge coins are around the same size as standard coins. Some may be a little bit larger, which brings both advantages and disadvantages.

With a larger coin, you have more real estate. This gives you room to include larger images, longer acronyms, and so on.

At the same time, the coin is meant to be easily portable so keep that in mind when creating your masonic challenge coin.

Color Versus Discretion

What color should your challenge coin be? That ultimately depends on your organization as well as how you will be using the coins.

Many organizations include bold and bright colors. These colors translate really well to eye-catching coins (such as fire-engine red for a fireman’s challenge coin).

However, some organizations want their coins and coin challenges to be more discrete. If you want your challenge coin to easily blend in with other coins, you may need to use more basic colors.

Choosing the Right Symbols

If you want to channel masonic symbols instead of your own, you have plenty of symbols to choose from!

Many masons loved symbols like a hammer and a compass because these represented their love of building. Some symbols had “G” between the tools to celebrate both God and geometry, both of which they saw as a major part of their lives.

Gloves are a symbol encouraging the Mason to keep themselves clean. This may mean metaphorical cleanliness (such as spiritual purity) and literal cleanliness (not letting their dirty work destroy their clothing and appearance).

The all-seeing eye is a popular symbol that meant God was always watching. This symbol is so popular it has endured as a symbol of various conspiracy theories.

There are tons of symbols to choose from. The important part is to pick the one that best represents the individual members and collective beliefs of your fraternity.

Bringing the Frat Together

Now you know how to design a masonic challenge coin. But do you know who can turn your awesome design into a reality?

We specialize in providing custom challenge coins to fraternities all over the world. We have worked with masons, university fraternities, corporations, firefighters, and police.

Whatever your vision is for your awesome masonic challenge coin, we are here to bring it to life. All you have to do is check out our types of coins and go from there!

When Is It Appropriate To Give A Custom Challenge Coin?

Want to give away your own coins or award custom challenge coins? Learn about when it’s appropriate to bestow such an honor.

Custom challenge coins have a long history in the United States.

Once relegated to the military as a reward for a service member’s hard work, these coins are becoming popular items to award to employees for good work.

Challenge coins come in many forms and have impacted many different aspects of the service industry. Fire departments, the police, fraternal organizations like the Masons and even costuming organizations like the 501st Legion use coins to boost morale and congratulate members.

These coins can be a comfort for the recipients. And their families.

One of the hardest parts about custom challenge coins though is finding the right way and time to award these coins to your employees or members.

Custom Challenge Coins Reward Work Well Done

Being recognized for your hard work is a great feeling and 70% of surveyed employees believe their work being meaningfully recognized “had no dollar value.”

Employees are motivated and engaged when they are praised for work well done.

One way to recognize your employees for the hard work they do for you is by presenting custom challenge coins. Coins created for well-performing employees gives your team a goal to work towards. And something to memorialize the completion of a complicated project.

Keeping your employees engaged and boosting their morale is a great reason to have a challenge coin in your back pocket.

Challenge Coins Boost Morale

The origins of custom challenge coins are rooted solidly in our military’s history.

Service men and women have been awarded custom coins for decades now. And these coins are often considered parts of the identities of their owners.

Coins were often handed out as praise for exemplary service. But they’re also a solid, physical source of morale boosting. These coins help teams bond. You don’t have to be on the workforce to suffer from low morale when a project isn’t going to plan.

Many businesses are adopting the military’s method of praise and reward. Coins don’t have to be presented during a large ceremony. Improving your business’s overall morale can be as simple as handing the coin off with a handshake.

Commemorate a Special Moment in Time

Challenge coins are used to commemorate a special moment or achievement. They are a physical reminder of a milestone a person has been striving towards for a while.

There are many organizations that use custom coins. Or chips.

Alcoholics Anonymous Chips

Many temperance organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous have used custom coins to commemorate certain events. Or achievements. Sobriety coins are a great example of customized coins even though the AA logo is not allowed to be used on the medallion.

These coins or chips may not be official AA items but they are still presented at meetings. They are a very important part of the sobriety organization. And a physical reminder of the recipient’s important sobriety milestones.

The “chip system” has been around since 1942 and some believe it was started in Indianapolis. There are many kinds of coins. There can be 24 hour medals. And months ranging from 1-11 or 1-65.

These chips or coins are a “celebration of time” that recipients have taken part in the AA culture. Even though the coins are not officially part of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Police and Fire Coins

Challenge coins have long been popular with military servicemen. This tradition has continued on with many of them leaving the military and joining services like the police force.

Law enforcement challenge coins are morale boosters for police officers and their units. These coins are not presented in the ceremony. Often they are handed off by a unit commander with a simple handshake.

These coins are used to commemorate events and projects. And often times bind units together.

Fire departments also have commemorative challenge coins. These coins help recognize selfless service fire-fighters exhibit. Their dedication to service should be rewarded.

Custom challenge coins are a great way to commemorate the pride our community has in our law enforcement and civil servants.

Other Organizations

Challenge coins are popular among the military but they have seen an increasing popularity among other civilian organizations.

The 501st Legion Coin

An example of this is the 501st Legion. The 501st is a charity organization that has been around since 1997. This group recreates screen accurate costumes that members then wear to raise money for charity organizations like Make-A-Wish.

The original founding members are all veterans. They have served in the Marines and the National Guard and when they were creating the Legion they wanted to find a way to commemorate their organization. And their service.

So the Legion Challenge Coins were born.

These coins are presented to new members in brief welcoming ceremonies. They are created when a new character is introduced to the franchise. They can commemorate events. And fundraising milestones.

Many members have hundreds of these coins. And they carry multiple coins with them to each event they go to.

They are traded fiercely and are one of the defining features of the charity organization.

The Boy Scouts Coins

The Boy Scouts is another example of a civilian organization that uses challenge coins to reward and commemorate.

These coins are awarded when scouts move up through the ranks. When a scout becomes an Eagle, parents will sometimes present them with custom coins during the ceremony as well.

These coins are usually quite collectible.

And are obviously cherished by their owners.

Public vs. Private Presentation

Most organizations opt for simple handoffs when it comes to presenting their challenge coins.

Many people do not like having attention called to them. Some servicemen say their coins were simply given to them after a handshake from their commanders. While most people like being praised for their work, the fanfare is not necessary for these particular prizes.

Bring Your Team Together with Unique Challenge Coins

Custom challenge coins are unique and can be used for a multitude of things.

Whether you wish to improve your employees’ morale or whether you simply wish to reward your team’s excellent work together, these coins make for a great prize for your company to present.

With our help, we can get you set up with a custom design that will last for a long time to come.