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.

5 Army Challenge Coin Design Tips that Make a Statement

The right army challenge coin design can make a lasting impression. Discover our top tips for creating a design you’ll be proud to show off.

Challenge coins have a rich history dating back to Ancient Rome. They are often associated with the military and commemorate big events, units, special accomplishments, and more. Even though most people associate these coins with the military, they aren’t officially recognized by them. This means that coins are instead created by units, companies, and even individuals.

Anyone can create a challenge coin to commemorate an event or honor a person. If you’re thinking about creating your own Army challenge coin, keep reading. We’re giving you five essential design tips to help you create the perfect challenge coin.

1. Tell a Story

Military Challenge Coin

The goal of a challenge coin design should always be to tell a story.

Maybe it’s the story of a unit, a specific deployment, or a location. Challenge coins can even honor a specific soldier or commemorate the date of an event. Before you start thinking about what your coin will look like, decide on the story you want to tell.

When you start utilizing other design tips on this list, you’ll have a better idea of what you want to focus on. This will also make it easier to communicate with a designer or artist about potential images and text for your coin.

Your story doesn’t need to be overly complicated. In fact, it’s usually best to keep it brief. If it is too broad, it can be tough to choose a specific detail to focus on when designing your challenge coin.

For instance, rather than trying to create a coin focused on a soldier’s entire military career, you could choose a single accomplishment. You could also focus on the individual by including a picture and the dates they joined the military and when they retired.

Either of these options will allow you to keep your image simple and the text short. We will go into more detail about why this is important later in the post.

2. Start with an Image

Custom Dragon Challenge Coin

Once you decide on the story your challenge coin will tell, the next design decision you need to make is what image you will use.

Most military challenge coins feature a picture or illustration in the center of the coin. It dominates the space, providing a focal point around which the text and other design elements are centered. Popular images include flags, aircraft carriers, unit logos, and the logos for various branches of the military.

But when it comes to custom challenge coins, the options you have for choosing an image are endless. As long as your image isn’t too large to fit on a coin or too detailed to come across clearly in the small space, you can make it the focus of your challenge coin.

Your chosen image could be a picture of military equipment, like an airplane or a ship, a building, a logo, or any other image. You could even include an illustration of a person’s face. You can also create a unique design, such as a caricature of a mascot or a sketch of an important building.

Depending on the size and type of images you choose, you may be able to shrink them down and include more than one on your coin. For instance, an image of a person or piece of equipment superimposed on an image of a flag or a map.

3. Make Your Design Pop with Color

USAF Custom Shaped Coin

While some military challenge coins are colorless and left in the color of the chosen metal coating such as bronze or silver, color can be a great way to make your design pop.

With such a small amount of space to work with, a few touches of color can help certain elements stand out from the rest. They create definition between shapes that make it easier to see the details of your image. While you can use several colors in your design, beware of going overboard. On a small coin, too many colors can make your design cluttered and tough to read.

In addition, complementary colors can help make your coin more aesthetically appealing.

4. Keep it Short

The image you choose for your challenge coin may be the focal point, but the text you choose is just as important.

Whether you choose to include a unit name, a date, or other important text, it’s best to keep your message short. Too many words mean you’ll need to use a smaller font, which can be tough to read on a small coin.

If you decide you need more words to get your message across, reduce the size of your chosen image instead of trying to squeeze everything onto your coin.

5. Don’t Neglect the Back

 

Once you’ve decided on the perfect design for the front of your challenge coin, it’s time to consider the space on the back. Leaving the back of your coin blank can leave your coin looking unfinished.

One idea for the back of your challenge coin is to include a single word or phrase. While the front of your coin might be more decorative with images and text, a less complicated back can call attention to your message.

Another option is to continue your design onto the back, making it as unique as the front of your coin.

Designing Your Own Army Challenge Coin

Now that you have a few tips for designing your own Army challenge coin, it’s time to get started.

No matter the type of coin you’re looking to design, we can help. Check out the different types of challenge coins we produce to start searching for the right options for any design elements you have in mind.

6 Unique Custom Challenge Coin Designs to Take Inspiration From

Challenge coins are a great way to memorialize your service in a unique way. Here are 6 custom challenge coin designs you take inspiration from today!

Military challenge coins have a unique and long-lived history, and over the years countless designs have been created. Whether you’re currently serving in the armed forces or you plan to someday, you may want to create one yourself.

Custom challenge coins inspire and honor the members of every military branch, past, present, or future. Why not create one to honor the men and women you serve with? Deciding on a challenge coin design can be tricky, though. Where do you begin?

To give you some inspiration, we’ve tracked down six unique, custom-designed coins. Take a look. You may get some ideas for your own custom challenge coin.

1. The Silent Cobra

One unique design we came across was simple but instantly attention-grabbing. Why is that? The coin was in the shape of a cobra.

How could this coin not grab your attention, with its focused staredown and metallic strength? The great thing about this design is that it doesn’t say anything–not with words, anyway. The front of the coin only holds the snake’s image. But it definitely carries a story. What does the cobra represent? What was this coin given for?

This type of coin is perfect if you’re looking for a conversation starter. If you would like to add some details as to why it was given, include the information on the back. This will allow you to commemorate the event or group it represents while still keeping that eye-catching look of a text-less image.

2. Anchors Aweigh

Military challenge coins come in all sorts of shapes, despite their being called coins. You don’t have to stick to the round look–the snake design definitely didn’t.

USN Challenge Coin

Another amazing design we found was in the shape of an anchor, complete with a chain hanging down throughout the design. Members of the Navy will love this nod to their chosen military branch. This design was sleek and elegant while nodding to the hard work of life at sea.

Is there a specific shape that would nod to what you’re commemorating? If so, try implementing it into your design.

3. Vehicle Inspiration

Custom Shaped Challenge CoinWing Shaped Challenge Coin

Challenge coins are meaningful no matter their shape, but there’s no rule stating your coin has to be round. Shake things up by going with another shape–it can be entirely unique if you’d like.

For a nod to your specific group, why not design your challenge coin in the shape of a vehicle that’s frequently used? Air Force members may appreciate a coin that’s in the shape of the plane they usually fly. Or a ship-shaped coin would be appropriate for Navy members.

If you’d rather not use the entire vehicle in your design, you can still nod to the specific military branch by using part of the vehicle. A wing or an anchor will make it easy to tell what branch the coin was made for.

To make your challenge coin unique, include your own combination of messages, information, memories, colors, and more. If a vehicle shape isn’t unique enough for you, create a shape that’s all your own!

4. Spinner Design

US Army Spinner Coin DesignWhite House Military Challenge Coin

If you’d like your design to be interactive, get inspired by a coin that spins inside itself. This coin design features a rectangular frame, in the center of which is a coin section that spins, thanks to an axis that keeps it safely connected to the frame. The spinning section could hold whatever you’d like. Maybe it’s a regiment number or the year and name of a specific battle.

If your desired info won’t fit in the small centerpiece, that’s okay. You’ve still got the frame are to include words and dates.

5. Event Tickets

Marine Ball Ticket Challenge Coin

If your coin will commemorate an event, such as a Marine ball, get inspired by looking at ticket-style challenge coins. These coins come shaped just like the tickets you’d get for an old movie or Ferris wheel ride. Feel free to throw a big old “admit one” on one side, just like the designs we’ve seen. The other side of your coin can include your commemorative information.

We’d suggest adding information about the event itself, to remind you what you were “admitted” when you got the coin. You can also add troop or branch information. Insignia or other symbols would look great too.

For an added nod to the movie-theater feel, consider making your text flow like the end credits of a film.

6. Plain and Simple

Spartan Custom Challenge Coin DesignSpartan Challenge Coin

Maybe one of the most unique coins we came across was the least flashy of all. In fact, it was completely plain. All it showed was the silver shape of a helmet.

This sort of simplicity will really make your coin stand out. While others tend to involve color, aggressiveness, or other flashy design elements, this one came across as almost solemn.

This particular coin held the shape of a Spartan helmet, but there are plenty of other helmets to choose from. Why not use a traditional shape of headwear that represents your military branch?

Though simple and silent, this design lets viewers know what branch it represents while letting them reflect on what it means. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking pin, go for something simple that reminds the barer and any viewers why it was created in the first place.

View other custom and unique challenge coins designs to get even more inspirations for your next custom challenge coin design.

Create Your Own Challenge Coin Design

Challenge coins are highly versatile. They come in all shapes, designs, colors, and metal types. The sky’s limit when it comes to creating your own design.

These six coins each offer unique ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Keep them in mind when creating your own challenge coin design and see what you come up with!

We specialize in creating unique challenge coins. If you’d like to create your own custom challenge coin, we’d love to help. Click here to learn more about our military challenge coins.

The History and Rules of the Challenge Coin

The challenge coin is something few people know about, but those who do, these coins are very symbolic and meaningful. Learn more about the history of challenge coins and the rules of giving/receiving them in our article.

Never heard of a challenge coin? Don’t worry — you’re not the only one. The reality, though, is that the challenge coin has a long and intriguing history.

Although the challenge coin is something that few people know about, these coins are very symbolic and meaningful among those who have received them.

Here’s a glimpse at the history of the challenge coin and at the rules you’ll need to follow when giving and receiving them.

Let’s get started!

The Purpose and Appearance of a Challenge Coin

Many traditions have helped to build camaraderie among military personnel over the years. However, carrying challenge coins is one of the most well-respected ones. And today, they aren’t restricted to the military (even though they largely remain a mystery among those who are not in the armed forces).

Challenge coins are essentially small tokens or medallions that signify that people are members of certain organizations.

The diameters of challenge coins are usually between 1.5 and 2 inches, and these coins are typically around 1/10 inch thick. However, their sizes and styles vary greatly. Some may even take the shapes of dog tags, arrowheads, pentagons, and shields.

Challenge coins are usually made of nickel, copper or pewter and feature various finishes. Some feature simple designs, whereas others have more elaborate designs and highlights.

The Coin’s Origination

It’s not completely clear exactly where and why the challenge coin tradition began. However, we do know that military service and coins go back much farther than the modern age — possibly as far back as Ancient Rome.

In Rome, if soldiers excelled in battle one day, they would receive their typical day’s wages along with a separate bonus coin each. According to some accounts, these bonus coins were specially minted, featuring the marks of the legions from which they came. As a result, some soldiers apparently kept their coins as mementos, instead of spending them on wine and women.

These types of coins are still handed out today to reward people for jobs well done, particularly in the military. However, some administrators treat them much like autographs and business cards that they can store in their own collections.

Still, some soldiers use challenge coins today as identification badges proving that they served in certain units. Meanwhile, other challenge coins are distributed to the civilian population for publicity purposes or are sold as fundraising tools.

Possibly the First Challenge Coin

Another well-known story about the emergence of the challenge coin dates back to the First World War. At that time, a rich officer gave his men bronze medallions featuring the insignia of their flying squadron. Not long after that, a young flying ace was shot down and captured.

Germans are said to have removed everything from the ace’s person except for a pouch he was wearing — one that held his medallion. After he escaped to France, he was sentenced to die, as the French labeled him a spy. However, the ace presented his medallion as proof of his identity.

Because one of the French soldiers recognized the insignia, France delayed the ace’s execution. After his identity was confirmed, the ace was returned to his flying unit.

Later, holes were drilled in these types of medallions so that military men could place them around the neck rather than inside leather pouches.

The Challenge

So, where exactly does the “challenge” idea come from?

According to some stories, “the challenge” started after the Second World War in Germany. Americans stationed in Germany began to conduct “pfennig checks,” or checks for this low-denomination German coin. If you couldn’t produce a pfennig when someone else called a check, you had to buy the beers.

The pfennig check later evolved to a unit medallion check, with unit members challenging one another by slamming their medallions down on a bar. Any member who lacked his medallion had to purchase drinks for everyone else who had their coins. Meanwhile, if everyone could present a medallion, the challenger was the one who had to buy the drinks.

The same essentially applies today.

However, instead of firmly placing your challenge coin on the bar to initiate a coin check, you can raise your coin in the air and shout that you’re initiating a check. You could also accidentally initiate a check if you inadvertently drop your challenge coin.

In addition, to succeed in a challenge, you must have your challenge coin within arm’s length from you. If you don’t, well — tough luck.

Now, naturally, you may refuse to buy drinks for everyone if you end up losing the challenge. Note, however, that this is a detestable crime — one that may require you to return your coin to the agency that issued it to you.

And another thing: Challenge coin checks are allowed anytime and anyplace. So, be prepared.

Coins Today

If you receive a challenge coin today, you’ll likely get it via a secret handshake. This isn’t always the case, but it is a tradition upheld by many.

You can receive a challenge coin by being a part of a police department or fire department or by being involved with the Boy Scouts or the Lions Club, for example. The challenge coin has become a highly collectible and long-lasting way for people to show their allegiance anyplace and anytime.

How We Can Help

We offer high-quality, prestigious and custom-made coins for your organization. We are confident you will not find better craftsmanship anywhere else.

Our designers can use your emblems and colors to highlight the achievements and occasion you are interested in recognizing. Then, you’ll be able to review a proof showing you how your coin will look. If you see anything you don’t like, you can easily make the necessary changes to get your coin perfect.

You can expect your newly minted coins to show every detail of your design. And all of our products are individually packaged and shipped at no cost.

Get in touch with us today to find out more about the challenge coin and how we can deliver the perfect custom coins to you this year. Just fill out the price quote below to begin the process for your next custom challenge coin!

 

 

8 Designs You Can Create for Your Custom Commemorative Coins

How to Design Custom Commemorative Coins

Have you thought about the perfect design for your custom commemorative coins? Before you make a decision take a look at these excellent designs!

Looking for memorable designs for your custom commemorative coins?

Whether you need a unique emblem, a catchy bar challenge coin, or a serious memorial coin to boost the morale of your unit, a well-designed custom coin can help your organization.

Read on to find out some popular and interesting custom coin ideas to inspire you for your own creations!

1) Bar Coin Challenge Coins

custom challenge coinsMilitary challenge coins are meant to be carried and displayed with pride. If you aim to award your unit with coins they can use in bar coin challenges, then the coins should really stand out.

The challenge coin check is a popular game among servicemen. It’s played as follows.

One service member challenges another, or a whole group, to present their challenge coins. If the challenged party doesn’t have their coins with them, they must buy the challenger a drink. If everyone in the challenged party has their coins, the challenger has to buy everyone a round of drinks!

Bar challenge coins are a simple, funny, and a great way to build strong bonds among team members who have achieved a noteworthy goal. To be effective, you have to make the bar challenge coins small so they can be carried with convenience, but also catchy enough for servicemen to share a drink over their design.

2) Memorial Coins

challenge coinMemorial coins serve the original purpose of challenge coins. They remind servicemen of those who served before them, and of those who fought and fell bravely in the field.

These military coins are almost always serious and sometimes even somber. Their design is austere and invokes feelings of national pride. They boast flags, national symbols, and unit insignia.

For example, the Silent Service issues submariner memorial coins that list the hull number of every submarine that was lost defending the nation. There are many modern memorial coins that commemorate the US War of Independence, as well as the first and second world wars.

Memorial coins can also be used for police and firefighter units.

3) Animal Themed Coins

animal challenge coinAnimal themed coins are very popular among military units. They depart from the usual round design and boast all sorts of interesting shapes and colors.

Some of the most popular animal themed coin designs include coins in the shape of snakes, panthers, lions, bats, sharks, and eagles. Special operation units often issue coins that depict stealthy animals, or animals known for their ferocious ability in combat. Most recently, many units have started issuing batman-themed challenge coins in the shape of a bat.

The Naval Air Warfare Center in Orlando has issued a Mickey Mouse-shaped challenge coin that depicts submarines, destroyers, and aircraft carriers, but alludes to Disneyland, which is next to the center.

4) Wearable Coins

 

Sometimes commemorative coins don’t have to resemble a coin at all! Many units and companies create custom coins that can be worn. For example, belt buckle and dog tag coins are very popular and can really grab attention.

Both belt buckle and dog tag coins can also be used easily as bar challenge coins, because they are easy to carry and equally easy to present at a moment’s notice.

Necklace coins are less popular, because they are often made to resemble jewelry, but can be a good choice depending on whom are you awarding them to.

5) Key Chain Coins

Key chain coins are simply coins with an attachable chain. This gives them the added usability doubling as key chains. This smart design is easy to implement and costs next to nothing.

The only downside to key chain commemorative coins is that they tend to weigh a person’s key chain, especially if they have more than one. Also, the extra chain becomes a nuisance for people who don’t intend to use the coin as a key chain.

6) Usable Tiny Tool Coins

bottle opener challenge coin

One of the coolest design ideas, usable coins double as actual tools! Many mechanical units issue coins that resemble rulers, wrenches, combo spanners and even screwdrivers of tiny proportions.

These tools are all usable and can actually come in handy in the everyday lives of those who carry them.

Another very popular tool design is the bottle opener coin. You know you need a bottle opener when you’re going out, and these coins make for excellent bar challenge coins.

7) Vehicle-Shaped Coins

Naval and aerial units tend to spend a lot of time inside specific vehicles. Whether it’s a helicopter, a carrier plane or a destroyer ship, you get to practically live inside these vehicles for dozens of hours each month.

A vehicle-shaped coin will remind servicemen of the ship they serve on, and carrying one around is a great way to strike a conversation with other servicemen.

8) Funny Coins

challenge coin customNot all commemorative coins have to be serious to be unique. Seasonal coins, joke coins, and even plain silly coins are a great choice to lighten up the atmosphere or add a tone of color in your unit.

Servicemen leaving a long deployment are often awarded a South Park-themed coin that reads: “SCREW YOU GUYS. I’M GOING HOME!”, and many units feature their own inside jokes on their challenge coins.

Finding the Perfect Custom Commemorative Coins

So, are you looking for top quality custom coins? Check out Custom Challenge Coins, your one-stop-shop for an exhaustive array of custom commemorative coins.

With fifteen years of experience in the field, we develop some of the best custom coin designs in the world, featuring unique artwork and top-tier craftsmanship.

If you’re out of ideas, the experts at Custom Challenge Coins will help you get the design your unit deserves, and ship the coins to you free of charge with reputable courier services.