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.

Your Guide to Challenge Custom Coins

Challenge coins have a lot of value. If you’re unfamiliar with the tradition of custom coins, read all about challenge coins here.

custom coinsAn estimated 30% of war veterans will experience PTSD at least once in their lives. Every year, nearly 45,000 Americans take their own lives.

More than 50% of people are deeply unhappy with their current place of work.

Think these three statistics are unrelated?

Think again.

Whether you or someone you love has served in the military, has survived a suicide attempt, or just feels unchallenged and unappreciated in their work life, chances are that what they really need is someone to talk to, and someone to listen to them.

However, as we’ve all likely experienced, sometimes asking for help can be hard.

This is where challenge and custom coins can come into play.

But what are challenge coins, and how can they help to both improve and save lives?

Read on to find out.

The Different Uses Of Challenge Coins

So, what exactly are these custom coins, also referred to as challenge coins?

They began, primarily, as a military tradition.

In the past (and still to this day!) members of a regiment were each given a single coin. When a soldier showed their coin, it automatically meant that everyone else in the room needed to produce their coin as well. If someone had lost their coin, or simply didn’t have it on them, they would be responsible for buying everyone a round.

These custom coins not only helped to develop a strong sense of camaraderie among military members. As time progressed, the coins began to take on a more significant symbol.

After the end of their military service, military veterans often produce their coins in a civilian environment. This signals to the other vets in the room that they need someone to talk to. Perhaps they’re going through a tough bout of PTSD, maybe they’re feeling depressed, or they might just be looking for a friend.

Whatever the reason, showing custom coins and challenge coins in the “real world” is a sign that help, in any form, was needed. It is also a symbol of mutual respect and friendship — a way to find people that know exactly what you’re going through, because they’ve been there themselves.

Different Types Of Challenge Coins

Because of the high success rate of the military challenge coins, custom coin culture has exploded in recent years.

Not only are they incredible collector’s items, they can also help to celebrate a special occasion or work as a part of your employee recognition program.

Today, there are many types of coins for people from all walks of life.

For example, there are coins for firefighters, police officers, Masonic members, veterans, and even standard corporate coins.

Especially popular are suicide prevention coins, which usually come with either a yellow or white ribbon placed subtly in the design.

Whenever someone is feeling suicidal or depressed, all they need to do is present the coin to a person that they trust. The coin will serve as an unspoken signal that the person in distress needs immediate attention — without them having to do anything other than hand the coin over.

In short, no matter which type of profession you want to help commemorate, chances are that there are already several custom coins for it.

How Custom Coins Help People

Now that you know all about the different types and uses of challenge coins, let’s take a look at how they actually help people.

First of all, especially for those who once served in the military, it’s easy to feel forgotten or overlooked. It’s also hard not to feel like a burden upon a return to civilian life.

These coins help veterans — and their family members — to open up the lines of communication. In some cases, challenge coins are even used as recruitment tools.

When a new member of the military gets their challenge coin, it’s like getting an acceptance into an exclusive club. Some may even choose to have a special ceremony to commemorate the occasion.

Challenge coins are also a wonderful and effective way to boost employee morale, and to make the people working for you feel valued.

The flexibility of the meaning of challenge coins makes them the perfect solution for nearly any workplace issue.

Is someone dealing with sexual harassment at work, or is a survivor of assault? They can simply hand their coin over to a human resources representative to signal safely and without drawing attention to themselves that they need help.

Want to incorporate more employee feedback in your leadership style at the office? When an employee hands you their coin, it can signal that they’re having a problem or see an issue that needs addressing privately.

Need Custom Coins? Let Us Help

We hope that this post has helped you to better understand the meaningful — and sometimes truly lifesaving — history behind challenge coins.

Now that you know more about how they can help to unite veterans, your employees, those struggling with mental illness, and much more?

It’s time to have your own custom coins created.

That’s where we come in.

We offer a wide range of classic designs, in addition to working with you to create custom artwork that will make your coins stand out.

Spend some time on our website to learn more about how our years of experience, dedication to quality craftsmanship, and expertise in dealing with sensitive issues surrounding challenge coins can help you to create the perfect pieces.

We offer your 100% satisfaction guarantee, and our glowing testimonials speak for themselves. Reach out to us to get your custom price quote today.