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 for designing a Masonic challenge coin!
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
At the core of every fraternity is a commitment to an ideal, cause, and motto that is bigger than any one individual. Although this core message is made clear to the members, it is shrouded in secrecy for everyone else.
Fraternities cannot outright state their purpose, but they do use strong symbolism to convey the meaning. This lets them maintain secrecy but speak openly amongst themselves. For your coins to have an impact, take advantage of the power of symbolism to improve the design.
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 valued the labor that we performed 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.
In addition to symbols, many traditional Masonic coins used acronyms. In most cases, these acronyms were very highly specific.
For example, one common acronym is 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 such as quarters and half-dollars. 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 more details that have deeper meaning.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?
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!