About Custom Lapel Pins

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Custom lapel pins

Custom Lapel Pins

A custom enamel pins is a small pin worn on clothing, sometimes worn on the lapel of a jacket. Lapel pins can be ornamental or can indicate an affiliation with an organization or cause.

Custom Lapel pins can be used as symbol of achievement and belonging in different group or organizations. Custom enamel pins from the organization are often collected by members and non-members alike. Businesses also use custom lapel pins to designate achievements and membership. Enamel pins are a common element of employee recognition programs, and they are presented to individuals as a symbol of an accomplishment.  Like fraternity and sorority pins, these lapel pins instill a sense of belonging to an elite group of performers at the organization. Businesses also award lapel pins to employees more frequently to boost employee morale, productivity, and employee engagement.  The Soviet Union had great production of these. Besides pins showing political figures and as souvenirs for tourist spots, there were pins for various sports, cultural, and political gatherings and for technical achievements of the Soviet Union. The pins had counter cultural meanings as well; for example, the pin featuring the robot spacecraft  (which approached and docked with Kosmos 188) had a sexual connotation. In recent years, Enamel Lapel pins collecting and trading  has also become a popular hobby. Demand for Custom Lapel pin design online based on popular cartoon characters and themes such as Disney, Rick and Morty and Hard Rock Cafe has surged and led to the creation of the lapel pin trading events and other social activities. Disney lapel pin trading is a prime example of this.

Popular Lapel Pin usage

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Lapel Pin Design

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Enamel Pin design starts off very similar to animation. Everything is literally hand drawn with a blue line. It is done either digitally or on paper with a light-box to plan out all of the elements and artwork that make up the design. Once the design is approved, it is inked, colored, and placed on a mechanical sheet, which is like a blueprint for the pin, with appropriate measurements and call-outs for manufacturing the parts.

Almost all custom lapel pins are created and ordered online. The manufacturing is currently done in China, specifically in and around Kunshan, a satellite city in the greater Suzhou region that is administratively at the county-level in southeast Jiangsu, China, just outside Shanghai. Inexpensive labor in China has made non-Chinese production of enamel pins non-existent.In the die struck manufacturing process, there are five basic types of pins: cloisonné/hard enamel, soft enamel, die struck, photo etched, screen printed and 4-color printed.  In all processes, the outer shape of the pin is stamped out from a sheet of steel, aluminum, copper, brass, or iron. In the case of cloisonne and soft enamel, the shape and the design are stamped out.

Modern Manufacturing Process

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Cloisonné Lapel Pin

Sometimes called epola or hard enamel, cloisonné is stamped out from a sheet of copper. The stamping leaves recessed areas, or pools, which are filled with enamel powder and high fired at 800 – 900 degrees. After cooling, the surface of the pin is ground down to a smooth finish and then the copper is plated.

Soft Enamel
Lapel Pin

This process is like epola and cloisonné in that strips of metal separate areas of color. Unlike cloisonné, the areas of color rest below the metal strip surface, which can be felt when you run your finger over the surface. Like the photo etched process, the top can be covered with protective epoxy so that the piece appears smooth.


This process begins by printing the art or design on vinyl or paper and then applying it to a metal pin base. The vinyl is then coated with an epoxy dome that protects the art from wear and the elements. This process is gaining in popularity because of advances in printing resolutions and the ability to complete these pins quickly in the United States.


4-colors process, a.k.a.offset printing, allows for bleeds and blends of colors, as is used in magazines. The colors are printed in the traditional CMYK process. This style is can be used for complex art and photo reproduction. An unlimited amount of colors can be used.

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