Lapel pins are purposive accessories. They display one’s affiliations and achievements, delivering this information through one image. They come in a variety of designs, depending on the need of the client.
But just as there are different styles, there are also varied ways of producing a lapel pin. After the final design has been submitted, the next step is to determine the manufacturing process. This will affect not only the price but the appearance of the finished pin as well.
For the prospective client’s guide, here are the descriptions of some manufacturing processes used for the production of lapel pins.
Cloisonné pins are identified by their hard enamel, polished look. They are considered high quality pins – sometimes even akin to jewelry – because of the intricacy of their design. The process of creating Cloisonné pins dates centuries ago. It was invented in South East Asia by a Chinese man. It is made by pouring enamel into a mold, color by color. Only one color can be added at a time, which makes the process laborious. Once finished, the material is baked on a kiln with high temperatures. The product is finally polished to give it a luster. These lapel pins are considered top of the line.
The opposite of hard enamel pins, soft enamel pins are made through a process known as die-struck. Color is added by painting on the pin with a small brush. These pins are also referred to as embossed pins because the grid sits higher than the colors. An advantage of choosing a soft enamel pin is that Pantone color matching is available. This means that there are more colors available for production. However, since the pins are hand-painted, soft enamel pins are also relatively expensive.
If the metal look is what one wants to achieve, die struck pins are perhaps the pin of choice. These are described to have a classic, dignified look. Their main difference with the hard and soft enamel pins is the lack of color. Thus, if die struck pins are offered as collectibles or for trading, they will be perceived as having a lower value compared to the other two. However, die struck pins are perfect for recognition and promotional awards and events.
Offset digital printing of pins, on the other hand, is used when the design is particularly complicated, such as one that contains multiple gradients. With this method, the design is digitally processed and then printed on the pin. Depending on the wants of the client, metal can be added on the front for added style. Clear epoxy is then lathered on the pin for protection.
Silk screening is a process usually employed for t-shirts, but this can also be used for the production of lapel pins. This is used particularly if the client wants the pin to turn out exactly like the submitted design. This method can be expensive depending on the number of colors because each would have a separate plate for application. The result, however, is satisfying because it would match the colors of the design exactly.
Finally, photo etched pins are the economical version of cloisonné pins. Photo etching imitates the quality of these hard enamel pins but for the lesser price. Using chemical science, acid is employed to etch the design on the metal plate, commonly made of copper or brass. The colors are then inserted, one by one, on the etched areas. After this, the pins are fired on a kiln. Clear epoxy is added to protect the finish. The result is quality akin to that of a Cloisonné lapel pin.
Each process comes with a specific set of prices. Some are more expensive than others owing to the laborious manufacturing process. This is why it is important that clients first determine the kind of pin that they want made.