Pin Ordering FAQ

Pins FAQ


1.What type of lapel pin should my client use?

At Full Designs, we offer many different pin processes to satisfy your client’s needs. With a lot of choice comes a lot of details, we’d like to take a minute to make your client’s choice easier.


2.What is the difference between Soft Enamel and Hard Enamel?

Both of these coloring methods are available on either die-struck or die cast pins. Both of these colorfill processes apply as a liquid, and areas to be filled need to be completely enclosed with metal lines. The difference is that Soft Enamel fills like nail polish, keeps a liquid “look”, and the colorfilled areas are recessed and provide a tactile feel. Soft enamel pins are durable, beautiful and long lasting.

Hard Enamel is like car paint, it needs to be baked to achieve it’s permanent finish, and the enamel rises like bread, completely filling the colorfilled areas up to the surface of the pin. Much more had work is required to finish a hard enamel pin. They are jewelry like, and will last forever if taken care of.

For traditional soft and hard enamel pins, no shading or gradients are possible and all detail lines and small lettering will be in the metal finish of the pin.


Additional Silkscreen printing on hard enamel, soft enamel, and all-metal pins.

For logos that absolutely require small lettering in colors, we can laser print, or silkscreen directly on the finished surface of the pin. There is a small extra charge for this durable, colorful printing.


3.What is Economy Soft Enamel or Economy Hard Enamel?

When we use the term “economy”, it signifies that the base metal is steel (sometimes called iron by other suppliers). The traditional metal for pin making is Brass, Steel is slightly cheaper and looks exactly the same once plated. Our manager recommends using Steel whenever possible, except in circumstances where having a magnetic metal is not safe (medical clients, dental clients, similar…).


4.What are die struck and die cast?

Die struck pins start with a blank piece of metal. A custom carved, heat tempered die strikes the blank metal with thousands of pounds of force, creating the depressions that will become colorfills (soft or hard enamel) or recessed textures (all-metal, die-struck antique, die-struck sandblasted). It also leaved the raised lines that will become the small lettering and detail lines for your pin design. Die striking is the traditional method of creating pins, and steel and brass die struck pins have a hefty weight and high detail finish.

Die casting uses heat tempered molds, which are then filled with molten zinc, to create the metal base for your pin. After cooling the zinc is plated to your choice of finish and then colorfilled if requested. Zinc is light and thicker products can be made from zinc adding a higher perceived value without increasing shipping weight. Casting is a very versatile process and many special shapes and cut-outs can be done in casting that would be more difficult in die striking.

Either process can be colorfilled with hard or soft enamel to help you create the perfect award or recognition product.


5.What is offset printing?

Offset printing uses blanks of brass, steel, aluminum or other metals, in a 4 color silkscreen process directly to the pin. The printed pin is then coated with a clear epoxy or polyurethane dome to protect the image. Offset printing is best for logos with a lot of gradients or shading. It’s a budget process and good for large scale giveaways and promos. For further economy we can do offset printing on Brass, Steel (iron), or Aluminum.


6. What is Dyed Metal Plating?

One of our specialties is Dyed Metal Plating. Normally, pins are plated in Nickel (silver tone) or Brass (gold tone), in addition to these choices, we offer hypoallergenic Nickel Silver, Black Nickel, 24k Gold, Copper, Antiques, and Dyed Metal. A traditional Enameled pin would have either gold or silver tone for the small lettering and fine detail of the pin.

We have perfected the Dyed Metal plating process and can offer metal plating in most PMS matches colors. The finish is slightly more matte than Dyed Black or Black anodized, but can be done in a variety of colors such as yellow, white, green and red plating.


7. With all of these options, how can I choose?
The first question to ask your client is “how will these pins be used?”. Our recommendation is to use the budget processes for giveaway pins. Economy Soft Enamel, Offset Printing, Sandblasted, are all great giveaways when the design is appropriate.

If your client is looking for a corporate, civil, or education anniversary pin, we recommend Hard Enamel, Sandblasted, Die Cast with 24k gold finish, or another high-end, jewelry like process.

For retail and bonus items, all of our processes will work great. Die Struck Soft Enamel is a good baseline, and will do well in retail, music merch, comic merch, and pop culture pins. For high end retail, Hard Enamel is still the king!