Designing Custom Challenge Coins: Incorporating Art and Imagery

Designing Custom Challenge Coins: Incorporating Art and Imagery

Designing custom coins with proper artwork and imagery doesn't have to be a challenge. Learn to embed your values into a coin that shines with significance. Start crafting a token that tells your story and holds more than just value—it holds tradition.

Challenge coins have a long history in the military. Today, other organizations of all types are recognizing the benefits of creating custom coins. These coins serve as symbols of membership, recognition, and achievement.

Developing custom challenge coins is more than choosing a metal and shape. Properly incorporating imagery into the design can significantly enhance the look and effectiveness of the coin.

Here, we are going to explore how understanding the art of challenge coins can make your design more effective, the process for creating coins, and how to properly incorporate art into the design.

Understanding the Art and Imagery of Challenge Coins

Challenge coins are often adorned with a range of art elements, including symbols, logos, crests, and mottos. The artwork used on custom challenge coins serves as an emblem of unity and represents the purpose and values of the organization. It is important to choose art elements that are meaningful, significant and representative of the values and mission of the organization. 

When creating challenge coins, consider the symbolism and meaning behind each design element. Incorporating well-chosen art elements into your design not only adds to its aesthetic appeal, but also enhances its significance. When done correctly, challenge coins can be powerful tools for reinforcing unity, recognizing achievements, and fostering a sense of belonging.

For example, a military challenge coin could include a branch insignia or a patriotic symbol,such as the American flag. A custom coin for a law enforcement agency might feature a badge or a depiction of a police officer. A corporate challenge coin might incorporate a company logo or an image related to the company's mission or values.

When adding details, such as logos and crests, ensure the composition accurately reflects the coin's purpose. The design should be visually appealing and easily recognizable. When it looks properly balanced and has that "just right" appearance, you'll know.

The Design Process for Custom Challenge Coins

The process of creating custom coins involves several steps. Before starting to design a coin, assess the following factors:

  • Size: The size of the challenge coin will affect its overall appearance. Choose a size that is appropriate for the intended use of the coin.
  • Shape: The shape of the coin can be round, rectangular, or virtually any custom shape. Consider the shape that works best for the design.
  • Metal type: Various metals, including brass, copper, nickel, and aluminum, can be used to make challenge coins. The metal type you choose should be durable and high quality to ensure that the coin lasts for years.
  • Color: Adding color, including contrasting and complementary colors, can accent challenge coins. Consider a color scheme that best portrays the business or brand.

After evaluating these factors, the next step is to work with a professional coin designer to bring your vision to life. A reputable coin designer will have the expertise and experience to create a visually appealing and effective layout conveying the message you want to share.

Incorporating Art Into the Design

When integrating art into a coin design, think about the visual effect of the elements used. The artwork should be eye-catching and memorable.

Consider the message you want to convey. For example, if your organization supports the military, add images of soldiers in action or use military symbols. If your organization focuses on environmental protection, use depictions of nature or wildlife.

Balancing the visual components with the message is key to creating an effective coin. A professional coin designer can help you find the right balance, ensuring that the challenge coin symbolizes what you want it to.

Also consider the placement of the imagery on the coin. The layout should be aesthetically pleasing, with the elements properly balanced and spaced. The artwork should be centered and easily recognizable, making it the focal point of the coin.

3D Adds Depth

The use of 3D designs, such as raised relief or embossing, can greatly enhance the appearance of challenge coins. The 3D element will give  your coins depth and dimension, making them stand out from traditional flat coins. The added depth and texture of 3D designs can create an eye-catching and unique design, making the coin not only visually appealing but also more memorable. 

When incorporating 3D elements into the design of a challenge coin, it is important to evaluate the size and placement of the details. Design elements should be proportionate to the overall size of the coin, and one should carefully consider their placement. Adding 3D elements can create a visually stunning coin.

Another factor to consider when including art and imagery in the design is color. Using multiple colors can make the artwork more eye-catching, but it is important to choose colors that complement each other and do not detract from the overall aesthetic of the design. The colors used should also reflect the organization or group.

Incorporating text into the design is another consideration. The text should be clear and easy to read, with a font appropriate for the coin's intended use. The text should be placed in an easily visible location, making it easy to understand the message conveyed by the coin.

Designing custom challenge coins is a meaningful way to recognize and reward members, commemorate achievements, or promote a message. When adding art, it is necessary to evaluate the influence of each feature, the placement of the details, and the overall look of the design.

The bottom line is simple. It's not difficult to design great-looking, meaningful challenge coins. A little bit of attention to your design and it's individual elements will enable you to craft the perfect coin for your needs.

By working with a professional coin designer, you can ensure that your custom coin has a lasting effect on those who receive it. Custom challenge coins, whether used for recognition, achievement, or membership, are valuable keepsakes that people will treasure for years. Find out more tips for designing the perfect challenge coins and let’s get started creating yours today! Let us help you create memorable keepsake coins for any occasion.

Jesse Daugherty

Jesse Daugherty


Hello, I'm Jesse Daugherty, a music enthusiast, sports aficionado, and an avid supporter of the arts. I'm a writer and content creator. For the past 5 years, I've shared my knowledge of custom challenge coins and other promotional products, exploring their designs, meaning, and purpose.