The Key Differences Between 2D and 3D Challenge Coins

The choice of 2D or 3D coins depends on your specific design

Challenge coins have an undeniable value that can be seen and felt. A thoughtfully designed coin will garner attention, and there are many ways to make your coin unique. Custom coins come in a variety of shapes and sizes and 2D and 3D designs. 2D coins feature a classic look perfect for logos, simple fonts, and emblems. They have one raised level above the base surface, creating edges and recesses that form flat images. 3D coins have infinite levels of raised and recessed details, allowing sculpted components and rounded edges to have a realistic look. That’s just the beginning of their differences. Let's examine the distinctions between 2D and 3D coins and see which may be the best option for you.


The art and imagery of your coin stand out to people. The art is the most significant difference between 2D and 3D challenge coins. 2D coins are better suited for flat illustrations, perfect for coins with simple attributes. 3D challenge coins are vivid and detailed because of their sculpted nature. 2D coins are better for simple images such as cartoon mascots and logos, while 3D coins boast realistic-looking components.


Adding color to 2D coins is easy. Color may be added to the two levels of 2D coins. Adding a pop of color to the raised and recessed levels makes the coin more vibrant and eye-catching. 3D coins are better suited for designs with minimal color or no color. 3D coins have no area to contain the liquid enamel. If you do want to add color to 3D coins, other parts of the surface can be filled to accent the 3D design.

2D Custom Challenge Coins

2D challenge coins cannot add as many details as 3D coins, but they may feature outstanding customizations that are key to a well-designed coin. For colorful coins, 2D designs are the best bet. It's easy to add color to a 2D design, making for a bold and contrasting look. 2D coins are better suited for smaller coins. The elements of the coin will look great no matter the size of your coin. Smaller points can become lost or hard to distinguish on 3D coins. 2D coins are also prominent for coins with high polish plating. High polish will make the pieces of any 2D design stand out. Light reflected from the surface will dull the appearance of the sloping and curved edges of a 3D coin.

3D Custom Challenge Coins

3D coins are ideal for artwork with depth and texture. 3D challenge coins are perfect when paired with realistic designs. While 2D and 3D coins can be cut-to-shape, 3D coins accentuate the details with a unique shape. 3D designs look incredible with antique plating, highlighting attributes and creating even more depth. 3D coins have intricate aspects and look better on larger coins. 3D elements are hard to make out on smaller coins.

It's essential to capture your ideas when creating memorable challenge coins. Understanding the differences between 2D and 3D designs will help you design the perfect coin. Take a minute to find out about 2D and 3D challenge coins and all the other options right here.

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.