Tips For Designing Military Challenge Coins

Designing great military challenge coins is easy with a few design tips.

Military challenge coins are more than a tradition. They have become a staple of military life for all armed services branches. These small tokens hold significant value to their recipients, and they have a pretty storied past. While challenge coins have expanded far outside of the military, they are still used by the armed services in several ways. For those looking to show their appreciation to troops past and present, a commanding officer, or even as tokens of appreciation for friends and family, custom challenge coins are a great way to do so. Challenge coins are great for members of your unit or even as a gift to a military family member as something to remember extraordinary achievements and accomplishments. However you present your challenge coins, you want something that is meaningful and memorable. Today we discuss a handful of tips for designing military challenge coins. Keep reading below to find out more.

Personal Meaning 

A challenge coin tells a story, and many of them are host to personal details with meaning. Don't get stuck with the standard challenge coin design. Remember, custom challenge coins can be created to showcase any unique information related to the recipient. I can be anything from inside jokes to tools of the trade. But keep in mind, the more impressive the coin, the more meaning it has to its owner. Challenge coins do not always have to be formal or serious. Military members receive many coins throughout their career, and the most unique always stand out. Designing a coin that brings positive emotions to the recipient is essential. Include details related to the unit, including logos, symbols, important locations, dates, or landmarks. If you know, the recipient comes from a particular state or region, include elements that relate to their hometown. It's all about the details when it comes to challenge coins, so think creatively and design a coin that people will be proud to carry and display. 

The Details 

The most minor details can be the most important. They are often what gets the viewer's attention at first glance. Adding unique information to a challenge coin gives it depth and makes it memorable. Challenge coins are typically small in size, but small details can have a major impact. Paying attention to the intricate details will bring your coins to life. While the imagery and text are vital, the other elements make for a distinctive touch. Even the edges of your challenge coin can be customized. Different edge options will enhance the look of your design, or you can even choose to add sequential numbering to the edge for a touch of exclusivity. Keep in mind that every aspect of the challenge coin can be customized, which means you can add secrets in the coin's details, which will only be released upon closer inspection. Be thoughtful and design a challenge coin that will stand out.

Add Color 

Another way to make your coin stand out is through the use of color. Typically military challenge coins are colorless, though that is changing. Adding color will enhance your design and reveal details that wouldn't ordinarily be seen. Much like creating a logo, adding color is a powerful tool to affect mood or reaction. Incorporate color into your coin and make it different. Warm colors like red, yellow, and orange add a nice touch, especially when paired with warm-colored finishes like gold or copper. Color makes the design look different and exceptional. 

Design The Back 

Keep in mind that a coin has two sides. While many people opt to keep the front and back alike, you can customize it. If you want to keep the attention on the front of the coin, keep the back simple and straightforward. You can put a simple phrase or image or even a military branch logo if it's not featured on the front. If you want to add value to your coin, be sure that the front and back complement each other. You can even continue the design onto the back for a looping design. There are no limits to what you can create, so design a coin that will be remembered fondly for years to come. 

Don't Do Too Much 

Challenge coins feature a lot of details. However, too many details can be too much. Adding symbols such as logos of the military branch or the American flag is a good idea. However, you want to limit the number of characters you add to the coin. If you have a lot of visual elements of the design, keep the text short. On the other hand, keep the visual elements to a minimum if you have a lot of text. You want to create a bold and unique coin; however, you don't want a design that is chaotic and overloaded with information. Be sure to keep the elements cohesive throughout the coin, including the details on the back of your coin. Don't do too much but be sure to include the important features.

At, we know what a well-designed custom challenge coin looks like. Now that you know what it takes to create a stunning custom coin, why not get started on a custom coin of your own? We have been in the industry for over fifteen years, and we are committed to providing top-quality products with unbeatable customer service.

Do you have questions about how your coin design can be brought to life? We have the answers.  If you have any questions about military challenge coins, feel free to ask. Give us a call toll-free at (855) 272-8451 or email us. You can also get a free quote on your design if you already have something in mind. Challenge coins have never been easier to create. Let us show you!


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.