How to Produce an Enamel Pin in 2018
To begin, you'll need a design idea/concept. You don't necessarily need a design finished, but a fully fleshed out idea is good to have. Create a unique, new pin concept. Make something you have never seen before. If you are not especially artistic, you can find a friend who is, and ask them to help you put the idea to paper.
Once drawn up, take a high-resolution photo of the design (preferably in pen or marker, in fact) or a scan of the image. You will need to turn this "raster" image file and create a "vector" file from it. You can have someone familiar with Adobe Illustrator take care of it for you, or you could get the program and learn how to vectorize images yourself.
Pin Production Basics
You've got a good idea, you've got a step towards putting together the artwork itself, what now? You need a factory connection to get your pin order quoted by, and then to find others to compare the offers and overall seeming professionalism of each company you contact.
The best advice for your artwork's structure I can give is to imitate the line structure of a stained glass window. Single shades of color, NOT gradients, in fully bounded areas with thick, strong linework. You should really take advantage of the ability for contrast in the design, to help such a small design stand out to people.
Once you have the linework done, I recommend creating a load of different color variations to decide from. You can find color palettes online that are nice combinations of colors that give a certain "vibe," these are great for inspiration. Make ten color variations, even if you'll only make 2 to start, so that they are the best you can come up with.
Your factory is going to rely on a set of information alongside the design itself to give you a price quote, that you must give them. This consists of the size of the pins, the quantity ordered, the metal plating style you want, as well as the information for the reverse side i.e. how many posts, textual backstamp, serial numbering, etc. perhaps a logo!
Let’s go through what each of these bits of the order really entails...
How do you Pick the Size of Your Pins?
Smaller pins (diameter of, say, less than 1.25") are usually preferred for wearing out and about, since they're lightweight and not "clunky." You can fit an absurd amount of detail in a 1.75" or 2" pin, but those pins tend to be ones destined for the collection board.
Smaller pins are going to cost you less to produce. But they're harder to charge as much for when selling them yourself. Depending on your situation, you may think making smaller $10 pins is the way to go, or perhaps going for super detailed larger pins and selling them for $20.
How do you Choose How Many Pins to Make?
A common misconception is that all factories have an MOQ (minimum order quantity) of 100 pins. In fact, many factories will make you a run of 25 or 50 pins of a certain design. You're just not going to get quite as good a deal since no matter what the mold fee lump sum is unavoidable.
Remember that, as long as the design allows, you'll quite possibly sell some 10-packs and wholesale packs so think about how much demand you've got on your hands when deciding the size of your first order. You don't want to order way more of a design that you're not 100% confident in the future sales performance of your pin. A good number to start with, is, in fact, 100 pins. Sometimes classic is the best way to go!
Enamel Style and Metal Plating Style
You're going to have to decide, Soft Enamel or Hard Enamel. Soft Enamel is better for intricate detail and pins with more texture to them. Hard Enamel pins are flat on the top and the cells are not recessed creating a linework texture. Hard Enamel will cost you a bit more than Soft.
You'll have loads of metal plating style options... nickel, black nickel, silver nickel, brass, copper, plus Antiqued <insert one of the previous metals>, Matte <insert one of the previous metals>. Ask your factory for a comparison photo of all the different options they have. They may even have colored metals, like white, or blue.
A few things to remember when deciding what factory to give a chance. Make sure the factory is willing to meet your needs as a client. It may be worth asking, if there is an error with the production, will you reimburse the cost or remake the run of pins? Do you accept half up front half when finished (quite standard)? Will they send you their copy of the artwork after getting the design and the details so you can see how the pins will look? The answer to ALL of these had ought to be YES. If you have some quick questions I could answer, message me on my Facebook Page.