Fraternal Lapel Pin Question & Answer Guide from Fratline
How to Avoid Costly Mistakes When Designing and Ordering a Custom Lapel Pin or Emblem
This guide contains excerpts from the handbook, The Ultimate How-To Guide for Creating Your Custom Fraternal Lapel Pin. To learn how to obtain a copy of The Ultimate How-To Guide For Creating Your Custom Fraternal Lapel Pin, please refer to the end of this guide or visit www.fratline.net
It’s no secret that the members of fraternal organizations, clubs and associations enjoy receiving, wearing and even collecting lapel pins. Lapel pins identify the individual as a member and they are a great source of pride for those who wear them. Badges, medals and insignia of membership are as old as the institutions themselves. Lapel pins and emblematic jewelry items have become an important part of fraternal culture the world over.
Fraternal organizations can use custom lapel pins in a variety of ways. Lapel pins are used to promote membership, commemorate the term of a presiding officer, celebrate anniversaries, recognize veteran members and raise funds for charitable and other projects.
Lapel pins and emblematic jewelry are (1) VERSATILE – appropriate for men and women; older members appreciate them and youth think they’re fun; they come in virtually limitless sizes, shapes and color combination's. (2) DURABLE – they last; most people have emblematic jewelry items that were handed down from their parents and grandparents. (3) COST EFFECTIVE – no other item can be customized by size, shape, quantity and process to fit any budget.
Now I’ll answer common questions associated with ordering custom lapel pins.
What things should I consider when designing my custom pin?
The elements of your design will include: theme, symbols, colors, shape and size. Your theme will depend greatly on the purpose of the pin. For example: If you’re designing a pin to commemorate your term as presiding officer, maybe you have adopted a slogan that embodies your goal for the term. This slogan can be incorporated into your design in order to promote your theme during the term. If you’re designing a pin to celebrate your organization’s anniversary you’ll want to include the name, location and anniversary date into the design.
What symbols or emblems should I include?
Most fraternal organizations have many symbols from which to choose, each with their own meaning. However, there is usually one primary symbol or logo that is most commonly used. In Freemasonry, it’s the square and compasses with the letter “G”. With the Odd fellows, it’s the “three links”. In some organizations the presiding officer may adopt an emblem he or she likes that’s not necessarily taken from the ritual or symbolism of the organization. How about a bird, flower or fruit? If you’re from Georgia, a peach would be appropriate. You can use one symbol or several, the choice is yours.
How should I determine what, if any colors to use?
Does your organization have standard colors that you would like to include? The Order of the Eastern Star’s primary symbol contains five colors that make a beautiful emblem. Choose colors that you like. If you’re of Irish heritage, use some green. When asked about the color, you’ll have the opportunity to talk about it! Pins don’t always have to include color. Many designs look beautiful in bright gold or silver finishes without enameling. With the variety of manufacturing processes, the sky is the limit. You may want to consider a die struck pin that has an “antique” or even a “sandblasted” finish.
What shape and size should I choose?
There are literally hundreds of “standard” shapes of pins. Standard shapes include: round, oval, square, rectangle, triangle, state outlines, flags and everything in between. Membership pins and presiding officer pins are often made in the shape of the respective state or jurisdiction. Would your symbol be a good overall shape for your pin? If your primary symbol / emblem is an apple, you could make the outer shape that of an apple, put additional symbols and your name and year inside the shape and enamel it in red. Sometimes the information and symbols to be included on the pin dictate the shape.
The size of your pin is very important. A good rule to follow is this: If you can’t easily read what’s on the pin, it’s too small! Pins are typically made in sizes from 1/2″ to 1-1/2″ and cost varies with size. After you’ve sketched out your design and decided on a shape, you’re ready to select a size. A trick to determining size is to use a photocopier. For best results, draw your design on plain white paper using black ink. Place the paper on the photocopier and shrink the image. Keep shrinking it until it looks right to you and the wording is still legible. Using a ruler, measure the design at the longest distance between points. Example: a square is measured diagonally.
How do I know what manufacturing process will be the best choice for my design?
We offer several manufacturing processes to our customers. By far, the most popular processes are Cloisonné and Acid Etched Soft Enamel. You must consider how much detail your pin will require because some processes may not be suited to your design. For example: If exact color matching is required, some processes can’t be used. Review the processes offered and take a look at quality samples. When in doubt, forward your design sketch for a professional recommendation.
What is included in the price of a custom pin?
We can only answer this question using our own policies. Our base price includes standard shapes, gold or nickel plating, up to five colors of your choice, an epoxy dome (if applicable), a military clutch back or safety pin attachment and individual poly bag packaging.
I’ve heard that I must pay a die charge in order to have a custom pin made?
Again, we can only answer this question using our own policies. While it’s true that the majority of lapel pin suppliers make customers pay die and set-up charges, that’s NOT our practice. Die charges for custom pins can range from $75 to $300 or more from other sources. M. Warren & Co. is a DIRECT supplier. Due to the volume of custom fraternal lapel pins we sell, we are able to pass incredible savings on to our customers. With M. Warren & Co. there are NEVER any lapel pin die charges, set-up charges or color match fees.
How many pins should I order?
The answer to this question depends on several factors. Whether the pins are to be sold or distributed at no cost; the size of the organization; in what time frame will the pins be distributed; etc. We suggest that you be conservative. You don’t want to get “stuck” with a bunch left over. Besides, you can always order more.
How long will it take to manufacture my custom pin?
In general, we ask that our customers allow six to eight weeks. By allowing ample time you won’t have to worry about your order being delayed. Also, you’ll avoid rush charges and expensive express delivery costs.
We have specialized in custom fraternal lapel pins for over eight years. Notice that we said FRATERNAL lapel pins. Fratline (TM) has quickly become the best known name in custom fraternal lapel pins and emblems. Of course, there are a number of companies from which you could purchase your custom pin, but none have the combined years of experience, involvement in the organizations and the best guarantee – 100% Satisfaction.
We’re sure you agree that it makes sense to order from folks who know about your organization and understand your needs. We are proud members of most of the organizations that we serve. Because we specialize, we have compiled one of the most complete libraries of fraternal emblems available.
When you choose M. Warren & Co. to supply your custom pins, you can depend on: the best selection to fill your needs, quality to meet your demands, competitive pricing to fit your budget and on-time delivery to meet your schedule.
Thanks for reading!
By B. Shawn Warren, CEO
Fratline Emblematics by M. Warren & Co.
Fratline Emblematics by M. Warren & Co.
Shawn Warren is President of M. Warren & Co. located in Louisville, Kentucky. He is a member and past presiding officer of several fraternal organizations. Since 1991, M. Warren & Co. has been supplying fraternal groups and associations with custom lapel pins, emblematic jewelry and souvenirs. Fratline Emblematics has quickly become the best known name in custom fraternal lapel pins and emblems nationwide. M. Warren & Co. is listed with the Jeweler’s Board of Trade, Kentucky Manufacturer’s Register and the Advertising Specialty Institute. In 1996, Shawn received certification from the Gemological Institute of America as an insurance replacement appraiser. He is also a graduate of the Drouhard National Jewelers School, Columbus, Ohio.