When communicating with clients, we often meet a question: Our customers are unsure which type of lapel pins to choose.

In this article, we’ll explore various badge types and their applications, so when you’re customizing badges, you can make informed decisions like an expert!

Based on the differences in craftsmanship, badges can be categorized into the following types:

Soft Enamel Pins

Soft Enamel Pins are called “soft,” but they are not soft; they are hard. The terms “soft” and “hard” refer to the method of craftsmanship rather than the actual hardness of the lapel pins. The characteristic of an enamel badge is that the metal lines are raised, while the color fills are recessed. From your eyes, the highs and lows are distinct, and the texture can be felt clearly when touched.

Enamel badges feature solid colors, with each color separated by metal lines without any gradient. If you see badges with gradient colors, those hues are printed on afterward.

Soft enamel pins are suitable for both simple and complex designs in 2D/3D. This makes them incredibly versatile, ideal for hat pins, company logos, and original designs by artists.

Hard Enamel Pins

Hard enamel pins are similar to soft enamel pins. Different from soft enamel pins, hard enamel badges are with shiny & flat surfaces. This is because in production, the surface will be highly polished. so it means hard enamel pins are restricted to 2D designs, which is why you’ll find them in prestigious collections such as Olympic and Disney pins. They are high in quality and ideal for collecting and retaining their color without fading even after 20 years when displayed in cabinets or badge display cases.

3D Pins

3D badges shows a three-dimensional effect on the surface, giving them a distinctive look. 3D pin is ideal for simple, single-color designs. They are generally made from materials like zinc alloy or copper.

Vintage Pins

Vintage badges refer to those with a retro metallic finish, such as antique bronze, antique silver, and antique copper. These badges are commonly used on denim clothes and jackets and are also frequently seen in costumes in theaters or plays.

Logo Pins

Logo badges are straightforward; they transform a brand’s logo into a wearable badge for members’ attire. Commonly seen with banks, schools, clubs, and other organizations, these badges are typically small, around 1 inch in size, and feature simple designs primarily using the enamel painting process.

Printed Pins

Printed badges, as the name implies, involve printing a logo or design directly onto the badge. They are suitable for complex designs. Printing pin is not very popular in the market due to the print fading over time, they are not ideal for long-term wear. The primary materials for printed badges are stainless steel, aluminum, and bronze, suitable for mass production.

Magnetic Pins

Magnetic badges refer to badges that use a magnet as their attachment. In fact, a magnet can be attached to the back of any badge, regardless of the manufacturing process. Therefore, magnetic badges are suitable for all types of lapel pins. The most popular use for magnetic badges is as refrigerator magnets or nameplates.

Spinner Pins

Spinner badges are composed of 2-3 pieces, with one part rotating, making them both fun and visually appealing. It is trendy. Spinner badges can be made using various techniques such as enamel, cloisonné, or printing processes.

These badges typically range in size from 1.75” to 2.25”. If they are too small, they lose much of their fun.

Hinged Pins

Book-style badges can open and close just like a book. The most popular design for this type of badge is the Bible. However, they are not very popular in the market due to its high cost.

Based on usage. Patches can be classified into:

Military Pins

Military badges symbolize supreme honor and responsibility. They can be seen on police uniforms, military attire, and in veterans’ collections. The individuals who possess these badges have surely made contributions or sacrifices for their country or armed forces.

Award Pins

Award badges are typically presented during organizational, corporate, or academic events. They are given to workers or students who have exhibited exemplary performance. These badges symbolize excellence and often feature the logos of the company or school.

Flag Pins

Flag pins display the flag of a country and often symbolize patriotic sentiment.

Hat Pins

Hat badges are designed to be worn on hats and are popular among the youth for their ability to personalize headwear with flair. Designs vary widely, from phrases and animal motifs to alternative styles or club logos. They attach securely to hats, ensuring they do not fall off.

How to choose the proper pin type for your design?

Many customers ask when customizing badges: Which type of badge suits my design? The answer is quite straightforward. It depends on personal preferences. Some people prefer to high quality, hard enamel pin is a better choice. Others prefer a smooth, shiny surface, in which case, cloisonné badges are the way to go.

From a professional manufacturing perspective, we usually advise customers based on the following criteria:


If the design is simple, both enamel and cloisonné badges are suitable. However, if the design is complex,  a soft enamel pin might be more suitable.


If the customer prefers something more affordable, enamel badges would be a better fit.

3D Design

For 3D designs, like buildings or airplanes, that have strong three-dimensional details. If your design involves color filling, 2D design is fine

Rotating and book-style badges have a unique design, typically made up of two parts. These badges have high design recognition.

By considering these aspects, you can choose a badge type that best fits your design and meets your preferences.


After reading this article, do you have a better understanding of the different types of badges? If you are looking to customize badges, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help you choose the perfect badge to meet your needs.

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