How to Design Backer Cards for Custom Pins

A backer card (or backing card) is a piece of card stock, thicker than a business card, that attaches to the back of enamel pins or other accessories. It’s the most common way to package both hard and soft enamel pins.

But an enamel pin backing card is way more than just packaging. It’s a canvas that allows you the space and freedom to share your brand and creativity beyond the confines of your pin.

Whether you design pins for resale or to give to employees, a thoughtfully produced backer card gives your enamel pins the impressive presentation they deserve.

Choose your backer card size and style

An enamel pin backing card should be big enough to fit everything you want buyers to see and thick enough not to bend while it’s shipped and stored.

The most common backer card size is 2" x 3" rectangle or 2" x 2" square. The most common thickness is either 0.5 mm or 1 mm.

For comparison, a typical business card is 2.5" x 3.5" and about .35 mm thick.

Using a larger card gives you room to spread out more design elements. It can even make room for multiple pins on one card, which is a really cool way to package complimentary pins.

We worked with Harry’s, the popular men’s grooming brand, to create this two-piece pin collection.

A backer card with two enamel pins attached from men's grooming brand Harry's
The larger card had plenty of space for two pins, as well as Harry’s branding and a catchy hashtag.

But bigger isn’t always better. The larger the card, the easier it bends in a shipping box or purse. So if you go larger than standard, you also need a thicker card or it’ll be a creased mess. Since card costs go up with size and thickness, you can quickly cut into your pin profit.

For most jobs, a standard-sized, standard-thickness card is plenty to do all the things you want to do.

Include essential details

Like mini billboards, backer cards give you a place to promote your business and share the fantastic-ness that is your brand. At the very least, make sure you include these details in your design.

Contact information

Adding contact information like website and email addresses is a no-brainer. Every time someone gives a pin as a gift or shares it on social media, everyone looking knows exactly where to go to get more pins of their own.

That’s what Scribbles did here.

 

 Social media labels

Speaking of social media, don’t forget to use your backer cards to get more followers. Place your handle, and the icons of all the platforms you use, right on the front of the card.

When you see this pin from Bart Danzig (that’s just the greatest dog name ever), you know right where to go to follow his adventures.

Branding

Use your backing card to increase awareness and recognition of your brand by including elements like your logo, specialized font, and color schemes.

This backer card from Siegle Studio gets it all right. They paint watercolor pet portraits, so the shaded geometric designs make sense. And you know exactly where to find them online.


Even for the smallest businesses, brand awareness has lots of benefits. Take advantage of every opportunity you can to remind people who you are.

Write meaningful words

If you could speak to every person who bought your pin, what would you say? A backer card is your chance to convey that message.

Personal note

A personal note lets your customer know that there’s a person behind the pin they just bought.

Start with a signature. It’s common for an artist to add these to their work, and what are pins but wearable art, after all.

Artist Meg Jacovino personalizes her backer card with a signature and places it prominently at the top. That signature has become a recognizable part of her brand.

Look closely and you’ll see how Jacovino has also added two slogans to the card. “Thoughtfully hand drawn” and “Inspired by the sea + the stars” tells you what she’s about. How can you describe your business or brand in three or four words?

Here are a few other ideas for personal notes you can include on your enamel pin backer card:
  • A mini biography or description of your business
  • A reminder of the work your charity does (for nonprofits)
  • A heartfelt thank you
If your message is more than three or four words, consider moving it to the back of the card. You don’t want it to fight for space with your pin.

A fun message

Remember Snapple? The packaged-drink company famously shares fun facts under the lid of every bottle they sell. The “real facts” have become an important part of their quirky brand. Be like Snapple, and take advantage of the unused backer card real estate to print memorable little messages.

For example you could add
  • an inspirational note to lift spirits,
  • a fun fact, like Snapple, or
  • a pin pun, like this one (or is it a dad joke?).

 No matter what you choose, you’ll have buyers seeking out your pins just to see what’s on the next backer card.

Details for an award

Pins make great commemorative awards for employees, teammates, and customers. But you can’t always get all the details on a 1.5" surface. Make the occasion more meaningful by adding important details to your award-pin backing card.

For example, list what it took to win the award. Was it 365 days without an accident? Twenty percent over sales target? Most dollars placed in the “swear jar”? Add it to the card.

You could also list some of the qualities it takes to win the award. It might take perseverance, creativity, or empathy to accomplish a significant goal. Printing those principles on the card emphasizes the importance of the award.

Add visual flair

Scientists noticed that when we see attractive product packaging—like an outstanding backer card—regions of our brain associated with rewards and impulse decisions light up. Meaning, a kick-ass backing card for your enamel pin may help you sell more. Here are some ideas and inspiration to make backer cards that are easy to notice and hard to resist.

Use colors that make your pin pop

Sure, you want your backer card to catch some eyeballs. But it should complement, not compete, with the awesomeness of your pin design. Choosing the right colors will make that happen.

One way to make your enamel pin stand out is to choose complementary colors for the backing card. In color theory, complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel.

The color wheel showing cool to warm colors

Image source: DecoArt

You can see how the green in Freehand Profit’s pin jumps out against the complementary red of his backer card, below.


Another strategy is to surround the enamel pin’s backing card with white space so nothing distracts from the product.

This sensible little lemon-drop pin looks sweet in it’s clean, uncluttered surroundings.

 

If you really want to nerd out, you can get pretty deep into how packaging colors trigger certain assumptions and emotions.

Incorporate your pin in the backer design

One of the most creative uses for enamel pin backing cards we’ve seen is to make the artwork look like it’s a natural extension of the pin.

Here’s a good example from @kingston.thecorgi. Of course, if you stuff a corgi in a roll, some of the roll’s filling will fall out. That’s what the artist shows here.

Both the sketched hand and “glow” on this stylish backer card add a sense of motion and depth to the pin.

And we love the 3D effect illustrator iam_hank achieves with his backing card.

It’s easy to imagine how this pin would stand out, even in a crowded retail setting.

Send a visual message

Creamos is changing the way people in South America think about gender and gender roles. They design enamel pins so visitors and donors can help share the message wherever they go. The design of their backer cards includes visuals that reinforce their message.

Their mission is about inclusion, so they’ve included a rainbow—the symbol of inclusion and acceptance—into their backer card design.

Whether it’s the pink ribbon of breast cancer awareness or a simple heart design, you can use your backer card to visually convey the ethos that drives you or your organization.

Create multiple backer designs

Make a few different backer cards and you’ve got flexibility in your packaging, plus a really cool layout for collectors and retail presentations.

If you have several pins in you pin stable, you’ll want to create a backer card that works with each one.

Flynnknit masterfully turns yarn into beautiful beanies, scarves, and other knit accessories. She also makes pins inspired by some of her creations and uses different colored backer cards to accentuate each.

If you have only one pin design, use different backer cards to create a visually interesting presentation, like adminanubis has done here.

If your backer cards are good enough, collectors may even buy multiple pins just to have all the cards.

Get your pins and backer cards from the same supplier

Packaging enamel pins on backing cards takes a lot of time. Especially when you buy lots of pins in bulk. The solution is to purchase your pins and backer cards from the same place. That way, they show up at your door ready to give or sell.

If you’re buying custom pins through WizardPins, adding a backer card is easy. Just choose it from the options page when placing an order, upload your artwork (or let us design it for you), and you’re all set.
See All Articles