The Key to Choosing an Enamel Pin Manufacturer? The Proof Is in the Proof.

The proof, as they say, is in the puddin’. Or, in the case of designing a new enamel pin, the proof is in the proof.

When you and your enamel pin manufacturer nail the proof, you get a pin that exactly matches what you imagined. But if the proof process is restrictive or complex, your dream design will become a nightmare of reworks and missed expectations. And that’s puddin’ it mildly.

Let’s dig into why the proof is the point when your pinspiration turns into reality. Then, we’ll take a look at four other factors you’ll need to consider when choosing which enamel pin manufacturer will be your partner in pin production.

Why your enamel pin manufacturer needs a perfect proof process

A production proof is a high-resolution mockup of your enamel pin design. It’s created from your artwork by your enamel pin manufacturer. The proof is the first time you get to see what your brilliant design will look like in pin form.

Proof image for an enamel pin design

The proof process is the most important step in the production of your new pin because:

Proofs show you what’s possible

Every artistic medium reveals a different aesthetic of its subject. A charcoal sketch of a tree will always look much different than a watercolor painting. And a wood carving will be distinct from either. It’s the same with your enamel pin.

Your proof shows what the image in your imagination will look like as a pin. You may learn that the sharp contrast of black metal is too much for your intricate design, or that your color gradients are best suited for photodome pins. A high-resolution proof created by experienced professionals is the best way to learn what you can and can’t do with the pin of your choice.

Proofs are the point of no return

Getting the proof right is critical to avoiding extra costs. Once you approve a proof, your digital design goes into physical production. From that point forward, you won’t be able to cancel your order for a refund or change the design. That’s true of any pin manufacturer you work with. After approving the proof, the only way to get a different design is to place a new order.

What makes for a perfect proofing process?

Each enamel pin manufacturer handles proofs a little differently. Ultimately, the perfect process is one that fits your needs. But there are some things to know about your manufacturer’s proofing process before you commit to working with them.

The freedom of unlimited proofs. Great artists know that the real magic happens during the editing process. Even the best novelists have a hundred rewrites of a single page. If you’re pressured into approving a design by the third iteration, you’re at risk of missing out on creating your own masterpiece.

The freedom to make changes. You also want to make sure that you can make both subtle and drastic changes to your design during the proof process. It shouldn’t be a problem for your pin manufacturer to add or remove a single design element. Or, if the winds of inspiration blow you onto a different trajectory, you should be allowed to submit a completely different design.

Sometimes, even with the freedom of unlimited proofs, you just can’t get your idea expressed in the mock-up. Your pin manufacturer should give you the ability to cancel your order for a full refund. That way, you’re never stuck (yep, that’s a pin pun) with a pin you don’t love.

#pingame: Creamos evolves its pin design to create the ideal symbol of equality

Three enamel pins showing Spanish pronouns

When you’re creating a symbol to represent gender justice and inclusivity, every detail matters. That’s what the team at Creamos, a social entrepreneurship initiative, found out when they decided to work with WizardPins.

The nonprofit provides work opportunities, education, and emotional support to a group of women in Guatemala. Without Creamos’ programs, these women would have to rely on dangerous work at a local garbage dump to support themselves.

Creamos wanted to create a series of enamel pins that promoted their mission. Getting the design just right took some work; WizardPins took on the challenge.

“We had to make a few adjustments to our designs throughout the process, and, unlike other pin providers, WizardPins gave us unlimited edits until they looked exactly the way we wanted,” Creamos says. “The patience and compassion we received from the team at WizardPins made the process so enjoyable. I will never design pins with anyone else!”

Enamel pins are portable and inexpensive—a great combination for nonprofits needing exposure without spending a lot on marketing. Once perfected, Creamos’ pins became a great way for visitors and donors to take a piece of the project home and spark conversations with friends and family.

4 more things you want in an enamel pin manufacturer

In the case of creating an enamel pin, what you don't know can definitely hurt you. If your manufacturing partner has these four things, there will be no surprises when you unbox your next batch of pins.

1. Simple pricing

It’s easy to be confused about pricing. Some pin manufacturers offer low unit costs but require high order quantities. Others tack on shipping or mold fees. Here’s a list of what you should verify before placing an order.

No mold fee
There’s a cost to the pin manufacturer for creating a new pin mold. Some will charge you an additional fee to cover this cost, but some will absorb it if you order a minimum quantity. Verify that you won’t have to pay a separate mold fee on top of your unit cost. But if you do, it should be deducted on future orders. Never pay a second mold fee for the exact same pin.

Low minimum-order quantities
Whether it’s your first pin design or you just need pins for a small group, a smaller minimum-order quantity (MOQ) will help you get in the #pingame without the risk of excess quantities.

At WizardPins, for example, you can order several sample pins as a prototype. Then, we provide bulk pricing beginning at just 50 pieces. For many other manufacturers, the MOQ for bulk pricing is 100 pieces. That’s a hefty investment for many pin designers.

Free domestic shipping
A high shipping cost can make your affordable pin purchase a wasteful extravagance. Even worse, you may not know there’s going to be a big bill for shipping until you’ve completed the rest of the ordering process. Surprises are for magic, not for shipping costs.

Look for enamel pin manufacturers, like WizardPins, that offer free domestic shipping. And if you’re shipping internationally, make sure you get an estimated cost ahead of time.

Easy-to-understand standard pricing
You should never have to request a quote and wait days for pricing of a standard pin size and type.

The cost to produce each enamel pin depends on the size, material, and quantity being made. Your design should rarely, if ever, affect the price you pay. Want eight colors and a custom shape? You should pay the same unit price for 50 pieces as you would for a circle pin with two colors. So look for pin manufacturers that offer prices upfront for their standard pin sizes and styles.

2. Lots of product options

One of the best things about enamel pins as an artistic medium is the variety of options you have to highlight your creativity. Your pin manufacturer should have the options to make your vision a reality.

Look for a variety of styles
There are several distinct styles of pins, and each leads to a different final product.

Several styles enamel pins

For example, antique diestruck pins add a bit of rustic flair to your design, while soft enamel allows you to incorporate vibrant colors into your finished pin.

See if they offer several plating options
The plating is the metal base of your pin. Most commonly, pins use silver plating, but there are other options that will help accentuate your design.

Image showing ten different plating options for enamel pins

Check out the copper (bottom left), for example. It’s an elegant choice that allows bold colors to stand out.

Make sure they can produce custom shaped pins
There’s plenty you can do with a standard circle or square pin, but the real fun starts when you use customized shapes.

Look at this fin-tasitc pin from @downtofowler.

Even without the interior wave design (which we love), this pin would articulate it’s aquatic subject. A good pin manufacturer can create very intricate molds for even your most detailed shapes.

Ask if they can supply custom backer cards
Backer cards are the small pieces of card stock that pins can be attached to. Backer cards are widely used for pins sold in retail stores. A customized card adds a personal touch to your pin.

As a bonus, backer cards also offer prime real estate for branding and sharing contact details. That’s exactly how @elevatedconjure uses their cards.

You can save a lot of time if your pin manufacturer is also your backer card supplier. Not only will they produce the cards, but they’ll attach your pins for you. That saves you a ton of assembly time, especially for large orders.

3. An easy ordering process

You should spend your time designing pins, not managing a complicated order process. Ahead of time, get a feel for the steps you’ll need to complete to get a finished product delivered to your door.

For starters, if a pin manufacturer asks you to fill out a long form and wait for a call to get a quote, run. You should be able to get instant pricing online.

In fact, you ought to be able to complete your entire order in one quick online session. That means getting your price, uploading artwork, and placing your order. Easy breezy lemon squeezy.

4. Great reviews

Until you’ve worked with a pin manufacturer, you just won’t know whether their process and products are great. That is, unless you dig into their reviews.

At the very least, you should find reviews on the manufacturers website. After all, if they can’t find someone saying something good about their products or service, there’s probably some trouble.

Don’t stop at their website, though. Prowl their Instagram page and search Reddit. You’ll get a feel for how the manufacturer communicates with its community.

Screenshot of a Reddit showing a large enamel pin collection

Third-party review and reseller sights are a great place to find unfiltered reviews. Product Hunt and even Amazon are good places to start. On these types of sites, unlike on their website, a manufacturer can’t filter out the less-than-desirable reviews and comments about there products.

Ask lots of questions before choosing an enamel pin manufacturer

Whether you’re creating pins to sell through your Shopify or Etsy store, or you just want to give a memorable thank you gift to employees, finding the right enamel pin manufacturer will make the process fun and easy.

To find the right collaborator for your pin project, don’t be afraid to ask questions up front. Pay attention to how quickly and thoroughly they answer. It’s a good indication of what you can expect once you’ve begun a project with them.


What is the best enamel pin manufacturer?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best enamel pin manufacturer for your needs will vary depending on your specific requirements. Some things to consider when choosing a manufacturing partner include the quality of their pins, their turnaround time, and their pricing.

See All Articles