How to Design a Custom Challenge Coin

Challenge coins are a meaningful badge of honor that creates camaraderie between team members that exhibit bravery in duty such as military, police and firefighters. In order to create a greater sense of pride in your group, give them the gift of a custom-designed challenge coin. Here is a guide to help you design your own.


The most important element of a challenge coin is the imagery; therefore, it is the most important part of the design element. Think about what message you want to convey, and make a list of images that are related to that message. For example, if your team consists of pilots, you could have an eagle or another winged image to represent flight. If your team is competitive or champions, you could put a trophy image on the coin. When you have a good list of ideas, narrow them down to the best ones that will go on the front and back of the coin.


The best approach with words on a challenge coin is “less is more.” If you can convey your message with the fewest number of words, the idea will have a greater impact. Also, a coin with a lot of text has an overly busy design that is not aesthetically appealing. The images should be the main focus and convey the main message. If there is a specific slogan or text that is central to your coin idea, then you might want to consider having a larger coin, or you could place text in a circular pattern around the border of the coin so as not to clutter the central imagery.

Don’t copy

When developing image designs, it’s best to draw up your own from scratch or find an artist who can do a fine job in this area. Don’t use clip art or copy other images that you find online or elsewhere. It conveys a much deeper meaning if the artwork is original. You could use a custom logo creation software app or website if you don’t have a good artist available.

Design rules of thumb

Many of the design rules of thumb for a challenge coin are similar to other projects such as web design or logo design. A good design will be unique and stand out from other similar types of coins. Keep timeless images in mind, but you might want to put a modern twist on it in order to appeal to a new generation. Understand the concepts of proportion and balance in the overall composition of the design. Consider the practical aspects of how the coin will be used, and adjust the size and materials to fit the circumstances.

It might take some time and effort to design your own challenge coin, but it is well worth it. You might find that it’s nowhere near as hard as you first thought. These basic tips will help you create a coin that you will be proud to give to your team.

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