To the untrained eye the difference between hard enamel pins and soft enamel pins can be tricky.
However, both kinds of pins start out the exact same way, with some raised areas and some recessed ones. Later on in the process, those recessed areas are filled with enamel paint, but from this point onward, the two types of pins undergo totally different finishing methods.
Hard Enamel Pins
Hard Enamel pins are filled multiple times with enamel paint. That causes the paint to nearly (but not quite) flow over the raised metal. The surface of the pin is then polished so the metal and paint are flat, smooth and flush. These pins give off a shine and have an elegant appeal. Hard enamel custom lapel pins work well for corporate events because they're shiny, quite durable, and give off a polished jewelry look.
Try rubbing your fingers over the surface of a hard enamel pin and you’ll immediately notice something: it’s exceptionally smooth. There are no ridges or uneven areas at all.
Soft Enamel Pins
Soft Enamel pins, on the other hand, are filled only once and never polished. That's why the enamel-filled areas in soft pins have a slightly concave surface shape. They are also textured and a bit less expensive than hard pins. Most people notice that the soft enamel lapel pins have a distinct color contour look that creates more visual depth and eye appeal.
When you rub your finger or thumb over the surface of a soft Enamel pin, you will easily notice the ridges because the paint sits at a slightly lower level than the metal borders surrounding it.
Die Struck Pins
Die Struck Pins do not have enamel paints. Just like soft enamel pins, die struck pins use a raised and recessed surface which gives the pin texture. Die Struck pins have a classic look using only the color of the plating on the surface of the pin.
Events, Special Occasions, Awards, Causes, Etc.
People use both kinds of custom lapel pins for logos, as recognition awards, to display their favorite symbols, to show club membership, and for hundreds of other reasons. Both types of coatings show up on pins in every category of use, but there are some cases where one type, hard or soft, is preferred.
Hard Enamel Pins: For example, are a favorite for corporate functions because of its classy, durable, and sometimes “serious” look. The appearance is flatter but more durable and substantial. These pins exude a more serious vibe and look much more like jewelry than their soft counterparts.
Have a lot of detail in your design and need it fast?
Offset printed pins may be perfect for your pin project!
An Offset Printed pin is a digital print of a design allowing us to capture full detail and color. These are good for photographs or images with a lot of color gradients, text or images that need to be an exact replica. Offset printed pins are slightly thinner pins with a clear epoxy dome for shine and protection. Also, Offset Printed pins can be produced quicker than traditional enamel pins.