Which metal plating option is right for your custom pins? There is no right or wrong answer, it all depends on your design and preference.
If you are not sure which one goes best with your design, consult our trained artists by emailing or calling us.
A lot of the gold you come into contact with on a daily basis is plated or gold filled as opposed to pure solid gold. This is because items plated in gold as opposed to made of pure gold actually have an increased durability, and are, of course, exponentially less expensive to create.
In addition to the high class look of gold, the metal is prized for its resistance to oxidation and general fading. Gold plating with is offered in either Antique or High Polish options. This plating is most popular with the United States Army and Coast Guard. Antique gold plated pins offer a higher level of contrast allowing for increased visibility for finer details like text. High Polish gold adds a touch of class to your pins and makes them look expensive. Both options make use of 24K gold.
Like gold, silver plating is offered in both the Antique and High Polish options. Antique silver most closely resembles antique pewter and gives your pin a sense of age and durability. These pins are less likely to show scratches or dents over time. Meanwhile, High Polish plating creates a high mirror shine to the pins. These pins benefit from darker lettering or a sandblasted metal background to add the needed contrast to make out finer details. High polished and antique silver plating is extremely popular with Naval customers and corporate clients.
Often overlooked in favor of silver or gold, copper creates a remarkably unique and classic look for a pin. Each pin is plated in copper and then polished to a beautiful bright reddish shine. Choosing contrasting colors goes a long way towards creating sharp definition in your overall design. Another option is to get the pin itself made out of copper and then have it polished to a high shine. Antique copper far exceeds high polished copper in terms of popularity, since high polished copper can look a little pink, almost like a rose gold.
Black Metal Coating
Black metal conveys strength and durability in a unique fashion from other pins. While other pins often have a general metal shine or a high polish look, the matte-like finish of black metal gives these pins the immediate ability to stand out. The black metal also lends itself perfectly to brighter colored paints and designs. While this is technically not a plating as the unique finish is applied through a powder coating process, the option is available to you alongside the traditional plating choices.
Nickel plating is something everyone should be familiar with as it often coats household products such as doorknobs, cutlery and shower fixtures for enhanced decoration and wear resistance. With Quality Lapel Pins, our nickel plating options include both Antique and Black Nickel.
Antique nickel plating looks very similar to a rustic gunmetal which gives the pin a very durable look. The recessed areas fill in a bit darker, and really help separate details on the pin. All areas of metal on the pin are dulled down slightly with the antique process and give the pin a soft luster throughout.
Black nickel presents something closer to a highly polished gunmetal finish for your custom pin. The dark color of the finish allows for brighter and lighter colors to come through while presenting a more classic metal look than the black metal plating option. Just like with high polished gold, silver, and copper platings, glare can become an issue though.
Colored Metal Finishes
We also offer a number of different colored metals for your pin. With the colored metal options, you can apply a base color to the pin that will allow your logo or custom colors, once painted or otherwise applied to the pin, to shine through. This, like the black metal, is a powder-coated option.
For a more psychedelic look, you can choose our rainbow metal plating option. This affect is achieved when the pin is plated in certain reactive metals (aluminum, steel or titanium most often), and then exposed to extreme heat. The results are an iridescent rainbow of color forming on the pin face.
In the event that you can’t choose just one, we also offer a multi-plating option. On standard sized pins, multi-plating is generally kept down to two different plating techniques in order to create a natural contrast and highly unique look. While triple, quadruple and more plating combinations are more often used on large, oversized pins, they can also be implemented on your standard sized pins. In general, however, multi-plating adds time to production and requires a close attention to detail based on your artwork.
Also, keep in mind that some of these plating option cannot be combined. For example, the process of powder coating color onto your pin will cause the pin to resist the traditional precious metal plating process.
As with any of the choices offered for your custom pins, if you’re ever unsure of what might be best, you’re free to ask. The members of our art and sales teams have seen it all and know how to get the best out of your unique pin design. If there’s a plating idea you have in mind that isn’t listed here, let us know and we’ll do everything we can to make it happen!