Challenge Coin Design Trends of the Next Decade


The art of designing custom challenge coins evolves every year. Unfortunately, many people who are new to the concept of creating challenge custom coins make various mistakes. They’ll pick outdated design styles, select impractical plating options, pick wrong shapes, and make all other sorts of mistakes.

Ever since former president Bill Clinton famously displayed his challenge coin design collection, the art of designing challenge coins has become mainstream. These coins are being used across many different industries, institutes, and departments as we head into the next decade. From the Military to NASA – challenge coins are important tools for displaying appreciation.

Whether you’re gifting a challenge coin to your senior colleague or a lifelong idol – you must get the design right. Here are the most important challenge coin design trends that will be extremely popular over the next decade:

Purpose-Driven custom coins Design

Gone are the days when challenge coins had generic designs. Modern-day coin sellers offer highly customized coin designs. Naturally, the expectations of the recipients have also changed. If you receive challenge coins, you’ll expect them to feature design elements that hold some form of significance to you.

  • The design elements should clarify why the coins were made.
  • It must recognize specific acts or services.
  • What design elements will make the recipient identify with the coin?

While it’s okay to use design elements based on popular themes like pride and solidarity, those elements still need specific customizations. That’s why people thinking about having custom coins manufactured must-

  • Clearly define the concept behind the coin.
  • Sketch out multiple ideas; ask for your coin creator’s opinion on each idea.
  • Send a couple of different variations to the coin-creating company.
  • Cooperate with the creators on details like – what emblems to use, what colors/text to add, etc.

The best challenge coin makers will know what color combinations, text fonts, plating styles, etc., will look the best. Let them decide these aspects of the coin’s design. But, the concepts behind the coins should be clarified by the client.

Use Vector Artwork to Create Designs

In the past, people would share design ideas with custom coin manufacturers by drawing on napkins, sketching on paper, etc. The modern-day customer can do much more. Use Photoshop and other image editing tools to create vector artwork of your design ideas. Vector files can be scaled up/down easily. They don’t get pixelated when they’re enlarged.

Hence, you can include as many subtle design tricks and elements as you want on your coin. Get the fine details right. Save it as a vector file. Send the rough outline to your coin manufacturer and wait for them to improve the designs.

Go 3D for Extremely Precise Results for custom coins 

If you want your custom coins to have ultra-fine texture and details, opt for coin manufacturers who offer 3D molding. When coin designs are based on actual photographs or highly detailed sketches, using 3D molding is the best option. Traditional 2D molds don’t capture fine textures, details, etc.

To create truly fantastic coin designs in 2021, customers must insist on having their specific design detail molde in 3D.

Use Relevant Themes, Topics, and Ideas

Challenge coins should design to symbolize the spirit of a unit, a group, or an achievement. Pure design aesthetics alone aren’t sufficient. That’s why instead of making your coins super-flashy, try to include design details like –

  • Text, imagery, or symbols that express the personality of the recipient.
  • Design elements that denote the spirit of an organization or group.
  • Localized design elements that are significant to your community.

Ready to design the best challenge custom coins? Don’t forget to send your design ideas early to your manufacturing team!


Saeed Akhtar is a seasoned freelancer and digital marketer, boasting a rich background cultivated over five years in the industry. With a passion for innovative strategies and a keen understanding of the ever-evolving digital landscape. Saeed Akhtar brings a unique blend of creativity and expertise to his projects, consistently delivering results that exceed expectations.