How to Design a Challenge Coin

By Christopher Donahue
How to Design a Challenge Coin
Hemera Technologies/ Images

A challenge coin is a small coin or medallion (usually military), bearing an organization’s insignia or emblem and carried by the organization’s members. They are given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale. An attracive challenge coin is a boost to a unit's morale and an attractive and tangible piece of the unit's history. Designing a challenge coin is not difficult and there are a number of coin and medallion manufacturers who will help you through the process. With a bit of care and planning, your unit will have a reasonably priced, interesting and unique piece of history each member can carry and keep.

Step 1

Scan or transfer your unit's insignia to a jpeg format suitable to use as an email attachment.

Step 2

Choose the size challenge coin you wish to produce. Challenge coins vary from the size of a quarter to the size of a silver dollar or larger. Larger coins will cost more.

Step 3

Designate a design for the coin's reverse (back) side if you wish to make a two-sided coin. Reverse designs are often either the branch or base logo, but sometimes the logo of a specific operation is used. Again, a two-sided challenge coin will cost more than a single-sided coin, but two-sided coins are more common.

Step 4

Choose whether you prefer a simple engraved (design cut into metal), embossed (design raised on metal) coin and if you wish colors to be enameled onto the coin.

Step 5

Contact a coin and medallion manufacturer with your design and design choices. The manufacturer will need to know the number of coins you wish to make (larger quantities enjoy a price break) and if you wish to add things to your coin such as key chains or enclosed knife blades.

About the Author

Chris Donahue is an electrical engineer living in the Dallas area. He has worked on defense projects, semiconductor process equipment, instrumentation and is currently in water utilities. He earned his Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) standing in Texas in 1999.