How to Design a Military Coin

By Maggie O'Leary

  • Overview

    A military coin, also known as a challenge coin, has many uses. Many senior military officials present these coins to subordinates as a token of appreciation for exceptional service. Some military units produce unit coins to sell for fund-raising purposes. Some elite units present these coins to unit members as a symbol of status. There are as many manufacturers of military coins as there are reasons to make a military coin. The process can be lengthy, but requires very little work.
    • Step 1

      Determine your budget. This is the most important aspect of designing a coin. Will you be providing these coins to unit members free of charge, or will you be selling them? Any sales will help offset the production cost and will allow you more leeway in spending.
    • Step 2

      Determine what type of coin you want to produce. Do you want brass, gold or silver? What size coin are you looking to make? The normal diameter of a military coin is one inch, but this can vary. Do you want smooth edges? Do you want a monochromatic coin, or do you want several different colors?


    • Step 3

      Design your coin. You should make sure the design you choose will fit on your coin. Also consider keeping the detail to a minimum so the design will show clearly on the coin. You need to design both sides of the coin. Military coins have varying designs on them. Most coins will have the unit's crest on the front side of the coin. The back can be anything from a famous quote, to a picture of the aircraft your unit flies, or the seal of your branch of the military. The back of the coin can also feature a military creed, such as the Soldier's, Sailor's, Marine's or Airman's creed. In the case of coins that are made for senior ranking officers to use for rewarding their troops, you can add the officer's rank insignia and name to the back of the coin. The options are limitless, but you want to make sure that whatever design you choose presents a professional military image.
    • Step 4

      Decide what kind of time frame you have to work with. Do you need the coin right away, or can you wait several weeks or months for delivery of the finished product? This will also have an effect on the amount you will pay for the coin.
    • Step 5

      Find a production company. There are lots of companies that produce military coins. When you are picking a production company, make sure you find out the prices they charge and production time frames, so you'll be able to choose a company that fits your needs.
    • Step 6

      Send the coin design to the production company. Each company will have different requirements for this. Some may want you to draw the design on a regular sheet of paper, complete with the colors that you wish to use in the design. You can mail the paper design to them, or send it electronically via email or fax. Some coin manufacturers will have you design the coin using your choice of design software and email it to them. You'll want to check with your manufacturer to determine their requirements in advance so there is no frustration or delay in getting the coin completed.
    • Skill: Moderately Challenging
    • Ingredients:
    • Coin design

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