Do you need custom medals for your next sporting or academic event? There are a number of factors to consider to make sure you receive a great looking award medal at a great price. Consider the following points when shopping for award medals.
Custom medals vary in quality and this depends on the manufacturer. When considering a medal’s quality, here are some important questions:
- Will the thickness of the medallion equal what was promised, or will the manufacturer reduce the thickness to save costs? Will the medal feel adequate and have considerable weight relative to its size?
- Are the letters and images going to be clear, crisp and detailed? Because Clarity can result from a rubber “spin cast” mold.
- Will the buffing and plating be consistent across all medals?
- On antique finishes, will the medallion’s edges be buffed, or will the manufacturer cut corners by leaving all the edges blackened.
- Will the ribbons/neckbands be attached with clips and jump rings that match the medal’s plating?
- Will each medal be poly-bagged and packaged properly?
Next, you will want to evaluate the medals manufacturing process. Custom medallions are typically liquid cast in a steel mold or die. Medallions cast in steel molds show amazing detail and quality. Beware of medal manufacturing companies that use a disposable rubber mold which decreases mold charges and overall costs but produces a less detailed medallion. Rubber molds can be a very cost-effective alternative for simple medals and quick deadlines. however, if your medals have detailed imagery and art, a steel die is the best. Always ask if the manufacture will keep the die for future use, and if you will incur a die charge for future re-orders.
Medal finish is another factor to consider. The finish and color of medals depend on the plating. Most medals are available in antique gold, silver and bronze. Antique finishes are the most popular. A typical antique finish is where raised areas of your medal show a more bright or shiny appearance, and the lower relief areas are more blackened. You can have your medals plated in bright gold, silver and bronze where there is no “antique” effect and the finish appears bright and shiny. Usually, bright finishes can cost a little more.
By including color in your custom medals can really add to their appearance. Medals filled with color enamel may attract an additional charge. This extra charge is usually well worth it, especially if you have a logo or insignia where you want to maintain branding. You will be surprised how little color adds to the overall cost of your medal.
You have likely heard of 2D versus 3D custom cast award medals. Two dimensional custom medals maintain 2 or more flat plains or levels. Usually, a 2D medal has a low level recessed and a raised higher flat level. Three 3D Dimensional medals have variations or graduations in levels making images which look more realistic. 3D Molds are more expensive to make, but can really add that unique touch to the overall appearance of your custom medal.
Artwork will need to be provided by you, or created by an outside graphics person, or the manufacturer. Keep in mind that what is black on your medallion artwork is raised, and white when recessed. You most likely will be asked to provide digital vector art in any of the following formats: pdf., cdr (Corel Draw),.ai or eps. If you cannot produce your own art, expect to pay per hour for art creation.
Your custom medals are no significant if you don’t receive them on time. Depending on where your medals are coming from, it may take 3-10 weeks. Most American and Foreign manufacturers work through dealers and reps that sell direct to the end user. Overseas artisans continually impress with their attention to detail and quality at unmatched pricing, and North American manufacturers are great at meeting quick turnaround deadlines and requiring lower minimums. Give yourself plenty of time.
What makes a medal look good? As you might expect, the final appearance of your medal has much to do with the art. Aside this, a medal with an abundance of raised area enhances its appearance. Medals with a large amount of open recessed areas look bare and empty. additionally, a slight texture to the medal’s recessed background area can help the overall appearance.
In the end, a custom award medal will impress your recipients and is both a reward and lasting keepsake. Consider all the above when shopping for your next custom cast medal supplier.