Whether you're with a local Little League or a regional travel club, custom trading pins are a staple at baseball fields around the country.
Games and tournaments often see more trading than Wall Street. Players exchange their own pins for new ones, creating friendships and memories.
While most pin manufacturers offer to help with artwork, it's rewarding and special to design your team's pin yourself. Here's our guide on how to design custom trading pins for your baseball team.
Every great creation starts with an idea.
To design great custom trading pins for your baseball team, you need to brainstorm and develop a concept.
Just like with designing a logo, designing pins is easier said than done. Sometimes we can't come up with anything. Or the opposite happens -- with so many possibilities, it can be hard to narrow them all down.
Even the most creative minds can have "designer's block."
If you're stuck, search for inspiration!
A great way to start is by looking at some of the trading pins your team has used in the past or ones you've collected from other teams. Pick a few favorites, and write down what makes them so cool.
Another way to find inspiration is by browsing an online photo gallery of baseball pins. You can find pins of teams from all around the country, and you don't even need to meet them at a game or tournament to see them.
If you need even more ideas, don't be afraid to expand your search and look beyond baseball. Trading pins are a popular thing to collect in other sports as well. Check out pins made for football, hockey, basketball, and soccer teams.
Also search for pins from theme parks, museums, and events. They might not relate to sports, but they can show you all the possibilities of special things you can put on a trading pin.
Luckily, there's a lot of great imagery and symbols in the game of baseball. Here are some elements that you might consider including on your custom trading pins' design.
This is the obvious one, but your baseball pin needs to have a baseball!
Many pins take advantage of a baseball's round shape and use it as the main framework and outline of the design. Circular designs, called roundels, are a common feature of logos. They look great on hats, clothing, and yes, pins!
Baseballs are also great things to use as smaller design elements. They're the perfect thing to use for interactive pin enhancements like sliders, spinners, and danglers.
The diamond shape of the basepath is another iconic symbol of the sport.
Like the circular baseballs, a diamond is commonly used in the background to set the main shape of the pin.
Have you ever seen the skull and crossbones or crossed swords of the Jolly Roger?
Mirroring the famed pirate flag, long objects crossed into an X have long been a common design motif. Crossed baseball bats could add an aggressive feel to your design, even if your team name doesn't relate to pirates.
With their long, flat shape, baseball bats also make good underlines to the name of a team or player.
After all, these pins are made to represent your team.
Featuring your team's branding helps the fans that wear your pins root on the ballclub. They also help the people you trade pins with remember who you are and where you are from.
Some teams only have a generic pin for their team. It's economical, as they can order a lot of them at once to supply the team's players for several seasons.
But other teams like to order new pins for each season. Each group of players has a unique pin to remember that specific squad.
What can you add to a pin to make it unique? One thing is the year. You can also include the names and numbers of each player on the team, which will likely change every year.
You can also order special pins after the season and make note of the team's accomplishments. You can include the win-loss record and any championships and titles won.
When you've found inspiration and come up with some ideas in your head, it's time to sketch out your design.
This can be intimidating for some. But you don't need to be a great artist to make a design.
You don't need fancy art tools or an expensive sketch pad to draw some concepts for your pin. Some of the best ideas were drafted on a napkin with an ordinary pen.
Your first drafts will be rough drafts. Don't worry about perfection with these, because the point is only to make a proof of concept.
You may go through several versions of your design before narrowing it down and producing something you truly like. Tinker and tweak until you've found what you're looking for.
For some, this might be the end of your designing. You can send your sketch to your pin maker, and their professional artists will create a more finalized version based on the work you've already done.
The manufacturer will perk up your design to meet their requirements, but the design and ideas will still be yours.
For more advanced and tech-savvy graphic designers, you may choose to take the designing a step further and make a final version of your design with a digital program.
Hardcore artists may have access to top industry software such as Photoshop and Illustrator through Adobe Creative Cloud. These programs are powerful, but also expensive.
Luckily, budget-friendly alternatives are also available. GIMP and Inkscape are popular graphics programs that are completely free. You can even pull off some fantastic designs with some clever use of PowerPoint.
Digital graphic design might be tricky for novices, but learning how to use editing programs gives you more power to create the perfect artwork for your pin.
Once you've created your designs, upload them and send them to the manufacturer. They'll turn your great design into real pins for your team to collect and trade.
Contact us today to get a free quote on your order of custom trading pins for your baseball team.