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.
Hello Pin Traders! Today’s post talks about another one of our most frequently asked questions: What size pin should I get for my team? This article should lead you in the right direction:
As the baseball trading pins size reflects the amount of material used and shipping weight, sports pin size has a direct correlation to price, which is often the most important factor our customers consider. Using your budget is often a good place to start with your trading pin size.
If you know roughly how many pins you’re ordering (check out this article if you don’t) and divide your budget by that number, you can get a good starting point for your trading pin size.
For baseball, 2.0” pins are the most common to the tune of 70% of our orders. With a 2.0” pin the amount of detail typically incorporated on a trading pin can be included and made highly visible.
Just because 2.0” is the norm does not mean it’s the best for you, especially when it comes to tradability (For more on tradability check out this article). If most of the trading pins your kids are trading for are 2.0”, 12 year old logic dictates anything larger will be more popular. We’re not saying you need to go all the way to 3.0” to stand out. As trading pins are 2D, a 3”x3” pin (9 sq in) is more than twice the area of a 2”x2” (4 sq in) pin, so the price jump is considerable.
2.25” pins are a great way to stand out without incurring too much cost, especially if you’re buying less because of the increased size. Not to say only larger pins are more popular, a well designed 1.75” pin with some catchy upgrades will trade much better than a simple 2.0” pin.
When deciding on a trading pin size, another item to consider is the amount of detail going on in your trading pin design. In another article we talked about details to include on your design. If a detail is important enough to include on the pin you want to make sure it’s big enough to see. The more you want to include on your pin, the better off you are with a larger size. Player names, for example, don’t show well on an enamel pin 2.0” or smaller unless they are the primary focus of the pin, as shown below
Printed trading pins can include more detail at a smaller size, if you’re curious to learn more about the different styles we offer, check out this article: What's the difference between baseball trading pin styles.
Our artists have designed thousands upon thousands of pins so and they will certainly make recommendations throughout the design process, so if you’re stuck by all means ask us during your design process.
Hello Pin Traders! A Sports Trading Pin encapsulates the full identity of a team when you present at the tournaments. With limited real-estate on a sports trading pin, a question we often get from parents What details should you put on your sports trading pin design? As there is no right or wrong answer, we’ll look at what teams typically put on pins to give you a better idea heading into your pin design.
Team City (Region), Mascot (Logo) & Team Name: This one is obvious; often the most prominent part of the pin is the Team Mascot or Logo, often centered between the City or Region name and the Team name which is depicted by the logo.
State: Although typically left off in a local or regional tournament, the home state of the team is typically next in prominence for a) Teams playing in a national tournament like Cooperstown or a World Series event or b) Teams playing in an out of state tournament where they are one of a few teams hailing from a certain state.
This is occasionally referenced with the state name or nickname written on the pin, but more often than not, the state is represent in in outline, either as part of the pin design or containing the other elements of the design. As pins are sized by the longer of length & width, it’s a good idea to avoid making a narrow state the entire pin outline. Often with a state like New Jersey or Delaware we’ll incorporate the state outline as part of the design but not make it the entire outline.
Player Identifiers: Including the Player’s Numbers, Names, or both is quite common, and in my honest opinion, recommended. The look on a kids face when he or she sees their identifier on a trading pin is priceless. Numbers are the easiest to include, often placed on baseballs surrounding the pin design, but an easy way to stand out is to a less common holder like gloves, batting helmets, or bats. Names can give even more meaning, but be aware they introduce intricacy. Although Numbers are either one or two digits, names can vary in length and force a compromise in size to other design elements or require a larger pin size to achieve a legible final product.
The Year: Team names are recycled within organizations so a good idea to put the current year on the pin. For kids that trade multiple years this also helps identity pins in the future.
Age Group: If playing in a tournament hosting multiple age groups its typical for teams to put their age group on the pin, like 12U, 10U. This is almost always left off for tournaments like Cooperstown where are teams are the same age group.
Baseball Themes: It’s common for team logo’s to incorporate a baseball element like a bat or a ball, but even still many teams include baseball themes like a Diamond or full field, a bat or crossed bats, a baseball or glove, home plate or a base, sometimes even a scoreboard.
Region Identifiers: Often when team logo’s are non-existent or less prominent, region identifiers are included. Some examples: a team from the Bay Area including the golden gate bridge, a team from New York with an outline of lady liberty or the Empire State building, or a team from the coast having sand & palm tree. Don’t be afraid to include local flavor if you’re from a small town, something less known can be a great ice breaker at trading time.
Upgrades: Pins in the ‘popular’ threshold typically include upgrades. Most pins will include 1-2 or more of: Glitter, Crystals, Glow Enamel, Blinkers, or a second pin that slides, spins, or dangles (called sliders, spinners, and danglers). Make sure to check our article on Maximizing Tradability to see how upgrades can actually save you money!