Pins, whether custom- or factory-made, have been in use as accessories and decor for many years. Worn on the lapel or on a vest, they add character and sophistication to anyone who ventures to wear them. They are small, handy, and shiny-looking. They embody the symbol of a group or an organization.
But just as pins have varied designs, their uses and purposes also differ widely. Depending on the occasion, one may need to have a pin customized. In order to determine what kind of pin to purchase, below is a list of the different kinds of lapel pins in the market.
Team pins are customized by different organizations to represent their – you guessed it – teams. These can be emblazoned with the team’s logo, mascot, or official motto. Lapel pins for the University of Missouri’s athletics department could, for example, have theirs designed with the head of a roaring tiger as its main element, with the school motto wrapped around. These pins can be worn by the team’s athletes to formal sporting events, or even during competitions, to distinguish themselves from their opponents. Wearing one displays pride on one’s home team as well as a distinct identity.
Awareness pins are used to spread information about a certain issue or topic of discussion. These are worn to display one’s stand or statement on a given issue. For example, breast cancer support groups could get lapel pins done in the shape of a looped pink ribbon – the universal symbol of the fight against breast cancer. The same can be said for non-government organizations which are pushing for the avoidance of the spread of HIV that could potentially lead to AIDS. Anyone who is spotted wearing a red pin will be seen as people who have joined the battle against this dreaded disease. In some cultures, wearing black pins is seen as a symbol that there has been a death in the family. In fact, wearing different colors of pins is associated with certain things. Blue stands for either free speech or child abuse prevention. Purple is for abuse – domestic violence or animal abuse. White represents the call for peace. Awareness pins can also be worn to advocate certain causes. For example, a book drive’s organizer could have some of these pins made and designed with the words, “Reading helps” or something similar. Interested customers can then purchase and wear this merchandise to spread the word about the book drive.
Recognition pins, on the other hand, are used during awarding ceremonies to honor exemplary persons, such as excellent students and role models. These can also be distributed to people who have been loyal or those who have devoted a certain number of years of service to a given company. For example, some industries would usually give out recognition pins after every five years – five, ten, fifteen, twenty, and so on – of valuable service.
Organizational pins are given out by various groups to their members to signify their allegiance or affiliation. Fraternities and sororities would give these out to the elite members of their groups. Sometimes, these lapel pins would also serve a political purpose. The Soviet Union, now modern-day Russia, and the People’s Republic China produced pins with the portraits of their leaders – Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong, respectively. They were worn as symbols of support and allegiance. Today, these could be collected as souvenirs or for inclusion in collections of custom pins.
No matter the purpose of wearing them, lapel pins serve the purpose of displaying one’s achievements and affiliations. It is a cheap and classy way of showing these things. Various organizations may find it easier to spread their cause via custom-made pins.