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How to sell Pin buttons through print on demand

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How to sell Pin buttons through print on demand

You’d be amazed to know that pin buttons have been in our lives for literal centuries, with how current and relevant pin buttons are today. Used widely for marketing, support messaging, activism or just for fun, pin buttons have managed to keep up with the changing times and remain in our everyday lives. 

The politics of pin buttons

In the 16th-century, pin buttons made their debut as a political messaging board showing either support or disgust in American politics, much like today. In 1824, campaign pin buttons were used in the election of John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson, making them the go-to support merchandise for politicians from then on.

In 1789, George Washington and his supporters wore campaign pin buttons made of brass that said: “long live the President”. 

Perhaps their most effective use was in the 1940s when the Republican candidate Wendell Willkie made what felt like today’s Twitter feed with pin buttons. In his rage against U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt’s third term, he made an unprecedented 8 million buttons!


The buttons initially carried his campaign slogan and support messages such as  “We Want Willkie,” “Willkie and McNary,” and “No Third Term” but soon took a twitter-esque appeal in responding, challenging and sometimes mocking President Roosevelt’s campaign. Willkie’s win was a long shot, but his aggressive election campaign merchandise solidified the pin button role in politics. 

The pin button evolution

As the years progressed, pin buttons began evolving and a new era of pin-back buttons that included photos and catchy slogans was introduced. The first campaign buttons to feature a picture of the candidate appeared in 1860 during the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Source: Skinner

In 2015, Abraham Lincoln’s campaign pin button was estimated to be worth between $4,000 and $6,000.

In 1896, Whitehead and Hoag, the oldest and largest button company of the early 20th century, patented the use of celluloid over an image to protect and maintain the vibrant colors of the pin button. This new technique made button printing longer-lasting and cheaper, opening their gateway into the world of advertising.

In 1898, the first advertising pin buttons were printed with popular cartoon characters as giveaways with chewing gum and tobacco products. Today’s pin button most resembles those produced by Whitehead and Hoag.

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest

In the height of the US public uproar against the war in Vietnam in the 60s and 70s, pin buttons made a shift from advertising and political buttons into activism as custom pin buttons promoting a cause. People began wearing anti-war pin buttons featuring the peace sign and other slogans. This practice is still very common around the world.

Today’s Pin Button

Much like the golden days, today’s pin buttons are an exciting, unique and affordable way to spark conversations, show your brand personality or simply stick it to the man. They are still at the forefront of activism and are still widely used as key messaging tools for political campaigns. They have also taken on a new persona as a tool to make situational commentary of the current political state.

Source: Etsy/StowShirts
Source: Etsy/StowShirts

No longer just a messenger of gloom and doom, custom pin buttons have become a unique personality piece addition to our wardrobe as well as a source of humor. It’s common to see them stacked in numbers on a youngster’s denim jacket or on an older couple’s t-shirts. You just can’t miss a pin button in a rally or a festival.

Some of the most common applications of custom pin buttons are to:
  1. Promote a business
  2. Fundraise for a cause
  3. Support a favorite political candidate
  4. Boost team spirit
  5. Announce the arrival of a new family member
  6. Find supporters

The rise of custom Pin Buttons

Recently cute tiny custom pin buttons have begun making an appearance into our social sphere, with hashtags such as #pingame being generated for like-minded pin button enthusiasts. These tiny metal pins are highly customizable and can feature any graphic design, illustrations, branded logos, photography and more. Pin buttons act as an extension of people’s personalities giving them the chance to flaunt their style and accessorize their t-shirts, jean jackets, backpacks, hats, and many more.

Pin buttons act as an extension of people’s personalities, giving them a chance to flaunt their style and accessorize their t-shirts, jean jackets, backpacks, hats, and many more.

With print on demand merchandising taking new heights, creatives and pin makers worldwide have started to build successful online businesses by transforming their unique designs and ideas into custom pin buttons.

Here are some of the many benefits they have:

Powerful – Pin buttons get people’s attention

Affordable – You stay on budget and get a high-profit margin

Versatile – Great for anything from birthdays to promo giveaways

Durable – Metal pins with great quality printing are long-lasting 

Unique – You can create what goes on a pin making uniquely yours.

How to sell customize pin buttons?

Like every good business, there are a few steps to take before designing and customizing pin buttons for sale. Establishing your niche, brand, target audience and a print on demand partner are essential steps to beginning your journey in selling custom pin buttons. The following guide will give you everything you need to create beautiful pin designs, source a reliable partner, and build a business that withstands the competition.

1. Find your niche

A niche is a unique following or offering that gives you the edge that is required to create a demand for your pin buttons. There are two classic ways to find your niche: Choose a topic or a cause that you deeply care about and would like to support – A niche you are passionate about will not only give you insight on your target audience but creating designs for your pin buttons won’t feel like work. You’ll not only appreciate the end product but also enjoy getting there.


Through market research, find a niche that already has a passionate and engaged audience that is easy for you to understand or you already understand and that’s will be perfect for your brand. Remember, understanding your audience also means understanding how to design a great product and sell it to that audience.

2. Create your design

Once you determine who you’re going to be selling your custom pin buttons to, you’ll then need to figure out what your pins will look like. Creating custom pin buttons doesn’t require a graphic design guru, something as simple as a catchy slogan will do.

If you don’t have any design skills, there’s a wide variety of websites that connect you with talented artists and graphic designers.

3. Find customizable pins

The good news is the search begins and ends here. You do not need Photoshop or Illustrator to start your pin button business. You’ve got Printify. Our platform as a great free mockup generator that is easy to navigate and use. The even better news is we have customizable pin buttons for you already.

Celebrating the heritage of the pin button but keeping with the current technological developments, Printify offers a traditional yet customizable print on demand pin button. It is made from durable steel with a safety pin attached to the back.

The latest printing techniques provide bright and crisp colors matching your craziest designs in full color on one side and a glossy finish. The pin buttons are easy to clean, simply wipe any dust or dirt off gently with a clean, dry cloth.

Tips for designing your custom pin buttons

If you have cool designs or photography you want to place on your pins, here are a few guidelines you may want to consider while placing them:


  1. Choose the appropriate size that fits comfortably within the pin
  2. Leave a margin to ensure legibility
  3. Use colors and artwork that represent your brand or personality
  4. Countercheck that your design is placed properly


  1. Feature more than one message
  2. Choose any random colors that are not in line with your brand
  3. Use low-resolution images
  4. Add more than two different typefaces or fonts on one pin button

Why choose print on demand on Printify?

Printify Pin Buttons: Large

Printify Pin Buttons: Small

Print on demand is a business model that allows you to create a diverse range of products such as pin buttons, t-shirts, hoodies, phone cases, pillowcases, mugs and many more. Products are printed after each sale and sent directly to customers. You don’t have an inventory and you keep all the profit. 

Not only does Printify offer a free and easy to use mockup generator, but we also connect you to our network of great print providers around the world. Through the Printify app, your new pin button shop can be easily integrated into online store platforms such as Etsy, Shopify, and WooCommerce. The Printify platform becomes a one-stop-shop for your business. You take care of designing your gorgeous pin buttons, we take care of the rest.

In conclusion

With a staying power of over two centuries and sustaining a steady demand, it is safe to say that pin buttons are not going anywhere. In addition, print on demand has made pin buttons easier to produce, much more affordable and scalable than ever before. They are a great addition to your already existing online store or may open your world to a whole new business idea.  What better place to anchor your business than with a piece of history that has captivated people for centuries.

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