Hard Enamel vs. Soft Enamel

Many customers ask us, what is the difference between Hard Enamel vs Soft Enamel Pins? The difference is quite simple: Hard Enamel pins have a smooth polished surface and Soft Enamel pins have raised metal edges.

hard enamel vs soft enamel
Hard enamel on left, soft enamel on right

Die Struck Pins, Enamel Colors

Soft enamel pins are not soft. I’m just going to put that out there so everybody understands. The name “Soft Enamel” can be quite confusing to many people because it is an industrial misnomer. The name speaks to the difference between modern enamel colors and true Cloisonné, which is an ancient method of jewelry making.

die struck soft enamel pins are quite hard
These soft enamel pins are so hard that they could survive reentry into the earths atmosphere.

Soft Enamel is a liquid coloring, unlike Cloisonné which is a hard, colored sand used by ancient craftspeople to make relics. The educated among us typically prefer Soft Enamel or Hard Enamel in order to use Pantone® colors and keep within a reasonable budget.

Coloring Pins With Soft Enamel

Today, we use a “soft” liquid enamel to color the pins. Even “Hard” enamel colors are a liquid before firing in a kiln to harden.

soft enamel vs hard enamel pins
Pardon the old logo on this info-graphic. Otherwise, the graphic is very good, no? Yes, because our competitors already copy it.

It would be impossible to create such detailed work without liquid enamel colors. But the question remains: What’s the difference between Hard Enamel vs Soft Enamel pins?

Hard Enamel Vs Soft Enamel: Both Are Hard

Once the liquid enamel is filled into every nook and cranny of the die-struck metal pin, it is hardened in a kiln. It becomes hard before the customer receives it regardless of whether it’s Hard Enamel or Soft Enamel.

hard enamel vs soft enamel

Why is it called Hard Enamel?

The term Hard Enamel is used to describe a product which has a smooth finish similar to ancient Cloisonné. Unlike Cloisonné, Hard Enamel Pins will use your exact Pantone® color. Cloisonné can have whatever color the medieval monks may attain from the limited resources of the age including lead, arsenic and stinky shellfish guts.

Hard Enamel Pins vs Cloisonné Pins

If Hard Enamel Pins were about to have a battle with Cloisonné pins I would definitely want to be on the side of Hard Enamel. In fact, the battle would not even be fair.

Hard enamel lapel pins for concert hall

Hard Enamel pins are obviously better suited for promotional purposes since they can match your corporate brand identity guidelines. If someone is trying to sell you Cloisonné pins, you may begin to wonder what time machine they came in on. If you want to order Cloisonné pins, it might take a few months to receive the first draft scroll by way of a Roman Chariot courier. Thankfully, a digital mock-up of the modern Hard Enamel pins can arrive in your inbox within a few minutes.

Hard Enamel Pins look like inlaid jewelry with smooth surfaces that match your Pantone® Colors, which is awesome. There is no need to add an “epoxy dome” to smooth the surface.

Hard Enamel pins have the modern capabilities of an F-15 Screaming-Eagle fighter jet compared to Cloisonné which has the capabilities of a horse and buggy. For some reason, customers ask for the horse and buggy and it leaves me scratching my head.

Chat GPT Gives Misleading Advice About Pins

I recently asked my robot servant “Chat GPT” to tell me the difference between hard enamel and soft enamel. I am appalled by not only how wrong it is, but how confident it is.

robot monkey pins

First off, Chat tells me that Hard Enamel is more durable and capable of finer details. That’s totally wrong in such a terribly misleading way. Apparently the robot armies our grandchildren will fight are quite easy to fool so don’t be fooled by the idiot robots.

durable soft enamel pins
Durable Soft Enamel Pins with incredible detail. Chat GPT is clearly the loser in the battle of hard enamel vs soft enamel.
Hard and Soft Enamel Pins are Equally Durable

First off, there is no difference in durability between hard enamel and soft enamel. Both are quite durable and manufactured from iron or brass. I think that qualifies as durable since both are technically bulletproof, unlike my Chat GPT.

Political Pins
Guns don’t work against robots, they only triangulate your position. Try outwitting them by asking them about Hard Enamel vs. Soft Enamel then pull up a chair and crack open a cold one as their robot heads explode.
Less Detail is possible with Hard Enamel Pins

Okay chat robot, I got you beat! Chat GPT said that Hard Enamel pins can have greater details than Soft Enamel pins but the opposite is true.

hard enamel pins are less detailed
A competitor’s pins with Hard Enamel Coloring. See how the Hard Enamel black color cannot fill the small lettering? Hard Enamel Pins are LESS DETAILED than Soft Enamel Pins.

Soft Enamel pins can achieve much finer detail than Hard Enamel pins and it’s why we often recommend Soft Enamel over Hard Enamel pins in the first place.

More Detail is Possible With Soft Enamel Pins

Many customers ask us for pins with tiny little details such as a long corporate slogan. That’s totally cool and completely possible with Soft Enamel pins.

soft enamel pins with more detail than hard enamel pins
Soft Enamel Pins from Pins Fast showing tiny details. These pins are only about 1 inch wide, but they have incredible detail.

If you make that in Hard Enamel the letters are unfilled and the pins look wrong. Make it with Soft Enamel and the pins look great and it’s surprising how tiny the little letters are!

Humans Take Sides in the Battle of Hard Enamel Vs Soft Enamel

Thankfully, humans like myself with many years of service are more knowledgeable and capable. Artificial intelligence cannot tell it’s header from it’s footer when it comes to writing about the difference between hard enamel vs. soft enamel. Chat GPT will undoubtedly get it’s sentient feelings hurt by this and become even more arrogant and dangerous. How many of my customers has it already lead astray? Meanwhile, the medieval monks are probably celebrating their increased sales of Cloisonné relics.

certified pins
People say I’m certified. I hope they mean it in a good way.

If you need to know more about Hard Enamel Pins vs Soft Enamel Pins, give me a call at 1-8-PRO-DESIGN (1-877-633-7446). Talk to a real human being!

Editors Note: I was just kidding about Chat GPT getting it’s sentient feelings hurt. Chat GPT is a valuable tool but it also doesn’t claim to be accurate. The pin business already has enough misinformation, so you should make informed decisions based on your own research. Don’t let someone (or something) be “your own personal Jesus”.