Handcraft Strikes Back: Buttons, Badges, Pins and Clips

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Buttons, badges and pins stand for a medium which is often underestimated and not taken seriously. That’s a pity, because designed properly, badges and buttons can effectively communicate ideas to your potential customers and impress them with something creative and beautiful.

In this post we cover some interesting ideas for design of buttons, badges, pins and clips — traditional handcraft which can be attached to cloth, bags, documents and whatever you can think of. You may use them to deliver some idea or message, in web design (e.g. Missy makes use of them) or in the merchandise for promotion purposes.

Not all examples presented below fit to all environments; some of them are more likely to be used in informal environments. You don’t want to have a Bart Simpson screaming at your boss during the job interview, do you? You may want to check out some ideas for laptop sleeves, skins and stickers as well.

Why buttons?

Buttons are powerful because they show what is important to the person wearing it, which ideas he or she supports and what kind of a person you are dealing with. Some buttons can make people pass away with a subtle smile, the other ones can send a message to the world, and as such, pose a very powerful medium to explore. Which is why we, designers, can make use of them, packaging ideas in small and “portable” objects of daily life.

So why not surprise your clients by handing in some pretty and creative pins, buttons or stickers one can attach to cloth, bags, laptops or personal documents? In most online-shops you can upload your own designs and produce dozens of buttons at a very cheap price. Therefore we want to focus your attention on the power of buttons and badges and give you some ideas for your future designs.

Buttons and Badges

Toy Robots – pinback buttons
Robots in the town! And they are pretty sweet, too!

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Toy Robots - pinback buttons

We steal your mail to keep you safe
“Just in time for the postal rate increase.” Sometimes, buttons can make something think or laugh. This button may not make any sense, but it is provoking and as such desevers a place in our selection.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - pseudotecnico:blog » Il fotografo della domenica #44

Ampersand button
If you love ampersands, you’ll love this button, too.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Ampersand

Bird Talk (Red) badge
A twittering button for Twitter users. Or maybe talking about birds is one of your favourite subjects?

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Bird Talk (Red) badge

Cassette Tape buttons
Cassette Tape for record collectors. You can show what is important to you without saying a word about it.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Cassette Tape buttons

Angel Tea badge
“Tea is a gift from the gods. Coffee is a gift from the ninnies.”

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Angel Tea badge

Simpsons badges
Badges: good. The Simpsons badges: better.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Simpsons badges

Buttons for Designers
Nintendo DS Lite button, Mario, Adobe and… do you recognize the man at the right in the second row?

Pins, Badges and Buttons - IMG_1186

BSW Buttons by ~thagerott
Pure typography can also be used for badges and buttons.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - BSW Buttons by ~thagerott

Mozilla and RSS buttons
The promotion of your products can be done with badges. In the examples below Firefox, Thunderbird and RSS buttons are presented. Well, literally RSS-buttons.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - pseudotecnico:blog » Il fotografo della domenica #44

Dessert K: Kiwi Jelly
Mmmmm, tasty! Dessert Kiwi Jelly and Apple Pie. This fruity dessert is really happy. Dessert A-Z button series by hakee+ from Hong Kong.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Dessert K: Kiwi Jelly

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Dessert A: Apple Pie

Hello Jupiter Four Buttons
Buttons can also be pretty colorful.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Hello Jupiter Four Buttons

sketchBot Buttons
These characters are pretty tough and sweet.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - sketchBot Buttons

“i love u…” button
That’s an interesting idea. Two characters communicate via, well, external medium — a piece of thread.

Pins, Badges and Buttons -

Pop Labs Buttons
Pop Labs buttons have the form of a bottle cap.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Pop Labs Buttons

Pins, Badges and Buttons - New Pop Labs Buttons

buttons by ~scrape

Pins, Badges and Buttons - buttons by ~scrape

Love

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Love

badges

Pins, Badges and Buttons - badges

Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel Buttons

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel Buttons

Bota Fora Goma!
Buttons have a form of a cloth button.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Bota Fora Goma!

Pins, Badges and Buttons - My buttons available @ Prickie

Space Invader badges
Space Invaders are coming back. Pixel art can be used for badges as well.

Geek Set
Have you even been in love with the square root?

Pins, Badges and Buttons - My buttons available @ Prickie

Uber Geek Badges
Have you even been in loved with the square root?

Pins, Badges and Buttons - My buttons available @ Prickie

Empressr Buttons
Icons can communicate ideas in your design projects. They can communicate ideas through your buttons as well.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Empressr Buttons

1 + 1 = 2
Well, that’s kind of clear, but cute also.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - : buttons

Stencil Graffiti Button Set – Star Wars Fighters
Grunge and Graffiti art applied to buttons design.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Stencil Graffiti Button Set - Star Wars Fighters

Bookworm buttons
Sending the message in the office.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Bookworm buttons

TV Dinner Monster Pins

Pins, Badges and Buttons - TV Dinner Monster Pins

Skull Rock 6-Pack
Skulls don’t have to be scary. They can be sweet, too.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - (Another) ☠ ★ Skull Rock 6-Pack ★ â˜

Hand-drawn Buttons

Pins, Badges and Buttons - hand drawn 1

Fabric buttons

Pins, Badges and Buttons - fabric buttons

Spock pins
Made from 1960s Star Trek comic book.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - spock pins

Cassette Badge Sets

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Cassette Badge Sets

ajoelha
Pop art collage. “Get on your knees and confess”.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - ajoelha

Birthday Surprise!

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Birthday Surprise!

New Pocket Mirrors!

Pins, Badges and Buttons - New Pocket Mirrors!

Radial Pattern buttons

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Radial Pattern buttons

Toilet Paper Buttons
Hm, this is an unusual theme for buttons design. But that’s exactly what makes them different. We don’t know what is the idea behind, though.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - : buttons

DeathGob Badges

Pins, Badges and Buttons - DeathGob Badges

DSCN2932

Pins, Badges and Buttons - DSCN2932

Filter017 Pins

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Filter017 Pins

origami badges

Pins, Badges and Buttons - origami badges

I Love Pirates button

Pins, Badges and Buttons - I Love Pirates button

Hey Cupcake! pinback buttons

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Hey Cupcake! pinback buttons

Mi prima Carnal
Love is in the air. And on your button.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Mi prima Carnal

Reading is Sexy button

Pins, Badges and Buttons - DSCN2390-

Proud to be green
Simple, nice and clean pattern on greenish buttons.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - DSCF0153

Sweet Skull 6-Pack
Unusual design: these pinback buttons with Japanese skulls and sweets on silver and red shiny, sparkly hologram papers.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - ★ Sweet Skull 6-Pack ★

Rob Jan’s “Fantastique” badge cloak
This is the back of a Star Trek Klingon patterned Science Fiction and Fantasy trophy cloak. This view shows the back and two side panels fully deployed. All of the badges are either drawn in the computer, obtained on line or hand drawn and painted by Rob Jan. Impressive.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - ROB JAN'S

Handcraft

bt2 pincushion

Pins, Badges and Buttons - bt2 pincushion

old pin cushion

Pins, Badges and Buttons - old pin cushion

pin cushion 2

Pins, Badges and Buttons - pin cushion 2

Pincushions

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Pincushions

Le Ragazzine

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Le Ragazzine

Buttons

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Buttons

Blossom badges

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Blossom badges

Petit Petisserie

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Petit Pâtisserie

Warm ‘n Fuzzy Flower Buttons

Pins, Badges and Buttons - - Warm 'n Fuzzy - .: Flower Buttons:.

Blossom badges

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Blossom badges

drought relief – felt art

Pins, Badges and Buttons - drought relief - felt art

‘Strawberry Sundae’ wall art

Pins, Badges and Buttons - 'Strawberry Sundae' wall art

Crafting 365, day 173 – pink teacups

Pins, Badges and Buttons - Crafting 365, day 173 - pink teacups

Last Click

Bee buttons

Pins, Badges and Buttons - bee buttons

Cupcake buttons

Pins, Badges and Buttons - cupcake buttons

Plates of tarts

Pins, Badges and Buttons - plates of tarts

Sources and Resources

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops and loves solving complex problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Button MADNESS :o

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  2. 2

    OMG these are amazing. I want them all! I’m particularly fond of the one looking like a clothing button and the fabric ones. I should really invest in a button-machine.
    thanks for the great post.

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  3. 3

    The guy is Anton Chigurh, played by Javier Bardem from the movie No Country for Old Men. I really want one of those…

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  4. 4

    very good :) i like it

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  5. 5

    Hi :)

    Any tutorials on how to make those nice badges @ home ?

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  6. 6

    Awesome post!

    The man at the right in the second row in buttons for designers… is he the guy from No country for old men?
    Thats one of the coolest ive ever seen! :)

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  7. 7

    just found this site and I think it is worth mentioning here: http://www.prickie.com. They’ve got tons of buttons designed by over a hundred different artists. This should keep you busy for some time.

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  8. 8

    I agree buttons can make a nice thankyou for a client (not that I believe it would be enough on its own). Love the one that says “No I won’t fix your computer” man I need millions of those!!!

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  9. 9

    The Bloggers' Times

    May 19, 2008 3:51 am

    Oh..My God. Great Smashingmagazine. keeeeeep posting.

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  10. 10

    I REALLY want those robot buttons!

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  11. 11

    Firefox button melts my heart.

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  12. 12

    Never thought about buttons before, but I’ll love them from now on!

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  13. 13

    Stick to websites

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  14. 14

    I’d ever used Mozilla logo above at my blog TheFachia.com

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  15. 15

    Can anyone point me to a link to a PSD for a button-pin? Please? :)

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  16. 16

    For my 30th birthday my girlfriend and her daughter made buttons with some of my old school pictures and other childhood images on them for guests to wear at my party. They were a hit and it was hilarious to see everyone walking around with my old dorky photos pinned on them.

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  17. 17

    web design…?

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  18. 18

    Awesome, the creativity on some of those…. great work as usual! There is also quite a lot about actual lapel pins online… a great site with tons of info is Pins.com…

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  19. 19

    Awesome!

    Can anybody recommended a place to get my own buttons printed? Google throws up so many options I don’t know which ones to trust.

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  20. 20

    Really COOL!

    thanks for this post!

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  21. 21

    really cool this works.
    I’m also preparing a collection of buttons, soon i will upload it

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  22. 22

    :O omg…i want one!

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  23. 23

    Thanks for this update on such an intellectually bankrupt subject. My loins quiver with anticipation of your next piece of so-called “designer” inspiration.

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  24. 24

    Reminds me of my doodling days over at the drawing board….

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  25. 25

    The Big Felafel

    May 19, 2008 11:17 pm

    My favorite by far is the toilet paper button!

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  26. 26

    Rutger Zandman

    May 20, 2008 1:38 am

    Justr bought a button making machine two daus before I saw this article. Pins RULE!

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  27. 27

    lots of awesome and original designs! i’m particularly fond of the Pop Labs buttons but of course I’m a little biased! Go Melly!

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  28. 28

    A lot of original and unique designs! I’m particularly fond of the Pop Labs buttons but of course I’m a little biased! Go Melly!

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  29. 29

    Ahaha! Cuteness!

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  30. 30

    Love this post – inspired me to make something not computer related!

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  31. 31

    Shesh, doesn’t anyone remember wearitwithpride.com? kick ass button site in the threadless vein, they had some superdope buttons on there.

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  32. 32

    Thank you for your nice review.
    We’re the ones than make the “love” badges. Greetings from the sunny Alicante (Spain).

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  33. 33

    haha !!!

    badgesquared, based in Bendigo!!

    Awesome! Time for me to finally get those badges that I designed 10 years ago made :-P

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  34. 34

    Thanks for featuring my Sketchbot buttons in your article. Really cool to see the diversity of designs and styles out there!

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  35. 35

    Aaargh….!!! Where was this post two weeks ago? Our non-profit organization just did buttons to raise money. Fortunately, we have regular access to a machine and we have plenty of cool parts left over. :) Thanks for the future inspiration.

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  36. 36

    Cool!
    Need: “No I wont fix your computer”

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  37. 37

    I LOVE those!!! I want the CS3 logo ones :)

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  38. 38

    I absolutely LOVE the CS3 icon ones!

    Another cool button site http://www.button-bitch.com

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  39. 39

    I didn’t see PinPops on there

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  40. 40

    I used to make buttons to sell in my old DIY distro a few years ago.. I sold a lot of punk-related stuff but also had a category for geeky buttons (gamer culture, old school computers etc) that were just as popular. I closed the distro when I moved but thinking of bringing it back.

    Still got a lot of parts for 1″ buttons.. should use these up somehow (doc@websurfsyou.su) ;)

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  41. 41

    I’m trying to find a way to make pin buttons for my church with our own design; do you know a website for that?

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  42. 42

    could you tell me what is the smallist dia you make iam looking for a 4mm…. it would be the corps badge of the royal marines i can supply the photo of the badge if you can help i would be very greatful … johnwelshno1@tiscali.co.uk

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  43. 43

    omg i love it

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  44. 44

    That was stupid!

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  45. 45

    An honour to discover my wee badge cloak ranked amongst such good company!

    Ta very much.

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  46. 46

    I only make 3 inch buttons, pin-back or key-chain. I can help if you can’t find a source. All I need is a good picture file.
    Williemail68-plus@yahoo.com

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  47. 47

    StumbleGenius just Stumbling on thru, StumbleUpon big thumbs up to you, hope to see you on more stumble trips soon. Merry seasons greetings.

    lol button up tight now ;)

    Read you later or tweet me on Twitter @StumbleGenius … tweet you soon ???

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  48. 48

    Nice collection! You might also want to check out http://www.lollypins.com for some very unique and original buttons.

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  49. 49

    <3 them …. :D

    1
  50. 50

    Brian Richardson

    May 1, 2009 8:37 pm

    I am looking for a source that can produce a two-color, heavy gauge plastic (or light metal) pin or badge that would measure roughly 4 inches square. There will be three different variants of the same basic design. The initial production would be about 5,000 pieces. I am interested in receiving some bids.

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  51. 51

    I never really paid much attention to button design before. But now that I see the samples you provided; it would be a great way to market your brand/identity/self! I think I may just look into creating some buttons for myself. Thanks :)

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  52. 52

    Some really cool button badges on show in this article. If anyone happens to have the time and a slight interest check out my button badge website at badgebeast.co.uk

    Designing and making button badges is our passion and i love everything that goes into a good considered design. Some awesome ideas here, think the radial ones make a real impact.

    Thanks for the article.

    2

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