Badge 101

Badge 101

Uncovering the Mystery of Ordering a Blackinton Badge

Ordering a custom law enforcement badge or fire badge for the first time can be confusing.  No worries, we are here to help.  Understanding how a badge is made helps during the ordering process, see below for a few tips.  We have a great video series that walks you through a badges journey click here to watch “A custom badges journey to Police Week.”

How to order your badge:  Ready to start the process?  Contact an authorized Blackinton dealer, click here to find a dealer in your area.

Why Blackinton

Experience and Capabilities
We have over 169 years of experience and a nationwide distribution network with more than 800 dealers.  We will work with your department to bring your vision to a reality, with a quality custom law enforcement badge or fire badge. More…

  • Made in the USA
  • Order capacity
  • Superior quality
  • Green operations
  • Security
  • and much much more

Badge Style

Time Line And Budget Will Guide Us
Determining budget and timeline will help narrow down the scope of your new custom badge project.  More…
  • Personalized Catalog Badge is the most economical and fastest approach.
    • Search our extensive catalog of badges to find a style that meets your needs (3 weeks).
  • Semi-Custom is our mid-tier option utilizing existing dies with one custom panel, or perhaps a custom seal (4-5 weeks).
  • Custom A unique design… the sky is the limit (6-8 weeks).
    • Determine the graphic elements you would like included in the design of your custom law enforcement badge or fire badge (building, patch, landmark, etc).  Our designers have years of experience turning ideas into exceptional detailed metal masterpieces.

Pricing & Budget

What Effects The Cost Of A Badge?
Badge cost is driven by the finish of the badge.  The quantity, enamel type, and seal also contribute to the overall cost of your badge.  Understanding your choices will help you create the badge of your dreams while staying within your budget.
  • Badge Finish 
  • Applied Seals are graphical metal emblems applied to the center of a badge.
  • Quantity Discounts
    • We offer quantity discounts for the same style badges if they are ordered on the same PO#.  You can mix finishes, titles, and numbers only – not names.
      • 1-12 Badges = Net          – 13-24 Badges = 5%
      • 25-49 Badges = 10%       – 50-99 Badges = 15%
      • >100 = 20%


Vibrant Colors Enhance A Badges Beauty
  • Plain, no color. A badge with raised lettering or no lettering are usually plain.  A plain badge can be manufactured faster because it skips the enamel process.
  • Regular Enamel
    • We flow paint into letters.  The letters are not flush with metal.
    • Standard enamel for our lower end finishes i.e., Nickel, Rhodium, and gold plated badges
  • Dura / Hard Enamel
    • Color is flowed into the letters then the badge is fired in an oven at 1500 degrees.  The excess enamel is stoned down.  The letters are flush with the metal.  This enamel is like hard fired glass.
    • Five business days are added to the manufacture of your badge(s), because there are 17 extra manufacturing steps.
    • Standard enamel for our high-end badge finishes (Hi-Glo, Rho-Glo, Two-Tone, and VHB KK)
      • If you request hard enamel on a lower end finish there is a small add on cost.
  • Standard Colors for lettering are Blue, Black, Red, Green, Brown, and White lettering.

Badge Back Options

Shell Back Badge is terrific for law enforcement hats, because it is light weight.  Less metal is pressed so your badge can have a lot of detail.  If you look at the back of the badge you will see a reverse impression of the front.
law enforcement badge

Solid Back Badge is a heavier badge because we press more metal.  The solid back badge is very durable and has a non-snagging finish.  Solid back is recommended if you plan to engrave the back of the badge, because it is smooth.

law enforcement badge

The majority or our standard law enforcement and fire badges come with a shell back.  On the products page of our site you can see this information under specifications.  After we manufacture a badge the back can not be changed.

Understanding Panels

What is a panel?  The area on a badge that takes or has text in it; i.e., rank, department, city, state, name, etc.  A panel can be engraved or have the lettering in the die.

  1. One Piece Badge has the panels in the die.  The badge is constructed from one piece of base metal.
  2. Applied Panel Badge is assembled using different panels (pieces).  Below is an example of a panel badge.

custom applied panel badge

What type of panel would you like? 
  •  Incised panel – We either engrave the letters or place them in the die. Incised panels have color inside the letters.
    incised panel
  •  Reversed panel – Color is flowed into the panel, and the letters are the color of the metal.  A reversed panel has the lettering in the die of the panel.
    reverse enamel panel

Engraving and Text Separators

You can personalize each badge worn in your department with the lettering of your choice.  There are up to 7 lines of lettering on a badge. Panels are numbered counting out from the seal which is line 4 (see below).

When a badge has a circular panel like the outline below, you can have text separators engraved on the panel. A text separator can be either a circle or a star.
badge outline