How to Choose a Button Maker: Not All Pinback Buttons are Equal
A quick google search for custom buttons will result in an array of suppliers all promising to deliver the best buttons in the industry. So how do you choose the best fit for you?
Made in the USA Matters
Look for a supplier who is based in the United States and sources their parts and machines in the USA. Buttons manufactured overseas, specifically, China, are produced with inferior parts, materials, and with little or no quality control. It’s not uncommon to find misaligned prints, rusty parts, and even the wrong print all-together. Watch out for buttons produced with plastic backs, or with an actual safety pin for a back rather than a locking pin, as these buttons often fall apart and pose choking hazards to children. Buttons manufactured in the United States will be produced with steel parts sourced in the USA, feature locking safety backs, and either a mylar or laminate covering.
The hallmark of a quality button is two-piece construction. You can read more about the differences between one and two-piece buttons here. Two-piece buttons are durable and resistant to water damage. With a two piece button you can rest assured that your logo will be proudly displayed for years to come.
When choosing a button supplier look for one that is committed to sustainability. Are their parts made of recycled materials? What about their paper? How much of their waste is recycled? Have they joined any green initiatives? If they don’t advertise any of these facts, do your due diligence and ask!
Lamination vs Mylars
A quality pinback button will have a protective covering in the form of a mylar or laminate. There are pros and cons to both options. However, you should never order buttons that do not have a protective covering.
A mylar is a clear plastic disc that is placed on top of the printed image. The mylar is then crimped onto the button shell. At this phase in the process dust and debris can get trapped, producing defects on the face of the button. Mylars protect the print from limited exposure to humidity and the elements. However, if exposed to a humid environment, the shell of the button will oxidize. The rust will push through the print and spots will become visible on the face of the button. If the button is used or stored in an environment which is not temperature climate controlled the paper, which the design is printed, can buckle and warp under the mylar. Mylars are great for short term use, however, if you are looking for a longer term solution, you may want to consider laminated buttons.
Laminated buttons come in two forms, single or double sided. A button with a single sided laminate finish, like the mylar topped button, suffer from rust appearing on its face when exposed to humidity. However, the laminate bonds to the paper giving it more resistance to buckling. With a double sided laminate process, the printed image is completely encapsulated before it is pressed into a button. This process protects the print from both rusting and buckling. The finish of a laminated button is glossy, but has less of a glare when compared to a mylar button. Laminate comes in a variety of finishes such as gloss, matte, and satin. The lamination bonds with the print and if gouged can be damaged. However, rather than scratching like a mylar, the laminate tends to dent.
Many smaller operations only offer mylar topped buttons, as they do not need a special machine to produce them. However, shops which offer laminated buttons can also produce mylar topped buttons. So, if mylar buttons are something you prefer, be sure to let your supplier know.
Proofs & Setup Fees
When comparing suppliers, ensure you read the fine print. Some suppliers charge extra for proofs or tack on a set up charge to drop your graphics into their template. Others roll these charges into their pricing. Sometimes that low price advertised is too good to be true!
Read Their Reviews
Most suppliers have reviews posted. Check out their facebook, yelp, and BBB profiles. Don’t just look for the good reviews. See how they handled to bad ones. If a supplier only has good reviews, they may be filtering out the bad ones, or paying for fake reviews.
Ask for a Sample Pack
Still can’t make up your mind? Request a sample pack. Once you have the buttons in hand, the decision should be easy! Or you can just head over to www.justbuttons.org and we will take really good care of you!