The fun challenges and constraints of designing and minting coins

Towards the end of December 2020, I started sketching and then “computer doodling” an idea I’d had: fun, well designed, collectible coins that highlighted your personal and professional achievements.

Step one: Rough computer doodling

Now, I had never designed a coin before, but I went in with an open mind, eager to learn, and optimistic that I could figure it out.

What followed was 6 months of intense focus on every detail of the process:

  • Size? 1.25 inches
  • Metals? Antique silver
  • Colors? All! With a mix of solid and translucent
  • Typography? Railway and Eveleth
Step two: A much higher fidelity design

And then, once all those decisions were made, I still had to figure out the categories I wanted to focus on, which was tough, because there were so many possibilities!

But, eventually, I picked two things that are close to my heart: entrepreneurship and sobriety.

So, with the final decisions all made, it was then time to double check everything to ensure the first batch of 8 Achieve Mint coins – that’s how many I’d decided I wanted to start with – were something I could be 100% proud of in every way.

There were hiccups along the way. I picked too dark of a metal with the very first batch of coins I ordered. The colors hardly showed at all and I had to start all over, wasting hundreds of dollars on unusable coins.

And, after close inspection, a few batches had to be sent back and done again for quality reasons.

Step three: The finished product

I've always loved having design constraints, and working on a 1.25 inch circle made out of metal that can have just a handful of colors is about as constrained as you can get.

But, after 6 months of work, I couldn't be happier with the results and can't wait to start working on the 9th coin soon.

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