I"m a huge fan of Kickstarter. It's such a cool forum for creative people to bring ideas to life and get new products out in the world and in the hands of customers! I've launched seven different projects over the years. About every year or so, I start to get this pestering itch inside of me that tells me that it's time to wander through my seemingly never-ending list of "crazy ideas" and find one that would make for a fun and cool Kickstarter Project. Last November I started that 'wandering through my list' process and decided that I'd set my sights on designing a challenge coin and see if I could get it funded on Kickstarter.
The next step was to try to decide on a theme for the coins: I've lived in Texas for over 25 years. Additionally, in 2012 I had the really, really cool experience of dreaming up and riding a solo bicycle journey diagonally the entire way across Texas. (Follow my cycling adventures on Twitter @CycleXTexas.) Biking nearly 1000 miles across the most geologically diverse state in the country gave me a whole new appreciation for The Lone Star State. Also, there's an abundance of state pride here in Texas that hardly any other state can match. The history of Texas is rich and legendary! Remember the Alamo? Once the idea entered my head, it didn't take long for me to officially decide the Challenge Coins would be Texas themed!
Next up was to decide the actual design elements to use on the coin. Some of that process was actually rather easy and obvious! The iconic Lone Star Flag was an immediate must-have! The next decision was how to exactly incorporate the Lone Star flag. As iconic as the Texas flag is, I didn't want a coin with a flag represented as a 'boring rectangle', so I found inspiration hanging on my living room wall. Many years ago, a friend and I (the same friend mentioned in THIS blog entry) were having all kinds of fun making various stained glass projects. One of the projects that I did during that time was a a cool Texas flag overlaid on the outline of the shape of Texas (see image below). After a bit of tweaking of the design (I shrank and moves the star), I knew I had found the design for the front of the coin.
Simultaneous to this process, I had decided that I didn't want to design just one coin, but rather THREE coins! I learned a long time ago that having a Kickstarter project with several different product options was generally rather beneficial. Customers like variety, right? I also knew from experience that having a Kickstarter Backer Level at about the $20 range is the most popular level and also having a way for customers to back your project in the $40-60 range is a great compromise between affordability while also helping the Kickstarter Backer dollars grow quickly. As a result, I figured I needed some Backer Levels in the $20 range and at least one Backer Level in the $50 range. One coin for ~$20 and a set of three coins for ~$50 seemed like a reasonable solution! At that point, I was on the hook to come up with three different designs. The Iconic Lone Star flag overlaid on the shape of Texas would be the front of all three of them, but what could I put on the back of each coin?
After a bit of brainstorming, I settled on the Seal of The State of Texas and the Great Seal of the Republic of Texas for the first two coins, but the third coin didn't come so easy. One of the first ideas I had for the third coins was: "What are some of the iconic images of Texas?". I figured I could adorn the back of the third coin with design elements that are "uniquely Texas". I started to make a list of such items: armadillos, cowboys, longhorn cattle (state large mammal of Texas), prickly pear cactus (state cactus of Texas), monarch butterfly (state insect of Texas), blue bonnet flowers (state flower of Texas), pecan trees (state tree of Texas), horned lizard, etc. I eventually whittled down the list to be only things that are The Official State (iconic thing) of Texas. After struggling with that list for many days, I just couldn't come to peace with how to incorporate those ideas into a cool coin design. See the image below for one of the concepts of this coin. NOTE: This coin (or something like it) might get added to the collection eventually, but it didn't make the cut during the initial process.
I then started to rethink the idea for the back of the third coin. Many people who aren't from Texas may think of the amusement park chain when they hear the phrase "Six Flags of Texas", but did you know that the parks name is directly inspired by Texas History? You see, there have been six different flags that have flown over what is now Texas. Quickly, I finally decided that the back of the third coin would contain the Six Flags of Texas!
So, as you can tell, it was a bit of a process, but eventually, the design of the back of the three coins was settled: 1) State Seal of Texas, 2) Great Seal of The Republic of Texas, 3) The Six Flags of Texas.
Of course, it's always a good idea very early in the process to make sure that any new idea doesn't violate someone else's existing patent or trademark. I was mostly worried about the phrase "Six Flags of Texas". After a bit of research, I found out that the amusement park owned the trademark on "Six Flags Over Texas", but "Six Flags of Texas" was considered to be public domain! Sweet! I could potentially use that phrase! I also discovered the the Seal of the State of Texas can be used, but it has to be licensed through the office of the Secretary of State of Texas (I paid the fee and have received the license). Consequently, the Great Seal of The Republic of Texas doesn't need to be licensed.
After a handful of iterations and design tweaks, the coin designs were finalized. Check the image below for the final designs.
A bit more work and I had designed package inserts (see example below) and small zipper bags to go with the coins and I then launched the Kickstarter campaign.
I launched the Kickstarter project on January 12, 2021 with a funding goal of just over $900. Within a few weeks, the project ended up being funded at $1729 with 38 Backers. After delivering all of the coins for the Kickstarter customers, I immediately listed them for sale here at www.Puzzometry.com
...and now you know the backstory of how "The Puzzometry Guy" got into the Challenge Coin business.
Thanks for reading!
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