How the Buffy Pin was made

Hello friends, and welcome to another video… Is what Safiya Nygaard would say, if this was one of her videos, but it’s not, so, welcome to a collection of images and thought of how the Buffy pin was made, in case you’re wondering.

#version1 of the Buffy pin

#version1 of the Buffy pin

It all started with an idea, doh, obviously.

I was spending my day on Etsy just having a browse while Noel was watching Buffy. Of course, as things happen, the sounds on the TV affected me so I decided to have a look at some Buffy merch on Etsy and I understood that… there isn’t really too much to begin with.

With a show that huge, I was only able to find a few items and most of them were just memorabilia items, like the wood skewer (don’t come for me) with a phrase, but no real character items. Yes, there are some, but they are all made by the same, super awesome, Canadian artist. So, that’s where the idea was born, I had to make a Buffy pin.

I took my iPad, pulled out my Apple pencil and opened Procreate, by the way, none of them sponsor us, I just like throwing out some brand names.

#version2 of the Buffy pin

#version2 of the Buffy pin

I sat there and I understood, nope, not gonna happen, the inspiration just wasn’t there, but I didn’t allow myself to give up. I Googled for many Buffy images, tried to get some inspiration but nothing really clicked, so I tried searching for other people’s fanart of her and came across this really neat artwork by a person, and, of course, you can call me a terrible person, but I really can’t link them here, because when I tried to look for it again, Google just decided that it will not show me the same images again, however, it was nice and I liked it, so I made my own version of it that you can see in the #version1 image.

I was pretty happy with what I had drawn, as my first ever attempt not only in using Procreate, but also in pin making. I did, however, came back to the design about a week later and understood that nor did I like the colors, nor did I really enjoy the layout, so I decided to pull all my work into Illustrator and I was able to create a vectorized version of my image. This allowed me to play with the colors more and make it pop. Of course, it didn’t end there. I thought I was happy with the pin and I was ready to get it made, so I went on Alibaba and had a look through the wide variety of pin manufacturers. You can not even start to imagine how many there are, but they’re all in China, so, purely out of interest, I contacted one of them and asked for a quote. Turns out there are rules for pins and minimal fill areas as well as minimal line thickness, as well as, if there are quite tiny details, they can silkscreen print them on, which, in turn, make the price per pin more expensive. Uff, so much to learn. So, here I was with my #version2 pin made, bright and colorful, but it just wouldn’t translate into a pin.

#version3 of the Buffy pin

#version3 of the Buffy pin

It left me a bit sad and made me want to give up, because the price I was given would not make any sense to be paid for the first pin, because I knew that thi was just the beginning and I had to fully pay for it out of my pocket. I left it sit for about another week, maybe even two, but then, one evening, inspiration just hit. I started learning more about designing pins, all the little tidbits, I even went as far as to convert all the logos in real life in my head saying things like, “oh, this would look great as soft enamel” or “this logo isn’t great, there is too much detail, it really wouldn’t work well as a pin”.

All this knowledge gave me inspiration to come back to the pin and completely redesign it. Create it from scratch so that all the lines are the same width, all fills are at a specific minimum and also this helped me find a cohesive look for the next pin designs. After many hours across multiple days of work, I was able to create the final #version3 pin.

There was a neck, Mr. Pointy had changed position to a more attach worthy one. The eyes were bigger and she was contained in a circle for better attachment possibilities.

It finally felt like I had created the Buffy that I wanted, so then I started to look at other potential manufacturers and I found an agent that would deal with the manufacturer for me. They were Made By Cooper.

I liked the way their website made sense and I was able to confirm or deny as many changes as necessary, as the person in charge would go through the pin design, measure all the spaces and fill lines and change it accordingly. This was probably the best discovery, so I bit the bullet and made my order.

Finished pin

Finished pin

After a few emails back and forth, I decided to add backing cards to be printed by them, so all the pins get assembled perfectly and even last minute asked to make a small change to the backing card. As I had sent an Illustrator file, they were able to edit it for me, which I found super awesome, because not many companies would make a change for you.

After confirming my order, the waiting period started. It was Chinese New Year, so I knew that it would take some time to get the pins ready. 6 weeks later I got my babies, they were individually packaged, shiny and beautiful. Of course, it didn’t end there, I had learnt that it’s normal for 30% of the pins to have slight defects, so me and Noel started to double and even triple check the pins. After looking at each pin at least 2 times, we had a few worse quality ones. I believe it was only 9 out of the 50 ordered pins that were not up to our standards, so we decided to keep them for a lower quality sale. In case you want to get one of them (they’re not bad, maybe a dent here or there, or a little dip in the enamel, but nothing major), hit me up.

So, this is where the story ends, but the biggest excitement was when I received my first sale from a stranger. This gave me a sense of accomplishment. Somebody likes my art and is willing to pay for it, you can’t imagine the feeling, it was awesome.

So this is the story of our first pin. I hope I was able to give you a bit of an insight and if you think you’d like to get your hands on one of the good quality ones, get it here.