Frequently Asked Questions
The first rule – keep it simple. Eyes get fatigued by too much text and skim right over the message. We are happy to help with this – write out everything you might want to say and we’ll help reduce it to something that stands out – and is read over and over.
We always think of the recipient and those who see will see their award, and there is a standard order of prominence. What organization is the award from, the name of the award, the name of the awardee and why. Who the award is from generally catches the attention of an onlooker. The the name draws them further in to finally see the why of the award.
The first thing we ask is where the pin will be used. If it’s for outside events we emphasize the company name –you want to draw people in with that. It should be readable from 6 feet. Once someone has identified your company and is coming toward you, your name should be clear by 3 feet. If it’s to be used at the company we assume a customer knows where they are but needs your name. Therefore the company name/logo can take a backseat to the individual’s name.
Does your logo have color? Does the company have a brand color? If so sublimation is the way to go. While aluminum is the hardiest and gives the truest color but silver and gold are very nice as well.
If you want a more traditional pin and the company logo/brand has a simple color combination then it is quite possible there is a plastic that works. We can help with this.
The traditional metal engraved pins look very classy but are rather delicate – they need to be kept carefully or their appeal will fade quickly. There are nice frames that set off the metal pins and protect the edges a bit as well.
With the ease of ordering these products online, we questioned whether to bother offering them but then several customers had bad experiences when mistakes were made and the companies refused to correct them. We do enough of this work to have suppliers who want to keep their relationships with us and therefore step up when mistakes are made or deadlines are tight.
One of the things that sets Vermont Trophy & Engraving apart is our level of professionalism. We have standards we follow and do thousands of awards each year and have come to know what works. Again, it’s about the recipient getting recognition at the core of the award.
Most people have computers and some are very good at the layout – most aren’t professional. So we are happy to do layouts as submitted but we will follow them exactly – and generally, we find that people are happier with the products as we design them.
We do offer accounts to our regular customers. After an initial order to establish a relationship, we need to have information regarding who handles accounts payable and an email stating giving the EIN and that the company accepts our 30-day terms. If non-profit or resale we need the tax documents to back that up.
We do take outside merchandise, with caveats. Naturally, we can’t know the quality or ability to be engraved of a piece bought elsewhere. All our suppliers guarantee their products but there are many nice-looking items that have plating that flakes or other issues. We also cannot assume any liability for other than the engraving amount – there is always the possibility that a machine will slip or, even with care and proofing, that a mistake will be made. That said we do lots of odd stuff, guns, swords, urns, and glass.
Engraving machines are controlled by a computer that sends data in vector format – not pixels as you get in photos. And even if we get vector artwork we still have to set the fill patterns and sizing. We think a one-time charge for this work makes sense.
We really can’t discount our engraving as that is a labor cost but with larger quantities, we can see where our price breaks are from our suppliers and work from there.
We do have some special pricing for schools – please contact us by email to inquire about those. A large percentage of our customers are in the non-profit sector and we just cannot reduce our pricing and still be a viable business – we hope people understand.
Laser engraving coated metals (what many of our competitors do) is faster and therefore cheaper. We think it looks awful. But we do have a lower cost option which is full-color sublimation. Gold metal with black lettering has a very rich look and stands in fairly well for engraving. With colorful logos and borders, we think the sublimation process offers awards that really “Pop” and are of high quality as well.
Full-color sublimation is a process of embedding special dyes into specially coated metals and plastics. It is permanent and will not fade. We have a white aluminum-colored tag that has been outside in Vermont for 3 years and looks as bright and clear as it did originally.
The answer here could be a long article but in general, a rotary engraving machine is driven by compressed air which pushes a diamond or carbide tip into the material and scrapes a pathway. The engraving tip is driven into the material. A laser is a light that burns. For metal, that means that the colored coating is burned off, or an applied coating is burned into the metal and the remainder washed off, for plastics the laser burns into the material leaving a path to be filled with paint or clearing one color of the material that sits atop another.
We will only do metal with a rotary machine and generally prefer plastics on the laser. Glass is best sandblasted although some more economy glass does very well on the laser.
We accept rush orders only at the discretion of the production manager. Our production schedule is pretty carefully planned about two weeks out and to take rush orders we need to make sure they don’t impact previously scheduled work. Rush orders are taken at the discretion of the production manager and the cost is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Perhaps most people know that Optical Crystal or 24% Lead Crystal are supposed to be the best - do they know why? And what are the other types? Are they worse? The thing is, it depends on what you want. Below are definitions for these terms
As clear and as flawless as used in binoculars and camera lenses, represents the ultimate expression of excellence. Optical Crystal is manufactured in large sheets up to 4" thick, and while still molten, is subjected to tremendous pressure to ensure no bubbles, flow lines, or other distortions.
Optical Crystal is 100% Lead-Free and extremely hard. It is the hardness that provides the basis for the brilliant cuts and bevels, as well as the ultra-high polished surfaces. Each piece of Optical Crystal is hand buffed
Starfire crystal is lead-free, and also has low iron content. The removal of this pigmentation results in a product that is equal in clarity to all but the finest optically clear crystal.
Starfire Crystal is manufactured in varying thicknesses up to ¾". Due to the extreme clarity of Starfire Crystal, the highly polished bevels and edges create a beautiful reflection, with a slight blue sparkle.
Jade Crystal is the iron ore content in the silica sand used to produce Jade Crystal results in the distinctive green tint which has become so popular in the trophy industry. Jade Crystal is very hard, facilitating steep bevels and capable of being finished to a very high polish level.
Jade Crystal is manufactured in varying thicknesses up to ¾". The thicker the piece, the more distinctive the green tint, especially when viewed from the edge. The contrast of color created by Deep Etching has made Jade Crystal a very popular choice for Award and Recognition pieces.
Lead does not leach from Lead Crystal products and has passed the stringent safety tests of the FDA. More and more manufacturers have begun substituting Zinc Oxide, and some have even managed to eliminate all metals, and still retain the brilliance in color, weight, and clarity.
24% Lead Crystal: Most fine crystal contains lead oxide. Although some manufacturers claim up to 30% lead content, 24% is the optimum percentage of color, weight, and hardness, while still ensuring clarity, sparkle, and brilliance.
24% Lead Crystal: With its exceptionally high perceived value, has been sought after and treasured for generations, and remains a status symbol even today.
By far the premier choice for crystal, marble, and a number of other substrates sand carving is a lot like sand blasting except with very fine grit and nozzles. When we first thought about it we wondered - how hard it could possibly be? (one of us having sandblasted rusty bolts). Oh my! So many things can go wrong with the mask, the letter/graphic size, the steadiness of the hand holding the nozzle, the air pressure behind the grit. and it's hard to know until the mask is pulled off if the piece is perfect or not... BUT the results are worth the expense and effort.