After this year’s SHOT Show, I put up a small article covering some of the best Morale Patches I’d found while walking the floor of the convention center.  The article did considerably better than expected, showing that the patch addiction may have spread further than epidemiologist’s may have initially thought.  At the behest of Vince Vega (one of the admins of the Motivation Patch Black Market, a Facebook group dedicated to the buying, selling and trading of morale patches), the idea for a follow-up article was concocted.  Vince introduced me to the owner of Megaton Morale, a patch designer/seller.  Below you’ll find the words that were exchanged on that fateful day.

Interview with a Patchmaker: Megaton Morale

1) Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Jason Gray (Grayson Jay on Facebook) and I am the owner of Megaton Morale. I
have been a member of the Motivational Patch Black Market since early 2015 and have been
collecting morale patches since 2014. I enlisted in the Air Force in 2005 and still serve to this
day.

2) How did you get started in the patch making world?

My journey into the maker side of patches has been filled with a great deal of trial and error. In
the Spring of 2015, I decided to try to make a few bucks to help fund collecting and it was a
huge bust. I ended up giving away most of the patches I made. I learned that designing,
making and selling patches was not as easy as it looked and decided to focus on just collecting.
Later in 2015, I decided to take another crack at making with another design and failed again.
Despite multiple failures, I had my first successful design in the winter of 2016 where I released
the Freedom Frag! Eventually, the Freedom Frag transpired into a series of multiple designs
which is still produced to this day.
Even though I had a lot of trouble trying to find a genre the morale patch community liked, it was
the community itself, specifically the members of Motivational Patch Black Market that inspired
me to keep on driving. The journey did cost me a lot of time and money, but I would change
none of that if given a second chance.

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Interview with a Patchmaker: Megaton Morale

3) What are the basic steps in designing a patch?

The first step in any design is formulating an idea. When this occurs, it is important to write
down your idea or do a rough sketch of it to help you remember. Once you have an idea,
asking for input from others is important just to ensure others understand the concept of your
design before you move forward. Once you are set on your idea, this is when the design and
art process begins. Once the design is complete, a computer mockup or vector file needs to be
created/completed to communicate with the machines used. Eventually, you will reach the part
where a sample is produced. The sampling process is where you can fine tune the patch to
ensure you can give the community a good product.

Interview with a Patchmaker: Megaton Morale
Some patches are designed collaboratively, such as this one co-designed with Megaton Morale by Golden Tiger Works

4) Do you design and manufacture your patches in-house, or design them and outsource the construction?

The initial design/concept of a patch from Megaton Morale is done in-house. I then outsource
works to graphic artists to create the design digitally. Once the design is complete, I then
outsource the manufacturing of the design.

Interview with a Patchmaker: Megaton Morale

5) What are the main categories of patches, and what are the pros and cons of each?

Patches can be found in forms such as embroidered, woven, printed, PVC (rubberized) and
various other methods. Each type of patch does have pros and cons, but ultimately the
collector gets to determine what they like.

Embroidered

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  • PROS: Details, (lower) cost, traditional.
  • CONS: (Less) durability, loss of small design details (letters), fade over time.

PVC

  • PROS:  Durability, small details are easily achieved, waterproof.
  • CONS:  Cost, heavy.

Woven/Printed

  • PROS:  Cost, the design is easily achieved.
  • CONS:  Loss of details, no 3D effect.

6) Some of these patches end up being very valuable. What turns a patch into a popular
collectible?

This is a great question! Do not be alarmed if you see a patch on the secondary market
fetching prices in the $100’s or even $1000’s! What determines the price of a patch on the
secondary market is supply and demand. If only 50-100 patches were sold and collectors do
not want to let them go, the price will generally go up!

Interview with a Patchmaker: Megaton Morale

7) If some average joe wants to get some patches made up for a unit or just themselves to
collect and sell, what guidance would you give?

They need to be honest. They need to ensure they are creating their own design and not
violating copyright or intellectual property laws.

 

My thanks go out to Jason for taking part in this interview, as well as Motivational Patch Black Market administrator Vince Vega for setting it up.  Below you’ll find a discount code link for Megaton Morale, good through April 15th 2019.  Check it out!

https://www.megatonmorale.com/discount/LOADOUT

Rex Nanorum

@Rexnanorum

Megaton Morale photos used with permission