1. Size matters
If the name badges at your conference are too small, your attendees will probably face a big problem. When it’s impossible to decipher the information printed on the badge, some of the attendees might refrain from getting in touch with others. In case a colleague’s name escapes one of your conference attendees, a quick glance should be enough to jog their memory. Even from a reasonable distance, the names should be easily readable.
In his much-discussed blog post about badges Adrian Segar suggests 4″ x 3″ for horizontal badges as well as 4″ x 6″ for vertical ones.
2. What to put on the Badge
The most important information on a name badge: the name.
Hence you might want to secure a prominent spot for it on your badge.
The next line should be reserved for the name of the company or institution the attendee belongs to.
Don’t forget about the conference logo – especially when multiple events are taking place at the same location.
Mentioning the attendees’ roles can be useful as well. That makes it easier for everyone to distinguish between organizers, assistants, attendees, speakers and session moderators.
The back of the badge could be the ideal place for your conference schedule. Instead of leafing through the whole conference program, the attendees just have to turn the badge around in order to learn about where they need to be, when they need to be there and how much time is left.
As service providers, we assist our clients on site and also take care of creating name badges. We printed the personal data on both sides of the badge so that the name would always be on top, even when the badge flipped over by accident. Attendees praised this method: “Finally someone has picked up on that!”
That doesn’t mean the conference schedule has to come off badly: Either you can print two badges, put the schedule between them in order to pull it out when necessary or the schedule can be part of a sophisticated booklet solution.
In order to increase the usefulness of the badge, you can also include important phone numbers: Who is to be contacted in case of problems? What is the number to call a taxi?
If you prefer a more reliable method, you should go for a conference app. It keeps you updated on everything conference-related in real time. In contrast to printed conference schedules, an app can cope with short-term organizational changes.
Twitter usernames could serve as additional information. They make it easier for conference attendees to get (and stay) in touch with each other. Especially at tech-savvy or social-media themed conferences, you’ll probably be able to find the majority of your attendees on Twitter. And if they’re already tweeting, they surely don’t mind following like-minded people.
But be careful: Too many details on your badge could harm it rather than helping it, and a cluttered conference badge is neither handy nor beautiful to look at. A photo for instance isn’t really useful unless it’s an event only invited guests are allowed to attend.
3. Creating a visually appealing Badge
As we said earlier, one should be able to read the name from a reasonable distance. So let’s play it safe and make sure if that’s the case with your badge. If some of your attendees’ names are too long, you might want to take the font size down a notch. Don’t reduce the font size in general.
We recommend using sans-serif typefaces as they ensure readability even from longer distances. Refrain from outrageously extravagant typefaces.
It’s best to put the first name in the first line while the second line is used for the last name.
Depending on the nature of your conference, you can make the first names a little larger. If it’s not common among your attendees to refer to others by their first name, carrying around an invitation to do so could make them feel uncomfortable.
The second most important information on the badge is the attendee’s company or institution which should be placed below the name in a smaller font size. It’s best to use another color for the institution to clearly separate it from the attendee’s name. Moreover, a clear separation between these two can be accomplished by drawing a horizontal line.
The attendee’s role can be located at the bottom of the badge. However, it’s better to work with different colors.
Colors and symbols also help you to identify whether an attendee has registered for a certain conference day or for the whole conference, which workshop he attends etc. Above all, colors and symbols create a certain language independence while being easily recognizable at the same time.
4. Sticker Badges, Clips or Lanyards?
Once you’re done with designing the actual badge, it’s time to think about how it should get attached to the attendee.
If your conference takes place over the course of more than one day, you should stay away from sticker badges as they’re known for losing their stickiness once they get pulled off after a few hours. And it’s even risky to use them in general for they just don’t stick to every item of clothing.
Pin badges can help you to avoid these problems but they can be quite stubborn when it comes to attaching them. And, just like stickers, they aren’t the prettiest accessory to show off at a conference.
Clips are only suitable to a limited extent. It’s unlikely that every attendee has a pocket on their clothes to clip them to.
You could use magnetic badges instead. They’re a bit more expensive but very easy to attach. Alas, they can prove destructive: If you keep them in a bag together with your phone or a credit card that has a magnetic strip, they’ll likely get damaged by the clip.
Hence lanyards are the best method of attachment. It’s as easy to hang them around your neck as it is to remove them. Use multicolored lanyards to display the attendee’s role. However, if the lanyard hangs too low, it might cause inconvenience as they might make others look at problem areas. Therefore always go for the length-adjustable version.
5. For the sake of the Environment
If you’re using badge holders for your badges, we recommend you to use them again at your next conference. It’s a win-win situation: While it saves you money, it helps to save the environment as well.
Ask the attendees to hand their badge holders in when the conference is over or collect the holders yourself.
If you want to act even more green-minded, you’re going to use recycling paper for your badges.