Today, you'll learn everything there is to know about event badges.
We get so many questions about event badges all the time, so we decided to put them together in this beginner-friendly, easy-to-digest & hopefully helpful guide.
- Why are event badges important
- What is an event badge
- How to create event badges
- What actually goes on an event badge
- What are the best fonts for event badges?
- 7 rules for designing awesome event badges
- How to best hand out event badges?
Why are Event Badges Important?
Event badges are one of the most important things to consider when planning your conference or exhibition. They are kind of CRUCIAL. Agree?
First, event badges are often one of the first things people will notice.
They facilitate connections amongst attendees.
They are the perfect place for corporate branding, or sponsors, or your agenda. They're also the most symbolic core of what your event is all about - networking, learning & meeting new people.
Okay, okay....you can tell - we love badges.
There is a big problem though.
Getting event badging right is not easy. Choosing the wrong design, badge type or even information can make a negative impression. And that's the last thing you want.
Let's dig right in. We'll start with the basics.
Feel free to skim this part if you're already a seasoned event badge professional.
What is an Event Badge?
People attend events and conferences for a number of reasons.
One of the reasons is to meet new people and build relationships. Attendees, Speakers, VIPs & Staff wear event badges to show their name, surname, and, in some cases, their job title, company, attendee category or even profile photo.
Event badges come in various forms, shapes & sizes. Our friends over at Event Manager Blog have curated over 100 event badge design ideas which you should definitely check out. It's an awesome resource for your inspiration.
As Event Manager Blog puts it nicely:
"Event badges are your ticket to the inside. A map. A program. A badge of honor. A behavior analyst. A keepsake. An icebreaker. A brand ambassador. The saving grace when you can’t remember if that familiar face approaching you is Barb, Brenda, or was it Betsy?" - Julius Solaris
But it's not all about creativity and usefulness.
Event badges also allow for access control, attendee tracking & session check-in. And that's why they are so important. But let's move on for now.
Next up, here's how you can create event badges👇🏾
How To Create Event Badges?
You're probably thinking about using Word with Avery Label makers?
OMG. Don't get me started on this.
If you've ever used Word to create, design and print your badges you know how painful this can be.
A seemingly straightforward task can easily transform into a pre-event nightmare. Wasted paper, wrong information, cut-off names, wonky titles...you name it.
Luckily, there are alternatives.
In this case, your event registration software can be your biggest friend.
Swoogo, for example, is made for busy organizers who don't want additional stress. You set up your online registration and all the information collected like attendee names, affiliations, types, interests, profile pictures are already in the Swoogo event platform.
It is awesome...
All you need to do is decide on the best type for your event badge as well as the design and you're good to go.
Creating event badges this way is really simple. It's liberating. It's fun. And it makes sense...
But wait a minute...
What Actually Goes On An Event Badge?
The first name and maybe the last name are obvious. I mean, getting to know the name of the other person is kinda the whole point of event badges, right?
But with limited space, you need to carefully decide what goes on an event badge. Most event planners will opt-in for first name, last name & company.
With titles, you need to be a little more careful. Why? Because they can get quite lengthy - Think, Senior Sales Engineer Latin America & Middle East (does that fit onto a badge...? Hmmm, not so sure)
I'd also recommend adding the attendee type or category. This way, people can easily distinguish between Exhibitors, Staff, Speakers & VIPs. You can even color-code certain attendee categories.
And what about the back of the badge?
The backside of the badge is a great opportunity to display additional information that can add real value to your attendees. It's valuable real estate that shouldn't be missed.
Here are a few ideas:
- Custom or static agendas
- A map of the event
- Wifi information
- My schedule at a glance
- A callout to a nighttime event
- An actual entrance ticket
Now you understand what to put on a badge, let's quickly cover how to make it look reeeaaaalyyyyy nice and lovely.
What Are The Best Fonts for Event Badges?
Choosing the right font family for your name tags is also kind of crucial.
The best fonts are those that are easy to print and easy to read. When it comes to the best fonts for event badges, bigger is usually better. And sans-serif almost always trumps serif fonts.
No idea what the difference is between serif and sans-serif? Check this out?
Got it. Sans-serif letters don't have those extending features at the end of strokes.
Below are our favorite font types for event badges:
- Arial Regular or Bold
- Calibri Regular or Bold
- Century Gothic
- Helvetica Neue or Helvetica Neue Medium Condensed
- Open Sans
- Optima Roman
Which font family you choose ultimately depends on your event type and your audience. If you're running a large design conference with a pretty hip audience, you might as well go a little bit crazy and use custom fonts.
If you're more on the conservative side, you can't go wrong with a font like Helvetica Neue or Lato.
Up next, a few things you need to be aware of when designing your badges.
7 Rules For Designing Awesome Event Badges
Rule #1: Make Everyone In Your Conference Wear The Badge
Make no exceptions to this. Badges are the key to identifying attendees and attendees should be wearing the badges at all times. This is the only way to facilitate making new connections and meeting other people.
Rule #2: Avoid "In Your Face" Sponsor or Event Logos
Nothing is worse than having a badge that is covered in sponsorship logos. You want to make it as easy as possible to read names from the distance. The best spot to place your conference or event logo is at the bottom of the badge. If you must put it at the top, make sure it's small and subtle.
Rule #3: Make it easy to read the name
If you want your attendees to meet new people you should make it as easy as possible for them to learn each other's names. With legible and large fonts (see paragraph above), it's much less awkward to run into someone and starring at their chest simply because you forgot their name.
As a rule of thumb, the name must be readable from at least 15 feet away. Don't use ALL CAPS as they make it harder to read at a distance. If you need to, do a little test with your team.
Rule #4: Pick a lanyard that doesn't flip, spin, tilt or twist
Look out for lanyards that support the badge at both top corners of the badge holder.
You don't want half of your attendees to be walking around showing the flip side of their badge, the agenda, the map or whatever else you decided to put on there. This would defeat the whole purpose of using name badges.
The best lanyards are those that keep the badge facing frontward.
Rule #5: Encourage Networking
Here's a good one.
Put an "Ask me about..." at the top of the badge. Interesting topics can be a great conversation starter to break the ice. Ask me about "Homebrewing Beer", you can be sure that this is going to spark up a conversation (at least amongst 30-Something men)
Badges don't need to be boring.
Rule #6: Carefully consider QR codes (at least on the front)
Some people will say that QR codes on badges are essential.
If you really need QR codes, then put them on the back of the badge. You don't want someone whom you've just met to point a camera at your chest. Hello, you little creep!
What if people take photos of you? They publish those photos and all of a sudden anyone on the world wide web can read your contact information from that photo. Also creepy, I know!
Rule #7: Keep it simple stupid
The last rule, and probably the most important, keep it simple stupid.
You don't want to turn your badge into an art project.
Avoid low-contrasts, odd patterns or shapes or vertically aligned names. They defeat the purpose of event badges and help no one except your inner creative.
How To Best Hand Out Event Badges?
As trivial and straightforward as it sounds, planning how to best hand out your event badges is a crucial factor in your event's success.
Pre-Printing Badges & Laying 'em Out
This strategy works for smaller events with less than 100 or so attendees. You're basically pre-printing the badges yourself and typically lay them out on the registration desk in alphabetical order (First name <> Last Name or by the company).
Pro Tip: Make sure that you put your lanyards separate from the badges to avoid them intertwining with each other. Plus, it looks like a mess.
Emailing Badges To Attendees
Generating PDF event badges and sending them out to the attendees for them to print at home is a good solution for events on a budget.
However, this method can easily end up in a disaster, especially if attendees forget to bring their badge or you forget to source lanyards, pins or clips.
In my opinion, it's the worst possible solution to hand out event badges and although it can save money and resources, I'd not recommend it.
What's the best method then...?
Printing Event Badges Onsite
A more modern and innovative alternative to pre-printing badges is on-demand badge printing.
Printing event badges on demand has major benefits when it comes to the attendee experience. And that's really what counts. You're only printing badges for those who actually attend. You're not wasting time, energy & resources in pre-printing badges the night before and ultimately, you're showcasing an innovative and modern approach.
Printing event badges on demand also helps improve the flow of attendees. If your event is simply made of walk-ins or if you have a free trade show (even if registration is needed), on-demand badge printing can be a viable alternative to pre-printing badges.
Recommended reading: 7 Surprising Benefits Of Onsite Event Badge Printing
Hopefully, you learned a lot about event badges by reading this guide. Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or comments. Note, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to picking the right event badges for your conference.
Contact us if you need any help.
Our team at TRC Badgerite has successfully conducted 1000+ events and can provide you with on-demand badge printing and attendee tracking solutions that increase the experience. Step up your onsite game and arrange a call today.
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