Beyond the “Hello, My Name Is…”

We recently blogged about effectively designing name badges.  When done right, name badges can be a great tool for your event.  When done incorrectly, they can be a distraction and something attendees purposefully “forget” to wear.  Name badges are often considered a necessary evil, but they don’t have to be!

Here are a few ways you can utilize name badges for more than their intended purpose.

  1. Meal Tickets.  If the event is being held in a location requiring meal tickets for entry into the dining facility, consider using name badges to serve that purpose.  Talk with the event host to see if this is a possibility.  This is best utilized if the entire group is on the same meal schedule; however, there are ways to differentiate between guests with varying meal plans.  Consider a different color lanyard or name badge background for each meal plan.
  2. VIPs.  Do you have particular guests that might need “special attention?”  Perhaps these people can charge items on the conference tab, such as at the location’s coffee shop or office center.  Certain guests might need easy access to backstage areas or the green room.  Attach a badge ribbon or sticker to the name badge of these people in order to differentiate them from other attendees.
  3. Small Groups.  Will guests break out into pre-arranged small groups during the event?  Note the group an attendee will be in on the corner of the name badge.  This will take a little extra preparation time, but it is an easy way to quickly divide into groups.  (How many times have you tried to number off a group only to find half of the people forget their number by the end of the line?  This is a helpful way to solve that dilemma!)

Name badges serve a primary purpose:  they tell us your name.  With a little creativity, however, you can make use of these conference staples for additional purposes.  Keep these two things in mind if you want to go “beyond the name badge.”  First, too much information can distract from the name.  Choose one or two extras to add, if needed.  Second, and most importantly, the key in successful extra uses of a name badge is communication between your leadership and your event host location.  For example, don’t assume you can use name badges as meal tickets without talking with the host location.  (And, if you are the host location, make sure you communicate with the dining facility if the typical meal ticket required is done differently.)

Have you used name badges for something extra in an event?  If so, share those ideas with us in the comments section.

Fantastic Name Badge Design

Have you ever attended a conference and found the name badges were poorly designed? The names were unreadable, or too little information on each attendee was given. This can cause major problems at an event.  It’s awkward to forget the name of someone you know you spoke with earlier, and frustrating to make a great connection and then be unable to contact them later.

So here’s a few tips for designing fantastic name badges.

  1. Make the name the largest thing on the badge.  Test out the font size by printing it out and having someone else wear it.  How far away can you read their name? Several designers recommend that the first name be on one line, and the last name on the next.
  2. Limit the ad information included.  Multiple logos can especially confuse a badge! You could include a main event sponsor, but not three or four.  (If you use a lanyard consider including a sponsor logo or name there instead of on the name badge itself.)  First and last name, job title, company name and twitter handle are my favorite pieces of information to see on a badge, not lots of logos.
  3. Stay away from peel off badges.  Unless your event is limited to a one hour meet and greet, these peel and stick labels are not very useful.  They’re too easy for guests to take off, and don’t ever make it to “day two.” Invest in something more substantial- like plastic badges with a lanyard.
  4. Here’s an example of an excellent badge design.  It shows that readable badges do not need to be boring or colorless. Thanks to Katelin Baker for letting us showcase this badge she designed.
  5. Don’t forget the back. If you do use a lanyard, you might notice that they have a tendency to flip- and then a percentage of your guests are wearing a blank white square around their neck.  Use that white space!  I enjoy it when planners put relevant information on the back, a map if the event is spread over multiple buildings, or a schedule of main events.  Why not put the person’s first and last name at the top of this? That way, even if the badge gets flipped, you’ll still be able to see a name.

Share an image of your favorite name badges with us!  We’d love to see what you have designed, or had created for your recent events.