Conference Name Badges: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

image of name badgeThe number of hours that go into association event planning is staggering. When making sure to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s, name badges should be at the top of the list. After all, if they’re not well-designed (i.e., readable), attendees are shorted on their conference experience.

Ground Rules for Conference Name Badges

      • Less is more. Keep the design clean and resist the urge to include extra information or complicated design.
      • Everyone wears their badge. Attendees, staff, presenters, exhibitors – no exceptions.
      • The badge size should be 4×6 inches at the very minimum.

        image of banner to link to event promotion handbook


    • It must be readable from 15 feet away. Use a simple, sans-serif font, no caps (hard to read), and make sure the first name is a 72-point minimum. The last name can be smaller, and often times should be, as it simplifies the design.
    • Minimize the conference logo and ditch the dates. They’re distracting, and attendees know where they are and what day it is. Position sponsor logos in the least interfering way possible.
      image of name badge
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    • If QR codes, bar codes, maxi codes, etc. are necessary, put them on the back or in an inconspicuous location.
    • Lanyards should be adjustable. Fixed-length lanyards can cause female attendees to feel uncomfortable if the badge hangs on awkwardly on their chest.
    • Consider pins in addition to lanyards. Let the wearer decide where they are most comfortable having it placed.
    • Badges shouldn’t flip or spin. When possible, they should be double-sided with duplicate information on both sides.
    • Include talking points. Many events now offer ribbon stations for attendees to choose to add both serious and funny ribbons to their badge. Other popular options are “Ask me about…”, list a couple of interest or hobbies, or including the answer to a random question (ex: If I were a wrestler, my entrance theme song would be…, The most famous person I’ve ever met or seen in person is…).

    Taking the time to plan and execute quality conference name badges is well worth it. Try it at your next event!

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