The expression, “It’s the little things that count,” is useful to bear in mind when discussing different badge design types. Yes, badges are but a small detail in the greater scheme of a successful event. However, when designed with creativity and intentionality, badges can really make a statement and set the tone for the rest of your event aesthetics.
First and foremost, badges are functional. They need to convey important information that will empower networking and facilitate clear communication. Badge design must support that functionality, while still leaving room for a little fun. Event managers should be careful not to overlook the benefit of badge design relative to making the right impression with their attendees.
Before we dive into the different badge design types available, we’ll review a few reasons why badge design matters and then offer some interesting options for your consideration.
Why does badge design matter?
We’ve already stated a few reasons why it’s worth putting some thought into your event badge design, but there are a few more to keep in mind.
Yes, function trumps form with respect to information communication, and there are practical boxes to check, such as durability, especially for longer events or those that involve physical or outdoor activity.
In addition to these, we advise event managers to integrate the following elements in their badge design:
Whatever your badge design, it should represent your brand and reflect a clear identity that is recognizable by your attendees and other event stakeholders. This can be done by incorporating the right colors, fonts, graphics, and logos, just as you would with any other marketing collateral.
While the brand story should come across crystal clear and offer a shared event experience for all attendees, there should also be visual distinction between the types of attendees. For instance, a speaker should have a different badge than an exhibitor or sponsor. It should also be clear who is an attendee versus a VIP guest. These differentiators actually help to empower communication among event stakeholders and facilitate networking because everyone has immediate access to visual cues that give them an idea of who they’re mingling with.
Presenting attendees with creative badges makes a strong and memorable first impression, and can be done through a visually appealing design and also by incorporating useful items that are easily attached to a badge and lanyard. Think of a small flashlight, a stylus or pen, bottle opener or branded keychain.
Safety and security
With all the advances in security features, it’s now possible to add watermarks, barcodes, and holograms in order to prevent unauthorized entry into the event itself or specific sessions. In this day and age, your attendees will appreciate your effort to ensure everyone’s safety and security, and do so in such a unique and easily accessible way.
Keeping the value of badge design in mind, let’s take a look at some popular badge design options, with respect to material and messaging.
Popular badge design types
When it comes to badge design, the only limitation is your own imagination and while there is always a place for the traditional, it’s also worthwhile to think bigger and push some badge boundaries.
For instance, why stick with the expected rectangular badge when you can share the same information on an entirely different shape, whether a circle, hexagon, or diamond?
With respect to materials, high quality should always be the goal and popular options offer different benefits, such as the following:
Common in badge design for a reason, plastic event badges offer hard to beat benefits:
- Waterproof — ideal for outdoor events
- Sizing options include 23 mil. or 30 mil. thick
- Printable on both sides with either high-gloss or soft-touch matte
- Options for raised foil or spot gloss UV to enhance the security of reproduction
Plastic badges allow for total customization of your brand design, with size options ranging from:
- 4 x 5.5″
- 3.46 x 5.51″
- 4 x 4.5″
Similar to plastic badges, polystock badges are:
- 23 mil. or 30 mil. Thick
- Printed on both sides, options for high-gloss or soft-touch matte
- Durable and sturdy enough for multi-day use
- Resistant to rips or tears
Plastic badges support full customization of your brand design with options for custom or standard sizes, such as:
- 4 x 5.5″
- 4 x 5″
- 4 x 4.5″
Another popular option, laminated badges, are designed with a paper or synthetic core, featuring glossy laminate on both sides and are:
- Durable enough to last for multi-day events
- Water-resistant and easy to wipe clean
Laminated badges can implement full color for brand personalization and are available in customized or standard sizes: 4 x 5.5″, 3.46 x 5.51″, 4 x 4.5″
There’s no denying that carbon footprints are a talking point, particularly at events focused on sustainability, conservation, and other environmental concerns. If your brand or event purports to be green or environmentally conscious, you’ll want to invest in badges made from eco-friendly materials.
These badges are made from recycled materials like reclaimed wood, bamboo, recycled cardstock, and are attached to eco-friendly lanyards.
Eco-friendly badges are:
- More sustainable than standard plastic badges
- Waterproof, depending on the sustainable material chosen
- Like their counterparts, eco-friendly badges support full color on both sides for brand personalization and can be customized or designed according to the following standard sizes: 4 x 5.5″, 3.46 x 5.51″, 4 x 4.5″, or customized