6 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make Designing Conference Badges

What is a badge? It's obviously the attendee's showcase… but also the even organizer's. A poorly designed one can become the first step to organizational failure.

6 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make Designing Conference Badges

We give you six points to avoid in order to make your badge design professional and flawless.

1. Wrong font

The full name of the attendee should be legible from around three meters. This golden rule ensures that your guests will not have to wonder who they’re interacting with at the moment. A font that is illegible, too small, or difficult to make out, will not make it easy for them. Thus, before issuing actual badges, do make a test printout and see if the data can be read easily.

2. Poor lanyard connection

This point is particularly important if you’re organizing a multi-day event, where your attendees will be taking their badges off and putting them on again several times. I have witnessed many situations where guests had to come back to the reception desk and ask for new badges. The organizer decided to skimp on PVC holders and the lanyard’s hook tore the paper. Keep in mind that in such cases, your image suffers more than your budget.

3. Spelling and other errors in the content

There’s one problem with spelling errors - you don’t see them. This is why you should check every badge twice and ask someone else to check them as well before finally accepting them. Even if you’re using event management software, remember that attendees make errors too. You must have encountered names without capital letters or with typos in position names. You could conclude that this is the way the attendees entered their data and you shouldn’t interfere. But don’t forget that if you issue them a badge with an error, the attendee will most probably blame you for the error.

4. Too flashy or disproportionate graphic design

Not everyone needs to be graphically inclined but if you’re designing badges, you should devote some time to hone the design or hire a professional. Whichever option you choose, make sure the most important elements are properly highlighted and the badge looks good. Obviously, branding is very important but don’t let it get in the way of the attendee’s data. If the event title steals the spotlight, the design needs to be adjusted.

5. Too much content

Badges, especially the bigger sized (e.g. A6) ones can tempt you to add some more content. Organizers often give in and fill the blank spaces with promotional content. It’s a mistake. The content of the badge should serve the attendee, not the organizer. So don’t let your conference badges look like a horror vacui artwork and stick to minimalism.

6. Not enough content

You won’t be surprised when I tell you that extremities are bad. Content deficiency is as much of a mistake as content overload. Consider what information needs to be printed on badges. Maybe it’s the town, profession, or organization of the attendee? Remember to somehow indicate the type of participation. This way, your guests won’t have to guess if they’re speaking to an organizer, a speaker, or perhaps tech staff, and in case attendees have questions or doubts, they will immediately know who they should speak to. Properly personalized conference badges will make life easier both for you and your attendees.

All the tips above should allow you to design the best possible conference badge. If you’re not the person responsible for the badge design, share this article with that person. You will avoid basic mistakes and save a lot of time and resources, at the same time making sure that your brand image will not be damaged.

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Tomasz Chrościechowski