What should I avoid when designing a name badge?
At Portland Badge Co. we’ve rescued countless folks from name badges gone wrong. Here are seven tips on what to avoid when it comes to your custom name badge…
How many times has someone rudely squinted at your chest desperately trying to make out those tiny letters? This is self defeating, embarrassing and actually works to decrease your approachability. Not to mention it makes the other person feel ridiculous!
So, much like a retail price tag, your badge must be readable from ten feet away — both the font and the tag itself. According to a survey done by David Alder of Biz Bash, 50% of a group of meeting planners claimed that “illegible font size of custom badges was a major problem.”
And, consider the 75 million baby boomers that have reached, or will reach their bifocal days, this is a top priority. The recommended font size is 24 point – hopefully bigger if possible. Also be certain to avoid cursive, script or other fancy letters.
Avoid overly thick borders, unnecessary clutter or too much text. Make it easy on the eyes. All of the information contained must be readable and memorable in less than five seconds. For trade shows or other venues with hundreds of people and limited time, be sure that your company name, position and logo are positioned adequately from a networking/prospecting standpoint. (Still readable from 10 feet away.)
Other than that, make sure that any supplementary, less important text is significantly smaller than the name itself. Remember, they call them name badges because the name must be the focal point, whether it’s the name of the person or the name of the company, those are the two most important pieces of information.
The most effective background color for badges is white. This allows maximum visibility for your logo, name and position. Dark blue, green or red backgrounds are used occasionally, but they have a tendency to “steal the show” from the rest of the badge.
Write the font in black or dark blue. Never use yellow, orange or any other light color. Even if a dark color choice means an aesthetic digression, fashion must be outweighed by your nametag’s approachability and visibility!
Finally, unless you work in banking/financial services or the restaurant industry, avoid gold nametags.
A frustrating problem that people face is “the badge turnaround.” No name. No logo. No company. Just the blank back of the badge! While lanyard or necklace style custom name badges reduce clothing damage, no doubt these will get accidentally turned around and tangled at some point!
Therefore it is vital to always write the exact same information on both sides. And, if someone who doesn’t know your name sees the blank reverse side of your nametag, they might shrug their shoulders, turn away and find another person to talk to!
(NOTE: If you write the information on both sides also eliminates the possibility that some of us will purposely turn our nametags around. “Lead us not into temptation…”)
The horizontal placement of your badge is a function of the context in which you wear it. For example, on the right, they will be easily visible in the line of sight that correlates to your handshake. Most businesses handbooks will instruct you to wear it in this manner. And, it is a good visual aid for people who can’t remember names—which is everyone!
On the other hand, for mobile and populated events such as trade shows, expos and conventions, it is more effective to wear your nametag on your left side. This allows people who approach in your opposite direction to see your nametag with significant ease, since we traditionally walk on the right side of the road/aisle/hallway.
Although horizontal placement of your nametag is an important consideration, vertical placement is the most important visibility characteristic. A nametag in the middle of your chest is likely to get covered by your arms, papers or some other obstruction. Furthermore, central placement of your nametag will make you unavailable to people outside of your conversation, thus limits your ability to meet more valuable people. So, your nametag is pointless if it’s worn below your breastbone.
The most effective location is two to three inches below your collar bone on whichever side most appropriate for your function. This allows maximum eye contact. Furthermore, high vertical placement of your nametag eliminates the possibility that it will be covered by something. For example, if your nametag hangs too low, it will be impossible for other people to read it when you: sit down, cross your arms, wear a jacket, write down information or use gestures while you talk.
Have you ever seen a five inch nametag with tiny letters the size of sunflower seeds? What a waste! Use any and all blank space provided by your nametag. Make it huge! Don’t worry if you look silly, because everyone looks silly! And, although font size must be large anyway, don’t hesitate to increase the font commensurate with the size of the nametag itself. Imagine your nametag is a personal advertisement. Maximize your space efficiently. Think about this: you will never see a billboard on the highway that only uses half the space provided!
The next time you go to a meeting, convention, seminar or trade show, remember that your nametag is your best friend. In other words, think of your nametag as your “front porch.” It invites people. It makes them feel comfortable. And, it initiates conversations that transform strangers into valuable connections. But, like any good front porch, it’s important to create and wear nametags that are visible, accessible, and efficient so you will maximize your approachability.
What Makes a Good Logo?
One of the most important marketing tools is an effective logo. It provides an easily recognizable identity for your business or organization. It not only communicates who you are but what you are. Therefore, every business or organization contemplating adopting a logo should know the criteria that make for an effective logo.
The first characteristic of an effective logo is that it has immediate impact. Your logo should catch the viewer’s eye and hold the viewer’s attention. Consider the logo of Apple Computers; the graphic apple with a stylized bite taken out of it has immediate product and corporate identification with consumers. An effective logo “grabs” attention. In addition to impact, a good logo must be good to look at. An effective logo should have the look and feel of “art”, if a logo is not appealing to the eye it will defeat its purpose – attracting attention and providing effective identification.
A good logo must also copy well. In any business or organization, the use of a logo becomes ubiquitous – it is ever-present on buildings, letterhead, signs, products, promotional items, etc. A good logo will be as effective on a business card as it is on a billboard – small scale and large scale uses. Will the logo still be recognizable printed on the barrel of a ballpoint pen?
This brings us to the next characteristic of an effective logo the logo must create or evoke a positive image. “Branding” is a common marketing principle based on product identification growing out of identifying a product with a positive image and a sense of goodwill. Another characteristic of a good logo is that it accurately represents the organization or business.
If a company or organization wants to project a serious, professional image, the logo must look professional. A humorous or whimsical logo would be counterproductive to projecting professionalism. The best logos are the most memorable logos. The Apple Computer “Apple” logo and the McDonald’s Hamburgers “golden arches” are great logos because they are memorable to the point of being iconic.
A logo identifies a business or organization so it would be counterproductive to change it because it did not wear well over time. Companies that have invested vast amounts of money, time and effort to establish their “brand” do not change it frequently for a reason. Make sure your logo will be “timeless” for the same reason.