Design a Conference Badge that Doesn’t Suck

Conference organizers always try to find ways to make their events unique and memorable, but there are some things which should be standard. Attendees, particularly those who might have had to deal with unpredictable flights or transportation/hotel issues, will always appreciate a streamlined check in process. It's a process where Occam's Razor is well-applied: the simpler, the better. This definitely goes for conference materials, like the conference badge. 

Some conference materials are necessary evils: the plethora of paper collateral from sponsors, the (usually) hideous conference bag, and sometimes a conference tee designated to become bottom-drawer filler. Or, if you attend a lot of technology conferences like I do, it's worn daily by some of the less hygienic attendees for the conference duration. All things considered, most of these materials are expendable. It makes sense to refocus on the one thing that attendees will use and reuse: the conference badge, or name badge. Here are some tips to create a badge worth its salt. Or at least worth the irritation of remembering it daily. And, when the conference is over and the badge has served its purpose, Sunrise Packaging conference name badges are eco-friendly and completely biodegradable!

What Do Attendees Want in a Conference Badge

Choosing the style of a conference name badge can depend by industry. Tech conferences, which tend to be slightly more informal, typically use lanyards with the badge hanging around the midsection. If this is the route you want to go, be considerate of the variety of shapes your attendees come in (male, female, proportions, etc). Choose a lanyard with adjustable sizes so they can choose where it should sit. 

conference badge with name, social identity

If the conference is an industry which tends to be more formal, consider a simpler conference badge that's more of  a traditional name tag with magnetic backing. There's little more annoying than putting holes in an expensive blouse or suit. Not to mention that it might hurt the fabric. Name tags also tend to be a little more discreet and elegant. 

Design Around Attendee's First Names

What's the purpose of a conference badge? To identify the attendee as an attendee and to share their name/affiliation with folks. If space is at a premium, consider cutting last names. Some attendees also might not feel comfortable sharing their full name with rooms of strangers (networking aside). Access Event Solutions recommends the following hierarchy: 

First Name (largest font)
Last Name (slightly smaller font than first name)
Company name/title (slightly smaller font than last name)
Other information (you get the drift)

What Else Might Attendees Want in a Conference Badge

If you go the magnetic, name tag route, you're probably maxed out on space after the above. However, if you go the lanyard route, the back of the conference badge is a great spot for additional information, like: 

  • Conference schedule.
  • Wifi access information.
  • Conference hashtags/notable social channels.
  • Sponsor information (understandable to *want* to put it on the front, but lets be real: no one wants it there)
  • Embedding RFID or NFC technology within the layers of a conference badge substrate. Attendees can scan their badge to win prizes, session room counts, supply contact information to enabled vendors...the possibilities are endless.

For maximum readability, print information on the back of a lanyard upside down!  

Make a Conference Badge Attendees Want to Keep

Name tags might not serve many purposes after the conference, unless they're well-designed and not obtrusively tied to the event. Keep your conference badge design simple, and attendees will appreciate the streamlined effort. Particularly if they're already a little jet-lagged. 

Goodbye High School, Hello Welcome Kit

Springtime is more than a season of new beginnings. For those completing high school, it’s the season of gowns, tassels, and warm cheese at graduation parties.  As the class of 2016 leaves high school behind with literal ‘Pomp and Circumstance,’ college becomes the next new frontier. Things just got real, so to speak. The excitement of getting accepted to a university might be slowly replaced with fear of the unknown. After all, for many kids, this is the first time they’ve left home for a sustained period of time. They might not know anybody, and they’ve just said goodbye to the friends and classmates with whom their entire social circle has comprised of up to this point. This is the perfect time for the freshman student experience folks to kick in, and send the welcome kit.

welcome kit from the University of NebraskaWhat’s a welcome kit?

Glad you asked. A welcome kit is the introduction to the institution. It might be sent all at one time, like opening a giant, college-themed gift, or it adopt a more just-in-time model where accepted students learn more gradually, and at times which it makes sense to perform actions like completing the FAFSA, registering for classes, things like that. However, while the materials should be helpful and informative, they should also impart the core values of the institution.

 

In this example (recently created for the University of Nebraska – Omaha), newly-accepted students received a small, pocket sized folder, welcoming them to the institution. Note that it identifies them as a student by associating them with the university’s mascot and iconic red and black. The die cut cavity inside is a key-shaped USB drive. On the USB drive are materials that might have formerly been printed out. A new student guide, checklist, things that previously cost the institution a pretty penny in paper, ink and postage, now condensed into a keepsake package.

gp-front-back

welcome kit from the University of Nebraska

This folder kit not allows the institution to save money (and not a few trees in reducing paper), but also helps guide the new Maverick a bit more. By placing materials on the USB drive, you can highlight certain things digitally where, in paper, it wouldn’t be possible. As the incoming class are also digital natives, this way of accessing information is more natural to them. It also provides the institution the opportunity to share things with the student in a way that meets their preferred learning style: reading, listening, and/or watching.

Some might feel like the tangible element of receiving a packet in the mail is lost, and that valuable real estate for information-sharing is cut down. I would counter that argument by looking at how Nebraska optimized the back of the folder kit with all the different ways to keep in touch with the institution (social channels figure prominently).  The design is done in such a way to enhance the presentation of the package, and not detract from it. Sunrise takes pride in crafting a box design that fits the needs of the customer.  This style–a trifold–could hold a variety of things.  Coins, gift cards, USBs are just the tip of the iceberg.

And isn’t that what going to the university should be – just the tip of the iceberg?

The Story of Little Cloud Nine


Sunrise Packaging is more than just a box manufacturer. From start to finish, we can bring your product to life. Our unique facility, consolidated with a variety of machinery and tools from several walks of manufacturing, coupled with our mission to be the most complete fulfillment house around, makes this shop truly one-stop. We pride ourselves on planning the interior and exterior. Custom inserts and outer decor. If you need personalized flash drives preloaded with data to complete your launch kit, we can do it! Custom mailers for shipping? No problem!

But did you know we might even be able to help create your product itself?

 

steve and jan diemer_inventor of the little cloud nine travel pillow

 

Such is the case for one Steve Diemer. If you don’t know him by his name, you probably know him by his product. Steve is the inventor of Little Cloud Nine™ travel pillow and we were lucky enough to get to pick his brain about it.

 

 

little cloud nine travel pillow in useWhat is story behind your product?


“Little Cloud Nine ™ was a travel pillow idea born years ago while I was in agony on a coach-class seat somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. Since then it’s been tested, refined and tested again. With the Little Cloud Nine ™ travel pillow, you can rest and relax in an amazingly comfortable sitting position, keeping your head, neck, and spine aligned. Our vented support cushion is reusable, inflates and deflates quickly, and stores flat in a purse or carry-on bag. Little Cloud Nine™ can be used on planes, trains, buses, cars and any other preferred mode of transportation. Little Cloud Nine™ makes a great gift for your traveling friends. Make your coach seat feel like first class with Little Cloud Nine.”

How was Sunrise Packaging able to assist in bringing the Little Cloud Nine™ to life?

 

“My product needed special welding of an inflatable material and I was stymied by not having anyone with the know how to put my product together. I called the company that makes the specialized welding equipment and asked if they would give me the name of someone who used their equipment and was good at it. The company spokesman did not hesitate. He said Rod Herdina, Sunrise Packaging, Blaine Mn was the best he knew. I called Rod and asked if he would see me and take a look at the idea. He was most gracious and invited me to come and see him. We had made several mockups and he was able to visualize how a cylindrical shape could be made using materials impervious to air. Without Rod Herdina and Sunrise Packaging it is doubtful my product would have made it to market.”

little cloud nine sbs paperboard packagingWow! Thanks, Steve! That’s high praise!

From the early stages of Steve’s design, Sunrise was there working with him from the initial concept. We used RF sealing to create the actual pillow. RF, or radio frequency, sealing uses high frequency electromagnetic energy to bond materials. In the case of the travel pillow, it was a medical grade flocked plastic that we sourced just for his product.

 

That’s right, we didn’t just packaging his product, we made it! Of course, in the end, we used our specialties–logo silkscreening and sbs paperboard packaging–to finish the job all under one roof!

You can struggle with concept planning, you can search for mockup artists, you can bounce around from manufacturer to manufacturer trying to all the pieces in place–or you can put in a call to Sunrise Packaging. We get the job done from start to finish.