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. 

Top Packaging Trends for 2011

As 2010 comes to an end, and a new year is about to begin, many things in our world are about to change. The packaging industry, for example, is expecting changes for 2011. As technology advances rapidly, a push for sustainability is expected to grow. The possibilities for the packaging industry are endless for 2011 with new innovations becoming present everyday.

Here are the top trends for 2011:

1. The attraction of design: The purpose of design is to communicate with the consumer and entice them to purchase. Understanding the customer and what they want is the key to this trend.

2. The color of 2011 is green: Demand for eco-friendly and sustainable options in packaging is increasing. Consumers are more apt to buy products made from eco-friendly materials and/or eco-friendly practices and processes. Energy saving, water saving, material reduction, and recyclability are just a few examples of how eco-friendliness is getting incorporated in the packaging industry. The idea is to lessen their impact on the environment and look for innovative ways to do so.

3. Robots are coming: Automated technology is always improving. The ability for this technology to be used in the packaging industry helps to improve production and lower costs.

4. A digital world calls for digital printing: Digital printing is a method of printing that is done from a digital based image. This process allows for shorter production runs, flexibility, and rapid turnaround. Digital printing will increase in versatility and application in 2011.

5. These aren’t your average tags: Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a technology that uses communication via radio waves to exchange data between a reader and an electronic tag attached to an object. The purpose of these tags is to identify and track. It provides security and authenticity. This will be a common feature on packages. QR codes and M Tags are new applications that are becoming apart of packaging. These tags are a different type of tag that incorporate mobile phones and allows businesses to increase exposure.

6. Customization is key: Companies are looking for ways to set themselves apart from others. That is where customization comes into play. Packaging is the first thing a customer sees when buying a product. Unique packaging allows a business to grasp the attention of customers. By having the option to customize packaging, companies have a million possibilities at their disposal.

The new year holds positive trends for the packaging industry as well as a positive outlook. The packaging industry continues to grow and has a world of potential for 2011.

Do RFID Tags on Products/Packaging Affect Recycling?

radio-frequency-identification-RFID-tags-harm-recyclingRadio-Frequency Identification, or RFID tags, are very helpful for automatic store checkout, simplifying warehousing, and preventing theft.  Some say RFID tags may even completely replace the barcode, which is most commonly used today.  They are able to store more information on minimal space and can be read quickly by readers.  Although RFID tags are very helpful for these purposes, The Blog of Packaging pointed out that RFID tags could interfere with recycling.

The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) performed a study that showed when melting waste glass, it could become less shatterproof or discolored if the recycled glass contains trace amounts of aluminum and silicon from RFID tags.

Something needs to be done to make RFID tags more eco-friendly, such as making them metal-free, easily removable, or stuck to the bottle labels instead of the glass.  Otherwise many losses will be seen from not being able to recycle these materials, which would increase the input of extraneous materials needed.