Planning an academic or professional conference means providing name badges for the attendees. You can't do without them, but there's nothing much to them: these little white rectangles are the same for every event, right? Not necessarily. Name badges are an often-overlooked way for conference organisers to provide extra value for both staff and attendees. Here are a few ways to make your event's name badges not just better-looking but also more useful.
Many conferences already have different-coloured badges for attendees, volunteers, staff, vendors and other roles. But colour coding can be useful even just among attendees. For instance, group presenters in different sessions by colour. This will help guests find others with similar interests at receptions and even while walking through the lobby. If there are too many groups for colours, try adding an eye-catching graphic instead.
The badge is the book
Printing a slimmed-down version of the event program book and tucking it into a badge holder has become popular among conferences over the last few years. Other conferences punch holes in the corner of the booklets and simply hang them from a badge lanyard. After all, bulky, expensive programs are likely to get lost, whereas attendees will always keep their badges with them.
Other handy information
Obviously, some events are too large for book-badges, but even a simple timetable or venue map printed on the reverse of the badge can be very useful. Another piece of information every attendee will need is the venue's wifi information. Print this on the bottom of the badge -- but remember that the user is going to be looking at it from above, so print the text upside down to make it easier to read.
Networking is a big part of the conference experience, but with travel and receptions and getting back to work, someone's contact details always get misplaced. Some conferences solve this problem by encoding selected contact information in a QR code printed on each name badge. Now attendees can simply scan the code using an appropriate app and have the information saved directly to their phones.
Postcard conference badges
Collecting attendee feedback is a vital part of conference planning, but it isn't always easy to collect the needed information. Conference badges printed on postcards, or with detachable postcard sections, serve as a reminder to attendees to send in their feedback. Alternatively, they can be a handy way to get conference guests to promote your event for you.