The final days and weeks before an event can be a busy time and nametag design may not be at the top of your priority list. But it should be given due consideration because nametags play a key role in connecting people at events. So before you start printing for your next event, consider these tips.
1. Minimize graphics. I’m not suggesting you give everyone a plain white nametag but keep logos small and use other branding elements for event identification. Attendees already know what event they are at. What they don’t know is the name of the person across the table, so use graphics to draw people’s eye to that information instead of letting them distract from it.
2. Accentuate the first name. Squeezing a full name onto a single line may not make Jane Smith illegible but it will sure make Christopher Williams-Johnson challenging to read. Catching someone’s last name won’t matter if no introduction is made. Everything else on the nametag is a conversation piece that likely won’t matter if a business card or other meaningful exchange never takes place. It’s the first name that people will use when identifying someone across the room or introducing themselves so break the first name out and accentuate in size or font.
3. Use a simple font and make it a large size. People shouldn’t have to squint or pull out reading glasses to read a nametag. It should be visually appealing but easy to read from a distance. Choose a simple font with clean lines. A non-serif font is better for legibility. Use the largest font size possible but don’t overwhelm the nametag (maintain enough whitespace so it doesn’t look crowded). If in doubt, print a trial nametag and affix it to a corkboard. Then walk 5-10 paces and see how hard it is to read the first name.
4. Keep information up front. After designing the perfect nametag, it would be a shame if no one ever read them. But it happens. Nametags on lanyards get flipped around as people move and eventually everyone is nameless. This is detrimental to event branding, security, and networking. Use double-sided nametags so it won’t matter if they flip over, or use lanyards that clip onto the top 2 corners of the plastic sleeve.
Bonus Tip: Another pet peeve is nametags on long lanyards. No one likes looking at another person’s navel to learn who they are. And once people sit down at a table, nametags are no longer visible. Nametags should sit at a height where you can read them without really breaking eye contact. So consider length when selecting a lanyard, or better yet consider one that cinches in the back once people put it on.
In conclusion, nametags serve as identification at an event and are a key part of networking. Make sure they are legible or they won’t do anyone any good.
Do you have observations or pet peeves when it comes to event nametags? Tell us about it in the comments.