How to Design Your Visitors’ Badges

Visitor badges aren’t complicated — not at first glance. It might seem like designing one would be easy: Choose a template, fill it out, and move on.

However, poorly designed visitor badges can cause problems

When the information on these little rectangles isn’t laid out in a way that’s clear, accurate, and helpful, there are consequences for both visitors and the companies they’re visiting.

Visitor badges might seem like a small thing, but they make an impact — and the best companies know that paying attention to these kinds of details can make all the difference. (And designing them should be easy, like they are with our custom badge designer)

Take full advantage of your visitor badges’ potential for security and branding with these best practices.

What to Include on a Visitor Badge

The info you want to display on your visitor badges may vary with your company or event. However, most badges generally display some combination of these fields:

Visitor Name

Your visitors’ names only require a few simple text fields, but it’s important to leave enough space for them. Find out what will happen when someone with an exceptionally long name tries to make a badge. Does the name get truncated or spill into the next part of the badge, ruining the layout and causing delays in the reception area? When designing, experiment and leave extra space.

Visitor Photo

The visitor’s photo is a great way to verify that a badge belongs to its owner. However, it loses its potency if the photo isn’t clear or doesn’t have the visitor’s face in the appropriate position. If you don’t have front desk staff available at all times to manually take visitor photos, you need a system like The Receptionist, which uses facial recognition software to require the perfect positioning before issuing a badge.

Date and Time of Check-in

Your software should automatically store this when a visitor checks in, making it easy to insert accurate data onto the badge for display.

Expiration Date

If this isn’t already made clear by the date and time of a visitor’s check-in, you may also want to place the expiration date prominently.

Visitor Type

You may want to note visitors’ types or classifications on their badges. Visitor types often center around their roles (examples: Intern, Contractor, Presenter, Vendor) but can also include security levels or access levels.

Visitor Details

The visitor’s name and check-in details may not mean much without additional information, such as their company name, their position, and the name of the person they are visiting at the host company.

Your Company Logo

Adding a company logo to your visitor badge design makes badges look official, and also makes them a bit harder to copy.

Guest-Specific Info

Some companies use visitor badges as a convenient spot to print info that their visitors will need to refer to, such as WiFi passwords.

Want all the elements of a visitor badge in a downloadable checklist you can pass on to your designer or front desk staff with your notes?

Testing and Modifying the Design

Once you’ve decided what info to include on your badge, figure out how it should be arranged.

The amount of space you have to work with will probably depend somewhat on your badge printer and paper. You may also need to decide upfront how the badges will be worn by visitors (such as cardstock to be inserted into a lanyard or label paper stuck to the visitor’s shirt) so you know whether to choose vertical or horizontal layout.

Once you know those things, it’s time to perfect the design.

Decide on a Focal Point

Which pieces of information on the badge need the most attention?

  • If your biggest concern is security, you could focus on the visitor’s photo, check-in time, and date.
  • If the badges are being used to grant access to certain areas of your facility or venue, you could focus on visitor type or access level.
  • If the goal is to simply identify people at a conference, you could focus on the visitor’s first name and company name.

Regardless, you only have so much space to work with, and only a few pieces of information will truly stand out at first glance.

Use Typographical Hierarchy

Even though you want to keep things simple on a visitor badge (no need to mess around with too many fonts, for example), you can still use up to 2-3 styles of text to make it clear which information is the most important.

Professional designers typically choose a header, subheader, and body text style for any design job. Use the header style (the largest, boldest one) for the focal point info, the subheader for supporting info, and the body text style for minor details.

For more on the topic of typography hierarchy along with some examples of how it’s used in print, check out this Canva blog post on the topic.

Watch a demo of The Receptionist’s visitor badge printer here.

Test for Legibility

Your badges won’t be effective if people can’t read them.

Unfortunately, sometimes what’s super easy to read on a computer screen can get much more difficult when it’s printed out and stuck on a shirt.

So, once you have a working badge design, do some testing.

See if your staff can read the badges from a reasonable distance. It should only take them a few seconds to absorb your focal point. If they can’t, go back to the badge editor and modify the design to make it more clear.

Want all these badge tips in a handy checklist form?

Incorporate a Brand Element

Brand identity can be communicated in other ways than with a big square company logo, which can take up a lot of the limited space available on a visitor badge.

If you work with a designer, they may have other ideas about other graphics or logo elements that might be a nice addition to the visitors’ badges without taking up as much space.

Poorly designed visitors’ badges can confuse visitors and staff, impair security, and delay your reception process. Click To Tweet

Many badge printers have limited colors available, but if you’re using a standard printer, you may also work with a designer to get an exact color match to your company’s brand colors.

What to Look for in a Badge Designer

To create the best visitors’ badges for your company, you need a tool with these qualities:

Simple

Sometimes the front desk staff will need to make changes to the badge design on the fly, so a drag-and-drop interface that non-designers can use is super important. Without the ability for an average user to easily resize and move each element of your badge, your customization options will be very limited.

Streamlined

First impressions are important, and the reception area is where that first impression is made. The last thing you want is hold-ups and confusion. The tool you use to design and print your visitors’ badges should be a seamless step in an automated check-in system. That includes admins being able quickly to switch back and forth between pre-set badge templates, such as when the front desk handles visitors for multiple companies or events.

Supportive

If something goes wrong with your badge designer or you need help, you need to get assistance right away. Choose a tool with a robust support system and staff.

The Receptionist has a live chat tool built into every page of the app and is dedicated to Radical Service for our clients. To see our drag and drop badge editor, check out this video. To see how the badge printer fits into the visitor management system, check out this video.

If you’re ready to try The Receptionist for yourself, click here to start a free 14-day trial, or contact us for more information.

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