Whether in a hospital setting, a corporate campus, or a school, ID badges do more than identify the wearer's name. ID badges are a multi-functional and increasingly important part of any organization.
But did you know that ID badges are not only handy, they’re highly customizable? Understanding the wide range of customization options in today’s badging landscape can help you transform the humble ID badge into a powerful branding and security asset for your organization.
Customization Options for ID Badges
Custom-printed badges. These are the cornerstones of customization for your ID badge program. Think of your ID badge as a blank canvas to showcase your brand identity. Consider the following when you think about how to customize your ID badges and accessories:
- Logo. Including your logo on all ID badges immediately establishes your brand and unifies badge wearers across the organization. Make sure your logo file is crisp and clear when printed at a small size.
- Colors. Like logos, incorporating colors associated with your brand has a unifying effect. The right choice of colors can make a badge stand out and give it a more professional look. Remember to think about readability when using color; some colored backgrounds make it harder to read text.
- Other design elements. Graphics, quotes and company taglines are all great ways to customize badges to make them stand out. You may even ask your employees for a favorite saying or slogan that they can include on their personal badge.
Lanyards. Custom lanyards for ID badges are a good way to extend your brand beyond the badge itself. You may opt to print custom messages or logos onto each lanyard or color code lanyards to identify certain groups within your organization easily.
For example, schools may choose different color lanyards for each grade or for staff vs. students. This is valuable for safety and identification purposes as well as in creating a sense of unity among the different units.
Badge backers. Like lanyards, custom badge backers are useful in denoting certain groups within an organization. For example, hospitals may use badge backers to clearly announce an employee's title (doctor, nurse, aid, etc.) in both color and with type that extends below the actual photo ID card. This allows patients to quickly identify who is attending to them.
The blank of a badge backer is also the perfect place to print codes or other information employees need to access at a glance.
How to Create Customized Badges
There are two primary options when it comes to how to take your custom ID badges from creative concept to physical printed product: In-house printing or outsourced. Each has benefits and drawbacks. Here are a few things to consider:
In-house badge printing. To customize and print your badges in-house, you’ll need a base level of equipment, including design software, badge software (or a cloud-based subscription) and a badge printer and supplies. In addition, you may want to work with a designer to create a badge look that fits with your existing branding. It may make sense to handle printing in-house if you:
- Want complete creative control over the process
- Have frequent changes or updates to your badges
- Need badges turned around very quickly
- Want the flexibility to change badge design and create unique designs on demand
- Print enough badges that the volume offsets the initial and ongoing cost of equipment and supplies
Outsourced badge printing. Working with a badge retailer means you don’t have to manage printing within your facility. This can be a good fit if you:
- Want access to professional design and production services
- Don’t want to invest in printing equipment or badge creation software
- Prefer to free up internal resources on core business activities rather than badge production
- Need the flexibility to scale up or down without worrying about making the most of a large equipment purchase
- Need to print other types of materials like wristbands that require specialized machines
Why Customize Your ID Badges?
Of course, you want your badges to serve their purpose in identifying employees and look good, but customization has other benefits.
Branding. Custom ID badges can enhance your current branding initiatives. By carrying branding elements like logo, color and design through to your badges and lanyards, you’re showing extra effort and attention to detail that makes your company and employees stand out.
Differentiation among departments. Customization looks good, but it can also be useful. In large organizations or health care settings, customization serves to differentiate employees across different departments and roles.
Opting for different colored lanyards, distinct badge designs, or color-coded badge backers allows for quick and easy identification. Not only does this save time, but it also fosters smoother operations and can even help in managing access control as staff are easily identifiable even from a distance.
Increased security. Customized badges also offer a higher level of security. Unique designs are harder to replicate, making it less likely that non-employees can access badges. Adding enhanced customization features like holograms, barcodes and RFID can further enhance security.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Crafting Customized Badges
Step 1: Brainstorm Your Brand
Your ID badge is more than a tool; it represents your brand identity. Gather all brand materials, including logos, color schemes and messaging, as inspiration for your badge design.
Step 2: Rank Your Needs
Decide on the elements that need to appear on your badge, such as employee name, photo and ID number or security elements like barcodes or magnetic stripes. You’ll need to balance the look of the badge with its functionality.
Step 3: Choose Your Canvas
Choose a badge that meets your aesthetic goals but also does what you need it to do. If employees need to swipe into work, you’ll want to include magnetic stripes or RFID capabilities. For a more basic card, a plain PVC badge may be enough.
Step 4: Pick a Connection Point
Choose whether you’ll customize your lanyard or go with a standard option. You may also look into badge reels or clips that can be customized and offer a more discrete badge profile.
Step 5: Add the Accessories
Badge backers, badge holders and other accessories can enhance the look and functionality of your badge.
Step 6: Production Pathway
Will you print in-house or outsource? This will determine whether you need to purchase equipment or coordinate with ID Shop for a full-service print experience.
- For in-house printers, purchase any necessary equipment and software to enable the badge creation process. Ensure your equipment can handle the customization features you’ve chosen.
- If you opt to outsource, coordinate with your vendor on the process from initial design to delivery.
Step 7: Proof
Whether you’re printing in-house or outsourcing, proof your final design as it will appear on your badge. Now’s the time to make any changes.
Step 8: Print and Process
Now that you’ve got your customized badges take time to develop a process for reordering or reprinting as you bring on new employees.
Need help? The ID Shop team can take you through the entire badge customization process and design your badge based on your brand needs and security requirements. Contact us today to get started.