Let nobody put a label on you

The last couple of weeks on the blog has been about the bigger picture when it comes to meetings and conferences. And I’m a keen advocate for keeping an eye on the bigger picture in your meeting, because that is where you will find the pot of gold.

But we all know that the devil is in the detail, and there are quite a few details to think of when you plan an event. So today is about the name tag you give to your attendees.

Name tags come in a variety of sizes and forms: There are some that you pin to your clothes, some that you wear in a neck strap, and some that you stick onto your clothes like a label…just to mention a few. And they all have their pros and cons.

The one with the pin

The ones you pin to your clothes are easy to print but takes some assembling afterwards. They have some limitations in regards to size as the pin will only hold so much weight. This means that the size of the writing on them might be relatively small, but if you don’t use a large font, you can add logos or other information (like access to a VIP room, allergies marked by a color, etc.).

Furthermore, the pin makes small holes in your clothes, though some manufacturers have added both a pin and a rotating clip to the holder, which makes up for the disadvantages of this name tag.

However, they are widely used and somewhat inexpensive to use if you reuse the plastic holder…and you do reuse it, right? Remember “Go green or go home”!

The one with the neck strap

This is the most diverse of the varieties mentioned here, but it is also the most expensive of them.

You need the neck strap, of course, but also either a plastic pouch or an expensive print to make this work well.

The plastic pouch has many uses: You can print a small program (maybe the headlines only) to put in it, or the attendees can use it to store business cards for networking sessions.

Usually, the pouches are big enough to write name, company name, and other information in quite a large font which makes it so much easier to find the person you are looking for – or just to see the name of the person you are talking to (whose name you didn’t catch at the first handshake).

But when you use the pouch model, remember to make the attendee’s name visible if the pouch flips while worn (both sides of the pouch). Or even go all in with the kind of pouch where you attach the neck strap in two holes in each side of the pouch instead of just one hole in the middle…though, then you need special neck straps with two clips. And they are even more expensive.

If you go for a neck strap with a printed name tag and not the pouch, you need it printed on special ‘no tear’ paper, otherwise it will break.

This variety is very diverse and you can print in many sizes, on both sides of the paper, in large fonts, etc., and it is very easy to assemble. You can even keep the tag by itself and the neck strap in a bowl at registration and have the attendees assemble it themselves.

And as always: Remember to reuse the neck straps and pouches to save the environment!

The one with the label

This is – in my humble opinion – the worst of the name tags mentioned here. The glue on the labels needs to be strong enough to stay attached, but weak enough so that it doesn’t leave a residue on the clothes. And there are quite a few fabrics that don’t go well with this glue: Silk, suede, leather, etc. I have met quite a few people in my career who have gotten their jacket or dress ruined by a label name tag. Sad! :o(

Moreover, you have a rather limited space and few possibilities for logos etc.

I know that this solution is quite inexpensive, but I have to say: Don’t do it! I have nothing nice to say about the labels.

The name tag might be a tiny detail in your event, but don’t underestimate the value of it. It can have quite an impact on the outcome for the attendees, and we are all in this game to please our attendees…aren’t we?

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