Generating event participant badges from CiviCRM is a fairly painless process: simply select the participants you wish to print badges for, select the option to print participant badges, select the badge format you want to use, and click print. Simple, no?
But one glance at a printed badge quickly reveals the weak point: the design of the badges packaged with CiviCRM aren't quite as polished as you desire or maybe it needs different information included. Luckily the badge printing process includes the ability to make minor changes or even to fairly drastically alter the look and feel and content of the badge.
Making these changes aren't necessarily for the faint hearted, but with just a little knowledge and a dollop of gumption, most modifications can be accomplished with relative ease. In this blog entry I won't go into how to make these changes, but if you're interested in the nitty-gritty details send me an email. Before long, you can take your badges to infinity... and beyond.
The first, most important, change is to improve the badge for readability. Names on badges need to be readable from a 6'-8' distance (without squinting!). When you walk up to someone you want to call them by their first name, and if you don't recall it you need to get it from their badge. By dropping in a new font, and increasing the font size, this requirement can be easily remedied. Note: the first name is a larger font size than the last name.
Usually, some people attending your event are VIP's. Badges should always display this status (which you probably have defined in a civi group). Not only does it help inflate their ego's (!), it also helps your staff identify at a glance large donors or other dignitaries. If you can print in color, use a special color to make these identifications even easier.
While we are at it, let's add the event's logo so the badge is associated with it. The rule to remember here is that the logo shouldn't be too big... attendees already know where they are (or at least we hope so!).
Want to make event check-in's easier? Print a barcode on the badge. Then with a little customization of CiviCRM you can easily scan the barcode to check the participant into the main event, or even into smaller sub-events.
Or take your badges into the 21st century, and use a QR Code on a badge to validate entry to special events. By embedding a coded website URL in the QR Code, a quick scan by a cell phone or tablet, can be used to easily check whether a participant is validated to attend.
Wow, that's getting awfully crowded, huh? Sure hope there are no long last names!! How about using the back of the badge for some of this? Let's move the QR Code to the backside.
Great! Now there is plenty of room on the front for long names, and the badge has a nice visual look.
Of course, that back side looks rather spartan with that lone QR Code... let's put a little more there... it's a great place to put some reference information like a short schedule to the event so the attendee can always have it at hand to refer to. (This works best when you have the badge in a transparent sleeve on an lanyard.)
Now there's a badge that works!! It's way more functional and usable, and looks professional! Everyone that looks at these badges is a potential donor and this badge projects an image that's worthy of their consideration.
Hopefully, this blog has sparked some ideas on the look and feel of your badges. Use your imagination and make your badges work for you!!
Question? Comments? Drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org