Today’s topic is badges. I have no idea why I chose this to be the first topic. It was just one of those, “it hit me in the shower” kind of things, so here it is.
I am going to start with discussing why conventions have badges to begin with. It’s not about security, though that is a convenient, and useful, bonus. It’s because it’s the rare convention where the members know everyone else at the con. It helps you identify who you are currently engaged in a conversation with, when you’re standing in the hallway, at a party, in a panel room, etc. Causal conversations tend to pop up frequently, and it’s really nice to know who the other person is.
Okay, so given that, let’s get to the most common mistake I see at cons regarding badges. This issue was first pointed out to me by Fred Grimm, and he was absolutely correct. Too often the person (people) responsible for labeling the badges, make the names too small. If you can’t easily read the name at a distance of about 4 feet, then it doesn’t fulfill the primary reason the badges exist.
The second mistake I see is that the convention views the badge as a way to show off the AGoH’s artwork. I like good artwork as much as the next guy, but if the artwork makes it impossible for the badge to meet its primary function, then the badge is not actually useful. My recommendation is make sure there is ample room for the name on the badge.
That’s pretty much it. Badge quality, size, etc. is up to your budget and preferences. Please, just make sure we can read the badge.