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Seven Tips to Customizing the Perfect Name Tags

Employee name tags play a vital - yet often overlooked - role in how your business, staff, and brand are perceived. There are, however, quite a few ways of goofing it ranging from ordering a style that doesn't fit well with your brand to cramming too much onto a line. The following tips will help ensure that you get the best looking name tags for yourself or your employees. 

1) Name Badges vs. Name Tags

Let's get this out of the way first. The two terms are used nearly interchangeably nowadays. One commonly accepted difference, though, is that name tags are self-affixed while name badges usually have a hole in them through which a lanyard, reel, or other mechanism is inserted. What's the difference? Really, it depends on who you're talking to.

2) Choose how you'll want to wear it (magnetic vs. pin-on vs. lanyard)

There are three primary ways to secure a name tag to its wearer. Each option has its definite pros and cons related to ease-of-use, stability, and impact on your clothing. Let's briefly explore each of them.

Traditional Pin-on fastener

The traditional pin-on fastening will undoubtedly stay securely attached, regardless of the conditions. This is because the pins are meant to pierce your garment and are held in place and feature a physical locking system to ensure that they don't slip out. Pins could be the ideal choice for those in high-impact roles where the tag will be exerted to pressures that may cause magnetic attachments to lose their grip. Keep in mind, though, that when such things happen, the force of the tug will be transferred to your garment so those tiny holes in your shirt may end up becoming permanently larger. 

The Magnetic backing

In contrast to the pin-on style, magnetic fasteners are widely popular because they don't damage the garment in any way. There's no pin involved and therefore no piercing of your garment. Instead, these tags usually have two or more magnets attached to the name tag with a separate metal bar meant to be placed on the inside of your shirt. With the name tag on the outside and the plate on the inside, the shirt is sandwiched between the two. The sheer force of the magnetic pull is enough to keep them highly secure during moderate-intensity work.

Lanyard Badge

For those not wishing to damage their garment nor put up with (the little) fuss of installing the two-piece magnetic attachment, there's the grab-and-go standby, the lanyard or retractable reel badges. These are perfect for those seeking the easiest and quickest method getting to work with your name tag on.

3) Opt for durability

As you shop for name tags, you'll find that there's something to fit almost any budget. Like anything else, here are cheap name tags, inexpensive name tags, affordable name tags, and premium name tags. The chances are that as one moves up this list, the expected life of the name tags increases. Mind you that this isn't meant to imply that you won't find good, durable name tags at a decent price yet this is usually another situation where you find yourself getting exactly what you pay for.

Inexpensive Name Tags

The cheapest short-term option to label people or things. Your cheapest option is usually printed paper name tags. The Avery 5395 labels (available on Amazon) are a good choice if you're only looking for a temporary solution and don't mind putting in the work to design them yourself. Those wanting the particular aesthetic that they offer may want to consider the "Hello, My Name Is..." stickers that are also available on Amazon. Those seeking a western theme might consider these Howdy name tag stickers, (available on Amazon).

Standard Name Tags

The "typical" two-color engraved plastic name tag is made of the same "typical" material used for office and industrial signage, usually 1/16" thick extruded acrylic. They can be found nearly everywhere for a good reason - they're a great balance of price and durability for those that aren't necessarily looking to stand out. 

Premium Name Tags

Looking for something nice? You'll definitely want to target the few premium name tags that are available. You'll find them made from thicker, more durable materials and the extra level of perfection that comes with a having spent a few extra dollars.

The Fisharply wooden name tags, for example, command a premium price partially because they're 4-6 times thicker than our competitors' tags that use a cheaper, more porous (and therefore weakened) makeup.

As should be expected, stomping our name tag into the ground may result in scratches on its gorgeous wooden face, but the competitors' product is likely to either snap or bend so far as to cause irreparable discoloration bands on the front face. Head on over to our name tags catalog now if you care to try stomping one yourself!

4) Choosing the right color, shape, and text style. 

Size, color, and shape are essential considerations for many things, and name tags are no exception. Your name tag design should be a continuation of your brand aesthetic.

For example, if your business is a hip coffee shop then you'll most likely not be making the most of your investment if you were to order red, rectangular name tags with formal style serif lettering.

The first thing we ask buyers to do when trying narrow down the choices is to stand in the workspace that the recipients will be occupying when wearing their badges.

Look around and make a note of the way that the main shapes outline the most prominent features of the space. Are they straight with hard corners or do they flow with organic curves? The shape of your nametags should not sharply contrast with the forms in the work area.

Take in the color palette of the area with the lighting at its typical setting. Are the colors light or dark? Are the tones muted or bright? Do the colors feel natural and organic or more artificial?

What types of items are in the space? Rustic benches, wood tables, and thriving plants? Is it instead filled with industrial equipment and the smell of hot components? 

All that being said, keep in mind that contrast isn't necessarily a bad thing. The best things are usually born from breaking a few rules here and there. 

5) Choose the Right Size

Longer strings of text necessitate wider tags! Just because the company allows you to enter 99 characters for engraving doesn't mean that you should. Remember that the name tag size does not increase with the amount of text on it. The letters must, therefore, get thinner to accommodate more characters. Because nobody wants distorted text on their name tag, the height of the text is also reduced. Combined, they result in a long, short, small line of text.

Consider this example image. See how the short name looks considerably better on the short name tag. When a long name is attempted, the tag simply looks too small. When instead moved to a tag that's an extra half-inch wide, it looks considerably better. 

Long Text Comparison

Take advantage of any layout preview that is given. Use this space to visualize how your engraving would look on the tag. If it's too small to read on the preview, then it's unlikely to get any better on the final product.

6) Maintain an overall balance across the face of the tag

This one ties in heavily with #4 (the right color, size, shape). Of course, you also don't want to end up with a line of text that takes up nearly the entire width of the tag paired with a line of text that only takes up a small section in the center. That would just look silly. But why? Because of balance

Consider how your layout flows across the surface. If it looks chunky or overly heavy in one area, it may need rethinking.

7) When in doubt, contact a name tag designer or maker

There's no doubt about it: When you've found a manufacturer and style that you like, nobody knows more about their product than they do. Don't hesitate to reach out to let them know your desires and concerns. Just as you want to choose the perfect tags for your venture, they want to provide them.

We hope that these tips will help you with your search for the perfect name tags. Whether you're ready to place an order right away or you need some assistance in finalizing your name tag layout and design, Fisharply can help you make name tags that are worthy of your venture. Either browse our ready-to-order catalog of name tag designs or submit a custom design request to get the ball rolling!

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