Name badges are a cornerstone of the identification business. Not only do they function as a visual introduction, they also serve to identify the wearer as someone who wields a certain level of responsibility or authority. They are common in many organizations -- schools, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, retail establishments, airlines and many service businesses.
At GO Recognition Concepts, we produce a huge variety of name badges. By far, the most popular style is made of laminated engraving plastic. It is typically a 2-layer acrylic material, 1/16 inch thick with a thin surface in one color bonded to a thicker core in another color. The surface provides the badge background color while the core gives its own color to whatever is engraved -- logo, organization name, individual’s name and title, position or credentials. In addition to many color combinations, there are a variety of surface finishes available such as matte, satin, metallic, textured, high gloss or patterned. Depending on the application, we may recommend UV-stable material which will not fade over time when exposed to strong sunlight.
The simplest name badge will have one or more lines of text engraved. Engraving has traditionally been accomplished with a computerized rotary engraving. This machine uses a computer program to layout the badge and a control unit sends electronic commands to an engraving table which holds the engraving material. A special high-speed cutter then engraves through the surface of the material to transfer the design onto the badge blank. The width and depth of each stroke are controlled by using different cutters and changing how far the cutter “digs” into the plastic. A large number of fonts are available to allow for different text effects. In order to engrave a design or logo, we must first translate the graphic into individual lines. We call this process digitizing. Depending on the design, this can be time consuming.
The advent of laser engraving has change all this. Using this method, a beam of light is focused very precisely to engrave or cut the material. This allows us to engrave much more complex layouts more efficiently and economically. For all practical purposes, anything you can print on a printer can be engraved -- even photographs. In most cases, we will produce your name badge on the laser machine. The exception to this will be when we are engraving a metal badge. The laser can “mark” on metal but it cannot “cut” metal.
When we engrave a on a plastic badge, all of the engraving will have the color of the core. With the laser we can produce shades of color which provides contrast (similar to a black and white photograph) but you are still getting only one color. If you need or desire more than one color, additional techniques are necessary. We can change the color of lettering or logo by applying a color fill to portions of the engraved area. For example, with a black core on a white badge, the lettering would all appear black. By applying red color fill to the organization name, it would stand out from the rest of the engraving. This technique is necessarily more expensive since the color filling is applied by hand.
Many organizations have a multicolor logo or a specific color is needed for the logo that is not available in the plastic core. In this case, we have the logo silkscreened on the badge material. After selecting the appropriate engraving material, the image is applied by squeezing special ink through a very fine mesh screen. A separate screen is needed for each color. It is a time consuming process and thus relatively expensive so it only makes economic sense to use it for relatively large production runs. When somebody requests a silkscreened blank, we prepare the artwork, obtain the material and have it silkscreened by a shop that specializes in this technique. We then hold this supply of screened material and engrave your badges as needed.
After engraving, we finish the edges in the desired manner. Most badges have either rounded corners or beveled edges. Both methods are equally popular. Then we attached a fastener which is used to mount the badge. Magnetic backs are very popular these days since they allow the badge to be worn on a variety of clothing. We also use bar pins, bulldog clips or name badge straps.
The cost of an engraving-only name badge is relatively constant regardless of the size, material, or quantity produced. The cost of a silkscreened badge is usually higher except in very large quantities.
Some people prefer metal name badges to plastic even though we have many plastic materials that have the look and feel of metal. There are a variety of metal badge blanks to choose from -- different sizes, shapes and materials. There are also metal frames which hold and engraved plastic insert -- sort of a hybrid.
Not sure what style is right for you? Stop by and look at our many samples. We will be happy to recommend the right name badge for your organization.