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3 Ideas For Fun, Creative Employee ID Badges

Let's be honest: ID cards aren't exactly the most exciting things around.

We know that most of the world doesn't share our ID-loving views. Not everyone geeks out over the subtle differences between CR-79 and CR80 cards, or knows the precise dimensions of a government-sized credential.

ID cards aren't meant to be thrilling or entertaining. They're meant to do a simple job, and to do it without much fanfare. However, if you're looking to do something different with your ID badging program at your office, school or factory, there are several things you can try to take your ID badges from bland to grand.

Whether you're a small office with a handful of employees or a larger group just looking to add some levity to the work day, these ideas will make your ID cards stand out from the crowd and put a smile on the face of coworkers at the same time.  

Make your cards more than an afterthought.

Before we get into the list, it's important to note: these ideas won't work everywhere. In some places, like government offices, security facilities and hospitals, it's important for an employee badge to be treated seriously as a matter of safety or regulation.

Exercise good judgment in implementing these ideas, as it's better to have a "boring" ID program that works than one that's fun, but causes security headaches.  

1. Let your employees design their own ID badges.

In many cases, employee badges are standardized to meet company branding requirements. The badges are designed with company colors, a specific logo and a certain kind of font. There's nothing wrong with that approach; in fact, it's inarguably the most popular way of choosing an ID card design. However, a generic ID badge that features no personalization isn't exactly going to be memorable for your employees. Instead, it's just another piece of plastic that they leave on the dresser by accident once a week.

To make the ID badge a more personal possession, consider letting your employees design their own ID badges. Options include:

  • Choose background and font colors
  • Choosing the location and size of the photo
  • Choosing the kind of photo that's used
  • Choosing the shape of the ID badge (custom shapes are possible with synthetic paper)

You can choose the aspects of the card on which you want your team to have input while keeping things in line with a set of ground rules ("no neon colors!") and branding requirements ("must have a company logo somewhere").

By letting your employees create their own ID badges, you're giving them a personal connection with the badge that you want them to carry on a daily basis. In the process, you're increasing the likelihood of them remembering the badge. It's a win-win!  

2. Use baby or childhood pictures instead of corporate headshots.

This one is perfect for those tight-knit offices where everyone knows one another and has no trouble putting a face to a name. Instead of using forced-looking headshots that always seem to look just a little bit off, encourage your employees to choose their own ID photo from their past. It can be whatever the employee chooses: a baby photo, an awkward class portrait from the 5th grade, a high school graduation photo...whatever your employee feels most comfortable with.

Everyone loves seeing what coworkers looked like in years gone by, and using those photos as an ID photo is a great way to encourage people to stop and chat with each other in the hallways, further fostering a sense of community. Dennis from Accounting with a mohawk? Cheryl from HR with bangs down past her eyebrows? Your general manager wearing braces and thick glasses? The possibilities (and laughs) are endless.  

3. Let employees use their nicknames instead of given names.

Admittedly, this one may not fly in all workplaces and with all personnel.  After all, it's not easy to have a serious meeting about company finances if the person sitting across from you is wearing an ID badge that says "Goon."

However, in a more casual setting, using a nickname can be a great way to add some humor and fun to the daily grind. You can compromise by ruling out any inappropriate or childish names, or by using the nickname in a smaller font alongside the employee's given name. Even allowing employees to use their more colloquial names (i.e. Bobby instead of Robert, Steve-o instead of Stephen) will allow your team to loosen up.

Nicknames often give a glimpse at one's personality, so using them can help foster a sense of camaraderie, encouraging employees to get to know one another better.


Looking to create new ID cards using one of the ideas above? We offer a full suite of ID badging supplies, from blank ID cards to ID card printers and printer supplies.

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