Juha-Matti Santala
Community Builder. Dreamer. Adventurer.

Great details on conference badges

Over the past decade, I’ve been to quite a few events that had different styles of event badges. The simplest ones for smaller events only had my name (some handwritten by myself) but there are many that have really cool details and information on the badges.

What’s been your favorite? You can comment on the post by replying to the Mastodon post at the end of this post.

QR Code with contact information, Strata Conf 2014

A backside of conference badge with a QR code and text “This QR code contains information you provided when you registered for this event, including: name, email, phone, city, twitter, affilaition and position. Scan with a smart phone to share your digital business card.

In 2014, I visited Strata Conf in Santa Clara, US and on the backside of the badge, there was a QR code (I replaced mine above with a dummy one). When scanned, it would show plain text name, email address, title, etc, with the idea being you could let other event participants scan your QR code and get your information.

The data being in plain text form instead of opening a URL to some service is also smart since it doesn’t rely on Internet connection and the data is still there because it’s all encoded in that QR code itself.

Wifi information, SEFI 2013

A conference badge backside with my name and wifi information for the event venue

In 2013 SEFI conference in Leuven, Belgium, the badge contained information for the available wifi.

Organizer phone numbers, Brainfactory/Legal Design Summit 2017

A backside of a hackathon badge with schedule overview for Friday through Sunday, sponsor logos and contact details with phone numbers censored with black bars.

Legal Design Summit’s Brainfactory was a legal design hackathon organized in Helsinki 2017 and I was coaching in the event. Directly in the badge, there were contact information of the event organizers and the addresses of the venues. No need to dig through emails and trying to find who to call if something happens and there’s need to get in touch. Probably not a feasible thing for large conferences but for this kind of smaller hackathon, I think it it brilliant addition.

URL to Q&A, Smartly.io DevTalks

A meetup badge for Smartly DevTalks with my name and a URL to Slido for Q&A

Smartly organized a series of DevTalks meetups in their Helsinki office around 2019 and a small nice detail on the badges is an inclusion of the Slido Q&A link. Often in events, platforms like Slido are used for Q&A but it’s easy to forget the URL if it’s only mentioned once at the start of the event day or if there are multiple tracks all requiring their own.

That’s why I think this is such a good addition. When I do talks that use Slido, I add the link to each slide so when questions pop to people’s minds, they can find that information right away and are more likely to ask their question.

Venue map, Slush 2019 & SHIFT Business Festival 2017 (+ many others)

Two conference badge backsides with maps and their legends.

After the name of the event and the person, one of the most common addition to the backside of the badge were conference venue maps. In the example above, Slush 2019 and SHIFT Business Festival 2017 had clear and easy to read maps with the basic required information.

For larger events with multiple points of interest and tracks, these maps can save so much confusion and headache from participants. A small extra perk is that it makes it much easier to agree on a meeting spot with a friend during the event when you can point to a number or a letter on the map.

Event schedule, PyCon CZ 2019 (+ many others)

A two-page inside of a conference badge with schedule of Friday with two tracks.

Another very common addition is the schedule of the event. Above picture is from PyCon CZ 2019 (you can find my talk there right before lunch on the upper section).

Not having to rely on phone battery and Internet to check information about talks, which rooms they are in and when they start is a win in my book. PyCon CZ has these multi-page badges (that open up in a direction that you can read it while it hangs from your neck!) with schedule information and other venue and event info.

A coaster, React Finland 2022 + Future Frontend 2024

A round, bright orange conference badge for React Finland 2022 with the event logo, my name, company name, Twitter handle and role “Organizer”.

The round badges of React Finland 2022 did double duty as a drinks coaster after the event. While not recommended to be used for that during the event, I love when you can give a new life to a badge as something else after the event.

I’m too attached to the memories to actually use it as one though as I like to collect these badges into a box of memories.

edit 17.6.2024: in Future Frontend 2024 (a successor for React Finland conferences), we upgraded the cardboard coaster badges to wooden ones that are Finnish artisan work.

A wooden round coaster on the left without anything on top and on the right with a coke can on top

These are more durable than the cardboard ones and will likely last forever.

Plantable badge, Django Day Copenhagen 2022

A white, organic looking badge with a sticker with Django Day Copenhagen logo and my name on it

Django Day Copenhagen’s badge is the most unique I’ve gotten. During the conference day, it acts as a badge with the name on it but after the event when you get home, you could plant it into a pot with some soil and give it some love to grow it into a plant.

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