The conference badge is a challenging design conundrum. John D. Berry duly likens them to highway signs in this Font magazine article. How do we create a template for names which vary widely in length, while making each one legible enough to reduce the chances of an awkward chest gaze?
“When we were first talking about the booklets and badges we had a bunch of Field Notes journals laying around that our friends at Gowalla had sent over. We immediately thought it would be a good booklet size and thought too it was a good size for a badge. Never wanting to take the easy way out we decided to go for it and make the badge and booklet one piece.” — Ben Barry
Very useful. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scrambled for a map or schedule at a conference. Making these part of your badge means you always have them with you. The designers drilled a hole in the corner of the booklet so it could be easily opened and flipped through while still attached to a lanyard. The serendipitous side-effect was that the badges hung at a novel angle, allowing a bit of extra space for larger type and longer names without feeling cramped. The design was a success:
“Logistically it was challenging to produce, but it worked really well in practice. The anecdotal feedback I heard from attendees was very positive.”
The typeface is the Narrow width of Facebook’s identity face, Vista Sans. Xavier Dupré’s informal design sets a friendly tone for the event, and its open aperture and extra large lowercase let names be read at a quick glance from a distance before resorting to the ol’ now who am I talking to here? stare at close range.
Be sure to check out the rest of Ben’s work. He does nice things with type.