The Evolution of Trade Show Badges

I’ve been to a few trade shows over the years and have noticed a change in the badges we wear at these events.  These wear-for-a-week necklaces offer our name, company, job title and our affiliation to the specific conference – speaker, exhibitor and so forth.  Some are high-tech also.  I have many from years ago that are printed on heavy paper stock to the ones that are on a blank piece of plastic.  I even remember the old sticker ‘HELLO’ name badges from some early conferences.   These days, many have embedded chips, printed bar codes and QR codes for the booth lead scanners along with verifying that certain people have the proper credentials (full conference vs. expo only) to attend specific sessions.  Yes, technology has even infiltrated our trade show badges.  I would imagine that a decade from now, the badges would have a little LCD/LED (or whatever the hologram technology is in 10 years) screens on the back of the badge and that would allow you to watch the current keynote right from the badge itself!  Now, that would be cool. 

I especially like the badges that have a slew of identifiers hanging off the bottom.  You’ve seen them, the ones with speaker, alumni, distinguished something, superhero, all hanging like the flags at the U.N.  They could double as a tie depending on length and color.

Even the piece that we put around our neck has changed to some extent.  The thin rope type seem to be fading into the more flat ribbon type with the sponsor’s name printed down the sides.  Those are a lot more comfortable but I can’t seem to keep the name part facing forward.  Oh yes, there are those clips with the ball-joint to twist the badge yet mine always seems backwards.  Of course those are the single clip kind in the middle but there are also the double clip that does keep the badge forward.  Sometimes analysts like to keep their badge flipped so you can’t tell who they are in an attempt to converse and have you potentially spill something that should not be shared with an industry analyst.   All mesmerizing stuff, I know.

So as tv’s, smartphones, computers, cars and all those other obvious technology type advances astound, don’t forget about all the other ancillary things we use that are also making advances, albeit not as splashy.  And if you’re wondering what events F5 will be at, check out our Events calendar on the newly redesigned



Published Oct 11, 2012
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