Custom Name Badges, Design & Print

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Northgate High School in California was holding their 30th Reunion and wanted their name badges to have not only names, but spouses, pictures and a clean and professional look. Plus, there were 350+ of them so doing them the old fashioned way in MS Word was a big task, especially with pictures. Further, they did not have any of their pictures in digital format. This was a three part project:

  1. Scan & digitize all of the pictures
  2. Design, layup and data merge of badges
  3. Printing the name badges.

Digitizing Pictures

I got my hands on a real yearbook and scanned all of the applicable pages into “masters”. I then digitally “cut” out each person, and exported each so ended up with 350+ individual files, each named “First LastName.jpg” files. Because the physical images were so small (approx 1.5” x 1”) we scanned them at a very high resolution so they could be “enlarged” easily. But having scans from pictures that were 30 years old wasn’t ideal so we enhanced each image with a custom lightroom preset designed specifically for this image.

I was able to deliver 350+ individual images to the client for their use and distribution, and each classmate now had their hands on a digital image of their yearbook picture.

Scanning and Digitizing all of the yearbook pictures.

Design Name Badge

Designing the name badge was the easy part – just think of it as a single postcard or business card. I got the school colors and fonts from the internet and laid up the card. They wanted the classmate’s picture on each card.

Custom Designed name badge with Name & Yearbook picture.

They also wanted to have “spouse badges” which had the spouses name along with the picture of the spouse. The design was similar, but using a slightly different layout and a smaller picture to help differentiate Spouse vs. Alum.

Corresponding “Guest of” name badge for spouses & guests.

Data Merge Pictures & Names

Not only were there 350 classmates, there were over 150 guests/spouses. The next step was a bit trickier as I had to data merge 350+ names plus 150+ guests/spouses and images to merge into individual, printable name badges. This required some custom programming in InDesign. Text and names were fairly easy, but merging the pictures were not. You have to ensure each image filename matches exactly how you program the merge, so there was some geekery involved.

Data merge of names and images of both primary alum and spouse done in Adobe InDesign

Final product was 500+ name badges read for print.

Printing of Namebadges

With a finished 500+ page PDF document, we sent the badges to print. We printed them on 100# Card stock to ensure a clean and sturdy finish – can you imagine “stuffing” over 500 holders with paper badges?

Printed name badges on card stock for easy stuffing.

They came out great! The client loved them and everyone loved having their pictures made available, both on the badges themselves, but also electronically for their own use.

If you’re looking for help with your large name badge project, or want to customize your name badges, I’d love to chat with you. They’re perfect for:

  • High School & College Reunions
  • Corporate Events & Conferences
  • Non-profit Galas and Fundraisers
  • And more.
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