Designing a professional looking badge is almost like piecing together a second logo for your company. Few of your fellow employees will sport a company emblem on their shirt. Instead, they’ll use their security ID card to gain access to the various areas of your complex. The card will also act as a useful tool for any delegates or new employees, who perhaps haven’t got around to learning names. So, in effect, you’re designing an extra piece of uniform. Quite a task indeed, then.

You might have seen examples of fine work in the past and there’s nothing wrong with taking a spot of inspiration into your own design. The card itself needs to display basic personal details, but applying the right amount of information is integral to its function.

For example, security officers might need certain details to stand out for a thorough identity check. If a company phone number – which can usually be found on a business card – appears larger than a name or employee reference number, they might object to the new badges. The last thing you’ll want is to go through the design process yet again, so it’s worthwhile getting it right the first time around.

Here are a few areas to consider as you enter the design process.


This is a fairly basic decision on the face of things, but you must choose the format of your badge before submitting any possible designs. Think about when you print a document. Rotating your page 90 degrees will push most of the text outside of the frame.

Your choice is between horizontal and vertical. Horizontal security badges allow for long, large fields of text, while a vertical card will be sleek in appearance.

Personal info

The amount of information displayed depends on your company and what the badge is primarily used for. Ironically, displaying an excessive amount of details isn’t advised for security reasons.

Staff identity cards will usually display a name, an expiry date for the card and an employee number. An address for the company or establishment is also a common feature.


Adding a photo is given, considering that the card must confirm an identity. Anyone that happens to get hold of a misplaced tag or badge will be able to pose as an employee otherwise. A photo is therefore a key feature, but you must decide how large it will be. On a vertical card, the image will usually be enlarged.

Additional features

Badge companies have upped their game in recent years to offer you numerous additional features. Created by sophisticated visitor management software, visual expiry is one of the tools at your disposal. Through the way it’s designed and printed, an expiring card will change colour to indicate expiration. This will let you know if a visitor authorised to be on your premises and eradicates the risk of a stranger re-using one of your badges.

You might also want include a barcode or magnetic strip on the badge – a credential used to gain entry into an area having access control points. These could include doors, turnstiles and parking barriers.

Whatever the requirement, don’t ever be afraid to look at examples. Getting your badge right first time is crucial to ensuring that you stay on budget and provide a quick solution for your fellow employees. List your required features and get designing.