Generally, badges are made out of three major materials: paper, plastic and steel. The material chosen to make the badge or identification depends on which purpose this badge will be used. Certain industries also have norms regarding what material will be used to make their badges. A perfect example of this is the Law Enforcement Industry which normally favors metal badges.
The following are the general types of name badge design:
Paper is used for more informal kinds of identification. It easily wears out but is a cheap alternative and one can personally and easily print out at home or in the office. Paper identifications commonly used are: library cards, temporary name badges and name badges used when attending conventions and seminars. They would contain basic information and may not even have a photo to identify the bearer.
Most of the identifications that we carry in our daily activities are made out of plastic. Our driver’s licenses, staff name badges, company id badges or identifications that require security features like bar codes, holograms, photos etc. are usually made out of plastic. They are swiped to gain access to restricted areas. They are also durable and are ideal for regular use. The plastic badges, unlike paper badges, are seldom home made. They are usually custom made for organizations, companies or specific group of people. Regular home printer cannot do the job. One has to use a card printer to produce them.
Metal badges are the badges commonly used to designate a person of authority. All law enforcement personnel wear metal name badges. The police forces and security personnel use metal badges design. Metals like aluminum, copper, steel and brass are used to make them. Generally, metal badges are engraved. These would often contain the name of the agency they work for, the insignia representing the agency and other special markings with the latter making it hard for forgers to make a fake reproduction. This type of badge is also commonly found in name badges for industries with a formal or corporate environment. You will normally see bank personnel, hospital staff, hotel managers and agents, wearing metal name badges indicating their names and positions.
For the purpose of this article, I only highlighted the general types of badges. The list of subtypes such as personalised, company, corporate, staff name badges etc. is quite extensive that this will entail an altogether different discussion.