Badge Making
Everyone considers badges an important part of identification for
employees, contractors and visitors. The badge provides identifica-
tion both visually and electronically; however, the actual badge-
making process is one of the most underrated tasks within security.
The effort required to develop a new badge, make badges reliably,
re-badge a major facility, or standardize badges across a company
can be overwhelming. Selecting a new badge design and producing
that badge for a given company requires many decisions to be com-
pleted satisfactorily and these decisions are affected and exacer-
bated by three basic areas: (1) appearance, (2) technology and (3)
manufacturing process. Badge making will be addressed in this
chapter based upon cost issues and the impact of company culture
as well as from the more traditional approaches of appearance and
Badge cost is a recurring cost that never ends and is usually
underestimated. The numbers of badges that will be made in the
badge room over time will far exceed any initial estimate. It is easy
to assume that some number of replacement badges will be based
upon employees losing and damaging badges; however, there will
be other employee badge replacements based upon the company’s
business and culture. For instance, if the company is a government
contractor, then badges will be replaced when government clear-
ances change; or the company culture may dictate that a badge be
changed every five years to coincide with service anniversaries.
These topics will be covered in more detail later in this chapter.
Some badges will be replaced based upon employees not liking
their photo on the badge and request another badge be made. Then
there are badges that must be changed due to name changes associ-
ated with marriage or divorce. Employees may have changed their
appearance by growing a beard or mustache, changing hair color or
losing weight. The above may also apply to contractors, a much
more dynamically changing group because of the constant
The company’s culture drives much of these costs. As already
mentioned, if the company maintains government security clear-
ances, these clearances are normally part of the badge. As an indi-
vidual’s clearance status changes, a new badge must be made and
the old badge collected. Then there is the inevitable problem of
needing to utilize a new employee before their clearance is through
the final approval process, so there is often an additional badge that
must be manufactured that shows the individual has a clearance “in
process.” This is usually accomplished with an interim clearance
badge. The badge might have the word “interim” over the clearance
designation or use a special color. As far as the cost issue is con-
cerned, an additional badge is required that must be replaced at a
later date when the clearance is final. As is true with college gradu-
ates, the clearance process proceeds in steps, which means several
clearance and interim badges may be required for any given
Years of service is another area that is often designated on the
employee badges that will also affect cost. At first glance changing
a badge every five years or so does not appear to be a significant
problem. After five years of service, most badges are starting to
show their age and probably should be replaced anyway. What
often happens is that the employee loses a badge or misplaces a
badge and a new badge must be made. If the new badge is given to
the employee one month prior to an anniversary, then the new
badge is only in service for one month, because another new badge
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