Anthrocon 2017 Con Badge Changes

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Nicona Shadowwolf's picture
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There are several changes coming to registration this year so I am writing this post to let people know what to expect. In this post I will be focusing on the on-site registration and changes coming to the badges.

Last year, as several people are aware, we had issues at on-site registration on Thursday. The printers we use to print out badges had issues and caused several hours of downtime. The problems have made it clear to me that the way we are currently printing badges is not scaling well as we continue to grow. Having all of our on-site check-in stations printing to 2 or 3 printers is just not sufficient any more. And if one printer problem can bring down reg it becomes apparent that changes need to be made.

First off, the badge stock will not be changing. We will still be using the plastic badges like we have been. However, for on-site registrations we will no longer be printing directly on the badge. Instead of using the 2 to3 printers that every check-in station was printing to, each station will now have its own label printer. As a person is checked in, a label will print out right at the station and be affixed to the badge which then can be handed out immediately.

There are a few benefits to do things this way:

1. With the labels printing out right at the stations we will be able to process people through registration faster, which will mean shorter wait times in line.

2. Once you pay/check-in you will not have to wait for your badge to print out and listen for your name to be called. Your badge will be handed to you right then and there. We will no longer have to have people yelling out badge names to find who the badge belongs to,

3. With the old printers, when we had a printer go down it brought all of on-site reg to a halt. With the new printers if a printer goes down we lose one station, not all of on-site reg.

Now to answer a few questions you may have.

What will this look like?

Here is a picture to give you an idea of what the labels will look like. Please note that for this example the label was placed on a room key card and the layout of the label may be different.

Will the label be covering up the artwork on the badge?

No. There is going to be a slight redesign of the badges. The very bottom of the portion of the badges will be set aside as a lighter area where the label can be placed. All of the badge artwork will be above this area. That way the label will cover up very little, if any, of the artwork on the badge.

How durable are these labels? Will they fall off if they get wet?

I have been doing quite a bit of testing on these labels. After affixing a label to the keycard I have submerged it in a cup of hot water for over 15 minutes and the label did stay affixed to the badge. Now I am not saying you should go soaking your badges or taking showers with them but they should withstand the normal wear and tear of a convention, including getting damp during fursuiting.

Now any label will come off if you work at it. Just remember that without the label you will no longer have a valid badge.

What about pre-registered badges? Will they also use the labels?

No, pre-registered badges will not be using the labels. For pre-registered badges we will be printing directly on the badge as we have done in the past. However, we will most likely be re-arranging the layout of where we print the information on the badge to utilize the area at the bottom of the badge.

There are some other changes coming to registration but I want to limit this post to the badges. Keep an eye out for more information later.

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Kittynoy's picture
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So another benefit to preregistration - prettier badges.

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Nicona Shadowwolf's picture
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Somewhat.  The badge will be the same badge. It is just that on-site badges will have a label on it instead of being printed directly on the badge. But yes, another reason why you should pre-register. Smiling

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Or be staff, or a volunteer and earn your pre-reg that way, not that I'd know anything about that.

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Cause's picture
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Have you tried an alcohol test with these new labels? Make sure you can't spill a drink and erase what's printed. Some alcohols can play havoc with adhesives as well.

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Dedicated drinkers don't spill their drinks!

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But enough about Kage Eye-wink

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Annoyed

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Shayd's picture
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I work at retail store and we use the same type of labels (Different size) for pickup orders, they are very durable, and waterproof. There is no ink on them so its virtually impossible to smudge the writing unless you expose them to intense heat like a hair dryer and trying to take the label off is just as hard as trying to remove tempered glass screen from your phone. It requires flat sturdy tool to separate it. Neither alcohol or water will wear the badge in 4 days.

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ATung231's picture
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You can always bring along Scotch tape dispenser and cover up the labels with clear tape. Instant weatherproofing and it's clear, so nothing is obscured underneath.

Since I preregistered, I bring along a self-laminating ID card pouch (also from Scotch) and cover up the whole convention badge so none of it rubs off in my convention badge holder on my left forearm in my old but handy football wristcoach.

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Hakura The Pup's picture
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Good point. I to have seen some libations that do indeed foul up the ink and adhesives.

 

Hakura The Pup

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Nicona. If you had not chewed on the printer cables last year, we would have never had any issues.  Petrified

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I'll keep an eye on Nicona to make sure no cables get chewed this year Eye-wink

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Nicona Shadowwolf's picture
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That was not me that chewed on the cables.  We do have evidence that was left behind at the scene and are currently looking for leads as to who the culprit may be. The evidence is pictured below. We are asking anyone with information regarding this evidence to please come contact us.

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Sharky's picture
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was not me Hey it was not my fault, the electrometric field from the wire simulated a fish in distress. 

 

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Sharky

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That excuse sounds a bit fishy to me.

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PheagleAdler's picture
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Your signature says "Why trust a shark" so yeah...

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[security concern here] what's stopping someone from pealing one off a badge and prininting thier own to put on it?

if you can, buy reals of custom-image/art/watermark media that can't easily be replicated (not generic blank-media stock)

But it looks like a good solution to the problem! or have 1 printer per station (but i know that takes money, and those things may take a minute to print..) 

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SnowQueen's picture
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We will be adding tamper-evident security stickers, so it will be very obvious if someone peels off their sticker. Also, how many people do you know that carry a label printer around with them.

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leasoncre's picture
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Personally, none. but they exist, and if they exist, someone will try it.

Security stickers... i have pealed off before. best bet is a watermarked media.

 

Though, I doubt too many people would really go through the trouble of the above just to get in the door.

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Nicona Shadowwolf's picture
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Thanks for that thought.  That is definitely something I will look in to.

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another thought, if the media is a sutble watermark, (not obvious) do one of 2 things: 

a: make the on-site badges have a disctly different backgound so staff knows to check it's validity.

b: make the stickers with a clear distinctive outline (ie yellow boarder), but those may be better suited for sponsorship levels.

key is make the formatting different from the re-reg ones. but now i feel i'm just blathering on, i'm sure you already know all this. #security minds

 

End thought: none of this would stop someone from using a lost or stolen badge. o.O

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[what's stopping someone from pealing one off a badge and prininting thier own to put on it?]

 

They still have to get (ie, pay for) the badge in the first place.  If it's a 'free' upgrade you're worried about, in years past they've added ribbons to the badges for sponsors/supersponsors/etc.

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Boven's picture
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I think the concern would be that someone would buy an attending badge, then create a label that said it was a supersponsor badge.   While that's possible, I suspect the security decal would make that a lot tougher.  I also think it has a fairly low liklihood of happening.

One way to combat that might also be to incorporate some small custom image in the template used to make the labels, making 'em a little tougher to duplicate.  That'd depend upon the label printers' capabilities though.

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whtllnew's picture
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I addressed that in my comment.

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Boven's picture
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Folks manage to lose ribbons and it's not impossible for us to run out of them as well.  

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[Folks manage to lose ribbons]

 

Folks manage to lose badges as well.  What's your point?

 

[and it's not impossible for us to run out of them as well. ]

 

It's also not impossible for you to run out of badges.  What's your point?

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Thorfax's picture
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You probably don't have to be so condescending in your replies. He's just trying to bring up points of his own.

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Good. I finally have your attention.

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Sorry if my comment made you staff guys feel unappreciated.

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Thorfax's picture
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That's not the problem, the problem is the unfriendly attitude you're giving in responses. If you have any other comments you'd like to make on it, you're free to PM me so this thread stays friendly and on topic.

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Good. I finally have your attention.

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From experience these labels are near impossible to remove cleanly.  Then you'd need access to system to recreate the label and replace it.  If caught doing this, you'd be banned for life not one from AC but probably from other cons as well as it's widely frowned upon

Plus.. it's not the label to gains you access, it's the badge card, People have obscured their names on their badges for ever.  If we notice it, we stop them and have them correct it anyways.

And to re-iterate: We can usually spot a tampered badge.  When you see so many badges in the course of a con, a tampered one stands you.  If you are caught with a tampered badge... it would be bad.

Let's just not do so, 'K?  

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Quick questions on badges since I'm sitting down today to design a vanity one for myself:

How do you wear them? Lanyard? Clip? (Are either provided?)

What are the physical dimensions of the official badge?

Anyone have any quick links to examples of official and vanity badges from previous ACs? (Google image search is giving me an 80/20 mix of 'Buy my badge!' and standard pictures of the images that become badges; very few of how they look when worn.)

Thanks!

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Con badges have traditionally come with a clip.  Not sure of the official badge size, but it's something like 2x3 inches.  You can wear them on a lanyard if you wish.  The only thing to remember is that you'll have to show the official badge at the door of everything, so it should be clearly visible.

Vanity badges can be any size you want, but keep it reasonable for your own sake.  A maximum of 4x6 inches is plenty large enough.

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Here's a quick photo of last year's attendee badge, fursuiter badge, and the typical personalized fursona badge that people would draw or commission. Lanyards are not provided (though you can buy one in the dealer's den); I believe the badge clips are.

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Super helpful replies, and I greatly appreciate the picture with the badges and ruler for scaling. I'm trying to strike a happy medium with my vanity badge and maybe keep it to similar form factors to simplify things, so this is great.

Cheers!

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Ayy, so, one last question before I fly out tomorrow: I've been flirting with the idea of trying to adhere my vanity badge to my official badge, and one of the things I'm considering is putting a small opening on the official badge to chain the two together. This could involve punching a small hole in the AC badge, but since I believe some conventions do that to say 'Hey, you were a jerk and your badge is no longer valid', I thought I'd ask here first.

Can anything be cut into or otherwise punched out of the official badge we'll get? Or is that a complete no-no?

Getting excited! (For everything but my 06:30am flight. Barf.)

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Chiaroscuro's picture
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Holes punched in badges must not obscure any areas of important information, which is about the bottom 30% of your badge.

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