Custom badge reels: internal branding or promotional gift?

We have had a lot of interest in our custom badge reels recently. The majority of our customers use them for company branding – choosing to have their logo printed in full colour in the domed space. These then tend to be given to staff as holders for their access control card: they’re retractable which makes it really easy to present the token or fob to the access control reader. They can be attached to a lanyard around the neck or clipped onto a belt loop.

Great for events or conferences

However more and more organisations are recognising the potential of a retractable badge reel above and beyond just printing their logo. Some use custom badge reels for events – and print the name or design of the conference or event as a take home reminder. Others use it to print a slogan or advertising message, or a web address – and give them to visiting clients.

Get creative with the space. It can be custom designed, so it’s up to you. You could use custom badge reels as part of a campaign to start raising awareness of a future event for example – first send guests a custom designed lanyard, then a badge reel, then a calendar date – all containing clues to the big event.

Badge reels, lanyard or both?

What’s best to hold your ID card or access control card or fob: badge reels, lanyards or a combination of both?

It really depends on what you need it to do, and how you’ll use what’s attached.

Access control card, fob or token?

Retractable badge reels
Retractable badge reels are great for access control fobs and cards

Retractable badge reels are ideal for presenting cards, key fobs or tokens to the access control reader. Just pull the key fob or card towards the reader and the cord then retracts into the reel. The badge reel has a clip that easily attaches onto a belt, bag or trousers, making them especially ideal for active workers. Badge reels come in a range of colours and can also be customised to your own logo or design.

Event pass or ID card?

If you just need a card to be visible around the neck, then a lanyard is the easiest way to do it. You’ll also need an ID card holder for the card to sit in, which then clips onto a lanyard. There are many lanyard options out there, from pre-printed staff, contractor and visitor lanyards to custom designed lanyards that are printed to your own colours and design. Most lanyards are safety breakaway lanyards, which means the card holder automatically detaches if it becomes trapped.

ID card that’s also an access control card?

If your ID card is also an access control card, a lanyard would provide the most visibility, whilst still giving the flexibility for presenting the card to a card reader. Lanyards can be custom designed to your own logo and colours, which also helps with identification. A combined lanyard and badge reel gives even more flexibility. The retractable cord makes it easier to present the access card, key fob or token in situations like gaining entrance to a car park for example.


More than just school ID cards

More and more educational establishments are choosing to equip their pupils and staff with photographic ID cards to increase security onsite. Having bespoke ID cards carrying the school’s logo and branding also conveys a great impression to parents and visitors.

School ID card
ID cards can double up to be secure entry cards

But what else would you like your school ID cards to do?

As well as badging staff and pupils, ID cards can perform a number of functions specific to the school or college environment.

Turn them into an access control card

It’s easy for an ID card to also function as an access control card to allow entry to specific areas of the school. For example, only staff cards would gain entry to the staff room or resources cupboards. The Card Network can provide ID cards that integrate with your existing access control system.

Have them perform as a library card or cashless vending card

ID cards can also double up to be a contactless smart card. For example it could act as a library card and record details of when a book is taken out or returned. Or one function that is proving to be very popular with parents and teachers is that of a cashless vending card. This allows pupils and students to ‘swipe’ for their lunch or snacks rather than handing over cash.

Additional security features

Where you want to step-up security, you can also choose to add a signature panel to the cards or an encoded magnetic stripe.

Plan ahead for school ID cards needed in the future

Buying a pack of ID cards is cheaper and easier than having to buy individual cards. But what if you don’t need all of the cards in the pack? No problem. The Card Network provides a ‘card bank’ option where we hang onto whatever cards you don’t use until you need them. So if you have new pupils or staff joining throughout the year, simply send us their details and photograph and we’ll print a new card from your pack. There’s no minimum quantity and no hassle for you – all we’ll charge is a small posting fee. When your reserves are running low, we’ll let you know so you can plan ahead. Our school ID cards packs are available in packs of 10, 25, 100 & 250 and start from just £93.09 – including card holders and clips.

Branded lanyards and badge reels

Why not print your school or college’s name or logo onto customised lanyards and badge reels for more stand out? This always impresses visitors and school officials.


The benefits of access control cards over keys

Keys and locks provide limited security

Are you and your employees still using keys in your business premises? If so, how confident are you that your assets are being protected effectively, 24 hours a day? Introducing an electronic access control system and supplying your staff with access control cards will increase security in your building and protect your employees and your property.

Are your premises open to unwanted guests?

The old-fashioned ‘lock and key’ presents a number of problems, for instance when a key becomes lost or stolen. Could it have been copied? You then have to deal with the inconvenience and expense of re-issuing keys and changing the locks.

Then there’s the issue of access during the day. Where a key is concerned, once a door is unlocked it tends to stay unlocked: presenting an open door to any guest that comes to visit, whether wanted or unwanted.

Secure your building, assets and protect staff

Investing in an electronic access control system is the most effective way to protect your assets and your staff. It will enable you to control who has access to your building through controlled locks, making it difficult for the opportunist to gain entry. All doors controlled by the system will automatically lock when the door is closed, making it impossible for anyone without a valid access control card, key fob or token (depending on the system) to enter.

You can even give individual staff different access rights. For example you may want to restrict certain employees from accessing a particular part of the building, or from entering the building at all at certain times of the day or night.

An access control system also ensures you never have to change a lock again. Any access control cards or tokens that are lost or stolen are easily removed from the system, rendering them useless.

What type of system do you need?

There are a number of access control card systems out there. Those that ask for a simple PIN entry offer a lower level of protection. Others that use some kind of access control card or token offer a greater level of security and can be tailored to specific needs. Industry-leading manufacturers include Paxton, HID, Bewator, TDSi, PAC, Cotag, Kantech and many others. Prices vary, but what’s most important is that the system fits your requirements and is easy to use and administer.

In terms of the access control cards themselves, there are swipe cards, key fobs, tokens, transmitters, wrist tags, keyring tags … the list goes on. Some systems also incorporate time and attendance. In general the cards are attached to a device that makes it easy for the user to present the card to an access control reader, such as a retractable badge reel or lanyard.

For more information on the types of systems available, see our blog ‘what access control card system is right for me?’