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Anatomy of a Festival Badge: Ann Arbor 2008

Part of an ongoing series of articles that examines the particulars of that ubiquitious festival accessory, the all-important badge.

picAs befits a festival that constantly defies expectations but never forgets its small-town roots, the Ann Arbor Film Festival badge is simple and understated but functional.

#1 - Plastic badge keeper, open at the top. Perfect for stashing some extra business cards. The badge itself is about the size of a credit card.

#2 - Badge holder's name and affiliation in nice big type. Perfect for scoping out the name of the person you were introduced to last night after a few beers. Nice use of the clock hand theme to divide the two lines of text.

#3 - Color coding identifies the badge level/type. Staff wore yellow, I think red was for all-access? Paper types were unusual enough to discourage counterfeiting, but Ann Arbor is so intimate a festival that it's difficult to believe that the staff didn't know pretty much all of the badge holders on sight. I'm guessing they've got more important things on their collective mind than the occasional photocopied badge.

#4 - The clock motif (ticking off the years until their 50th anniversary event) was present on the festival's signage, program guides, posters, and of course the badge. It's always nice to see badge design extend to more than just the festival logo plastered on an otherwise generic ID badge. (See the Newport Beach FF badge for another example of good branding.)

The AAFF badge was about what I expected from the organization; not too fancy but stylish, professional, and functional. I'm a fan of big, easy-to-read badges but this modestly sized ID card did the job without getting in the way. I didn't take a picture of the reverse side of the badge so I don't think there was any information there. My only suggestion for improvement is that they might have included venue addresses or other handy information (like the location of the Fleetwood Diner, the only eating establishment open after the bars close) on the back.

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