How to Write a Name on a Name Badge
How to Write a Name on a Name Tag

There is More Than One Way to Do a Name Badge

To decide the right way to create the name badges – ask yourself this question:  What information does someone reading the name badge need to know to start a conversation with the person wearing the badge?
—-#1) Are they likely to be formal? Or on a first-name basis??
—-#2) Will they want to address one another with their surname and a honorific like Mr.. Ms., Dr., Judge, Senator, or Ambassador?  Often honorifics are not used on name badges, but if guests with special honorific are present, you should consider including them.
—-#3) Would it be useful to know the city they are from? Job title?  Company Name?  Role at the Event?  Something else?
Just make sure their name (and other the text) is large enough to be read at reasonable distance.  See the examples below.

—-Other name badge topics discussed on this page:
—-—-Should I Include Post Nominals?
—-—-Should I Include The Honorable?
—-First Names Only?
—-—-Name Badges for Very High Officials?

Should I Include Post-Nominal Abbreviations On a Name Badge?

I’m working on name badges for speakers at our college’s conference and I’ve never been sure how to include degrees on name badges?
—-—-Heidi Miller Ph.D., M.A., B.A.
—-—-Heidi Miller, Ph.D.
—-—-—-– LR

I am making name badges for an open house for our board members. The majority of our board members are either a M.D., O.D., or have a Ph.D. Given the situation of an open house do I include the M.D., O.D. and Ph.D.?
—-—-—-– WRJ

Dear LR & WRJ:

Name badges are written to provide the information necessary to facilitate networking and conversation – they aren’t biographies, resumes or CVs. Generally a name badge provides the person’s call-by name. Sometimes it also includes where they are from or work, or their title.

If you are giving the call-by name, then you will use Dr. (Name) for the Ph.D.s. Then you would also give everyone else an honorific … Mr./Ms./etc. … to keep them consistent.:
—-—-Mr. Robert Hickey
—-—-Dr. Heidi Miller

—-or provide some extra information:
——–Dr. Heidi Miller
—-—-Department of Biology

Name tags are also written as ‘Dr. Miller’ or even Heidi when the situation makes those forms appropriate. .

You also see name tags written as ‘Heidi Miller, M.D.’ which is the official form of the – name used when one writes to the person at their office. That might be appropriate when you need to identify which kind of doctor the person is.

So, there’s no one right way. The question is: what function do you need the name tags to serve?

– Robert Hickey How to Write a Name on a Name Badge


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

How To Write a Name Tag for an Official Addressed as The Honorable?

How do you write the name of someone who is the Honorable  on a name tag?  Seems like there might not be room.
————– LMP, Jacksonville, Florida

Dear LMP:

The name tag is not a form of address: it is a functional item to encourage interaction.

The best style depends on the circumstances and the preference of the host.

—-#1) Write the call-by name of the official wearing the tag, This may be all you need:
—-—-Senator James Wilson
—-—-Mayor Alice Smith

—-#2) Sometimes providing a bit more additional information is a good idea. This is useful if there are many holders of the same office in the room:

—-—-Senator James Wilson
—-—-(D) Kansas

—-—-Mayor Alice Smith
—-—-Frostburg, PA

—-#3) Sometimes the organizer decides to use the Honorable (Name) on the tag. This could be desirable when there is a mix of elected, appointed, and military in the room. But this requires those reading the tag to know what to call the person in conversation. Include a hint of the conversational honorific on the badge or tag:

—-—-The Honorable James Wilson
—-—-Senator for Kansas

—-—-The Honorable Oliver Peacock
—-—-Judge, New York Supreme Court

—-—-The Honorable Alice Smith
—-—-Mayor, Frostburg, PA

That said, even if you make name tags, getting them to wear them is a challenge.

– Robert Hickey How to Write a Name on a Name Badge

Forms of Address: How a conversation begins can have a huge impact on how the conversation - even the entire relationship - develops.

First-Names-Only on a Name Badge?

How can I address a note of thanks to a medical professional whose name badge gives only the person’s first name and surname initial?
I know the physicians’ surnames, but most of the medical team revealed only their first names and last name initials on their name badges, such as
–V——Beth M., RN
—V-—-Bob M., CAN
This reminds me of elementary school, when we children were required to head our papers with only our given names and surname initials. That was appropriate for young children with emerging manual dexterity in a small classroom, but I do not understand how it makes sense in a professional setting, unless the personnel involved fear legal retribution, such as malpractice suits, and thus wish to hide their true identities.”
Please advise me on how to address these semi-anonymous professionals, who hold their patients’ lives in their hands but will not reveal their full identities.
—-—-—-– Taylor Stuart

Dear Taylor Stuart:

As for your immediate question: when addressing an envelope and note, follow the lead of the individual. Address them with the name you have.

—-The envelope:
—-—-Beth M., RN
—-—-Surgical Recovery Unit
—-—-Wilson County Hospital
—-—-4455 Wilson Road
—-—-Wilsonville, State, ZIP

—-The salutation:
—-—-Dear Beth M.,

But to get a more thoughtful answer about the why, I asked an expert on etiquette in the medical arena – Karen Hickman of Professional Courtesy, LLC for her take on it:

“The primary reasons medical personnel list first names only is for security reasons, Nurses are authorized to phone in prescriptions for physicians and there is less chance for a clever patient to call in medications using the nurses full name.

“If the patient has an established relationship with the facility there is a chance that a manager or supervisor would share last names.

“Speaking from personal experience, from my nursing days, cards and notes of gratitude are always so appreciated by care givers. Gifts should be sent to the team – since ethically, nurses and physicians are discouraged from accepting personal gifts.”

Karen: I learned something from you today (no surprise!). Thank you.

– Robert Hickey How to Write a Name on a Name BadgeHow to Write a Name on a Name Badge


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

How to Write a Name Badge for a Very High Official?

Our speaker’s series is hosting the prime minister of a foreign country to our campus. Is there a proper form for their name badge?
————– Tony O.

Dear Tony O.,

This one is easy.

You will never get a such a high official (chief-of-state, head-of-government, etc.) to wear a name badge. High officials typiclly refuse to wear them. They are recognized, or believe they should be recongnized, so they don’t need to wear a name badge.

—-—-—-– Robert Hickey

Thanks Robert,

You’re right of course. Coming from the rock-and-roll world I should have known that the same would apply: Artists never, ever, wear their backstage passes.

—-—-—-– Tony O.


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”