The Badge Printing Showdown: Pre-Print or Print on Demand?


On your marks, get set, print! Yep, we’re pretty proud of the speed of our badge printing at Noodle Live. We reckon we’ve got the fastest print out in the West. And East. Pretty much anywhere that name badges for conferences and events are needed really.

But when it comes to printing, #EventProfs are usually faced with a puzzling dilemma – to pre-print before the day of the event or to print on demand at the venue. Both have their pluses and their minuses, so we thought we’d put them to the test in a quick draw showdown. Here it is – pre-print badges vs. print of demand.



For pre-printed badges, it usually takes around 36 seconds per badge, which means you can print around 100 badges per hour. But don’t forget to allow for the time required to reconcile and alphabetise the badges before the event, plus the time required to sort through and find the badge when the delegate arrives (an average of around 30 seconds). 

Print On Demand

If you’re printing your badges on demand, as your delegates register, then the top registration equipment will usually print and create beautiful badges in just 15-20 seconds. As an extra bonus, you won’t waste time creating and indexing badges for delegates who don’t show up.

And the winner is…Print on demand, at just 15-20 seconds per arrival and no wasted time or resource for those who don’t attend.

Registration Time


Worried about queues? Pre-printed badges require a team of staff who can search through the pre-printed badges quickly and effectively to keep the queues moving. If you’re running a large-scale event, this can be a slow process. Some #EventProfs choose to separate arrivals into smaller alphabetical groups (eg a-m and n-z), but this can cause confusion, especially with groups who arrive together.

Print On Demand

You’ll still need a group of staff who are trained in printing and handing out badges, but the wait time is much more predictable (usually 15-20 seconds) and groups of delegates can all register together.

And the winner is… Print on demand with less faff and a smoother registration experience.



You can tell who’s arrived at the venue and who hasn’t by looking at the unclaimed badges. If you’re expecting large numbers this can be a slow process and is open to human error. 

Print On Demand

Print on demand systems are usually digital, so you can access instant reports on exactly how many people have arrived and how many you are still expecting. This can also help you control numbers and manage crowds. 

And the winner is… Print on demand with instant reports and greater accuracy.

Lead Time


You’ll need to set a deadline for RSVP so that you can get your name badges printed and ready for the event. 

Print On Demand

There’s no deadline for registering for the event. You can upload the list moments before the event begins.

And the winner is… Print on demand thanks to its flexibility to allow delegates to RSVP right up to the last minute. 



You’ll need a backup system and some spare badges to hand, just in case any name badges get lost or are subject to error. It’s unlikely that these extra name badges will look the same as other delegates badges, but they will save you a lot of stress if a VIP arrives unannounced or misplaces their badge.

Print On Demand

You can add to or edit your delegate list and even accommodate walk-ins by adding them to the system and printing their badge on the spot. Ms Bigwig decided to join you without an RSVP? No problem. You can have her name badge ready in 15-20 seconds.

And the winner is… Print on demand for its ability to accommodate last-minute walk-ins and unexpected guests.

How does print on demand work?

Wondering what print on demand actually looks like in practice? It’s simple. Your delegate simply arrives and tells the registration staff their name. Staff then search for them at the digital badging station. They click print, apply the label to the delegate’s badge and give it to the attendee. It’s all done and dusted in seconds. Not convinced? You can order a free demo name badge kit today so you can see exactly what the badges look like and how they work.

Did you know that Noodle Live now offer full self-service badging systems that allow you to organise and run your own print on demand badging service at your next event? We provide you with everything you need, including training and kit so that you can save time and reduce costs. We also offer loads of other packages for name badges for conferences and events as well as event apps and NFC systems. Want to know more? Give Team Noodle a call and we’ll be happy to tell you all about it.


Find us on: