A New Look for Sporting the Arches

If you look back over photos of the uniforms fast food employees have had to wear over the years, the word “understated” or “professional” would not come to mind. You’ll see lots of bright oranges and yellows and some unfortunate stripe combinations. And we won’t even get into those paper hats!

The styles were enough to make an employee want to take off their name badge as soon as they punched the clock at the end of their shift.

However, things are changing. According to a McDonald’s survey, more than 70 percent of the restaurant chain’s employees feel that their new uniforms provide a “modern image that they would be proud to wear.”

In collaboration with clothing designers Bindu Rivas and Waraire Boswell, McDonald’s USA recently introduced two new uniform collections for its 850,000 employees. The clothing designs were based on feedback from employees.

The biggest change – other than the solid gray and black color palette – is the addition of a versatile denim apron that can be worn as a half-apron or just from the waist down.

The “Waraire” line includes short- and long-sleeve tees that feature a small McDonald’s logo on the front as well as dark blue button-down shirts with red detailing. The Rivas “Timeless Elements” designs have grey tees, ties, and polos with yellow details.

Boswell is known for dressing actors, talk show hosts and professional athletes. However, he once worked at a McDonald’s restaurant in Pasadena, Calif. and said he wanted to create functional designs “that people would feel comfortable wearing outside of work.”

In addition to his experience as a former employee, Boswell worked with focus groups of current crew members to find out what they would to like to wear to work.

Rivas is a British designer who has developed uniforms for other major brands, including the McDonald’s UK line. “Employees are the face of any brand, and when it comes to uniforms, we knew that McDonald’s restaurant employees wanted something that bridges the gap between fashion and function and it was our job to create a unique apparel line that fits the look of McDonald’s while highlighting the individuality of its crew and managers,” Rivas said in a McDonald’s press release.

Although social media users called the new uniforms “dystopian” and compared then to those worn by Star Wars stormtroopers, McDonald’s USA says they are a hit with its workers.

McDonald’s selected WayToBe, Aramark, and Twin Hill as the distributors of the new collections across the country.

McDonald’s franchise owners have some flexibility in the uniforms they choose for their stores. They also have some leeway in the styles for the McDonald’s name badges they choose. While the size, material, and color of the badges may vary, the badges all feature McDonald’s iconic golden arches. The logo, which has changed several times since it was first introduced in 1952, is one of the most recognizable in the world.

Your Pet Needs A Name Badge

The first Saturday of every April is “Every Day is Tag Day,” sponsored by American Humane, a non-profit organization dedicated to the welfare of the nation’s animals. The event is part of a nationwide focus on the importance of pet name tags and microchipping.

Nearly 10 million pets go missing each year in the U.S., according to American Humane. Sadly, only about 2 percent of lost cats and 15 percent of lost dogs without ID tags or microchips find their way back to their owners.

Both pet name tags and microchips need to have current contact information in order for them to be effective. Since pet ID tags can fall off or be removed, a microchip provides another layer of protection. Animal shelter staff members routinely check for microchips on stray animals.

A tiny capsule about the size of a rice grain, a microchip is inserted under the pet’s skin near the shoulder blades. Most shelters and veterinary offices have the equipment to scan the chip’s identification number that can be traced back to the pet owner through an online database. Some large pet stores, like PetSmart and Petco, have scanners as well.

Here are some tips to make Every Day Is Tag Day count for your pet.

  1. Make sure your dog or cat wears a collar with a name tag that includes the owner’s name, current address, and phone number.
  2. Update the tag if you change your address or phone number.
  3. If you are traveling, place a short-term tag on your pet with the phone number of someone who is taking care of your pet and knows how to contact you.
  4. Don’t make the mistake of thinking indoor pets don’t need name tags. Many pets get lost after running out an open door or escaping during a thunderstorm or fireworks.
  5. Don’t take your pet’s tag off because of the clinking noise it makes. Instead, try plastic tags, tag pouches, or personalized collar plates.
  6. Put your pet’s collar back on as soon as possible after a bath.
  7. Don’t rely solely on microchipping. A person who finds your lost pet may not be able to take it to the vet or the shelter to have it scanned. An ID tag is a much easier way for someone to get in touch with you quickly.
  8. Inspect your pet’s tag regularly to ensure the ID tag is legible and in good condition.
  9. Make sure your pet’s collar is fastened securely. For safety reasons, cats should have breakaway collars that will unsnap if it becomes ensnared in branches. If your cat loses its collar, you will need to replace the ID tag as well.

Dogs and cats become part of our families, and we don’t like to think about them getting lost. By equipping your pets with name tags and microchips, you have the best chances of them getting back home to you safely if the unthinkable happens.

What’s on your name badge?

posted in: Name badges, Name Tags

Paris is the “City of light.” New York City is the “Big Apple.” We often hear nicknames for geographic locations, but people have nicknames too.

By definition, a nickname is a substitute name for a person, place, or thing. Sometimes we choose to use a shortened version of our full name (Ray for Raymond), and sometimes others decide to call us a nickname as a form of affection (Buddy) or to express our character (Honest Abe).

Nicknames also can be foisted upon us without our consent. Do you get frustrated when you write your full name on a name badge, yet people routinely shorten it?

According to work etiquette expert Elaine Varelas, it is perfectly acceptable to politely correct someone who either mispronounces your name or uses a nickname you don’t like.

“If someone uses a nickname without asking your preference,” says Varelas, “you can easily and politely say, “Actually, I prefer to be called Alexandra rather than Alex.”

She adds that it is important to correct the nickname offender as soon as possible before the wrong name takes root with both that person and others. “Most people want to use and pronounce names correctly, so making your preferences known is beneficial for everyone,” Varelas says.

Some nicknames make sense, like Pat for Patrick or Jill for Jillian, but have you ever wondered about the origins of some well-known nicknames? Why are some Williams called Bill? And how did Peggy become a nickname for Margaret? Here’s what we discovered.

Why is Dick a nickname for Richard?

The name Richard was very commonplace during the Middle Ages in England. Shortened versions of the name became popular as a way of distinguishing friends and neighbors from each other. Richard was first shortened to Rich and Rick. Then rhyming variations like Hick and Dick became popular. Dick somehow survived all the way into the 20th century.

What about Bill for William?

The same explanation can be used for how Bill became a nickname for William. Also a popular English name for English boys in the Middle Ages, William was shorted to Will. Will rhymes with Bill. And it stuck through time.

Why is Chuck a nickname for Charles?

This one’s pretty easy. The name Charles in Middle English was “Chukken.”

How did Margaret become Peg or Peggy?

The once name Margaret has been shortened to Meg and Maggie for centuries. The popular name also became the rhyming alternatives of Peg and Peggy.

How did Hank become a nickname for Henry?

One theory is that Hank comes from Hendrick, the Dutch form of the English name Henry.

What about Jack for John?

I’m not sure why a one-syllable name like John needs another one-syllable substitute, but there is a possible explanation. The Normans added “kin” to the end of a name to make a diminutive. Jen was their way of pronouncing John. So, a young John became “Jenkin,” which became “Jakin,” which eventually became “Jack.” Whew!

How does Ted come from Edward?

You’ve probably figured out by now that there was a shortage of first names in the Middle Ages. To differentiate between people with the same name, people did some letter swapping. If a name began with a vowel, such as Edward, people would sometimes add a consonant. So, Ed became Ted. Ted was also a nickname for Theodore, but that’s another story.

Why is Harry a nickname for Henry?

Harry has been a popular variation of Henry since the Middle Ages. Some historians think it began as a mispronunciation of the French “Henri.” Another explanation is that people did some letter swapping to distinguish between all the Henrys.

How does Jim come from James?

Jim and Jimmy have been popular nicknames for James since at least the 18th century. The best guess is creative vowel switching.

Why is Sally a substitute for Sarah?

Creative consonant switching is how Sally became a popular nickname for Sarah in England and France. Today, the original Hebrew name Sarah is more commonplace.

It’s interesting to note that many of these nicknames are not as common today as they once were. But baby names come in cycles, and 2020 statistics show that some “vintage” names (like Hazel, Stella, and Leo) are making a comeback. Will vintage nicknames come back as well? We’ll have to wait and see what shows up on the name tags of the future.




When Brand Names Become Product Names

posted in: Humor, Name badges, Name Tags

When you are ready to launch a new business or a new product, you know you need to put a lot of time and thought into what you call it.


Creating the right name tag can mean the difference between success and failure. Just think, no one was particularly interested in importing the Chinese gooseberry until the New Zealand produce company Turners and Growers renamed it the “kiwifruit” in 1959.


But some product names are such a good match that consumers start using the brand name for the product or service itself. Kleenex is one example. Although it is a registered trademark of Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Kleenex has become synonymous with “tissue.”


Google is another well-known victim of this so-called genericization. The Oxford dictionary added the verb “google,” meaning to search for something on the internet, in 2006.

Did you know that many everyday items, including zippers, kerosene, and windbreakers, were once trademarked brand names? The genericization of a brand name is a double-edged sword. On one side, have the satisfaction of knowing your brand is well-known and successful.


However, the downside is that you can experience brand dilution. Brand dilution occurs when the image of your product is weakened through overexposure or overuse. Some companies have lost the legal protection of their trademarked product name badges due to their widespread popularity.


Here is a list of 20 famous names that have become genericized.


  1. Jet Ski. Kawasaki Heavy Industries owns the rights to this name for a personal watercraft.


  1. Bubble Wrap. Sealed Air Corporation’s trademarked name for its cushiony packaging.


  1. Onesies. Gerber owns the rights to the name of their baby bodysuits.


  1. Jacuzzi. This company, which also makes faucets and toilets, is associated with its hot tubs.


  1. Crock-Pot. This company initially developed its slow cooker for beans.


  1. Escalator. The Otis company lost its trademark name for its moving stairway in 1950 in part because it has used the term in a generic way in its own marketing.


  1. Chapstick. Pfizer owns the rights to this brand name for its lip balm.


  1. Popsicle. The Unilever company says the generic term for their product is ice pop, freezer pop, or frozen pop.


  1. Q-Tips. I don’t know anyone who says cotton swabs, do you? But Unilever owns the Q-Tip brand today.


  1. Scotch Tape. The real Scotch “Magic Tape” is only made in Hutchinson, Minn. The other stuff you buy is simply adhesive tape.


  1. Sharpie. Permanent markers precede the Sharpie brand, but the name “Sharpie” has stuck in the consumer’s collective mind.


  1. Tupperware. This brand of storage containers got its name from Earle Silas Tupper, its creator.


  1. Velcro. You may see other brands of hook and loop fasteners, but the chances are good that you’ll call it Velcro. However, it is the trademarked name for Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral’s invention.


  1. Weed Eater. Husqvarna Outdoor Products has the rights to this well-named gardening tool.


  1. Wite-Out. Bic says you should call a competitor’s product “correctional fluid.” The company also says the ingredients for this product are top-secret.


  1. Band-Aids. Do you ask for an adhesive bandage when you have a cut? I didn’t think so. Johnson & Johnson manufactures the “real” Band-Aids.


  1. Taser. TASER International holds the trademark for this electroshock weapon.


  1. Dumpster. The Dempster Brothers Inc. combined their name with the word “dump” to create the Dempster Dumpster brand.


  1. Xerox. Despite the Xerox company’s efforts to stop people from using their brand name as a substitute for the word “photocopying,” people still do it.


  1. Styrofoam. The Styrofoam name is a trademark of the Dow Chemical Company. It uses the foam material for insulation and water barriers, not plates, cups, or coolers.


This list is just the beginning. We could go on and on. So, what can you do to keep your brand name from becoming “generified?”


In an interview with Vox, creative strategist Rachel Bernard says, “I have a lot of clients that say, “I want to be Kleenex! I want to be Google!” But for every one of those, there are hundreds and hundreds that have actually lost their trademark.


‘”Trampoline” used to be somebody’s trademark, but through that process, they eventually lost it. It’s a cautionary tale that I have to tell lots of clients, but everybody is optimistic and thinks they’re going to be Google and not “trampoline.” It’s very hard to police consumer language.”






Vanity license plates – name tags for your car

posted in: Name badges

Whether you think they are a waste of money or a cool statement, vanity license plates are like customized name tags for your car.

Issued by every state in the U.S., vanity plates are a way to personalize your vehicle with a name, a phrase, a slogan, or an abbreviation. Costs for the special plates vary widely from state to state but usually include an initial charge of $5 to $100 plus an annual renewal fee of $80 or more.

A customized license plate number must be unique to that state. To help you find out if your choice is available, many states have a free online search system.

Each state has its own regulations for the letters, numbers, special characters, and spaces allowed for its customized license plates. Like the fees, these rules also vary.

For example, Ohio requires no less than four and no more than seven letters (or combination of letters and numbers). Iowa allows up to seven characters and numbers by specifies no punctuation marks, no abbreviations for a government agency (like DOT), and nothing that suggests inflammatory words or phrases in any language.

New York bans any plates with the letters or “GOD.” “FDNY,” or “NYPD.”

Each state has the right to reject your request. The state of Utah, for example, rejects about 1,000 vanity plate ideas each year. State DMVs also reserve the right to revoke a plate as offensive even if it has already been approved.

V for Vanity Plates in Virginia

A 2007 survey by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and Stefan Lonce, author of the book License to Roam: Vanity License Plates and the Stories They Tell, found that there were 9.7 million vehicles with vanity plates in the U.S.

At the time of that survey and again in 2019, Virginia was the state with the most personalized license plates. About 16 percent of all vehicles in Virginia have vanity plates. Compare that percentage with Wyoming, where just under 3 percent of the state’s vehicles have personalized plates.

The first driver to order a customized license plate lived in Pennsylvania in 1931. At the time, the only vanity option was to add your initials to your plate. The present-day choices of unique number and letter combinations started in 1965.

If you’re thinking of forgoing the random combinations of letters and numbers for your own personalized car name tag, it’s wise to give it some careful thought.

Sometimes vanity plates cause more trouble than they’re worth. A California driver who had “NULL” on his license plate collected $12,049 in ticket fines because his state’s computerized system used that word in forms when a vehicle didn’t have registered plates.

Come acara owners are seeking to commemorate the tumultuous events of the year 2020 with vanity plates. Some ideas are more successful than others. The state of Indiana recently rejected “WTF 2020,” for instance.

It’s hard to fathom why people would want to drive around reminding people of the pandemic (as if we could forget about it), but many states now have multiple versions of COVID-19 on their plates. Here are the four varieties issued by the state of Connecticut during 2020.

  • COVID19
  • COV1D19
  • C0VID19

And this writer recently saw a shiny red pick-up truck with the plate “THX COVID.” Perhaps the government stimulus check helped with the down payment?



Dog Tags — The military’s custom name tags

posted in: Name Tags

If you watch closely in many Civil War movies, you’ll notice soldiers solemnly pinning pieces of paper or fabric to their clothes before a battle. Some marked their uniforms with stencils, and others carved their names into pieces of wood that they wore around their necks.

Despite these efforts, historians estimate that half of the troops lost in the Civil War (1861-1865) were unaccounted for or marked as “unknown.” Of the more than 17,000 soldiers buried in Vicksburg National Cemetery, the largest Union cemetery, nearly 13,000 graves are marked this way.

As the nation grieved, the concept of a military identification disc or metal name tag caught on.

In 1899, Army Chaplain Charles C. Pierce recommended that the U.S. Army uniform include circular identification disks. His plan went into effect seven years later when the Army issued half-dollar-sized metal tags etched with a soldier’s name, rank, company, and regiment or corps. The men wore their tags around their necks on a cord or chain tucked inside their uniforms.

In July 1916, a second disc was suspended from the first one with a short string or chain. The idea was that one tag would remain with the body while the other was removed for record-keeping and burial.

The Navy added I.D. tags a year later as the U.S. entered World War I. The Navy name tags had “U.S.N.” etched on them and included the date of birth and enlistment. The back of the Navy tags also featured an etched print of the sailor’s right index finger on the back as a safeguard against accident or misuse. (The Navy dropped the fingerprint from its tags during World War II.)

The Marines also issued I.D. tags in World War I; these tags were a combination of the Army and Navy styles.

Historians note that I.D. tags weren’t used in the years between the two world wars but were reinstated in May 1941 with one big change – the use of mechanical stamping.

Military I.D. tags are now considered an official part of the uniform. The modern tag is a rounded cornered rectangle made of a nickel-copper alloy that contains a person’s name, rank, service number, blood type, and religion (if desired).

Even though there are more advanced means of identifying a body – such as D.N.A. testing — these so-called dog tags have become part of the culture.

But why are they called “dog tags?” The obvious answer is that the tags look like the metal disks we place on dog collars to identify our pets. Some accounts say the nickname took hold during World War II when draftees complained of being treated like dogs.

Army Historical Foundation records describe newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst as another possible source. In 1936, in response to a rumor that the newly-formed Social Security Administration was going to distribute personal identification name tags to Americans, Hearst denounced them as “dog tags.”

No matter how the nickname took hold, these military name tags appear to be here to stay.

What’s in a name?

posted in: Name badges, Name Tags

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet muses about the bitter rivalry between her family and Romeo’s family. She implies that the couple’s young love is more important than the feud. It’s one of Shakespeare’s more famous lines, but it brings to mind some thought-provoking questions. Just how important is our name? How does our name shape our identity?

There is good reason many parents spend months pouring over baby name books in anticipation of their baby’s birth. A name can have a profound effect on a child that lasts well into adulthood, according to a growing body of research.

A study led by psychologist David Figlio of Northwestern University in Illinois broke down millions of names from birth certificates into their phonemic components and began finding behavioral patterns. “There is a reason why baby name books are extremely popular,” Figlio said in an interview with LiveScience. “We’re always trying to think about the first bit of a child’s identity and, so if we as a society pay a lot of attention to names, it makes a lot of sense that people’s names might influence how they think about themselves and the way in which people might think about them.”

British study conducted by of 3,000 parents suggests that one in five parents regret the name they chose for a child of a name’s unique spelling. One in 10 parents reported that while they thought the unique name sounded cool at the time of their child’s birth, they said the novelty had worn off.

Why is a name so important? According to the Institute for the Study of Child Development‘s research, hearing or using your own name is a form of “self-representational behavior” that is akin to recognizing your image in a mirror, describing your appearance, or explaining your mental state.

Do you know how you perk up when you hear your name in a crowded, noisy place? Researchers have discovered that the sound of our own name causes specific activation patterns to occur in the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for many of the functions that make you a unique individual – your emotions, for example. Scientists say that we cannot necessarily control this part of the brain, but that our brain reacts in recognizable patterns that reflect our personality.

Using a brain scanner, researchers observed a powerful reaction when study participants heard their own names. In fact, the response was so powerful that researchers could even recognize it in patients who were in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). These patients cannot move or speak, yet their brains responded to the sound of their names.

Why is this research important? It demonstrates the value of learning and using someone’s name. When we hear our own name, it really can be music to our ears.

One easy way to foster the use of names in your business is with name badges. That way, employees can learn and use each other’s names faster. Clients and customers – both prospective and current – also will become accustomed to using your staff’s names if they wear  Name Badges

And if you are expecting a baby, you might want to rethink that very unusual name, such as like Elon Musk’s son’s name, X Æ A-12. You – and your child – are likely to regret it.





Excuse me. Do you work here? Five reasons why employee name badges are important

Sam Walton, the founder of the retail giant, was a big believer in Name tags. From its inception, Walmart has required all employees, including hourly workers on up to executives, to wear them. Reportedly, even Walton himself wore one. In 2015, Walmart U.S. COO Judith McKenna announced that her company was bringing back the original “Our People Make the Difference” phrase on its badges. “These words are just as important today, and to our future, as they ever were,” she said when making the announcement.

We see name tags on workers as far-ranging as nurses to baristas and journalists to concierges. Depending on the profession, these name badges can simply offer a first name and a company logo or include full name, position, and bar code.

But why do so many companies require their employees to wear name tags? Here are five important reasons.

Offer customer service. We’ve all been in the situation when we’ve hesitated to ask for help in a large retail store because we weren’t sure if someone was an employee or another shopper. Name tags immediately identify an employee to your customers. They also allow the customer to call a worker by name, making the experience more personal.

Increase motivation. In the same vein, an employee wearing a name tag feels a heightened sense of responsibility to offer excellent service. When you wear a badge with your name on it, you feel like a member of a team. Name tags also help other employees learn new staffers’ names more quickly, adding to the workplace environment.  Some workplaces allow their employees to customize their name tags by adding small stickers or badges that reveal their interests or personality.

Enhance security. Nametags are a quick and easy way to see who works somewhere and who doesn’t. When employees must present their nametags either to a security guard or to a scanner, it allows a company to monitor who enters the property.

Break the ice. Sometimes nametags can spark discussions that might not otherwise have taken place. Let’s say your sales team is attending an out-of-town event. Having your hometown printed on the nametag could prompt a potential customer who is from that town to start a conversation. That spark could lead to a sale. If your team travels internationally, placing the wearer’s home country on the name badge can draw attention from people who hail from the same nation. Some professionals, such as real estate agents, find that wearing their nametag on a regular basis when they are out and about in the community attracts new business.

Boost your brand. Nametags are an important piece of advertising that pays for itself over and over again. Nametags serve as a wearable business card, including your logo and your motto, in addition to a person’s name. If your team wears their company nametags while volunteering at a community event, it can help build goodwill for your people and your entire organization. You also can alter or enhance nametags to reflect certain promotions and campaigns to gain customer interest.

When you look at all the advantages of employee name tags, it’s easy to see why companies of all sizes and across many industries make this relatively small – but significant — investment.

What’s holding your badge?

posted in: Name badges

Many people who wear name badges these days like the convenience and comfort or lanyards. With a lanyard around your neck, you don’t have to worry about pins or magnets, and the badge is easy to put on and take off. Colorful or themed-lanyards are even a way to show your style or show off a logo.

But have you ever wondered about the history of lanyards? Although they have become common as holders for name badges in recent years, lanyards themselves have been around for centuries.

First, let’s look at the word “lanyard.” Its origin is the French word “lanière,” meaning “strap.” The first known lanyards date back to the late 15th century. They were simple cord or rope straps that French sailors and soldiers used to keep a whistle or a pistol handy while they were working or preparing for battle. Since sailors often had to climb the ship’s rigging, the lanyard allowed them to their hands free while keeping tools safe from falling. Some French soldiers continued to wear lanyards with their uniforms through World War II.

Lanyards also have been used for decorative purposes in the military. For example, the colorful braids that many officers often wear at the shoulder of their uniforms to denote rank or honor are lanyards. Some are quite elaborate and contain sophisticated and complicated knots. A white lanyard has formed part of Britain’s Royal Artillery uniform since the end of the 19th century.

Lanyard weaving, called “scoubidou” in French, became a popular children’s craft in the 1950s in both the U.S. and Europe. Since some lanyards involve intricate knots, making one helps develop manual dexterity. Some of the common knots used in lanyards include the box knot, Chinese knot, triangle, and butterfly knot. The “scoubidou” and its knotting techniques have made a comeback in recent years, and there are many interesting how-to videos on YouTube.

Today, most lanyards are made of nylon, polyester, satin, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), silk, braided paracord, or braided leather. Lanyards often have a plastic or metal clip attached to the end. A clear plastic pouch or sleeve is then attached to the clip to hold a name badge or ID card. In addition to using them to display badges or IDs, many people use lanyards as a convenient way to hold their keys. You might even see the lanyard peeking out of a pants pocket after work instead of around someone’s neck. Students like to use lanyards to keep both their keys and their ID cards handy.

Lanyards also are used to help people keep their electronic devices, such as cellphones, cameras, and USB flash drives, safe from falling or dropping out of a pocket or bag. They are popular convention and trade show giveaways since they can be easily customized with business and event names.

Safety is a common concern when wearing a lanyard – particularly for children or people who operate machinery. That’s why most lanyards have what’s known as a “breakaway” closure. A breakaway closure releases when any pressure is applied to it. This simple safety measure can help prevent choking or other accidents.



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