Right or Left?: Where to wear a name badge

by EPI Staff on May 13, 2009

Q: On which side of the chest should you display your name tag?

A: Although it is easier for right handed people to put a name badge on the left side, they correctly are worn on the right side so the person shaking hands or greeting has easy eye contact with both the person and the badge as a way to help remember the name or to see where he/she is from, etc. This is the purpose of wearing the badges in the first place.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

AndrewBoldman June 4, 2009 at 5:00 am

Hi, cool post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for writing.

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CINDY HAMMER June 22, 2009 at 12:57 pm

I agree this is answer. It does make it easier to read when placed on the person’s right side. May I ask a further question? Which side do you wear brooches or decorative pins? Do you wear a flag or military pin differently?

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Wallace July 5, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Paragraph 8 j, Title 4, United States Code, Chapter 1 of the Flag Code states “the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.”

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Daniel Post Senning July 6, 2009 at 9:21 am
Joan SP July 10, 2009 at 11:18 am

Thank you Daniel! So many people forget that there is an easy to understand flag code that the Legion has put out.

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JOAN December 17, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I read the the flag pin should be on your right so when you shake someone hand it’s on their left. But I have always been told to wear it on the left.

tim March 7, 2010 at 3:29 am

I agree this is answer. It does make it easier to read when placed on the person’s right side. May I ask a further question? Which side do you wear brooches or decorative pins? Do you wear a flag or military pin differently?

NOBODY HAS ANSWERED THIS LADY i WANT TO KNOW ALSO!!!!!

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Daniel Post Senning March 8, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Hi Tim. Sometimes a comment appears buried on a thread that is not so current and we don’t see it. It doesn’t happen too often but does occur and for this I apologize. I also want to mention that the use of all caps in email and comment threads is often interpreted as shouting. One way to read what you have written is as finishing with a scream demanding an answer. I am glad to answer but feel obliged to point out that all caps and exclamation points is a rude way to ask a question. I don’t think this is your intent so I mention it as something you might consider in the future.

Decorative pins and brooches can be worn where the wearer thinks they look best.

Flag pins are worn on the left, close to the heart.

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incbschmr August 3, 2011 at 1:17 am

I may be wrong, but I believe Tim was writing in capital letters on accident. Judging by the lower case I, it appears that they tried to “capitalize” the I, unaware that caps lock was on.

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Victor June 15, 2013 at 5:19 pm

If you don’t know by now (almost 30yrs PC’s in homes) that using all caps is shouting, – especially when followed by 6 exclamation points – then you’re a bit out of touch. The other, more likely explanation in my opinion, is that he did know he shouting, didn’t care about being rude as is the with so many people in public, and wanted an answer. The lower case I would just suggest to me that he hit the shift button while typing with the caps lock on, which on some machines will momentarily take you out of caps lock. OK, have we spent enough time on this person … I think so, but I just couldn’t keep myself from responding.

Mr. Anderson June 18, 2013 at 11:53 am

Victor… Way to leave a response on a two year old thread. The last commenter was trying to see things from a positive perspective and off you go shooting from the hip with your callous answer. Next time try saying something like “I can see how you came to that conclusion but based on my experience it’s more likely that…”. Regardless, people who type in all caps whether intentional or not are quite annoying.

Cecilia November 12, 2009 at 5:25 am

I was told in a seminar several years ago that you place your name tag on your left so that when you shake with your right hand, you slightly lean in the left shoulder so the name tag is read. Because the right hands are extended across the front of the body, the name tag is more visible on the left. When I shake a person hand, my eye does not follow up the shoulder of the hand extended.

I guess it all in how you were taught.

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Michael October 5, 2010 at 9:41 pm

And, I suppose you believe everything you were “taught”… Apparently, you haven’t shaken many hands… Most people shaking hands lean in with their right sides putting the right side of their chests directly in the line of sight… It’s common sense, really. Do an experiment and see. When you shake hands with your right hand, the left side of your chest naturally turns away. This is not a complicated matter people…

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Jill October 11, 2012 at 8:42 am

Michael, you’re absolutely right…when shaking with the right hand, your right shoulder leans in……..it also “squeezes” the suit jacket, blouse, etc. you may be wearing, thus making the name tag obscured, while the left side lays smooth. That’s just personal experience……I don’t know a thing about etiquette ;)

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Aaron November 9, 2010 at 9:53 am

I would like to clarify in Asia, all schools, co employees, hospitality service staff right up to government officials and ministers wear the name tags on the left side of the chest. It is regarded wearing name tag on right is a sign of agony or during funerals.

I shake hands with 100s of ppl and we stand with both feet together facing the person we are meeting. Thilting body generally toward right is rude and u don’t show your sincerity. In the first place, should not. U show full attention with full body language. We don’t make conveniences and qualify the casual American/British daily lazy meet-greet language. Name tag is an honour and should be worn like the military protocol because our parents gave us names to live not to die

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Graceandhonor November 9, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Aaron, you have made some excellent points. The practice of introductions in Asia is founded in honor and sincerity as you note, and there is no better way to convey this to someone than giving them your proper, undivided and most cordial attention. Everyone, no matter their country, should remember this. G&H

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Traci December 10, 2010 at 7:46 pm

I’ve grown up in the Hospitality field and was always taught to wear name tags or badges on the left, so that the name tag isn’t obstructed by the right-hand shake. Being a woman, crossing my arm (not necessarily across the chest, but at any angle) I find that my right lapel is in fact obstructed. And yes Michael, I shake plenty of hands.
I found this interesting, and was surprised to learn I was wrong. Good to know.

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Sherry Geyer March 10, 2011 at 10:18 pm

On a name badge for a meeting, do you put the persons degree on the badge if they are anything other then a Medical Doctor (MD). Example: If the have a MS, PhD EdD, etc.?

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Just Laura March 10, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Yes. Here at the university where I work, all of our name tags have our degrees (if they are more than a B.A/B.S.). Of course, if this is an informal meeting with first names only, then no degree designation would be necessary.
Just Laura, M.A.
Jane Doe, J.D.
John Smith, Ph.D.

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Mikey Mike June 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Great article on name tags. Right is the correct place for the name badge. But the company I work at we have cash registers and in some case it depends which side the customer is walking up to our registers as to where we place our name badges. Sometimes it is easier to have a magnetic name tag that way you can take the name tag off and switch it to the other side if needed.

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TK August 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Does it really matter what side it’s on? Just stick it on your forehead, they’ll never forget your name then!

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Skye October 30, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Huh? I’m right handed but I find it easier to put a badge on my right side!

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Scott January 4, 2012 at 8:27 am

I’ve always been told that name badges should be worn on left breast and are only displaced by medals? Does anyone know for definite as this appears to be a collection of opinions?

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Alicia January 4, 2012 at 8:47 am

Yes in general name badges are worn on the left side. Displaced for medal or corsages or if a ladies attire prevents it. I always understood this to make life easier as if you are reaching out to shake hands you crumple a name badge if it is on the right side as one shakes with their right hand. However while shaking you can peek at a name badge and double check a name.

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karen February 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm

On left, in the deep south, as tradition would have it for many generations, and common sense

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Betty April 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I am left handed and it’s much easier for me to put mine on left side.

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Reagan June 18, 2012 at 2:53 pm

That makes NO sense at ALL! You should NEVER shake hands with your left hand, regardless of if you are right or left handed AND, as a lefty, you should find it MUCH easier to put your name tag on the right side…Try it out one day…

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Theo October 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I know this is an old post, but it really demands a response.
#1 – I don’t think she was suggesting shaking hands with her left hand, only suggesting it was easier to get a name badge onto her left side for her.
#2 – NEVER shake hands with your left hand? What about those of us without a functioning right arm? You should be very careful what you say in public. Or were you being deliberately offensive?

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Johnathan July 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm

When I went to the White House, the staff advisor told me that the name tag should be on the left so that when I reach my right arm out to shake the Presidents hand the name tag would not be skewed and easily readable.

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Chocobo July 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm

That makes a lot of sense to me. The only rule I had heard so far about name tags is that they should be high , near the collar, so that people can read them quickly and pretend they remembered your name. And to prevent them from having to look at your chest to find it.

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Mike August 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I rhink either way is acceptable but there are some reasons for the left side. When wearing a suit, you usually have a pocket name tag, so it can only go on the left because there is no pocket on the right. Second conpanies policy is to wear your name tag on the left over your heart because it represents a promise you on your name that you will take care of costomers. Latly when you day the pledge of allegence you put you hand over your heart the same place your name goes so its a symbol. Just my 2 cents.

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Kitty August 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm

If shaking hands with your right hand, a sticker name-tag could easily be crumpled as your arm brushes against the front of your chest in shaking hands.

Therefore, if you want your name tag to survive neat and intact throughout the networking event, you should wear it on your left side.

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karen December 2, 2012 at 12:30 am

name tag on the right
fashion jewelry on the left

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Tim December 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm

After over 25 years in the armed services ( Army ) I have always been told the name tag and other non official accoutrements are to be worn on the Right side to enable Medals,Awards and Decorations to be worn on the Left side.

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Scott Tucker January 17, 2013 at 7:15 pm

There are some great points…and some that are almost comical. As for “common sense”, I’ll let you be the judge.

First, the correct way to wear a name tag in the United States is on the right side above the pocket. This eliminates the argument about “no right breast pocket” on suit jackets. Some have them and some don’t. If you’re wearing the suit correctly, then the handkerchief in your pocket will prevent the tag from lying correctly.

Secondly, look at every prelabeled uniform. The company name fills the left hand space. Putting a nametag on the left would either obscure the company name/logo or leave the right hand side bear while the left was over loaded with information. This isn’t just a company level process. The entire U S Military has the name on the right and the military insignia on the left.

Lastly, in deference to my friends from Asia. This has nothing to do with respect or a lack thereof. It’s a completely different culture and the meanings of our actions are interpreted differently.

Thank you. I feel better.

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gerclown July 4, 2014 at 12:57 am

I agree. . It should be on the right if it is over decorated on your left, and it will reminds you that you are proud of your brand/company as well as your name. You’re give ‘em a reason to be read.

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Tom May 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm

I was looking for a simple answer, now I’m even more confused. Maybe I’ll just slap the name tag in the middle .

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Victor June 15, 2013 at 6:21 pm

I think I disagree with this answer, because when you go to shake hands your right arm crosses your body and would slightly distort the badge, of course I understand when one would just be standing there it would all read from right shoulder to left, but for some reason I guess it just feels more comfortable to me to have it on the left, and I’ve seen it both ways, so I guess the name badge police aren’t going to arrest me whichever way I choose. Thanks for the info you guys.

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Kelly June 26, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Dear Everyone,
This has been driving me crazy for WEEKS! (To those discussing the usage of all caps, I use them ALL the time as a show of emphasis, or, according to my husband, “my dramatics!” I type JUST like I talk! Anyway, I can agree with both points. Since this shirt is for fun…how could it not be with an accompanying patch that says, “Chuck Norris Karate”? My husband is in the army and his name is on the right, but I wasn’t sure that was the norm for civilians. I noticed employees at places like WalMart and Steak N Shake wear them on the left. Curiously, I asked a manager why they were on the left, and after her strange stare up and down look at me, her answer was, that it was easier for the employees to clip their tags to the left, since most people are right handed. At that same visit in WalMart, I ran across a man of “authority”. I couldn’t see his work emblem (he was wearing a company polo and khakis), but I noticed that he had a “radio” clipped to his left pocket, which was the reason I asked him (Yes! I am OCD about certain things.) He informed me that their names were on the left, so that they could grab their radios out of their pockets really fast. Makes sense to me! I also saw 2 mechanics in the store, both name patches on the right and company patch on left pocket. But after reading the suggestion that it be worn on the right, due to shaking of the hands with the person’s name in view…I was SOLD on the right (especially for MY purpose)! Should I become a person of law enforcement, I guess you’ll see it on my left! Thanks to all of you for your words of advice. All in all, most made sense for their circumstance. I also thank you for reading this “novel” (if you even made it through)!!! This is my first time leaving a “comment” on the computer. I hope I did ok.

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Badge September 17, 2013 at 7:27 am

Very intersting! I always thought badges should be worn on the left.

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John September 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm

I have a question about name tag protocol for professional associations,
I am currently working on creating the layout for engraved name badges for a professional association, and was planning to include the association logo with 2-3 lines of text:
Line1: Member Name
Line2: Company Name
Line3 : Board of Director’s Title

The Association Members will be wearing the badges at monthly networking events, where attendees promote their individual company’s products and services.

Because members are attending the events to promote their company’s interests, my thought is that it would be critical to include the “Company Name” to help generate brand recognition for our members and their employers.

Also, every professional trade show or convention I have attended always includes company name on badges, so I thought it would be correct to include this for our association.

My question is: Would it be acceptable to remove the “Company Name” from the name badges, to just include “Member Name?”

…Or would it be correct protocol to include “Company Name?”

Thank you for your input!

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Elizabeth September 21, 2013 at 10:35 pm

I’m confused about the third line of text, “board of director’s title”. Is each member of the association on some board of director? Or would this line only be included for those members that sit on the board? I think your are correct that the member’s company affiliation needs to be included on the name tag.

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John September 21, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Thank you so much for you input Elizabeth!

Yes, the 3rd line of text would only apply to our board of directors and past-presidents,
(The thought was to help new members and attendees quickly identify our leaders)

Any member who is not serving on the board of directors, or who has not served as a past-president would only receive 2-lines of text, (Name & Company Name)

I would love to hear more thoughts and input on this,
Thank you!

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Cindy Spearman September 25, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I have ran companies and am now starting our own non-profit for the disabled. Raising and training Service Dogs. I have also always had my own business training for 40 years now. The name tag goes on the right, you don’t cross your body really, you stand so your arm goes out almost at a slight angle to the left, so you are turning your right shoulder towards the person you shaking hands with, thus making it easier for them to see your name. In order to cross your body and make a mess of your name tag you would have to be standing so close to that person you’d be sharing the same ounce of air to breath. You should walk up facing and reach out not across. A patch of any kind on your shirt or what ever, is sewn on your left. Have you ever heard “be true to the brand!” well it started back in the 1900′s when most people out west could only brand their livestock. To be true to the brand meant you were true to the ranch you worked for. The company you work for is just like the ranch years ago and to be true to the brand or company is to wear its logo or name over your heart or on the left. All large Companies have their company name on the left sewn on when you get your uniforms. I believe most Americans started changing things just because it was easier for most of them but that doesn’t make it right. name tag right and patch or company emblem on left.

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Rhonda Stubbs October 27, 2013 at 2:31 am

Interesting discussions and comments. Always thought it should be on the right now I’m pretty much convinced it should be on the left hand side. One thing I did notice is that no one said it should be attached to a man’s tie – which what I tend to see a bit around my neighbourhood. Thanks everyone for your input.

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Wil August 23, 2014 at 9:10 am

I have to admit wearing the name tag on the Right looks so tacky, it really don’t look professional. I heard you wear it over the pocket on the right side. Most, if all suits do not have a right pocket….Wearing on the left is just as close unless everyone is shaking hands and leaning over. Most hand shakes are front forward if no one can read your name tag they have to be blind or close to it.

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