“Lanyard” is a funny-sounding word, isn’t it? The first time I heard it was in grade school. Our teachers were told to wear custom lanyards with ID holders on a field trip to show they were in charge of us kids.

Lanyards conveyed a sense of authority back then and still do today. Those polyester necklaces are low-cost items that serve multiple purposes.

What is a lanyard?

Lanyards are straps or cords worn around the neck to carry identification or small items. They are most often used by businesses, healthcare workers, schools and event organizers to keep ID badges visible and secure.

Custom lanyards are commonly made of durable polyester. Companies and organizations often customize lanyards to showcase their logos and names for branding.

Rings, clips, hooks, carabiners and other types of attachments are typically added where the lanyard straps meet in the front. The attachments keep badge holders and lightweight items such as keys easily accessible.

Why do they call them custom lanyards?

collage of customized lanyard showing the different features

The word “lanyard” originates from the French word “laniere,” which simply means “strap.” Oddly enough, it appears pirates in the 1500s may have been the first group of people to use lanyards.

Imagine the danger pirates faced climbing the rigging of a swaying ship with sharp tools and weapons in hand! To avoid injury, they tied their knives and tools together with string. Those items were then attached to a rope around the pirate’s neck so he could climb the ship’s mast hands-free.

Shiver me timbers! The lanyard concept was born!

French soldiers during the same era created their own version of lanyards to carry weapons and other essentials into battle. This likely explains the French origins of the word “lanyard.”

Why is it important to wear custom lanyards?

customized lanyards for car keys

Lanyards can make life easier, safer and better organized. Here are a few examples of the benefits of lanyards:

1. Lanyards keep your hands free. Whether you’re carrying keys, a badge or a phone, a lanyard frees up your hands so you can focus on other tasks.

2. Lanyards prevent loss. It’s easy to misplace small items like car keys or building entry cards. If they’re attached to a lanyard, they’re much less likely to get lost or dropped.

3. Lanyards provide quick access. A lanyard lets you quickly grab your ID, keys or hand sanitizer when needed without having to search through a bag or pockets.

4. Lanyards are customizable. Custom lanyards can be created in a variety of colors and styles and printed with logos or text. This makes them affordable and practical tools for branding.

5. Lanyards are comfortable. Lanyards are lightweight and can be worn around the neck without causing discomfort.

Who needs custom lanyards?

woman at work wearing a custom business lanyard

Lanyards are suitable for a wide range of people and purposes. Just about anyone can benefit from the convenience and security of a lanyard.

People who can benefit the most from a lanyard include:

  • Teachers and administrators. Teachers need school branded lanyards to show their authority when taking students on field trips of all types. They might also need them when going between buildings in larger districts. Administrators should wear lanyards every day since they aren’t always familiar to students or school visitors.
  • School visitors. Giving lanyards with a “Visitor” badge to parents or others who visit the school promotes security for everyone.
  • Students. When taking students on field trips or other adventures away from the campus it helps to give each child a lanyard to identify and track their whereabouts.
  • Trade show attendees. Trade show vendors and attendees are routinely required to wear custom lanyards with ID badges, especially at larger venues, for security purposes. It also keeps people without proper badges out of restricted areas.
  • Hospital/medical staff. These guys need to be hands-free more than most people. Lanyards keep much-needed IDs, building entry cards and keys close to the body of nurses, doctors and hospital custodians.
  • Event venues. Although big entertainers don’t often wear lanyards during performances, their staff certainly does! Event lanyards with ID holders help identify who is allowed to go where and are often used to display VIP passes.
  • Retail store clerks/cashiers. Have you ever mistaken another customer for a store clerk? That’s the main reason retail employees need lanyards to wear on the job. Customizable lanyards also give stores a cheap marketing tool.
  • Bank tellers. When you’re handling other people’s money it’s a good idea to show who you are and your job title.
  • Tour guides. It’s reassuring for visitors to follow someone with identification when navigating a strange place. Often visitors/customers are asked to wear them, too, so they don’t get lost. Groups with identical lanyards let venue operators know they’re together.
  • Security guards. Night watchmen, event security and bouncers must be easily identified if emergencies arise. Wearing a badge holder lanyard can show authority, which may help keep the peace at an otherwise rowdy venue.
  • Concert organizers and attendees. Concert promoters need to stand out so they can easily be found by media sources, sponsors and performers. Backstage passes are almost always handed out with lanyards. Concertgoers are sometimes given event lanyards with seating information for crowd-control.
  • Law enforcement. We can’t argue this one. Police and sheriff badges have a leg-up on lanyards when it comes to identification. However, ID lanyards are essential when multiple law enforcement departments attend emergency drills, training seminars and investigations.
  • Church leaders. No, clergy don’t often wear lanyards when officiating. But their staff and congregation rely on them when attending church camps or performing mission trips.
  • Restaurant servers/hostesses. It’s much easier for customers to remember their waitress or waiter’s name when it’s big and bold on an ID lanyard.
  • Contestants. Spelling bee candidates and other types of contestants need ID badge lanyards to help judges keep their names straight.

Others who can benefit from custom lanyards:

  • Sports fans. What better way to rally your team and show unity than to give customized lanyards to fans. Often these lanyards become valuable keepsakes!
  • Government workers/leaders. Whether you’re a local court clerk or a federal employee, the public needs to know who you are and what you do. Photo ID lanyards are commonly used by government workers.
  • Political rally attendees. In today’s crazy world, law enforcement officers need rally organizers and attendees identified. ID holder lanyards are also a must for politicians.
  • Youth camp leaders. Noisy, 6-year-old campers will call every camp counselor “hey you” unless those leaders are wearing ID badge lanyards.
  • Airport/TSA officials. If TSA staff want us to take off our shoes, they can at least identify themselves, right? Key lanyards and badge holders also make the transportation process run smoother when worn by pilots, flight attendants and employees of trains, buses and ships.
  • Service technicians (electricians, plumbers, etc.). It’s more comforting to let a plumber in your house if he or she has a photo ID and service form in their wallet lanyard.
  • Military personnel. Lanyard ID cards add another form of identification and authority to military uniforms. Training officers often use lanyards to keep whistles and keys close at hand.
  • Seminar speakers and facilitators. Let everyone know upfront the identities of the speakers and attendees at your next conference.
  • Coaches. Whistles and keys. These are essential tools for all coaches and keychain lanyards make it happen. Coaches of all sports use badge lanyards for identification when taking their team to away matches.
  • Messengers/couriers. Those fast-moving messengers and couriers must have ID ready to go when making multiple deliveries at various destinations each day. ID lanyards are essential.
  • Real estate agents. Professionalism, safety and credibility are upheld when Realtors wear custom lanyards with ID holders. Home sellers often use customizable lanyards to store entry cards and important documents for home showings.
  • Lyft/Uber/taxi drivers. Customers are more at ease when they see their driver’s photo ID in the visor. But when drivers stand outside their vehicle, a lanyard keychain and ID holder is a must.
  • Company employees. Companies with a large workforce give each employee a lanyard with card holder during onboarding. Besides holding identification, business lanyards are handy for storing building entry cards.
  • Convention promoters. It’s critical to identify everyone attending a large convention, especially those who are organizing the event. It’s also a great branding opportunity for businesses when their employees wear custom lanyards with the corporate logo.
  • Anyone! Custom lanyards are practical gifts for employees or anyone on your list who carries an ID or cellphone. (Isn’t that everyone?) Personalized lanyards can hang from car mirrors or get tucked into pockets and purses when not worn. Their size and shape make them easy to find and grab when needed.

What is a lanyard used for?

woman wearing a custom badge holder lanyard

Lanyards can be used to carry many small, yet essential items such as these:

  • Keys
  • Cellphones
  • Driver’s licenses and other forms of ID
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wallets
  • Security clearance documents
  • Building entry cards
  • Flash drives
  • VIP passes

What are the different types of custom lanyards?

orange lanyard customized with fitness logo

Lanyards are generally grouped by price, materials, clips and attachments, and open/closure options. But look for other factors such as full-color lanyards and lanyards with neon colors.

Here are the most popular types of lanyards at Totally Promotional:

What are the most popular lanyard attachments?

custom lanyards with different attachments

Here are the top attachments for custom lanyards:

  • 20 mm (3/4″) and 25 mm (1″) Black J Hook
  • 20 mm (3/4″) and 25 mm (1″) Black Lobster Clip
  • 20 mm (3/4″) Black Swivel Bulldog

Additional options for custom lanyards

Custom lanyards are created at Totally Promotional like a tailor would alter a shirt. We want to make sure your lanyards are a perfect fit for the job you have in mind. That means we’re ready to add those little extras when needed.

Take a look at the lanyard options we offer customers during the ordering process:

Safety Plastic Breakaway Release Attachment: This is a safety feature that many of our customers find valuable, especially when creating lanyards for children. The clip pulls apart when tugged or snagged.

Buckle Release: This handy buckle can easily be squeezed to release the item(s) being carried without removing the lanyard.

Badge and ID Holders. Select from nine sizes of clear PVC badge holders in vertical and horizontal orientations. These are perfect for holding or displaying ID cards, badges, hotel room keys, credit cards and more.

See our Lanyard Clips and Attachments page for more information.

Watch this informative video to learn how the experts at Totally Promotional create custom lanyards for businesses, schools, medical staff and more:

go big! get your message out there with custom banners

Shelley Grieshop is a former newspaper journalist who earned more than a dozen Associated Press awards for her in-depth research and writing skills. In May 2016, she joined Totally Promotional as a creative writer. She currently writes company blogs about branding, marketing, logos, wedding planning and much more. One of her life goals is to teach people when to use hyphens and apostrophes.

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