What Is a Lanyard? And Other Lanyard Mysteries Answered

If you’ve ever been to a business conference, a college orientation, or been a VIP at a concert, you have worn a lanyard. Lanyards have many uses; they hold name tags, VIP tickets, keys, sunglasses, and more around your neck. If you’re prone to losing things, lanyards are invaluable. They also present great branding opportunities for your business, if you want to put your name on something other than a t-shirt or business card. Continue reading for answers to all of your lanyard questions, including what is a lanyard, what are lanyards used for, what types of lanyards exist, and what are lanyards made of?




What Is a Lanyard?

A lanyard is a cord or strap of fabric that is sewn together into a loop with a clip, hook, or ring attachment designed to be worn around the neck as a necklace. Usually, a lanyard is used to hold some type of identification, such as a name tag, VIP badge, or employee ID in as visual a place as possible without attaching anything to clothing.



What Are Lanyards For?

name tag icon

Name Badge Holders

Lanyards are perfect for holding employee ID badges. This way, businesses don’t need to create uniforms with someone’s name stitched into them—a costly business model if there’s a lot of employee turnover.

They also present a way for strangers to get to know each other at events and conferences, or for visitors to wear around the office. Lanyards are a good deal more secure than a handwritten sticker on your clothing, and they can be reused.

key holder icon

Key Holders

If you work in a setting where you need to use keys multiple times a day, you may want to keep them close by. A lanyard can hold a keycard, a key, or several keys close at hand and ensure you never misplace them. After all, it’s hard to ignore something when it’s around your neck.

whistle icon

Sports Games

Referees and coaches wear whistles on lanyards around their necks. Having easy access to a whistle is crucial for referees during a fast-paced game. Take hockey, for example; if there’s a penalty, play won’t be stopped if the referee is busily trying to fish a whistle out of their pocket.

sunglasses lanyard icon

Glasses or Sunglasses

Double-ended lanyards hold glasses so that you don’t have to wear them on your face or head at all times. These lanyards work by holding one arm with each end of the lanyard. This type of lanyard is perfect for those who don’t need to wear their glasses all day, such as people who use reading glasses.

These lanyards also work well with sunglasses; they keep your shades close by without being in the way or easy to lose. Take barbequing on a sunny summer afternoon; if you’re frequently moving in and out of the house, a lanyard is a convenient way to make sure your shades don’t get left in the kitchen, or worse, on the grill!

cruise icon

Cruise Ship Keys

Lanyards can be a good place to store your room key if you’re lucky enough to spend an extended stay at a hotel, an all-inclusive resort, or on a cruise. Since you’ll likely be wearing a bathing suit for large portions of the time, having your room key around your neck is a good way to ensure you don’t lose it, as bathing suits tend not to come with secure pockets. Even if there are pockets on your bathing suit, your key could still easily float away while you’re busy swimming.

VIP icon

Concerts and VIP Events (Trade Shows, Conferences)

Easily display credentials for VIP access with a lanyard. They are used frequently at concerts and special events. Rather than having to fish a special pass out of a cluttered pocket or purse, security personnel can just check your lanyard pass. And what’s the point of being a VIP if you can’t flaunt it? Let the world know that you are a Very Important Person with a lanyard.



What Types of Lanyards Exist?

This may come as a shock, but did you know there are different types of lanyards? There’s not a one-lanyard-fits-all option, and the wide variety of lanyards and clip attachments serve different purposes.

name badge lanyard

Name Badge Lanyards

A standard lanyard is one that’s often used for badges and employee IDs. They come with a hook and a plastic slip designed to hold a thin plastic or paper ID. These could be used by retail employees, students, teachers, healthcare workers, media personnel, etc. They’re simple and effective.

retractable lanyard

Retractable Lanyards

Retractable lanyards work well if you have an ID key card that you regularly need to scan when entering or exiting a restricted area, such as a position in government or in a hospital. Rather than stooping over to scan your ID card, you can give it a gentle pull and extend the cord with your hands. A retractable lanyard will also work well with a regular set of keys. Once you unlock the space you need access to, you can let your keys go, and they’ll retract back to their proper place.

sunglasses lanyard

Double-Ended Lanyards

These lanyards are used for glasses and sunglasses. If you don’t like setting glasses on top of your hair or constantly opening and closing your glasses case, a lanyard provides you with a convenient alternative. While maybe not the most stylish fashion choice, the convenience and safety they provide can’t be beat.

credential lanyard

Credential Lanyards

A credential lanyard holds credentials for special events and VIP access. These badges are usually larger and more gaudy than a regular ID badge or name tag. 

custom lanyard

Custom Made Lanyards

You can get custom branding for your business or event on lanyards to be used as free swag or for an important function where name tags are required. You could also keep a few around the office for visitors to wear and then return when they leave.

safety lanyard

Safety Lanyards

A safety lanyard clips to the D-ring of a worker’s safety harness. If someone is working high above the ground, such as on scaffolding, a safety lanyard helps prevent falls. Unless you work in construction, you probably won’t have much use for a safety lanyard.

cross lanyard

Cross Lanyards

A cross lanyard comes with an added decorative crucifix for those who are religious or work in a religious field. The lanyard still clips into a piece of ID, such as a nurse or teacher’s ID badge, but has a decorative cross on top of the clip.



What Are Lanyards Made Of?

Polyester lanyard

Polyester, Nylon, or Polyethylene Lanyards

These materials are most common for lanyards, especially lanyards made for large events. The artificial materials make the lanyards cheap to produce, which is ideal for large orders of custom lanyards that include business logos.

cotton lanyard

Cotton Lanyards

Cotton lanyards are smoother on your skin than your average polyester lanyard. There’s none of the accompanying scratchiness that comes with a synthetic lanyard, making these the best choice for people with sensitive skin, or if you’re looking for comfort as well as function. Two notable downsides of cotton lanyards are their need to be washed, as well as the added expense.

leather lanyard

Leather Lanyards

Leather lanyards have a more professional look to them, making them an ideal option for business professionals who need to wear lanyards on a regular basis. They’re more expensive, but the extra expense comes with added professionalism and comfort.

fashion lanyard

Fashion Lanyards

Fashion lanyards are designed with style in mind. If your work-issued lanyard just isn’t fun enough for your style, try a lanyard made with beads designed to look like jewelry. They provide a unique way to stand out. Make yours elegant, quirky, or coordinate with your outfit.

wire lanyard

Wire Lanyards

Wire lanyards, also known as wire rope lanyards, are often used with safety and security in mind, and they’re not necessarily worn around the neck. They are made with spiraled bundles of wire and used to secure equipment, support hanging objects, and as theft-prevention around the home or office. Unless you’re hanging something heavy around your neck, a regular lanyard will probably do for staff or visitors around the office.



More From Blue Summit Supplies 

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Jordan's passion for travel led her to design a career as a remote content marketer. Nearing 1000 published articles, she's spent the past decade using her interdisciplinary education to research and write content for a wide variety of industries. Working remotely, Jordan spends half of the year exploring different corners of the world. At home, she's content exploring fictional lands—Spark an immediate and detailed conversation by mentioning Game of Thrones, Red Rising, Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings.

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