Learning patterns/Colored lanyards

Colored lanyards
problemIt is hard to know the photography preferences of the participants at conferences.
solutionGive color coded lanyards to show the participants' photography preferences.
creatorNetha Hussain
created on12 October, 2014

What problem does this solve?


At conferences, one may come across people with different photography preferences : some people are comfortable getting their pictures captured without asking, some people prefer asking their consent before taking their picture and some people do not want their picture taken at all. One may need to ask the participant before taking their picture. This can be time consuming and awkward if group photographs featuring multiple people are taken. There are also chances for mis-communication.

What is the solution?


The solution is to give colored lanyards for every participant along with their name tag : the color of the lanyard gives a clue about the photography preferences of that person. Generally, green, yellow and red colored lanyards are used, with patterns so that color vision-impaired people can use them too. The color/pattern coding may be done as follows:

  • Green: Photographs always okay
  • Yellow with longitudinal black line: Ask before photographing
  • Red with diagonal stripes: photographs never okay, don’t ask

General considerations

  • The lanyards should be distributed along with the name tags BEFORE the conference starts, preferably at the registration desk.
  • A printed display board explaining the color coding may be kept at the desk where the lanyards are distributed.
  • Participants should be given the choice to change the color of the lanyard at anytime during the length of the conference if they wish to do so.
  • If any attendee finds that their photograph is being taken despite a red/yellow lanyard, there should be a system to report the incident.

When to use


In conferences or workshops where attendees have different photography preferences.

See also




This photography policy is enforced in Ada Camp, the conference for women in open stuff, conducted by the Ada Initiative.