Out of all the art and craft work sold at furry conventions, is there anything that can be considered more endemic to the furry community than the custom-commissioned character badge? They’re pretty simple affairs— an illustrated name tag identifying one of its owners’ characters, usually (but not always) laminated for durability and clipped to a shirt or lanyard. They’re less of a visible banner-carrier for the scene than fursuits, but they’re far more ubiquitous— it’s rare to spot a conventioneer at any decent-sized furry function these days without at least one or two hanging off of them. It’s even rarer to see anyone sporting a badge at any other kind of convention, which underlines just how much commissioned artwork and character creation have become keystones of what furry is.
Badges can tell a lot about us. They can shape your first impression of someone not just by how their character looks, but also by how they’re drawn. They can show shifting tastes in artistic styles, species and fashion within the community. They can even tell us a little about their creators. With this blog, we’d like to catalog different badges by artists across the furry art community— to give both artists and owners a place to discuss their experiences with them. By doing so, we hope to showcase badges as not just accessories, but as the unique art pieces that they are.
What does “identity” mean in a culture defined by its shared imagination? How much of an artist’s vision is shaped by a client’s vision, and vice versa? Do these names we wear help us see each other— and ourselves— more clearly, and how do they change over time? These are all questions this blog seeks to answer. We hope you enjoy it!
[Artists: do you have a particular badge style you’d like to talk about? Please feel free to submit three to five examples along with a short description of how you make them (or used to make them) and any memorable experiences you might’ve had while selling them.
Badge Owners: similarly, feel free to submit three to five of your favorite badges you’ve commissioned over the years along with who made them and what they personally mean to you. Remember to credit all artists!]