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How to design Badges

Badge design UI/UX tips. Purposes, use-cases, UX patterns reviewed, and other things to consider.

January 2022 · 7 mins to read

by Roman Kamushken

What is Badge?

Badge (aka Tag) — small overlapped UI item which indicates a status, notification, or event that appears in relativity with the underlying object.
"Designing Components"
Badge UI design exploration. Tips, visual tricks, and use-cases.

Table of contents

  • Content
  • Purposes
  • Behavior
Styles & Themes
  • Colors
  • Corner radius
  • Outline stroke
  • Using shadow
UX & Use cases
  • Communication
  • Filtering
  • Ecommerce
  • Social
  • Marketing
  • Categorizing
  • Tagging
Badge UI design exploration



The default content of Badge's body is

  • Numeric value — to display the number of events
  • Text caption — to tag, name or categorize items
  • Icon — to show up the status of the underlying object
  • No item (dot-only Badge) — to inform without details

Badge with a Numeric value is used to represent the number of events related to the parent UI item:
Badge UI design exploration
Use Badges with a Text caption to specify a label for the variety of objects (e.g. to tag a topic, categorize items, or indicate views amount):
Badge UI design exploration
Use Icons inside Badge to show up the condition of a related component, or response to a user with the feedback.

For example, it's clear there is a kind of error with synced devices settings section and there is something downloaded successfully:
Badge UI design exploration
Dot-only Badge is used in order to just attract your attention to the specific control and encourage you to explore what is inside:
Badge UI design exploration

The Badge's container expands to the left, right, or from the center depending on the number of caption symbols. Use "+" or "k" abbreviations to decrease symbols amount and save space:
Badge UI design exploration
When Badge stretches to the right, make sure your neighbor UI elements aren't pushed aside in your layout, due to a container width is now enlarged.

Styles & Themes

For a deep themification in order to set Badge more distinct, you have to apply several properties:

  • Colors — to regulate the Badge priority
  • Corner radius — to set a Badge's container shape
  • Outline stroke — to visually separate Badge from underlying item
  • Shadow — to set a style with hovering effect

Solid Badges are more visible than shaded (where the opacity is reduced to 15–20%). Us them in priority cases, while shaded Badges may be applied for other cases, e.g. categorizing topics, tagging, etc.:
Badge UI design exploration
Choose Badge's colors wisely in order to make it more attentive or recognizable on every surface, especially when placed over images:
Badge UI design exploration
Corner radius

Adjust corners radius for Badges to vary container shapes. Rounded Badges are a popular use case, whereas enlarging to pilled when the counter is growing. You may use a square Badge in order to fit to your layout specs (e.g. for squared UI design — IBM Carbon design system):
Badge UI design exploration
Outline stroke

This UI design small hack helps to separate a Badge and make it detached and detectable almost over every background color. Just stroke Badges with the same color as the surface:
Badge UI design exploration
Using shadow

By setting a smooth shadow behind Badges (use the same color), you will simulate a tiny and elegant hovering effect:
Badge UI design exploration
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UX & Use cases

There are several UX patterns where are Badges most commonly used:

  • Messaging
  • Filtering
  • Ecommerce
  • Social
  • Marketing
  • Categorizing
  • Tagging

In conversational patterns (Chat, Messages, Inbox) Badge used to inform about new incoming messages. Dot distinctly divides fresh emails and recent:
Badge UI design exploration

It's user-friendly to overlap a Badge over filtering control when some options were selected before.

Below we see some tooltips on the map. It's clearly distinct — some filtering options were picked affecting on results, and Badge has now appeared at the app corner:
Badge UI design exploration

In most shopping apps Badges are used to display the number of products added to a cart:
Badge UI design exploration

Icon-only Badge represents additional properties/statements for the person:
Badge UI design exploration
Dot-only Badge displays user's status — Is it online, or not:
Badge UI design exploration

There are cases when Badge helps to encourage users to take action or perform a choice commercially valuable.

Here is a Badge placed over segmented control to highlight the necessity to choose yearly payment:
Badge UI design exploration

Separate content categories by using Badges to label and divide sections making them distinguishable by using different colors:
Badge UI design exploration
Sometimes Badges are used as tags to highlight special deals:
Badge UI design exploration

Implement Badges to display extra properties for a content item, or to visualize the number of parameters the specific item is associated with:
Badge UI design exploration
This is all you need to know to design better Badges.

Hope this exploration will help you to improve your in-app UX. The next chapter is for the Breadcrumbs, probably. Stay tuned!

Other chapters: Avatars, Accordions, App bars

Have I missed something? Please, shoot me out at

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