The Design of Inauguration Tickets

By Kevin on January 16, 2009 in Uncategorized

I just picked up my two tickets to the Obama Inauguration next week. You know, the one’s that are supposedly fetching $20,000 each according to CNN. I was was wondering what they would look like.

They’re printed on very heavy card stock, have an embossed seal, and the back has some kind of blue shiny strip all of which are designed to prevent counterfeiting I’m sure. Good, basic usability showing and telling me that I’m in the “Purple” section. And that I must “Enter Purple Gate”. The color-gate system has to be key to moving 250,000 people in and out in some orderly fashion. There are also yellow, orange and blue gates.

The back of the card shows a map of the Capitol grounds and the blue plastic strip I mentioned. I’ve decided not to scan and post the back–don’t want to facilitate some idiot from printing both sides out and trying to use it to get in.

But what surprises me is what’s missing. Nowhere are the words “President” or “Obama” or even “United States”. That seems odd.

So to all my design and usability-geek friends out there, what are your observations about this ticket? How would you change it? Anyone want to mock up an improved version?


Kevin Kruse is a NY Times bestselling author and keynote speaker. Get more success and tips from his newsletter at and check out keynote video clips. His new book, Employee Engagement 2.0, teaches managers how to turn apathetic groups into emotionally committed teams.

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