The purpose of a lanyard is to hold an id card as well as other small objects around one's neck thus leaving the hands free.
This type of lanyard is also commonly referred to as a neck lanyard (pictured left). The two most important lanyard parts are the material and hardware. Lanyard Materials range from cord to 1" wide cotton to nylon.
A variety of Lanyard Hardware is available from J-Hooks and bull dog clips to o-rings. The most basic style of neck lanyard is a cord formed into two loops, large loop for around the neck and a smaller loop at the bottom for the lanyard hardware.
Neck lanyards for holding name badges or id cards are routinely used in the the workplace. Safety concerns dictate neck lanyards to be offered with a breakaway connector. This allows the lanyard to be released from the neck in the event it gets caught or snagged.
Custom imprinted lanyards with a name, logo or message are routinely used for schools, businesses, sporting events, armed forces, tradeshows and conventions, product and brand promotions, as well as fundraising events, family and class reunions, religious retreats and more. A variety of lanyard Imprinting Methods exist.
Other small objects have also proven to be more useful and accessible when worn around the neck includingkeys, pens, plastic water bottles, whistles, cell phones, mp3 players, lip balm, small tools etc. See the section Manufacturing Styles for a detailed description of these styles and more.
More recently, lanyards have moved into the fashion arena mostly among young people. You can see them worn as keychains around necks as well as dangling from a pants pocket. These are typically college and theme lanyards custom imprinted with a college, popular brand name, or generic design. Some of the more popular themes can be found in the section Theme Lanyards.