High definition printers combine superior print quality with security to produce sharp and detailed ID cards. The high definition printing process differs from that used by dye sublimation printers. High definition printers do not print an image directly onto an ID card. Instead, HDP printers print images, text, barcodes, and other graphics onto a clear film. A heated roller inside the ID card printer then presses the film to the blank surface of an ID card. The combined heat and pressure fuses the film to the surface of the card.

HDP printers like the Fargo HDP5000 use the high definition printing process to produce ID cards with superb image quality. High definition printing creates ID cards with colors that are sharp and clear. For some types of ID cards, the high-definition printing process produces better results than would be found when using a dye sublimation printer. Printer operators can print on cards that have matte finishes or those with embedded electronics such as smart cards and proximity badges.
The images and data from cards printing with high-definition printers are also much harder to tamper with. Because the images and text on the cards are fused to the surface of the card they cannot be easily duplicated.