After you have designed a new ID card, you’ll need to find the right ribbon type to print it with – but how do you know if you need a YMCKO ribbon, a YMCKOK ribbon, or something else? We help you understand the differences below, and find the right ribbon type for your needs.
How Card Printers Work
ID card printers use colored ribbons to print on plastic cards. These ribbons contain sets of color panels for printing a predetermined about of cards – each time you print a card the heated print head passes over these colored panels to transfer the color to your card and creates your design.
To create a full color design (not monochrome), you will need a YMCK ribbon – this stands for Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, and composite BlacK. Most ribbons also have an Overlay panel.
By combing these colors you can print a full range of colors. Do note that unlike an inkjet printer, you can’t use more or less of a certain color by changing your design – each card you print will use a full set of each panel even if you don’t have any yellow in your design, for example.
When you purchase a ribbon it will say its print yield so you know how many cards you can print with that ribbon.
Learn more about how ID card printers work in the AlphaCard Learning Center.
YMCKO vs. YMCKOK Ribbons
A YMCKO ribbon will print full color with black and an overlay on one side of the card – this is the basic ribbon type for single-sided cards.
A YMCKOK ribbon will print full color with black and an overlay on one side of the card, and monochrome black on the other side – this is the basic ribbon type for dual-sided cards.
Learn more about the different types of ribbons and when to use them in the AlphaCard Learning Center.
How to Choose
How do you know which ribbon type to choose? It depends on your card design!
Choose a YMCKO ribbon if:
- You are printing single-sided, full color cards
- You are printing dual-sided cards and need full color on both sides
Choose a YMCKOK ribbon if:
- You are printing dual-sided cards and only need full color on one side (this is the most common type of dual-sided printing)
Need printer ribbons for your ID card printer? The AlphaCard Supply Finder takes only seconds to find your compatible ribbons!