The Complete ID
Printer Buyer's Guide

This guide walks you through all the important considerations you'll need to know when selecting an ID card printer.

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Sample ID Card Designs

Sample ID Card Designs

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ID cards are the blank canvas for an ID card system, but with a wide variety of ID cards available it can be hard knowing where to start. Several text fields included on most ID cards include company name, cardholder name, member number, or job title.

If you have all the information but need some inspiration, our sample ID card designs below will show common card features and layouts. If you’re ready to start designing your cards, check out our free ID card template gallery.

Photo ID Cards

Identification is one of the most common uses for ID cards. Including a photo of the card holders helps people easily identify them and their relationship to the organization. If you’re including photos in your card design, try to take every photo with the same backdrop to ensure the cards are uniform.


Dual-sided Cards

ID card printers come in two styles: single-sided or dual-sided. Dual-sided printers allow you to print on both the front and back of the card, giving you more room to design. Dual-sided printers need special ribbons, called YMCKOK, which include an extra panel for printing monochrome black on the back of the card. If you do not have a dual-sided printer but need to print dual-sided cards, you can print them on a single-sided printer by running the cards through twice, to print the front and back designs separately.


Cards with Barcodes

Barcodes are commonly used to store cardholder data, and are popular with membership programs and library cards. If you have a dual-sided printer the barcode can be printed on either the front or the back of the card. Placing the barcode on the back gives you more room for logos, cardholder photos, and any cardholder information you may need to display on the front. Most ID card software can design standard 1D barcodes using only horizontal black lines and numbers, although many design software programs can also encode 2D barcodes which include both horizontal and vertical lines in a square grid, commonly called QR codes.


Cards with Magnetic Stripes

Magnetic stripe encoding is a multifunctional card technology used in a range of industries including cashless payment and access control. The magnetic strip is always on the back of the card, allowing you to design the front of the card to show all necessary cardholder information. You will need a special Magnetic Strip Encoding ID Card Printer and magnetic stripe cards to design and encode these cards. If you are on a budget, barcodes can often hold the same data as a magnetic stripe and does not require a special printer and cards.


Cards with Holograms

Visual security features make it easy to recognize authentic cards and can be included in your card design multiple ways. Magicard printers offer four different Holokote designs, while laminating printers can use a holographic overlaminate. There are also self-adhesive hologram stickers you manually apply to the card after printing.


See All Card Templates Designs