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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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Design Options

Design Options

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When it comes to design elements that increase visual security, there are three types of features you may choose to include:

  • Overt – Features that are easily visible to the human eye so the card is easy to authenticate such as cardholder photos and signatures, or official government seals.
  • Covert – These features require some additional equipment to become visible, such as a black light to see UV printing that would otherwise be invisible.
  • Forensic – Microscopic (not visible to the human eye) features which require additional equipment to see, making them hardest to counterfeit or tamper.

An additional layer of security includes adding design elements only know to the card designer, printer or issuer, and security personnel who authorize the cards. These secret design elements can be used to identify fake cards since they may be overlooked by counterfeiters.

Visually Secure Cards Are Best For:

  • Businesses & Buildings Which Only Allow Authorized Visitors
  • Official Government Programs
  • Limiting Access to Restricted Areas

Common Visual Security Options

When it comes to the design options you can include on your cards, there are many to choose from:

  • Cardholder photos & signatures
  • Standard, custom, or embedded holograms
  • Magicard Holokote
  • Fluorescent printing
  • Infrared printing
  • Micro-text
  • Optical variable printing
  • Opacity printing
  • Ghosting
  • Thermochromic printing
  • Official seals

Visual Security Considerations

Whether you’re just setting up your card program, looking to design new cards with current equipment, or upgrading your system, there are some questions you should security questions you should consider:

  • How many cards do we need to print? If you have to print thousands of cards, does the slower print speed of some features, like lamination, matter to you?
  • Will you want to design multiple templates for different types of cardholders? Some organizations, such as schools, have different designs for students, full-time teachers, substitute teachers, employees, contractors, and visitors.
  • Will you need to update your cardholder policies when you introduce new visual security measures? This could include requiring all ID cards to be visible while in the building, so you also need to think about how those cards will be displayed.
  • How will you authenticate the cards? If you use security features such as fluorescent or micro-printing in your design, your card check stations will need new equipment and training.