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ID Card Month: What You Need To Know To Start ID Card Printing

24 May ID Card Month: What You Need To Know To Start ID Card Printing
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ID Card Month: What You Need To Know To Start ID Card Printing

The importance of identity solutions is increasing everyday, and new regulations are being brought into force to increase safeguarding and protect the public from threats. It is necessary to understand how the use of many systems, such as identification, security, access control and more, can benefit your organisation and help you become compliant with new laws. ID Card Centre works with organisations across a range of industries to improve security and safety with identity solutions, and can offer you the perfect guide to ID cards, their features, and access control for safety.

Use of Identity Solutions for Safeguarding

Utilising ID cards is essential for businesses looking to enhance their security measures – not only for the security of your property, but also to reduce the risk of any threats to the people who visit your site. 

Issuing printed ID cards to your staff or visitors can greatly improve the security of your organisation. We strongly advise the use of photo ID, as this prevents ID cards being shared or used by anyone without the correct authority, and can be easily checked for verification. Alongside photo ID, there are a range of security features that can be applied to your design to reduce the risk of forgery.

If you handle sensitive information or large amounts of data, you may look for ways to provide security to those areas. Identity solutions contain a multitude of technologies, ranging from printed ID cards to access control systems, which utilise smart chips and encoding to grant and restrict permission to certain users. By placing readers at entry and exit points and issuing encoded ID cards or fobs to users, you can ensure that the risk of unauthorised access is minimal.

The technology used in access control systems can be used alongside ID cards, either as standalone fobs or embedded into the card itself. Using both of these identity solutions can strengthen your security processes.

ID Card Procurement

Producing ID cards for your organisation is a simple process, no matter how you choose to do it.

Firstly, if you have ongoing requirements for ID cards, you may benefit from investing in an ID card printer and start printing your designs yourself. This has upfront costs and ongoing costs related to the ownership, such as ordering consumables and keeping up with maintenance, but these costs can easily be factored into the price of your security solution and are minimal compared to continuously outsourcing high levels of printing. 

ID card printers offer several different technologies. Direct-to-card (DTC, also known as dye sublimation) is the most common form of ID card printing technology, and is the most cost-effective option. DTC printers are ideal for designs that don't have intricate details, and can print full colour graphics and clear monochrome text.

For a more robust, detailed method, we recommend retransfer printing. These printers have a higher upfront cost but are better for high-volume printing, and are more resistant to wear and tear. They print a colour design onto a clear film, which is then fused onto the surface of the card using heat. This offers over-the-edge printing for full surface coverage.

If your site has regular visitors or contractors, rewrite printers are ideal. These use heat to print black or blue designs onto a special type of card, which can be erased and reused time and time again. You can pre-print these cards with a design, including your logo and any other important information you'd like to add, which makes them ideal for extending your identity solution to one-off visitors and short-term users.

Many models of ID card printer offer optional security features. These can be applied using the printer itself, or with external components such as ribbons and cards. With a lamination unit, you can add UV designs or watermarks that verify the originality of your design and are hard to copy. For a cost-effective option, some ID card printer brands offer hologram or UV ribbons that can be printed during your regular printing process. You can also print onto cards that already feature a hologram.

Most ID card printers also offer encoding, so you can integrate your printed ID cards with your access control system.

If your printing requirements are minimal or irregular, you can outsource your ID cards to a printing service. These services are designed to reduce the strain of printing in-house, and offer a range of options to ensure you get exactly what you need. This includes security features, as well as any other requirements such as hole punches (for lanyards) and encoding.

This method of ID card procurement means that you cannot issue cards instantly, but reduces the upfront cost of a printing system compared to irregular requirements.

The procurement of your ID cards depends on your requirements, how flexible you can be, and the ongoing regularity of your needs, as both in-house and outsourced printing offer high-quality cards.

Essential Equipment for ID Card Printing

ID card printers, also known as ID badge printers, are ideal for use in a range of applications. This is not limited to office environments, as they can be transported between locations and used at events, in retail spaces, for charities, and much more. To ensure you maximise the potential of your ID card printer, there are a range of essential accessories available.

ID Card Printers

ID card printers are designed to instantly issue cards. They feature user-friendly interfaces, making them ideal for users of all capabilities and meaning they require minimal training. If you do require training for operators, there are services that can install your device and train users for efficient and reliable ID card printing.

There are a range of options for you to choose from such as single-sided or dual-sided printing, encoding options, print quality and speed, printing technology (direct-to-card/thermal transfer or retransfer), full colour or monochrome printing, and much more. These features must be considered before purchasing your printer.

The value for money that these printers offer is ideal if you're looking to frequently print cards in minutes. They offer fast, high-security printing processes and are capable of printing your designs hassle-free.

Some of the top printer brands include Evolis, Zebra, Magicard, Datacard, HID, and IDP Smart.

Card Design Software

Printer software is a crucial element to ID card printing. These types of software, from brands such as CardPresso, CardExchange, EasyBadge, Semieta and eMedia, all allow you to create professional looking card designs with ease. They connect to your printer so you can print your templates with the click of a button.

Blank ID Cards

Blank ID cards are the base of your design, and come in various card sizes, materials, and thicknesses. Most ID printers accept CR80 cards, which are standard credit card-sized, but some can print on larger formats. These types of printers are ideal for event passes and ticketing, as you can include more information.

You can also choose cards with many different features such as hole or punches. If you're looking for short-term solutions where standard PVC cards aren't suitable, paperboard cards are ideal. You can also print onto key tag snap cards, ideal for handing out to customers.

Choosing the right cards provide you with an advantage for whatever requirements you may have.

Printer Ribbons

Ensuring you have the correct printer ribbon consumables can reduce costs when it comes to printing your design. There are a range of printer ribbons available, depending on the model of your printer, such as single colour (monochrome), full colour (YMCKO), specialist ribbons (such as signature panel or scratch off) and retransfer films. The most popular type of ribbon is a YMCKO ribbon, which produces full colour prints whilst increasing the durability of your cards due to the additional protective overlay. 

There are also different types of ribbon for single sided and double sided printing, offering superior print quality and value for money.

Printer Accessories

Maintaining the cleanliness of your printer is key to prolonging its lifespan and ensuring it continues producing high-quality prints. Cleaning kits are specifically designed for removing dust and debris from the inner workings of your ID card printer, and are available in cards, swabs, and pens that are soaked in isopropyl alcohol to ensure they clean exactly as intended.

ID Printer Bundles

If you are looking for an out of the box solution to make your printing process as easy as possible, you may benefit from purchasing an ID card printer bundle. These typically include everything you need to get started, including a printer, a ribbon, cleaning supplies, cards, and software, making them easy to use and boosting your printing capabilities instantly.

What Information to Include on Your Designs 

Printed ID cards offer flexibility in that you can create unique designs specifically tailored to your needs. You can add text, branding, photo ID, barcodes, sponsorship logos, and much more. 

Having a dedicated ID card design can allow for safeguarding measures such as colour-coded groups of people, visible display of positions and job roles, area permissions, and more. This will allow you to see at a glance if people are authorised to be on-site.

Security Features

ID cards can possess both physical and technological features that enhance security.

To add physical security features to your card, you can incorporate a guilloche or microtext. These features are typically seen on highly secure government identity documents such as driving licences and passports, and are incredibly difficult to replicate due to their minuscule details. 

You can also add holographic patches or watermarks which appear different in varying light sources, meaning their exact details cannot be reproduced. On the other hand, UV watermarks can only be fully revealed under a blacklight, so forgery is almost impossible as these elements cannot be scanned.

Implementing encoding features onto a plastic card is easy, as many types of access cards are ready to be encoded. These contain a magnetic stripe or smart cards with contactless capabilities, and can be activated using an encoding module on a printer or a dedicated reader that is connected to a computer. Choosing the best advanced security feature depends on your requirements.

Choosing the Right Supplier

ID cards and associated solutions are an important, yet often undervalued element to your organisation. Working with the correct supplier who understands your needs and can offer cost-effective solutions is key to ensuring your safeguarding is both efficient and impactful.

ID Card Centre has offered advice and services to organisations in industries ranging from education and healthcare to local government and Ministry of Defence. Our broad understanding of safeguarding solutions means that we understand the needs of all businesses and establishments, and can easily work alongside them to find the ideal solution for the right price.

We can help you find the perfect ID card printer or recommend other methods of security, depending on your requirements.

For more information on how we can help you, please contact us. Our expert team will be more than happy to help.