How to Choose and Use an ID Card Printer


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ID card printer capabilities can encompass high-resolution graphics and reliable barcodes, plus covert features printed at the time of issue.

What do you look for in a system? Should the ID badging system stand alone or be part of a larger system for access control, time-and-attendance and visitor badging?

The difference between success and failure in choosing an ID badging system lies with the printer. And it's important to understand how many badges you produce annually, weekly and daily before choosing one. Here are some tips from All Id:


  1. Have multiple badge printers for large events or any time you need to print a large batch of cards in a short time (e.g. thousands in a few days). You could even rent them for the duration of an event.

  2. Plan for errors and buy 105 percent to 110 percent of what you think you need will need for immediate use, because cards will have errors (they can be put into the card printer incorrectly or can include the wrong information printed).

  3. Buy your supplies in advance so that you have them when you need them especially on the initial purchase. Because of the types of dye film that can be used, many vendors do not include film with the printer.

  4. Follow the manufacturers instructions regarding cleaning the printer.

  5. Know your printer warranty and who to call for support and returns.

  6. If you plan to create the card background and layout, use inexpensive PVC ( blank cards ) for your initial prototypes, as it will save you money over using your real cards for experimenting.

  7. Ensure that your photos are clear and as large as possible to make identification easier.

  8. Use bright colors (on borders and fonts) to code and easily distinguish higher risk user groups (e.g. temporary cards, visitor badges or contractors).

  9. Print on the other side. The back side of a photo badge is often left blank and could be used for important information such as emergency procedures and contact numbers. Always print expiry dates directly on temporary cards to easily identify individuals that should no longer be on premises.

  10. Do not print company logos on access control cards in the event of a lost or stolen card.

  11. Reduce the white space on the card to prevent fraud.

  12. Have a large amount of consumables available, such as card holders and lanyards.

  13. Add lamination after printing to prevent someone from removing data on the card.

  14. Don't just print to the card surface, laser engrave your images and data.


To prevent ID card fraud, it's best to add layer after layer of complexity to the card surface, which includes laser engraving images and data to the card, reducing the white space and adding lamination after printing to prevent data from being removed.

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