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Published on June 26, 2024

The Ultimate Guide For Businesses To Print Plastic ID Cards (5 Tips)

Plastic ID cards are superior than paper or cardboard ones for many reasons. They last longer in being durable, especially with daily wear and tear, and they give a professional appearance that improves the perception of a business.

However, getting good printing results on plastic ID cards is not easy. There are several factors that a business should be aware of when deciding to print themselves. This article will explain five tips for getting good plastic ID card printing results for self-printing with professional ID card printers. 

By implementing these strategies, businesses can enhance the durability, aesthetics, and professionalism of their plastic ID cards. 

1. Start with Quality Card Stock

The base material for a fine plastic ID card is card stock. If a business wants to stand out, it makes sense to choose quality card stock. 

Generally, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) cards are acceptable and have smooth and clean surfaces. This will also help printers make correct prints, as there won’t be any surface contamination or errors interfering with the final outcome.


Image: PPC ID Card Solutions

2. Mind the Colours

The colours on a computer screen might not exactly match the cards’ printed colours. This is because monitors show slightly different shades due to their settings, resolution, colour density, and surrounding light conditions. Another reason is that batches of dye film could have variations, causing colour differences. 

To solve this issue, calibrate the printer’s settings, like print head power or brightness levels, to correspond with the design on the screen and its print outcome. To have completely confidence, use reliable ID card printers and do a test card before you commit to a large batch print.

3. Proper Storage Matters

The way a business stores its card stock affects the print quality. If the cards are PVC, they should be stored in a clean and dust-free place after being opened. Any dirt, tampering, or dents on the card can ruin the design and deteriorate the print quality. 

The best choice is to put these cards inside a Ziploc bag or airtight plastic container, as this prevents lint or dust from settling on the card’s surface and potentially spoiling its print. Choose a dark place to store it so that any potential sun damage overtime doesn’t occur (in the case of storing them near windows).

4. Choose the Right Card Printer

The quality of an ID card also heavily depends on the printer business uses. 

For instance, a regular direct-to-card dye-sublimation printer might be enough for making simple magnetic stripe cards or basic ID printing. But if you need embedded electronic technology (say, RFID) or crystal clear images, think about getting a reverse transfer printer to handle these needs better.

5. Test Before Large-Scale Production

This is a no-brainer but easy to miss: test before you launch a large-scale production. A business should test a printer and designs properly before starting a big print run. By doing this, they can avoid issues like the design not fitting properly on the card.

Use high-definition images and be sure to do a functional test to ensure data is read accurately at all checkpoints and the ID card is working as it should.

Sum Up: What a Business Needs to Know About Printing ID Cards

By following the above suggestions, businesses ensure they print high-quality plastic ID cards that look appealing, and above all, function perfectly.

Whether the purpose is to print employee badges, membership cards, or photo IDs, following these tips and using the correct printing devices will help you get the best quality of your cards for the long-haul.


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