With the need for heightened security at many business locations and special events, I often get questions about identification badges and how to produce them using the latest plastic card printing techniques. With that in mind, I have put together this Q&A list that you can refer to when ordering personalized name badges of any sort.
What’s the difference between ID cards and identification badges?
For the most part, the difference between the terms “ID card” and “identification badge” (or an ID badge) is simply semantics. However, there is one key difference. Plastic ID cards usually end up in a person’s wallet or purse, while people normally wear badges in some highly visible location. So, if you want to order identification badges, they normally will require a slot punch.
Can a plastic card printer personalize my identification badges?
Yes, a printer certainly can. There are two ways to handle the printing of custom company or employee name badges. The first is the bulk process, which means personalization is completed at the time of manufacturing. You would need to send a single data file containing all pertinent information.
The second way is through an order fulfillment process, which is done on an as-needed or scheduled basis. A printer creates “blanks” or “shells.” Then, when someone loses their badge or you hire a new employee, you send the printer the necessary data for completing those specific cards.
Which type of printing is best for identification badges?
If you are printing badges in bulk, they can be done DOD, or drop on demand. DOD is the latest iteration of ink jet technology and is just below the quality of thermal printing. However, thermal printing cannot be done as fast as DOD. Thermal printing lends itself best to order fulfillment set-ups (i.e. print shells in advance and order as needed).
Can you add a photo when printing identification badges?
Yes, theoretically, a printer can. However, it can only be done with thermal printing.
What are the benefits of having a printer handle the personalization of badges?
If you need to have a large quantity of identification badges printed at once – or would prefer not to invest in printing equipment and supplies for an on-site operation – then allowing a printer to take care of all or specific aspects of your employee badge printing will benefit you and your company.
What kind of security features are best for identification badges?
The security system you are using, as well as how secure you need the badge to be, will dictate what features you will want.
Many plastic name badges must be swiped or scanned. If that is the case, you will need barcoding, magnetic strips and/or smart card technology. However, holographic overlay films, which are very difficult to forge or copy, and special UV inks provide an additional level of security without the expense of new systems. Both are very visible identification options you can add.