A quality badge can brand companies or events, boost morale, and help companies drive sales. Don’t settle for bland, black and white ID badges until you review these tips for printing quality badges.
You can either outsource or get your own badge printer, which will range in quality according to your budget. A basic ID badge printer will save money, but will be limited both in options and productivity. Pricier, top-end badge printers will be high-volume machines with quality printing and additional features like lamination, security, and 2-sided printing. If your needs are more modest, try something in the mid-range that has only the specific features you need.
The typical badge maker used in Canada is either DTC (direct-to-card) or reverse transfer technologies.
This is a form of direct printing which allows for fairly good image and text quality at 300 dpi. They are more popular and generally more affordable, but not true edge-to-edge printers and may need adjustment.
This is a higher quality two-step method that allows information to be created mirror-fashion and then transferred to the badge. It allows for higher volume and much better image and color quality, so the price range is higher.
Depending on the length of time the badge is expected to last, you may or may not need lamination. It does help the card last longer and can allow more advanced features like holographic images that are harder to counterfeit. However, if the badges you’re creating are for temporary use, such as event name tags, it’s probably not worth the time and expense of lamination.
More Canadian organizations need security features, so you should go with PVC stock and a magnetic stripe encoder. Most newer, better printers have this as an option. If you’re planning to create a secure ID badge at some point, it might be better to start with one that’s magnetic-stripe capable as cheaper printers without this feature are rarely upgradable.
What extras will be needed?
Most ID printers use a special ribbon rather than a cartridge, so you’ll want to have a spare. The typical card stock is PVC, but you can buy blended stocks that are partly polyester so that they won’t warp when exposed to heat or sun. A printer cleaning kit would be helpful. While most printers accept designs from standard file types like PDF or Word, you can also get badge-design software with extra features.
If you really want to make your ID card stand out, you might want to consider other features like foil stamping, die-cutting to specific shapes, special heavy card stocks, and lanyards or clips for attaching badges to clothing.