Choosing a card printing system

Card personalisation systems come in all shapes and sizes and can be tailored to suit your exact requirements. While the choice can seem daunting, in fact, there are only four key elements to select. Simply follow the steps below to discover just how easy choosing a card printer system can be.

To make it easier, we offer a range of “out-of-the-box” ID card/badge printing systems that includes everything you will need to start designing and printing your own cards – these offer a great saving over putting a kit together yourselves and will include the very latest models of card printers.  The kit will typically include a:

  • Card printer (single/duplex/dye-sublimation/retransfer/rewritable)
  • ID card design, print and encoding software
  • A high resolution webcam
  • Colour printing ribbon and plain PVC cards for printing 250 or 500 cards in colour one side.
  • User manuals, quick start instructions and cables.

If you want to put together your own system, then here are the main elements that you will need to consider.


Step 1 – choose the software

dataimage software  dataimage software  dataimage software  dataimage software

Even though you can create a card design in programs like Microsoft Word, it’s much easier to use a specialist software that allows you to capture a photo and other data and store this within a database (such as Microsoft Access, SQ, Oracle etc). We offer both our own software (Dataimage) as well as other similar products such as ID Works™ and TruCredential™ from Datacard. Many printers come with a basic software.  Dataimage is available in various versions including a Visitor version which is ideal for tracking your guests in and out of your building.  With Dataimage PRO, you can connect to your own database and use our software as a front end.  It enables you to design, print and encode cards quickly and easily.


Step 2 – choose the input device

input device  input device  input device  input device  input device

An input device is needed to capture the image of the person. This can range from low-cost web cams through to high-resolution digital cameras for live, mobile capture. A passport photo / flatbed scanner or even a combination of these types can also be used.  You may also want to include an input capture device for a signature, fingerprint or document such as an ID card, driving licenses or passport.


Step 3 – choose the printer

printer  printer  printer  printer

Once the card data has been assembled, it needs to be printed. The software will allow you to design and place the various components (photo, name, department, other graphics, QR and Barcodes onto the card background where you need it). Then we just need to print the card (or label, or paper insert).

Card printers print directly to plastic cards, while other printers, like inkjet or laser, will print to paper or special plastics, for visitor or temporary passes. Depending on the printer you chose, they can also offer secure printing option such a microtext (Matica 8600), UV print (Matica, Datacard, Fargo) and holographic over-laminates (which are a\dd to the card by lamination after the printing process).


Step 4 – choose the cards (or other media)

card choice

It’s important that you chose a card that will meet your needs, both in terms of durability and also security.  When card printers were introduced onto the market, it also allowed cards to be printed easily and not always legally.  This has resulted in a need for more “in-built” card security.  As a manufacture, Databac can include various secure elements onto a card before you print to it such as security background designs (guilloche), special UV images, thermo-reactive inks, OVD’s and even hot stamp holograms.  All of these things can protect your card from being copied.

For the durability side, a great variety of materials exist to create cards. Plastics range from economical PVC to superior-grade ABS, long-life polyester (PET) and also polycarbonate (PC). Depending on what you are printing, we can provide a range of cards, labels, tickets, paper inserts [- all pre-printed with your own design and including various security elements to help keep them secure.