Photo ID Design Center
Specifications and Guide
ID Badge Print Technology:
eXpress badging uses the same badge printer technology that you would use if you invested in printing your own badges. The technology used is called dye-sublimation and is very different from standard forms printing processes. If you are designing ID badges for your organization, you should be aware there that are do's and don'ts that you should factor into your ID design. eXpress badging will do all of the design work for you with this understanding in mind, and below is our process.
Slight imperfections due to the dye-sublimation printing process are acceptable. Dye-sublimation PVC card printing and lamination cannot produce blemish-free print and lamination 100% of the time. A degree of imperfection is acceptable regarding quality control imperfections that do not affect the appearance from a distance. Examples include fine debris and lint particles trapped under the print film and laminate that are not in the photo, text or logos. The white shade of the PVC card stock can vary over time and by technology types.
Colors shown on a computer screen or printed from your printer may not be an accurate representation of the final printed color. The color of the final product may vary from RGB, CMYK, or PMS numbers provided because of the heat that may be used to produce the final ID card/badge and variations in industry standards using PVC dye-sublimation printing processes. Refer to our Color Matching section below for additional information. A plus/minus graphic/text movement tolerance of .063” is acceptable during printing/production. .
We create merge templates from your source artwork and badge data elements. Then you just provide enter/import some data and upload/capture photos that are merged with the design during the print process. Those that have spent the extra time to create individual badges complete with photo names and design that are ready to print; please review our FILE to PRINT option below.
ID Card Material:eXpress badging prints on PVC card stock material for photo ID badges. The white opacity of cardstock will vary between "standard" 100% PVC and "composite" 60% PVC and 40% polyester blended cards. Over periods of extended time, the white contrast of PVC cards cannot be guaranteed due to variation in the card manufacturing processes and material used.
We do have other material options for special projects and oversize cards that are considered custom.
- Technology Cards: RFID, Magnetic Stripes and Barcodes
- Lamination for added durability and fade protection
- Adhesive Stock
- Tri-modal Security Seals
- UV Inks
- Foil Stamping
Artwork:To begin creation of your badge design, we request existing artwork for your logo, service marks, photo images, trademarks, company colors. etc. Let us help you understand what is needed below for best practices in ID badge printing.
Just the Graphic Please:
We require the static graphic file for import into our system's badge template. You can supply additional sample files with text and photo illustrations, but the final graphic/s must not include variable text and/or photos unless it is a layered PSD or EPS Microsoft Windows file format.
Source artwork is preferred. Reach out to your marketing department for starters as they should have everything needed to correctly reproduce your brand imagery.
- Best results are from scalable vector art formats like EPS and PSD files.
- Ask for the layered file if you are submitting the entire badge design.
- Other files we accept are JPG, PNG, PSD, TIFF, and BMP.
- The ideal resolution for graphics is 300 dots-per-inch (DPI) RGB format
- Graphic dimensions should be the exact size to be printed
- Standard badge size is 3.375” x 2.125” (3-3/8” x 2-1/8”).
Color Matching:Regarding your company’s colors — we will try to get as close as technically possible; however, we cannot match to exact Pantone Matching System (PMS) numbers. Colors will vary depending on the various printers used to print; so there will be color variations over the years as printer technology change and when printers are upgraded. Teal and Burgundy are two colors that are very difficult to get close and may require additional costs in order to match closely.
For organizations that demand color matching to a close tolerance throughout the ID badge production life cycle, custom printed stock must be pre-ordered (20 business day lead time/additional cost) in which PMS matching is the norm.
Full Bleeds and Color Backgrounds:Direct to Card PVC badge printers do not print over the card edges, which are the standard printers used if you were to print in-house, and the primary technology we use in our production department. A very thin white line-boarder may appear on some edges that "bleed" over. We suggest placing a .05" margin border around images that print to the edge for best results.
eXpress badging does have a line of High Definition printers for projects that require edge to edge printing and higher resolution graphics. In this case, your badge design files must account for the bleed .125" on each "bleed" site.
Multiple Designs and Color Coding: If you have more than one badge design, or using color coding, you'll need to provide a cross-reference stating what data field(s) is being used (badge type, department,...) to select the design or color that is assigned to each for example: in the "badge type" field employee=blue, contractor=yellow, temporary=red...).
Fonts:We use standard Arial as our default font. We provide a limited selection of other fonts you can choose from but suggest sticking with Arial.
If you require a specific font please provide name and formatting information. Additional costs will be charged for the font usage as well as a higher per badge price if we cannot find a "hosted" font version requiring us to print your badges using software-driven tools.
Font Attributes:As a rule, all merge field fonts (first, last, title, department...) are set to auto-reduce allowing a very long name to print without truncation. If you require static font sizes regardless of the character length, you'll have to know your maximum character length prior to truncation, then publish your badge data accordingly. Your badges will be printed "as is"; truncated or not, and reprinted at your cost if required.
Photos:The industry standard size for a photo is 1" x 1.25". You can select other sizes; however, be careful if you do, your decision can affect previously captured photos and how they render if you change the size attributes.
We suggest that you do not use square photos based on the fact the most faces are taller than they are wide. In most cases, photos should be cropped full face with very little backdrop showing. We do not recommend using a backdrop as color coding for this reason. We suggest color bars and thick borders for effective color codes that are easily identified.
PHOTO CAPTURING TIPS
Badge Orientation:Your badge orientation can affect the success of your ID badge initiative. Please read the linked article on To Design MY Badge Vertically or Horizontally?
Backside Printing:As a default, badges are printed in black only on the back. No grayscale options, as they will appear pixelated. Provide your backside text information in an MS Word or text file. We can print in color on the back, but make sure you have upgraded your project to include color back printing as it does increase cost. If you do not have anything printed on the back of your badge, you should ask your team this one question: The back of our badge is like a billboard on a busy highway and it will get looked at many times delivering no message; so what message would make this valuable real-estate to our organization? If you end up with nothing, then blank it is.
Slot Punch:Most badges are slot punched for use with a badge holder (clip, lanyard or reel). Make sure if you are designing the badge, to account for the slot location. The standard offset is .25' to the bottom of the slot, centered on top edge. Standard slot width is .5' to .625". Standard slot height is .125". CLICK HERE to see our badge holder options.
Design Templates and Proofing:eXpress badging will import your logos and create your badge template for printing based on the template and design setup you selected and signed-off on.
Basic Template Design customers, your proof is the selected design template on our website. You'll be provided a preview of a virtual ID. Basic Templates are designed for those who not require design control and no to minor edits.
Basic Template Edits If you require any edits to the template they must be submitted at the time of your file drop submission; otherwise, a design change fee will be charged ($25.00). Your only edits are font type, font and photo border color, and font size: be specific. Take the time now and determine how you want the design to look. Copy the template (Print Screen), paste and edit in MS Paint and type out all edits. Save in a .JPG format and provide the file with your file drop. We do not provide a formal proof for approval other than a URL preview. More than one edit with preview will require a $25.00 design change fee per occurrence. If you have specific design requirements, you’ll need to upgrade to our Standard Design service ($40.00 adl.) where we provide more design options and edits along with a digital proof for sign off.
Standard Template and Custom Design badge customers, we print an actual ID badge and provide a scanned image proof for approval and sign-off. This is an actual representation of your finished badge. Printed samples can be mailed upon request. Your approved proof approval must be received before ID badges can be printed.
Click on an image below to see the virtual badge.
FILE to PRINT:For customers wishing to provide a completed graphic design for each of their ID badges, we offer our FILE to PRINT service. Please be advised that we make no edits to customer files. Files will be printed exactly as sent.
To avoid receiving a poor quality print, be sure to follow the steps below.
Please be advised that providing finished files to print is not a conventional process to print photo ID badges. We suggest that you use our design merge template process where you provide the badge design background file without the photo and data or use one of our templates, and we import the data and photo merge elements for printing. Then, you only provide a spreadsheet and data or use our Portal to enter upload and preview each badge prior to submitting for print. This results in a higher quality print results and is easier to manage.
FILE to PRINT File Requirements:
- Files must be sized to 3.475” x 2.225” for a horizontal badge or 2.225” x 3.475” for a vertical badge.
- Be sure to leave room for slots at the top of your badge; front and back sides (if applicable).
- Do not include slot location marks or border edges lines.
- Provided images should have square corners if bleeding off the edge.
- Templates for use when laying out your badges are available upon request.
- Please send Individual JPG files only.
- No PDF, EPS, AI or PSD files will be accepted.
- Files should have a resolution of 300dpi. Lower resolution files will not print clearly.
- Files must be in RGB Color.
- Fonts within graphic elements that are below 6 Point will not print clearly.
ID Badge Technology Testing:In addition to the design and proof process, eXpress badging requires technology testing and sign-off for any cards used in a badge reader system. This ensures that the ID badges eXpress badging produces will work in all of your systems.
Sample test cards are provided based on customer provided specifications. Test cards must be enrolled in each system used; then transactions generated for each test card provided. We recommend printing a transaction report in each badge reader system to document successful ID badge enrollment and transaction generation (badge works in the reader). Does the badge open the door, record a time punch, record a tracking transaction, and then record the transaction in the system using the unique badge ID number and person assigned to it?
Testing Guidelines: Testing starts by defining all badge reader systems being used. Provide the manufacturer's name, the supporting integrator/dealer information and point of contact for each system used. Take a photo of your RFID card box label and/or back of the card and email to your sales representative.
- Time and Attendance
- Access Control
- Tracking Systems
- Point of Sale
Once you know all the systems in use, you need to document the reader type and specifications of each technology used: RFID Proximity (125kHz), RFID Contactless (13.56 MHz), barcodes, and magnetic stripes.
Providing Artwork Files:We have several methods for providing artwork.
- Use our File Drop page FOUND HERE
- Files should be emailed to your sales representative or customer service manager if they are a file size you can email, and you should not exceed 10MEG.
- We can set up a secure ShareFile Account for those with artwork files over 10MEG. We will email log-in credentials upon engagement.
- We can pull them down from your FTP site.
- Proofs will be created for review and approval before processing.