How to Design an ID Card

Written by Andy Glibert
11 · 20 · 19
How to Design an ID Card

ID Card

Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

Identity cards are the easiest way to increase the safety and time efficiency of your company. Once you’ve wisely secured yourself a quality ID printer and the right plastic cards for you, the time comes to start designing! You’ll need to purchase ID printing software, and from there it all comes down to you. ID card design is unfortunately not as easy as it used to be, so a few measures need to be taken in order to create the best, safest cards possible.

Determine orientation

Decide whether your cards are going to be landscape or portrait first. Switching it after completing an entire design is a massive headache, so save yourself the trouble early on. Portrait cards are great for staffed security systems whereas landscape is usually better for cards that have to be swiped, tapped or read by a reader.

Play around with photo placement

An identity photo sets the tone for the entire design and takes up an awful lot of space, so try to decide where it’s going to be before you introduce other more complicated elements. Against the left or right edge is most common for landscape cards, whilst the top or the bottom centre is best for portrait styles.

Avoid solid colours

Solid, block colours or plain white backgrounds are just too easy to manipulate and duplicate with today’s advanced technology. Avoid security breaches by using a varied gradient or pattern for your design’s background.

Stick to light tones

Try and stick to lighter colours that aren’t white. Dark colours naturally use up more heat and, if your printer uses it, ink. Lighter tones are more cost-effective and faster to produce.

Take photos carefully

Be sure that the photographs you’re taking for your IDs are well lit, properly positioned and high quality. Poor grade photographs make cards easier to duplicate and look less professional, so this one is very important.

Watch out for pixelation

Whether you’re adding a background image, pattern, identity photo or logo, you should be very cautious about pixelation. An identity card can be absolutely ruined by chunky pixels. Only use high-quality images to avoid them at all costs.

Keep your logo

Making your identity cards more unique will make them safer, so take every opportunity that you have! Adding your company logo makes your cards completely custom to your business, so it’s highly valuable for safety and for a little free advertising when your employees are out and about with their IDs on display.

Be sure to factor in your desired technologies

Not all identity cards are made equal, some are Identity people MIFARE cards, some require a signed back, barcodes, magnetic strips, embedded microchips, holographs – the list goes on! Make sure that you’re not forgetting about any additional safety features during the design process, otherwise, you risk compromising your company’s security and the whole design.

Test the quality and function of your design

Once you’ve mocked up a few options, make sure you test them out the reader! A beautifully designed card is all well and good, but if it doesn’t function properly and if it’s not easy to use, it’s basically a waste of time. Save yourself time and stress by testing out card options as you go, the entire building will thank you for it!

By following these tips, your company identity cards will be flawlessly printing and in use in absolutely no time.


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Andy Glibert