Building your ID Cards in 6 Steps

Building your ID Cards in 6 Steps

Getting started on building your photo ID cards can be a complicated process without the right advice. There are a lot of different factors to consider and it can seem a little overwhelming.

In this week’s article we hope to shed a little light on some recommended steps and processes that can help make the production of Photo ID an easy affair. 


Step 1: What is the purpose of my ID card?

  • Always start from the end-use point of view and work your way back to the card itself.  
  • How will the card be used in the real world?  Cards can have a plethora of uses.
  • Will this be an ID card to be worn, or is a wallet ID card?  
  • How many times a day will it be used, and what systems use it?
  • Is it for photo verification only, or will a reader authenticate the card?
  • How often will the card be exposed to the elements of sunshine and/or temperature extremes?  
  • How important is it that the card never be copied?


Step 2: Include all the Stakeholders

As with most projects, it takes some pre-planning to see everything come to a successful completion. With any identification program, you’re going to want to get the advice of your management team and any marketing and graphic designers you have, in order to decide on how you want your ID Cards to be presented. It is important to consider all the stakeholders involved in the ID program, and get their input early on.    Your IT department will need to be included from the start to ensure proper information handling procedures are carried out, and adhere to your internal company policies on privacy of information.  As well, once your program is in place, the IT department will carry the majority of responsibility for maintaining it, and responding to any technical issues you may have.

The last thing you want to do is surprise a group in your organization with the card, and then encounter resistance to adoption.  You would be surprised how many other divisions of a company or organization use the card for purposes that you had never considered.  Knowing who is using the card, and for what purpose, will reduce problems that occur when you make a change to the design or functionality.


Step 3: Designing the Card

Sketch and plan out a rough draft of your card, accommodating all your security features, photo placement, and text. Remember, depending on what printer you run with, you can print cards single-sided or double-sided – so you may want to design two sides for your card. After you have everything planned out, get a designer to create some artwork of your new card’s look and feel.

Contact us, and we will email you a link to a template for the standard CR80 PVC Card (3.375” x 2.25”). You can provide this to your design team to get started with the right specifications. We recommend that everything is done in 300DPI resolution for the best quality reproduction and saved as an Illustrator File (.AI) or Photoshop File (.PSD). Keep considerations in mind that you may want to have the artwork run right to the edge of the card, or leave a little white space along the border of the card for cheaper costs per card.


Step 4: Incorporating Security Features

If you have any security divisions within your organization, you may want to get them involved in the initial discussion to explore some of the advanced security features that you can include in a photo ID card.

Here are some examples of security features that could be included:

  • Watermarks,
  • Holographic Foil
  • Smartcard Technology (contactless card for access control or payment services)
  • Large Photo size (enhances visual recognition)
  • Barcodes and QR codes
  • Magnetic Stripe Encoding

Remember that your photo ID card can be used for more than just visual recognition. It can be tied in to many other systems within your organization with the right foresight and planning.


Step 5: Data Capture & Production

The capture and secure storage of the information you are printing needs to go smoothly.  It is the one point in your program where the end users will interface with your system, and the process will reflect on your department.  A well run data capture program enhances your departments image within the organization, and gives an air of professionalism.  Adoption of Identity cards will be easier if your employees are confident their personal information is being handled in a secure and professional manner.  

A typical data capture system consists of a PC, photo ID software linked to a network database, and a high definition camera.  Placing this equipment in the right place, or designing a mobile capture system, will alleviate the inevitable pressure that comes from lineups!

Are you planning on printing a limited run of ID cards, or are you planning on making your production an on-going, high volume run? Depending on your needs, you may want to either get someone else to print the cards for you, or buy and establish a photo ID system to get your production running in-house.

If you want to have a print centre take care of your work and help you with all of your production needs, check out what E-CARD can do for you.


Step 6: Distribution

An often-overlooked step in the entire process is a proper consideration of how you will get the cards into your employees hands.  Will they get it mailed to them, or will they pick it?  If you have thousands of cards to hand out, do you have the proper crowd control processes in place to mitigate frustration? 

If you are issuing electronic access cards, you may want to incorporate a method to activate the card ONLY after it has been delivered to the right person.

All of these factors, and many more, are important to consider before implementing a Photo ID program.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.