Printing your own visitor badges: three questions to ask yourself before you start.
Although its use is generally temporary – from several hours to a few days – the visitor badge is nonetheless indispensable. Its use is becoming increasingly widespread in all establishments that need a system to identify people, such as companies, government offices, and schools.
And for good reason: the visitor badge provides an essential first layer of security, allowing people to be identified who are not part of the organization and ensuring that their visits are traceable. It is also a more attractive way to welcome your visitors and is therefore of interest for your brand image. Issuing your own access control badges has many advantages.
So how do you choose the right type of card? Which method of issuing visitor badges is best suited to your needs (counter, self-service)? Which equipment will help you create them easily and instantly? Find the answers here.
1. Paper, PVC, or Rewritable Material: Choosing the Right Card
You may not have expected this first step, which may almost seem “superfluous.” And yet the choice of the right medium must be made at the beginning of your decision-making process. This is because the material and properties of the card will offer you different possibilities. Let’s review them:
The paper badge:
- Suitability: choose the paper card, with its natural and recyclable material, if you want a more environmentally friendly medium. Its durability is sufficient for limited use with little handling and so is quite suitable for a visitor badge.
- We like: its esthetic quality, silky and soft to the touch.
- To consider: paper cards are printed in monochrome black only. For a personalization with your image, consider using pre-printed cards with the desired design.
The PVC badge:
- Suitability: if you want to integrate a photo and access control management into your visitor badge, the plastic card is the best suited. It allows you to establish a higher level of security, thanks to its many security options, including encoding data within a contact or contactless chip.
- We like: its creative side, in particular thanks to the possibility of printing in four colors for a 100% personalized design – instantly. It is also intelligent: with its encoding possibilities, you can extend its possible uses. Your visitor badge can then also be transformed into a badge for access to predefined areas, a coffee card, etc.
- To consider: the PVC card can be recycled via the applicable recycling channel.
The rewritable card:
- Suitability: if you are interested in a mix between the ecological aspect of a paper badge and the security level of a PVC badge, then the rewritable card is for you. This type of card can be erased and reprinted several times, while also offering encoding solutions.
- We like: its economic aspect, thanks to the reuse of the same card stock.
- To consider: its monochrome printing in black or blue only means that you will need to use pre-printed cards if you want a color design.
Focus: what is a “pre-printed card”?
A pre-printed card is a card that has been printed by a third party (at a printer in most cases), leaving areas free for personalization. These cards are therefore printed with graphic elements that will be common to all cards (background, logo, etc.).
The user receives these pre-printed cards and can then personalize them, on demand and instantly. The visitor badge printer will generally be used to print personal data such as first name, last name, company, etc.
2. Physical Counter or Self-Service: Choosing How to Issue Badges
The visitor badge can be issued in two ways: issued in-person by a staff member at the counter, or at a self-service terminal.
- The major advantage of issuing the badge at the counter is that it allows for initial visual contact between the person issuing the badge and the visitor. This hand-delivery is a form of security, admittedly only the first layer but still very useful.
- Self-service issue automates this system, offering visitors total autonomy in printing their badges. This can be relevant when badges also need to be issued at night or in order to save time and relieve staff from this task.
3. Visitor Badge Printer and Consumables: Choosing the Right Equipment
To make your visitor badges simply and instantly, you will need:
- A card printer
- Paper, PVC, or rewritable cards
- Ribbons, which contain the ink
- Badge holders or other identification accessories
- A printer cleaning kit, to take care of your machine and optimize its service life and print quality