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Tips for Designing School ID Badges

Tragic events in recent history remind us that School ID Badges are an important part of school safety. ID cards not only help identify students and staff, also any authorized visitors to your buildings. To design school ID cards that will help keep students safe, and foster an engaging learning environment, use these tips in your design process.

Incorporate both name and picture.

The primary purpose of a School ID card is to properly identify the individual wearing it, and their authorization to be within your facilities. School ID cards should be designed to prominently feature the both the individual’s name, and their photo. In so doing, you’ll more easily spot fraudulent cards, and quickly recognize if a student or visitor is where they are supposed to be.

Color-code ID cards by grade, class, or building.

Color-coding student and staff ID cards by grade, class, or building makes it easy to identify people in a quick glance. For example, seniors might have a prominent red border around their photo, while juniors might have a green border. This is particularly helpful when students are congregated in larger groups, or filling the halls between classes. Virtually all ID card printing software can incorporate color features as part of an overall card design.

Create visitor ID cards.

Visitor identification is one of the most important features of a school safety strategy. A unique design that clearly designates someone as a visitor should be required at all schools. The visitor should not only be required to check in and out but also to prominently display the ID badge at all times when on campus, and return it when checking out.

Require Everyone to Wear their ID Badges.

Finally, you should require all staff, students & visitors to wear their school ID cards at all times. Without this requirement – and an enforcement mechanism – you are creating a lax environment, which diminishes everyone’s safety. One way to maximize participation and “buy-in” is to make the ID card an integral part a daily routine at school. This could be as simple as requiring it be shown at the cafeteria or library, or directly tying it into other systems through use of a printed bar-code or QR-code.

We hope these quick tips can help you shape an effective program at your own school. If you have questions, or would like our expert advice, feel free to give us call toll-free at 888.485.4696.

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The New Color Touch Screen on the Evolis Primacy

The Evolis Primacy is now available with a color touch screen option. This screen allows users to monitor the status of the printer ribbons, cleaning cycle, and operations. Additionally, it provides step-by-step instructions for completing the cleaning cycle and routine printer maintenance.

Now through December, Evolis is running a special on the Primacy with the touch screen. Visit our web store to order the Simplex or the Duplex printers and find the most up-to-date pricing. As always, our experts are available at 704-535-5200 to answer questions or provide more information about this offering from Evolis.

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Tech Alert: Apple Users of cardPresso ID Badge Design & Print Software

The Problem

elcapitanWe have recently become aware of a technical issue that occurs when users of the cardPresso ID Badge Design & Print software upgrade their Apple computers to the latest edition of OS X (10.11 “El Capitan”). In this latest operating system release, Apple has updated and enhanced system security, particularly as it applies to the use of USB-attached peripherals and mass-storage devices.

Users of cardPresso will know that use of and access to that software is secured through the use of a USB “dongle”, which is required to authenticate and authorize use of the product. The new release of OS X prevents cardPresso from “seeing” the USB dongle, and therefore prevents use of the software in anything other than demonstration mode.

The Fix

cardpressoWhile the El Capitan release also affected scores of other software developers, cardPresso’s software engineers worked quickly to develop, test, and release an update that will address this issue for affected users. The updated version is available for free download on the cardPresso website (www.cardpresso.com), and can be directly installed onto your Mac device with no loss of data or functionality.

As always, we encourage our clients to call on our in-house experts at +1 888.485.4696, should they need further information or support with this issue and resolution.

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Thinking about upgrading to Windows 10? SLOW DOWN!

stoplooklistenIn the past few weeks, we have started to receive calls from clients whose ID-card printers do not work after updating their PCs to Windows 10. This is a very scary situation with a very simple explanation: Windows 10 is a new operating system, and Microsoft couldn’t have reasonably crafted it to support every printer, ever sold, by every manufacturer. Likewise, the manufacturers of these printers wouldn’t have had an inkling of Windows 10 while their printers were being designed and sold – often 3 or more years ago. The result is a number of perfectly good, well-functioning printers that have no current drivers to allow for their use under Windows 10.

What does this mean for you?

What it means in the short run is that users need to avoid the siren-call of the new, shiny OS from Microsoft unless and until they’re sure ALL of their critical printers, devices AND software are supported. At the time of writing, exactly NONE of our primary brands make mention of Windows 10 support. In speaking with one of our software vendors by phone last week, they told us their latest (June) release has been tested to work under Windows 10, and will be supported if users upgrade.

History repeats:

Going forward, we can take lessons from the past – not all software, and not all printers and devices will work now, or ever on Windows 10. Technology has a life-cycle. Manufacturers and software authors make money selling new stuff, not making their old stuff work with others’ new stuff. So what we’re likely to see is that old printers and devices – those no longer manufactured – will not get Windows 10 specific drivers or software updates. If current drivers happen to work, then you can squeeze more life out of these devices. If not, then you will either have to put-off upgrading Windows, or start budgeting for new printers. The same goes for your ID-badge software programs. None were initially written with Windows 10 in mind. They’ll minimally need to be tested, if not tweaked, by their developers. But some older products will just be left to die off over time as users ultimately, ploddingly, transition to the new Microsoft OS.

What can I do now?

Obviously, we do not recommend upgrading in this environment unless you are certain that your printer or software is supported under Windows 10. You should also know that there is no easy way to reverse a Windows 10 upgrade, once applied. Instead of jumping into the unknown, please contact one of our experts at +1 704.535.5200, for guidance. We will be happy to help you determine what is supported under Windows 10 currently, or if your items will be supported via a future driver or program release. As we become aware of Windows 10 support announcements, we’ll note them here on our blog – so keep an eye on this space.

Of course, we’d also be delighted to help you shop for a new device or software too!

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Ten Tips for Custom ID Card Design and Printing (Part 2)

Today we continue our discussion on the components that make for a unique and fully functional ID Card or Badge that incorporates all the features needed to serve as an important feature of workplace security. The next five are as follows:

6. Durability

ID cards are made of durable PVC and can last up to five years. These long-wearing materials have been proven to last long after paper ID cards are in the recycle bin. They are also more difficult to copy since an ID printer is required to print a PVC card. If additional durability is required, composite cards that are a blend of PVC allow for additional flexibility. These cards are great for fire and police departments.

7. Encoding

Printer and card functionality allow encoded information about the user to be included on the card through the use of barcodes, magnetic stripes, RFID tags and smart chips. These features allow an organization to sync their identification with building access or time and attendance programs. Combined with the right hardware they can approve or deny access to, doors, systems and other important areas of a company.

8. Signatures & Fingerprints

If a photo isn’t enough to visually identify an employee, include a copy of the authorized employee’s fingerprint or signature printed on the ID card. These features can be added in a digital format and printed right on a card.

9. Enhanced Security

Enhanced security is a desired quality of employee ID cards for some organizations. Various enhanced security features can be added to ID cards with the proper equipment and software. One of the easiest is a either a custom or generic holographic overlay. A wide range od printers can apply an overlay to a card that makes it virtually impossible to copy. Another advanced feature would be a holo-mark. These are small foil hologram that can be ordered on blank cards or applied by hand.

10. Personal Information

An ID card has a limited amount of space, so the personal information displayed needs to be purposeful. As employees will display their ID cards every day, the cards can be an effective vehicle for communicating job-related certifications and other important information but it all must be done in the confines of the card size.

Not all of these components will be required for your organization and the ID Card you are creating, but it is important to consider them prior to printing. It would be a costly mistake to have to go back and reprint all the cards already issued to include a feature that was not included the first time. Please contact an expert at Safe-Card ID Services for more information about card design features.

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Ten Tips for ID Badge Making (Part 1)

Over time ID Badges and Cards have become an increasingly important part of facility and workplace safety, and it’s nearly impossible to walk into an office without one. Organizations require all personnel to display an ID to easily identify who does and does not belong in the location.

Creating the right card is imperative to achieving security goals. By considering the first five of these ten ID card components, organizations can easily create the ID card that meets their needs.

1. Organization Logo

Not only does including your logo add a level of visual security to your card it can act as a walking billboard for your company. A corporate logo is a highly recognizable image by employees and security personnel. By incorporating your logo into the ID card design, it will be more difficult for fraudulent cards to be created.

2. Design

Take your time when designing your card so as to include all the security and identification features required. When done right an effective ID card design is both attractive and functional. Employees will be proud to display their association with the organization.

3. Single and Dual-Sided

The amount of information you decide to include in your card design will help determine if the design should be single or dual sided. Obviously, information that needs to be readily available and visible should go on the front of the design. While a dual sided card can allow for the inclusion of a mission statement or important phone numbers.

4. Orientation

ID Cards can be printed and displayed either horizontally or vertically, impacting how they are worn by employees. It is important to consider the different scenarios where ID Cards will be used when considering orientation. Also, do not forget to make an allowance for a slot punch if required in the design.

5. Employee Pictures

Almost all ID Cards include a picture of the employee on the front of the card. This feature makes the card unique to the individual employee and it should be easily visible. See our previous blogs on how to take a great ID Card Photo with the HD Image Cam Pro.

In part 2 of this article we will look at the next five important components to consider when designing an ID Card. They include, encoding, durability, signatures, personal information and other enhanced features. As always, contact an expert at Safe-Card ID Services to learn more.

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Thin PVC Cards – What’s the Lowdown?

Have you ever noticed that some PVC Cards are thinner than others?  No they don’t hit the gym more often – they are just a variation of PVC card stock that is used for different purposes in the ID industry. Thin PVC cards are typically only 10 mil, or 0.010″ thick.

Use Cases:

In one example, thin PVC cards are used to produce professional business cards. Doing so will produce a card that is more durable than its ordinary paper counterpart. Designed properly, it will include high-quality imagery, including photo quality logos and even a personal photograph. Not only do these PVC cards hold up better – a PVC business card will help you stand out from the pack!

Thin PVC Cards that are also adhesive-backed are commonly used with proximity-access cards, such as the HID Prox II Clamshell. Clamshell-style cards are too large and thick for standard ID-card printers. Instead, print first on a thin PVC card, and then affix it to the thicker technology card. Not only does this allow for reuse of expensive proximity access cards, but it allows them to double as photo-ID cards!

Usage Notes:

Our adhesive-backed thin PVC cards can be printed with most any direct-to-card printer, and are just slightly smaller than standard CR80 PVC cards. This smaller size allows the cards to fit neatly onto a proximity card without overlapping the edges. Note that not all ID card printers can accommodate thin PVC cards. They specifically should NOT be used in retransfer-type printers, like Fargo HDP series or the Evolis Avansia. This is due to the extremely-high heat these printer can generate. So be sure to check the usage guidelines for your specific printer model.

Final Thoughts:

We offer a variety of PVC cards in our web-store, including quality products from Evolis, HID Global (Fargo) and Magicard.

Should you have any concerns or questions about your specific needs, feel free to call us toll-free at 888.485.4696 to speak with an ID-printing expert. We’re always glad to help!

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Review: The Datacard® SD360™ Card Printer

Datacard SD360 Printer

It is good to have a chance to see what others say about a product before you purchase it.  With a review, you are able to see what the good points and negative points may be about an item prior to purchase.  Following is a look at the Datacard® SD360™ card printer.

Datacard SD360 Printer

 

Datacard SD360 Card Printer Review

Featuring industry-leading innovations that make desktop ID card printing simple, the Datacard® SD360™ two-sided card printer is an economical solution for numerous desktop printing applications. Standard, built-in Ethernet and USB ports as well as a browser-based Print Manager help users integrate the printers into just about any application or IT environment, including small- to medium-sized organizations such as schools, hospitals, fitness clubs, etc.

With superior speed and productivity, the SD360 prints high-resolution 300dpi full-color cards in less time than your standard printer – printing up to 155 dual-sided cards per hour. With easy operation that anyone can master, the card printer offers intuitive icons that guide users through the soft-touch control panel and LCD screen.  Cards and supplies are easy to load, and the ergonomically designed ribbon cartridges include a drop-in cleaning roller. 

One of the most unique and stand-out features for this printer is that it is engineered for Earth-friendly performance.  The printer has earned an ENERGY STAR® qualification by consuming far less electricity than others on the market, as well as features biodegradable supply cores made with EcoPure® additive, recyclable packaging and power-down button – ultimately setting new benchmarks for environmentally responsible card printing.

If you want a card printer with outstanding print quality, reliability, easy operation and efficiency in a small footprint, then the Datacard SD360 card printer is for you!

 

We invite your comments and feedback about the printer as well in our comments section. Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

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Practice Safe Handling With HID and Access Cards

HID Access Cards

HID and access cards are typically shipped to you shrink wrapped and since they can cost significantly more than traditional PVC it is important to follow these tips;

Take care not to scratch the cards when opening the wrapping, especially when using a sharp implement.

Handle cards by the edges, not by the flat finished surface.

Use lint free gloves or finger cots to prevent hand oils from transferring to the
cards, which can cause smudging, fingerprints or other distortions
when printing.

Card image quality may vary even with careful card handling. This can be due to printer setup variations, lot to lot material variations, environmental changes, printer types, background color selections and other variables.
HID and access cards have been quality tested to meet requirements for high quality images. Failure to achieve a desired image quality is typically not the fault of the card.

For more information contact an expert at Safe-Card ID Services today.

 

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Proper Access/HID Card Slotting

Access or proximity cards will have slot punch indicators, small dots visible on the card back
which show the only allowable slot locations for the card. While it is perfectly acceptable to slot punch your access cards, we strongly suggest using badge grippers or clamps instead. These attachment devices work the same as slot clips, and better maintain the structural integrity of your technology card.

If you must slot punch the card, carefully center the indicator marks to the punch, and punch only where the indicator marks appear. Any other position may damage the interior circuitry and thus cause the card not to work.

Always test the first card after printing and slotting. Once you are satisfied with the results you can go ahead and print the rest of the batch. For more information contact an expert at Safe-Card ID Services today.