There are basically two major types of plastic name badge or plastic identification card: blank and printed.
For your own card printer: A blank plastic name badge is basically as the name suggests a blank plastic card to be designed using your own production software and the image printed using your own card printer. The plastic cards are sold by box and come in different thickness and colour. However, it is important to take note the difference between “image quality plastic cards” and normal plastic cards with the latter causing your printer head to be ruined. Image quality cards address this issue because they are designed specifically for dye sublimation card printers. Majority of the leading card printers are now dye sub.
From your card manufacturer: Printed plastic name badges on the other hand, are cards designed and printed by card manufacturers. Normally, the price of having them designed and printed would depend on the volume of order that you would place. There are things to consider when you buy the plastic name badges from the manufacturer. Keeping Your Company Identification Badges Safe And Secured!
You have to consider what type of printing will be most economical and efficient for your use. If you want durable, fuller and richer image for your cards, you may opt for Offset Printing. The cost is more expensive and printing will take more time but the cards will last longer because the image is sealed with lamination. If you are looking for cheaper and quick turnaround plastic name badges, you may choose Spot Color Printing. Printing is faster and your order may be finished within 24 hours. They are economical for small batches however, the image will not last as long because it is made by surface printing only and not sealed by lamination.
Aside from the major considerations aforementioned when choosing your plastic name badge, here are some basic essentials that you may take into account:
Depending on what purpose you will use the plastic name badges for, the higher the “mil” (an industry measurement for card thickness or literal translation of thousandths of an inch), the more durable and expensive it will be. Most commonly used card thickness will start from 10 mil which is flexible and cheap, 20 mil which is the standard and most normally used in employee cards and lastly, 30 mil used for rugged environment.
You may choose either a matte finish to avoid reflection on the plastic name badges or, video grade to highlight the images.
Finally, after choosing the type of card, the method of printing and the card material, it is important to choose the type of badge holder that will be ideal for you. The basic badge holders are plastic and vinyl. Plastic holder is ideal for temporary use. This is normally worn around the neck. Vinyl holder is more durable than a plastic holder and is usually pinned to your clothing. Other popular choices nowadays are reflective or glow in the dark badge holder ideal for people who work in the dark and, retractable badge holder with retractable string to safeguard your plastic name badge from being misplaced or misused and are commonly found in most workplaces.