Card printer ribbons come in a wide range of styles – if you are new to ID card printers, do you know which ribbon is the right one? Use this handy guide to understand ribbons and when to use them.
Quick Guide to Ribbon Names
ID card printers use YMC colors – or yellow, magenta, and cyan – to print your designs. Those three colors, plus a black panel, are the key to every type of ribbon.
Y = Yellow
M = Magenta
C = Cyan
K = Black
In addition, most will include a clear overlay (O) panel to help protect your cards.
Common Ribbon Types & When to Use Them
The two most common types of ribbons are single and dual-sided full color ribbons.
A YMCKO ribbon will print full color plus black and the overlay, on one side of the card. Use this ribbon if you are printing a single-sided card design that needs full color.
A YMCKOK ribbon will print full color plus black and the overlay on one side of the card, and plain black on the back side. Use this ribbon if you are printing a dual-sided card design that does not need full color on the back. If you do need full color on both sides you can use a YMCKO ribbon, but your yield (the number of cards you can print) will be cut in half.
Monochrome ribbons print only a single color, and come in colors like black, red, green, and blue. Use a monochrome ribbon if you need to print in a single color with no shades or shadows.
Shop Ribbons on DiscountID
DiscountID carries all the ribbons and other printing supplies you need from major manufacturers including AlphaCard, Fargo, Evolis, Zebra, IDP, Datacard, and Magicard. Shop all ribbons and supplies on our website.