ID card printer ribbons can be a confusing list of seemingly random letters if you don’t understand how they are named – so let the card printing experts at DiscountID help you out!
Quick Guide to Card Printing
To understand the different types of ribbons, you first need to understand how a card printer works.
Unlike the ink jet printer you use at home or in the office, a card printer doesn’t use liquid ink. Instead they use colored ribbons and a heated printhead; when the printhead goes over the ribbon the colors fuse with the card.
Common Ribbon Types
Monochrome ribbons are a single color, and print only in solids with no shadows or shades. The most popular monochrome color is black, but they are also available in blue, greed, red, metallic silver and gold, and more.
YMCK color ribbons are used to print everything else – the letters represent the Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, and Black panels of a color ribbon.
A YMCKO ribbon has the YMCK color panels PLUS a clear overcoat panel that adds some protection to your cards. This style of ribbon will print full color, black, and the overcoat on one side of a card.
A YMCKOK ribbon has the YMCKO panels for printing on one side of the card, plus an additional black panel to print on the back side of the card.
If you have a reverse transfer or laminating printer, you don’t want to use a ribbon with an overcoat panel. Instead you would use a YMCK ribbon for single-sided printing or a YMCKK ribbon for dual-sided printing.
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