ID card printers use colored ribbons to print your designs, instead of the traditional ink cartridges you use in desktop printers. With so many types of ribbons available, knowing what a ribbon name means will make it easier to find the ribbons you need!
How Ribbon Names are Formatted
Printer ribbon names indicate what color panels that ribbon has – ribbons are either full color, which can print a rainbow of colors, or monochrome, which can only print a single color.
Y – Yellow
M – Magenta
C – Cyan
K – Black
O – Overlay
Most Common Ribbons
YMCKO – This standard ribbon is used to print most cards and is designed for single-sided printers. If you use it in a dual-sided printer you can print full color on both sides, but you’ll get half the ribbon yield.
YMCKOK – This is the standard ribbon for dual-sided printing. This style of ribbon will print full color on the front and monochrome black on the back.
In addition to full color ribbons, there are monochrome ribbons that often come in black, white, green, blue, red, and metallic gold and silver. These ribbons can only print in a single color.
There are also specialized ribbons used to print cards and designs beyond the normal colors.
F – Fluorescent, also called UV (only visible with a UV light)
T – Topcoat, also called Overlay
I – Inhibitor (prevents printing in a specific area of the card)
UV – Ultraviolet, also called Fluorescent (only visible with a UV light)