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Access Control Card - Plastic card used to gain access to premises, usually associated with magnetic stripe and proximity cards.


Bar Code - An array of machine-readable rectangular bars and spaces arranged in a specific way defined in international standards to represent letters, numbers, and other human-readable symbols.

Bleeds - Artwork that extends beyond the actual size of the card.


Combo Card - A standard CR80 card attached to 1 or more key tags or a hanger.

CR50 Card - Luggage tag sized card (3 1/2" x 2 3/32" x .020).

CR80 Card - Standard credit card size (3 3/8" x 2 1/8" x .030).


Digital Imaging - Scanning or otherwise capturing images which may be subsequently edited, filed, displayed or printed on a plastic card.

Dye Sublimation - An imaging method for transferring controlled quantities of printer ribbon dye onto a plastic card, used in thermal printing.


Electronic Art - Graphics in a digital format to work with computer design and imaging applications.

Embossing - Raised letters or numbers usually tipped in either silver or gold foil.

Encoding - The process of electronically "writing" information on magnetic stripes or smart card chips.


Foil Stamping - Hot stamp printing is achieved by using pressure and heat to affix colored foil in to the plastic surface.

Font - A character set (alphabet and numerals) of a specified design and size.

Four Color Process (CMYK) - Printing in full color using four color separation negatives - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. When blended, these four colors reproduce only a small portion of all the colors found in nature, but they can reproduce the widest range with the fewest inks when printing.

Fulfillment - The process by which the card is matched to a letter, inserted into an envelope, metered and delivered to the post office. Personalization is available using several different methods along with continuous form equipment or individual piecework.


Gift Card - Standard CR80 or custom size card. Stored value is placed on the card through the Point of Sales system using the magnetic strip or bar code.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) - A bitmap image file that is not recommended for print production due to its color limitations.


Half Tones - Dot system of color photos to black and white.

Hanger Card - A CR80 card that is attached to a piece of plastic which can hang from a display.

Hologram - A unique photographic printing that provides a three-dimensional effect on a flat surface. Holograms cannot be easily copied and are used for security and aesthetic purposes on cards.


I.D. Card - Card which identifies both the bearer and the issuer. All financial transaction cards are I.D. cards.

Image Capture System - A hardware and software system used to obtain and save personal data and cardholder photographic images.


JPEG (file extension .jpg) - A very common form of image compression file used. This type of file may be opened in many programs.


Key Card - Plastic card used to gain access to premises, usually associated with magnetic stripe and proximity cards.


Lamination - The process of combining lamination material and core material using time, heat and pressure.

Loyalty Card - Standard (CR80) or custom size card that have off line accounting for capabilities such as mileage or merchandise purchases.


Machine-Readable - A code or characters that can be read by machines.

Magnetic Stripe - Magnetic material, applied as a strip in the surface of a card, used to encode cardholder information.

Matte Finish - A non-glossy and writable finish that can be applied to an entire side, or both sides, of a card.

Memory Card - A type of smart card. Also known as a synchronous card, it features 256 bit or 32 byte memory and us suitable for use as a token card or identification card.

Microprocessor Card - A type of smart card, also known as an asynchronous card. Features 1 kilobyte to 64 Kbytes of memory and is suitable for portable or confidential files, identification, tokens, electronic purse or any combination of uses.


Overlay Varnish - A thin transparent layer applied to cards to resist scratching and fading from exposure to UV radiation.


Personalization - Printing encoding and programming a card with data specific to an individual cardholder.

Phone Card - A stored value card that allow the user to access pre-paid long distance. The long distance is generally accessed via a PIN (stored value), which is usually covered by a scratch-off panel for security.

PMS (Pantone Matching System) - Used by printers for color standardization.

Point of Sales (PoS) - The system which your business uses to process transactions. The POS provider will be able to explain what types of barcodes, magnetic stripes, or other options like RFIDs your system may accept.

PDF (Portable Document Format) - A file format created for document layouts, not ideal for imaging.

Prepaid Card - A card paid for at Point of Sale, permitting the holder to buy goods or services up to the prepaid value.

Print Ready Art - Complete art file that is ready to be put into production.

Prox Card - Short for Proximity card; a form of contact-free smart card used for access control applications. Embedded in the card is a metallic antenna coil, which allows it to communicate with an external antenna. Because the cards require only close "proximity" to a RF antenna to be read, they are also referred to as contactless cards.

PVC - Polyvinyl Chloride. One of the materials used for plastic cards with certain special features such as embossing or use in thermal printers.


Resolution - Dimension of the smallest element of a bitmap image. Usually stated as dots-per-inch (dpi). 300 dpi is the minimum standard for printing clear images.


Safe Design Area - The printable area in which important information or images will be safe from being cut off, .125” from the edge of the plastic card.

Screen Tints - Determined by percentage of colors.

Signature Panel - The area of an I.D. card where the cardholder enters a signature.

Smart Card/Contact Smart Card - Also called a "chip" card or IC card. A plastic card with an embedded microchip, which may be used to store information about the cardholder or record card transactions as they occur.

Swipe Packaging - Designed to hold a card with a magnetic stripe for point of sale activation.


Teslin® - A durable plastic substrate made predominately of silica manufactured by PPG Industries.

Thermal Printing - The process of creating an image on a plastic card using a heated print head.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) - A flexible and common file format for images that is widely accepted by image-manipulation software.


YMC - Yellow, Magenta, and Cyan are the primary print colors for cards. The three colors are combined in varying degrees to make a full spectrum of colors. YMCKO is the same as YMC plus Black (K) and clear protective overcoat (O).

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