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Plastic Cards

Plastic Card Printing and Design - Custom Business Cards for your Organization

Spot Color Process

Spot color process refers to a method of color printing. This process is used on printed plastic cards that only require a small number of colors and contain simple designs. The spot color process allows for complete and solid ink color to be represented on a plastic card without reveling any tiny dots which can be found on plastic cards using a full color process, however, the spot color process does not allow for the blending of colors and wide range of colors that would be normally used to print high quality graphics and photos with visually stimulating designs onto plastic cards.

Four-Color Process

Four-color process printing is a method of reproducing an image of text in color using only the colors cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK). The four-color process is also referred to as full color printing. Using this method, screens of each of the four colors are printed over each other in order to achieve a wide range of colors. Cyan (C), magenta (M), and yellow (Y) are the three main colors used to create color representations and black (K) is used for the darker colors. Although the mixture of cyan, magenta, and yellow can be used to create the dark colors, using black ink offers a clearer color, better contrast, and improves shadow effects.

These inks can be printed ontop of each other to produce different hues on plastic cards because the inks used in color printing presses are semi-transparent. Color printing presses utilize a method known as screening in order to vary the amount of ink applied. This process represents lighter shades as tiny dots which create an optical illiusion to create a continuous tone image.

Computer screens use a method known as RGB to reproduce a color image. This method is generated using red (R), green (G), and blue (B). This is the reason why colors differ from what is seen on a computer screen to what is printed. While it is possible to convert an image from RGB to CMYK, the colors will not be exact. CMYK colors have been known to vary drastically from the RGB colors that are seen on a computer screen. Because of this variance, it is best to design plastic cards using CMYK colors.

UV Coating

UV coating is a glossy coat that can be applied to plastic cards to give them an additional glossy finish. This coat is applied to the card in the same manner that an ink color is applied. UV coating can be applied to the whole plastic card or just to certain areas depending on the design of the card. Sometimes companies will utilize UV coating or plastic lamination to thicken a plastic card and make it even more durable.


Bleed is a term used to describe the extension of a plastic card design that goes beyond the printable area. Plastic card printing companies usually require an extra 1/8 to 1/4 in. all the way around the plastic card design to ensure the integrity of the card design. Proper bleed will keep the plastic card design looking right even if there are slight variations when the cards are cut. Without bleed, plastic cards could come out with white lines down the sides and look unproffessional.

High Resolution Graphics

High resolution graphics refers to the clarity in which the graphics are designed. In order to print high quality images, the images must first be created in high resolution. For the purpose of printing plastic cards, it is best to have all artwork created in at least a reolution of 300dpi or higher. Most images that are found on the internet and that are displayed on a computer screen are considered low resolution images. These images are often reduced or created using only 72dpi. It is not possible to maintain the clarity of an image by simply chaning an image from 72dpi to 300dpi. The result of printing a plastic card with a low resolution image is often a blurry or grainy image that does not have the same proffessional look.

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