Category Archives: Plastic Cards

Plastic Cards – Advertise with them


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Foiled plastic cards

The outcome of US08 could so easily have been different if McCain had used the services of www.cpcards.co.uk

Perhaps if his plastic cards had metallic gold or metallic silver foiling (hot foil stamped / foiled blocked) this would catch the eye more?

A series of personalized plastic cards sporting campaign slogans on one side and McCain is able on the other may well have helped to place a Republican in the White House.

The advertising power of plastic cards

This is often underestimated. Plastic cards are seen as special, possibly because they are similar to Bank or Credit cards, so where a paper or card stock is used a business card may be thrown away, whilst the plastic card will often be kept. Perhaps the known monetary value of Bank and Credit cards becomes associated with Plastic Cards in the publics’ psyche.

A campaign such as McCains could so easily have used Plastic Cards as a memory jogger to the US populace. Handed out to the queues of voters in every state some would no doubt have considered the message and by the time they reached the front of the queue voted for the guy associated with the little plastic card tucked in their wallet.

Stranger things have happened.

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plastic cards

Plastic Card Printing and their uses


plastic cards special offer

Plastic Cards

Over the last few weeks we have been receiving more requests for smaller quantities of plastic cards (around 100 or less).

This is because lots of smaller companies are looking to implement loyalty card schemes. This is to assist them in these difficult financial times to win customers.

plastic card printing

more details on plastic cards and their uses

Loyalty Cards

Some of the loyalty cards are very simple. They sometimes say nothing more than 10% discount when shown at time of purchase. It just goes to show that you don’t necessarily need a barcode or magnetic strip card type system for it to be successful.

plastic loyalty cards

Plastic Business Cards

We have found an increase in plastic business cards sales over the last few weeks. This is despite the current economic climate. A lot of the current card sales have been for loyalty cards. This is an attempt from our customers are hoping to gain more increased customer loyalty in these difficult financial times.

membership cards

Loyalty cards can reward loyal customers. At the moment customers will be less likely to spend what money they have unless special offers or discounts are available. Without a loyalty card incentive the customer, especially within the current economic climate will shop around more for a better deal.

On 1st January 2009 plastic cards will assist people in the Manchester Area with weight loss. Residents who goto keep-fit classes or weight loss clubs or go for a jog in the local park will be eligible to receive rewards. The rewards will be given as points added to a plastic loyalty card. Similar to a plastic video store card or a supermarket loyalty card. The points can then be redeemed against healthy food, sports equipment or sessions in a gym. If the scheme is successful in Manchester it will be extended across the UK. Even walking children to the bus stop or train station is awarded with points.

In this present climate of carbon awareness, it is all too easy to overlook the green credentials of the plastic card. It would be easy to consider that plastic as a product degrades slowly and should therefore be avoided, but no, that is not so with plastic cards.

The initial use for the card is to pass on information. A simple messenger fulfils it’s duty as hired, then what? A plastic card will carry it’s message through rain and snow without losing meaning. A plastic card is durable and long lasting. A plastic card impresses when the message is delivered.

Once the initial purpose of a plastic card is done, what next? The possibilities for using discarded plastic cards are endless. It is only limited by the imagination. As a simple applicator of wall filler, plastic cards are ideal, with their size, smooth edges and flexibility combining to produce an extremely useful tool.

black plastic business cards with metallic foiling

Consideration of further uses for plastic cards will appear later.

Feel free to contribute your own ideas for plastic cards and sticky back plastic tape.

With plastic cards, especially loyalty and membership cards becoming increasing popular, companies are ordering thinner (420 microns thick) plastic cards so their customer can more easily carry them in their wallets.

The thinner plastic cards are just as durable as the thicker 760 or 680 microns thick plastic cards. However they are around the same thickness as a good quality normal card based business card.
The only downside the the thinner cards is it is not possible to emboss or to add a magnetic strip to the 420 microns thick cards.

Unfortunately for our frosted translucent clear plastic cards which are foiled printed with metallic foils, we are unable to apply magnetic strips or emboss the cards.

frosted translucent clear plastic business cards

Dazzle prospective customers with matt black plastic business cards.

Metallic Gold foil can be printed on our matt black plastic cards them which shines and gives great contrast to the matt black background. No other printing process can match metallic foiled plastic cards.

In the present economic climate you need extra help to stand out from the crowd. When you attend that breakfast meeting and hand out your lavishly crafted plastic card who could fail to be impressed? You won’t just stand out from the crowd, you will tower head and shoulders above it.

The exceptionally high quality of your plastic card will reflect the quality of your own product or service, drawing customers towards you like ball bearings to a neodymium magnet.
Contact us today and let us help you to succeed where others are falling to make the right impression.

more details on matt black plastic cards

Matt Black Plastic Card Printing

We can suggest combinations of plastic card and printed foil which best reflects your business and which will undoubtedly help you to be remembered.

Browse our website for an insight into how effective Gold foiled plastic cards appear.

matt black plastic business cards

various matt black plastic cards

Nice to make people happy with plastic cards


plastic cards special offer

Fast Turnaround for plastic cards

Hi All,

A customer emailed the other day about an order for plastic cards. Their email was received on a Wednesday.

Good afternoon,

I phoned earlier this afternoon to make enquiries on my plastic cards order status.
What cost would be incurred if I required the cards in advance of Friday if at all possible?

The reason I ask is that my first photography exhibition starts tonight. It would really make a difference if I was in receipt of the business cards as soon as possible.

I appreciate your help in this matter.

Best regards

Brian

We managed to dispatch the order on Thursday for delivery Friday (no additional costs to the customer). Unfortunately not in advance of Friday as the customer ideally wanted. However, as we were not provided with a deadline when the order was placed I would like to think that we dispatched as promptly as we could.

We have not received an email from the customer yet to say thank you however I am sure it will come in due course.

Bye for now

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plastic cards

Plastic cards for epos systems and pos systems

Plastic Cards for EPOS Systems

plastic cards special offer

If you are after looking for plastic cards, loyalty cards or membership cards to be used with your EPOS system, contact us.

We can even replicate the design on your existing card, see our Free Artwork Service for details.

We produce plastic cards with magnetic strips, embossing, barcodes, sequential numbering etc.

Our plastic cards will make you stand out, we have lots of designs on our website that can give you inspiration and you can use our free design service to create your design based on one of them. Using our free design services we will work in partnership with you to create a plastic card that not only you can be proud of but also benefits your business.

Choose from a range of features that support your business processes such as magnetic strips that can be connected to your office systems and pull up information on the card holder when swiped. Or to further enhance your professional image you can include the embossing of words or numbers on the card.

more details on plastic cards for epos systems

Plastic cards with magnetic strips


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Plastic cards with magnetic strips

Plastic cards with magnetic strips / stripes

Below you will find lots of useful information on plastic cards with magnetic strips / stripes which include:

What are magnetic strips?

The advantages of magnetic strips

The disadvantages of magnetic strips

more details on plastic cards with magnetic strips


Plastic cards with magnetic strips

So, here is the first topic – what are magnetic strips?

To start of I think it is important to mention that we offer one product with magnetic strips. This is the full colour solid plastic 760 micron card. Plastic cards with magnetic strips are often used for loyalty and membership schemes. Often they are also used as business cards to make them look similar to a credit card.

Magnetic strips are usually positioned on the reverse of a plastic cards at the top. There are a few pictures/photos on our website should you wish to view a visual of this.

Magnetic strips are placed on the plastic cards in the form of magnetic tape. There are two different types of magnetic strip tape which we use. They are called High Coercivity (HICO) or Low Coercivity (LOCO). The Coercivity defines how strong the magnetic field is and how immune the data on the magnetic strip is to being damaged. This is quite a technical area so I will not dwell on it any further. Most of our customers tend to use a LOCO magnetic strip but if in doubt please check with the company who provided your magnetic strip reader. As a very very rough guide HICO magnetic strips are often black in colour where LOCO ones are brown, please be wary though as this is not always the case. Some magnetic strip readers can read both HICO & LOCO magnetic strips but again if unsure please check with your provider.

The magnetic strip itself has three tracks or lines within it. These tracks are used to record data otherwise known as encoding data. The different tracks can hold different information, this again depends on customer requirements but as a general rule:

Track 1: Alpha numeric (letters & numbers) max characters: 78

Track 2: Numeric max characters: 37

Track 3: Numeric max characters: 103

We can encode on to just one track or multiple tracks if required. Again, If in doubt, as usual, please check with your provider.

We can produce plastic cards with magnetic strips which are encoded or not encoded. The choice is down to individual customers needs. For example some customers ask us to encode a sequential number and they link this number to new members when they join. Other customer have the ability to encode the magnetic strips themselves. Just let us know what you require.

As with any data recoding system you will need a reader (magnetic strip reader in this case) and software to compliment it.

There are vast amounts of information surrounding magnetic strips available on the internet. however I hope that the above provide a basic overview.

As a bit of guidance and summary to this blog, I have put together a few questions regarding magnetic strips. These may be useful to ask customers if you are looking to supply magnetic strip cards / loyalty cards / membership cards for the first time:

1) Do you require a HICO or LOCO magnetic strips?

2) Do you require the magnetic strips to be encoded?

3) If encoding is required, please clarify which track the encoding needs to be on and whether any prefixes are required for your machinery to read/see the magnetic strip.

Plastic cards with magnetic strips


plastic card with magnetic strip

Plastic cards with magnetic strips are a well established and well used method of member identification hence there is a lot of information and support available.

Due to the availability of products the cost of magnetic strip equipment is relatively cost effective.

The data encoded onto the magnetic strip can be rewritten or modified (subject to you having the required equipment to do this)

Plastic cards with magnetic strips are not easily damaged with water or dirt.

The magnetic strips we produce are part of the plastic card and hence do not come off or away from the cards.

There are probably many more advantages but I just wanted to point out some of the mains ones. Hopefully this will be useful if you are considering the implementation of magnetic strips for a loyalty card or membership card. We can obviously incorporate magnetic strips on to any type of card for example some customer like to make their business cards look like credit cards.

The magnetic strips must be in close proximity to the reader to allow it to be read.

If the magnetic strip is placed near to a magnetic field the encoded data can be damaged.

Some people may consider that as the magnetic strips does not have a human readable element that this may be a disadvantage. Please note however with our cards, if we are encoding them for you we can print information on the other side of the cards for you. For example if you want a membership number encoded we can then include a member name on the other side. This can be embossed so a professional image is achieved. Just pop the require information in an excel file and we will work directly form this).

At the moment this is all I can come up with any more disadvantages! I am sure there are some more, so as always if you have any let me know and I will update the list!

Plastic cards barcodes


plastic cards special offer

Plastic cards barcodes

Information can be found below on plastic cards with barcodes. It will show both the advantages and disadvantages of barcodes as these are often used in conjunction with plastic cards (membership cards, loyalty cards, key cards etc).

Examples of benefits of a plastic cards with barcodes include storing relevant customer information to help with future membership offers or subscriptions. Generally understanding your customers and the prompting of when a customer needs to re-new membership subscriptions. There are lots and lots of benefits to installing a recording system/software package to monitor members.

Unfortunately I am unable to comment further at the moment on software packages. This is because this is quite an in-depth area. There are hundreds of packages on the market. I would suggest having a good search around the interest and contact a few companies to find out what is best for your company.

more details on plastic cards with barcodes

Barcode printing, plastic cards

A membership plastic card example which is numbered and has barcodes

We can offer barcodes on the following products:

Full colour solid plastic cards (760, 680 and 420 microns in thickness) measure 86mm x 54mm

Full colour solid plastic key cards measuring 24 x 54mm

Barcodes are often used for membership and loyalty schemes and help organization’s record important data regarding customers.

Now on to a little more technical information. Barcodes are made up of parallel lines. The barcode is made up of different numbers and/or letters (this is depicted by the customer but generally is a number, the number can be sequential or provided in an excel file from the customer). Please note that other variations of barcodes (such as barcodes hidden within illustrations) do exist. However for loyalty cards and membership cards we have found parallel lines to be the most effective and easy to use hence this is the option we offer.

Barcodes are scanned and read by optical scanners otherwise knows as barcode readers. The lines on the cards contain data which a machine can read. The barcode scanner can be handheld or it can be built into a counter like at a supermarket. A software package will usually be present which enables the scanned information/data to be sent to a computer. If for example the barcode is a number, this can be linked to a customer. Once scanned it will bring up the customers information when it is scanned or it could be a system where points are added each time it is used. The uses of barcodes are vast – too many to mention right now.

Barcodes can be placed on our plastic cards in any location and any size. Please bear in mind not to make the area for the barcode too small as your scanner may have trouble recognizing a very small barcode. Quite often we have found that a white box around the barcode area helps the scanner to identify it as a barcode. Obviously we produce postal proofs for any plastic cards ordered with a barcode, this enables you to test the barcode before we print your full order. We like to ensure our customers have peace of mind.

There are a number of different barcodes types/standards in use, examples include code39, code128A, EAN2, EAN5, CPC Binary, Telepen & MSI. Some of these barcode types are used for multiple products/organisations others are specific to certain industries or users. For example CPC Binary is used by the post office and Telepen is often used by Libraries. Here at Colour Plastic Cards we produce a number of barcode standards/types (list to follow).

I believe that most barcode scanners can read and scan a variety of standards/barcode types. However as already mentioned we do produce a postal proof (actual finished card) with barcode for testing before we print your full order. If in any doubt please check with the provider of your barcode scanner for the barcode standard you require. Also ask for any technical information such as optimal size etc.

membership cards magnetic strips and embossing

Barcodes on plastic cards

The barcode hardware is relatively cost effective and hence business friendly in the current economic climate.

There are numerous software packages available, you will be hard pressed not to find one which meets your needs.

Barcodes provide accurate identification of members as well as other information (mentioned in a previous blog in more details).

It takes very little time to scan a barcode hence saving time in the long run.

Possibly less chance of failure than other scanning/swiping methods as magnetic charges are not able to disable the actual barcode on the cards.

Our barcodes are positioned behind a plastic laminate e.g. within the plastic card, which means that will not come off/become scratched over time.

They are easy to identify on the plastic cards for the staff member to scan.

Barcodes are a relatively easy concept to understand and use.

Its quite easy to set up a barcode scanning system to help streamline a business or loyalty/membership scheme.

Barcode scanners can be portable enabling ease of use -you can take the scanner to the card rather then the other way around – very useful for membership schemes.

Hope these advantages help a little, if anyone has any other advantages please feel free to let us know and any relevant ones will be added to our list.

Disadvantages of barcodes

Here we go, a little list of some disadvantages for using barcodes:

Scratched barcodes can cause problems scanning (our barcodes are positioned under plastic so them becoming scratched off is not possible).

Although the cost and time of setting up a barcode system is relatively low, some money & time output is still required. One option would be to charge customer a little for a membership card or build the cost into the membership fee. It may also be an option to charge customer for replacement cards should they be lost. I would try to steer away for charging a small fortune for replacement card as this may annoy members and cause tension.

A little time and accuracy needs to be taken when inputting a new member into the system to enable accurate recording and reporting. What is that saying? ……rubbish in = rubbish out!

The software system will need to be maintained and managed to get the optimum results – not necessarily a disadvantage but be prepared to utilise your system as much as you can, you should be getting more out of it than you put in.

The Durability of the actual barcode scanners can be an issue – just make sure you research your options carefully and select a scanner which is fit for purpose.

A general point which applies to all computer systems (not just barcodes)…MAKE SURE YOU BACK UP YOUR DATA! Please don’t waste your time installing an all singing all dancing system and forget to back up. Imagine how you would feel should all your valuable data go up in smoke – not very amused!

Please remember that the above disadvantages should be out weighed by the advantages, provided the system is maintained properly and any investment should be repaid within a matter of months.

plastic cards with barcodes

Plastic card printing


plastic cards special offer

Plastic card printing

When it comes to plastic card printing, we find a lot of our customers are looking for something a little bit different. Something that will stand out from the crowd, catch the eye, become a talking point and will be kept and remembered. We are experts at plastic card printing.

more details on see through plastic business cards

We have a range of plastic cards that can be printed using a hot foil printing process. This plastic card printing process uses 8 tons of force and temperatures around 140 degrees C to fuse the printed image onto the surface of the plastic card.

We have a wide range of colours available, more details can be found here

Our range includes metallic colours such as metallic gold, metallic silver, metallic red and also a metallic colour with a difference called holoprint. When holoprint is printed on a plastic card, it looks similar to metallic silver until it is angled in the light then all the colours of the rainbow can be seen.

a frosted plastic card printed with holoprint

I wouldn’t recommend any small important text is printed with holoprint as it may be hard to read but larger text will be ok and certainly when used for graphics or part of a logo, it will look stunning.

Talking about ink colours, when ink colours are printed on our frosted translucent plastic cards, the readability of any text (typically the smaller contact details etc) will be vary depending on the lighting conditions it is viewed in and the background behind the frosted translucent plastic card.

We have videos here of all the ink colours printed on the frosted cards against a white and a black background so you can decide which colour combinations suit your plastic card printing needs.

For example, if you had dark grey ink printed on a frosted translucent plastic card for the contact details at a size of 8pt, it may be difficult to read in a dimly lit room especially if the background behind the card was dark, i.e. a dark desk or dark carpet.

a frosted plastic card printed with black, white and orange ink

However, in bright light, e.g. outside it will be much easier to read or inside in good lighting with a light coloured desk behind it.

This of course is due to the translucent nature of the frosted plastic cards, and of course we have no control over the lighting or environment that you are viewing the frosted plastic card printing in.

We find when plastic card printing is required with the best readability in most situations, black or white ink provides the best results.

As we are a plastic card printing company, we have very bright lighting within our plastic card printing facility, so we are blessed in being able to see anything within our facility better than most people.

Sometimes customers are looking for plastic card printing with a difference and we find that a frosted translucent plastic card printed with clear foil on the back to create a subtle watermark is a great way to create a stunning looking plastic card with will certainly stand out from the crowd.

a frosted plastic card printed with clear ink to create a watermark effect

Plastic cards with a difference

The clear foil, when printed on a frosted plastic card is indeed very subtle. The parts of the frosted plastic card printed with the clear foil are less frosted and as the card is angled to the light the watermark effect will be come more or less visible, a video of the effect can be seen here

Unfortunately, as with everything in life, there are limitations with the type of printing that can be applied to our frosted plastic cards.

The cards measure 86 x 54 mm but we are unable to print any closer than 3mm from the two long card edges.
We can however print right upto the two short edges.
Also, it is not possible to print gradients or halftones. All artwork must be lineart.

lineart graphics

So if you have a logo that fades from light blue to dark blue, we are unable to print it like that. We could print it all in one shade of blue from the shades we have available or one option is to print it with a metallic blue. A metallic blue can be a good option as this will naturally look lighter or darker in the light being a metallic.

Also very fine detail when printed can fill-in. We recommend fonts are 8 pt minimum in size for ease of reading.

Because the cards are printed using heat and pressure, it is not possible to print very large areas of ink coverage.

More ink coverage requires more heat and more pressure which results in the plastic card melting, don’t worry though, we are experts at plastic card printing and can advise you. Email your artwork to us at sales@cpcards.co.uk and we will advise.

Our studio also tweaks all customers artwork when necessary (free of charge) otherwise it will not be possible to print. For example, if any aspect is too thin to print, i.e. a line then we will thicken it up slightly so it is actually printable. If we didn’t do this, then the line may not print at all or print with parts of the line breaking up. We recommend all lines are a minimum of 0.25mm thick.

plastic card printing artwork guidance

We also add something called trapping to customers artwork. This is applied to parts of the artwork where two colours are touching each other. Because the colours are printed individually as separate printing passes what we do is add trapping which means extend one of the colours so it is actually slightly underneath the other colour by a fraction of a mm. When the second colour is printed, if there is any mis-registration (movement by a fraction of a mm) then there is not a gap between the two ink colours as the trapping takes care of this.

A few people call the hot foil printing process hot stamping or hot foiling or evening foiling or foiled plastic cards. It all means the same thing and this is one of the printing processes that we use to create beautiful plastic cards.

We always call the colours available ink colours as this is what most customers understand. In reality they are all foils, even the non metallic colours. Some customers understand that foils are metallic but never think on non metallic pigment colours. So for ease, we just say ink colours to keep things simple.

metallic foils for printing onto plastic cards

Full Colour Plastic Business Cards

Mike emailed for a quote for some full colour plastic business cards. A reply was sent outlining our online offer for 250 cards for £99 +vat (price includes Artwork and Free delivery within England, full details can be found here

Mike was overjoyed at such a good offer and ordered immediately. He uploaded his own design for his plastic cards on to the order form. A gloss finish was chosen over matt to ensure the colours came out as bright as possible.

The artwork had been provided to the correct specifications, so the email proof was with him in under and hour. This was approved and the printing started.

The plastic business cards were dispatched around six working days later and Mike sent a lovely email to say how pleased he was with our service and his new plastic business cards.

Thanks Mike, wishing you all the best.

full colour plastic business cards

Plastic Cards Free Design

Every week we find some people are confused about our free artwork service and what do we mean when we say that it’s not a graphic design service?

Over the years, we have found one simple way to explain it to people as follows:

Our Free Artwork Service is ideal for people who don’t have the time or ability to create artwork to the correct specification for a plastic card.

Example 1, a decorator

One way to see it is:

You would call a decorator in to decorate the walls of your house, and paint the doors and window frames. You would do this because you don’t have the time to decorate it yourself or perhaps you lack the ability to do a good job, or both.

You would tell the decorator which wallpaper to put on which wall and what colour paint to paint the door frames and what colour to paint the window frames etc. The decorator would then proceed to do his job of decorating based on your instructions.

This is the same concept as our Free Artwork Service


Example 2, an interior designer

However, if you didn’t know how to decorate the walls and what colours to paint the doors and window frames, thats where you would call on the services of an interior designer.

An interior designer would give you colour scheme suggestions and ideas of how to decorate walls, wallpaper ideas etc.

They would provide many different concepts and work with you to evolve them so you are totally happy with the end result. This of course takes a lot of time. Once the interior designer has given you some ideas, they need to leave it with you to analyse and think about. Then when you are ready you would enter into further discussions to evolve the ideas and move them forward.

Then, once you are completely happy with the interior designers ideas and have settled on a concept, you would then instruct a decorator to carry out the decorating accordingly.

This is the same concept as the services provided by a Graphic Designer

A graphic designer would create a range of designs as a starting point to be worked on and evolved. There will be a lot of work involved and a lot of discussions between you and the graphic designer. Then once you are happy with the final design and all design aspects, fonts, sizing, wording images have been tweaked the artwork will then be ready to print. This whole process can take weeks to produce the end result.

To clarify

We do not offer a graphic design service as we are not graphic designers and no one within our company has any graphic design qualifications.

We are a printing company that tries to help people Free of Charge by offering a Free Artwork Service

We fully understand that some people require a graphic design service and our Free Artwork Service isn’t the right choice for them.

However, please do understand that it simply isn’t possible for us to offer you a graphic design service as it isn’t something that we do. Some people think we are being awkward and get shirty with us. It needs to be understood that there is a huge difference between a Free Artwork Service and a graphic design service.

For a start graphic design is expensive, you could easily pay £200+ for a graphic designer to create a plastic card design for you.

When you consider we can offer you 250 full colour plastic business cards with Free Artwork and Free Delivery within England for just £99 +vat you will now really appreciate just how much of a fantastic deal this is!

We are proud to help dozens of people each and every week by providing a Free Artwork Service and appreciate all the positive feedback we receive from our many happy customers.

Plastic Cards Free Design