As you know, I am gadget crazy and stay ahead of the trend, so I could not believe that a whole genre of printers had completely passed me by. Until the other week, I had completely missed the fact that you could buy printers that are designed to allow you to print plastic ID cards.
Now I know that does not sound very exciting, but when I saw the printer in action, it literally got my heart beating a little faster. All kinds of ideas rushed into my head about how a geek like me, or a designer, could put a digital ID card printer to use.
Here are my first thoughts. If you have any other ideas please let me know and I might update this post at a later date.
Earn money using the printer in a traditional way
The first idea was to use it as it is meant to be used. I am pretty sure that you can easily earn a bit of extra cash printing up membership cards, loyalty cards and ID cards using the machine. If you want to blaze a trail and tap into the bleeding edge printing market you may want to go 3D – but traditional is thriving in ways you may not even be aware of.
Looking at how much traditional print firms charge for a hundred cards in comparison to the cost of blanks and inks made me realise that it is easy to compete. You could offer your services at about a 50% discount and still make a healthy profit, so for cash strapped designers printing ID cards could well be a nice little sideline business.
In addition, this business could easily lead to more work. I can see a firm that is pleased with the work that the designer does on their ID cards being impressed enough to ask for graphics for use in their marketing and branding.
OK enough of the boring stuff, now for the fun and creative part.
Make customised cards or games
I used to enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons and was thinking the other day I would love to put together my own game. With a card printer, I could easily do this. Printing these cards onto plastic would mean my grandchildren could still be playing the game I design. I like that idea and sadly the fact that you can wipe these cards over and keep them hygienically clean also appeals to me.
Advertise your art
For a designer getting examples of their work out there is very important. Being able to print off cut down examples of their designs and hand those out in a business card format could be a great marketing technique. This would work just as well for artists as it would for designers. Again, the durability of the plastic has benefits because it means that your card will survive rattling someone’s desk drawer until they are ready to place an order with you.
Tickets and passes for events
I think plastic cards would make great alternatives to tickets and passes for events. They are durable and if you print them onto blanks with magnetic strips or chips there is the option to programme them. That means you could give visitors access to additional areas using the swipe facility built into the card to gain access to certain areas.