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Ribbon Options

Understanding Ribbon Configurations

What do you think when you see "YMCKO"?  And, do all YMCKO ribbons work the same, and are they interchangeable?  Let's review the information below and take the obscurity out of the issue for you.

When printing a full-color image with an ID Card Printer, our printers use only four colors to makeup millions of color combinations.  The four colors are:  Yellow, Magenta, Cyan and BlacK. This makes up the YMCK part of your ribbon acronym.  The "O" is for a clear Overlay which protects the image. The resulting acronym is YMCKO.

Now that you know what the acronyms mean, you can now decide which ribbon you need for printing.  

  • Are you printing full-color on the front only?  You'll need a YMCKO ribbon.  Are you printing full-color on the front AND the back? You'll again need a YMCKO ribbon, but by printing full-color on the back, you will only be getting half the number of prints from your ribbon.  This can be costly, and is not advised.
  • Perhaps you want to print full-color on the front, but only a black imprint on the back.  Many people do this and include a message for the postal service to return in the event of a lost badge (i.e. If lost drop in any mailbox...).  This is a very cost-effective method of printing, but it does require a dual-sided printer. In this case, you will opt for a YMCKOK ribbon. The extra K panel is designed for printing that black text on the back without wasting a full color panel to print only black on the back.
  • There are other options for printing on the reverse of your card without utilizing a dual-sided printer. However, we recommend you contact your IDE Representative for more detailed information on this.

A word of caution...not all YMCKO ribbons are the same.  In fact, we offer about 20 different YMCKO configurations.  You need to be sure to purchase the YMCKO or YMCKOK ribbon designed for your particular printer.  For instance, an Evolis YMCKO ribbon will not work in a Zebra ID Card Printer.  Again, please consult with your IDE Representative if you have any questions about which ribbon goes with which printer.  We will be happy to assist.


Printer Ribbon Storage
To maximize the life of your printer ribbons, proper storage is encouraged. Minimize exposure to direct sunlight, heat and humidity.  Ensure that you keep ribbons in their protective packaging until time to for use. 



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