Layout requirements
1. File format
Bitmaps or vector image elements for a plastic card should be submitted in vector format - EPS, PDF (using the following graphics packages: Adobe Illustrator up to version12, Macromedia FreeHand up to version 11). Raster image elements should be submitted in TIFF raster formats (using CMYK, RGB, Grayscale, Bitmap), PSD and EPS (Duotone, Multichannel mode) (Adobe PhotoShop to version 9, etc). By agreement it is possible to provide files in other formats but they may require additional modification. Transparences and complicated raster effects may be implemented in raster graphics but not in vector format. You must not use formats involving compression and data loss. For the data transfer it is possible to use e-mail or the Internet or the following electronic devices (IMB PC, Macintosh platforms): CD/DVD-ROM and Flash-memory.
2. Colour scheme
A card layout drawing should be made in a CMYK colour scheme or in IndiChrome (for digital printing, see para.12). If necessary spot colours may be specified from the palettes: Pantone Formula Guide or the special palettes of the manufacturers of screening inks, or by means of a selection based on sample colours. For this you should consider that the colour gamma applied when printing on plastic is less than that given in the Pantone Solid Coated palette i.e. some parts of the palette colours cannot be applied, some colours depend on the degree of brightness of the artwork (on the paper/ plastic).The use of double colour layers is acceptable for intense colour implementation on large areas of printing.
3. Printing area
The card layout drawing should be in 1:1 scale. The printing area (image) of the card should allow a cutting reserve of 1mm on each side, i.e. its size should be 87.6 x 56 mm.
4. Element placing
All image elements, apart from the elements printed for die-cutting, should be placed not closer than 1 mm from the card edge, the magnetic strip (for acceptable strip placing see below), the strips for the signature, any scratch strip and the chip itself to avoid cuts or mismatches of the card elements and the image. Finishing elements and personalisation elements should also not be co-located at the position of the chip (whether surface or internal).
5. Raster units
Raster images should be made with a resolution of 400 dpi (dots per inch) in CMYK or Grayscale regimes, and at least 800 dpi for monochrome Bitmaps. Images should be provided as individual files. Files made in RGB may be provided for further colour separation and colour grading. The use of original compressed images such as JPEG format is prohibited in order to provide the highest quality for offset printing.
6. Text elements
All text elements of the card layout drawing should be converted to curves (set to the full output file resolution). Font size should be given in case there is a need to correct the text. Providing the font used is also recommended in digital printing and for the examination of small text.
7. Microfont, microcanvas
The use of a microfont is permitted in the case of offset printing in one colour, in sizes of not less than 1 pt for straight or 1.5 pt for inverted writing (reversed out). Lineale (sans serif) is recommended. The minimum limit of lineweight in microcanvas in one colour is 0.04 mm. Micro fonts are not applied in digital printing because of insufficient resolution for printing so the minimum printed lineweight for this is 0.06 mm.
8. Elements visible only in ultraviolet light
Printing of an image which can only be seen in ultraviolet light is possible on plastics card as a security device. In this case the luminescent image may be blue-white or pink. The image elements that should be seen in ultraviolet light must be put in a separate block on the layout drawing.
9. Metallic and reflective inks, special printing effects
Metallic coatings can be applied using offset or silk-screening approaches. In this respect offset coatings hamper the ability to meet the requirements on card delamination and do not possess a metallic effect, in contrast to silk-screen coatings. Offset metallic coatings are recommended for use only on cards with a lacquer protective coat. It is necessary to use special powders and silk-screen inks for producing metallic, shiny, opalescent or optico-variable backgrounds and other effects (for example, iridescent, fluorescent or thermochromic). Preliminary testing of the inks on card samples is recommended before using a new special effect. Use of special silk-screen inks for images is restricted by the minimum lineweight that is defined by the type of silk-screen plate used for the different kinds of inks to be applied and is between 0.2 and 0.5 mm. The minimum lineweight for offset metallic paints is 0.2 mm.
10. Silk-screen paints
It is necessary to use silk-screen inks if it is important to obtain intense colours for separate elements or for the card background. The colour gamma is less than of offset paints. The minimum lineweight is 0.15 mm, for metallic paints see above.
11. Lacquering
Card finishing can use additional lacquering to provide a laminated surface with different effects depending on the type of lacquer (visual, tactile, textural, or scented). Preliminary testing on card samples is recommended before using a new lacquer. Fine-pattern printing (to 3 mm) of the image under a lacquered laminate is forbidden. Small elements and thin lines in sizes up to 0.3 mm are impossible.
12. Digital printing
Fine-offset printing with a silk-screen image (over 1 mm) is forbidden. It is recommended to avoid designing smooth gradient and uniform spot palette or bitmap fills.
13. Magnetic strip (Features)
The characteristics and placement of the magnetic strip on the card must correspond to the ISO-7811 standard Identification cards methods of recording.
Placement of the magnetic strip is defined by the ISO 7811-2 standard:
  • The maximum distance from the card upper edge to the magnetic strip upper edge is 5.54 mm,
  • The minimum distance from the card upper edge to the magnetic strip lower edge is 15.84 mm, for a card with three tracks.
The magnetic strip applied in production has a width of 12.5 mm, and is placed at a distance of 4.351.0 mm from the card upper edge, which fully satisfies the standard requirements.
The standard colour of the strip is dark brown for 300 Oe, and black for 2750/4000 Oe. Use of strips in other colours is also possible.
The use of a holographic magnetic strip or of a narrow band with only two tracks is possible by additional agreement.
The addition of an image in white or silver on the magnetic strip is possible (see restrictions in para.-)
14. Stamping
  • Stamping may be used on plastic cards of thickness 0.65-0.84 mm. Stamping on thin cards can cause some very small deformation.
  • The area to which stamping can be applied to the card must be not less than 5 mm from the card upper or lower edges. It is possible to use an existing stamp or it can be produced to order.
  • Stamp sizes:
    • the maximum stamp size vertically is 30 mm;
    • the maximum stamp size horizontally is 84 mm at a vertical size of up to 20 mm, and 40 mm at a vertical size between 20 mm to 33 mm.
The minimum element thickness of a figure stamp is 0.2 mm. Stamping can be implemented using silver or gold foil or a foil with a holographic pattern. The application of a coloured foil or foil with special effects is also possible.
15. Signature strip and scratch strip
The strip for the signature may be transparent, semitransparent, non-transparent or white or may carry a pattern. A scratch strip is not transparent but can have a secure pattern or a hologram allowing it to conceal a PIN or password on the card for a one-off exposure by means of scraping with a blunt object.
The placing and sizes of the signature strip and scratch strip are not stipulated under standard requirements. Various methods of strip application stamping or silk-screen printing are used depending on the configuration. The area used for placing the strips to be added by means of stamping or silk-screen printing is stated in the sections on Stamping and Ink Jet Printing.
16. Hologram
Stamp sizes and the positioning of holograms are not stipulated by the standard requirements. The area for hologram placement and the maximum possible stamp sizes are specified in the section Stamping and depend on the image on the hologram. The field sizes of the hologram on the holographic tape should be 2 mm larger than the stamp sizes.
Adding a hologram provided by the client, subject to fulfillment of the requirements of the holographic tape, is possible by additional agreement.
17. Sublimation Printing
Monochromatic personalisation
The image should be placed on the card at a minimum distance of 2 mm from any edge and from the magnetic strip (if it is present). It is preferable if it is 3 mm or more.
To personalise text elements it is necessary to indicate the font name, its design (style) and the sizes for the text elements. The required stamped text size should be not less than 6 pt (for Bold style) and not less than 8 pt (for Normal style). Lineales sans serif are preferable (such as Arial, Pragmatica) using Bold style in sizes of 9 pt ormore.
The standard colour for sublimatic personalisation is black. In some cases it is possible to use the following colours: gold, silver, burgundy, white, blue etc.

Colour image
An image can be placed across the entire surface of the card on all types of standard cards.
The image should be placed on the card using a separation of not less than 2 mm from the magnetic strip (if it is present). It is preferable to use 3 mm or more.
The requirements for the text elements are specified in the appropriate sections.
18. Embossing
Embossing is implemented in large font sizes (Farrington OCR 7B, 4 mm) and in small font sizes (OCR-B Standard Gothic and Standard Cyrillic, 3 mm). The large font size can contain the figures from 0 to 9 only, while in the small ones figures and capital letters of the Russian and English alphabets, including 6 punctuation symbols: . , - / &. Cards using transparent plastic can be embossed only with figures and letters of English alphabet.
Embossing can be carried out with painting of the relief symbols in certain colours (gold, silver, black, white, blue etc) or without it. Relief painting is possible only for laminated cards. Cards with colour sublimation image printing and lacquering do not allow the painting of embossing.
The embossing field is located according to the following:
Without painting not less than 7 mm from the card upper edge and not less than 3 mm from the bottom, left and right hand edges of the card (physical limits of the embossing apparatus);
If symbol painting is required then, according to the ISO 7811 3 standards, the positioning of the embossing symbols is defined rather strictly. It should be not less than 7 mm from the left, 3 mm from the bottom, and 5 mm from the right hand card edges. The maximum distance from the bottom of the card to the upper edge of the embossing field should be 24 mm.
When embossing aligns with the operation of encoding a magnetic strip placed in accordance with the requirements of the ISO 7811 standard, embossing must be implemented on the face of the card.
In the case where embossing with relief painting is combined with synchronous sublimatic heat transfer printing, the minimum distance from the left edge increases to 8 mm.
19. Indent printing
Indent printing can be carried out using a small font (3 mm) which contains the figures from 0 to 9 and capital letters of the Russian alphabet or a large font (4 mm) which contains figures only. Indent printing may be implemented either in black or in white.
When indent printing aligns with the operation of encoding of a magnetic strip, placed in accordance with the requirements of the ISO 7811 standard, indent printing is implemented on the face or by using a font with a reverse slant (3 mm) on the reverse side.
Placement must be at least 7 mm from the upper edge, 3 mm from the bottom, left and right hand card edges.
20. Placement of a bar-code
The printing of almost any industrial type of bar-code is possible. The most popular among them are Code 3 of 9 (Code 39), Interleaved 2 of 5, Code 128, EAN 13. The methods used for adding these at the stage of card personalisation are digital offset, sublimatic or ink-jet printing. The use of traditional offset printing is possible for an invariant bar-code.
The width and position of the bar-code depends on the type of reader used where barcode- reading will be carried out and are specified by the standards for the different types of bar-code. The bar-code length depends on the coded information and the bar-code type, and is specified in the standards. The minimum height of the bar-code is 5 mm not including the digitisation. The bar-code on the card should be placed within the areas delimited by the corresponding method of placement. It is necessary to follow the obligatory requirements on the size of the free fields before the first and after the last stroke of the bar-code. These are integral parts of the bar-code and are specified by the standards for each type of bar-code (harmful interference is at a maximum when graphic elements next to the bar-code are in black).
An ordinary bar-code is printed in black on the white background of the card. Confidence in reading drops with an increase in the diffusive component of indirect lighting (for example, in the case of a coarse-grained metalised layer). Additional agreement is required for bar-code printing in other colours.
When using infra-red readers the bar-code can be protected from photocopying by positioning it behind a layer of special black ink.
21. Ink Jet Printing
Ink jet printing is carried out with black ink only. The printing of figures, capital Latin symbols and symbols/fonts of different sizes is possible.
The quantity of dots in the symbol can vary from 10 to 160 for ink jet printing. The optimal resolution depends on the card material, the surface structure and the symbol image. It is a subject for agreement with the Client. The symbol sizes can vary either in height or in width, but will usually be 2-3 mm in height. Symbol placement on the card is arbitrary, but must not be within 5 mm of the edges. Ink jet printing is possible on several lines simultaneously (up to 4 lines), but only longitudinally or transversely. It is possible to place up to 4 text fields in one printing line depending on the font size. Symbols also can be printed in bold.
It is possible to print numbered, logical, bar-code codes (EAN8, EAN 13, Code 39, Interleaved 2 of 5, Code 128), DATA MATRIX codes etc. The bar-code height is 5 mm without including the digitising.
In the case of personalisation of cards with a secure scratch strip there are limits for the placement of the lines with the card number and PIN-code.
Field for PIN-code placement under a secure scratch strip:
  • 8 mm from the bottom and upper card edges for PIN-code placement;
  • 7 mm from the bottom and upper card edges for placement of the secure scratch strip.
The field for number placement is not closer than 5 mm from the card edges. It is necessary to consider equipment constraints when placing several personalisation fields on the same card.
For a field carrying the date there is a limitation on the format of the given data. The following dividers must be used for the data fields: / and space.
22. Additional finishing of the card
Additional finishing can include: slotting (round or for a badge attachment), notching to allow for card separation. This finishing can be implemented on cards with thicknesses of 0.65-0.84 mm. On non-laminated cards GSM-punching and notching to allow SIM-module breakout can be provided.

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