Which dye film is right for you?

Written By John Fieldsend
Magicard Article
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There are a lot of options when it comes to dye film. Here we look at some points to consider when choosing what type is right for you.

How is dye film made up?

It’s good to understand how dye film is made up. It is a series of panels each of which do a different job:

Dye film types

ID card YMCKD leyersSingle-Colour Monochrome – Monochrome dye film comes in an array of colours. As well as black, you can choose red, blue, green, silver, gold or white so you can print single-colour images and text. This makes it ideal for personalising a pre-printed card, or using for price labels.

YMCKO – The most popular option, dye film which prints full-colour plus an overlay which protects the card from wear and tear as well as shows up signs of tampering.

YMCKOK – Four-colour plus overlay with Black on back. This is a full-colour ribbon with overlay that can also print black text or barcodes on the back of the card. Uses include gift and loyalty cards, membership cards etc

YMCKOK with half-panel – These films have half sized YMC colour panels and full-sized Black and Overlay panels. They will only print up to half the colour areas of a card – used typically with pre-printed cards to print an image in a blank photo field area.


What are you trying to do?

….so are you going to print in full colour or do you just need to print in one colour? For example, if you just need to personalise a pre-printed card or print a barcode you’ll need monochrome film,ID card design or if you’re printing price labels on a black card for example, you can use a gold film (other colours are available!).

Including an O panel indicates the film adds a clear protective overlay. This extends their lifespan as it protects from wear and tear and reduces the need to separately laminate the cards. This is also the layer where, with Magicard printers, you can include a HoloKote -a secure watermark applied each card during the printing process.

Once you’ve decided what‘s right for you in terms of colour and overlay, establish whether you’re going to be printing on just one side of the card or not. If you are, then a YMCK film (YMCKO if you want an overlay) will do the trick. However, if you want to print black text or a barcode on the reverse of the card, you need a YMCKOK film.

Dye film from Magicard

Fundamentally, make sure the film you choose is compatible with your printer. Here at Magicard, all our dye films are coded to work with specific models.

Magicard dye film part number: MB250YMCKOK breaks down as follows:

MB250YMCKOK-Graphic….so this is a dye film for a Magicard 600 which will print 250 cards in four colour, with overlay and Black on back

Be aware that you can print full colour on both sides of the card but you’ll only be able to print half the amount of cards as each card will consume two full sets of panels.

Discover the right film for your printer here.




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Dye film overview
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16th Aug 2022