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Visitor Label & Badge Printing Options

There are a few different ways to handle visitor name tag printing, depending on the process and the materials used. From a process standpoint, you can pre-print a label for a pre-registered guest; you can print a label right at the kiosk after the person signs in; or you can print on-demand from a receptionist or security staff station. The flow of your visitor traffic and your security needs will determine the process. The type of label you select will also depend on process but is more often about preference and the security level of your building. For contractors and hoteling employees, you may also need to do badge printing, activation, and/or assignment, factoring in different ways to distribute access badges to certain areas of the buildings. Lastly, you may want to give access using a 2D barcode sent during pre-registration or printed/sent after sign in at a kiosk or the desk.

Label Options

Adhesive visitor label

Adhesive or Non-Adhesive Labels

There are two different types of media, adhesive and non-adhesive. Adhesive labels are typically worn directly on the visitors clothing often times on their chest. An example of an adhesive name tag can be seen to the left.

Adhesive labels can pose a problem on certain articles of clothing like a silky blouse or a silk-based suit. Therefore, as an alternative, companies often choose reusable name tag holders like those seen below.

Adhesive visitor label with reusable name tag holder

Our reusable name tag holders are made from laminated cardboard and can be customized by selecting color and design. We will help you design these to your branding so you get a truly customized experience. You can even choose to use different colors for different types of visitors (e.g. contractor vs a regular visitor). Typically, these name tag holders are worn on a lanyard or with a badge tag holder.

Common accessories to non-adhesive name tags: lanyard, badge clip, clear holder

The non-adhesive name tags are typically worn on a lanyard or with a badge clip after being placed in a clear plastic name tag holder.

Full-expiring name tags

Expiring or Non-Expiring Name Tags

Expiring tabs come in three different options, Full-expiring, Tab-expiring, and Dot-expiring.

Full-expiring labels give the highest visibility of an expired name tag. This does come with a slight price increase compared to the tab-expiring labels; however, some companies find that it's worth it since it's easier to see a voided tag.

Tab-expiring name tags

Tab-expiring name tags requires you to fold over a tab to activate the chemical. At first, the tag looks like a normal tag, but after 24 hours, the tag will show VOID on the side of the tag as shown below.

Dot-expiring name tags

A dot is the most cost-effective way to provide expiring name tags but requires that all tags be processed by staff to ensure the sticker was applied to the tag before supplying the tag to the visitor.

Color vs Black & White Name Tags

Everyone loves the idea of doing their name tags in color until they start analyzing the consumable cost compared to the number of visitors that they have over the course of a year. Black and white is by far the most popular choice when it comes to visitor tags. That’s because the technology uses direct thermal to print to the name tag - the same technology used to print a receipt when you go to the store or a restaurant. You also only need the label media and do not have to deal with ink cartridges or ribbons; poor printing as it runs out of ink; and other problems that plague an ink- or toner-based printing system. For those reasons, if you can go black and white, that is always our first recommendation. When color is a requirement, you have a few options based on your budget and needs.

Black and white visitor label sample

Black and white name tags are simple and easy. Purchase label stock, expiring or non-expiring, and that’s it. The printer handles the rest through what is called direct-thermal printing. It basically uses heat to print on the label media. This is by far the most cost-effective and widely used method to print labels.

Visitor label sample with a splash of color

Pre-printed labels are a cost-effective technique to get a nice looking label with a splash of color while still using black and white printing. With this, you pre-print areas of the label, like your logo or the top right section of the label shown below. Then, on your label template, you only print the dynamic visitor information resulting in a beautiful color visitor label that is still quite cost-effective.

Color Printed Visitor Label

Full color inkjet printing is by far the most expensive option. First, you need an upgraded printer capable of printing in full color. These start around $1,200 each (such as the LX500). The printers themselves are also a bit larger and not compatible with self-service kiosk printing. In addition, the consumables are expensive, typically costing more than $0.10 per label to print (an ink cartridge for the LX500 costs about $55, which you get about 600 or so labels at 50% coverage), not counting the label media. You also have to maintain both label stock and ink cartridges. So this isn’t our favorite option to recommend based on the many challenges it presents, but sometimes it makes sense for the right organization.

Full color laser printing is the most cost-effective way to print full-color labels. You simply purchase any dedicated color laser printer and pair it with label media like the Avery 5147. Unfortunately, you cannot yet print immediately from the kiosk to a laser printer after the visitor checks in. Instead, staff must print the label on a desktop machine through Savance's visitor management portal using a desktop application or browser interface. Consumable cost goes way down to under $0.05 per label for the label and the consumable toner. You can even print two tags for each visitor, then folder it and place it in a clear badge tag holder to show information or a barcode for sign out on the back of the tag as well.

Oversized badges and labels

Oversized Badges & Labels

Oversized badges and labels are often used for sports events or VIP access to certain events. Special printers and media are used to accomplish this type of printing. If you have a need for this, talk to a Savance sales rep or check out our oversized badge printer supplier's website.

Badge Printing & Activation Options

There are a couple of reasons you may wish to print and/or activate a badge. For example, a visitor might be more like a contractor that plans to be working there for a week or a month. In this case, instead of the visitor signing in every day and waiting for a host to escort them, they can be provided a badge giving them limited access for a fixed amount of time. Another example is when employees from another location come to visit. These employees may need certain access to the premise for a single day or a given number of days. In cases like these, you have a few different options.

Pre-printed or pre-activated visitor access cards

Pre-activated badges allows you to simply hand someone a badge from a rotating pool of badges that are either blank or generically printed. Typically, in the access control system, you will have a few preloaded people generically called Contractor 1, Contractor 2, etc., with pre-set permissions. You can then have the contractor assign the badge to our system so we can use the generic badge to track them through their visit. Alternatively, staff can assign the badge. Finally, if you don’t care to track the visitor, there is no need to tell EIOBoard which badge you provided that particular visitor with.

Another option is to provide generic non-activated badges and activate them. This is similar to the pre-activated badges, but instead of having badges pre-activated, staff will activate a badge on the access control system for a given date range assigned to certain security group(s). This adds a layer of security. Often, this is paired with the standard thermal-printed day-visitor pass in a clear badge holder case.

Custom-branded visitor and contractor access cards

A third option is to print and activate badges. This option allows for the highest level of security and maximizes branding and customization since you're giving visitors and contractors a custom-designed, color-printed badge. Typically, staff with the proper authority will validate some information, e.g. driver's license or ID, and capture an image if one has not already been captured, then prints a professional-looking badge from a predesigned template. Once printed, staff will activate the badge for a given date range. The Savance system will communicate with your access control system to add the person to the selected security group(s) for the given date range.