These small products pack a big punch, beefing up organizational security and even offering immense branding potential.

ID cards are a no-brainer investment for most businesses, but not all cards are made equal. Before you run off to invest in a new set of ID cards, there are a few things you’ll want to understand. Centrally among these concerns is exploring various ID card materials and how they can affect the long-term outcome of your investment.

Here at, we are the premier supplier and manufacturer of promotional and organizational business products. We’ve been doing so for over a decade, working with massive brands like Nike and YouTube.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide on ID card materials to help you make informed decisions while shopping. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump right in.

Why Your Company or Organization Needs ID Cards

Before we explore all the intricacies of ID card materials, why should your organization even invest in ID cars in the first place? The applications are endless, from easy identification to branding potential.

Establishing Identity and Security

No matter the nature of your organization, there’s a crucial question that needs answering. Why use photo ID employee badges in the first place?

ID badges play a vital role in helping security teams verify authorization. These badges can be printed with barcodes to limit access to sensitive areas, maintaining safety for your organization. This can be especially convenient when pairing your ID badges with customized lanyards.

Streamlining Access and Operations

You might be wondering, what is a lanyard used for when it comes to ID cards? The answer is simple. ID cards and Lanyards go hand-in-hand together, speeding up the identification process without interrupting an employee’s daily tasks.

You can also use the barcodes or QR codes on an ID card to track attendance or schedules, speeding up payroll.

Enhancing Professionalism and Brand Image

Creating a unique design and learning how to put an ID card on a lanyard also carries benefits outside of your internal systems. You can use ID cards as miniature walking billboards, featuring your company’s logo and color theme. This can help present a professional image to customers and increase brand recognition outside of the office.

ID cards and lanyards are also excellent choices for company-hosted events and industry conferences, increasing networking and branding opportunities.

The benefits of a pristine set of custom ID cards are clear, but what are they actually made of? Let’s switch gears and discuss that next.

What are ID Cards Made Of?

When searching for a supplier and manufacturer of custom ID cards, you’ll likely find a litany of options, including several types of ID card materials. Let’s discuss a few of the most popular options.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): Popular and Versatile

Custom PVC cards are the most widely used option, and for good reason. PVC is an extraordinarily affordable material while still maintaining the flexibility and durability to survive daily wear and tear.

PVC cards can be customized with various color finishes and bar codes, thanks to the power of dye sublimation printing.

Teslin: Durable and Waterproof

Teslin ID cards offer unrivaled durability. Teslin is a synthetic material that gives the feel of paper while offering moisture resistance and protection against tearing without the need for lamination.

Teslin is a great choice for harsh outdoor business settings but may be an excessive and expensive option for many organizations.

Polycarbonate: For High-Security Needs

Where Teslin shines in durability, Polycarbonate mirrors it in regards to security. This material is capable of handling state-of-the-art security features like data encryption and advanced printing.

Polycarbonate ID cards are difficult for potential fraudsters to replicate or tamper with, making them an excellent choice for high-security fields like government and military offices.

Biodegradable Materials: Eco-Friendly Options

Biodegradable materials like PET and PLA are compostable, ensuring your ID cards are safe to recycle long after they have worn out their use.

In addition to their eco-friendly label, these materials are still durable enough to handle basic wear-and-tear for many organizations.

Choosing among many ID card materials isn’t the only thing to consider. Let’s talk about how these various materials are actually created.

How are ID Cards Made?

With the most popular choices for Identity card materials established, we’ll now turn our attention to another major question. How are ID cards made, and how does that construction affect the final product you receive?

The ID Card Production Process: A Step-by-Step Overview

While the process can vary based on the material you choose, here is a general overview of how it works:

  1. ID cards begin with a design, including templates, security features, logos, and identifying data like names and photos.

  2. This data will be formatted for printing, using ID card stock.

  3. Encoding materials like magnetic stripes and barcodes will be added during this process as well.

  4. Finishing touches will include cutting any notches or sealing the cards with lamination.

Printing Technologies Used in ID Card Creation

The most common printing technology for ID cards is dye sublimation. This is a heat-based printing technology that allows for several different color options while maintaining photo quality.

Other options include thermal printing which can be effective for simple text-based cards, or laser engraving for specific data concerns.

Now that you know how the process works, let’s discuss why you need to choose the right materials.

The Importance of Choosing the Right ID Card Materials

Your choice of identity card materials can make or break the final results. From durability to budget considerations, here’s why this isn’t a choice to take likely.

Durability Concerns for Different Environments

When making such a critical investment, you want to ensure your ID cards can stand the test of time. PVC is a durable choice for most organizations, but Teslin may be required in rugged, outdoor fields with varying temperatures and moisture levels.

Cost vs Quality: Finding the Balance

Hitting a sweet spot between cost and quality is critical when shopping for custom ID cards. Materials like Teslin and Polycarbonate are extremely expensive, making them overkill for many organizations. Meanwhile, cheap materials like paper will tear at the first sign of resistance,

PVC therefore offers the best balance between cost and quality.

Impact of Material on ID Card Functionality

Depending on the needs of your organization, you’ll want to select the right material. Features like smart chips or bar codes are best suited for PVC and Polycarbonate. If you have specific requirements, it is critical to consult with a manufacturer to figure out the best material for those needs.

So, Which Identity Card Materials are Right For Your Needs?

With that established, how can you choose among these materials? Let’s help you finalize your choice.

Assessing Your Organization's Specific Requirements

Consider the needs of your organization. Do your employees work in harsh environments? Does your organization have strict authorization requirements? Are you aiming for long-term durability, flashy branding potential, or both?

Special Considerations for Unique Environments

Specialized environments will mandate specific choices. Teslin and Polycarbonate cards can often be the only option in environments with extreme temperature or security needs, respectively.

If you believe your company is one of these special cases, we recommend reaching out to a supplier for personalized guidance.

Why We Believe PVC is the Best Choice

Overall, PVC offers the best blend of cost-effectiveness and design potential. PVC cards can accommodate various security features and is durable enough to survive daily wear and tear.

With the knowledge of various ID card materials established, you only have one decision left to make. So, how can you learn how to make PVC ID cards, and who makes custom ID cards for businesses?

No Matter Which ID Card Materials You Choose, You Can Count on!

Choosing a material for your ID cards can be tricky. You need to find a supplier who can confidently answer the question of how are ID cards made, all while avoiding exorbitant prices and ensuring a long-lasting final result.

Thankfully, we have everything you need right here at With competitive prices, an intuitive design process, and a storied reputation, you can rest easy knowing you are in good hands with us.

What Makes Our Custom ID Cards the Most Trusted Choice Online?

Shopping for custom ID cards isn’t a decision to take lightly. However, here at, we can guarantee you’ll be in good hands.

We’ve been making custom products for organizations for over a decade, working with major global brands like Netflix, Yelp, and Microsoft. You may be wondering, what are ID cards made of here at

We utilize high-quality PVC, the most trusted material on the market, along with a state-of-the-art dye sublimation printing process. We pair our PVC ID cards with the best accessories on the market, along with an intuitive design tool that will allow anyone to create elaborate designs without needing additional skills.

How to Make Yours in a Few Easy Clicks

Creating visually appealing PVC ID cards with us is simple. Our online tool will guide you through the process. You’ll begin by choosing a size and orientation. You’ll follow that up with a choice of finishes from glossy to matte, and a notch design for adding different types of lanyards. From there, simply finish by adding logos and color choices.

If you have a more complex design in mind or want assistance with customization, our customer support team is always standing by ready to help you build your dream product for your organization.

Other Products to Complete Your Purchase

Here at, we have the best custom wristbands, ID cards, and lanyards, along with all of the accessories you need to maximize your investment. 

In addition to ID cards, other customizable products can be just what the doctor ordered, beefing up your security and branding potential.

First, pairing your new cards with a custom ID card lanyard is a fantastic choice. Personalized lanyards can make ID cards convenient and accessible for employees.

Pairing lanyards with a custom badge holder is also wise. Our inventory of acrylic badge holders and clear plastic card holders is excellent for conferences and security purposes alike.

While they don’t directly relate to ID cards, a set of custom silicone bracelets and wristbands provides another fantastic option for businesses. There are several different types of wristbands to choose from, from simple options for access to events to vibrant designs for giveaways and marketing.

Wrapping up Our Identity Card Materials Guide

Before you run off to invest in a set of customized products for your organization, let’s briefly recap our article. What are ID cards made of, and how are ID cards made?

While ID card materials can vary, PVC offers the best balance of durability and price. PVC ID cards are printed using dye sublimation to create a long-lasting feature-rich design.

You’ll also want to work with the right supplier to make the most of your investment. Here at, we’ve been creating custom products for over a decade. We’ve built a reputation for success and durability, working with massive global brands like Nike, Google, and Meta.

If you enjoyed our guide on Identity card materials and are interested in other products for your business but aren’t sure where to start, check out our blog! We’ve created guides comparing wristbands vs lanyards, how to make custom lanyards, how to make custom wristbands, and a guide to wristband marketing for conferences and giveaways.

Otherwise, if you want to begin crafting a fresh set of ID cards, reach out to our customer support team. We will help you create an impactful design that beefs up security and amplifies your branding potential!