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Design Tips: When & Why You Should Use a Watermark

Design Tips: When & Why You Should Use a WatermarkHave you ever heard of a watermark? If you’re unfamiliar with that terminology, it is a logo or image that is designed with a level of transparency so that it is not printed in full color. There are a number of ways in which you can use a watermark but here are a few reasons why you might want to use a watermark on your ID cards.

Why & How to Use a Watermark?

Watermarks are typically used to add a more professional and refined look to your card design. It can allow you to keep a minimalist design while filling in the gaps with a professional flare.


There are a variety of ways in which you can implement a watermark into your design. Some like to have one larger watermark in the background of the design while others prefer to have a series of small watermarks repeated across the entire design.


The most popular method would be to have the watermark in the background of the design, overlaying all other content on top. Conversely, you can overlay the watermark on top of the card’s content, in which case you would need to make sure that the watermark’s transparency is set very high so that the content underneath can be easily read.

Watermarks have also been used in the form of a holographic overlay. This method takes the concept to the next level, making it functional as a security feature. It’s considered a “security” feature because it’s quite difficult to reproduce, making the card harder to falsify.

Some decide to use an image or line of text that is not the same as their logo. But, if you intend to use your logo as your watermark, here are a couple things to consider:

  1. Size & Quality – Use a high resolution image. It can always be scaled down if it’s too large. Scaling up is more problematic because of pixelation issues.
  2. Transparent Background – It’s important that when you submit your logo that the background is transparent. This will allow the logo to be placed on any background. If the logo’s background is not transparent, you are limited to placing it onto a design that has the same color as your logo background, otherwise you will see a box that surrounds your logo which really diminishes the professional look and feel.

Watermarks can be a wonderful addition to your card. If you would like to explore this on your ID card design, give us a call. We would be happy to help! Call (866) 610-4308

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