When we talk about security printing, most of us think about MICR (Magnetic Image Character Recognition), this being a toner/ink with metallic particles used in cheques,  and thereby making it hard for the bad boys to amend details.


The subject is explained really well in the Leonardo DiCaprio film, 'Catch me if you can' about a one-time forger and con artist, Frank W. Abagnale. It’s a great film, well worth watching and moreover, it is a true story.


Frank Abagnale is probably responsible for the creation of security printing and now runs a very well respected business advising people on a whole range of security issues in what must be the ultimate ‘poacher turned game-keeper’ story.


To say things have changed since Frank’s heyday in the 1960s is an understatement. Computers, laser-printers and the world wide web would have provided a tantalising opportunity for Frank. Maybe that’s why he now works for the FBI?


But change things certainly have, and while the criminals have become more inventive, the methods and solutions used to fight back have evolved into a more cultured industry that never stops changing.


So what? I hear you say. What’s in it for me?



Let’s take a look at how you can easily take your first steps into the security printing business.


Some security can be added to print jobs in the simplest ways using your existing equipment. For example, when a clear toner is applied to overprint a message onto event tickets which would then render the tickets ‘copy-proof’. When the bad boys try to photocopy the ticket, all they will get is a very good full colour image, but the clear overprinted message won’t show up. 


The market is huge with opportunities for all. Here are just a few examples of items where you could begin to add an additional layer of printed security. 


Certificates (Education, Savings, Tax, examination, birth, marriage, death, accreditation, family registration etc)

Government Issued Certificates, Temporary I.D.'s and passports

Land Registry and Titles of Ownership

Licenses, Permits and Authorisations (eg: Arms Licenses)

Registration documents (Vehicle etc)

Insurance Policy Documents

Medical Prescriptions

Official Ministry Stationery

Judicial and Legal Reports

Corporate contracts

Passes and membership documents

Ticketing (events and transportation)

Travel / Export documents

Customs and Shipping documents

Retail Vouchers

Cheques and bank drafts


This industry is about securing the total integrity of important and sensitive documents through personalisation while ensuring that the variable data aspect also includes added security or protection. 


The good thing here is it’s not about any one kind of printing machine, it’s all about the output and as such software or special inks can enable your existing device to meet some of the above needs.


To put it another way, have you ever been asked to produce any of these?


2D/QR codes
Fluorescent inks


Microprint fonts

Copy-evident pantographs


Security printing is primarily about anti-counterfeiting and the tracking of documents, but what comes next? How about printable, trackable, wearable technology that does’t just track documents - it can also track you?


You wanna buy some DVD?