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Flashback Friday: Card backs provide valuable real estate

Let’s face it, there’s not much happening on the back of a student ID card. Mag stripes and barcodes aside, in most cases the reverse side features little more than a paragraph of tiny, black-and-white legal jargon and perhaps the odd financial network logo.

But a growing number of institutions are putting the backs of their IDs to a different use by printing campus resource numbers, emergency services lines and other pertinent information for students. Even recently, initiatives have been formed calling for the backs of student ID cards to be used for more effectively to better serve the students carrying them.

We discussed this very issue back in 2016 in our “On the flipside” story devoted to what a university can do when it comes to printing on the back of its campus cards. And we found that it’s actually a bit more involved than one might think.

Unlike the front of the card where aesthetics rule the day, the backs of IDs can offer little in the way of unused space as they compete with card technology elements. But it’s valuable real estate nonetheless, and there are certainly ways to utilize that space effectively.

In our writeup hear from a host of vendors and campus card professionals alike as they discuss the unofficial best practices for printing on the back of ID cards, see some suggested disclaimers, examples of printed content, and learn the key challenge of making it all fit.

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