Security Design Features Printing Knowledge
Security Design Features

Shown below are some security features that  can be used in the design of your document to aid in deterring forgery of that document. The features can be used alone or several features can be layered to increase the security on your document.

Pantograph Screens

A pantograph is a screen that is printed in the background of a document. It is usually printed in a lighter color of ink and made up of a design that is hard to copy or scan. It can also be custom designed using a company's name or logo.

Although it adds to the document's design, the main purpose of the pantograph is to help make the document hard to duplicate by someone trying to forge or alter the document. The newer scanners and copiers can now duplicate pantographs so that it is hard to distinguish the copy from the original. Other security features should be used along with a pantograph screen to make the document more secure.


Void Pantograph Screen

This is a special pantograph screen that has the word "VOID" hidden in the pantograph by the use of special screens and background designs. When photocopied by a color copier, the word "VOID" appears on the copied document. The void feature makes it more difficult to duplicate than a standard pantograph but with some of today's higher quality scanners and copiers, the void pantograph can be duplicated and the "VOID" remains hidden.

Not all pantograph screens or all ink colors work well when incorporating the "VOID" feature. If the ink color is too light, the "Void" will not appear when copied. Consult your vendor to see which pantograph designs and ink colors will give you the best results.

ODTTM - Optical Deterrent Technology

ODTTM uses a patented security screen that discourages attempts to duplicate secure documents on copiers or scanners. It works in the same way that a void pantograph works in that when photocopied, the word "VOID" appears. The differences are that ODTTM works effectively when copied by most any black and white copier, color copier or scanner, and it does not have to be used with a pantograph background screen. Not having to use a pantograph screen to hide the void in the background allows for a cleaner looking document and allows for better legibility on documents that are text intensive. The ODTTM technology works well on checks, prescription blanks, transcripts, medical records, wills and other documents needing that extra security applied to them.

The ODTTM technology works best when using certain ink colors. Consult with your vendor for which colors will work best.

Proprietary software can be purchased that can be interfaced with Quark so that you end up having Quark files you are working with. You can also purchase licensed negatives instead of using the software.


Microprinting is a line of text that is so small that it appears as a solid or screened line. A low powered magnifying glass is needed to verify that it is text. When photocopied or scanned the microprint line of text fills in or plugs, if the line was verified with a magnifying glass, it would reveal that the copied document was a fraudulent document. The letters MP are printed somewhere on the document to indicate that it contains microprinting. This type of printing is usually used on the signature line of a check but could be used in any type of document as a signature line, in the border or anywhere a line is used on the document.


Warning Bands

A border printed on the document that indicates the security features being used on the document. Sometimes the warning band will also explain how to detect certain features. The band warns document handlers as to what features should be checked to show authenticity of the document.

Backer Security Screen

The backer security screen is a screen that is printed on the back of the check and contains the words "Original Document". A light density screen is used, making it difficult to duplicate when copied or scanned.


A hologram is an image that displays a multi-dimensional image when a beam of light hits it at the right angle. When turned at different angles, it will change colors or a different image appears. The hologram is a very high security type feature that is impossible to reproduce even by the advanced technology of the copiers today. Also, it cannot be reproduce by traditional printing techniques. Holograms can only be produced by very specialized, expensive equipment. It makes it very difficult and expensive for a counterfeiter to reproduce. This is why it is used as a high security anti-counterfeit feature.

Holograms can be very expensive to use but there are different options of what kind of hologram to use that can help lower the cost. A full custom hologram would be the most expensive, ranging from $5000 to $15,000, but would also provide the highest security. The next level down from that would be a customized stock hologram where cost would be much lower. The cost would depend on the type of customization that was applied. The lowest level of security in a hologram would be a stock hologram without customization. All of these types of holograms provide extremely high security benefits. You would need to decide what level best fits your needs according to the level of potential loss you would incur if your document was duplicated.

Holograms are used on many different types of products to show authenticity. Some of the products you will see holograms used on are negotiable documents, certificates, legal documents, ID and membership cards, concert and sporting event tickets and passes, and credit cards. You will also see holograms used on the packaging for products, such as compact discs, software, jewelry, cosmetics, cologne, and sporting goods. You can see an example of a hologram on Visa or Mastercard credit cards. For more details on holograms, see Finishing - Foil Stamping - Holograms.

Note: Contact your supplier for help in determining if a hologram would be beneficial to your product security and what level of hologram would best fit your needs.


CodeSafeTM is a patent pending technology that gives maximum security to your documents. A synthetic D.N.A. molecular chemical code is incorporated into the document. The chemical code's molecular make up is very rare and thus creates a unique distinguishing feature, making reproduction of this feature almost impossible. With special equipment in a forensic lab, this molecular makeup can be decoded for exact verification of the document. Visual identification of the code can be made by the use of a special verification chemical, a black light or under a magnifying glass where a unique debossed pattern can be detected.


High Resolution Graphics

High resolution graphics are graphic images that contain very fine line details which makes them very difficult to reproduce accurately on scanners and copiers. High resolution graphics are used on logos, illustrations or in borders to help deter duplication and forgery of the documents.


Padlock Icon

The padlock icon is printed on the face of negotiable documents. This icon indicates that two or more security features have been used on that document. An explanation of the features used are printed on the back of the document in a padlock icon box.

Padlock Icon
on Face
of Document

Padlock Icon Box
on Back of Document


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