Security Printing Overview

from Warner, Richard D. and Richard M. Adams II, Introduction to Security Printing. (Pittsburge: PIA/GATF Press, 2005).

Security printing: “the process of converting printed products using limited-access materials and supplies along with unique or specialized technologies and a multiplicity of printing processes to produce security end products under secure operating procedures and manufacturing/distribution protocols.”

Security end products (SEPs): “documents, packages, labels, and cards…which need protection from counterfeiters, forgers, fraudsters, criminals, and terrorists.”

The printer of security documents must not only maintain the original intent of the document, meet customer aesthetic expectations, and deliver products on schedule, but must also integrate security features and devices into the document for identification, authentication, and verification. In addition to providing all the necessary technical support and processes necessary to produce security document,s the security printer must also secure his own manufacturing operations and take appropriate measures to ensure that he is dealing with bona fide suppliers and customers.”

One of the most widely agreed-upon practices used by security printers to mitigate counterfeiting attempts is to use several security printing devices on a given document, and to replace these devices with new and/or different security devices with regularity.”

Security devices are either overt or covert. Overt: they’re meant for easy, unaided detection. Covert: hidden in the documents design, meant to be detected by machine or other optical aid. 

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