Security Print: a Case Study of Printing for a Competition

by Rich B

Following on from our article on security printing cheques so they display your own company brand, we now move onto taking a look at competitions and how sensitive competition data is handled within the printing process.

Case Study
Obviously, there are lots of different competition types, so we’re going to zoom in on one particular type of competition to give you a feel for the issues that have to be resolved in one specific case study.

This particular competition required some printed material that would be stuck onto the packaging of a product. You’ve probably seen the likes – a small, fold-out booklet or label that’s sealed and glued to the outer packaging. It’s the kind of item that’s often found on medicines to display instructions and warnings. The purchaser then has to break the seal and unfold the booklet to reveal whether they’ve won or not – or in this case, to reveal an online code that would tell them if they’ve won or not.

medicine bottle label

A similar process is commonly seen on the labels of medicines

In the case of a competition, it’s the creation of the winning (and losing) code that’s key – and it’s maintaining the security and integrity of these codes throughout the printing and distribution process which is vital.

Coding Company Involvement
In our case, there were to be a dozen winners, each winning a substantial few thousand pounds. There were also around a million losers. And so, to ensure the integrity of the competition and to remove any chance of corruption, the codes were created and invigilated throughout the printing process by an independent security print coding company.

Printing
During the printing of the competition booklet, there is an audit of all printing assets to make sure nothing in the process can impact on the security of the project. So it’s important to get a list of the requirements of the security print coding company before you choose your printer, to make sure the printer can adhere to all the guidelines.

An example of one of these requirements is that the packing boxes need coding in a particular way to ensure that specific products with specific booklets are packed in their target packing box. This means that all codes can be tracked at all times – all of which can be a nightmare for a printer without the right control process in place.

It’s common for either the end-customer or a print consultant to be at the actual press pass of the job. But in this case, a representative of the security coding company will also be present to ensure everything is above board and complies fully with the required process. This includes correct disposal of all waste on the project!

So if you’re looking to get involved in printing a competition, you have been warned. They can involve a good deal of extra work and have the possibility of becoming a bit of a nightmare. However, if you’re properly prepared and do your homework up front, there’s no reason why it should be any more of a problem than any other print job.

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