Is Security Printing Like The Disappearing Ink You Played With As A Child?

June 17, 2021 , , 1086 views 14 Comments

At first glance, security printing can look a lot like one of those hidden messages you made as a child. You might remember creating disappearing ink so that you could write a message left hidden for someone else to find. Security Printing, on the surface, can look a lot like a hidden message. But what it actually is, is a secure form of printing that can deter counterfeiting and copying your hard work.

Levels Of Security

Security printing comes in 3 different levels depending on how secure you ultimately want a document to be. The images or text that’s being used for security is printed with a special type of ink that embeds the image or text within the document.

The first level is an overt type of printing. It’s easy to see with the naked eye making the security printing completely visible.

The second security level is semi-covert. It’s a little more like your disappearing ink messages. You can’t view it with the naked eye, but you can view it with a magnifying glass or UV light, making it a little more difficult to detect unless you’re looking for it.

The third security level, which is by far the most covert, is invisible to anyone looking for it without the use of special forensic tools. This is the highest level of security attainable for any document.

Each business needs a different level of security depending on the type of documents they are trying to secure. Spectra can work with you to figure out what level of security printing is right for you.

Not A Watermark or Hidden Message

Security printing may seem like a hidden message on the surface, but in reality it’s printing that uses a variety of sophisticated tools. Spectra uses a proprietary ink that can do the following:

  • Color-Shifting
  • Hologram
  • Invisible
  • UV-Responsive
  • IR-Responsive

And while they may appear as a hidden message of sorts, they are deeply complex. The intricate designs are made using embedding features. Additionally, all the printing is done on special security papers that work with the ink to create a truly reproduction-free document.

Security printing uses a variety of embedding features to create the complex, intricate designs that make it secure. Embedding features utilize micro lettering, backgrounds, barcodes, watermarks and even serial numbers to create their complex designs.

So what is micro lettering? Micro lettering is extremely small text that is difficult to see or almost impossible to see with the naked eye. Micro lettering is often used on checks and currency.

Why Use Security Printing?

Many businesses have a need to protect their work and be able to tell at a glance whether or not the document is a duplicate. Security printing ensures that counterfeiters, copiers, and scanners can’t duplicate your document without it being readily apparent. As you can imagine, it’s difficult for a forger or counterfeiter to recreate these very complex intricate designs that are nearly impossible to see.

You’re likely familiar with the complex security printing that is used for all manner of money, passports, and similar documents that require extreme security. These types of documents are all created using a form of security printing.

The types of items that could benefit from secure printing are endless. Some examples include product authentication, stock certificates, identity cards, and more.

And there’s no need to worry about sensitive information getting in the wrong hands. Specifically, using a company that is HIPAA compliant ensures that any sensitive information is kept confidential. Spectra is HIPAA compliant, making our printing services uniquely secure for medical records and other sensitive information.


At Spectra we pride ourselves on creating unique, secure printed documents that can protect your company from forgeries, counterfeits and other thefts. We offer a proprietary ink that offers several levels of security depending on your needs. You can get just about anything securely printed that you might need, printed on a paper that is perfect for your needs.

Contact us today to get a quote on your security printing or general printing fulfillment needs.

14 responses to “Is Security Printing Like The Disappearing Ink You Played With As A Child?”

  1. Mary says:

    I read your blog and I’m curious as to how the printing industry can help offset counterfeiting?

    • Julie Coyle says:

      Security printing allows for the application of multiple layers of security elements in different security levels to documents, labels or packages. An example is invisible inks that require purpose-built authenticators or inspectors for identification.

  2. Harold says:

    Aren’t there different levels of security, or should I say strategies?

  3. Gabriela says:

    I find this whole subject to be fascinating. Which products are most targeted by counterfeiting?

    • Julie Coyle says:

      The most confronted industries are nutraceuticals and wellness, cosmetics and personal care, spirits, agrochemical, industrial and automotive, and food and beverage. Counterfeiting is very profitable by fraudulent entities.

  4. Margaret says:

    Why is brand protection so important?

    • Julie Coyle says:

      Falsified products are sold on global eCommerce platforms and well-known social media streams. Counterfeit and pirated goods now account for over 3% of global trade.

  5. Henry says:

    This is so interesting. How do companies like Amazon avoid counterfeiting?

    • Julie Coyle says:

      A lot of global e-commerce giants such as Amazon have made public commitments to bring counterfeiting down to zero with the establishment of Counterfeit Crimes Units.

  6. Evans says:

    Has COVID affected the world of counterfeiting?

    • Julie Coyle says:

      Yes, as more consumers turned to internet shopping, counterfeit pharmaceuticals and medical devices boomed. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals has reached over $4 billion worldwide.

  7. Nancy says:

    Why is security printing such a big deal?

    • Julie Coyle says:

      Counterfeiting has become a multi-billion dollar business and it can affect everything from your headphones to your medications. Huge scale operations using advanced technology are operating all over the world. Counterfeiters are getting bigger and bolder. Security printing can help protect the legitimacy of the brand.

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