Holograms: A practical choice for overt security features

On 10.11.14, In Resources, Security Printing, by Blake Houser

Hologram on euro currency

Hologram on euro currency

Holograms are commonly used to deter counterfeiting credit cards, photo ID cards, documents, and other products. They are a recognizable, overt security feature that can be used as an important line of defense.

Always take a multiple-security approach, using safeguards with covert and overt features. Some holograms have covert features that require authentication by their readers. In this article, we deal with overt security features (visible to the naked eye).

The most commonly used holograms in security printing are 2D holograms:

These holograms are composed of two-dimensional images that come in various colors and comprise two layers, one of which does not have visual depth.

3D holograms:

Often referred to as “true holograms,” these holograms are created from a solid 3D object and comprise a three-dimensional image. This process involves prisms and laser beams, which divide and then put back together.

2D-3D holograms:

These holograms are composed of two-dimensional layers. One image is placed over another, giving the image visual depth.

Five of the biggest benefits for using holograms:

  1. They cannot be optically scanned by computer
  2. They cannot be reproduced with a photocopier
  3. They are quick and easy to validate optically
  4. They have enhanced packaging appeal
  5. They improve consumer brand awareness


Although there are exceptions, it is a good rule of thumb to have a covert feature with any hologram. You can read about covert holograms by clicking here.

If you are considering adding a hologram to your product, first discuss the product with a security printer to gain a better understanding and a complete solution.


Blake Houser

Client Relations Manager at The Wells & Drew Companies
About the author:
Blake Houser is Client Relations Manager at Wells & Drew. In addition, he is the third generation in this family-owned speciality printing business.

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