Hotel Key Card Design: Expert Guide to Custom Hotel Key cards

Hotel Key Card Design: Expert Guide to Custom Hotel Key cards

Last Updated on October 31, 2023 by Vincent Zhu

Hotel key cards are widely used in various areas of the hotel, such as to open electronic hotel door locks, use elevators, power rooms, go to restaurants, etc.

A well-crafted hotel key card design is crucial to your marketing strategy. After first impressions and the website, guests will look at their key card more than any other piece of collateral throughout their stay. This makes them a perfect medium to communicate your brand image and values.

What will you need for the hotel key card design?

Hotel key card design can be complex; you must know what tools to use to complete it. For hotel key card design, you will most likely need the following:

Hotel key card ideas

If you’re looking for new hotel key card designs, don’t forget to consider how they’ll fit in with the rest of your promotional materials. Use them to reinforce your brand identity and ensure guests know who to thank for their stay.

Hotel key card ideas

Keycards are a fantastic marketing opportunity for your hotel business. They provide a space for you to include your brand’s logo, contact information, company info, a listing of amenities, and more.

  • Including your telephone number and website is easy to ensure guests can easily reach you to book another stay or recommend your hotel to friends.
  • Include marketing messages, like your hotel’s phone number, website URL, social media handles, and email address. Your hotel’s key cards are essentially advertising material guests will have on hand, making them an excellent opportunity.
  • Cards that list amenities. Key cards help provide access to guests—they can also be used to inform them about the benefits of staying at your hotel during their next visit. List those spas and exercise rooms on there!
  • Cards with maps. If you want to keep things simple but still provide added value, give guests a map of local attractions or transit routes—mainly if you’re located in an area where visitors may be unfamiliar with public transit options.
  • Cards with logos and branding elements. You might not think about it often, but hotels need to get creative when choosing hotel key card designs—and this doesn’t just mean including maps or informational text there!
  • Many hotels now feature logos on their key cards; others even use these small pieces of plastic as vehicles for displaying full-color photos or other graphics related directly to the property itself (instead of simply using plain white plastic stock).

Hotel key card design software for building custom artwork.

Hotel key card design software for building custom artwork

You’ll need specialized software or a template to ensure your artwork is formatted correctly. This will ensure your image aligns with the embedded electronics in the cards. Plenty of free and paid options are available, so you can find one that fits whatever budget you’ve set aside for this project.

Some software also allows you to add text and font styles directly into the image—this is helpful, mainly if your design contains short information or directions needed on the front of the card.

Hotel key card design templates for custom artwork.

Suppose you already have artwork ready for your hotel key card design. In that case, a template may be available online or through the printer manufacturer to guide you when creating your final layout.

A hotel key card design template is a pre-made design that you can use as the basis for your unique and customized hotel key cards. You can download key card templates, save them to your computer, and edit them in a photo editing program.

Hotel key card design templates for custom artwork.

Because they are editable, you can change them to include your contact information, logo, color scheme, and more.

Templates make designing more accessible than ever because all of the hard work has already been completed for you by professional graphic designers who know what makes a great-looking hotel key card design.

These templates are usually designed by professional graphic designers who understand the importance of maintaining consistency between all parts of an image while allowing space for important details like company logos or other identifying information.

Guidance on how to design a hotel key card.

Hotel Key Card Design: Expert Guide to Custom Hotel Key cards 4

Many printers offer guides or videos online that provide step-by-step instructions on designing custom cards with their software packages. These tutorials often include tips about using different fonts and colors effectively. Hence, they complement each other nicely without distracting one another (or vice versa).

Images, logos, and other graphics

You’ll want the right images and graphics to help sell your brand to potential customers. Write down your ideas for how you want your hotel key cards to look. Then, start compiling images and graphics that fit those ideas.

Hotel Key Card Design: Expert Guide to Custom Hotel Key cards 5

It helps if they match the overall aesthetic of your hotel’s brand identity, but don’t worry too much about this unless you’re using someone else’s artwork; in that case, make sure you have permission from them first before using it on your hotel keycards!

Copy and text

After gathering all of our imagery together, we created beautiful art pieces containing everything from inspirational quotes about love (which felt appropriate given what we did) -“Your love is like a candle burning brightly amidst darkness”-to lovely poems written by poets around their life experiences-we wanted these words printed onto each piece as well as some information such as date/time/location where they were created.”


The font you choose must be visible and easy to read. The perfect hotel key card font will be clear and legible. You can use a decorative or creative font, but it should not be difficult for guests to understand.


Your design should include colors representing your brand identity and making your card stand out. If your hotel has a signature color on stationery, in your logo, furniture, etc., use that color in your key card design!

Card printer

Hotel key cards are printed with special machines called retransfer printers. Ensure you’re using the right printer before you start designing.

Hotel key card design- Card printer

For more information about hotel key card printers, please read this article: Why Need to Buy Card Printers for Your Hotel Key Cards Using? 

How to design a hotel key card?

1. Find the hotel key card supplier: To design your custom hotel key cards, it’s essential to start with the right hotel key card lock system supplier. Hotel key card suppliers will know what is needed to produce the quality custom hotel key card you are looking for.

As a professional hotel key card lock system supplier in China, ShineACS Locks can also offer a custom key card design service.

Ordering more than 200 pcs of hotel key cards will be free.

2. Ask for a hotel key card design template: The hotel supplier should be able to give you the template needed to create your design and information on what information needs to be included on the hotel key cards.

The hotel key card design template should contain the guidelines and specifications for designing your custom look. The template will include safety warnings, legal disclaimers, and other important information that must appear on your custom key cards.

How to design a hotel key card

3. Choose an appropriate size for both artwork and text: An ideal painting size would include all elements being at least 15% larger than what is displayed on the screen; this ensures they will fit correctly after shrinking them down during the printing process.

The same goes with font sizes – choose something that looks good when viewed at small sizes (required by most printers). It might feel like common sense, but many people don’t realize how small their logo or image needs to be until they see it printed on paper!

4. The creative part is where it gets fun! You can design a simple graphic or upload photos of beautiful scenery or landmarks near your property.

What information appears on the card’s front side is up to you. Besides any required text (like notices about liability or age restrictions), you can include branding elements like logos and taglines.*

5. Different materials are available, from standard PVC plastic to RFID contactless. Key cards are generally made from PVC because they’re durable and UV-resistant.

If you need help determining which material is best for your needs, consider consulting an expert at our partner companies who can guide you through this process.

6. Start production: Once all pieces are in place and approved by everyone involved, submit an order with your hotel key card supplier and start printing!

How Much Does Hotel Key Card Design Cost?

Regarding quantity, key card costs can vary based on the size of your order. If you order more than 5,000 cards at once, you can negotiate pricing with the company because they have a large order.

hotel key card design template

However, when ordering less than 5,000 cards at one time, you could incur an additional fee for less than the minimum.

Of course, hotel key card design prices also depend on the printer you choose to work with.

For example, some printers charge a setup fee while others do not. In addition to the printing costs of your key card design package price and printing fees, miscellaneous charges may arise throughout the process. These include shipping costs and expenses associated with dying cuts (cutting custom shapes).

As mentioned above, many factors impact how much hotel key card design costs. You can expect lower hotel lobby signage pricing if:

  • You use fewer colors in your designs
  • You use black and white only images/designs
  • Your design is delivered as vector art

For more information about hotel room key card system prices, please read this article: Hotel Door Lock System Price Analysis. 

What types of hotel key cards can be custom?

What types of hotel key cards can be custom

  • Magnetic stripe key cards. These are the classic, wallet-sized cards with a magnetic strip on them.
  • Smart key cards (with RFID chips). These are also wallet-sized and have an RFID chip. Your property management system (PMS) can be used to automate tasks like keeping track of guests’ room charges and payments, opening RFID hotel locks, and adjusting thermostats in rooms.
  • RFID wristbands. Wristbands contain an encoded chip containing digital information about the guest wearing them. The data is accessed wirelessly via radio waves as the guest passes by a receiver or scanner device. They’re common at events where you want to track who’s allowed in certain areas, such as access backstage at concerts or sporting events.
  • RFID key fobs and tags can be attached to any item for easy tracking—luggage, pets, inventory items like towels or linens—you name it!
  • Hotel keycards with built-in power bank: You can upgrade your standard keycards by adding a battery pack so guests can charge their devices while traveling!

What information should be on a hotel key card?

Keycards are a fantastic marketing opportunity for your hotel business. They provide a space for you to include your brand’s logo, contact information, company info, a listing of amenities, and more.

Including your telephone number and website is easy to ensure guests can easily reach you to book another stay or recommend your hotel to friends.

What information should be on a hotel key card

Here is some information you need to consider and choose for your hotel key cards:

  • Hotel name
  • Hotel logo
  • Hotel address
  • Hotel phone number
  • Hotel website
  • A list of hotel amenities (e.g., Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, pool)
  • Loyalty program information and how to join
  • The room number your guest is staying in
  • Room type (e.g., queen bedroom)
  • Parking fee or mention that additional parking is available for an extra charge

What needs to be considered when designing custom hotel key cards?

As hotel key card manufacturers, we often ask what to consider when designing and ordering custom cards. Many factors make your perfect key card, and we want you to have some basics covered before placing an order.

What needs to consider when designing and custom hotel key cards

  • Hotel key card materials: Do you want plastic or paper? We see lots of both! Are you planning for these to last for a long time? If so, plastic is best—essay will eventually wear down in pockets and purses.
  • Hotel key card size: If your hotel uses magnetic key card locks, you can expect the standard size for your keycards to be 3.375″ x 2.125″. But if you use an RFID lock, there’s no standard size for your keycards, so you can choose any dimension that works with your design. Here’s a list of some commonly used sizes and the locks they are compatible with:
    • 3.375″ x 2.125″ – Magnetic stripe lock; ISO 7810 ID-1 format (same as credit cards)
    • 55mm x 85mm – RFID lock; ISO/IEC 7810 ID-000 format (slightly bigger than credit card)
    • 3″ x 4″ – Mifare DESFire® EV1 2K chip; Commonly used in entertainment venues and event centers
  • Hotel key card design ideas: You can order pre-designed layouts and add your logo and other information. Or you can design it from scratch! The options are endless!
  • Printing: Some hotels opt for dual interface cards (magstripe and RFID), while others choose just the RFID option; this means they use only the newer type of contactless technology with no magnetic stripe (magstripe).
  • Production: Key cards must be tested before shipping out so that all their functions work correctly. Once you have approved your design, this takes about three days in production time.
  • Cost: Make sure you budget for applicable artwork charges and shipping costs if applicable – sometimes these fees vary between suppliers based on where they’re located, too! If there’s an issue with shipping costs or artwork being too expensive, try going back through those options before looking at other things like quantity discounts, etc., because most companies will offer some tiered pricing scheme (whereby buying more products lowers the cost per item).
  • Delivery: How quickly can your current supplier get the cards to you? If it takes more than six months, it’s time to switch. At Custom Card Factory, we can deliver in as little as one week.
  • Security features: Does your current supplier offer anti-counterfeit features for your cards? Because if they don’t, it’s time for a switch! (we do).
  • Sustainability features: Are the cards environmentally friendly? Do they come from responsibly sourced materials? Do they have an eco-friendly finish on them?
  • Compliance with local and national laws and regulations (including fire safety standards) is the hotel’s and its suppliers’ responsibility – are you sure your supplier is compliant? If not, then it’s time for a change! We fully comply with all applicable hotel laws and regulations, including fire safety standards (this was a significant issue with PVC plastic cards, which most hotels have phased out).
  • Customer Service: customer service is always essential, so ensure that any new supplier will respond to your needs and questions at any hour of any day! Will this be another long waiting period like you’re experiencing now? Switching may be necessary here, too! We offer 24/7 customer service 365 days a year – even on holidays!
  • Warranties – are there warranties on both the product AND the keycard printing process? Most companies fall short and leave their customers hanging out with nothing but finger-pointing between companies when something goes wrong – “It was his fault” or “No, it was hers,” etc. Switching here could save you big headaches!


  • Hotel Key Card Design: Expert Guide to Custom Hotel Key cards 6

    Vincent Zhu has 10 years of smart lock system experience and specializes in offering hotel door lock systems and home door lock system solutions from design, configuration, installation, and troubleshooting. Whether you want to install an RFID keyless door lock for your hotel, a keyless keypad door lock for your home door, or have any other questions and troubleshooting requests about smart door locks, don't hesitate to contact me at any time.