Security Printing

Security Printing

Prevent document fraud & protect sensitive information.

Security is a major concern for documents with a significant trading or negotiable value. Examples of such documents include cheques, registration papers, licences, certificates, event tickets, gift vouchers, ballot papers and voter registration documents.

The integrity of a document relies solely on its acceptance as authentic. Authenticity is threatened by attack from two sources: counterfeiting (the reproduction of a complete document) and falsification (the alteration or endorsement of a document).

The threat of counterfeiting has increased dramatically with developments in print reproduction technology (such as colour photocopiers, optical scanners and digital printers). This has been further compounded by a general complacency in the business world and the courts’ relative leniency towards non-violent white-collar crime.

Lithotech has developed and perfected a comprehensive range of security features, including design effects, security papers and security inks.

Design Effects

Microprint Line

Microprint Line

A line is made up of text that is readable with a magnifying glass, but that would break up into dots when copied or scanned and become unreadable.

Error in Microprint Line

Error in Microprint Line

A deliberate error can be added to the text masking up the microprint line as an additional security measure.

Micro Dot

Micro Dot

A small dot that looks like an ink speckle is deliberately added. If the document is copied, the dot would be left off.

Character Chipping

Character Chipping

The selected typeface is manually altered to trick fraudsters who would retype the text in an obvious font and not recreate the deliberate alterations.

Invisible UV Ink

Invisible UV Ink

The ink is invisible to the naked eye, but shows up under UV. Available in various colours, these inks should be printed on UV dull paper for the best results.

Error in Invisible UV Ink Print

Error in Invisible UV Ink Print

As an additional security measure, a deliberate error can be added to the piece that’s printed in invisible UV ink.

Hidden Message in UV Ink

Hidden Message in UV Ink

A hidden message can be added to the invisible UV ink design as an additional security measure.

Hidden Message in Spot Colour

Hidden Message in Spot Colour

A hidden message can be added to the part of the design that’s printed in spot colour.

Security Pattern

Security Pattern

When colour copied by most high-end high resolution photocopiers, the copier software would recognise the pattern and would either refuse to duplicate or deface the duplication. The copier would display a message that it’s prohibited from copying the original.

Guilloche Pattern

Guilloche Pattern

A unique solid fine line pattern is printed in spot chemical reactive ink. When colour copied, scanned or reproduced, the pattern will break up into dots and will no longer be an unbroken solid line.

Raised Effect Guilloche

Raised Effect Guilloche

A unique solid fine line pattern with raised text is printed in spot chemical reactive ink. When colour copied, scanned or reproduced, the pattern will break up into dots and will no longer be an unbroken solid line.

Criss Cross Guilloche

Criss Cross Guilloche

A unique solid criss-cross line pattern is printed in spot chemical reactive ink. When colour copied, scanned or reproduced, the pattern will break up into dots and will no longer be an unbroken solid line.

Security Papers

Paper is considered to be the first line of defence against document fraud. A document is only as secure as the paper on which it is printed, and the most effective deterrents are proven to be those built into the paper at the time of production.

Our range of security papers includes:


A security quality paper mill watermark that’s incorporated into the paper during the paper-making process is widely recognised as the most effective deterrent to counterfeiting.

Watermarks can be tailor-made (bespoke) or house (for general use) and have many advantages:

  • As they form an integral part of the paper, they are virtually counterfeit-proof
  • They cannot be transferred from one document to another
  • They are easy to verify (by simply holding to the light)
  • Users are familiar with watermarks on bank notes

Security Fibres

Security fibres (made of silk) and planchettes (tiny coloured shapes of paper) can be included in security papers to distinguish them from normal printing and writing papers.

Two options of security fibres are available:

  • Visible (coloured)
  • Invisible (fluoresce under UV light)

Chemical Reaction

​Anti-forgery sensitising reaction refers to the incorporation in the paper of additives that will react with chemicals used by forgers, and present a variety of coloured stains on the surface of the paper.

Sensitising reactions can be offered against:

  • Organic solvents (stain red or blue) – used to dissolve and eradicate non-water based inks such as pen or laser-printer toner
  • Acids (stain red) – used to lighten ink
  • Bases / alkalis (stain blue) – used to lighten ink
  • Oxidising agents / chlorine (stain brown) – used to bleach water-based inks

UV Dull

UV Dull is a special paper that does not exhibit brightness or fluoresce when exposed to UV (ultra-violet) light (hence the name UV dull). It therefore provides a perfect background for any UV feature that might be added later.

Security Inks

In addition to the security incorporated into the paper, additional (complementary) security can be provided by careful selection of inks that have been tailor-made for specific applications.

Our range of security inks includes:


Simply rubbing a wet finger on the printed area will produce the bleeding effect – instantly authenticating the document.

It’s simple to verify (no special devices or chemicals are needed to authenticate the document) and the bleeding effect cannot be photocopied or digitally recreated.

Invisible UV Fluorescent

This invisible ink fluoresces under a UV light-source. It can be used as a tamper-evident ink to show up alterations to the surface of a form.

It is invisible when printed, cannot be photocopied or digitally recreated and has the printing flexibility of a conventional ink.


​This ink combines the properties of water and chemical fugitive inks by offering protection against falsification by exhibiting secondary fluorescence when subjected to tampering.

It reacts to water and aqueous-based chemicals as well as organic solvents (acetone, glycol, ethers and alcohol).

Heat Reactive Irreversible

This thermochromic ink is colourless when printed, but sharp colour appears and does not disappear once the temperature is lowered. It is used to protect documents from being tampered with by the use of steam or heat.

Water Fugitive

This ink becomes virtually invisible under the action of water or any other water-based reagent, making any attempts at falsification by erasing or modification visible. It’s ideal for protecting documents against bleach, erasing pencil, etc.

Penetrating Numbering

The ink contains a colourant that migrates into the paper and appears as a pink marking on the reverse side.

These inks are commonly used on Arabic and MICR numbering to deter forgers from trying to scrape the number off the document. If the number is scraped off, a red stain remains on the document.


This ink undergoes a reversible colour shift when exposed to UV light. The colour reaction is immediate and reverts to its original colour or becomes colourless when the light source is removed.

Photochromic ink can also be activated by natural sunlight.


When subjected to heat, thermochromic ink changes colour or becomes colourless – and then reverts back to its original state (usually within seconds).

Document authentication is as easy as rubbing the printed area between two fingers to trigger the colour shift. This is an excellent device to differentiate a genuine document from a counterfeit.

Solvent Chemical Fugitive

This ink contains at least one dyestuff which is sensitive to organic solvents and other chemical reagents. When printed, the ink forms a solid, polymerised or cross-linked binder matrix on the surface of the document when the print is subjected to energy radiation, or by an oxypolymerisation reaction.