The following is the second in a three-part series on the topic of high speed inkjet printing taken from the Spring 2016 Edition of the Blueline Magazine. This post focuses on considerations once you’ve reached the design phase. Check out Designing for #Inkjet Part One: Three Tips for Getting Started if you need help with the foundation of planning your project.
A wide variety of inkjet papers are available today. Ask your printer for suggestions based on your goals, design, budget and timeline. Domtar’s collection of commercial inkjet printing papers offers several readily available options from the brands you trust: CougarJET™, LynxJET™, HuskyJET™ and Domtar ReplyJET™.
Inkjet performance can vary widely depending on the particular machine, paper and ink. Ask your printer to perform linearization which optimizes the paper and machine combination to discover the optimal settings for your project. Without this test, your piece will be printed at the settings of the last job on the press, which could have used a different paper and would lead to less-than desirable results.
When it comes to ink coverage, less is more in the world of inkjet. Inkjet inks are mostly made of water, so it’s easy to imagine how heavy ink coverage can lead to less than desirable results, such as paper curl. If limiting coverage isn’t an option, try printing on both sides of the sheet to balance the effect.
Inkjet technology continues to improve, but its color gamut is narrower than offset and toner machines. If your design includes colors outside the reach of the printer, results might not meet your expectations. To improve quality, share your design with your printer and provide specific direction, i.e.,“I want the skin tones to look warm and lifelike.”
Some inkjet machines can print Pantone colors, which is helpful in adhering to brand standards. However, you may not get an exact match to pieces printed on different papers, or using offset or toner digital devices. Ask your printer for assistance choosing the right paper and process to get the closest match.
Avoid using reversed type for the body copy of an inkjet printed piece. The Designer’s Guide To Inkjet authors note that inkjet printing can be prone to higher dot gain than offset, “closing” the letterform and making it difficult to read. Talk to your printer about minimum text sizes, taking into account paper, machine and ink type.
Inkjet machines might not use the same paper sizes you’re used to with offset or toner-based printing — especially if you’re using a sheetfed press. Talk to your printer as early as possible regarding the dimensions of the printed piece, to avoid resizing later.
For more information on inkjet production and design best practices, read The Designer’s Guide To Inkjet, written by Elizabeth Gooding and Mary Schilling and distributed by Canon Solutions America. For regular technology updates, follow the top OEMs on Twitter (@canon_solutions, @Ricohtweets, @HPGraphicArts, @XeroxProduction, @kodakprint, @PitneyBowes). To learn more about Domtar’s offering of inkjet products, visit our Collection of Commercial Printing Inkjet Papers page.