Digital printing has come a long way. Gone are the days that digital printing only meant black and white (and quick and cheap). Today’s digital print jobs are 4-color (or more) and feature high-resolution, show-stopping imagery.
Digital technologies also now encompass more than just dry toner printing – we see high-end printing in inkjet and liquid toner, among others. (Check out our Gallery to see just what I mean – Waterworks Food Hall and VML 25th Anniversary, The Sterling Collections.)
Naturally, paper has had to evolve with the print technology to keep up with what is being thrown at it. “Plain paper” is no longer plain. Although you may not see differences between uncoated paper, they have been engineered for specific printing technologies. (Here is a great blog that breaks down the different technologies.)
Papers engineered for inkjet printing will have treatments that will help uncoated paper print with higher ink density, less bleed-through and improved waterfastness. These attributes become critical when high-speed inkjet printing is used in direct mail applications. The postman needs to be able to deliver your printed piece – in the middle of a rainstorm – without the ink running if it gets wet. Domtar offers a wide assortment of treated production inkjet papers, engineered for superior runnability, easy post-processing and powerful results.
In the past, the challenge with liquid toner and uncoated paper has been ink adhesion. Most papers now feature a surface treatment that enhances adhesion and prevents flaking of the ink. Combing a great sheet (like Cougar) with liquid toner results in quality that rivals offset printing.
Historically, papers that were engineered for dry toner printing were optimized for toner transfer and curl control. Since heat is required to melt the dry toner onto the sheet, you need a product that can be put under a lot of stress. Be sure to look for papers that carry an electronic imaging guarantee. (Side note: did you know that ALL Domtar papers carry an electronic guarantee. Just sayin’.)
Most paper suppliers will have products that meet the same characteristics (brightness, opacity, smoothness, thickness, basis weight) with different treatments that will optimize performance in various digital production presses. Be sure to ask for paper samples to trial, which will help you determine the correct paper & printer combination to meet your expectations.