Designing for Inkjet Technology Part Two
The following is the second in a three-part series on the topic of production inkjet printing taken from the Spring 2016 Edition of the Blueline Magazine. This post focuses on considerations once you’ve reached the design phase for inkjet technology. Check out Designing for #Inkjet Part One: Three Tips for Getting Started if you need help with the foundation of planning your project.
Other Design Considerations for Inkjet Printing
Before you get too far down the design path, consider other factors that can impact project results. Discuss these issues with your printer, and take them into account when creating a design for inkjet printing technology.
A wide variety of inkjet papers are available today. Ask your printer for suggestions based on your project goals, design, budget and timeline. Domtar’s collection of inkjet papers offers several readily available options in a variety of weights, calipers and finishes from the brands you trust, including LynxJET®, HuskyJET® and Domtar ReplyJET®. Whatever your project, priority or budget, Domtar has created an intentional offering of inkjet brands to meet the needs of the transactional, direct mail and commercial printing markets.
Depending on the project, you also may need to consider post-processing performance. Is the paper engineered to withstand the rigors of post-processing applications, such as folding and insertion? Ask your printer to recommend a paper that will not only print well but also perform well in any other required applications.
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.
Inkjet printing technology continues to improve, but its color gamut remains narrower than offset and toner machines. If your design includes colors outside the reach of the press, results might not meet your expectations. To improve quality, share your design with your printer and provide specific direction. For example, you may want to specify how skin tones look or which colors must be exact.
Some inkjet machines can print Pantone colors, which can help finished pieces adhere to brand standards. However, the results on one paper may not be an exact match to the same color printed on a different paper or a different type of press. Your printer can help you choose the right paper and printing specifications to get the best color match possible.
“The Designer’s Guide to Inkjet” notes that inkjet printing can be prone to higher dot gain than offset printing, which can close in letterforms and make copy more difficult to read. Therefore, reversed type may not be ideal for the body copy of a project designed for inkjet printing technology. Ask your printer for additional font guidance based on paper type, machine type 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.
This blog was originally published on DomtarBlueline.com, July 15, 2016 and republished on paper.domtar.com March 20, 2019.