Inkjet Myths Exposed

Pat McGrew.
Though inkjet is a highly developed and reliable technology, myths about it are impeding its growth. One expert attempts to bust them wide open.

Inkjet has been a part of the printing world for more than a few decades, but some people perceive it as not only new, but risky. The naysayers will tell you that inkjet is not up to the color and image quality demands of the brand owners and agencies that control the commercial printing world.

It just isn’t true! From the early days of low-resolution line printing through the many evolutions that brought us inkjet imprinting technologies and, finally, the full-color production workhorses of today, inkjet is a highly developed and reliable technology. But somewhere along the way, strong mythology developed that tries to pigeon-hole high-speed production inkjet. Believe the myths and you may miss an opportunity.

Myth 1: High-speed inkjet is only good for transaction printing and letters.

Most transaction, regulatory and essential communication mail is designed and executed with more attention to accuracy and speed than to print image quality. The resulting reputation is that there is no real requirement for brilliant color or print quality, and inkjet is good enough to meet those criteria.

However, when you actually sit and talk with the brand owners and agencies, they tell a different story: They guide the design and language used in bills and statements, insurance policies and welcome kits. To them, brand guidelines, brand colors and print quality are of concern regardless of the communication channel. High- speed production inkjet print quality—which has many variations depending on the print system vendor, print head technology, ink and paper—is deemed appropriate, not just because it is good enough, but because it is good.

So where does the idea that inkjet is not appropriate for general commercial printing, magazines, marketing collateral or point-of-sale material originate? History. Go back five to 10 years when achieving brilliant color on a variety of substrates was a challenge. However, today’s technology, substrates and inks have changed the story.

Related story: The Possibilities of Production Inkjet

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