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.

Every vendor has made huge strides in meeting customer demands, as you can see at any industry trade show where they share their print samples and success stories. But somehow the myth persists that high-speed production inkjet is only good for transaction print.

If you buy into this myth you miss the myriad opportunities that production inkjet brings to the communication equation.

Myth 2: You can’t get rich colors on production inkjet web presses.

In the early days of production inkjet printing, there were limitations. The blacks were not always true black and, depending on the paper and ink, the colors could look weak and washed out. With good color management and attention to paper selection, it was possible to get to color and image quality that most brand owners would accept, but it took some expertise and dedication.

Early adopters learned that color management was essential. It wasn’t sufficient to take a file prepared for offset or electrophotographic printing and pass it through the workflow to the high-speed inkjet press. Success came when files were prepared for inkjet.

Today’s inkjet solutions are more robust and versatile. With both dye and pigment ink solutions in the market, the color gamuts are broader. It is now possible to take files prepared for other print delivery channels and successfully print them on high-speed inkjet web presses with little or no additional color management.

While it is always best to color manage for the specific device and paper, every day many printers around the world print files that were not specifically prepared for their inkjet device. When the option is available to prepare files for inkjet, there are some simple tricks that are key to obtaining rich color:

  1. Review files for text composed as rich black instead of black. Rich black is the composite additive color that means you are laying down cyan, magenta, yellow and black. In the world of inkjet, all that does is add ink and water, diluting the sharpness of the black. Designers who create for offset often use this technique to get a richer black, but that same technique applied to inkjet produces a muddier black.
  2. Review the color management of images in the document. Taking black out of the images through profiling and other techniques allows the color to come through vibrantly.
  3. Ensure you are starting with as much data as possible. Image objects that were created for the red/green/blue Internet delivery channel at 72 dpi will never bring brilliant color to an inkjet-printed project.

Avoid the myth, and add color management to your tool kit.

Related story: The Possibilities of Production Inkjet

Related Content