Choosing Paper & A High Quality Print Tip

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When choosing paper for you printer, you’re going to encounter a lot of salesmanship. It’s inevitable, so you’re best strategy is to accept it and become an informed consumer. The most important things to know: what you need, and what the jargon really means.

Read the fine print on your paper package. You can usually determine in a few seconds if the paper is right for your particular printer and your particular purposes. This is also where you’ll decide if your paper is an acceptable “grade.”

Example: understand what terms like “swellable” or “cotton rag” mean. Swellable paper has a coated surface that actually swells as it absorbs ink, making it well suited for high-quality photo printing. Cotton rag, on the other hand, is ideal for inkjet printers that use pigment-based inks. Another thing to note about high-quality paper is that it will usually have a polymer coating – for both dye-based and pigment based inks – that keeps ink from spreading and protects it from fading over time. But keep in mind that coated paper can take hours to fully dry.

Here’s a final note for those of you that plant on doing high-quality print job: give it time, and treat it with care. Experts at recommend that you avoid handling the print for at least 12 hours, or “even 24 hours to allow the ink to set permanently.” Once the print is dry, keep it under glass or plastic and avoid exposure to direct sunlight.

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