Did you think that buying your inkjet printer was the hard part? Well, yes, it probably was, but that doesn’t mean your search for the perfect print is over. Because as great as your inkjet printer may be, the quality of the printing job is almost entirely dependent on the type of paper used.
There are a few important factors to consider. So to help you stock your inkjet printer with the right paper for the job, read our brief guide on choosing the perfect paper below.
Finding The Perfect Weight
Weight basically equates to thickness when you’re dealing with paper, with the amount of light passed through the paper itself being the main factor changed by a higher weight/thickness. Thicker papers are generally used for printing photographs, though most paper designed with an inkjet paper in mind is typically heavier than a standard piece of paper. So, if you’re printing a lot of photos, then finding the right weight can be important. Beware getting the heaviest paper available, however, as all inkjet printers have a varying limit to how thick their paper can be.
Brightness & Whiteness
When you’re talking about printing paper, “brightness” and “whiteness” are pretty much synonyms, with how bright a paper is relating to how white it is. For the most part, a paper’s brightness is designated by a number on a scale from 1 to 100, with higher numbers meaning a brighter paper. Again, the brightness of a paper is more important depending on what kind of printing you’re doing. For example, photo papers tend to be quite bright, generally in the 90s on the brightness-scale.
The only thing that make things confusing is the fact that paper manufacturers don’t follow the same scale; certain papers may be brighter than others despite having a lower number. Your best bet is to try out paper in-store, using a printer that is fairly similar to your own.
Glossy Vs. Matte Finish
You may prefer a glossy or a matte finish for your printing depending on what you’re using your printer for. As you could guess, glossy finish papers have a very shiny look and bring out colours very well, making glossy finish paper great for a photographer.
Matte finishes, on the other hand, create a softer and smoother finished product. The visual aesthetic will be different from what you’d see on a standard photograph, though the matte finish may work well with certain types of photography. One thing to consider is whether you’ll be framing a photo, since the matte finish will pair nicely with the glass casing of a frame.
Opacity: Translucent To Opaque
Linked to weight and thickness, opacity is a term used to describe how little or how much light will pass through a piece of paper. Basic paper tends to be fairly translucent whereas thicker papers are more opaque, with the latter also preventing less bleed-through of ink. For this reason, if you’re planning on double-sided printing, then you may want to have a paper that is opaque.
Thickness (aka Caliper)
While weight and opacity are used to define how thick a piece of paper is, the more specific term to use is caliper. The caliper of a paper comes into play when printing photos, since a thicker sheet is needed to absorb all of the ink needed to reproduce an image. When printing photos, you’ll want a paper that’s around 8 to 10 mils thick.
Was this guide helpful in your search for the perfect printing job? Tell us in the comments below!
Featured image courtesy of: dantaylr