Innovation in printing technology is a driving force for business, graphic arts, photography and consumer office products. Whether creating a stellar business presentation, a brilliant outdoor display or even printing photos of a child’s first birthday, today’s quality printing systems are perfected to offer ease of use, dependability, longevity, advanced functionality and professional results every time.
The results of a printing system are hinged on several key elements, including the printer hardware, ink or toner, and the paper used to print the project. Each element plays an important role in achieving optimum results. Companies like Hewlett-Packard (HP) invest huge resources to improve and enhance these individual components and to ensure they work effectively as a system.
Each new improvement in printing technology brings with it a series of new paper options. All of these are designed to expand the capabilities and quality of results for the home, the office as well as for creative professional users.
The business paper category has rapidly advanced to meet the ever-changing needs of business and marketing communications. Today’s printing technology empowers businesses to control immediate customisation while keeping production costs low. Instead of sending short-run printing jobs to a retail or commercial printing vendor, businesses can now produce the same consistent, professional-looking results for a fraction of the cost.
The largest use of paper in any size office is typically the paper feeding the inkjet and laser printers, copiers, faxes, and other office equipment. These types of papers are used primarily for general office applications that require crisp black and white and vivid colour printing. Many of HP’s most popular everyday papers come standard with the ColorLok technology which literally "locks" ink into the paper. These everyday papers dry faster and deliver darker blacks and more vivid colours, so reports, charts and proposals are smudge-free and ready for immediate use.
For more diverse printing uses, a more sophisticated product, such as HP Advanced Paper, is recommended to produce richer blacks and more uniform colours with higher definition and contrast.
Brochures and flyers
Compelling marketing materials are critical for any growing business to establish its identity and make its presence known. In the past, pieces like colour brochures and flyers were usually outsourced to commercial printing vendors due to the cost and availability of quality colour printing systems. Today, as the technology and features have risen but prices reduced, these projects are easily facilitated in-house with affordable, consistent results. Businesses are now able to have direct control of the production of materials while keeping costs low and quality high.
Many professionals rely heavily on in-house design and production of short-run business and marketing materials. The real estate industry is an excellent example of a business that relies on quick, customisable printing options with a demand for professional results. From listing presentations to property postcards, these marketing professionals use a variety of paper options to create the materials that drive success. In addition to the professional results they are now able to create from their own desktops, realtors save valuable time and money by avoiding the cost and wait time typically associated with outsourcing these print jobs.
There are a number of affordable paper options for these types of marketing communications projects. For instance, HP Brochure and Flyer Papers are available in both glossy and matte finishes and in standard and pre-scored, tri-fold sizes. This specialised paper offers optimised print quality for text and excellent image quality for photos and graphics. With this paper, users can print high quality brochures and flyers from their desktops with the look and feel of commercially printed materials.
For many businesses, producing professional looking presentations and proposals can mean the difference between signing that next big client and heading back to the drawing board. For these critical projects, there are a variety of specialised paper choices, including HP Premium Presentation Paper. Available in letter and tabloid sizes, this paper features a two-sided coated matte finish that allows for more vibrant colours and sharper text than plain paper. The thicker and heavier paper weight creates a more professional look and feel, making it ideal for creating eye-catching presentations and proposals.
Graphic arts paper
As the use of visual communication continues to evolve, so too does the need for fine arts paper options, in large and small format sizes, to accommodate and enhance each new project. Like the production of business related materials, much of today’s graphic arts printing can now be facilitated in-house, using advanced printing systems and specialised paper.
As any graphic arts professional will attest, the world of in-house printing and paper options has changed dramatically in recent years. Just ten years ago, choices were limited to simple, coated paper to accommodate the entire breadth of their work. Today, graphic professionals have access to a variety of paper styles and sizes, including photo paper and photo rag, canvas, water colour paper, and indoor/outdoor banner materials and specialty films, among others.
These diversified options have had a significant impact on the capabilities and efficiencies of graphic arts professionals around the world. Take for example the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, one of the largest arts institutions in the United States which recently re-opened the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park. Having historically purchased graphic services – including offset, silk screen and sign production – from external vendors, the museum’s design department chose to bring several HP printing systems in-house. This decision has delivered faster output times, large-format capabilities and top print and colour quality while reducing the costs associated with outside printing.
The design department now enjoys leveraging HP’s broad range of output materials to meet colour-critical needs throughout the museum. It uses HP Productivity Gloss Photo Paper for top-quality reproductions of artwork. The HP RC Matte Photo Paper has proven to be excellent for non-glare signs, and the HP Colorfast Adhesive Vinyl is ideal for all labelling needs. Using outside graphics vendors, object labels used to cost the museum $25-$50 each. Now using HP’s complete printing systems, including printers, paper and inks, the museum spends about $4 a label, offering a large savings while maintaining the same professional-quality prints.
Innovations in print paper for graphic artists continue to evolve. With this autumn’s launch of the HP Designjet Z Series Photo Printers – HP’s new professional photo printer that consistently delivers durable, high-quality, large-format prints and proofs with breakthrough colour – there are even more paper options available for this category.
One of the most popular consumer printing applications is photo printing. Because of the rich colour saturation needed to print lab-quality prints at home, optimum results are created using the best inks and specialised papers. Most consumer uses of photo paper are focused on preserving memories that last, making permanence and durability a major concern. Companies like HP have responded to these needs with a variety of photo papers designed to hold up under tough conditions and maintain image brilliance for generations to come when used with Original HP inks. These papers deliver bold, full-colour, photo-quality prints from a variety of basic, universal and premium photo papers.
Beyond the consumer "shoot-and-print" grouping, the paper industry has also addressed the ever-changing world of professional photo print technology. In conjunction with professional photographers and graphic artists, this category also includes a growing number of discerning consumers, often called "prosumers", who use high-end cameras and professional-grade paper. Together, these users employ a variety of paper for their large and small format print projects.
As one of the first professional photographers to adapt his craft to digital technology, fine art and glamour photographer, Douglas Kirkland has embraced the HP Photosmart and HP Designjet printing systems with optimised HP inks and papers.
HP proofing papers are ideal for graphics professionals who need to produce fast, affordable, full-bleed, colour-accurate offset print emulations. This paper is available in several finishes, including matte and semi-gloss, and in a number of sizes.
The increasing affordability and innovation of digital cameras, advanced home printing systems and expanding paper options has catapulted the do-it-yourself market into a large and diverse product category. From personalised address labels to printed photos, consumers are taking full advantage of their home office technology to create a variety of creative and functional pieces.
With greeting cards and personalised keepsake projects comprising a large part of this category, new products have emerged that use the latest print technology with superior paper options. Photo cards make it simple to instantly create custom, high-gloss cards whenever they are needed.
Other paper options in the consumer craft category include custom calendars, invitations and announcements, custom CD covers and printable iron-ons, among others. And with millions of people worldwide now creating their own custom scrapbooks it’s no surprise that there are a variety of special papers designed especially for these hobbyists. HP has met the needs of these consumers with a number of thematic papers and a series of printable sticker paper, vellum, card stock, clear transparencies, specialty paper, and even fabric.
From business to consumer, photography to graphic arts – understanding the breadth of available paper and its compatibility with various printing systems is vital to having the broadest array of applications available. Achieving the best results, every time, is a matter of pairing the optimised printer, ink and paper with each specific project. Companies like HP continue to develop new and advanced printing technologies and supplies while making it easy for the consumer, procurement agent, or professional user to find the right products to fit their needs.