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Digital Dish: Q4 2022



One question I get all the time is,
"What's the difference between inkjet inks and Indigo inks?
And do I need different papers to accommodate these different inks?"

The short answer to that second question is, "Yes!" Here's why.



Inkjet inks are either pigment or dye. Dye-based inks actually dye the fiber in the paper, just like dying a piece of cloth. When you dye the fiber, you dye the paper itself, as opposed to the ink sitting on the surface of the paper.

Best Paper for Dye-Based Inks: If you print dye-based ink on an untreated sheet of paper and then get it wet, it will bleed. I recommend a sheet with Dyemond™ Technology for total water fastness. 


Pigment ink has a high water content, about 95% water and 5% pigment. Once the water dries, the pigment is left on the paper.

Best Paper for Pigment-Based Inks: Because of the high water content, you really need something to wick that water away so that the sheet can dry evenly with no cockle. I recommend a sheet treated with ImageLok® or ColorPRO Technology. These treatments are in the paper, not on the paper, and they allow you to run the press at full speed and still get an evenly dried sheet.


Indigo ink consists of polymeric particles suspended in mineral oil. These particles are laid on a blanket and then transferred by heat and pressure to the sheet.

Best Paper for Indigo Inks: The paper you run through your Indigo has got to be durable because it's going to be blanketed. Water content isn't an issue here, but you still need a sheet with some resilience, which is why I recommend a sheet that has been specially formulated to run on an Indigo and has been independently tested by the Rochester Institute of Technology using their 3-star rating system. 


NanoInk® is fairly new on the scene. Formulated for the Landa Nanographic Printing® Press, this ink consists of pigments that have been reduced to nanometric scale, which enables them to produce extremely round dots with super-sharp edges and consistent density. 

Best Paper for NanoInk: NanoInk's creators say that it can be applied to any off-the-shelf paper without the need for priming or pretreatment. Will you get better results if you choose a treated sheet? The jury's still out on this one, but I'm off to do some testing in the media lab...


Looking to save on ink costs? Consider making the switch to digital treated papers.
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