Types of Papers Used For Printing

Types of Papers Used For Printing

When it comes to printing, there are two basic types of papers. They are; photo papers which include satin, glossy, pearl, metallic and lustre used for utilizing photo black ink and matte papers which include canvas, cotton and alpha-cellulose used for utilizing matte black ink. Additionally, the fibre-based baryta photo papers is the newer crossover category.  It is essential that you choose the right type of main black ink for each paper type because of the differences in how ink is readily spread out and absorbed by these papers. Matte and Photo black inks each have special formulations which are specifically engineered to compensate for the differences between photo and matte papers. Here are some of the different types of papers used for printing.

Metallic Papers

This is one of the hottest and newest inkjet papers in the market today, they are designed after the extremely famous Kodak Endura Premier Metallic paper which is a professional color negative paper that is designed for wet chemical processing. Metallic papers have a high degree of reflectivity and luminance as well as a slight warm tone. They also exhibit a superb color gamut, contrast range and rich dense blacks providing an almost 3D feel and look to the image. Metallic papers are a great choice for a plethora of subject matter including images with that contain metals.

Cotton fibres

These are the most expensive types of matte printing papers but the highest grade of fine art. Cotton fibres are considered to be the Cadillac of all paper types especially if you are looking for quality fine art. The term fine art in this context means a pure cotton rag paper.

Resin coated photo papers

RC photo papers are the most common papers on the market. Traditionally, they mainly referred to wet-processed darkroom photo papers that were coated with resins thus allowing for both fast processing and drying times. These types of prints were also more curl and scuff resistant.  However, the term RC has been carried over into the inkjet world of today, they are made out of refined wood pulp base that is encased in two layers of plastic polyethylene which is then coated with a microporous inkjet receptive emulsion. Modern resin coated papers are more scratch and scuff and waterproof as compared to their matte paper counterparts which are much thinner.

Hot and cold press papers

In actual sense, hot or cold press paper are subcategories of alpha-cellulose or cotton fibre papers. They are distinguished by the characteristics of their surface. While cold press papers have rougher surfaces and more teeth, hot press papers have smooth velvety surfaces. A cold press paper has much more texture than a hot press one, they range from highly to slightly textured. A cold press paper will come in handy in situations where you may need to produce a large print but you have a source image with lower that optimal resolution.

Fibre-based baryta papers

Baryta comes from the naturally occurring chemical compound known as barium sulphate. This clay-like mineral is added to a fibre paper base. In the past, this compound used to provide reflectivity, whiten papers and serve as the base for light sensitive emulsion as well. At present, all baryta papers have a fibre base which can be either alpha-cellulose or cotton, the barite is responsible for giving the paper a smooth reflective coating. These types of papers have a distinct chemical odor but it is not unpleasant. Baryta papers are ideal for black and white prints.

Canvas papers

These normally consist of a combination of cotton and polyester. Since time immemorial, canvas papers have been closely associated with art. This is because canvas can be varnished and displayed without frames or glass thus making it a popular choice especially in poster Copenhagen.

Choosing the right paper for your artwork is critical for the end design but with plenty of options to choose from the final decision is on you the artist.

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