Top Tips for Terrific InkJet Print

Ms. Pat McGrew, M-EDP, CMP – InkJet Evangelist  / PageWide Web Press / HP

Inkjet printing is a powerful force. It gives you amazing speed, beautiful print quality, and a variety of finishing options that let you meet the most demanding client requirements. Inkjet is, however, different from other printing technologies. A bit of planning and a bit of client education can go a long way toward ensuring that every print job runs smoothly. Here is our top ten list of things that should be on your “Job Onboarding Checklist” as you expand your business!

1. Understand the history of the job. Was it built for inkjet or is the file coming with a history of printing on offset or toner devices?

Why do you care? Jobs built for other devices may have been tuned for those devices. Decisions taken when preparing the images or setting ICC profiles attached to specific images or graphic elements could impact your ability to get the best print quality. So take a look and ask some questions. If there are specific ICC profiles attached to images and elements, test print to see if they are the best for your printing environment.

2. Review the resolution of each image and graphic in the print job.

Why do you care? Designers are wonderful people with a great eye for design. They often reuse elements they like, especially when they are preparing a multi-channel campaign. Occasionally they pull an image into the print file without realizing that it’s a 72dpi or 96dpi image that is not suitable for printing at the best quality. A quick trip through a preflight package can save time by identifying any images that are less than the 300dpi we like to see.

3. Review the color spaces for each image and graphic in the print job.

Why do you care? Color spaces can often be resolved in the digital front end. Many people print jobs successfully that have images using both CYMK and RGB color spaces. But a best practice is to get everything into a single color space if possible. Which one? To be honest, either can work well. The press is a CYMK press, so I tend to start there, but for jobs that have an RGB history, sRGB images work quite well.

4.  Look at the subject matter of the images. What are the levels of light and dark in the images?

In this image the contrast of the white paper and the rewind mechanics plus the shadows under the roll of print makes this a difficult image to print well. Take the time to go into photoshop and brighten the areas that need detail or consider cropping away the deep shadows. Our goal is always to get our colors to look rich and vibrant. We do that best by putting as little inko n the page as we can. When we encounter images like this on we walk a very fine line between getting the best black we can and getting vibrant colors. That’s why the prepress work pays off.







5. Review your file preparation settings to avoid over-inking.

Why do you care? Don’t tell my boss, but sometimes less ink is better. When files come in that were prepared for offset or other technologies they sometimes come in with ink settings that call for 150% or 200% ink levels. That worked for those technologies because they needed that level of saturation to get their best colors. Here in the world of the HP InkJet Web Press we get the best crispness and color when we match ink profiles to the specific paper and then adjust if needed. In many cases starting with an ink profile at 95% gives you a great start, and then you can dial up or down as needed before you lock in your production profile for the job.

This is just a starting point. Take a look at every facet of your print requirements and be brave. Test variations. Create new profiles. The results will be the best print you can get!

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