Seven Trends Affecting Paper Manufacturing and Costs

Since the Great Recession of 2008-2009, the paper manufacturing business has undergone some major changes. As the U.S. economy enters a growth mode, some of these changes are now creating paper shortages.

These shortages are driving up the costs of the coated and uncoated paper stocks that are used for everything from marketing materials, manuals, and packaging to office documents, engineering drawings, and architectural renderings.

Paper manufacturing plant

Pulp and paper mill. (Photo: ©hxdyl/


During the Great Recession, marketers and publishers slashed printing costs by publishing more content online instead of printing catalogs and magazines. As the big printing companies suffered sharp declines in the demand for high volumes of printed publications, the demand for printing paper dropped too.

Big printing companies and paper mills both started focusing more attention on package printing, because printed packaging can’t be replaced with digital content. Some U.S. paper mills started exporting more of their products overseas.

The rising interest in sustainability also affected paper manufacturing. After environmentalists called attention to problems associated with paper manufacturing, the mills adopted long-term goals to:

  • Increase paper recovery for recycling
  • Improve purchased energy efficiency
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Promote sustainable forestry practices
  • Improve safety
  • Reduce water use

According to the 2016 “The Better Practices, Better Planet 2020” report, by the American Forest & Paper Association, some goals have already been surpassed and mills are making substantial progress on the other goals. The 2020 goals were established in 2011 and based on 2005 benchmarks.

Paper manufacturing is a very capital-intensive business. Higher energy costs and environmental investments have made it more costly for paper companies to operate or expand their existing facilities.

As U.S. paper mills revamped their operations for environmental improvements over the past 30 years, they didn’t invest in the newer, faster, and bigger manufacturing machines that are used by paper manufacturers in Europe, Asia, and South America. Most paper-making machines in the U.S. are more than 40 years old.

Paper mill cogeneration facility

Many paper mills have invested millions of dollars on high-efficiency power co-generation facilities. With these on-site facilities, pulp and paper mills use biomass such as wood waste and short-fiber cellulosic residuals to generate some of their own electricity. (Photo: ©Moreno Soppelsa,


Today, the demand for paper continues to be difficult to predict accurately. As the use of printed materials continues to evolve, major printing companies are keeping their customers informed about some of the trends that affect the cost of coated paper stocks. Here are facts reported in printing-industry blog posts and paper-industry associations.

Trends That Drive Up Costs

The number of paper mills in the United States has decreased. Two major U.S. manufacturers of coated paper closed in 2017. And 18 pulp and paper mills in the Southeast were shut down either temporarily or permanently after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Plus, the new owners for Appleton Coated have announced they will no longer make coated paper. SAPPI is shifting some of its paper-manufacturing capacity from coated paper to packaging grades of papers.

But there is no shortage of paper worldwide, and some paper distributors are replacing domestically manufactured papers with imported papers.

The price of wood pulp is rising. There is global competition for the raw materials used to make paper. Analysts predict that wood pulp costs will rise at an annual rate of about 5.1 percent through 2019.

A shortage of truck drivers is driving up shipping costs and delivery times. According to the American Trucking Associations, nearly 71% of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. goes on trucks. Moving 10.5 billion tons of freight annually requires over 3.6 million trucks and over 3.5 million truck drivers. But the number of applicants for truck-driving jobs has been shrinking. Currently, there are about 51,000 fewer drivers available to meet the existing demand from product manufacturers and national retailers (such as Amazon and Walmart). To attract new drivers, shipping companies are offering signing bonuses and other incentives.

Trends That Influence Demand

Print and paper still have value. For a long time, some analysts have predicted that offices would eventually become “paperless.” That hasn’t happened.

Multiple surveys have shown that many people prefer to read printed books and magazines and keep hard copies of financial and legal documents. Many people believe prints on paper are easier to proofread.

Plus, printed copies offer a way to keep important information from being hacked and preserved for future generations. Photographs, engineering drawings, and architectural designs printed on archival papers can last for decades. The long-term accessibility of files stored on outdated formats and technology is less certain.

Print is an integral part of the multi-channel marketing mix. Brand marketers have discovered that personalized, printed direct mail is still an effective marketing tool, especially when used in conjunction with online marketing.

Brand marketers are also testing technologies to make printed materials (including packaging) more interactive. When printed materials can instantly be augmented with online content, brands can use print as a measurable, direct-to-end-user marketing channel.

Paper is recognized as a renewable resource. Two Sides North America has done a great job making corporations and consumers aware that “going paperless” doesn’t necessarily save trees and forests. Today, 91% of U.S. consumers agree that print and paper can be a sustainable way to communicate when responsibly produced, used, and recycled.

Some companies that formerly used flexible plastics for packaging have switched to to paper packaging because it’s a more environmentally friendly option.

The percentage of paper that is being recycled and re-used is growing. Paper recovery for recycling helps extend the useful life of paper and paper-based packaging products. The American Forest & Paper Association has announced that 65.8% of the paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling in 2017. Paper is recycled more than any other material in North America.

The Bottom Line

Despite all of the good news about the sustainability of paper and effectiveness of printed communications, the prices of uncoated and coated papers are rising.

Over the past year, paper manufacturing companies have announced several price hikes. Distributors such as Freedom Paper have absorbed some of these price increases by diversifying into other types of products and becoming more efficient in daily operations. But at some point, every buyer of printing paper may be asked to pay higher prices.

Many paper merchants, including Freedom Paper, are confident that today’s manufacturing and shipping issues will be resolved so price hikes can be minimized.

In the long-term, the uptick in costs might be a small price to pay for making paper manufacturing a more environmentally sustainable, less wasteful process. Thanks to advances in digital printing and recycling, you can print only as many copies as you need and recycle outdated versions.

New HP DesignJet Z Printers Streamline Production of High-Quality Images

HP DesignJet Z6 with GIS map

At the FESPA 2018 Global Print Show in Berlin, HP Inc. unveiled two new aqueous pigment-ink DesignJet printers: the DesignJet Z6 and DesignJet Z9. The new models help print-service providers, retailers, GIS departments, and photo studios keep up with increasing demand for faster production of high-quality images. The printers offer fast, simple, productive workflows to produce beautiful photo prints, impactful graphics, and detailed images with GIS (Geographic Information Systems) data.

The market for large-format photo merchandise grew seven percent in 2017, partly because nearly 1.3 trillion photos were taken that year. Web-to-print services make it easy for smartphone users to order their favorite images into enlargements such as posters, wall art, and canvas wraps. Online buyers expect fast-turnaround of their prints.


GIS imagery include full-color aerial photographs (including drone photography), satellite images, thermal images, and scanned maps. Hyperspectral imagery helps GIS analysts classify different land types for agriculture, forestry, and other projects that examine the Earth’s landscape. The average size of print files for GIS documents has grown significantly with the increased use of high-resolution images.

To streamline the fast production of high-quality images, the new DesignJet Z printing systems feature:

  • HP thermal inkjet printheads with High Definition Nozzle Architecture (HDNA)
  • Dual-drop technology and HP Pixel Control
  • HP RGB Vivid Photo pigment inks
  • Innovations to simplify the efficient creation and post-processing of documents, signs, photos, and maps.

By tightly integrating HP’s new ink with advanced hardware and software, these DesignJet Z printers are engineered to produce amazing photo quality and print permanence with fewer inks. Fewer inks means reduced costs and less operator intervention.

The new vertical trimmer on select models makes it significantly faster to produce a higher volume of photo-print packages or smaller maps, retail, or event signs.

DesignJet Z6

The DesignJet Z6 Printer series is designed for GIS professionals, print service providers, and retailers who require simple-to-use wide-format inkjet printers for high-quality technical and graphics applications with water/fade resistance.

The new Z6 printer series is designed for the fast, precise, and secure printing of maps and orthophotographs that combine detailed, full-color imagery with fine lines and text.

With the powerful processing architecture and Adobe PDF Print Engine in the DesignJet Z6, users can easily print the most complex sets of files.

The DesignJet Z6 can also be used to print banners, exhibition and event graphics, backlit film for lightboxes, and point-of-sale graphics.

HP DesignJet Z6

HP DesignJet Z6

The DesignJet Z6 uses 6 ink cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow, matte black, photo black, and chromatic red). Models include:

  • HP DesignJet Z6 24-in. Postscript® printer
  • HP DesignJet Z6-44 in. Postscript® printer
  • HP DesignJet Z6-44 in. Dual-Roll Postscript® printer with Vertical Trimmer.
DesignJet Z9

The HP DesignJet Z9 enables print service providers to sell high-quality photo prints along with a broad range of graphics and technical applications. The DesignJet Z9 with vertical trimmer supports fast, efficient production of photo packages and different sizes of prints on wide-format rolls of art paper or flexible canvas.

This printer uses 9 ink cartridges of RGB HP Vivid Photo Inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, matte black, photo black, chromatic red, chromatic green, chromatic blue, and gray).

HP DesignJet Z9 wide-format inkjet printer

HP DesignJet Z9


Because the Z9 uses HP’s high-definition printheads with dual drop technology, the printer doesn’t need light cyan or light magenta inks to produce a wide color gamut and smooth transitions. An optional Gloss Enhancer is available to provide superior gloss uniformity on photo prints.

For outstanding, consistent image quality, the DesignJet Z9 includes an X-Rite i1 embedded spectrophotometer and HP Pixel Control. HP Pixel Control supports a truly digital color pipeline by controlling every print-ready pixel.

With HP HDNA printheads and HP Pixel Control technology, HP says users can get amazing image quality with just 9 inks instead of the 12 inks on previous generation HP DesignJet photo printers.

Because the gamut is increased by up to 10 percent (especially in dark colors), HP says even the most discerning viewers will appreciate the natural transitions, sharpness, and details in the shadows and highlight areas of the image.

The new Z9 printers also offer HP Professional PANTONE Emulation to match brand identity colors.

Models include:

  • HP DesignJet Z9: 24 in. Postscript® Printer
  • HP DesignJet Z9: 44 in. Postscript® Printer
  • HP DesignJet Z9 Dual-Roll 44 in. Postscript® Printer with Vertical Trimmer
Additional Info

The new DesignJet Z printers include an array of performance-boosting features.

Printhead: HP’s HDNA (High Definition Nozzle Architecture) thermal inkjet printheads have 2400 nozzles per square inch. Because each printhead can print two weights of each drop of ink color, the printers can produce higher-quality images without light cyan and light magenta inks.

File-Processing and Storage: To process complex and graphic-intensive prints, the new DesignJet Z printers have a 500 GB hard-desk drive with more virtual memory.

Tools to create: A redesigned poster application in the HP Applications Center gives users access to all of the necessary tools to create beautiful, original signs and posters.

The HP Applications Center also includes access to Adobe Stock, Unsplash (photos), Vecteezy (illustrations), and Pattern Design (vector patterns).

Plus, the HP Applications Center can embed augmented reality (AR) technology to ignite the creation of more meaningful engaging content for print.

Indoor and Outdoor Durability: The highly stable pigmented HP Vivid Photo Inks provide water-resistant, fade-resistant prints for long-term indoor display. When printed on water-resistant media, prints from Z6 and Z9 printers are also suitable for outdoor display.

Security: To safeguard printers and data, users can take advantage of HP Secure Boot, whitelisting, authentication solutions, and HP JetAdvantage Security manager.

HP PrintOS: With this cloud-based platform, DesignJet Z printer users can use their smartphones or tablets to remotely manage the print production environment from anywhere at any time.

Dual-Roll Models with Vertical Trimmers: The 44-inch DesignJet Z6 and Z9 models can be purchased with a dual roll feed and vertical trimmer. The dual-roll support with automatic roll switching enables users to spend less time on media changes. The vertical trimmer makes it easy to cut multiple 8.5 x 11 prints from ganged-up prints on 44-inch rolls of media.

HP Click Printing Software:  With one click, you can print PDF, JPEG, TIFF, DWF, and HP-GL/2 files from a PC or Mac directly to HP DesignJet printers. The software features automatic nesting, resizing, and orientation

The new DesignJet Z Printers enhance the user experience and reinvent printing possibilities for both professional photo and sign applications, notes Guayente Sanmartin, General Manager and Global Head, HP Large Format Design Printing, HP Inc. “We thoughtfully designed the new printers to deliver impressive photo quality without compromising time resources and output speeds.”

For more information, visit: Z6 and Z9.


Five Ways to Celebrate National Photography Month

In 1987, Congress declared May National Photography Month. It’s a time to celebrate photography as an art form and help people get more joy out of photography and their pictures.

Hand holds smartphone camera with image of forest path

Many of the 1.5 trillion photos captured this year will remain in the cloud. But a record number are being printed. (Photo: Kodak Professional)

Thirty years ago, Congress had no way of knowing that in 2018 we would be carrying cameras everywhere we go. And they couldn’t have predicted that we would be snapping pictures of everything from weddings, vacations, and graduations to selfies and the food served for dinner.

So consider National Photo Month as a time to re-engage with photography as an art form and tool for preserving memories.

Here are a few suggestions to actively celebrate National Photography Month.

Register for a photography course. Hundreds of online programs, workshops, and college classes are available for photographers of all skill levels and interests. In addition to meeting people you can learn from, you could possibly discover a new passion. To learn more about the types of photography programs now available, visit the Photo Educate blog, the Canon Digital Learning Center, or the Udemy list of photography courses.

Start a photography project. Choose a style of photography, a specific lens, or subject of interest and take one image a day. Post your images to social media, print them, hang them, or journal about your interpretation of the image. Shutterfly has published a list of more than 65 photography project ideas you can start today.

Print your best photos. Some professional photographers predict that in 10 years the most photographed generation will have no pictures. If you don’t print photos, imagine what will happen if you keep your images stored on various DVDs, thumb drives, old-model smartphones, and sharing sites such as Flickr. In 10 or 15 years, the technologies and websites you use to capture, store, and share your images might be obsolete.

Photographer compares inkjet photo print to computer images

Consider Kodak Professional Inkjet Photo Paper for making long-lasting pigment-ink prints of your images. Choose from luster, metallic, or matte finishes. (Photo: Kodak Professional)


Create a scrapbook or photo album. Raid your parents’ stash of images or use images from your Photo Month photo project. An album is a great way to display and preserve collections of images and channel your creativity as a visual storyteller.

Restore and preserve historic photos. Go through boxes of old photos and find images that are important to your family history. With scanning applications on smartphones and tablets, it is easy to make sure these treasures last for generations to come.

Haul out the boxes, download a mobile scanning app, tweak the photos with a photo editing app, and print your images with pigment inks on archival inkjet photo or art paper. Store the photos in a archival storage box. Read more in our blog post about Preserving Art Prints on Archival Matte Paper.

To share other ideas on how to celebrate National Photography Month, send your suggestions to

Visit the Freedom website to see the range of inkjet photo papers we sell from brands such as Kodak, Canon, Hahnemuhle, Moab, and Innova. Call us at 866-310-3335 or chat with us online for recommendations of which papers might be best for your upcoming photo-printing projects.


Guide Offers Tips on Choosing Sihl Solvent Inkjet Media

To use your solvent inkjet printer for more than printing and cutting vinyl, you will find a wealth of ideas in Sihl’s Reference Guide for Solvent Inkjet Media.

The free guide highlights a variety of Sihl materials that can be used for decorative art, upscale retail promotions, point of purchase shelf wobblers, backlit signs, and wall murals.

The guide also includes some tips that illustrate some of the ways solvent-ink prints are more durable than aqueous inkjet materials.

For example, for decorative art applications and art installations, you can mount printed solvent inkjet canvas to thin or thick boards. Apply a thin, even coat of spray adhesive to the back of the canvas. Or use a laminator to apply an adhesive film, then apply firm pressure to mount the canvas to the board.

Plus, solvent inkjet canvas, such as Sihl 3137 Bravo II Canvas, doesn’t require a protective varnish. Mixed-media artworks can be created by painting traditional acrylics or oil paints over the digital print.

Other Tips

Use Sihl 3145 Glamour S Semi-Rigid Photo Board for prints such as package prototypes, free-standing ads, easel signs, or point-of-purchase shelf wobblers or danglers. This 12-pt sheet is flexible enough to print on a roll-to-roll printer, but stiff enough to stand or hang without mounting.

Try Sihl 3550 ClearSol Clear WetCling Film for easy-to-install window graphics. Just wet the window and apply and squeegee the graphic. There is no distracting haze from a traditional adhesive.

Instead of printing self-adhesive vinyl to make rigid signs, try Sihl 3683 PrimeArt Blueback self-adhesive semi-gloss paper or 3529 SyntiSOL PP Film with Easy Tack adhesive. The EasyTack adhesive on SyntiSol polypropylene film is respositionable. The Blueback layer on PrimeArt paper keeps background colors or remnants of previously mounted graphics from showing through on the final sign.

Use an adhesive-backed textile such as Sihl 3208 “QuickStick offers a PVC-free alternative for wall murals. The repositionable adhesive on Sihl 3208 QuickStick™ Adhesive Backed Fabric makes it easy to apply, remove, and reapply the printed graphic. The coated surface on QuickStick supports the production of bright, scratch-resistant, durable graphics.

The guide suggests testing the self-adhesive material on the wall to which the printed graphic will be displayed. Some paints formulated for easy cleaning might not work well with repositionable adhesive. A textured wall might be too rough for good contact with the adhesive.

Freedom Paper sells a wide selection of Sihl solvent inkjet media as well as Sihl inkjet media for aqueous and latex inkjet printers. To learn more, visit www.Freedom or call us at 866-335-3110.

From now until April 30, you can receive a 10% discount on Sihl 3137 Bravo II canvas for solvent inkjet printers. (Use coupon code: SCV1043018)

ImagePrint R.E.D. Streamlines Color Printing Tasks on Canon imagePROGRAF Printers

Screen grab of ImagePrint R.E.D.

ImagePrint is powerful print-management software that makes it faster to layout, preview, and print a mix of high-quality color and black-and-white prints on wide-format inkjet printers. Developed by ColorByte Software more than 10 years ago, the newest version of ImagePrint is now available in two editions: ImagePrint Black and ImagePrint R.E.D. software.

ImagePrint R.E.D. and Black Logo

“ImagePrint R.E.D. is an exciting new product. It’s the first time ColorByte has offered a product to the broader inkjet printing market, including the signage and AEC markets,” said John Pannozzo, president of ColorByte Software.”Our goal was to provide a superior way to print at a very affordable price for the multiple markets that use inkjet technology.”

ImagePrint Black is the latest version of the original ImagePrint software for high-end inkjet photo printers. It is for professional photographers and fine-art print studios who use selected professional quality Canon and Epson inkjet photo printers to make color-consistent, exhibition-quality prints and photo packages.

ImagePrint Black includes access to more than 25,000 custom-built media profiles for fine-art and photographic inkjet papers and art canvases from more than 90 different manufacturers. It relieves photographers and artists from the time and expense of building their own custom profiles when they decide to use different papers or media to output their work. Some profiles are so detailed they adjust the color of the print based on the type of gallery lighting used to view the displayed print. The MSRP of ImagePrint Black is $1495 for printers 24 inches and larger and $895 printers that are 17 inches and smaller.

ImagePrint R.E.D. is designed for the thousands of offices, AEC firms, design studios, and schools that want to print a mix of photographs and image-rich drawings and documents on different models of aqueous wide-format inkjet printers.

ImagePrint R.E.D. is also a great option for photographers, printmakers, and graphics shops that routinely use the same brands of art papers, photo papers, canvases, or display materials. The MSRP for ImagePrint R.E.D. is $599 for printers 24 inches and larger and $399 for printers 17 inches and smaller.


Use ImagePrint R.E.D. to quickly lay out, preview, and print multi-page PDFs that combine drawings, detailed maps, renderings, and full-color images. Photo: ColorByte Software

Compatible with Canon imagePROGRAF printers

Canon U.S.A. recently announced that Canon’s entire line of imagePROGRAF large-format inkjet printers is compatible with ImagePrint R.E.D.

For example, you can use ImagePrint with the imagePROGRAF TX pigment-ink printers to print and collate a combination of black-and-white technical drawings, detailed GIS maps, and full-color site-survey photos. You can also print short-term signs with accurate logo, brand, and Pantone® colors.

Photographers, designers, and artists who use Canon’s imagePROGRAF PRO series of inkjet photo printers can choose ImagePrint Black software if they want to efficiently produce exceptional color and detail on many different types and brands of art papers, photo papers, and canvas.

Features in Both R.E.D. and Black

Whereas Photoshop, is an image-editing program with printing capabilities, ImagePrint software excels at fast, high-quality printing. It gives users of wide-format aqueous inkjet printers a quick and efficient way to produce many different sizes of high quality color and black-and-white prints.

Both the ImagePrint Black software and ImagePrint R.E.D. software included the following features:

The ability to print directly from a variety of file types. Print from TIFF, JPEG, PSD, and PDF files.

RIP (raster image processing) capabilities. Get advanced controls over the color, print speed, and print quality of big files, whether they are PDFs or image files.

Automatic color management. ImagePrint software automatically selects the correct color profile you need to get the best results with the paper you have chosen for a specific job. ImagePrint ensures the consistent and accurate printing of named colors in PDF files.

Multi-page PDF support. If you print a lot of PDF files, including document sets that include multiple PDFs, ImagePrint software can efficiently process them.

Image adjustment tools. Use the step-and-repeat feature to quickly layout multiple copies of smaller PDFs or images across the width of a roll of inkjet media. Or, use the tiling feature to lay out multi-panel large-format prints such as wall murals or trade-show backdrops.

The canvas-wrap feature helps you layout photo prints that will be printed on canvas and wrapped around stretcher bars. The canvas wrap layout ensures that your print will have big enough borders to wrap around stretcher bars you plan to use.

If you are printing posters and photo enlargements, you can add frames, decorative edges, or page backgrounds. You can also create “toned” black-and-white prints or nest smaller prints with larger prints to create photo packages or avoid wasting media. The smart-crop feature makes it a breeze to crop photos so they look their best in popular print sizes and photo layouts.

ImagePrint software features

Print event invitations, save the date announcements, and photo book layouts with decorative backgrounds and frames.

Advanced page layout and resizing tools. These tools can help you layout and resize photographs as needed and ensure that your PDF and technical documents are properly prepared for optimal print quality.

Accurate preview. This tool makes it easier to see exactly what your print will look like before you print it.

Workflow automation tools. Use AutoPrint to automate the printing of large jobs.

Professional print job spooler. Store and reprint completed jobs with all of the original settings in place. You can easily modify the completed job before reprinting it.

See which jobs are currently scheduled to be printed, along with jobs that have been printed and or saved for reprinting. Photo: ColorByte Software


Tools for making packaged prints. Make packages of different sizes of portraits, wedding photos, and event images.

Create one big photo on a 24-inch sheet, or automatically nest smaller images on the media to save paper. Photo: ColorByte Software

Accurate Scaling for Drawings

ColorByte President John Pannozzo says ImagePrint R.E.D. should not be regarded as a “light” version of ImagePrint Black: “We took all of the features of a multi-thousand-dollar product and added some new document-handling functionality. ImagePrint R.E.D. is really something you have to see or use to appreciate.”

For example, previews of CAD drawings that take ten minutes or more to preview in some software can be rendered on your screen in under a second with ImagePrint.

Pannozzo also understands that technical drawings can’t be zoomed in and cropped like photo prints often are: “Technical documents must be printed to scale. Preserving that scale is important even when the image size must be reduced to fit on the page.“ He said ColorByte spent a lot of time on workflow to handle scaling issues gracefully and automatically.

“We also went the extra mile with color management,” said Pannozzo. “We color manage every element in the PDF directly to the output space. We also support Pantone colors.”

Other noteworthy new features include: the high-res, multi-page PDF viewer, the ability to lay out mixed file types, and the capability to collate multi-page PDF documents.

When used with Canon’s imagePROGRAF printers, ImagePrint software enables you to maximize the efficiency of your color management process and achieve exceptional quality, whether you are printing fine art, photographs, signage, technical documents, or displays.

“What’s important to Canon is the ability of our devices to fit the needs of the end user,” said Toyotsugu Kawamura, executive vice president, and general manager, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A. “The devices that we offer our customers are designed to be versatile and accommodating to reputable third-party software such as ColorByte’s ImagePrint solutions. With these software offerings, imagePROGRAF users can get the most out of the large-format printing process with advanced color management controls and automation tools to further streamline their workflows.”

To learn more about ImagePrint, visit or watch ImagePrint video tutorials on YouTube.

Try Our New High-Speed Frosted Double Matte Tracing Film

The range of materials that can be printed with the pigment inks on the HP PageWide XL  single-pass, aqueous-ink printers continues to expand beyond paper. Freedom Paper now offers three specialty materials that work with this super-fast series of printers.

The newest addition is High-Speed Frosted Double Matte Double Matte Tracing Film (778). 

This durable, semi-soft, semi-transparent, 5 mil, 135 gsm PET film can be used to print markable overlays for color renderings, maps, blueprints, craft projects, and mixed-media art projects.

Rolls of Tracing Paper

The easy-to-handle film has an instant-dry coating for inkjet prints on one side and a rich, frosted surface for mark-ups with inks and other drawing media. This film can also be used for creative specialty graphics on printers that use aqueous dye or pigment inks, latex, or UV-curable inks.

Download spec sheet

Create colorful outdoor event banners on Instant-Dry Tyvek for High-Speed Printing

Other new products compatible with HP PageWide XL printers include:

Instant-Dry Tyvek for High-Speed Printing (511)

This ultra-smooth 7-mil Dupont® Tyvek® display film is optimized for high-speed inkjet printing of durable posters, presentations, lightweight banners, and event graphics on single-pass printers such as the HP PageWide XL. It can also be used with aqueous, latex, and UV-cure inks. The bright-white surface and ink-receptive coating yield high-definition graphics and rich colors. The super-fast dry time enables smudge-free handling. Tyvek is weather-resistant and unlikely to tear.

Download spec sheet

Freedom Paper Pro Self Adhesive Matte Polypro Film

Print durable mounted posters on Freedom Paper Pro Self-Adhesive Matte Polypro Film

Pro Self-Adhesive Matte Polypro with Anti-Slip Liner (806)

This value-priced, tear-resistant, self-adhesive 10 mil polypropylene display film was specifically designed to print easy-to-mount posters, signs, and event graphics on legacy and high-speed inkjet printers. The anti-slip PET film liner on this adhesive-backed polypropylene supports error-free feeding whether you use an older printer with slightly worn pinch rollers or a high-speed single-pass inkjet printer such as the HP PageWide XL. The instant-dry, water-resistant coating enables graphics to be mounted immediately without smudges or smears. The permanent adhesive provides a long-lasting bond without edge-lift on flat surfaces such as foamboards, posterboards, sign blanks, and package prototypes.

Download spec sheet

For more information about either of these products, chat with the wide-format media experts at Freedom Paper online at or call us at 866-310-3335.

Guide to Sihl Aqueous Inkjet Media Helps You Choose Wisely

The Canon, HP, or Epson aqueous inkjet printers in your office or studio can be used for many different types of prints besides office documents, technical drawings, and presentations. It all depends on the type of inkjet media you choose.

Sihl’s Reference Guide for Aqueous Ink media suggests which Sihl aqueous inkjet media to choose for different applications.

For example, the guide recommends inkjet media for everyday photo prints, gallery photo prints, canvas art and décor prints, posters, point-of-sale displays, roll-up banner stands, wall graphics, banners, window graphics, color separations, overlays, presentations, maps, courtroom graphics, architectural renderings, imposition prints, construction site field prints, fabric transfers, contour-cut adhesive graphics, wall murals, temporary tabletop graphics, wall decals, and screen positives.

For example, here are some of the tips that can be gleaned from the guide.


For a photo paper with a neutral white point that provides a pleasing warm background, choose Sihl Maranello.  For a bright-white photo paper, choose Sihl Rocket photo paper. For long-lasting, framed reproductions of gallery prints use SuperSorb Photo Paper Satin.

Consider using 7 mil CADPerfect II photo paper if you have an older model wide-format printer that uses all dye inks (HP DesignJet 500, 5000, or 5500) or a combination of dye and pigment inks (HP T-series,  Canon iPF 6xx, 7xx, 8xx series). Aqueous dye inks printed on inkjet photo papers that have microporous coatings can turn green if exposed to ozone in the atmosphere. The ink-receptive coating on Sihl CADPerfect II photo paper can prevent this ozone-induced color shift.

Use Sihl 3670 Imola Pearl Photo Paper PSA for photos and posters that will be mounted on foamboards and other rigid substrates


For vibrant, photo-rich posters, use the 8 mil version of Rocket photo paper.

For colorful graphic posters that don’t require detailed photo reproduction, consider Sihl 3257 PosterColor X paper.

Package Prototypes and Decorated Boxes

For creating mock-ups of package designs, try Sihl 3670 Imola Pearl Photo Paper PSA. The aggressive adhesive on Sihl 3670 Imola™ Pearl Photo Paper PSA sticks to most cardboard and the photo paper doesn’t shrink like PVC films can. The crack-resistant coating prevents white areas from showing up if the mounted print is wrapped around a box.

Banner Stand Displays

For durable roll-up banner stand displays that will be used repeatedly at different sites or in high-traffic/high touch areas, use a polyester film that can be wiped clean such as Sihl 3471 Superdry Satin Roll-Up Film.

For short-term indoor or outdoor displays that will be viewed from a distance, use an economical polypropylene film such as Sihl 3391 SyntiTec POS PolyPro Grayback or Sihl 3390 SuperDry SyntiTec PolyPro Outdoor Film Matte.

For wayfinding banners in a store or event venue, consider using a fabric banner material such as Sihl 3502 Expo Fire Retardant Banner.  Or, try Sihl 3275 TexBanner Xtreme White Matte, a lightweight, non-woven banner material that looks and feels like a textile. Graphics printed on fabrics are perceived as less intrusive than promotional banners on vinyl or polypropylene.

Canvas Prints

For printing portraits on canvas, use a canvas with a smooth surface structure. While natural canvas textures are great for art reproductions, the texture can make the skin in portraits look blotchy. Sihl’s Artist canvas series is designed to eliminate that effect. Sihl offers a budget-friendly 15 mil Sihl 3579 Décor Brilliant Canvas and three 19 mil, long-lasting artist canvases: Sihl 3582 Fortuna Gloss Canvas, 3857 Artistic Canvas Matte, and Sihl 3948 Instant-Dry Satin Canvas.

Adhesive Graphics for Smooth Surfaces

For creating peel-and-stick letters or shaped graphics that will be contour cut and applied to flat surfaces, use an adhesive-backed polypropylene such as Sihl 3539 SyntiTec PolyPro Film with EasyTack.

For window displays that give the appearance of stained glass, use Sihl 3989 WindowGraphx Film with EasyTack repositionable adhesive. Because the film is designed to diffuse light from behind, the printed image appears to glow. EasyTack is Sihl’s proprietary repositionable adhesive for bubble-free application and residue-free removal from smooth surfaces such as glass, metal, and plastics.

For colorful window signs that focus attention on the text or graphics, use an optically clear polyester film with an extremely clear removable adhesive such as Sihl 3166 ClearStick Adhesive Clear Film.

For colorful custom wall murals or temporary tabletop graphics, use Sihl 3209 QuickStick AQ Adhesive Backed Fabric. The repositionable adhesive allows the graphic to be applied, removed, and re-applied multiple times with ease.

Sihl’s free 16-page Reference Guide for Aqueous Ink media can be downloaded here.

Sihl Digital Imaging is a long-time, global manufacturer of digital print media for display graphics, photo and art reproduction, point-of-sale (POS) advertising, CAD, in-office, and at-home printing. Sihl has manufacturing sites in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, and France.

Freedom Paper carries Sihl inkjet media for all types of wide format inkjet printers, including those that use eco-solvent or solvent inks, latex inks, or UV-curable inks. If you have questions about using Sihl inkjet media, call our wide-format printing experts at 866-310-3335 or chat with us online at



Custom Wallcoverings Improve Patient Experience at Pediatric Hospital

Here is a great example of how healthcare facilities are using custom wallcoverings to improve the healing environment.

Fe Del Mundo Medical Center was founded as the first pediatric hospital in the Philippines by Filipino scientist and pediatrician, Dr. Fe Del Mundo, the first woman to attend Harvard Medical School.

In 2013, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center became a member of the healthcare management group Mount Grace Hospitals. The new management wanted to renovate and upgrade hospital facilities to provide a more caring, less stressful experience for their young patients.

“Many of our sick children felt anxious and tense in the stark white hospital environment,” said Ivy Gay Alcantara, RN, Chief of Nursing Services. “So we decided to create an environment that would make them more at ease.”

Blank walls in hallway of Fe Del Mundo Medical Center

Before the murals were installed.

Recognizing that environmental graphics can affect how we think, act, feel, and heal, the hospital looked to Scanwell Graphics Corporation to design a place where children could feel safe, secure and less fearful.

Murals on hallway walls of Fe Del Mundo Medical Center

After the wall murals were installed

Scanwell chose GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certified℠ HP PVC-free Wall Paper to create custom wallcoverings for the hallways and rooms of the pediatric center.

The environmental assurances of HP PVC-free Wall Paper were a huge factor when choosing a wall covering for this sensitive environment. This FSC®-certified*, flame-resistant wall paper prints odorless displays that are mold- and mildew-resistant. Installation was easy—this paper goes up and comes down with water.

The newly renovated pediatric center continues Dr. Fe Del Mundo’s mission to improve the lives of Filipino children and their families.

HP PVC-free Wall Paper is a 7-mil inkjet-printable, pre-pasted wallpaper for use with latex inks. For a video showing how easy it is to install HP PVC-free Wall Paper, click here.

It is available from Freedom Paper in three sizes: 42 in. x 100 ft. rolls; 54 in. x 100 ft. rolls; and 54 in. x 300 ft. rolls.

For more information, chat with us online at or call us a 866-310-3335.

Why Photo Printing Is on the Rise

framed dog photos in a gallery

Photo printing can be an excellent growth opportunity for owners of wide-format inkjet printers that use pigment inks. Here are just three reasons why:

The number of images captured each year is increasing. According to an InfoTrends study, more than 1.1 trillion photos were captured by mobile devices and still cameras in 2016. That number is projected to rise to 1.4 trillion by 2020.

Of course, not all of these images will be printed. But when a smartphone user captures something special, they may want to convert the image into a tangible item — something that won’t get lost and forgotten among the billions of other images circulating on social media.

InfoTrends research also found that Millennials (born circa 1981–2000) are not abandoning traditional photography and printing. They take 60% more photos each year (with mobile devices and digital cameras) than their Gen X and Boomer cohorts. And while Millennials actively share many images via social media, they still print occasionally— for decoration, gift giving, or remembering fun times and family events.

Daven Mathies on Digital Trends notes that while we no longer have to print to see what we’ve captured, people still love prints: “Rather than bemoan the decline in quantity of photo printed, let’s celebrate the fact that digital has given us new technology and new avenues for producing high-quality prints. We have the tools today to make better prints than ever before.” He notes that holding a finished print in your hand is infinitely more satisfying than seeing your photo on a pocket-size screen.

Boomers want to preserve their memories in printed form. Photo printing opportunities also exist for Boomers who want to preserve their memories in printed form. While most Boomers are past their prime picture-taking years, many want to scan and reprint some of the yellowed old prints stashed in shoeboxes — either from their childhood or passed down from parents or grandparents.

Boomers came of age during the advent of color photography. So their collections often include a mix of black-and-white and color photos.

Businesses want to refresh or localize their decor. Hotels, restaurants, healthcare facilities, coffee shops, and offices understand the value of decorating their walls with photos and artwork that enhances the enjoyment of the space. Images can help soothe nervous patients, create a sense of place or history, or spark an emotional connection with a brand.


Analysts from Technavio suggest that the rising demand for photo printing and merchandise market is heavily influenced by the growth of travel and events.

Make Sure Photo Prints Will Last

“Photo printing is considered one of the best ways to preserve memories,” said Ujjwal Doshi, a lead analyst for Technavio. “Despite the advent of digital photos, photo printing continues to hold sway. Digital photos cannot match the touch and feel of a printed photos.”

If you do print photos for consumers and businesses, pay attention to quality and service. Now that customers see photos everywhere they look and have access to easy editing tools, they are much more aware of the look and style of high-impact photographs.

Technavio analysts believe that future of the photo printing and merchandise market depends on how well print-service provides satisfy the customer’s expectations in terms of quality of service and quality of the buying experience.

Consider Kodak Inkjet Photo Papers

Longevity also matters when people make prints as keepsakes. That’s why many photo printing use one of Kodak’s inkjet photo papers that carry the Art Sure Certification .

KODAK PROFESSIONAL Inkjet Photo Paper Glossy 255 gsm

KODAK PROFESSIONAL Inkjet Photo Paper Lustre 255 gsm

This means the paper has been independently tested for properties such as lightfastness and permanence. Both of these sturdy, 10-mil, resin-coated papers are designed to take advantage of the latest printing technology, producing deeper colors and finer details.

For more information about Kodak Professional Inkjet Photo Papers, or other Kodak inkjet media, call the wide-format printing experts at Freedom Paper at 866-310-3335 or chat with us online at


ArtSure Program Gives Buyers of Inkjet Art Prints More Confidence


What’s the Difference Between Inkjet Mylar, Vellum, and PET Tracing Film?

rolls of inkjet vellum and mylar

If you are looking for wide-format rolls of translucent materials for printed and markable overlays, drafting, or mixed-media art projects, your options include xerographic or inkjet Mylar, inkjet vellum paper, translucent bond, or double-matte PET tracing films.

The key differences among these materials are costs, durability, and composition of the base material.

Vellum originally described a writing surface made from animal hide. Today, vellum paper is a thin, translucent paper that can be used for tracing, drafting, drawings, and overlays. Vellum papers are designed to withstand erasing and redrawing.

Archival vellum papers are acid-free and made from cotton fibers.

Sheets of inkjet vellum paper

Inkjet Vellum Paper

Mylar® is a DuPont-trademarked name for a bi-axillary-oriented polyester film (BoPET). Different types of Mylar are used applications ranging from packaging and food storage to insulation and industrial and decorative laminates. The Mylar used for drafting typically has a finely textured, “frosted” surface to ensure that inks or other water-based materials don’t smear or smudge.

PET tracing or drafting film is a translucent, matte polyester film that is similar to Mylar, but not manufactured or licensed by DuPont. It is available in different thicknesses.

A double-matte film is coated on both sides. The two-sided versions can be inkjet-printed on one side, and marked up with pencils, pens, or markers on the other side.

Translucent bond is a 3 mil, 18 lb. white coated bond paper. It costs less than a PET or Mylar film, but it tears more easily and isn’t quite as “see-through.”


Rolls of Mylar and PET double matte film

Mylar and double matte films

Mylar and PET tracing films provide a more durable alternative to vellum and bond papers. The films are naturally impervious to water and resist tearing. The films are also designed not to yellow with age.

Freedom Paper offers wide-format rolls of different types of translucent materials from a variety of manufacturers. Some materials are designed for inkjet printing; others are for wide-format xerographic copiers that use toners.

Vellum Papers

Freedom Paper 471 Production Vellum Rolls, 20 lb 

Freedom Paper 473 Solventless Vellum Rolls, 100% Rag, 20 lb

Freedom Paper 772 Solventless Inkjet Vellum, 100% Cotton, 20 lb.

Freedom Paper 472 Solventless Vellum Rolls, 100% Rag, 17 lb.

Freedom Paper 771 Solventless Inkjet Vellum 100% Cotton, 17 lb

Mylar and PET Films

Freedom Paper Inkjet Double Matte Mylar 4 mil

Freedom Paper 493 Double Matte Xerographic Mylar Film, 3 mil

Freedom Paper 494 Mylar Double Matte Xerographic Film, 4 mil

Freedom Paper 778 High Speed Frosted Double Matte Tracing Film, 5 mil 

Sihl 4571 Double Matte CAD Film, 4 mil

HP Double Matte Film, 152 gsm, 4 mil

Bond Papers

Freedom Paper 750 Translucent Inkjet Bond Paper, 18 lb.

HP Universal Tracing Paper Rolls 24 lb, 3 mil

HP Translucent Inkjet Bond 18 lb

For more information about inkjet printable vellum papers, Mylar, and PET tracing films, call the wide-format printing experts at Freedom Paper at 866-310-3335 or chat with us online at


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