Inkjet Art Paper and Inkjet Photo Paper: A Few Good Terms to Know

Inkjet photo paper

Buying professional-quality inkjet art paper or inkjet photo paper is different than buying inkjet paper for technical drawings, short-term photographic displays, and everyday office printing. Sometimes, the terms used to describe inkjet art paper and inkjet photo paper products can be confusing.

But you should learn what these words mean because they describe specialized materials and surface treatments that improve the longevity, tactile appeal, and aesthetics of prints on inkjet art paper and inkjet photo paper.

Here are some of the most commonly used terms used with inkjet art paper and inkjet photo paper.

Inkjet at paper

Inkjet art papers typically have surface textures that replicate the look and feel of traditional papers used for watercolor paintings or etchings from classic art printmaking tools.

Inkjet photo paper

Inkjet photo papers are designed to replicate classic darkroom papers. These papers have whiter, smoother surfaces for better reproduction of details.

A – G

Acid-free: A pH neutral paper manufactured without acid in the pulp. To be designated acid-free, the paper must have a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Acids in paper can attack the paper fibers, causing the paper to become brittle deterioration over time.

Alpha cellulose: Cellulose is a substance in the cell walls of plants. A high alpha-cellulose is very pure form of wood pulp that can yield the same longevity as cotton or other plant fibers.

Anti-Curl Coating: A thin coating on the back of inkjet photo media to keep it flat after printing.

Archival: The term has different meanings in different contexts. An archival paper generally is one that is manufactured to meet standards established by the ISO (International Standards Organization), ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), or DIN (German Institute for Standardization). Archival prints are typically made with pigment inks on archival papers and handled, stored and displayed according to recommendations made by the Image Permanence Institute. (See: IPI Guide to Preservation of Digitally Printed Photographs)

Baryta: A special coating applied to the surface of an archival art paper to make it smoother and whiter for photographic printing. Baryta is a mixture of gelatin and the white pigment barium-sulfate. Because the back of a baryta inkjet paper isn’t coated with a plastic, the printed photo feels more like an art print on a fibrous art paper. Baryta photo papers for inkjet printing have microporous ink-receptive coatings for long-lasting pigment inks.

Brightness: A measure of the how much light is reflect from the surface of the sheet. The higher the percentage, the higher the brightness. A high brightness produces visual contrast between the printed and unprinted areas.

Buffered: Protected from acid in the paper or from airborne pollutants. Alkaline buffering agents (such as calcium carbonate or magnesium carbonate) are added to the paper pulp to neutralize acids. Acids can be caused by residual chlorine from bleaching operations, aluminum sulfate (alum) from paper sizing, or exposure sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere.

Caliper: The thickness of the paper measured in thousandths of an inch (mils).

Canvas: A woven cotton fabric commonly used for paintings. Inkjet canvas is typically made with a combination of polyester and cotton. A microporous ink-receptive coating that makes the surface water-resistant enough for the use of texturing gels or clearcoats.

Canvas Paper: Cut sheets of canvas, or papers with a surface treatment that simulates the look of canvas.

Cold pressed: Papers that are pressed through cold cylinders to create a slight surface texture.

Cotton rag: A high-quality paper made from cotton linters or a combination of cotton linters and cotton rags. Cotton linters are pure cellulose fibers from cotton processing. Rag fibers are longer fibers than cotton linters and provide extra strength. But paper-makers have shifted aware from 100% cotton-rag papers because the rags became scarcer as textile producers shifted to polyester and other synthetic fabrics.

Deckle: The feathery edge that results from wet pulp when making hand-made or mould-made papers. A deckled edge can also be produced by tearing the sheets when they are wet.

Digital art: Artwork that was originally created on a computer or mobile device.

Dmax/Dmin: The Dmax is a densitometric measurement of the darkest black a paper can achieve with a given set of inks. On inkjet printers that can’t print white ink, the Dmin is the non-printed area of the image. The difference between the Dmin and Dmax is the paper’s dynamic range. Density is measured on a scale from 0.0 (white) to 4.0 (black). A paper with a low Dmin and high Dmax has a tonal range that can produce depth and detail in shadow and highlight areas of an image. A high Dmax is beneficial for images for rich, deep blacks, including black-and-white images.

Dynamic Range (also known as Optical Density): A measurement that quantifies the level of shadow detail and mid-tone gray values that an ink-and-paper combination can reproduce. It can be affected by how deeply the inkjet ink sinks into the paper. Tonal range is measured on a scale from 0.0 (white) to 4.0 (black).

Fourdrinier: A high-speed machine for making paper that is consistent in its quality and characteristics.

Gloss: A reflective surface that can make colors look brighter and details look sharper. A high-gloss surface is ultra-reflective and can show fingerprints in the surface. A semi-gloss paper has a visible sheen that makes colors look brighter than those on matte paper, but more natural than on high-gloss papers. Luster, pearl, and satin finishes describe different types of semi-gloss finishes.

gsm: Grams per square meter. This consistent way to compare products is based on the gram weight of a hypothetical square meter of a particular media.

Grain direction: The direction in which a majority of the fibers lie in a finished sheet. It is an important characteristic in art papers that will be folded and bound into books.

H – Z

Handmade: Paper made by manually dipping a mould in a vat of wet pulp. The mould consists of a frame covered by a flat or rigid screen and a flat frame called a deckle to contain the run-off of wet pulp. After the mould is dipped in the vat, it is shaken to distribute the fibers and drain the excess water. The wet mat of fibers is then dried against blankets. The paper can be air dried, hot pressed, or cold pressed.

Hot pressed: Papers that are pressed through hot cylinders to produce a smooth paper surface.

Lignins: A component of plant cell walls that can contribute to the chemical deterioration of paper. Lignins can be removed when the paper is manufactured.

Luster/Satin/Pearl: Lower-gloss papers that provide more subdued, more natural-looking fleshtones and colors in portraits.

Matte: A non-reflective surface coating that produces glare-free prints that can be easily viewed from all angles.

Media: A digitally printable substrate. It could be a paper, canvas, vinyl, fabric, posterboard, or other material that has been optimized for digital printing.

Metallic inkjet paper: These resin-coated photo papers have a high-gloss coating that includes metallic pigments. The metallic pigments can add a silvery or bronze-line sheen to high-dynamic-range images.

Microrporous: (See Porous Coating)

Mil: A measurement of a thickness of a paper. A mil is one-thousandth of an inch.

Mouldmade: Paper made by a slowly rotating machine that simulates the process of making papers by hand in a mould (See Handmade). Unlike papers made on higher-speed fourdrinier papermaking machines, the fibers in mouldmade papers become more randomly intertwined and produce a stronger, more flexible sheet or roll.

Opacity: A term that describes the paper’s ability to prevent the transmission of light from the front surface to the back surface. A high level of opacity ensures that an image printed on one side of a page won’t show through to the other side.

Optical Brightening Agents (OBAs): Chemical, fluorescent additives that improve the apparent brightness of a paper. As the brighteners degrade over time, the underlying paper returns to its natural level of whiteness.

Porous coating (also: Microporous, Nanoporous): These types of ink-receptive coatings consist of microscopic particles that create tiny pores that keep the ink from spreading. As the inks enter the pores in the coating, the print surface feels instantly dry. Porous coatings are more resistant to moisture and humidity. They work best with pigment inks.

Resin-coated (RC) photo paper: A paper that has been coated with polyethylene film on both sides. These types of papers were developed for analog chemical-based photo processing and established the perception of how a commercial photo print should look and feel.

Swellable coating: An ink-receptive layer that swells to encapsulate and protect the ink from outside contaminant. It was developed for use with aqueous dye inks. Papers with swellable coatings and aqueous inks are more susceptible to water damage and humidity that microporous-coated papers with aqueous pigment inks.

Washi: A Japanese term for strong, lightweight papers made from long fibers of plants such as mulberry and hemp. For centuries, these papers were made by hand. Today, inkjet-printable washi papers are machine-made.

Whiteness: A measurement of the quality of light reflected from the surface of a paper. Papers that reflect a higher percentage of blue light have the highest whiteness levels. Papers that reflect a higher percentage of yellow light yield lower whiteness measurement values. A paper with a high whiteness value looks brighter and provides a high level of contrast between ink colors and the paper.

Yellowing: A gradual change in the look of a pulp or paper as a result of acids in the envrionment or the breakdown of optical brightening agents over time.

Any Questions?

Freedom Paper sells premium inkjet art paper and inkjet photo paper from Hahnemuehle, Moab by Legion Paper, Innova, and Museo.

If you have any questions about which type of paper would be best for printing your art or photo project, give us a call at 866-310-3335.


Freedom Paper: Inkjet Art and Photo Paper

Inkjet Metallic Papers Add Depth and Richness to Photo Prints

Kodak metallic paper

Inkjet metallic papers have a smooth, high-gloss ink-receptive coating that includes metallic pigments. The surface glossiness and sheen from the metallic pigments produce an appealing iridescence, with a high degree of luminance and reflectivity. Inkjet metallic paper prints almost seem to glow.

When used with pro-model pigment-ink photo printers, inkjet metallic papers can produce superb color gamuts, contrast, and edge sharpness and yield prints that look almost three-dimensional.


Inkjet metallic papers are fantastic for:

• HDR (high-dynamic range) images
• Photos with brilliant colors
• Images of motorcycles, autos, and objects with metallic details
• Photos of sparkling jewels, snow, rivers, and lakes
• Images of sunlit water droplets
• Neutral black-and-white photographs

An inkjet metallic paper is also good for replicating the look of prints on aluminum or vintage black-and-white prints made with cyanotype, daguerrotype, and wet-plate processes.

Freedom Paper currently sells three inkjet metallic papers:

• Kodak Professional Inkjet Metallic Paper 255 gsm
• Moab Slickrock Metallic Silver Photographic Paper 300 gsm
• Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl Photographic Paper 260 gsm

The premium Moab Slickrock papers are made with top-quality alpha-cellulose base papers and are popular with photographers who sell or exhibit their prints. These photography professionals routinely use the latest model printers with six, eight, or more colors of aqueous pigment inks for long-lasting, super-detailed reproductions of high-resolution images.

Kodak Professional Inkjet Metallic Paper is a versatile, value-priced photo paper that enables photography labs, enthusiasts and designers to add visual flair to many types of prints, including gift prints and high-end indoor displays. Kodak metallic paper can be used on many current and legacy models of aqueous-ink printers from HP, Canon, Epson, Roland, and other manufacturers.

Kodak Professional Inkjet Photo Paper Metallic gives your prints the luminous, pearlescent look that for a long time was only possible with darkroom-processed photographs. The large color gamut and high Dmax allow your printed images to look as sharp and colorful as the images in your camera.

Kodak metallic paper for Inkjet printing also has the familiar Kodak watermark on the back. So anyone who receives your prints will know they are getting top-quality prints.

Tips for Using Inkjet Metallic Papers

To get the best results, here are a few tips for handling inkjet metallic papers:

  • Make sure the print surface is free of dust and lint. Use a can of compressed air to blow away any dust on the surface. Or, use anti-static wisk brush and anti-static gloves.
  • Use a custom ICC profile if possible. Or, use the high-quality print setting for glossy or luster photo papers.
  • Use photo black inks.
  • Avoid touching the paper surface before and after printing.
  • Consider hand-trimming the prints instead of relying on your printer’s built-in cutter.
  • Do not allow the prints to stack up in the tray.
  • Let the prints air dry, uncovered and unstacked, for 24 hours.
For More Information

For more information about Kodak metallic paper or other Kodak papers for wide-format inkjet printing, check out the Freedom Paper website or call our inkjet media experts at 866-310-3335.

We would also love to see examples of the types of images you have produced on inkjet metallic papers. If you have other tips to share, please send them our way:


Freedom Paper: Inkjet Metallic Papers

Kodak Professional Inkjet Metallic Paper


Free Guide about Buying Wide Format Paper for Technical Drawings and Maps

freedom_paper_guide_CoverA free guide from Freedom Paper provides tips for buying wide format paper for technical drawings, maps, and presentations. The guide can help new buyers of wide format inkjet paper avoid expensive mistakes when ordering supplies for in-office inkjet printers and engineering copiers.

The 22-page guide “Selecting Wide-Format Papers for Technical Drawings, Maps, and Presentations” provides advice for choosing the best material for specific types of print jobs. It also clarifies:

  • Ten major categories of materials for inkjet-printed drawings, documents, and maps
  • The differences between materials for inkjet printers and engineering copiers and laser/LED printers
  • The printer specs you should must know before ordering supplies
  • Commonly used terms and acronyms associated with inkjet printing, potential media problems, and paper characteristics such as whiteness and brightness.

While a huge assortment of papers can be purchased online, remember this: Not all wide-format printer paper works with older model printers that are still running strong in many offices.

That doesn’t mean you must stick with the selection range of papers sold by your printer manufacturer. But it’s important to understand a few basic wide format paper specs before placing an order. Otherwise, you can end up with a paper roll that is either too big for your printer’s spindle or too thick to feed properly.

Some topics covered in the guide have been addressed in posts on the Printing Ideas blog. But the guide on “Selecting Wide-Format Papers for Technical Drawings, Maps, and Presentations” has expanded on the blog posts to make it easy for anyone in your office to learn more about the different types of papers available for everyday office printing, engineering drawings, GIS maps, presentations, and simple posters.

Download the free guide here!

If you have additional questions or want some person-to-person advice from some wide-format paper experts, please call us at 866-310-3335.

We are always happy to help you get the right material for your project without spending more than necessary.

Tips for Using Double Sided Photo Paper and Art Paper

Printer-TwoSidedPaperA double sided photo paper is a thicker, opaque paper with an inkjet receptive coating on both sides of the sheets. Once you have printed on the front side of the photo or art paper, you can run it through the printer and print something different on the back.

Freedom Paper offers doubled-sided art papers from Hahnemuehle and Moab by Legion Paper, as well as pre-scored double-sided greeting card papers from Museo.

You can use these archival, double-sided papers to create:

  • Photography, art, and design portfolios
  • Announcement cards and invitations
  • Project photo books and albums
  • Gift prints for key clients
  • Postcards, greeting cards, and notecards
  • Scrapbooks and memory books

You don’t have to print images on both sides of the sheet. Consider printing a gorgeous photo on the front with a few lines of text and your company logo on the back.

Here are a few tips for using double sided art paper:

  • Use sheets instead of rolls so you don’t have to remove the curl before feeding the second side through.
  • To ensure that the back and front layouts align properly, use lower-cost paper to make some test prints first.
  • Use an anti-static wisk brush to gently clean fine particles or dust from the print surface of the paper.
  • Keep the media-feed rollers of your printer clean so you don’t experience slippage or ink transfer.
  • Print the side of the paper with the least amount of ink first (e.g. the side with text only).
  • Let the first side dry thoroughly before printing the other side.
  • If you plan to bind pages of photo prints in a book or album, use acid-free interleaving sheets between the pages. Otherwise, some ink may transfer when the pages are pressed together.
  • After both printed sides are fully dry, apply a protective spray such as Moab Desert Varnish or Hahnemuhle Protective Spray. The spray will help keep pigment inks from rubbing off, protect dye inks from humidity, and minimize the appearance of fingerprints on prints, cards, and pages that are designed to be handled.

If you have additional suggestions or examples of projects you have printed on two-sided paper, please send them to


Hahenmuehle Photo Rag Duo 276 gsm

Moab Entrada Rag Brite 300 gsm (double sided)

Moab Entrada Rag Natural 190 gsm (double sided)

Moab Lasal Photo Matte 230 gsm

Museo Artist Card Sets




Sihl Offers Economical Alternative to Inkjet Tyvek Banner Material

For fans of Tyvek banner material, Sihl Digital Imaging has introduced an economical alternative. Sihl TexBanner 3275 is a bright white, synthetic, non-woven material coated with Sihl’s waterfast matte inkjet formulation. TexBanner can be used to print indoor and outdoor banners with large-format inkjet printers that use aqueous, latex, or UV-cure inks.

Like Tyvek banner material, TexBanner is a recyclable, lay-flat, flexible, non-PVC-banner material that provides high levels of tensile strength, tear resistance, and opacity. Because this 12.5, mil, 145 gsm material can be stapled, sewn, or used with grommets, it is ideal for making indoor or outdoor banners.


Sihl TexBanner 3275 is optimized for aqueous pigment inks, but works well with latex and UV-cure inks, too.  It is compatible with aqueous dye inks, but provides a high level of water resistance with aqueous pigment inks such as Epson UltraChrome, Canon Lucia, and HP Vivera Pigment inks.

This product is sold in 125-ft. rolls on a 3-inch core. It is available in widths of 36, 42, and 54 inches.

If you have questions about ordering this product or other tyvek banner and inkjet banner materials, please call the customer-service pros at Freedom Paper at 866-310-3335.


Freedom Paper: Inkjet Banner Materials


Magic’s Eco Friendly Wide Format Paper Wins Top Product Award

Magic® PCW-MATTE for inkjet printing is an eco friendly wide format paper made from 100% recycled content.

Manufactured in the U.S. by Coveris™ Advanced Coatings, the 14 mil, 300gsm bright-white matte paper is compatible with aqueous, solvent, eco-solvent, and UV cure inks. The ultra-smooth surface can handle high ink saturation to provide the rich density needed for photographic and indoor promotional graphics. Coveris introduced PCW-MATTE in September 2014 and recommends it for general purpose signage, posters, POP displays, and trade-show graphics.

In its April 2015 issue, Wide-Format Imaging magazine announced that Magic PCW-MATTE won the Reader’s Choice Top Product Award in the Paper category.


Magic PCW Matte Paper

To be considered for the award, a product had to be released and commercially available between September 1, 2013 through December 31, 2014. Voting was open to all print service providers worldwide from January 12 through February 13, 2015.

“We are honored that Wide-Format Imaging readers voted for PCW-MATTE,” said Ed McCarron, Vice President of Digital Imaging at Coveris Advanced Coatings. “There is no doubt that this product is exceeding the expectations of digital imaging professionals.”

Freedom Paper is proud to make Magic’s earth-friendly, 100% post-consumer-waste paper available to our customers. It is available in 100-ft. rolls on 3-inch cores in 36- and 42-inch widths.

Call us at 866-310-3335 for more information or to place an order.

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

If you need thinner eco-friendly paper for everyday monochrome CAD and technical drawings, check out Freedom Paper bond papers made from 33% post-consumer-waste content. We offer an Eco-Friendly Uncoated Plotter Paper for monochrome inkjet printing and an Eco-Friendly Bond for toner-based LCD copiers.


Wide Format Imaging Magazine: 2015 Reader’s Choice Top Products Awards

Spec Sheet: Magic Inkjet PCW-MATTE Paper

Freedom Paper: Eco-Friendly Bond

Freedom Paper: Eco-Friendly Uncoated Plotter Paper

Five Reasons to Print Project Drawings on Inkjet Paper Rolls

Now that most designs and correspondence originate as digital files, the value of printing documents and drawings related to design-bid-build projects isn’t always clear. Before ordering inkjet paper rolls for your wide format inkjet printer, here are five good reasons to continue printing some types of documents:

To Avoid the Risk of Unreadable Digital Files

Not everyone who has a stake in knowing how the building was designed and constructed will have access to the latest versions of CAD software and file formats used to create the design files. While original CAD files must be kept in the project archives, not every building owner, lawyer, government official, general contractor, subcontractor, or supplier may be able to open them. Prints of your most important documents are readable by everyone.

The risk of unreadable files may change when standards are developed and adopted for the long-term preservation of digital files. But for now, most company libraries and institutional archives still want some paper files, including drawings, plans, elevations, blueprints, images, correspondence, and project records.

Google VP Vint Cerf, who is recognized as one of the founders of the Internet, recently expressed concerns that all the images and documents we have been saving on computers will eventually be irretrievable. During this ongoing transition from analog to digital methods, he believes we are creating a “Digital Dark Age” in which future generations will have little or no records of cultural achievements during the first half of the 21st Century.

At a 2015 meeting of the American Association of the Advancement of Science, Cerf advocated developing a “digital vellum” to ensure that digital files remain readable even as operating systems and file formats change over time. In an interview with “The Guardian,” Cerf recommended printing copies of files you want to archive so you will avoid losing them through outdated operating systems.

Blueprints evolution

When you archive paper documents, your drawings can always be re-scanned into whatever format that historians, archivists, and government agencies are using at the time.

Some experts recommend keeping one paper copy of each document and one digital copy, with a second digital back-up copy at another site. This “two media, two locations” practice can help minimize the risk of loss from vandalism, theft, fires, floods, and earthquakes.

To Preserve Your Firm’s Reputation and Legacy

The records retention policy differs within every company, but it basically boils down to these question: “What do you want to preserve? And for whom do you want to preserve your work?”

Most firms keep records to protect themselves from legal liability if problems crop up after the project is completed. Some firms want to preserve a lasting legacy of the firm’s accomplishments and contributions to the community – even after the building has been torn down at some point in the future.

Your archives can be turned over to libraries that regard architectural documents a key part of cultural heritage collections.

To Accurately Share Information at Remote Sites 

Hard copy prints are essential on sites where it’s difficult to set up a large screen on which everyone can view all the details of the designs. Having one set of prints on-site ensures that everyone on the team is viewing the latest, owner-approved version.

According to an article on the Canon Solutions America website, printing construction documents in color can provide better communication on design-bid-build projects and mitigate the risk of excessive costs incurred by insufficient design details.

According to Canon analysts, “Discussions between business leaders and industry participants indicate that conceptual designs provide, at the most, approximately one-half the level of detail required to determine whether it is feasible to build a structure.” When general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers don’t receive sufficient details in the owner-approved design, they may include excessive contingency costs in their bids or generate many requests for information (RFIs) to clarify details not covered in the drawing.

To Proofread Drafts of Complex Documents and Drawings

When you print a long or complex document to proofread, you can verify that the formatting is correct and review all of the details with eyes that aren’t strained by staring at a computer screen for hours on end.

If you are designing a brochure that will be folded to create a smaller, multi-page document, you can use your wide-format printer to output an “imposition proof” to preview how the design will look when it’s printed.

To Give Your Clients a Tangible Take-Away from a Meeting

We spend so much time communicating via texts, e-mail, and tweets, that a well-produced hard-copy print can seem more important and more permanent.

Beautifully designed posters, calendars, and photo prints on high-quality papers can provide year-round reminders of what makes your firm distinctive.

PrintButton-LRWhy Do YOU Print?

The many different types of inkjet paper rolls that can be easily ordered through Freedom Paper’s website can help you meet each one of these goals. We offer archival matte papers, translucent vellum, and Mylar rolls and Mylar sheets. We also sell uncoated and coated bond papers for drafts, proofing, and presentations and luxurious inkjet art and photo papers that can help your firm leave a lasting impression.

Please tell us more about why you continue to believe in the importance of printing! Submit a comment below, call us at 866-310-3335, or send feedback to We want to hear what you think!


Freedom Paper: Inkjet Paper Rolls for CAD/Technical Drawings



Brighteners in Inkjet Art Paper for Fine Art


By Robin D. Myers, Robin Myers Imaging

Once you have a fine art image ready for printing you are faced with the decision of which inkjet art paper to use. Assuming you already have a printer, the selection of ink is usually made for you, just get the printer manufacturer’s inks. So the decision is which inkjet art paper to use with your printer’s inks. When it comes to fine art printing there are two major criteria for selecting a paper; the longevity of the paper/ink combination and whether the inkjet art paper has optical brighteners.


When a print is exposed to light a process of change begins. This can be a fading of the ink, a yellowing of the paper, or a variety of other effects. Atmospheric agents such as ozone, sulfur and other chemicals can also affect the print. The lifetime of a print is measured by comparing prints exposed to various factors such as visible light, UV light, heat, ozone and other agents, against reference prints kept in the dark. Measurements are made of the inks and paper, compared to visual tolerances and a lifetime prediction is made. This lifetime represents the amount of time the print can be exposed under normal conditions before it changes objectionably. Since all the artists I’ve known want their art to last, paper and ink combinations should be selected with long lifetimes.

There are two places to check paper/ink ratings. The first is with Wilhelm Research. His website has ratings for most of the printer inks and many of the available papers.

The second place for paper/ink ratings is Aardenburg Imaging & Archives. This site has some interesting methods of testing archival qualities in the laboratory and in situ.


Old, stained sky background


Everyone likes white things bright. At least this is what the soap and bleach manufacturers have been telling us for decades in their advertisements. Paper naturally has a yellowish color, due to the materials used in its construction, such as wood pulp or cotton fibers. To counteract this natural yellowness, paper makers add optical brighteners, also called fluorescent whitening agents, to the paper. Their effect is to make the paper look whiter and brighter by converting invisible ultraviolet light to visible blue light. The extra blue reflected light when added to the natural yellow paper color makes the paper appear brighter and whiter.

Another benefit to using paper brighteners is to even out the variations between paper batches, making the paper consistent and predictable.

So if optical brighteners and fluorescent whitening agents make the paper whiter and brighter, what is so bad about using them in papers for fine art printing?

Artists want their works to last for a long time. They go to great lengths to select long lasting inks and papers for their reproductions. Some optical brighteners fade after a few weeks, changing the appearance of the print. If the brightener does not fade, then the whiteness of the print will appear differently depending on the amount of ultraviolet light present in the illumination. If a print is prepared by the photographer and printer for one type of lighting, but ultimately displayed by the customer in a different lighting, the paper’s optical brighteners may make the print no longer match the original or the artist’s intention.

In my opinion, when it comes to optical brighteners in fine art prints, “Just say No!”

This guest post is an excerpt from a longer article  (“Paper for Fine Art”) published by imaging consultant Robin D. Myers on his website ( As a researcher for Better Light  for ten years, Robin Myers developed methods for the accurate digital imaging of artworks and trained photographers in these methods. He also performed research in the application of digital cameras for fine art reproduction. In the 1990s, he was a senior scientist at Apple Computer, where he developed the algorithm that became the basis for Apple’s first color management engine (ColorSync). He earned four patents for color matching technologies and performed research in large format panoramic and stereo digital photography.

Today, he consults in the areas of photography, imaging, and color science and creates and sells products to support these areas. To read the full article visit:

Note that this article was published in the early days of wide-format printing for high-quality art reproductions. Since then, reputable manufacturers of inkjet fine art paper such as Hahnemuhle, Moab, Museo, and Innova have started indicating on their spec sheets which papers do not contain brighteners. In general, fine art papers that are described as “natural white” don’t contain brighteners and those that are labeled as “bright white” do contain brighteners.


Freedom Paper: Inkjet Art Paper

Article: Fine Art Paper by Robin D. Myer


Choosing Adhesive Vinyl Rolls to Print Signs on Your Office Wide Format Printer

With adhesive vinyl rolls from Freedom Paper, you can use the wide-format inkjet printer in your office to make simple signs for short-term use at special events and trade-shows or for sales promotions.

After the vinyl is printed and cut, peel the release liner from the back of the printed vinyl to expose the adhesive. Then mount it on a sheet of foam board, coroplast, styrene, aluminum, or acrylic. The vinyl can also be applied to windows, glass display cases, or other smooth, hard, non-porous surface.


Adhesive Vinyl Rolls - Freedom Paper


Answers to the following questions will help you select the adhesive product that is right for your office.

Does your wide-format inkjet printer use aqueous dye or pigment inks?

Most older model printers used to print technical drawings and office documents use aqueous dye inks. Newer model photo and graphic printers from HP, Canon, and Epson use aqueous pigment inks.

Dye inks are far less resistant to water and light-induced fading than pigment inks. So, it’s best to use dye inks primarily for indoor signs. With aqueous pigment inks and water-resistant materials with permanent adhesives, you can print longer-lasting indoor signs, decals, labels, and outdoor signs that will last for months.

What is thickest material your wide-format printer can handle?

Some older model wide format printers can’t handle materials thicker than 9 mil. While the vinyl itself may be thin enough to feed through the printer, you have consider the thickness of the release liner as well. Some adhesive vinyls are 12 mil thick with the release liner. (The release liner protects the adhesive protected until you are ready to mount the graphic.)

Do you need a removable or permanent adhesive?

Permanent adhesives form a long-lasting bond within hours or days. They are designed to stick to a substrate without edge lifting. These adhesives can’t be removed without damaging either the label or the substrate. Permanent adhesives are used to produce outdoor signs, yard signs, labels, and safety, directional, and exit signs.

Removable adhesives form a lower-tack, temporary bond with the mounting surface. For a certain period of time, they can be removed without damaging either the printed graphic or the substrate.

In some cases, you can re-use the mounting substrate after the graphic has been removed. Removable adhesives are used for window graphics, temporary signs, event graphics, fabric graphics, and promotional displays.

Do you want a more environmentally friendly option?

The adhesive vinyl originally developed for outdoor signage is PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a thin, flexible, white film made with chlorine and chemical stabilizers and plasticizers. PVC isn’t biodegradable in landfills.

While vehicle wraps and some types of outdoor signs require the durability and pliability of vinyl, you can also make short-term signs with more environmentally friendly options, such as adhesive photo papers, inkjet fabrics, or polypropylene poster papers.

Self-Adhesive Photo Papers: Some inkjet photo papers come with adhesive backings. These papers are ideal for printing short-term promotional signs that feature photographs.

Self-Adhesive Inkjet Fabrics:The low-tack adhesives used with inkjet fabrics are super-easy to install and remove. You can easily reposition the fabric print while you’re installing it, and the adhesive doesn’t leave a messy residue when the graphics are taken down. Inkjet fabrics are popular for wall decals, posters, and trade-show signs because the wrinkle-resistant, polyester graphics can usually be removed, then re-hung at another location. (You can even fold up a fabric poster and pack it in your suitcase when traveling to an out-of-town event.)

Self-Adhesive Polypropylene: This material is like a smooth, flexible sheet of tear-resistant, scratch-resistant paper. It is often used to print durable graphics that must stay flat in banner stands, poster frames, or lightboxes. Unlike poster papers, polypropylene banner materials don’t get creased, and don’t have to be laminated for outdoor weather resistance. Polypropylene is one of the most environmentally neutral plastics. It contains only two elements (carbon and hydrogen) and generates only carbon dioxide and water when it burns.

Where will the sign be displayed?

If the sign will be displayed under bright lights, choose an adhesive vinyl that has a non-glare matte surface. If the sign will be displayed on a location where there might be light shining from behind (e.g. such as a window or display case), choose an adhesive vinyl with a high level of opacity. An opaque vinyl is also a good choice if you plan to mount a white sign on glass, Plexiglas, or a black or colored sign board.

If the sign will be displayed outdoors or in a high-traffic location, consider laminating the printed graphic to protect it from water, humidity, and abrasion.

When to Call Outside Experts

If your require long-term durability or the ability to adhere to wood, sidewalks, brick walls, concrete, vehicles, it’s best to have the graphics produced by an organization that specializes in printing large-format graphics. Most commercial printing companies (or campus printing departments) are equipped with printers that use more outdoor-durable latex, eco-solvent, or UV-cure inks.

Graphic specialists and sign firms are also more familiar with the specialized vinyls and adhesives needed for uneven, intricately curved, or porous surfaces.

Choose from more than 30 options!

Freedom Paper more than 30 types of adhesive vinyl rolls and large format adhesive papers and fabrics that are suitable for use with the aqueous inkjet printers used by many architecture and engineering firms, schools, religious organizations, design and photo studios, and all types of business and corporate offices.

If you need help choosing the self-adhesive paper, polypropylene, fabric, or vinyl that would be best for a specific project, give us a call at 866-310-3555.


Understanding Six Major Categories of Wide Format Inks

Self Adhesive Vinyl and Other Materials from Freedom Paper



Good Things to Know Before Ordering Plotter Paper Rolls

Before buying plotter paper rolls for use on your wide-format inkjet printer, it’s a good idea to understand some of the terms you will see in the product description. While most inkjet media brands can be used on multiple brands of printers, some older models of inkjet printers for CAD plotting weren’t designed to handle the full range of inkjet print media that has since been developed for newer models of printers.

If you have the user manual or spec sheet for the printer model used in your office, it’s good to know three things:

  • the maximum roll width your printer can handle
  • the maximum thickness or material your inkjet printer can handle
  • the type of ink your printer uses.

Most older HP Designjets and other wide-format inkjet printers for CAD printing and technical drawings use aqueous (water-based) dye inks. Some older wide-format inkjets for technical printing use a combination of dye inks (for colors) and black pigment inks (for sharp text and lines). Newer models of technical printers from Epson use aqueous pigment inks.

Roll Width: The width of the plotter paper roll is the first number in the specification. In the U.S. ,roll widths are expressed in inches. Popular roll widths for wide-format plotters include 11, 17, 18, 22, 24 30, 34, 36, and 42 inches.

These roll widths make it cost-effective and efficient to continuously print multiple copies of standard-size engineering and architectural drawings on wide-format inkjet printers with built-in cutters.

For example: The standard size of an Arch C drawing is 18 x 24 inches; an Arch D drawing is 24 x 36 inches; and Arch E drawing is 36 x 48 inches. Standard sizes for engineering drawings in the U.S. include ANSI C, 17 x 22 inches; ANSI D, 22 x 34 inches, and ANSI E, 34 x 44 inches.

Roll Length: The length of the plotter paper roll is expressed in feet. Plotter paper is offered in 150, 300, and 500-ft rolls. These longer rolls are available so you don’t have to stop printing to reload the paper in the middle of a big job. Engineering copiers can handle 500 ft. rolls, but most inkjet printers max out at 300 ft. rolls. Most inkjet materials are sold in 150-foot rolls, including bond papers as well as thicker papers or clear films for special applications.

Core Diameter: The core size refers to the diameter of the cardboard tube on which the plotter paper is rolled. Rolls of uncoated bond paper for inkjet printers are sold on 2-inch cores. Uncoated bond paper for for xerographic copiers are typically sold on 3-inch cores. Some Xerox engineering copiers require that the inside edge of the paper be taped to the cardboard core. (Freedom Paper sells some engineering copier paper rolls on taped rolls.)

Caliper: The thickness of many types of papers is expressed in “mils.” (which is one-thousandth of an inch). Older-model HP Designjets and other wide format inkjet printers that were originally designed to print on bond papers and clear films can only feed materials with calipers of 9 mil or less.

The caliper of bond papers doesn’t vary as much as inkjet photo papers, art papers, and canvas. A 20 lb. bond paper is slightly less than 4 mils; a 24 lb. bond paper is slightly less than 5 mils; and a 28 lb. bond is slightly less than 6 mils. A 54 lb. bond is 9 mils.

Newer models of wide-format inkjet printers were designed to handle a much wider range of paper thicknesses. They can feed bond papers, photo papers, art papers, canvas and sign materials thicker than 9 mil. Some models can handle materials up to 12 mil thick; other models can print on substrates up to 31 mil thick.

Other Specs: If you are buying an optically clear inkjet film for an HP Designjet printer or aqueous-ink inkjet printers that use optical sensors, order a clear film that has visible stripes on the edges of the rolls. The stripes enable the onboard sensor to “see” the film.

Please call the customer-service experts at Freedom Paper at 866-310-3335 if you have any questions about plotter paper roll sizes. If the spec sheet or user manual for your printer isn’t readily available, we can tell you if the paper you plan to order isn’t compatible with your specific printer model and suggest compatible alternatives.

For More Information

Freedom Paper: CAD and Technical Paper

Learning Center: Plotter Paper Size Chart and Roll Sizes: Specs to Know Before Ordering

Learning Center: Wide Format Inks

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