A combination of printer technology, paper characteristics and ink quality all contribute to the final result of your printing job.
Most of us are familiar with the two main types of printer technology – laser printers vs. inkjet printers. We often refer to both types of printers using ‘ink cartridges’ but more specifically laser printers typically use powdered toner cartridges and inkjet printers use liquid based ink cartridges.
The quality of the paper stock is self evident – consider the different results when printing photos on standard paper compared to photo quality paper. The weight, finish and absorbency of the paper all impact on the end print quality.
One thing that we often don’t consider is the attributes of the ink itself. Printer ink can be made in a variety of ways. Two main types include dyed ink and pigment ink. Dyed ink delivers a wide range of colours which can be brighter initially than pigment inks. Dyed ink adheres well on paper making them difficult to remove however they do have a tendency to fade over time. In addition, dyed ink is slower to dry than pigment ink and therefore is more likely to smudge, run or soak through the paper. Pigment based inks are popular because of their quick drying fade resistant and water proof properties. Pigment ink is most popular for colour printing.
So how is ink made? The process of making ink for ink cartridges involves a combination of dyes or pigments mixed with water and chemicals to produce the final product. Whilst modern day printer ink cartridges are considered relatively non-toxic we recommend caution when dealing with them. In the meantime this You Tube video gives an insight into the manufacturing process of ink cartridges http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQOYQs_pOmQ
In closing, to ensure quality printing outcomes we recommend that you do not refill your own ink cartridges and that you source new or remanufactured cartridges only from a reputable supplier.