December 19, 2009, 6:07 PM — Ink jet printing technology gets the rap for being cheap and boring at times, because so many ink jet printers are cheap and boring. Actually, ink jet printing technology is fascinating. You know how they customize M&Ms for people? Ink jet printing. The trick is matching the right ink jet printer and paper to your printing task.
If you need just occasional output with a little color, almost any ink jet printer will do. It won't last too long, and the ink cartridges will soon cost more than the printer, but you will spit ink onto paper reasonably well.
When you want quality printing, such as for photo proofs or copies to give people, the disposable ink jets won't work. Step up to an ink jet printer with “photo” in the name. The print quality, when used with the right paper and ink, will match or beat anything you can get when printing photos at the neighborhood drug store. If you want customized marketing materials, look for printers designed to use specialty papers.
Pay attention to the ink jet cartridges – the more, the better. Cheap printers have tiny ink cartridges that need constant replacement. Better printers have larger capacity cartridges including one for black and at least one for color. Quality printers have multiple color cartridges and larger black ink cartridges, because when you print large amounts of text, the black ink goes fast. Despite what people plan when they buy a color ink jet printer, most wind up using it for text documents.
Casual documents may need only an “available” ink jet printer and basic paper. Marketing materials, photos, and important documents deserve a better (higher resolution) printer with specialty papers. Higher resolution and more color cartridges mean a more expensive printer, but they also mean upgrading mediocre printed materials for outstanding text and images on excellent paper. That's they way to leverage your ink printer to help your business.