The name Inkjet paper comes from the manner in which ink is applied onto the paper. In the process, CMYK liquid colours (the four base colours) are propelled by a powerful highly accurate microscopic jet stream onto the paper giving it the name Ink-jet. The microscopic jet stream comes in a form of droplets that are measured in Picolitre, which is one millionth of a microliter. The smaller the droplet is, the more accurate the print will be.
There are a number of papers that fall under this category, as they are all compatible with Inkjet printer technology.
Ream Paper – It is a type of standard paper in varying weights of 70gsm up to 100gsm that is used to print text documents. You will also come across this option as bound paper, printer paper and copier paper. If you attempt to print an image on its surface, you will often find that the ink has bled to the other side, as this paper does not include a suitable barrier to contain the liquid ink. Nor will the image quality appear anywhere near the image you’ve seen on the screen due to the lack of suitable coating. Most will use sizes A4 and A3 and most common uses include document printing, simple charts and on occasion, images that have no real keepsake requirements.
Photo Paper – Also known as photographic paper, it is designed to accommodate a high quality photo print representing more realistic colours (depending on the quality of the paper) and without bleeding to the other side when saturated with ink such as in cases of intense coloured photographs.
Photographic papers differ in size ranging from the smallest 6×4 photo paper to an oversized A3 paper. They also differ in finish ranging from glossy to matte and even variations of satin in the form of pearl and luster finish. Some photo papers contain archival properties and this feature yet again differentiates them from normal printer paper depending on the type you’ve chosen. In plain English, it won’t fade or yellow anytime soon as opposed to the previous option.
Papers in general and inkjet Photo Papers in particular are normally measured in GSM which is Grammes per Square Metre. This may confuse some consumers as most papers are pretty light and the real difference becomes clear only by sensing the thickness and/or the stiffness of the paper.
There are two types of Inkjet photo papers, the two are Cast-coated and Micro-porous.
Inkjet Instant dry photo paper or as it is called in the professional jargon, ‘cast coated’ is coated on a cheaper base paper which is normally less condensed, which causes the paper to feel thicker and stiffer.
The more professional inkjet photo paper is the micro-porous coated papers or the nano-porous coated one. These coatings are normally produced on a base material which contains denser paper and thin layers of polypropylene on both sides. This provides the paper with better stability, flexibility and printer feedability. The porous based paper has a thinner feel to it though still heavier than a regular instant dry photo paper in terms of Grammes per Square Metre
Creative Paper – In recent years, progress in Inkjet printing technology has allowed manufacturers to create a whole range of creative papers for creative and craft applications that even your most basic printer can easily handle. These inkjet papers include options such as transfer paper, which allows you to transfer an image from your printer onto a t-shirt or any other suitable fabric by means of a hot iron to temporary tattoo, which allows you to adhere a temporary printable design onto your skin, a white mug, plate or candle. As well you can create printable stickers made out of a specially coated thin vinyl that can be stuck on cars, instruments and any non-porous substrates.
Because these creative papers use a normal Inkjet printer with normal inks, they fall under the definition of Inkjet paper.
Due to the large numbers of Inkjet paper and film options and types available these days, your home basic inkjet printer turns into a small printing factory that can print documents, photos, brochures, printed T shirts, pillow cases, aprons, printed ornamental items, durable stickers, artistic canvas and art papers… and more and more as long as your creative mind will allow.