Laser Printer Recommendations.
Paper is a forgotten ingredient in desktop publishing. Selecting the correct paper is as important as choosing the best printer. If you are using a fine art giclee printer you realize paper is a key decision. This if you include photographs in your laser printing on your desktop, the right paper is also worth taking time to find.
Of course paper today is as important as it was in the typewriter era, and is even more crucial in the digital millennium of the year 2000 and beyond. Instead of a the promised "paperless office," it turns out that paper and hard copy are still useful.
Whereas offices are willing to spend plenty to buy high-end laser equipment, their purchasing departments automatically go "low bid" when it comes to laser paper. Thus all the 1200 dpi and capabilities of the high-end laser printers are nullified.
Tests in the FLAAR Institute demonstrate that a premium laser paper is worth the investment on several grounds. First, in many instances the laser paper on which you print may be the first thing a potential client sees and knows about your company. Surely you wish to make a good impression. Low-bid laser paper is not a clever choice here.
Second, a premium laser paper is so obviously superior in feel and touch that it leaves an immediate impression of quality.
Thirdly, if the paper was especially made for laser, specifically for photo quality, and even better if made for color laser quality, then this class of laser paper will insure your printed brochures and letters will look professional.
The FLAAR test and review staff have attended print, printer, paper, and computer trade shows in Orlando, Los Angeles (Long Beach), and the recent CeBIT 2000 Messe in Hannover, Germany. Among the estimated 7500 corporate booths at CeBIT (mostly computer hardware and software) we found an oasis of paper products in just one booth. The staff were friendly and informative and we ended up recognizing that we had found a superior European paper for high-end laser printers.
We also inquired at the booths of laser printer companies what paper they actually used themselves. And we always check the User Manuals of leading laser printers to see what papers they recommend (in the USA it is Hammermill paper which is almost exclusively recommended).
But we have long ago learned that certain papers are definitely superior to others, and that the paper listed in User Manuals may be the most common available, but that more exotic papers may actually be superior.
If you need help in finding archival inks and special papers for fine art printing (giclee prints) with wide format inkjet printers (such as the Epson 9000 or wide format printers from Roland, ColorSpan, or Iris), send us an e-mail and we will be glad to suggest a reliable source of the best inks and the best paper. E-mail: ReaderService@Flaar.org.
Updated April 18, 2000.