Particularly if you run a Mac-based small home business or are in a shared-office setting, you can avoid the high-maintenence, futzing and expenses of color inkjets. Monochrome lasers offer lowest cost per page - and higher print speeds. Laser printers can pay for themselves quickly, but like any computer peripheral that uses consumables, expect a bit of sticker-shock when you have to buy a set of all four C-M-Y-K toner cartridges.
You may be disappointed by the short life-span of the initial cartridge that comes with the printer. Printer manufacturers may offer two tiers: 'Standard' and 'High-Capacity' ink tanks or toner carts that a wise Macintosh user ought to take advantage of. Personal laser printers are just that: with paper trays for typically sheets of paper.
But if you're a prolific author, writer or editor - or share the printer in a workgroup, look for midrange and up printers that have larger, and additional paper trays. The in-house printing of proofs will give you more control and a more accurate visual of what the final printed product will look like. How do you get started? There are always new models coming out with fancy new features, but below we look at the best printers for graphic designers in , and guide you through choosing what is right for you.
Research and buying tips
Deciding whether your needs are better served by an inkjet or laser printer used to be easy. The differences between speed, color, and image resolution between the two used to be stark, but in the past several years the technological weaknesses of each have largely caught up with the strengths of the other. The question now is less about choosing between the color and sharpness of inkjet versus the speed and ruggedness of laser, but more about selecting a printer with a higher pages-per-month capacity and lower cartridge replacement price ratio for your business.
A lot of your choice comes down to the type of imagery you commonly work with. A lot of this comes down to the type of work you are doing and how efficacious, convenient, and budget-conscious bringing a print-shop quality printer into your studio or office will be in the long run. Your inkjet printer head should have individual tanks for each color.
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If your printer has one cartridge for all three colors, not only is there a higher likelihood of them clogging, but the chance of color bleeding and casts is much higher. If you require photo quality images in your design, choosing a photo inkjet printer with more than four color pots will improve the color and sharpness of your images. There are some printers with as much as 12 color pots capable of producing images with a vast range of color and deeper dark tones. Remember: especially when you are working with photographer-grade pigmented inks, the paper you choose to pair it with makes a big difference.
Understanding how your ink will react to the paper you decide to print your proof on can spare you a big inconvenience later on. Understanding the number of pages you can anticipate from each cartridge and price shopping the cartridges themselves can throw back the curtains on future expenses you can be saddled with.
Laser toner cartridges generally produce more pages and is more efficient—despite being more expensive—than ink cartridges. But for designers who will mostly be using inkjet cartridges, choosing a printer that works fine with compatible ink will make cartridge replacement a lesser pain on your budget. Dye based inks for inkjet printers are generally less expensive and more vibrant in color than pigmented inks.
Yes, dye inks tend to fade quicker than pigmented inks, but thanks to the fast paced nature of graphic design chances are your prints are not needed in the long term. Unfortunately, the difference between dye-based and pigmented inks mean they are not interchangeable between printers. To illustrate the archival benefits of using pigment, Photo.
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After leaving the photo exposed to sunlight for 18 months, this is how the photos turned out. The one on the left was printed with dye-based ink and the one on the right was printed with pigment-based ink. As you can see, in terms of fade resistance, pigment ink stands superior to dye. But not every proof is standard A2 size either. Perhaps one of the more important considerations that goes unmentioned among most techy features is the maximum print size each model can handle.
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While laser printers have caught up in quality, one major detriment is that they often can only handle 8. Your individual needs will vary of course, but if there is one factor that weighs towards inkjet this is an important one. Your printer needs to be able to accept light, heavy, and double sided pages easily. This allows you to run drafts of your presentation on cost effective light stock, then transition to a presentation grade without changing printers.
Many color laser printers are limited in the paper weights they accept as well.
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There are dozens of printers with various bells and whistles from which to choose, but only a couple meet the rigorous standards of what graphic designers need. Here are a couple of my personal favorites that will help you get top grade results without breaking the bank. Canon makes some of the best printers for photo and graphic design.
For designers looking to replicate print shop quality without spending an arm and a leg, the ip is a great choice. Like most other Canon printers, this model features a sturdy feed system that can accept a variety of different paper weights and finishes. This gives you the versatility to use both economical office paper for drafts and pull together professional-grade presentations without leaving your desk.
This Epson printer is another high quality photography and design workhorse designed for consistent results.
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It features six individual dye ink tanks for ultra-realistic image print results. This Epson model is compatible with high-yield ink cartridges that can print upwards of pages per color. Of course, this premium quality comes with a cost. It also comes equipped with a rear specialty paper feed tray to accommodate specialty art paper. This printer uses 6-color CLARIA Photo HD ink cartridges—black, cyan, magenta, yellow, light magenta, and light cyan—that deliver smooth tonal gradations, detailed blacks, and higher contrast images.
Buying a Printer for Your Mac: What to Consider?
Make sure you read 8 things you must know before you sign up to HP Instant Ink. If you feel like you need high-duty capacity more than vibrant prints, a laser printer would best accommodate your needs. Here are some recommended models to try:. This color laser printer offers solid print results for small and medium-sized design firms.
The CSdtn is fast, printing over 30 pages per minute, with a recommended monthly output of up to 75, pages. This makes it an excellent choice not only for printing proofs, but also keeping up with everyday printing. If you are going to be printing a lot of pages, be sure to take into consideration the toner cartridge yield for this model.
Each toner cartridge yields approximately pages, keeping down monthly operation costs, and thanks to AirPrint and Google Cloud print options it can easily network several people from a single location with ease. The all-in-one, Canon Color image class MFCdw prints at speeds of up to 28 pages per minute and has a generous sheet capacity.
The quick print time of 9 seconds or less is great for small workgroups, and the direct Wi-Fi connection makes printing from your mobile devices easy and convenient. Overall, this is an outstanding all-in-one printer from Canon, and the three year warranty with US based customer service, makes this a great choice. Choosing the right printer is an efficient way to get exactly the results you want while saving money at the same time.
Nicholas Brown is a content editor for LD Products where he frequently writes about the ways businesses in various industries can leverage printer technology for improved efficiency in design, marketing, and overall office operations. Also published on Medium. Once everything is approved and sent out for printing, your commercial printer …read more […].
Appreciate the article, this is going in my read list as I continue shopping for my next printing purchase.
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