Sometimes It's Better Not to Be Cheap

Why would you go to all the trouble of creating full-color documents only to print them on cheap paper? Nothing affects the quality of color output these days more than the quality of the paper.

One thing the Doc prides himself on is the quality of his printed presentations. My theory has always been that if you’re going to go to the trouble of making something creative and that if you have to present it in printed form, it should look sharp.

So why would you go to all the trouble of creating full-color documents only to print them on cheap paper? Nothing affects the quality of color output these days more than the quality of the paper.

I’ve talked a lot in this blog about studies which prove color is more effective than black and white, especially when it comes to communicating visual information. And good-quality color is more effective than cheap color on crummy paper.

Today, most toner-based machines and even inexpensive inkjet printers have the capability of producing outstanding color.  Yet over and over again, I see people using the same poor-quality, generic, thin paper for color that they use for day-to-day black and white printing. If it’s worth printing in color, it’s worth either changing the paper in the tray or selecting an alternative paper-feed source loaded with better quality paper.

On larger machines this is not a problem. Most multi-function printing machines these days have numerous paper sources. All you have to do is make sure one of them is loaded with heavier-weight, brighter paper with a smooth finish designed specifically for color.

Of course, for printing out routine reports, emails, and longer documents, it’s important to use cost-effective paper. But when you print in color you’re already increasing your cost-per-page considerably and a better quality paper isn’t going to affect the total cost all that much. Plus, if the document is more effective, how can you measure that against a few pennies of paper cost?

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