Effect of Paper on Ink Drying Time -- REVISITED
reader recently asked about the effect of paper coating
(or lack thereof) on ink drying time, questioning whether
a past issue of Quick Tips was in error in noting that coated
stock dries faster than uncoated stock. I realize this is
counter intuitive. I, too, had initially thought the reverse
Ink on coated stock dries faster because
the entire ink surface is exposed to air. On an uncoated
sheet, the ink is nestled in and around the paper fibers
instead of sitting up on the coated surface of the paper
(which is called ink holdout). Since ink on the uncoated
sheet receives less exposure to air, it dries more slowly.
A somewhat related item to note is
that ink specified for coated stock can be formulated to
have a higher tack (bonding between ink particles), since
you are printing on a glass-like surface. This quality also
allows the ink to dry faster.
Final Responsibility for Printable Job Files
Over the past few years, final
responsibility for providing press-ready files has been
moving from the printer back to the content creators: the
designers. This has been the trend, and it has
First of all, why is this happening?
Job turn around requirements have been getting
shorter and shorter, and handing off PDF files to your printer
can get your job on press faster (if the files are correct).
After all, the printer spends less time doing prepress work
on your job.
The availability and affordability
of PDF distilling and editing software and preflight applications
have also fostered this shift in responsibility. These programs
allow the content creator to match a specific list of job
definition standards provided by a particular offset printer.
A savvy designer can actually hand off a press-ready file.
However, consider the following.
There are so many variables in these programs, so many options
you can choose, that ignorance of the printing process can
be costly -- in a big way. Not understanding color management
or trapping, or not adhering to your offset printer's specifications
(based on their presses), can blow your budget by necessitating
extra prepress work or even a total reprint. Clearly, there
is no substitute for a printer's human judgment that comes
from years of putting ink on paper.
Paper Price Increase
In response to several articles
I have read in trade journals, I recently asked several
printers I work with about paper price increases.
Why is the price of printing paper increasing, and what
kinds of paper will this affect?
Consistent with elementary economics,
the price is increasing because
paper demand is growing, and paper availability is not.
Gradually, since the terrorist actions of 2001, paper usage
has increased. Ad sales are up, so magazines are getting
fatter. Direct mail is increasing. People are just printing
more--not just here in the United States, but globally as
At the same time, some paper mills
are closing, and others are just not expanding their operations.
In addition, imports of paper from Europe and Asia have
lessened. In short, more demand, less supply.
Therefore, it is a seller's market.
The price of paper has already risen. There will be another
increase in September. And experts say prices will continue
to rise until late 2005.
What kinds of paper is this
affecting? Coated and uncoated stock, with web
stock more in demand than sheetfed stock.
What can you do? Ask
your printer about buying more paper now to stabilize prices
a bit (it's worth a try). And consider decreasing the weight
of the paper you specify. For instance, switch from a 50
lb. stock to a 45 lb. stock for your magazine cover.
[Steven Waxman is a printing consultant. He teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.]