While looking over the Persnickety Prints site I was reminded of one of the reasons we like their work so much – they use photographic paper. Photographic paper has one of the best longevity ratings around.
I remember a time not too long ago when paper scrapbookers were heads over heels for archival quality (and still are, rightfully so.) Archival paper, archival corners, archival tape – everything the best quality and longest lasting in order to protect our memories and keep them around for a long time.
Did we forget when we went digital?
I think we did.
Here’s why: It’s easier and cheaper.
Why would you work for hours or days on a layout, putting your heart and soul into it, and then output it to a less then archival media? Like an ink-jet printer. Or worse – an at-home ink-jet printer with inexpensive paper and inks from the refill shop… all to save a buck? My memories are priceless – and I hope to capture and retain them in my layouts and pictures.
Having been in the photo industry for over 30 years now I’ve learned a lot about image permanence – how long a picture or layout will last.
- How you display it makes a big difference. Heat, humidity, light, airborne solvents and chemicals – all factor in to how long a layout or print will last.
- How you store it makes a big difference. What it is stored on or in can significantly affect the longevity. What touchs the print (tape, glue, embellishments) also have their effects.
- The pigments (What makes the picture – the inks, dyes or toner that make up the actual picture)
- And last – the substrate (that’s a fancy word for the paper) How good is it? Is it cheaply made, acidy paper or neutral, archival quality.
Here’s some thoughts on the prints you can get for your layouts that aren’t photographic. If it’s not photographic output, it’s either going to be an ink-jet or it’s going to be electrostatic (fancy word huh – think color copier with toner and paper). While some ink-jet prints are shown to last as long or longer than photo prints, it depends entirely on using a particular printer, ink, and paper from that printer’s manufacturer. Do you know exactly what combination someone is using to print yours? If it varies one bit (like using a lesser grade paper or ink) it can significantly impact the life of your layout. And most home printers we digital scrapbookers use are not suitable for archival quality output – unless you dropped a couple of thousand on your ink-jet! The same issues are magnified with electrostatic prints – the toner can vary from batch to batch, as can the paper. And as most electrostatic prints are on the low end of the price range, you know the labs that use them are saving every last penny to keep the cost down.
Now don’t get me wrong – home printers and these other type have their uses. Need a quick flip book to give to show Grandma the kids’ last concert? Do it on a home ink-jet for the quickness. Doing a display for crops or shows? Use cheaper electrostatic because it’s going to get handled and likely ruined. Anything for a short term use is ok for these type of prints.
But aren’t our memories – the work you want to keep around for a lifetime – the really important stuff – worth using the photo paper? We think it is.
Now go order some prints from Persnickety Prints and let us know if you did! Share your comments and thoughts about this too by leaving one below.