Graphic designers have specific needs for their clients, and they require a printer that can stand up to the job. A printer that may suffice for a small home office or personal use may not be a good fit for a graphic designer - even if it does print well.
Professional-quality prints are necessary for every graphic designer, and to give clients a sample of your capabilities, it can be useful to own a quality printer.
With so many printers on the market, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by your choices. Which options will serve you the best when you want your designs to impress? Price, quality of color, and knowing which types of jobs your new printer can perform are important things to consider when making your decision.
Laser or ink?
The most common types of printers on the market today are inkjet and laser printers, whether small or large-format printers. Both have advantages and can offer designers different perks depending on your needs and budget. Also, whether you’re a professional designer or a hobbyist can also influence which type of printer you should own. You’ll want to first determine the types of images you would like to create.
If you’re a small business owner who prints your designs in-house, then it’s worth it to choose a printer with a higher pages-per-month capacity. This allows you to print a lot without constantly having to replace expensive cartridges. If this is a concern, laser printers are often cheaper overall if you don’t have to show clients a physical copy of your work. If you need high-quality prints, consider an inkjet printer because the images come out with more color nuance. It’s important to know that the higher quality the print, the more your inkjet printer will usually cost.
The good news is that you don’t need a professional-grade printer to produce quality proofs to show your work to clients. In fact, if you have a small business or need to accomplish other tasks with your printer, then an all-in-one printer can be a great option.
Professional printers can end up costing a small business far more than what they are worth, and you should be able to properly display your work with a high-quality office or home printer.
You should also know which other features will be necessary for your graphic design needs. This can include mobile printing if you design on a tablet or other wireless device, or scanning if you create by hand.
Added security measures can also be helpful if you don’t want others to have access to your work. Of course, the main thing to consider is whether your potential printer provides the crisp-looking images you want without the color looking faded.
What about color pots?
How many color pots your printer has and the quality of ink can make a difference when choosing the right printer. If your potential printer only has one cartridge, then you may run into problems with your tank clogging and your design bleeding. For crisp colors, the more color pots you have, the better.
This reduces the chance that your system may clog, and it also gives you a greater variety of colors with richer hues. And while you may need to buy a number of cartridges up front, it will take longer for them to run out.
You’ll also want to keep in mind which type of paper you are planning to use for most of your designs, because this can change the print quality and determine whether the ink will properly set. You may want to run some tests to see how the ink and the paper interact with one another before you purchase your new printer.
Saving on cartridge costs
Replacing your cartridges is an inevitable part of owning a printer, and if you’re printing often, the cost can add up. Before buying your new device, consider how many pages you print on a regular basis and the quality you need. If price is your main concern, laser toner cartridges can end up saving you money in the long run.
The initial cost for laser toner will be higher, but it can print more pages without being replaced. Just make sure to choose the right toner for the type of laser printer you have.
Pigmented inks or dye-based inks?
The type of ink you choose will depend on how long you want your print job to last. For most print jobs done in-house, they’re typically meant for clients to get a sneak peak of what the overall design will look like before going to a professional printer. In this case, dye inks are your best bet.
For longer-lasting projects, pigmented inks can be better, but they aren’t as vibrant as their dye-based counterparts. You’ll also want to keep in mind that the two types of ink are not interchangeable, so you will need to choose one type - or have two printers so you can use both.
Choosing the right size
For graphic designers, the right paper size is also important to consider. Not every proof that you print will be the same size, so finding a printer that allows you to choose a variety of paper sizes can help.
Inkjet printers tend to do a better job of printing a number of sizes, while laser printers tend to only work with standard 8.5-inch letter and legal width. For the majority of print jobs, though, that size will be fine. However, if you are professionally printing your proofs in-house, then you may want to consider a printer that produces images at 11 x 17 inches.
Similar to paper size, paper type is important to consider as well. As a graphic designer, you will want to use several types of grades so you can best present your designs for clients.
Most printers accept heavier grade types, but these may not necessarily be front-feed models. Color laser printers often accept fewer paper grades, too. This is why it’s often best to go with an inkjet printer for home or office use and to go to a professional print shop if you need to have a job done with a laser printer.
The best HP home printers for graphic designers
Among HP’s various printer offerings, here are some of the best devices on the market for both hobbyist and professional graphic designers.
HP OfficeJet Pro 8710 multifunction printer
The HP OfficeJet Pro 8710 all-in-one printer offers plenty of printing options without costing too much. With a print speed of 22 pages per minute (ppm) in black and 18 ppm color, this printer gets the job done quickly and with great color. It’s also compatible with high-yield ink cartridges, so you can get more for your money without incurring expensive upfront costs.
This printer offers the perks of an all-in-one as well because it can scan and fax so you can send your designs to clients. It’s ideal for a small office or company looking to show off their great work without paying a ridiculous amount in printing costs.
HP Instant Ink for delivery at home or business
HP DesignJet Z6 large-format printer
Depending on your budget and need to produce the highest-quality prints, the HP DesignJet Z6 wide-format printer is a great option. Made for printing designs with high-contrast color, it is also easy-to-use and can print fast. It has automatic roll feed as well so you can create large banners and photos without a problem, as with all HP DesignJet graphics printers.
Businesses of any size will love how it is environmentally efficient, and for those companies who need it, this printer comes with an FCC Class A rating.
2400 x 1200 optimized DPI resolution
128 GB of virtual memory
3.2 minutes per page mechanical print time
HP DesignJet Z9 large-format printer
The HP DesignJet Z9 wide-format printer comes in two sizes depending on your needs. At both 24 and 44 inches, you can print large or medium-sized posters and enjoy an automatic roll and touch screen interface that helps users of any skill level print high-quality designs.
It also boasts a maximum print speed of 228 feet per hour, which is particularly helpful if you’re in a rush to get your work done. Photographers and graphic designers looking to expand their professional output can greatly benefit from the HP DesignJet Z9’s cut sheet feed and included 500GB HDD.
Print from mobile apps
128GB of virtual memory
HP ENVY 5055 all-in-one printer
The HP ENVY 5055 all-in-one printer keeps affordability in mind with its sleek design meant for home users. Not only is it offered for a reasonable price, but it was also created with designers in mind.
It includes HP Instant Ink and makes it possible to print photos and other designs without borders. It also includes scanning, so hobbyists can upload their creations without complicated software, and copying, which means the HP ENVY 5055 AiO printer can be used for other purposes than just graphic design work, as well. Because it is small, it can be placed wherever it is most convenient for you to get your work done.
Simple WiFi setup
Fast printing speeds
HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 multifunction printer
The HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 all-in-one printer is an affordable option for those who need to transfer their files through means other than scanning or the internet. With an available thumb drive slot and the option to connect via mobile devices, designers can easily access their work with the HP app.
It also prints quickly at up to 20 ppm black and 11 ppm color, which means you can go almost instantly from one job to another. This printer provides all the basics of an all-in-one, too, so you can scan and fax your work if necessary.
Small size for home or office
Print from the cloud
HP ENVY 7855 AiO photo printer
With a brand-new touch screen and the ability to download images from the web, the HP ENVY 7855 all-in-one photo printer offers more power and the opportunity to create great graphics for a good price. In addition to printing, scanning, and faxing, this printer comes with the delivery option of HP Instant Ink.
Whether you plan to use it for proofs for your business or you just need it to scan your favorite photos, this HP ENVY printer gets you the quality you are looking for.
SD card and USB ports
HP OfficeJet Pro 6968 multifunction printer
Designed to handle slightly more complicated print jobs, the HP OfficeJet Pro 6968 all-in-one printer delivers fast printing and the option to save compared to using a laser printer. When you want to save on the amount of ink you use, this printer can offer you a 50% better value for your cost-per-page.
It also includes two-sided printing and easy mobile setup, so you can have your new printer up and running within an afternoon. This printer is ideal for a small home office or business that needs typical functions such as scanning and faxing in addition to printing quality designs.
35-page automatic document feeder
Print from mobile device
Finding the right printer as a graphic designer is essential to how you present proofs to clients, and you want to know that your designs will look the best they possibly can.
Your perfect printer will not only make your job easier and cost an appropriate amount, but it will be something you can count on to help sell your prints and take your graphic design business to the next level.
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.
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