What is an inkjet print?

Inkjet printing is a type of computer printing which reproduces a digital image by propelling very fine ink droplets onto the surface, which is typically paper or plastic. The characters they print are made up of dots so tiny that you cannot see them, giving the impression of a completely smooth overall image. Inkjet printers are the most commonly used type of printer and range from small-scale models that are used in the home to large, professional machines.

Inkjet printing was first developed around 1951 by brands such as Epson, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Canon who were experimenting with such technologies for the worldwide consumer market. From the late 1970s inkjet printers that could reproduce digital images were made readily available to the general public to buy.

There are two different types of inkjet printing techniques: continuous (CIJ) and drop-on-demand (DOD). CIJ is one of the oldest inkjet technologies and is most commonly used in the commercial marking of products and packaging. DOD, on the other hand, is the technique most commonly used in consumer inkjet printers.

Many inkjet inks are dye-based, though for fine art printing pigment-based inks are preferred due to to their stability and longevity. When a more stable and long lasting pigment-based ink is used in inkjet printing, the resulting image is called an archival pigment print.

See examples of inkjet prints in artworks such as Peter Saville’s Monarch of the Glen, 2002, Bruce Nauman’s Neck Pull from Infrared Outtakes, 2006, or Fayçal Baghriche’s Mecca, 2012.


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