Do Inkjet Printer Prints Fade?
A PRINTER USER ASKED:
I want to make sure the prints I am printing on my
ink jet printer will last as long as possible, but I've heard that
the ink on these printers doesn't last as long as color laser
printers or traditional prints. Do the prints fade?
OUR PRINTER EXPERTS ANSWER:
Do digital prints fade?
by Florie Lyn Masarate
Let us talk about inkjet photo prints. Since they are considered
as one of the best digital printers for all printing needs, chances
are, you may want to have your business cards printed in one. And
why not? With all the reviews these printers are getting, you want
some piece of the action. Do digital prints fade?
It is difficult to give an accurate estimate for either of this
types of prints. First, because manufacturers are constantly
improving ink longevity. However, in the general sense, it can be
said that the best pigment-based inks, used with their appropriate
photo print papers, have a lifetime of more than 100 years before
noticeable fading occurs. While a top-grade dye-based ink provides
prints that last about a decade or two under good conditions.
Note that inkjet inks are engineered for best longevity when used
with particular photo print papers. This is because the paper is
designed to absorb and "lock in" the ink formulation.
Most printer manufacturers want you to use their brand of ink and
paper. However, as long as both the ink and paper are from quality
independent suppliers and are compatible, they are just as reliable.
The third-party brands are often more economical.
A type of digital color photo is the thermal dye-sublimation
print. This is most often made on small desktop printers that
produce 4-by-6-inch snapshots. This at-home printer employs a
print-wide ribbon with three dye panels of magenta, cyan, and
Some printers have a fourth clear panel that lays down a
protective coating on the prints surface. With a computer or direct
camera hookup to the printer, each dye layer is transferred by heat
onto the paper one color at a time, producing the color photo.
At best, dye-sublimation prints, when displayed under glass, have
a life without noticeable fading of about five to 20 years,
depending on the dyes used by the manufacturers.
Digital color prints do fade, to answer the question. But then,
so does everything else. That much depends upon how the prints are
protected. Two major causes of color fading are long, continuous
exposure to bright sunlight or ultraviolet light, and high heat and
Just try to know the different steps and techniques you can use
to make your prints last a long time. Nothing like a solid and
strong card to stand the time that the company itself is capable
For comments and inquiries about the article visit
Florie Lyn Masarate got the flair for reading and
writing when she got her first subscription of the school newsletter
in kindergarten. She had her first article published on that same
newsletter in the third grade.