|A Word About
The brightness of
ink jet paper has recently come to the front of many marketing
efforts. A quick discussion of brightness is in order.
A light source shines a beam of light measuring 457 nanometers onto the
paper at a 45 degree angle. Another device measures the amount of reflection
from the paper. a scale from 1-100 is set, and the reflected amount will
fall within that range. A brighter sheet (higher number) tends to reflect
more light from the paper surface thus intensifying the vividness of
color. Slight increases at the higher end of the scale change the paper's
appearance more dramatically than large changes at the lower end.
Brightness is often confused with "whiteness". People look
at a paper and if it has a clean white appearance, they think it's brighter.
In fact, the human eye cannot determine a level of brightness.
This measurement was devised for manufacturers to differentiate their
papers and to help printers and ad agencies know what to expect from
paper to paper, job to job. When printing a million copies of an annual
report, a printer needs to know as much about the paper as possible because
reprinting large runs is costly and generally not possible. Luckily for
ink jet printer users, no such limits exist!
The brightness number given can be misleading and ultimately unimportant
to the ink jet user. There are set standards for paper brightness in
the graphic arts industry (GE in the USA, ISO in Europe and Asia), but
many ink jet paper suppliers do not seem to follow them. Different manufacturers'
numbers do not necessarily correlate with competing papers. Brightness
scales can change from company to company and can be subjective from
observer to observer. In addition, there are other factors which could
improve or compromise a paper's appearance. Rate of absorption, gloss,
type of ink and smoothness can affect the quality of the image in spite
of its brightness.
To add to the difficulty, paper shade or color can make a technically
96 bright paper appear more dull than another 92 paper which is a lighter
The point to remember is that the scales are arbitrary and that what
you think is bright may not appear so on the same scale. At Red River Paper,
we would rather make you personally happy than to offer a definition
which may mislead you to select a paper that is not your optimal choice.
As an inkjetter, you have the luxury of testing many stocks with the
same image for very little money, something an art director for a large
agency can only dream of.
To help our customers find the "Perfect Paper" we offer a wide
selection in our inkjet sample kits for a modest cost.
Please call us with any questions about our position on brightness at