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Red River Paper Product Grades Explained

Learn about Red River Paper Product Grades

Statement of Quality

Red River Paper sources our products from the best mills and coaters on Earth. As such, the materials used to make our products are top notch and meet numerous photo and archival industry standards.

In the world of inkjet media, you will find varying archival qualities. When we refer to "archival quality", we are talking about the physical characteristics of a paper and how it will degrade over time. All paper will change or degrade over time. The key is how and at what speed. 

Please note, archival quality and fade resistance are interrelated but different. You can put an unstable ink on a very stable paper and see rapid fade. Likewise, you can put very stable ink on a non-archival paper and still achieve 70 years of on-display life. The key is to pick the most stable ink you can and then choose your paper grade based on your images and display plans and taste.

Contact us with specific questions about paper choice. We're happy to help.

Photo Grade Explained

Photo Grade

Photo Grade products are designed to look and feel like modern photo lab paper. Most photo grade media are resin coated, which means they have a paper core covered by a thin layer of polyethylene (plastic) . Plastic gives the paper its photo feel, stability (flatness), water resistance, handling resistance, and excellent feed consistency.

Prints on photo grade media are stable over long periods. With pigment inks in a protected environment, you can see up to 80 years on-display life. All RC papers are Photo Grade for two reasons. Plastic content is not technically archival by museum standards. Also, the inkjet coating of all RC papers is slightly acidic. It facilitates instant drying and does not actually change the stability of your inks over time. Virtually all RC papers have optical brightening agents (OBAs).

Photo Grade Summary

  • RC papers
  • Plastic coated acid and lignin-free paper core
  • Inkjet coating layer will have slight acidity
  • Contain OBAs
Archival Grade Explained

Archival Grade

Papers with the Archival designation can take many forms. They can be glossy, matte, canvas, or an artistic product. These papers are acid free, lignin free and can be made of virgin tree fiber (alpha cellulose) or 25-100% cotton rag. They are likely to have optical or fluorescent brightening agents (OBAs) - chemicals that make the paper appear brighter white. Presence of OBAs does not indicate your image will fade faster. It does predict a slow change in the white point of your paper, especially if it is displayed without UV filter glass or acrylic.

Archival Grade Summary

  • Numerous papers - made from tree or cotton content
  • Acid and lignin free base stock
  • Inkjet coating layer acid free
  • Can have OBAs in the base or the coating
Museum Grade Explained

Museum Grade

Papers with the museum designation make curators happy. They are made from 100% cotton rag content and have no optical brightener content. (OBA) The base stock is acid and lignin free. The coating is acid free. This type of offers the most archival option in terms of media stability over time.

Museum Grade Summary

  • 100% cotton rag content
  • Acid and lignin free base stock
  • Inkjet coating layer acid free
  • No OBA content

Last updated: January 02, 2024

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