Even though most graphic design work is done digitally, having an excellent printer at hand is really convenient. In this way, you can print sample business cards, brochures, or presentations for your client in high definition and without any color deviation.
This article will introduce you to the 3 best printers for graphic designers that you can choose between according to your needs and budget.
Here Is The List Of The 3 Best Printers For Graphic Designers:
- Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000
- Epson SureColor P900
- Canon PIXMA TS9120
But before that, let’s find out why you need a printer.
Why Do You Need A Printer?
Printing on an industrial scale is pretty expensive. That’s why it’s crucial to print some samples and check all the details to avoid costly mistakes. In that way, 1000 prices of wrongly printed flyers won’t go to waste.
Isn’t my home printer suitable enough for that kind of printing, you might ask?
For professional graphic design work that includes many details, a home printer is just not sufficient. On top of that, its’ color reproduction will be pretty inaccurate.
Now that you know why you need a printer, keep on reading and find out the main factors you need to look for when buying a graphic design printer.
What To Look For When Buying A Printer For Graphic Design
The great thing about printers is that the technology is not changing as rapidly as in the computer industry. Where a top-of-the-line model is obsolete next year.
Suppose you buy a high-caliber printer. In that case, you can expect to produce pixel-perfect images for years to come without thinking about upgrading to a newer model.
Among the other essential things, the top priority of choosing a new printer is proper color reproduction and printing accuracy.
The proper color reproduction depends on the number of cartridges your printer uses. In this case, the more, the merrier. Also, the ink quality running through them is equally important.
There are two different technologies that printer ink is based on. It can be dye-based or pigment-based.
Dye-based colors are widely used in home-use printers because of their lower production price point. Still, they are not as light-resistant as their pigment counterparts. On the other hand, pigment dyes have better light resistance but are also more expensive.
Another essential aspect is the printers’ capability to print fine details. This feature is conditioned with the droplet size. The finer the size, the more detailed your image will be. The best printers on the market are capable of producing 3.5 picoliters sized droplets.
When buying a printer, don’t forget about the maximum format it can handle. I’ve included two printers on the list that are capable of producing A2 prints. The ability to print large layouts is excellent but a little less exciting if you’re tight on space because large format graphic machines are pretty bulky.
The speed of a printer is measured by the pager per minute (PPM). More prominent paper formats and higher image quality settings require more time to print. If you choose the highest image quality setup and want it to be produced on an A2 paper, it can take up to 20 min.
Fortunately, the days when we needed to be next to the printer are long gone. There’s nothing more comfortable than printing something from any part of your house or office.
With a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection, you can print images from any of the gadgets you use, like tablets or cellphones. So you don’t even need to turn your computer on to make some prints.
Don’t let the running costs slip through your buying criteria. Initially, you might buy a cheaper printer, but its cartage life span and the price of replacing it will push the cost higher in the end.
Different add-ons for your graphics design printer make it more comfortable to use. One of those things is a built-in scanner. Having this option will make the process of your artwork digitalization much easier and faster.
In this article, I’ve primarily focused on the printers and their image production quality. That’s why only one option on the list has a built-in scanner. However, if you want to find out more about scanners, you can read my article: Best Scanners for Artwork.
Another great accessory for printing machines is a roll adapter that allows printing really long images on a paper roll.
The last factor you need to consider is your overall budget.
As already mentioned, going for the cheapest options might cost an arm and a leg in the end. Not only because replaceable cartridges might be more expensive but also because they tend to wear out faster. On top of that, their color gamut is questionable.
Yet if you create predominantly digital graphics and you tend to print every so often, it’s useless to purchase the top-of-the-line printer.
Now that we got that covered let’s dive into the recommended printers for graphic designers.
There are two titans in this space – Canon and Epson. Therefore, we are going to focus on their products.
Let’s find out more about the first option.
Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 – Wide-Format Design Printer
This one is a beast of the printer with a pigment ink system capable of producing high-quality A2 prints.
It comes with 11 cartridges and with a chroma optimizer.
What Is A Chroma Optimizer?
Chroma optimizer prevents a bronzing and gloss differential of the images. Let’s take a closer look at these two concepts.
The bronzing effect can be visible when you tilt a paper at a different angle, and colors on some parts of the image disappear or blend with the other colors.
Gloss differential is the most pronounced on gloss or semi-gloss paper. Here, the surface becomes more reflective because of ink coverage.
As you can see, chroma optimizer prevents some undesirable printing effects.
Now that we got that sort out, let’s go back to the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 review.
This machine comes with a large 1.28” print head that improves printing speeds. Also, its cleaver system recognizes if there wasn’t a line printed and fills it in the next pass. The advantage of this option is that the white, unfiled lines that you might find in between your printed image are a thing of the past.
Every head comes with 1,536 nozzles. They can produce a droplet size of 4 picoliters, so you can print all the finest artwork details.
Another feature worth mentioning is thermal print technology that prevents nozzle clogging. If one of them clogs up by any chance, the intelligent system will recognize the problem and drop the ink from a different one.
Sometimes when you’re printing whole page images, you might encounter smudging or paper curling. Canon solved this issue with the vacuum system that keeps the paper flat when printing.
The device also comes with a built-in LCD display. With it, you can quickly change different paper coating, set different paper sizes, and see how much ink you have left.
If you want to create high-quality A4 borderless print, you will have to wait for about a minute, and if you’re going to print A2-sized ones, you can expect to be done in around 10 minutes.
It’s hard to find any drawbacks of this printer, but there is one – the inability to print on paper rolls. You might need to use this option rarely, if ever, but if that’s a necessity for you, the next choice on the list offers precisely that.
Epson SureColor P900 – 17-Inch Photo Printer
Like the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000, this one is another monster 17-inch A2 photo printer and requires a bit of space to set it up.
Epson SureColor P900 is a pigment-based printer, so the image colors will live on for years to come. Your graphics will be printed with the ten UltraChrome PRO10 ink set that produces a wider gamut.
Sometimes when you’re printing dark graphics, the black color doesn’t appear totally black. This imbalance is especially problematic on glossy papers. To avoid this situation from happening, this model comes with a Carbon Black mode. The setting releases 1.5 picoliters ink droplets and creates deep black color.
On top of that, the Black Enhance Overcoat feature boosts the density of black tones with the help of light grey inks.
With this technology in place, your blacks will be rich blacks even on the glossy paper.
If you use the highest quality image and borderless setting for the A2 paper, it will be produced in around 20 minutes.
Waiting for your prints to be made might be a bit frustrating. To make the wait more “pleasurable,” you can check what part of the image is being printed on the 4.3-inch LCD display.
Before we move the last printer on our list, let me mention another excellent feature – roll feed adapter. Even though you’re “limited” with the width of 17”, this graphic design printer will let you create images on a really long paper roll.
Shell, we examine the final alternative on the list.
Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 and Espon P900 are top-of-the-line choices capable of producing A2 prints. But this option is perfect for someone who’s not planning to create big format prints and is still looking for a graphic printer capable of producing excellent quality images.
Canon PIXMA TS9120 – All In one Graphic Design Printer
The last on our list is an all-in-one printer. With this device, you’re not only limited to printing, but you can scan your artworks and sketches as well. You can expect to wait around 17 seconds for your scans to be made before you start working on them in your favorite design program.
Because Canon PIXMA TS9120 is more compact, it won’t take as much space as the previous two picks on the list. On the other hand, you’re limited to the paper size you can print your designs on. The maxim paper size you can feed this graphic design device is an A4, which might be a bit limiting for some designers.
This model comes with 6 inks. Included in the ink set are pigment black and photo blue. These two provide more defined color tones and help with graininess reduction.
Like the bigger brother on the list, you can also set the borderless printing and create an A4 print in around 2 minutes.
Overall this is an excellent option for everyone who isn’t planning to produce A3 or A2 size prints but still expects uncompromised image quality.
I haven’t induced any laser or LED printers in this list. They are faster than their inkjet counterparts. However, they don’t meet the color gamut reproduction standards expected for professional graphic design prints because of their thermal or dye-sublimation technology.
The color gamut was mentioned a few times throughout this article. So, I’ve saved this term explanation for the end.
What Is a Color Gamut?
In printing space, the color gamut is referred to the number of colors a printer can produce. The larger the gamut, the more extensive set of colors a printer can offer.
To finish off, choose the graphic design printer that will meet your needs so you can create high-quality images that will impress everyone.