An excellent matte paper for proofing purposes.
Fine Art Papers are beautiful, but expensive. Sometimes during the image development process, it is very handy to have a cheaper paper for proofing purposes.
The best we have found of these is Epson Archival Matte. This paper is in no way archival, despite its name, but it is an excellent proofing paper with a very good colour gamut, and very strong blacks.
This paper is completely matte, has a very smooth bright white surface (contains optical brighteners) and is 192gsm. Unusually, the rear side of the paper is a rather unattractive greyish white tone (but who cares - it's just a cheap proofing paper!).
We suggest printing your proofs with a custom profile made at 720 PPI, and still doing at least one final proof on your final output media before you make your final prints. When you are custom profiled for both papers, it's a very good match for better matte rag papers like Photo Rag overall, although it does contain significant optical brighteners making the whites more blue.
(not acid free)
Please note: Specifications are provided as a guide only.
We try very hard to keep these up to date and correct, but if a particular specification is really critical to you, then please double check the specification directly with the manufacturer. Some features may of course have caveats not fully described here.
To get more information about a particular specification, use the arrow to get a 'Specxplanation'.
Described simple, papers are constructed in two main ways:
Resin Coated papers are the 'modern' approach. These use less fibre and replace the fibre with resin (a nice name for plastic). This means these papers are relatively cheap, strong and robust, but tend to be less attractive to the touch, and accept less ink. They tend to have a clinical appearance and it's hard to write on the back of them. They tend to be popular in the consumer and wedding/portrait markets. Important to note: these papers are difficult or impossible to recycle because of their plastic content.
Fibre Based papers are traditional papers made without plastic, using only plant fibres. These tend to accept more ink and have a more attractive appearance, and these are the papers most of our customers favour. These papers are fully recyclable and we thus strongly recommend you use fibre based papers whenever possible.
What is the paper base made from?
Is this paper acid free?
Acid in paper leads to earlier yellowing and the paper will also become brittle more quickly. Thus for a paper to be archival, it needs to be acid free.
Papers which are not acid free are generally best used for proofing (test printing), and shorter term purposes. That is, they are not considered to be a fine art level product, or suitable for print sales into the art or professional photography markets.
This does not, of course, mean these papers will vanish or discolour overnight - they generally still have life-spans suitable for commercial work and above or on par with e.g. typical photo chemistry papers. They are thus suitable to markets like signage, or the decor market (e.g. print sales for kiddies bedrooms, for example) - but should be avoided if you're trying to sell your work as a serious art level product.
In general, papers made from cotton are naturally acid free, which is one reason they are often favoured. Other fibres, like Kozo, are also naturally acid free. High grade wood pulp papers can also be made to be acid free, however, if the lignin/acid is removed from the pulp.
These days almost all papers are microporous coated - meaning they'll accept inks from both dye based and pigment printers well.
In years past, some papers had a swellable coating - designed to give a greater life to prints with dye based inks but this approach has fallen out of favour.
In 'gsm' - grams per square metre.
Not, technically, the same as paper thickness, but obviously correlated. The heft of the paper. European art papers are traditionally generally around the 300gsm mark. Asian papers historically tended to be lighter, 100 to 200 gsm.
Papers with a higher GSM tend to have more opacity, i.e. you see less through them.
What is the surface texture of the paper?
We divide this into six groups. We go by the appearance of the actual paper and not what the manufacturer might label the box with!
What is the white tone of the paper?
Does the paper contain chemicals in it to brighten its appearance?
We're using the value/description the manufacturer supplies (see also the White Tone and White Value specs).
In many cases, only a small amount is used to even out batches of cotton, and then only in the paper base, not the coating - in these cases, it is generally agreed such use of OBAs is essentially insignificant and will not materially impair the archival life of the paper.
What ink type (dye and/or pigments) can you use with the paper?
Also, if using pigment inks and you have a choice, should you use the Matte Black or Photo Black ink?
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Hand curated articles, links and downloads to help you get the best from your Epson Archival Matte 189gsm.
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