Faded Prints and Low Ink Levels

“It looks like your printer ran out of ink”, one person said when we were discussing some faded looking prints he had ordered. Of course we quickly diagnosed the problem was with the contrast in his images which we helped him get corrected in time for an upcoming show but it reminded me that sometimes we assume these printers operate with the same technology yesterday’s inkjet technology did.

It used to be you could print an image and as the ink would get low you would see problems in the print quality. Today, with the large format printers at least, this is not a problem. The ink today is fed through tubes from pressurized cartridges which ensure the same flow of ink regardless of how full or empty the cartridge is. What is really nice is when the cartridge does run out or the pressure becomes too low a computer chip on the cartridge tells the printer this and any printing just stops. Basically you cannot run the printer until a cartridge which is not empty or looses too much pressure is replaced. And when you replace the cartridge the printer continues where it left off without any visible sign on the print of having replaced and ink cartridge.

So can we run out of ink? Yes. But will this be reflected in your print? No.

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