Pink? Yep. Pink.


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Pink? Yep. Pink.
It’s not just for girls anymore

By Noel Ward, Editor@Large

I’ve always been a fan of wide and large format printing. Even in the bad old days when it was only suitable for viewing at a distance, to my biased eye it was still doing stuff that was impractical with offset or screen printing. Since then, printheads, inks and more have vastly improved. Fine-art images have been reproduced using various inkjet technologies for some years. But fine art is possessed of a very picky audience. The middle ground, though, has been wanting, especially for color gamut. To learn more, I sat in on a Microsoft Teams presentation with Ed LaManna and Brian Coombs at Canon HQ in Melville, New York to get the latest info on some new printers that address some of the weaknesses of the mid-range machines.

In a quest to take share in this middle ground—K-12, signage, posters, quick printers, retailers and more—Canon has taken a similar path to one that worked for its fine-art printers. Most of the devices aimed at those markets took the basic CMYK, added some gray, red, a different black, sprayed in some lighter versions of magenta and cyan and images became more colorful. One problem. What this really did for schools and small printshops was add expense. Few customers in this segment were rushing to add new printers and the price points for operating the devices or selling the output were not in the right place. Canon looked at the market, the machines it was already making and decided what was really needed was a different color.

Which happened to be pink.

Pink? Seriously?

Pink. And Radiant Infusion
OK. Give me a moment before you run screaming from the room. This is not putting a Pink Panther hue on an image but of extending the color gamut by mixing pink with other colors. The result is colors that have more “pop,” which is a key part of Canon’s new imagePROGRAF GP Series, which consists of the 6-color GP-200 and 300, plus the 11-color GP-2000 and 4000.

During printing Canon’s new “Radiant Infusion” technology layers Fluorescent Pink onto the CMYK plus Matte Black inks used on the GP-200 and 300 models to create bright and soft color reproduction. The same thing happens on the GP-2000 and GP-4000 that add Orange, Green, Red, and Violet to the palette. From what I’ve seen so far, Fluorescent Pink and Radiant Infusion makes other colors more vibrant but can also help replicate brand colors that can be difficult to reproduce on a conventional inkjet printer. This can be important for quick printers and small commercial shops.

All GP-Series models are roll-fed, which is great for lights-out operation, unattended use, for streaming out multiple prints of the same image, and for printing banners The upshot is that these capabilities put affordable quality printing in the hands of K-12 students and teachers as well as print providers or organizations that want full-color images that pop off the page instead of being merely colorful.

To help this along the imagePROGRAF GP printer comes with PosterArtist Lite software, a poster creation program designed to help all levels of users create professional-looking posters, banners and signage that attract attention with more vivid colors. Having spent a few years in the small commercial and quick print world one of the first things I thought of was how a quick printer or small commercial shop that could roll this out to customers. If I had a quick-print storefront, I’d stick one of these in the front window, running a stream of different posters to show what it could do. Then I’d send a poster to art teachers every school in a 30-mile radius. And call them up a week after the mailing.

“The print-for-pay market is key for the GP-2000 and 4000, printers and the GP-200 and 300 are important for small retail and the K through 12 education markets. These all have a need to create eye-catching posters. Fluorescent Pink and Radiant Infusion do that in the GP series by creating the widest color gamut we have,” noted LaManna.

The inks
What really matters though, is the ink hitting the paper. Aqueous pigment inks bring a lot to this party. The GP-200 and 300 printers takes the same five colors that are primarily used for CAD output (CMYK plus Matte Black) and adds the Fluorescent Pink. You can up the ante with Orange, Red, Green and Violet on the GP-2000 and 4000 models. Fluorescent Pink and Radiant Infusion add more to the palette and brings the image quality closer to that of the PRO series machines intended for fine-art printing.

This all makes one wonder what is next. Canon, after all, makes both image-capture and image-printing devices, so whatever come next it is likely to be even more interesting. But that’s no reason to wait, whether you need to print CAD drawings, posters and signage or fine art.

Made to work
Being skeptical by experience, my time in print shops made me ask about the connectivity and usability, which even these days cannot be taken for granted. WiFi is standard in the GP-Series, along with USB-direct printing of .pdf and .jpg files. Any file can be printed out of its native application through the print driver.

But what about users who know little or nothing about design? That’s where the bundled PosterArtist software comes in. A couple days after the Microsoft Teams demo Canon launched a free, online version of PosterArtist software that works on both Macs and PCs so users can create posters, flyers, and other media. The graphically challenged can draw on pre-populated templates in education, food and beverage, business, health, travel, hospitality, and other areas that can be customized to fit users’ needs.

Along with the online version of PosterArtist I thought an interesting advantage for people making posters was that Canon connected with Pexels, Pixabay and Unsplash to expand the amount of art and templates available. Users short on images for posters and signage can pull stock photos and art from these libraries. This can make for some big files, so GP-Series machines are equipped with 500-gig hard drives for storing job files. A USB port is another way of getting work to the printer. Not everyone, after all, is able to send a digital file to a printer, and as any print provider knows, a lot of work still comes in on thumb drives. I figure that in many schools the USB option (what my scientist daughter once called a “geek-stick,”) will be how many jobs arrive at GP-Series printers.

Wherever and however the printing takes place, the GP Series fills the hole in Canon’s wide format line-up between the roll-fed paper handling of its CAD plotters and high-end inkjet printing of the company’s fine-art PRO-Series printers. All GP-series machines are available through Canon, its independent printer/copier dealer network, and photographic and computer retailers like Adorama, B&H Photo and others.

Post-It Prints
As one who likes inkjet for photo printing, I was interested in what these machines could do and what substrates are available. The best quality on the GP-Series will be (as you would expect) on photo paper but given the applications of the target markets a broad range of substrates is necessary, including repositionable papers (think giant Post-It® notes), films and more. The media list I saw tells me these devices are ready for any of them.

As for me, an avowed Nikon-camera guy, I’m looking forward to delivery of a new Canon 13-inch photo printer from (B&H Photo in NYC) with a mere nine inks for printing some of my side-hustle photos. Still, my professional curiosity has me thinking I should see about running a few images on one of these new GP-Series machines to see the difference pink can make.
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! News Flash !

Dateline: New York...After years of testing and narrowing down its color options to a glorious PINK - Canon HQ discovers that there may be a major challenge to using that color in its printed literature since that color appears to be out of focus.


Marketing advises that they're now searching for a sharper color to use.
Don't be so sensitive.
I have two daughters who think that's funny. But then they have a sense of humor.
How about it's an overused cliché. It's like when a news service rediscovers sewing or knitting and have the brilliant headline "Knitting: It's not just for Grandmas anymore!"
Maybe you should think of the dead people before you comment things like this. They can't get a life. Try to be more responsible with your words next time, ok?
My, my. Aren't we being hypersensitive!
News flash for you: Dead people don't read.
At least I don't hide behind a screen name.
My, my. Aren't we being hypersensitive!
News flash for you: Dead people don't read.
At least I don't hide behind a screen name.
I think dead people would be more than glad to read if we took the time to help them learn. We need to stop thinking "dead people will never be able to do x". Next thing you'll say is that dead people aren't allowed to marry alive people! News flash: It's 2022 and dead people have rights.


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