The development of high performance inkjet printers and inks is advancing rapidly. Manufacturers seem to introduce their new technology inks to the market on an almost daily basis. Chemists in ink laboratories are still fighting with the issue of combining a wide gamut of dye-based inks with the lightfast and weather resistance qualities of pigment-based inks into new-age ink formulations.

Three different inkjet printers and inks were investigated in this work: the Epson Stylus® Pro 5000, using a dye-based ink set, the Epson Stylus® Pro 5500, employing Archival ink technology, and the Epson Stylus® Photo 2200, with 7-color UltraChrome™ inks. A number of different commercial substrates were sampled. Printability tests were carried out to test and evaluate ink/printer/substrate interactions. Particle size analyses of the three ink types were investigated. Color gamuts and ICC profiles for each of the different printer/ink/substrate sets were compared. In addition, the accuracy of each printer’s color profile was investigated. The results of the profile accuracy measurements were expressed in terms of CIE L*a*b* coordinates and Root Mean Square (RMS) E. Results of accelerated lightfastness tests for the different ink sets were interpreted in terms of change of profile and color gamut.