Printer recommendations for proofing?

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  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,902
    Sorry, to clarify: the Xerox models Henrique mentioned have real Adobe PS.

    The Kyocera doesn't seem to have even PS emulation, but does have PDF output as an option.
  • Thanks @Thomas Phinney and @Ori Ben-Dor for the input.

    Thomas, Kyocera calls its PS emulation “KPDL”. PDF output is indeed an option, however the maximum resolution drops to 600dpi.

    I’m still a bit skeptical about all this and I’ve heard good things about old Xerox and HP printers, so I’ve decided to get a cheap 10-year-old Xerox Phaser 4510 for now. Maybe I’ll get a newer model in the future. Thanks again!
  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 764
    edited March 2018
    One thing to consider when using old PS printers is the availability of drivers. With my Ricoh and my HP I had such issues and it was not so easy to find the proper driver. Actually the official HP 5200 tn drivers never worked and I found the right one distributed at Apple's website. The setting of the ethernet connection can be a nightmare. It's better if the printer also has USB connection.
  • Hey can I ask why is Postscript driver important? 
    Also, @Thomas Phinney a printer I'm considering doesn't have PS but has PDF as a language, is that of similar quality, or is it usual that the resolution drops?
  • Both PDF and PS (and HP's PCL) are resolution-independent as far as font output and vector graphics go. However, any given device may have its own maximum resolution. It doesn't usually differ by page description language on the same device, but I am perfectly willing to believe it is possible... more plausible if the device is a lower-end one with relatively limited RAM.
  • So is PDF.. or PCL a good substitute for PS? Wondering still why it's important to go with PS printers
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,955
    Historically, the importance of true PS printers has been in proofing for PS-based professional print media. Type designers making fonts for the professional graphic design market wanted to know how their fonts would behave in PS RIPs when outputting film or plates for offset printing.
  • I would solidly put my money on a higher class Xerox A3 printer (no need for a scanner, smartphones can do the trick and be upgraded with a box). We used a Xerox at FontFabric, and it is in use still, 5 years later. A good ROI.
  • edited March 2019
    Does it make sense if we’re buying high-end, top resolution printers, when the majority of people out there use crappy printers? I’m sure graphic designers are more attuned towards high-end print results in their offices. There are also still a lot of books, newspapers and magazines being printed today, although that number has been dwindling for the past decade.
    In my understanding, the majority of content today is consumed on screens. I’m not arguing that means we should abandon print output. I’m just looking at the ratio of how fonts are applied and used in this age. And of course, it all depends on what market you are aiming for. If you’re making a font for book printing first it’s different than, say, a font for an identity design for Netflix.
    I usually test my fonts first in low-resolution environments (older computer monitor, 300dpi printers), then high-end resolution (MacBook Pro, iPhone), then I’m testing them on high-end printers. By the time they are displayed on “retina screen” displays, they are usually already in quite a good shape. Generally, I’m trying to emulate all kinds of imaginable output and display environments as possible.
    On a side topic, but related: the biggest issue I have had so far is how fonts are being rendered white on black or dark backgrounds, such as with the new dark mode in macOS. There are plugins for browsers that allow users to switch to “night mode” on all websites, effectively turning nytimes.com slate grey with white body text and pale blue or orange links. That’s not for the majority of users I suppose, but it is a thing. White text rendered on a computer display on a dark background appears slightly bolder than on white/bright backgrounds.
  • Does it make sense if we’re buying high-end, top resolution printers, when the majority of people out there use crappy printers? I’m sure graphic designers are more attuned towards high-end print results in their offices. There are also still a lot of books, newspapers and magazines being printed today, although that number has been dwindling for the past decade.
    In my understanding, the majority of content today is consumed on screens. I’m not arguing that means we should abandon print output. I’m just looking at the ratio of how fonts are applied and used in this age. And of course, it all depends on what market you are aiming for. If you’re making a font for book printing first it’s different than, say, a font for an identity design for Netflix.
    I usually test my fonts first in low-resolution environments (older computer monitor, 300dpi printers), then high-end resolution (MacBook Pro, iPhone), then I’m testing them on high-end printers. By the time they are displayed on “retina screen” displays, they are usually already in quite a good shape. Generally, I’m trying to emulate all kinds of imaginable output and display environments as possible.
    On a side topic, but related: the biggest issue I have had so far is how fonts are being rendered white on black or dark backgrounds, such as with the new dark mode in macOS. There are plugins for browsers that allow users to switch to “night mode” on all websites, effectively turning nytimes.com slate grey with white body text and pale blue or orange links. That’s not for the majority of users I suppose, but it is a thing. White text rendered on a computer display on a dark background appears slightly bolder than on white/bright backgrounds.
    I think it still makes good sense to proof your fonts on a 1200 dpi laserjet printer. Not just for books, newspapers or magazines. A lot of brands and organisations still have a large and diverse output of printed items. 
  • I fully agree that it makes sense to test high-resolution output formats in any form you can. I just think as type designers, we have to consider worst-case scenarios before ideal scenarios. Traditionally, type designers have always had to deal with low-resolution output, beginning with the Gutenberg press and later with high-paced newspaper printing systems.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,266
    Do "worst case scenario" users buy fonts?
  • Here’s the current reality about print books vs. ebooks: At the end of 2018, the American Booksellers Association reported that the number of independent bookstores in the U.S. increased for the ninth consecutive year. Meanwhile, sales for e-books—the digital versions that we were told just a few years ago would change the publishing industry forever—are stagnant. E-book sales have slipped by 3.9 percent so far this year, according to data from the Association of American Publishers, while hardback and paperback book sales grew by 6.2 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. During the first nine months of 2018, hardback and paperback sales generated nearly $4 billion combined; comparatively, e-books only raked in $770.9 million. Clearly, the Kindle and other screen platforms for books have not had the same impact as the iPod had on the music industry. So, to say that “the majority of content today is consumed on screens,” paints a picture with too broad a brush. It depends on the kind of content you are talking about. What's been true for newspapers has not been true for books. The choices consumers make are determined more by the permanence of the content. Print newspapers are out of date by the time they roll off the press; books are something else entirely.

    About printer resolution: To reiterate from my April 2013 post on this thread, having a true Adobe Level 3 PostScript printer is far more important than whether the resolution is 600dpi or 1200dpi, as absolute resolution depends on the RIP and a number of other software tweaks. Many of the best interpolate 600x1200. The best Xerox PostScript 3 printers don’t cost very much; many are available in the $300 range. But like all printers, the manufacturers make their money on the ink—they sell the printers themselves for well below their manufacturing cost in order to get you hooked. Before you buy, check the cost of the consumables.

  • James MontalbanoJames Montalbano Posts: 948
    edited March 2019
    I would recommend using an LCD rather than a laser if your monthly output is a reasonable number of pages (Fewer moving parts). I had a Xerox color laser that I rarely used and that inactivity created many problems. I now use a Xerox LCD and my low printing activity has not caused and performance issues. It was also about 1/3 the price of the laser.
  • edited March 2019
    Do "worst case scenario" users buy fonts?
    Not necessarily, but they see applications in media of all kind. I think that’s the difference between our customers (content creators, UI designers, art directors, and graphic designers) and the audience (everyone who is consuming content through any kind of media).
  • edited March 2019

    … Meanwhile, sales for e-books—the digital versions that we were told just a few years ago would change the publishing industry forever—are stagnant.

    The question I’m asking myself when I’m reading such statistics is if it’s still valid to compare one media category only with itself. Overall, “screen time” has increased worldwide consistently over the past couple of years. I would suspect that we read more news headlines, but we actually read fewer articles in a longer format and books.
    It may be true that we are experiencing a peak, an oversaturation of content because we can consume it virtually everywhere. And a result of this experience are counter-trends – people longing for so-called “real life” experiences. But this differentiation of a virtual world (intangible, digital) and a “real world” is only an expression of this transitional era. We haven’t seen the full transition cycle yet, and like with media that has existed until this point of time, I doubt the printed formats will fully disappear. It’s not a question of replacement, but of how much time we are spending reading something delivered through one device (content on a screen) or another (content on paper).
    I should be clear that I don’t want to question the idea of buying a high-resolution printer for testing. It just got me on track of these other questions and perhaps I should have started a new discussion instead. Apologies if I deviated too much from the topic at hand.
  • Correction for my previous post. LED not LCD.
  • I would recommend using an LCD rather than a laser if your monthly output is a reasonable number of pages (Fewer moving parts). I had a Xerox color laser that I rarely used and that inactivity created many problems. I now use a Xerox LCD and my low printing activity has not caused and performance issues. It was also about 1/3 the price of the laser.
    May I ask which one you use, James?
  • Thank you!
  • Huh. Some 10+ years ago, Xerox laser printers were more reliable than their less expensive LED brethren, at least for the tabloid color models. More recently, when I looked into it, I tended to find that no current model from any vendor was both reliable and reasonably priced, in that category. Although real stats may have been a bit scanty, as it is a specialized niche—not a lot of buyers for those models on, say, Amazon.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,266
    Not many folks need the rez  but we fools ;-)

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