Laser printers are the printing workhorses in most companies. Although popular for home use, inkjets are relatively rare in business
But when one pioneering art firm needed a new printer, it chose one of the latest business inkjets. Read on to learn why - and to see whether an inkjet could be the right choice for your company
An online art gallery
Launched in 2003, DegreeArt was one of the UK’s first online art galleries. The website allows people to browse and buy art from promising artists. It was founded by Isobel Beauchamp and Elinor Olisa, who wanted to give students leaving university a way to sell the art they had created.
What began as a part-time business run from home has grown in to a thriving enterprise. DegreeArt now has a permanent gallery in east London where it employs seven full-time staff, along with a number of part-time workers and volunteers.
Changing art with the internet
Isobel and Elinor left university with entrepreneurial ambitions but little money. They could see real potential in building a business online - sooner or later, they reasoned, the web would change the art world.
But it wasn't easy to get things off the ground. "There was a real stigma to selling and buying art online, which did make the first steps of the business a challenge," explains Isobel.
"Our success is built on the internet and online continues to be the focus of our business, while also driving custom to our gallery. Buyers find it refreshing to browse work online without feeling intimidated by the gallery experience and pressure to appear like experts themselves."
Lots of printing
Although DegreeArt began as an online business, the art world is one that trades in tangible, hard copy. As a result, DegreeArt does a lot of printing.
This includes hundreds of invoices on a daily basis, plus artwork proposals and the certificates of authenticity that accompany each purchase. There are also large volumes of colour promotional prints - sometimes as many as 200 copies the day before a major event.
For years, the firm relied on a large laser printer. As well as taking up valuable office space, it was slow to start up and tended to be noisy unreliable. Staff had to wait several minutes between switching the machine on and getting the first prints out of it.
Choosing a new printer
With heavy use taking its toll on the ageing printer, DegreeArt decided it was time to invest in a new model.
After investigating a number of options and examining printer running costs, DegreeArt settled on an inkjet, choosing the Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4015DN, a model that offers fax and double-sided printing options.
"The WorkForce Pro is much sleeker and more discreet than our old laser model, which simply did not fit the aesthetics of our office," explains Isobel, when asked why they opted for this printer. "It's a superficial point, but an important one considering our industry."
But it's not just appearances that have impressed the art firm. "We can now be more productive." continues Isobel. "There’s no warm-up time and documents can be printed almost instantly."
Since purchasing its new printer, DegreeArt has experienced much faster, more efficient, better quality printing - in addition to freeing up valuable office space.
Print quality is key
Typically, it's in the area of colour printing - and printing images in particular - where inkjets really shine over lasers. Quite simply, the heat-sensitive toner used in lasers generally can't match specialist inkjet inks for glossy, stunning photos and images.
This really matters for DegreeArt. For example, the firm sends out a certificate of authenticity with each order. This includes a miniature picture of the artwork, demanding the very best in colour quality and accuracy.
“The printer has really exceeded our expectations, in terms of visual quality, cost savings and being robust enough to cope with the volume of administrative material we produce,” confirms Isobel.