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0333 090 9162
Speak to a human at Graphic Design Supplies
Speak to a human:
0333 090 9162
Speak to a human at Graphic Design Supplies
Speak To A Human:
0333 090 9162
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What Is the Difference Between Dye and Pigment Inks?

A picture of dye-based and pigment-based ink bottles


This is one of the most commonly asked questions at GDS.  This guide should help to understand the difference between dye and pigment ink.  This information can also be useful before embarking upon your next printer purchase.  You then know which ink system will best suit your needs.

So, what is the difference between dye ink and pigment ink?

Dye and pigment inks differ significantly in their properties, and it’s important to understand these differences before making a printer purchase.  Dye inks are like a sugar solution dissolved in water, offering vibrant colours but are prone to UV fading and water damage.  They tend to spread thinly, creating a larger surface area, but they can bleed and soak into the paper.  However, they are excellent for producing fine-line drawings.

On the other hand, pigment inks are more like suspended flour in a liquid.  They are more resistant to moisture and UV fading and retain colour vibrancy for longer.  Pigment inks sit on the paper’s surface, forming a thin film, and can reproduce colours, shades, and graduations more precisely.  They are ideal for printing on photo papers and are suitable for producing long-lasting images.  A level of water-resistance does allow for short-term outdoor usage, and perhaps longer when laminated.

In conclusion, dye inks are suitable for line drawings, plans, maps, and architectural or engineering renders, while pigment inks are best for photographs, fine art, graphics, and posters, but also good for plans and drawings.

It is claimed that under ideal conditions, prints using a pigment ink can last for up to 150 years.  So if you are a photographer selling your prints, the stability and longevity of pigment inks means you won’t have to worry about your clients returning with faded images down the line. Whilst pigment inks may initially be more expensive, for applications such as this, the cost savings over time can really add up.

Here is a selection of some current models and their ink type and applications (by model size/brand) – Models that use dye-based ink are slower becoming a thing of the past

Dye models– In the majority of Dye-based models, the black or matte black is usually a pigment based ink, whilst the other colours are dye based ink

  • HP T250 – 4-ink CAD Printer
  • HP T650 – 4-ink CAD Printer
  • HP T830 – 4-ink CAD Printer with inbuilt scanner

Pigment models


Please call the GDS team on 0333 090 9162 if you would like more information on these models, or others in the range


GDS | Graphic Design Supplies stock the full range of hardware and the full complement of genuine inks for Canon, HP, and Epson Printers.  GDS recommend using only genuine inks to ensure the best possible results from your prints and also to protect your printer warranty and the printheads from damage from using 3rd party ‘compatible’ inks.

GDS also stock a huge range of compatible media for use with dye and pigment inks.  It is important to note that the paper is just as significant as the ink in determining the print life and print quality.

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