If an application requires longevity, pigment inks are much more durable than dye-based inks. Those pigments that that fade after a short period of time are referred to as “fugitive colors”. While pigments are viewed a producing less vibrant images, improvements in ink technology has expanded the color gamut. For outdoor applications, such as vehicle graphics and outdoor advertising, pigmented inks are usually preferred.
In the digital printing field, pigment inks, however, have been associated with metameric color shifts. Advances in ink formulation have reduced many of the problems associated with metamerism. Dye-based inks, by comparison are less metameric.
The advantage of a dye-based ink is its bright colors. For this reason, these inks were selected for indoor applications, such as P.O.P. posters and displays and photographic prints. The downside of dye-based ink was that you sacrificed durability. While fade resistance has improved greatly with new color formulations, the more vibrant dye-based inks generally exhibit a much lower resistance to UV light.
Aqueous Inks. Aqueous inks were popular in the Point-Of-Purchase industry for printing posters. Most of these inks are dye-based, although today pigment inks are also available. The dye-based inks produced very vibrant colors, which were perfect for indoor applications. Printed images are quite often very close to photographic quality, which is why photographers have preferred these printers to output their work. The shortcomings of the dye-based inks were that their durability was limited and not suitable for outdoor applications. In addition, print media required top coatings to achieve good image reproduction and ensure good adhesion to substrates, such as vinyl films.