One of the first things that we often hear from our potential clients is “what use is there for waterproof paper?” If you think about restaurants, many will have printed menus and have you ever noticed how clean they are? Well, this is because they are printed on waterproof and weatherproof paper. So, this answers the question quite simply, ‘yes’, you can print on waterproof paper but obviously, it wouldn’t be worth writing a blog on the subject if things were quite as straightforward as that.
The Problem With Waterproof Paper
The whole concept of waterproof paper is a contradiction in itself. Clients are looking for a product that is capable of repelling moisture whilst at the same time having the same qualities of paper. This is something that is not easily achieved and is actually far more complex than you would imagine. You are looking for something that can withstand water but will still accept toner from printers and photocopiers, or in many cases, a ballpoint pen. This issue is that this ‘ink’, to use the loosest possible term, must not smudge. The achieve this you need one of two options, laminated materials or water-resistant paper.
This is what most people are familiar with as is something that has proved popular because anyone with access to paper and a printer can create their own customised paper materials which are semi-flexible and have a plastic coating. This is great, however, once the said paper has been laminated it is impossible to change the printed content. Peeling off the laminate won’t work as both the paper and the laminate will be ruined so this is only a one-off solution. Another downside is that neither the laminate or the paper can be recycled.
Water Resistant Paper
Water resistant paper on the face of it seems like a superb option however, there is the serious problem of printability. To get around this, most materials need to be printed in-house by the paper manufacturer and then waterproofing layer added afterwards to protect the contents that have been printed. In effect, this is just another form of laminating and excellent for many things such as maps but not suitable for smaller businesses who perhaps require far smaller quantities.
The primary goal, especially when creating a product for smaller businesses is to create a product that functions the same as paper in that it will accept ink without bleed, smudge or blur – something that was practical for real-life situations. There is a need for a product that won’t become sodden or a soggy mess at the first signs of precipitation. Effectively, you need a solution that has the same qualities of standard printer paper, the type that you can buy from any stationers, whilst at the same providing protection from moisture and water.