Stationery & Ink Dyes

Every form of art and every writing implement that humans have ever invented depends on inks, pigments, and dyes. There are several aspects to consider when making the ideal print of your work, and they might need a lot of effort and experimentation to get it right. Continue reading this article to get the answers.


What are stationery & ink dyes?

All the supplies required for writing are included in stationery in general. Common uses include daily writing instruments, including gel pens, fountain pens, pens, pencils, ballpoint felt-tip pens, and fine-liner pens. Highlighters, whiteboards, stamp pads, and markers – permanent and non-permanent are some goods that are more likely to be found in workplaces.


Stationery dyes are commonly used in oil-based ballpoint pens and highlighters. There are several quality criteria for stationery colourants that are quite comparable to those for inkjet applications and call for the same standards of quality. Additionally, unique characteristics of ink systems, such as document-proof inks, invisible inks, and erasable inks, must be evident on writing instruments and stamp pads. 


There are specific requirements:

  • High Colour strength, especially for black and blue
  • Violet inks’ global adherence to standards for ecologically safe goods
  • The absence of sensitive byproducts
  • Low viscosity and high surface tension for reliable ink flow


The ink chemistry must be matched with the right fiber type, much like in a traditional printing environment, to guarantee lasting Colour fixing. A broad range of fiber types may be printed with available Colourants:

  • Acid dyes – Silk, Nylon, & Wool
  • Reactive dyes – Cotton, Rayon, Linen, & Silk
  • Disperse dyes – Polyester
  • Pigments – Not fiber specific, often used for Cotton and Blends


Fixation on Colour

Most print systems need post-processing for the fixation process to occur. Pigment printing includes the attachment of the Colour to the fiber by using a binder, as opposed to dye-based printing techniques, which all involve fiber penetration.


Reactive & Acid dyes – Normally, Colour fixing is necessary when there is humidity present in the atmosphere. While acid dyes generally need at least 30 minutes of steaming, reactive dyes often only need less than 15 minutes.


What are the differences between Pigment and Dye based ink?

Documents, photos, and nearly every type of small-scale printing you frequently need to accomplish from your printer are printed using dye and pigment inks. Although they may appear to be the same while placed in bottles on a shelf, the two are really distinct. Understanding how they differ and how those distinctions should affect the ink you choose is crucial.


Composition – Since water-soluble chemicals are also included for optical enhancement, the Colourants in dye-based inks create deeper blacks and more vibrant Colours than pigment-based inks. As a result, they are suitable for picture printing, which relies on vibrancy to emphasize a photo’s features. Pigment-based ink, on the other hand, has a tendency to be more smear-resistant since it rests on the surface rather than being absorbed into it. Pigmented ink, which provides a superior blending effect than dye-based ink, which causes Colours to disintegrate and spread into one another, is better for producing graphics with a strong distinction between Colours.


Appearance – Pigment-based inks do not soak into paper fibers because they are made of Colour particles that are suspended in a liquid. The Colour particles stay on the surface despite the fact that the carrying vehicle may absorb them. Similar to how dirt on your hands gathers in the creases and folds of your skin, pigment particles become caught in the paper’s threads. Pigment-based inks, however, need a binder to adhere to the paper. Gum arabic, shellac, and acrylic emulsion are examples of typical binders. Each gives the ink distinctive qualities. Pigment inks have an impenetrable appearance and can’t let light through since the Colour particles stick to the paper’s surface.


Contrary to pigment-based inks, dye-based inks seep into the paper in an effort to cling to the fibers. The compatibility of the ink and the paper determines how well the ink gets soaked in. How well the ink performs depends on how effectively the ink and the paperwork work together. Dye-based inks have an opaque or translucent appearance when the Colour particles are fully dissolved in the solution.


Permanence – Even after drying, different ink types respond to water in various ways, mostly due to the ink’s chemical components. The water resistance and waterproofness of pigment-based inks often lie in the middle ground. After the ink has dried completely, the pigments are protected from being washed away by the binders employed to assist them in sticking to the paper. Caution is required when using pigment inks in a fountain pen since they cannot be readily removed by water.

On the other hand, dye inks’ ability to dissolve in water varies greatly from one type to the next. Water-based inks will smudge if they become wet again because they include Colours that are soluble in water. However, these water-soluble inks are incredibly user-friendly for beginners because dried ink can be quickly removed with a small bit of cleaning effort.


Cost – Dye-based inks are far more easily accessible for purchase in stores, and their manufacture and raw components are significantly less costly. Pigmented inks are more expensive to produce than dye-based inks, which drives up their price. However, pigment-based inks are becoming more widespread, which often indicates the price might start to decrease in the coming years.


How is Pen ink made?

Ink is made from a pigment or dye and a carrier, frequently with many other additions, and there are numerous types available based on preferences or needs; what writing tool you’re using, what paper you’ll be using, what Colour you need, etc.


Ballpoint Pen – In order to achieve the appropriate thickness, dye rather than pigment is utilized, and the medium is often made of oil.


Fountain Pen – Fountain pen ink is water-based, as opposed to ballpoint ink, which is oil-based. The following ingredients can be found in varying concentrations in fountain pen ink:

  • Dye
  • Fungicide, for longevity
  • To manage viscosity, a thickening agent
  • Detergent or surfactant to facilitate a smooth flow
  • Perfume, to cover other strong scents
  • Additives to prevent damage to pens and regulate the PH of the ink


That’s all for the dyes used in the stationery items, especially inks and painting Colours. Neelikon understands all these underlying aspects of the pigments and dyes, producing top-notch quality Colourants with a range of shades. 

Neelikon Colours Global