Forever and Print Excellence
Our Forever Community is familiar with The Forever™ Guarantee, which preserves and protects their memories for their lifetime plus a minimum of 100 years. No other company can make this unique claim. In fact, most technology companies flat out reject the idea of permanence in their terms of service.
So how does our commitment to permanence affect our commitment print quality? How is print quality measured? And what is Forever™ doing to remain on the cutting edge of print excellence, print technology, and printed photo preservation?
Digital printing and technology is an ever-changing field, constantly evolving to meet the needs of the print-on-demand market. Sadly no photographic print can last endlessly without fading, but many manufacturers are committed to getting the maximum longevity out of their inks and substrates even when exposed to the severities of their environment. The photo print’s rate of deterioration depends on a number of things, including the colorants used to form the image, paper quality, and type of exposure to the environment.
As the ability to capture memories became easier in our digital age, more companies entered the business of digital on-demand photo printing. In order to rate and quantify the capabilities of these different companies, industry and technology leaders developed a “permanence test” that gives consumers better insight into how all prints will sustain the test of time. This testing is conducted by Wilhelm Image Research or WIR, the print industry’s most respected authority on stability and preservation of traditional and digital photographs, what the Corporation refers to as “permanence ratings.” In the absence of international standards, this independent image testing company has become a leading authority on photo longevity.
While only time will truly tell how a photo will appear to future generations, WIR conducts several accelerated tests that emulate natural conditions by exposing the material to environmental factors in a concentrated manner. Those factors are: light fading, heat and humidity fading, and gas fading. A permanence rating is then determined based on when discoloration is first noticeable.
Forever’s print products employ a unique liquid pigment ink electrophotographic process for enhanced photo reproduction with smoother transitions, using six inks (CMYK plus light magenta and light cyan) to print all of our photobooks, page prints, calendars, and posters. WIR released a study on the permanence of these inks stating that they can last well over 200 years in dark storage on standard acid free and lignin free papers. The closest competition to this is traditional silver halide on Fuji Crystal Archive paper which has a 100+ year rating for dark storage.
For all of our photo gift and wall art options, we are printing with UltraChrome DS ink. Recent testing has proven this ink lasts up to three times longer (300 years!) on metal prints than traditional silver halide. These inks are yet to be tested on other substrates, but the inks longevity is certainly standing the test of time. Dr. Mark Mizen has also published these findings in his recent blog post on this subject.
Along with the use of these inks, print technology has been tested and measured in binding. Forever™ softbound and hardbound books use PUR glue for binding. PUR is a permanent adhesive glue which has met the standards of the International Organization for Standards or ISO. It uses a revolutionary cold melt technology for incredible strength and stability. Hardbound books under 60 pages are still side-sewn in the traditional manner, but as technology improves for binding more and more companies are trending toward the efficiency, strength, and longevity of PUR.
Printing has changed dramatically in the past decade. As Forever™ strives to stay ahead in the technology field, our foundation will remain firmly on the guarantee that your memories will be preserved, and passed to future generations. When a new print innovation is introduced, rest assured that we will find the quickest way to implement it and to preserve those unforgettable and important moments of your lifetime. Because we believe that these memories aren’t just a book on a shelf, but part of the hearth of a home.