Need a spot of advice—anybody know what the best type of pen to use to sign inkjet prints with is? I'm having trouble researching this. I'm interested in "best practices" in terms of permanence and archivalness. (Citations would be great.) In the old days I knew all the options for signing darkroom prints, but the times they have a-changed.
(This has nothing to do with our current print sale—completely different topic.)
UPDATE: I contacted several image permanence organizations (not Wilhelm Imaging Research, because apparently they don't want to make themselves accessible to the public), and had a response from the Library of Congress Preservation Department. They cited ISO 18916 as a standard for marking pens, and named as an example the Kaiser-Schreiber film marking pen. They were careful to point out that their mention of this product is not an endorsement.
However, the article "How to… Mark Objects in Museum Collections," Illinois Association of Museums, Summer 1997, #16, says, of the Kaiser-Schreiber, "This pen is designed for marking film. The ink fades dramatically under any light, on acrylic resins, and when immersed in water." Which is not encouraging, and leads me to believe that the L.o.C. and I might be talking at cross purposes. A quick scan of the ISO standard didn't shed much light, but I don't really have time to peruse it.
So I ordered a package of ten sheets of Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique inkjet paper (Ctein's standard paper) and the following pens, all but the first two based on readers' recommendations:
- Kaiser-Schreiber film marking pen
- Hollinger non-fading black Pigma pen
- Prismacolor Premier fine-line marker
- Sakura 30081 Pigma Micron
- Uni-ball Signo Broad UM-153 gel ink pen
- Pilot permanent ink marker
- Faber-Castell Pitt artist's pen
I have no idea yet how I'll test these pens on this paper for lightfastness or lengevity, or if I'll even try, but at the very least I can see how they look and figure out if they dry adequately and don't smudge. —MJ
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