HP PageWide and ColorSave: Color Printing as Accessible as Black and White

By Robert Sethre, A3 PageWide Category Manager, HP Americas

Some print jobs are color critical. Logos or company branding, for instance, are key to corporate identity and should appear in high-quality, color-matched perfection. Handouts for high-stakes meetings with outside investors should be done in the best quality possible. Anything going to a customer should be good-quality color. But what about the rest of it? Internal documents with charts or highlighting that monochrome can’t quite do justice to, or classroom handouts, which need a little color to enhance the learning process, could benefit from a middle ground. What if there was a way to open up a world of color in a cost-effective way?

Well, there is, of course — it’s just a matter of subverting expectations, providing a little education and getting customers to overcome their natural, cost-driven fear of color printing — something particularly common among office managers and accounting departments. Color, after all, has developed a reputation for being prohibitively expensive, something misused by employees, something that is best outsourced.

HP PageWide technology is changing all of this and has an established track record of doing so for many years now — starting with HP digital presses in the commercial space since 2009 and in the business space since 2013, with more than 300 billion pages printed. So, while the MFP world has traditionally been the domain of toner, ink has come a long way and is soon coming into position as a “successor technology.” HP PageWide does everything a standard toner MFP does in its category, but cheaper and faster. HP PageWide technology offers a number of additional unique selling points — for example, there are significant environmental benefits that go along with a device that doesn’t require a fuser, and service benefits offered by a low-intervention engine. And of course, PageWide technology opens up totally new options with its print output. Even in professional, full-color mode, HP PageWide typically costs 20 percent less per page than color laser. General Office mode, which uses 20 percent less ink than professional mode, yields nearly equivalent output quality at even higher speeds.

And now, with the introduction of ColorSave for HP’s PageWide MFPs, customers can achieve even more impressive cost points, by printing “good enough” color. Let’s clarify what “good enough” is and is not. What it is not is a mode for color-critical jobs — for branding or external distribution. What it is, is a great alternative to black and white, and a door-opener to the world of color. It’s an alternative to pie charts in shades of gray, where the distinctions are nearly impossible to discern. It’s a way to highlight key text passages, cells in spreadsheets or images in classroom handouts. HP PageWide with ColorSave is a great addition to legal, education and financial environments, where high-quality color may not always be required, but the advantages of color — higher retention and comprehension — are necessary and desired outcomes. In some cases, like prescription medicine schedules, color can even literally be a lifesaver.

HP colorsave

We have heard about the advantages of color before, so what is different this time? It’s about the cost. For any given document, the ink consumption and all associated product costs in ColorSave mode are equivalent to that of a mono printout. So the dealer can actually charge a ColorSave page at the same rate as a mono page, or charge a bit more, since that lightly-colored page delivers more value to the user. Either way, ColorSave offers a unique opportunity to develop new high-margin business.

The best thing about HP PageWide with ColorSave, though, is that it doesn’t preclude full-color printing. In fact, our pilot programs found it was a great door opener into the world of color printing, and once color was available in what were previously monochrome-only installations, users began to print more frequently in full, high-quality color. Partners in the pilot program captured millions of color clicks in environments that were once exclusively monochrome — net new color pages that simply did not exist in their books previously. Users in these monochrome-only placements printed in black and white because they didn’t have a choice. Once the option was available, the users took advantage of it.

How is HP PageWide with ColorSave implemented? It is sold through a license and is available for those HP PageWide A3 MFP models that accept speed licenses — the A3 PageWide Pro and Enterprise managed MFP models with 50 ppm and 60 ppm capabilities — leveraging established technology and processes. Just to be clear, the ColorSave capability is ordered at the time of the hardware order — upgrades are not available for existing systems.

When HP PageWide was introduced, it opened new doors, and it has continued to do so, making fast, low-cost color available to organizations that might not have considered it an affordable option. Now, HP is expanding those possibilities for customers and dealers, bringing additional color printing options to former monochrome-only users. Everyone thinks in color. Everyone creates in color. Most people even dream in color. Why should everyone have to print in black and white?