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The Different Types of Printing Methods – Which Is Best For What?

Sample of a variety of canvas prints showing wrapped and colored edge treatments.

 

How should I print my artwork & photographs? Are quality prints worth it?

In one word, yes. When it comes to styling your room’s decor, you get what you pay for because not everything can be “hacked” to look like it is better quality. Don’t get me wrong, I support a good DIY and hacking things in your home to look more expensive, but there are some things that you are better off spending more on if you want better quality. This goes for photographers, graphic designers, and artists looking to give their work a professional and polished look as well as the décor savvy individual with a gallery wall to curate.

 

Get to know the different print types available

Close up of giclee quality print on paper. Photography by Tim Martin.

Giclee print, photograph by Tim Martin

Giclee (pronounced jhee-klay) prints are great for large sizes and quality art reproductions and photography. Giclee prints are made with inkjet printers, but that doesn’t mean all inkjet printers are Giclee. What sets this technique apart is that pigment is used rather than dyes and the substrate is higher quality archival stuff. The benefits here are the depth of color and very high resolution available. If you are an artists wanting to make quality long lasting reproductions of your work, giclee is a great option.

 

acrylic perspex print mounts. Side thickness and back view with hanging hardware

Perspex is a great medium for adding a wow factor as a photographer displaying in a gallery or for home décor. This method uses a sheet of clear acrylic that has been bonded to your image which creates the effect of depth. This is a contemporary look and should therefore, be matched by a hidden hanging system on the back. It is said that using this method helps your images last a very long time because the image is protected by the acrylic glass, which also fights against warping.

 

Sample of a variety of canvas prints showing wrapped and colored edge treatments.

Canvas prints are fantastic for reproductions of your favorite art or making a bigger statement with your own photography. Look for services who use quality cotton (such as 400gsm) stretched over heavy-duty 4cm-deep or deeper stretchers. Flimsier canvases will eventually warp on your wall. A few things to look out for when shopping for this option are finish options (matte, glossy, or a protective sealer), do the cotton and wood come from sustainable sources, will the canvas come ready to hang, what’s the DPI available? If you’d like to hang a canvas print without a frame, you can still do so in a stylish way with different edge options. Some printmakers offer a black, white, or colored edge, and even a wrapped or mirrored image as the edge treatment.

 

Front and side view of DiBond aluminium quality art and photography prints

Dibond refers to the foam core used in this method which is then sandwiched between two sheets of metal. Aluminum is best used for this method because it is lightweight and lower in cost than other metals. With this technique, your image is printed directly on the metal. The benefits here are a rigid product with a very contemporary look that can be displayed on its own or of course, in a frame.

Frames can make or break the look

Two small framed black and white quote posters in home decor setting,

As I’ve said in my post about how to display your artwork, frames are vital to the overall effect. Unfortunately, a beautiful frame doesn’t have the power to make unattractive art or prints better, but an ugly frame can certainly bring down your best art piece. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a standard size print and then find a standard size stock frame that does your art justice, go with custom frames. Custom frames enable you to find the perfect fit for your art that also perfectly fits the room. Last summer I worked with some great clients that wanted my help displaying portraits of their loved ones in the family room. As a first option, we looked into stock frames from several of my favorite furniture and décor websites and even a few local shops, but no luck. We came to the conclusion that custom was the way to go for this project.

 

Gallery wall displaying custom frames with three photographs. Frames have a weathered white paint finish

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Project by PDB Designs

This post has been brought to you by Point101. All images are from Point101 unless specified otherwise.


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