Art Print vs Poster: What’s the Difference?

I was on Redbubble last night looking at Vin Zzep art prints for a gift.

Then my friend, who I was chatting with on Facebook messenger, asked me about the difference between posters and prints.

My very short answer? Quality!

This post will explain what I mean by this, in plain English (no artsy jargon).

The Basics

In most cases, posters and prints are printed using the same method, digital printing (just like printing an image from your computer to your printer). The only difference is in the quality of papers and inks used for making the final print.

Art prints are printed with careful attention to true color reproduction on high-quality paper. Posters are typically printed in large volumes on less expensive paper and are much cheaper.

To really understand the differences between the two, let’s first look at what is an art print.

What Is An Art Print?

To be clear, technically the term “art print” is any printed reproduction of an original work of art. They’re printed using different techniques and using different materials.

Types of prints include:

  • Giclees
  • Digital Prints
  • Lithographs
  • Etchings
  • Engravings
  • Posters
  • Screenprints
  • Letterpress prints

So, posters are technically a TYPE of art print.

BUT!

If you go to popular art sites such as Society6 or Redbubble, you’ll quickly notice that what they call an “art print” is artwork printed on medium-weight, thick cotton paper, usually with a white border around the artwork for framing.

iCanvas

My favorite place to buy affordable FRAMED art prints in 2019 is iCanvas.

They’re very affordable and ship internationally. They also offer FREE Shipping in the continuous United States.

ICanvas usually offer amazing discounts, which makes them very affordable. And I’m very impressed by the amazing quality. You definitely get your money’s worth!

What Is A Poster?

Posters are one of the least expensive ways to decorate bare walls.

Typically, posters are printed in bulk and use lower quality inks and paper. The paper is usually printed on smooth semi-glossy or glossy paper.

Its lower standards of quality are what make posters much more affordable than art prints, but limits their life span.

If they’re framed properly with a contemporary poster frame (Amazon), posters can look amazing. Framing is my favorite thing for my vintage and propaganda poster collections. Plus, it extends the life of my posters.

Redbubble

My favorite place to buy unique posters is Redbubble.

With ### posters to choose from, there’s something for everyone.

Thousands of creative people worldwide have uploaded their designs to Redbubble. You can then order their designs on 40+ different consumer products, including prints and posters.

Why I Prefer Art Prints to Posters

Posters definitely have a place in this world. But, unless I want 100+ copies of a design to advertise a business, a band, a garage sale, or anything of that nature, I’ll pick an art print any day.

Here are a few reasons why…

Longetivity

Art prints last a lot longer than posters. A Giclee art print (Society6) can last up to 85 years without any noticeable fading! That’s if you keep it out of direct sunlight and framed.

But buying posters for your kids or teenagers’ rooms makes sense because in a few years their interests will probably change. (See Redbubble’s all-time best-selling posters).

Let’s just say, I’m not into the Fresh Prince anymore. Lol

Glare

Besides the obvious, that art prints’ quality is just so much better, most posters have this other thing that I’m not particularly a fan of…

Glare.

I don’t want to sound like a snob… but… its shiny paper doesn’t offer an optimal viewing experience of the artwork.

Art prints don’t have this issue because the artwork is typically printed on matt paper.

Investment

Prints, especially limited editions, are considered fine art and can be highly valued.

Unless posters are attached to a popular historical event like propaganda posters (Amazon), or those that have been autographed by well-known people (Amazon), usually they have no monetary value.

Saatchi Art

Saatchi Art is the best place to buy limited edition prints for most people.

Saatchi Art offers a wide variety of limited prints that are perfect for those who love to collect and invest in art.