What Is an Art Print?

Wondering what’s an art print?

Then you’re definitely in the right place because I’ll answer your questions quickly (and I’ll keep it super simple).

What Does Art Print Mean?

The term art print should not be confused with the term fine art print.

While a fine art print is considered original artwork, an art print is a commonly used term used to describe a type of reproduction (a copy of an original work of art).

Examples of reproductions are prints that can be mass-produced like posters, art prints, and canvas prints.

You can see images of reproductions by visiting iCanvas.

Art prints can be easily mass-produced without the aid of the artist who created the original artwork and they’re typically printed on white, premium, cotton paper with high-quality inks. Usually, the paper used for an art print is matte and can be smooth or lightly textured.

If you go to popular art sites such as Society6 or Redbubble, you’ll quickly notice that what they call art print is artwork printed on medium-weight, cotton paper with a white border. It’s common for art prints to come with a white border around the artwork for framing, but it’s not a requirement.

An example of what most people call art print is in Society6’s product video (below).

Product Video: Society6 Art Prints

How Is an Art Print Made?

Today, most high-quality art prints are giclees, which means that they are prints that have been printed using an inkjet printer.

Typically, giclees follow these standards:

  • Inkjet Printer: Standard inkjet prints are made using dye-based inks. Giclees are made using pigment-based inks.
  • High Resolution and Color: They have the sharpest detail and highest resolution, displaying a full-color spectrum. Giclees capture every shade of an original work.
  • Archival Paper: The paper or surface used must be acid-free and of archival quality to ensure longevity.

The standards mentioned above are what make giclees high-quality art prints that are very resistant to fading and yellowing.

What Is an Art Print vs Poster?

The only difference between an art print and a poster is in the quality of papers and inks used for making the final print.

Art prints are printed on high-quality paper with careful attention to reproducing the original artwork’s true color.

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.

A poster’s lower standards of quality are what make posters much more affordable than art prints but limit their life span.

Are Art Prints Worth Anything?

Art prints are often seen as mass-produced copies of original artwork that aren’t valuable. But I totally disagree!

Art prints, especially limited editions like you see on Minted and Saatchi Art, can be highly valuable.

Here are some factors that will increase the price (and value) of art prints:

  • Limited editions: If the art print is a limited edition (like they sell on Minted or Saatchi Art), this means there are only so many prints of the original artwork that will be made. This increases the value of the art print.
  • Well-Known Artist: If you’re buying an art print of artwork created by a well-known artist, you’ll be paying more than an art print made from the work of an emerging artist.
  • Premium Materials: Uses high-quality printers and materials (archival papers and inks) that will make your art print look amazing and last for decades.
  • Popularity: If the artwork is featured in the news, books, museums, catalogs, websites, or other media, the price will go up.
  • The Story: If there’s a really cool story behind the artwork (like a famous person used to own it or was featured in a TV show or play), then an art print will probably go up in price.

But keep in mind that art prints are more than the monetary value associate with it. Even if you’re not buying art prints as an investment, art can bring life into your home or office!

With art, you can express yourself or change the mood of any room. And art prints are much more budget-friendly than original works of art, so ANYONE can enjoy art at a fraction of the price!

Cheapest Place To Buy Top-Quality Art Prints?

Here are my favorited places to get the cheapest, high-quality art prints.

If I’m looking for more super inexpensive art prints, I’ll usually browse through Etsy and Amazon Handmade and read the reviews until I find something I like with a 4 or 5-star rating.

My other favorite places to get art prints is iCanvas, Society6, and Redbubble. These companies are all known to be high-quality producers of art prints that do not look cheap at all.

iCanvas has high-quality art prints at discounted prices. Plus, they have free shipping in the contiguous United States!

Another place I like the buy art prints is Minted (you can also get custom art prints made from a Minted artist). You’ll end up paying slightly more for these art prints, but they’re of premium quality and are limited editions, so they’re more valuable than most art prints.

And, last but not least, if I’m looking to buy art prints as an investment, Saatchi Art is where I go! Just like minted, these art prints are usually limited editions, they’re curated by a team of professionals, and are usually more valuable (but a little more expensive) than the art prints from the sites mentioned above.

So, go ahead and buy art prints, support independent artists, and HAVE FUN shopping!