Art Prints vs Posters

Yuck! Artsy Fartsy Jargon

Are you wondering what’s the difference between art prints and posters? Then this post is for you!

Before you pull your hair out trying to figure out the difference, I’m going to explain it to you without artsy jargon… because let’s face it, who likes artsy jargon??? Not me! Yuck! Blechk!!! There’s no need of that!!!

So, IN PLAIN ENGLISH, here’s my post on art prints vs posters.

To really understand the differences between art prints and posters, let’s first look at what’s an art print.

What Is An Art Print?

To be clear, technically the term “art print” is any copy of an original work of art. So, a poster can technically be considered art print.

But if you go to popular art sites such as Redbubble or Society6, you’ll quickly notice that what they call an “art print ” is artwork printed with vibrant colors, usually trying to match the colors in the original artwork as much as possible.

Art prints are also typically printed on something like medium-weight, slightly textured cotton paper. And, normally (but not always), there’s a white border around the artwork so it’s easier to frame the print.

That’s the mainstream version of “art print”.

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 (my absolute favorite poster frame is this one), posters can look amazing. Framing is my favorite thing for my vintage and propaganda poster collections. Plus, it extends the life of my posters.

Summary: Art Prints vs Posters

Posters and “art prints” are printed using the same method, digital printing (just like printing an image from your computer to your printer).

The difference between art prints and posters.

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.

Posters are typically printed in large volumes on less expensive paper, are much cheaper, and careful attention to true color is usually not a top priority.

Just think of posters as what you hung up on your wall when you were still in school. For me, this was my favorite poster in elementary school. (PLEASE, don’t guess my age! HEY NOW!!!)

Anyway, back to the topic…

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 to hang on my wall any day.

Here are a few reasons why…


Art prints last a lot longer than posters. A Giclée art print, like this beautiful giclée print of an ornate elephant*, can last up to 85 years without any noticeable fading. That’s if you keep it out of direct sunlight and frame it, of course.

But buying posters for your kids’ or teenagers’ rooms makes sense because in a few years their interests will probably change.

To know more about giclées and what the heck they are, check out my post: Giclée Print vs Art Print.

* And by the way…. holy mother of craps at the patience that artist had drawing all those details on that elephant… I’m not worthy! I’M NOT WORTHY!

Shiny Paper

Besides the obvious, that an art print is higher quality than most posters, I have this other thing that I’m not particularly a fan of…

Shiny paper.

Art prints usually aren’t shiny because the paper is matt. Posters… well… not so much.

I don’t want to sound like a snob… but… if art is printed on shiny paper, it doesn’t offer an optimal viewing experience of the artwork. (That’s as artsy-fartsy as I’ll ever go! I promise!)

Are Posters and Art Prints an Investment?

Art prints, especially limited editions (like the ones sold on Minted), are considered fine art and can be highly valuable.

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.

That’s it! I hope this post about art prints vs posters helped you out!