Art Print vs Poster (A Simple Comparison: The Difference Between Them, & How To Choose Between Art Prints or Posters)

Art prints and posters are both reproductions of artwork or photos, but the main difference is that art prints are typically made using high-quality materials like fine art paper and premium inks while posters are usually printed on thinner paper using less durable inks.

Exploring Art Prints & Posters: A Comparative Analysis

Looking for some new art to spice up your living space? Let me help you decide between art prints and posters.

Don’t be fooled by their interchangeable appearance, there are some key differences you need to know before making a purchase.

This post will guide you on how to choose the perfect option for your needs.

Quality & Material

When you’re comparing art prints and posters, one big thing to think about is the quality and what they’re made of.


Posters usually get printed on thin, cheaper paper. They’re made to be produced in big numbers and with affordability in mind. That’s why you often see posters used for promotions or as decorative items, but they’re not meant to be super high-quality. Because of the way they’re made, posters might not have all the small details or be as tough as other kinds of prints.

Posters come with various finish options. The most common finishes include glossy, matte, and satin. Glossy finishes provide a vibrant and reflective look, while matte finishes offer a non-reflective, smooth appearance. Satin finishes strike a balance between the two, providing a slight gloss without excessive glare.

Art Prints:

But when it comes to art prints, they’re usually done on fancier paper (called “fine art paper”). Making art prints is all about paying close attention to the little things and doing the work with skill. This careful approach helps to show off all the details of the original artwork (e.g. a painting), making it look more real and true. People who really care about art, and want the best, love art prints because they’re all about showing the picture in the best way.

You might have watched the video from Society6 that’s right below this. If you have, you’ll totally get what I mean. Society6’s art prints are a perfect example of how using really good materials and fancy printing methods can make something that looks super amazing.

Product Video: Society6 Art Prints

Similar to posters, art prints also offer different finish options, each with its own visual effect. A glossy finish can enhance the colors and give the print a polished look, while a matte finish provides a more subtle and refined appearance. Some artists and collectors prefer specific finishes based on their artistic preferences and the intended display location.

So, here’s the deal: When it comes to the production of art prints and posters, modern printing technologies have introduced a whole new level of precision and quality. The use of digital printing methods has revolutionized the way these reproductions are created. However, if you’re all about getting the real feel of the artwork and you want it to look super amazing, art prints are usually the way to go.

If you go to popular sites that sell wall art such as Society6 or Redbubble, you’ll quickly notice that what they call “art print” is artwork printed on medium-weight, cotton fine art 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.

Posters Versus Poster Prints

Today, posters also come as poster prints, which is a superior version of just the standard poster we’ve been talking about. When you go to popular sites like Society6 and Redbubble, you’ll quickly find that poster prints that are sold as high-quality wall art.

However, compared to other types of prints, poster prints are still one of the cheapest ways to decorate bare walls.

Although poster prints are considered to be of lesser quality than other types of prints, sites like Society6 and Redbubble have posters that are printed on premium, smooth gloss/semi-gloss poster paper. Society6 posters are around 271gsm* and Redbubble posters are 185gsm* in weight.

* GSM means grams per square meter and describes how heavy paper is.

Most common posters typically weigh in the range of 120-140gsm. This paper weight provides the necessary sturdiness for temporary outdoor use, such as being affixed to a post for purposes like promoting a band’s concert or searching for a lost pet. These posters are designed to endure mild wind and rain without any issue.

However, poster prints that are meant to be hung on your walls as works of art should usually be 185gsm in weight or more, especially if they won’t be framed. (Quick Tip: you can get great, affordable poster frames on Amazon).

Purpose & Content

Let’s dive into more differences between art prints and posters, exploring how they each serve unique purposes and offer distinct content.


Posters play a dynamic role in our visual culture. They’re the go-to for promoting events like concerts, movie premieres, theater shows, and exhibitions. Their main job? Grab your attention and spill the important event details. You’ll often find eye-catching visuals, bold fonts, and vivid colors aimed at making an impact and luring in the intended audience.

But that’s not all – posters aren’t just marketing tools. They also double as decor. People love pinning up posters to express their interests, flaunt their top flicks or music bands, or jazz up a room with a splash of color. And while some posters are pure advertising, others carry personal meaning, reminding us of moments dear to our hearts.

Art Prints:

Now, let’s shift gears to art prints. These prints are all about recreating original masterpieces from skillful artists. Imagine capturing the heart, detail, and beauty of the original artwork, so a wider crowd can soak in the artistry. Art prints are typically crafted using top-notch printing methods and materials, all to make sure those intricate details and colors from the original masterpiece shine through.

When it comes to styles, art prints span a wide spectrum – think classic to modern – and they cover all sorts of subjects and themes. They’re hot tickets for art fans and collectors who want a slice of artistry without shelling out for an original. Many art prints come in limited editions, adding a touch of collectible flair to their charm.

Longevity & Durability

When I weigh the endurance and strength of art prints against posters, I can’t help but consider the way each is crafted and the materials that go into their making.


Let’s talk about posters first. They catch our eye with their captivating visuals and wallet-friendly prices, but they come with a catch.

Due to the use of lower-grade materials during production, posters don’t stick around for long. Those materials can’t stand up to the test of time, making posters vulnerable to fading, tearing, and general wear and tear.

Think about it: a poster’s colors might gradually lose their brilliance after soaking up too much sun or dealing with moisture. Plus, the paper itself might not be up to the challenge, leading to unwanted rips and other damage.

Art Prints:

Now, consider art prints. These are a different breed. Crafted with precision using top-notch materials and advanced printing techniques, they’re built to withstand the march of time.

In the world of printing, most high-quality art prints found on well-known online platforms (e.g. Redbubble and Society6) are giclée prints. The inks and paper chosen for these exceptional printer outputs are nothing short of archival quality, meaning they’re engineered to resist fading and decay. This dynamic duo maintains their color and strength over the long haul.

Properly cared for, art prints can age like fine wine, retaining their original allure for years on end. This sets them apart as a robust, enduring choice when compared to their ephemeral poster counterparts.

For those of us who cherish the visual splendor of artwork and desire its everlasting allure, the path of giclée art prints beckons. The archival-grade materials and printing methods woven into their creation ensure they stand strong against the forces that undermine the life span of posters.

As a result, you can bask in the beauty of your chosen artwork for countless seasons, liberated from the worry of significant wear and tear.

Value & Collectibility

When we delve into the realm of art, the difference between art prints and posters becomes evident not just in what they depict, but also in the value they hold and the audiences they target. The dissimilarity in purposes and audience impacts their potential to endure as valuable assets over time.

Art Prints:

Art prints, particularly limited edition giclée art prints, possess a unique charm that sets them apart from posters. Limited edition art prints are created in small quantities, with each one bearing a distinct number and the artist’s signature. This sense of rarity enhances their allure among art enthusiasts and collectors who appreciate the exclusivity and authenticity that these prints embody.

The combination of meticulous production quality and limited availability positions art prints favorably for retaining, and even appreciating, their value over time. Those passionate about art find value in acquiring limited edition prints, offering them an opportunity to own a piece of the artist’s vision without the substantial cost of an original artwork. The scarcity of these prints, coupled with the artist’s signature, further elevates their collectible status.


Posters, on the flip side, are usually produced in bulk and meant for a wider audience. They commonly showcase popular images, movie posters, music bands, or promotional material.

While a few posters might attain some level of collectibility, their value often remains lower in comparison to original artworks or limited edition art prints. This is because posters lack the distinctive nature, limited supply, and artistic significance that typically accompany art prints.

The mass production of posters translates to wider availability and affordability, factors that contribute to their diminished collectible value. Though certain vintage or rare posters may gain value due to historical or cultural significance, they are less likely to experience substantial appreciation in value when weighed against limited edition art prints.

Exploring More Distinctions Between Art Prints & Posters

Let’s delve into a few more aspects that set art prints and posters apart:

Size & Presentation:

  • Posters: These are usually available in standard sizes, often larger than your typical art print dimensions. Their purpose is to instantly grab attention and stand out from a distance.
  • Art Prints: Offering a diverse range of sizes and formats, art prints cater to varying display preferences. They come in both standard dimensions and customizable options. You can choose to frame or mount them, elevating their visual impact.

Artistic Authenticity:

  • Posters: Frequently, posters feature images or designs tailored for promotional goals. These might not always reflect the true artistic vision or intention of a specific artist.
  • Art Prints: Dedicated to capturing the essence of the original artwork, an art prints’ aim is to meticulously preserve details, colors, and the emotional depth envisioned by the artist.

Framing & Display:

  • Posters: Elaborate framing isn’t the norm for posters. Often, they’re directly affixed to surfaces using adhesive or pins, embracing a more casual presentation.
  • Art Prints: To safeguard their exquisite beauty, art prints are commonly encased in elegant frames. The choices made in framing can dramatically enhance the overall aesthetic, contributing to the artwork’s visual impact.

Availability & Reach:

  • Posters: Widely accessible, posters are a common sight in both physical stores and online outlets. Their affordability makes them a popular choice.
  • Art Prints: You can acquire art prints through galleries, online art hubs, or directly from artists. Prices can vary, influenced by factors like the artist’s reputation, printing technique, and the size of the edition.

Emotional & Intellectual Resonance:

  • Posters: Designed to communicate messages, promote events, or elicit specific reactions, posters often revolve around entertainment or advertising.
  • Art Prints: Going beyond the surface, art prints foster a profound emotional and intellectual connection with viewers. Derived from original artworks, they explore a wider spectrum of themes, ideas, and artistic expressions, inviting contemplation and deeper engagement.

Conclusion: Choosing Between Art Print & Poster

Deciding on artwork for your space? The choice between posters and art prints has a big impact on the vibe and style. Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of each, guiding you toward a choice that fits your taste and aims.

Posters: Pros & Cons


  • Cost-Effective: Posters are generally more affordable than art prints, making them a budget-friendly and cost-effective option for decorating your space while saving you money.
  • Variety: Posters come in a wide range of styles, designs, and subjects. You can easily find posters that suit your taste and match your decor.
  • Easy to Replace: Since posters are less expensive, you can change them more frequently without feeling financially burdened.
  • Mass Production: Posters are often mass-produced, making them widely available and accessible.


  • Lower Quality: Posters are usually printed on thinner paper with lower print quality, which can result in fading or deterioration over time.
  • Limited Authenticity: Posters lack the uniqueness and authenticity that often come with art prints. They may not have the same value for collectors.
  • Less Durability: Due to the lower quality of materials, posters may tear or become damaged more easily, especially if not framed.

Art Prints: Pros & Cons


  • Higher Quality: Art prints are typically produced using high-quality materials and printing techniques, resulting in better color accuracy and longevity.
  • Authenticity: Art prints are often limited editions, signed, and numbered by the artist, giving them a sense of uniqueness and value.
  • Longevity: Most art prints, especially giclées, are made to withstand the test of time and are less likely to fade or degrade over the years.
  • Enhanced Presentation: Art prints are usually framed under glass or acrylic, providing protection and a polished appearance.


  • Higher Cost: Art prints are generally more expensive than posters due to the quality of materials and the limited edition nature.
  • Limited Availability: Depending on the artist and edition size, art prints might be harder to find than posters.
  • Less Variety: While art prints come in various styles, the selection might be more limited compared to the wide variety of posters available.

To sum up, as you choose between posters and art prints, take into account your budget, how much authenticity matters to you, the artwork’s lifespan, and your style preferences. Each option brings its own advantages and disadvantages, and your decision boils down to what you prioritize most in your decor.