What Is a Poster Print?

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What Is a Poster Print? (Meaning)

First, we’ll look at the meaning of “print”, then we’ll look at what makes a qualifies a print to be a “poster print”.

What Is a Print?

Today, most people think that all prints are mechanical copies (reproductions) of original artwork. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

There are two types of prints:

  1. Fine Art Prints
  2. Reproductions

Fine art prints are original artwork while reproductions are copies of an original work of art.

To really understand the difference between the two, let’s take a closer look at what reproductions and fine art prints are.

What Are Reproductions?

Reproductions are copies of original works of art. There is no creative process involved from the artist when reproductions are made.

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.

What Are Fine Art Prints?

A fine art print is a print that’s also an original work of art. In other words, fine art prints are handmade by the artist and often have original marks from the printer used.

Examples of fine art prints are those found on Etsy, including etchings, lithographs, and serigraphs.

Fine art prints are printed using different techniques and using different materials but they all have one thing in common; all fine art prints are considered handmade by the artist and they’re considered original works of art.

Basically, to make a fine art print, the artist must first draw, paint, or carve a printing surface. The printing surface can be a multitude of different materials, like stone (lithographs), screens (serigraphs, also knows as screenprints), and metal plates (etchings). When the ink or paint is transferred from that surface to a sheet of paper (or whatever material the artist chooses), the final product is called a fine art print.

Check out the links below for more details on how different types of fine art prints are made:

What Is a Poster?

Typically, a poster (also called poster print) is a type of print. And, more specifically, it’s a reproduction (a mechanical copy of an original work of art).

Posters prints are also one of the cheapest ways to decorate bare walls.

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

Its lower standards of quality are what make posters much more affordable than most other types of prints. But their lower standards in quality also limit their life span and careful attention to true color is usually not a top priority.

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.

If you’re really into the look of posters but you’re looking for a reproduction that will last a very long time, check out iCanvas’ framed prints of famous posters.

What Type of Paper Are Posters Printed On?

Posters are printed on all kinds of poster paper that differ in sizes and weight.

Poster paper is water-resistant so it doesn’t crinkle up or rip easily when it gets wet. It’s also a little thicker and more durable compared to the regular paper you see every day.

However, today, when you go to popular sites like Society6 and Redbubble, you’ll quickly find that poster prints that are sold as artwork have more similarities than differences.

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 high-quality, smooth gloss or semi-gloss poster paper.

The weight for most poster paper is usually 120-140gsm* which is sturdy enough for temporary posters you would find nailed to a post outside, advertising a band’s gig or trying to find a missing pet . They can definitely handle a bit of wind and rain.

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

However, posters that meant to be hung on your walls as art should usually be 185gsm in weight or more if they won’t be framed.

Society6 posters are around 271gsm and Redbubble posters are 185gsm in weight.

Is Matte or Glossy Better for Posters?

Although it’s totally a matter of personal taste, when it’s comes to buying posters I prefer anything that’s glossy or semi-glossy. A poster with a glossy finish really helps the colors pop and helps create an illusion of depth in images that look a little flat.

Although, a poster with a matte finish does have its place. These types of poster are best where you want a shine-free poster that focuses on the details instead of color. Matte posters can also work well when you’re framing them under glass or if the poster is very dark in color.

If you really can’t decide on whether you want a matte or glossy finish, I would suggest you pick a gloss or semi-gloss.

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Cheapest Places To Buy Top-Quality Poster Prints

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

If I’m looking for more super inexpensive poster 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 poster prints is Society6 and Redbubble. These companies are all known to be high-quality producers of thick poster prints that do not look cheap at all.

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

If you’re not completely sure you want to buy poster prints, you might want to check out my article: Best Places to Buy Art Online. In that article, you’ll find the top-10 art sites that I keep going to (over and over again) because they have top-quality art and amazing customer service!

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