For professional artists and printers, most art prints would typically be done through giclee techniques, also known as fine art prints. These are the type that can be sold for a lot of money due to the exceptionally high quality of the materials used and the final printed image.
Poster prints are generally a considered a cheaper alternative, sometimes more appropriate for mass reproduction at the lower-priced end of the market. It may be a great idea to opt for poster printing instead of one of your other options, depending on what the requirements for your final product are. If you do decide on this, remember the following tips to ensure your posters are the best they can be.
Firstly, consider the ideal uses for poster prints to make sure you are making the right choice. You will not usually be able to sell posters for a large amount of money as works of art because the quality of the print is just not on the same level as a traditional giclee print. However, they are ideal if you are an artist who wants to simply promote their own work or you are planning to sign copies of your poster print. That way they have some value that isn’t focused on the quality of the materials used. Posters are generally chosen for their size, too, because it’s relatively cheap to print them in large sizes (typically up to 60 inches).
The difference in quality will not be discernible to a lot of people when comparing a poster print to a high quality fine art print, but you will essentially be sacrificing some colour accuracy by choosing this method. Poster printing techniques are definitely advanced enough now that they are ideal for a wide variety of uses, especially commercial, but for art prints they just aren’t quite there in terms of capturing the exact depth and tone of your original image.
There may also be a slight compromise on the resolution of your image, even though modern poster printers can do a great job of producing accurate, high definition prints. Usually this is considered acceptable because the purpose of large posters tends to be so they can be viewed from a distance, and the sharpness of the image very close up is not really a major cause for concern.
Remember when you design your poster that it will be printed to the very edges with no automatic border, so you have to account for a very small margin of error around the outside. A full bleed print like this may result in slightly cropping at the very edges so ensure your image will not be compromised by that. A professional poster print may have a couple of millimetres cut all around the border to ensure neat edges.
Another benefit to posters over giclee prints is that they are already scratch-resistant and relatively tough with a glossy finish. Sometimes with fine art prints it’s necessary to treat the finished product with additional sprays to achieve similar results, but with a poster print you will rarely need to do anything else before using and displaying it. However, remember that poster prints are not designed to be archival, meaning they will not last forever and should not be treated as a permanent record of your image. Although they will last for years and even decades in the majority of cases, posters are potentially vulnerable to damage or distortion over time if not fully protected.