Example of a digital print colour compared to a fine art print colour.
What’s the difference between a home printer, digital and fine art (Giclee) printing?
The difference is quality, print colour and how long the print will last. A print from your home printer will only print up to a certain size and the paper and ink will fade over time and can be anywhere from 1-5 years. This is the same for printing with an external printer who uses digital printing processes (like a general print/copy shop). Although prints may last a bit longer than a home printer printout. You will also not get the array of colours that a fine art print can provide. But colours will be not too bad from a print/copy shop.
Who are fine art prints catered for?
Mainly artist, photographers, art galleries and museums that want to have high quality, long lasting, achival quality art prints that will be displayed in picutre frames. Fine art paper is usually printable on one side only.
Archival papers and pigment ink means it will be long lasting
Fine art printers, use archival papers and inks, and art prints under the right settings (not exposed to too much bright light, no dampness, acid-free photo frames mount) should last up to 100+ years and are waterproof because they use pigment inks (instead of dye) in conjunction with archival papers.
Nicer quality paper and broader range of colours
In addition, the papers tend to be much nicer quality than the paper you can get for your home printer and a digital printer. You will also get a much broader range of colours from fine art printing compared to a home printer and even a digital print from a general print shop which will really make the design stand out. However, fine art printing is substantially more expensive than a normal print shop print.
What’s the best paper to use?
I suggest a matte smooth rag paper or semi-gloss. Matte fine art paper is best for art prints that are art based designs. For photography type prints you could try a semi-gloss paper. I use smooth matte 310-325 GSM fine art paper.