What does Fine Art Paper / Archival Print / Giclee Print / Fine Art Print actually mean?

The term 'Fine Art Print', or 'Archival Print' (also sometimes referred to as giclee) can mean many things, and especially when you're looking for wall prints online, it's hard to grasp the exact colour, texture and quality of the print when you can't touch it, or look at it closely. 

While I try to show accurate images for my products, I still thought I would start a blog series on the materials and processes I use to give you an insight into what to expect in quality when you order one of my prints or charts. 

As the tag line 'Fine [Ch]art Prints' suggests, all of my wall charts are printed to a fine art / archival quality (the wall stickers do not fall into this category, read more about them here.

I choose to print on Canson paper. Canson have a 150 year fine art paper making history, which now includes a range of digital fine art papers. Combined with pigment ink (the ink I use - again, more info on that will be coming up in this series) it creates a product that complies with the highest archival standards and is extremely age resistant. The paper is made with 100% cotton fibres ('cotton rag'), it contains no optical brightners and it's designed to meet art gallery and museum longevity requirements.

Fine Art Paper

It's important to me that my charts last for a long time, in the same state that you purchased them in. Stored correctly (in a frame - nothing fancy!) these prints can last around 70 years with absolutely no change in colour or detail, meaning a child being given a chart now could easily pass it on to their children, and perhaps even grandchildren! From a sustainability point of view, this aspect is extremely important to me. 

The paper from the Canson range that I use has a textured surface. Being a digital artist, using a paint-like look, it's important to me that my prints look as close to a painting as possible. The paper adds to this effect. Combined with the digital brushes I use when creating my prints, my charts have a painting-like quality. I have had people in disbelief that it is a digital print when they see it in the flesh, which is what I aim for.

The paper thickness / weight is 240gsm, and with the textured surface, the paper feels even thicker than this. It has a very sturdy feel and can handle a lot of different framing options.

Fine Art Paper Print

I hope this helps you get a bit of a feel for the paper I use. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch! 

Keep an eye out for the rest of this series - it will cover the digital techniques I use, how I get from ideas to image, the printing processes and the inks I use, all the way through to how prints are packaged and how they should be stored. 

Rebecca Holland
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