3 Tips for Printing Posters

3 Tips for Printing Posters

A lot of our customers do not realize we also offer poster printing. We added that option last year to fill the need for those that were looking for a lower grade print in comparison to our giclee prints. Some have been more commercial in nature, others just large runs for artists which might be trying to sell prints at a lower price point. I know that some of our artist and photographer friends do gravitate to the posters but for the vast majority of our customers they tend to prefer the higher end prints you get on one of the art papers or canvas. So what is the difference with the poster prints and how can I ensure that I am getting the best quality poster possible? Well I am glad you asked.

A low cost alternative to giclee prints with great print results

As I said earlier we started to offer poster printing as a low cost alternative to giclee prints. Those that are ordering the posters tend to be using them as perhaps interior signage at art shows if they are printing their artwork or they are doing very large runs of inexpensive prints that they might be signing. These type of prints are even ordered (usually in massive runs) by traditional retailers and there is a chance you have seen some of the type of posters we produce at your local mall at well known clothing stores. They tend to have a slight satin finish with a wider color gamut that you previously would not have seen in posters, thanks to the improvements in printing technology. These 8 color wide format printers printers of the type we use print up to 60 inches wide and have the ability to churn good quality posters in decent quantities quite fast. 
As for how the print quality compares to a print on something like our satin luster paper which is more oriented toward those looking for a higher end print, they do come close but I would not be honest with you if I told you they looked just as good. For instance, if you are a photographer that loves to order black and white prints, or have a very colorful painting you are reproducing, stick with the giclee printing. The poster prints will look good but if I were to take an arbitrary number and say you could eek out 95% of the colors on a giclee print, you might only be able to achieve 85% accuracy on a poster print. These percentages will vary dependent upon the colors in the image so it could be higher in both cases. But even with a lower quality printing they still look pretty darn good for the average person. 

Factors to consider

Poster prints are border-less. Most people that order posters, whether it be for a sign at their restaurant or posters of their artwork at an art show, tend to order them borderless versus a giclee print which MOST people order with a border added around the image. The borderless option means your poster is a full bleed print. This in turn means you want to account for a certain amount of loss to the image being trimmed away. For instance if you order a 20×30 poster and select it to be borderless, your image will be printed with a small percetage increase in size. Let's say roughly 20.24×30.24 but then trimmed down to 20×30 by our cutters. With many printing companies, there tends to be allowances for size variances from 1/4 to 1/8 inch in sizes but we like to get as accurate as possible so usually they will be closer to 1/8 is trimmed all the way around.  The reason variance allowance is necessary is because cutters, with maybe the exception of some advanced system I am not aware of, are going to have trouble doing the cut precisely on where the printed image stops. This bleed gives the person or equipment doing the cutting a little wiggle room in case the cut is off by a fraction of an inch.
Poster prints tend to be slightly lower resolution. Even through the printers used can print very sharp high resolution prints, with posters, image resolution is not as important as it might be in other types of prints. This is mainly due to the fact that posters tend to be printed quite large and are not going to be viewed from close up. If an image is a little pixelated or soft in focus that should be okay as long as it is not over obvious when standing 4 or 5 feet away. Someone had come to us after being incredibly frustrated with his poster printing endeavors because his image was a little low in resolution.  It was for a movie project he produced with some friends and he wanted to make some movie posters to promote it with. He assumed that because we are a fine art color lab his posters would look sharper and clearer than if he had a local sign shop do them. One of our customer service reps told him that while we can do a really good job of blowing up images with the software we use it can only go so far. She then asked him if he had ever really looked closely at a movie poster. She then told him that most of the movie posters that she has seen were even lower in resolution than what he had. I am guessing he must have checked this for himself afterwards because after we printed his posters he was thrilled with the results.


If you wondered if you need to spray your posters with some sort of coating to protect it, its probably not necessary. Unlike the giclee prints, the inks used for posters tend to be more rugged and cure faster. This means they are more resistant to scratching. That and cost in materials are probably the only areas posters are superior to giclee printing. But if you want to coat it, experiment first. Your local art supply store will likely have some laquer based spray you can use.
If you are going to sign your posters you probably won't need to need any special pen. Many of our customers simply use a Sharpie marker or the color they prefer. The inks dry pretty quick. Just be careful with paint markers. If whatever you use does not dry fast it could smear if you are not careful. One customer was using some type of paint maker to sign a bunch of posters. He would sign it and stack it on top of the one he had just signed before it. After he had done a bunch of them he discovered they were smeared or sticking to each other making most of them unusable.
Note: Posters we produce are shipped rolled. The paper is thin enough so it won't have the tendency to roll up when you lay out out, even when it has not had a chance to reach room temperature. Lifespan on a poster is going to be 10 or more years. Realistically if framed behind glass it will last much longer than that but understand posters are not an archival print and should be be stated as such. Yes, the inks we use are very durable but as far as I am aware not scientific test has been done to determine the lifespan of the poster print with those inks on the type of poster paper we use. For archival grade prints, stick with our fine art papers and canvas. Even those can be printed very large if a big print is in order.

Ready to try one today?

You can check out our poster pricing and options here, or, if you're ready, click here to start your orderHave questions about poster sizing and other order options? Just reach out to us by phone or Contact Us Now. Our customer service team is the best. Not only are they artists with BA degrees in visual arts but they have extensive experience in the production department. They will be happy to provide you help in making sure your prints turn out great.


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