How to choose the best paper for your prints

The variety of papers available to choose from is vast and choosing the one that will be perfect for your digital artwork can be a daunting task. Here, you can find a simple quick guide to stir you in the right direction.

The easiest option is to send your print to a professional printing service near you. Those normally print and deliver your posters and photographs directly to your door.

Here is a selection of third party printing services where you can print your posters: 

Disclaimer: These are just suggestions, they are not sponsored and have not been personally tested:

  • Moo (US, CA, EU, and the UK)
  • Vista print (Worldwide)
  • Snappy Snaps (UK)
  • Wallmart (US)
  • Kinkos (US)
  • Hello Print (UK)

If you wish to print from home please see the guide below:

Things to consider when printing:

Can my home printer print all sizes of prints?

You will receive 4 sizes of prints (A4, A3, A2, and A1), A4 is the smallest (this is the size of paper you might already have at home) to A1 being the largest poster size available with us. So, the A4 size would be the most suitable for home printing.

If you intend to use your home printer, please be advised that your monitor calibration, paper quality, and type of ink in your printer may interfere with the quality of the printed artwork.

Monitor calibration:

Monitor calibration is needed to make sure your computer and printer are in sync. The calibration will help the computer analyze the colors that the printer is putting out and adjust the monitor to reflect those colors. Spyder Pro (not paid advertisement) can help you calibrate your screen. You just plug it into your computer, download the software and hang the Syder over your monitor.

ICC Profiles

ICC profiles are used to select the right paper profile for your printer. You can use ICC profiles in Photoshop.

Print test: If you would like to check the color result without printing the whole photograph, you could set up your printer to print a small test.

Types of paper

No type of paper is perfect for all jobs, depending on where you are planning to hang your print or how you will mount it, the results will differ.

Below are two types of paper easily available on the market:

Glossy: Glossy paper is the one with the shiniest finish. The colors appear crisper and brighter when printed on this paper, however, it does reflect a lot of light and it might be difficult to see the image if it’s behind glass, they can also leave smudges if you accidentally touch the photograph.

Matte: Matte paper doesn’t reflect as much light and it is easier on the eye. That being said, the colors might not be as sharp if compared to glossy paper.

GSM 

This is the thickness of paper, the higher the number the thicker the paper.

There is a bit of a learning curve when choosing the best paper, ink, and setting up your printer, my recommendation would be to try a professional printing service first and little by little start testing what you feel is the most suitable result for you.

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