Printing out a digital cartoon for permanent display
October 26, 2020 4:44 AM   Subscribe

I've got digital files of some bright, cartoony artwork that I'd like to print out in the most permanent and beautiful way possible for display in my home. A little googling suggests that I want a giclée print on some kind of acid-free paper -- but even with that info, I'm overwhelmed with the possibilities. Help me do this right!

What specific kind of paper should I use? How do I choose among the many online printing companies? And am I even right that giclée is the way to go?

I'm happy with both general advice ("Choose a company that does X") and specific ("I've used Company Z and they're great.") For specific recommendations, note that I live in London and would prefer to use a UK-based company if possible.

I have the artist's permission to make these prints for my personal use. She's already done me a big favor by sending me the digital files and giving me permission to make prints, so I'd prefer not to pester her with requests for advice.
posted by yankeefog to Media & Arts (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A Giclée print isn't any different than any other decent quality inkjet print (the story I heard was that galleries were appalled at the idea of showing high quality inkjet prints of photos, so someone coined the term "Giclée print" to work around that, and since "inkjet" wasn't in the name, galleries were fine with it).

I'm in the US, so I don't have recommendations for UK-based companies, but a few things to keep in mind:

• Assuming you're getting these framed, UV glass will help keep the colors from fading over time.
• Geta matte. artwork right up against glass looks awful, and the matte gives the piece some focus.
• Matte paper is going to look more like a piece art than a glossy print (even under glass).
• The colors you get might not be exactly what you see on your screen. My guess is that you're not going to be color calibrating your screen and editing the colors in the artwork to match the color profile used by the company you choose to work with, so If you can find someone local, it might be easier for them to make adjustments if you're not happy with the colors.

All that said, I've got prints of my own photos that I did on a cheap Epson inkjet printer, on matte paper I got from an office supply store, framed behind cheap, non-UV glass, facing the big window in my living room, and they look exactly as they did when I printed them years ago. So, I wouldn't worry too much about permanence. Plus, prints are so cheap, that even if the colors fade after a decade, getting a replacement will be cheap and easy.
posted by jonathanhughes at 7:51 AM on October 26

Snapfish, shutterfly, et al, do nice photo prints, as does Walgreens, probably Staples. Local is so handy that I'd print some small ones to test quality and, if it's good, get it printed to the preferred size. I might get 1 from an online source to see if there's a quality improvement, but the technology seems pretty standardized.
posted by theora55 at 8:51 AM on October 26

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