Are Art Prints Glossy or Matte? A Guide for Home Printing Artists

I believe art prints should be matte as they reflect the light less, matte prints look better when framed under glass and they disperse harsh light such as LED and halogen lights much better, leading to fewer blotches of light appearing on the printed surface.

One of the issues I had as an artist self-printing art prints from my studio is whether to print my works on glossy or matte paper.

Deciding between glossy and matte for your art prints can be a difficult choice if you are deciding based on personal taste but what helped me make my decision to use matte paper was based on science and a field study, where I compared matte prints with glossy prints and saw how they looked like in the real world.

So unless a customer specifically requests glossy or satin paper, then print your art prints on matte paper.

In this guide, I’ll discuss why art prints should be matte, why matte art prints look better framed, and the difference between gloss and matte art prints.

Why Art Prints Should Be Matte and Not Glossy

The main reason to go for a matte finish when printing an art print for your customers is that it won’t reflect light like a glossy finish would.

This is especially true in rooms with lots of natural or artificial light sources, like windows and lamps.

Without reflection, you’ll get a better view of the artwork itself without any distractions from glare or shine.

Plus, given that they don’t reflect much light at all, they do well in darker living spaces as well – no distraction from the artwork due to excessive brightness or reflections.

Another reason why matte art prints are preferable has to do with their “poster” look.

The flat hue of matting gives images an artistic quality that’s instantly associated with vintage posters – something many people try to emulate in their homes.

So if you have a large wall you want to cover with an eye-catching print or poster, you will find most customers will choose one with a matte finish, so you should be selling matte art prints over glossy ones.

Why Matte Art Prints Look Better Framed

Many people think that glossy finishes are always better when framing their artwork – but this isn’t quite true.

When framing your artwork or prints as part of home decor, it’s important to consider whether everything matches (like color).

If you go with a glossy frame on top of a glossy print, chances are things will clash visually as there will be too much contrast that will draw attention away from the artwork itself.

On the other hand, if you pair a glossy frame with a matte print (or vice versa) then you might end up creating something that looks just right.

Matte frames also make the artwork stand out more by toning down harsh glares and reflections from artificial lights.

And because they absorb more light than shiny surfaces, they create subtle gradients in color which highlight shapes and textures within each piece – perfect for making any piece of artwork stand out both on its own as well as complementing other pieces around it.

Do professional artists print matte or glossy?

Ok, most of us reading this article are not professionals so l went and asked a few professional artists who make their living selling mostly prints of their artworks to see what they advised. The feedback was unanimous.

Like professional photographers, professional artists tend to choose matte over glossy because of the lower chance that there will be glare or fingerprints on this surface.

While matte finishes make textures on the art print look more pronounced, they may also make the image look a little bit grainier.

But I think that’s an added bonus as it gives the impression that the artwork is closer to a real artwork rather than something that is printed.

The Difference Between Gloss and Matte Art Prints

The most glaring difference (pun intended) between gloss and matte art prints lies in their texture: gloss paper is highly reflective while mattes are mostly flat and non-reflective.

However, there are fewer distinctions beyond surface textures; gloss will often appear sharper than its mate counterpart since light reflects off the smooth surface more clearly whereas mattes absorb more ambient light which tends to soften images slightly (especially those printed on paper).

Ultimately though each person may have different opinions regarding which type looks best depending on what effect they’re trying to achieve within their home décor project.

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