What is an Archival Print?

What is an Archival Print?

April 3, 2022 Uncategorized 0

In a pinch you can go down to the local copyshop and use their laser printers to run off a few digital prints from your file, usually on 20lb bright white copy paper. This works great for handout, fliers and presentations. But the truth is they won’t last. So what’s the solution?

But let’s say you’re scrolling through your digital album on your phone or desktop and come across a photo from a special occasion, and you want to get it printed and framed. This is where archival prints come into play.

In simple terms, an archival print means that the print is designed and printed in such a way that it will last for a long time – of course with proper care and storage. Conventional printing will not outlive a digitally printed archival print, and besides, the advantage with digital prints is that there are no minimums so your cost per piece is a fraction of commercial print runs.

There are two elements that are key to producing the right results; ink and paper. We could cover wide array of ink formulations, but we’re cutting to the chase. Archival prints love pigment based inks. Archival prints love papers that have a wide ink-hold out level, this allows a correctly calibrated pigment printer the ability to lay down deep saturated rich color without cockling, wrinkling, bubbling or running. An important note on the paper choice when deciding to produce archival prints, be sure the paper is acid and lignin free. This adds long life to your prints. A good photolab like Automated Photo Technology will understand the importance of producing prints that last, and only use the best ink and paper on their calibrated printers. With this in mind, and under correct storage conditions, an archival print may last more than 200 years.

So you did everything right, and placed your print order online, but it’s already starting to fade, or the edges in the frame are disintegrating! This leads to the next most critical part you get to play in treasuring your archival print. Storage and protection. Any print does not like direct sunlight, the inks are not UV formulated, and the colors will fade quickly. Digital prints do not like frames or boxes that may have an acid content, any form of acidic value is the enemy of fine art print. never mount your print in areas where the humidity is high, or where temperature changes frequently. Quality prints are delicate and need deserve your TLC.

To recap, in a pinch get copies of your file from the local copy shop, but get ready for buyers remorse; the quality won’t be good, the stock will be flimsy and you’ll be an unhappy camper with the end result of your memory in print. Always go with a photolab like Automated Photo Technology, and have the confidence in knowing you can order prints online with a team that works hard to turn your digital files into lasting memories in print, using only the best pigment inks and archival stocks to produce your quality photo prints, canvas prints and gatorboard mounted prints.