Images on paper come in all manner of sizes and types. These days most printing is now in some type of digital format, being inkjet, laser print, or laser printed onto photographic paper in a process known as a Lambda print using a chemical photographic process to develop and preserve the latent image.
For people wanting to ensure their image lasts the test of time, they should ensure the prints are done with pigment based inks in a process often called a Giclee print, a term coined by Printmaker Jack Duganne in 1992. The term is based on the French word gicleur, which means “nozzle”, with the verb form gicler meaning “to squirt, spurt, or spray”. Your printer should be able to advise if the print materials used are archival, meaning they will not chemically attack the substrate they are printed on or fade under UV light.
At the Picture Framing Shak we deal with all types of substrates that digital images can come on and have had to think carefully about the processes we use to ensure some level of longevity is assured, especially for higher value, limited edition works on paper people have invested in.
Where possible we advise people to not leave works in transport tubes for too long, as this can hamper the framing process if you want the work to lay flat without a mat holding the image in place. This is called a float mount. We also advise against too much handling of the work, and if a tissue interleaving sheet is in place, to please keep it in place, it protects the often delicate surface. Your friendly professional picture framer will leave this in place, right up to the last moment when the picture is framed.
Another consideration at the print stage is the paper, with high resolution printing equipment, the paper generally has a very fine finish composed of neutral ph 100 % cotton rag. Many of these speciality papers come from European companies who have been making these papers for hundreds of years with time honoured traditions and processes.
Other papers and substrates can be used and the customer should be aware of this and do their own research to find out the best substrate for the image they want printed, taking into account the light fastness as well as the end product they want to obtain.
One of the newer trends in fine art printing is a canvas print. For the consumer I like to advise them it may not be the best way to get an image printed as it comes with extra ‘issues’, Firstly as a material, for it to hang on a wall it needs to be stretched over a frame, this stretched unit, can then have an external frame over it. Another issue is to ensure the dried inks on the canvas surface are waterproof, otherwise you might find a wipe with a damp cloth can cause a smearing of the image!
While you take great care in ensuring the image created has been printed to last a long time, we also ensure the image will last the test of time by advising you on archival methods and processes to keep your framed item in top condition for decades to come. We have access to museum standard conservation glass, neutral PH mats, tapes and backing materials to ensure longevity of the end product as you might expect from your friendly professional picture framer
Regards – Steve Gray –
Picture Framing Specialist