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How to buy high quality art prints

How to buy high quality art prints
Whether you’re looking for a print to decorate your walls at home, looking for a gift for a loved one or collecting art as an investment. There are several factors to consider when buying high quality art prints. In this guide, we’ll explain what to look out for when deciding to purchase your next art print.


What’s the difference between an art print and an original?

The main difference between an art print and an original is that a print is a reproduction of an original piece. An original print is a one-of-a-kind. Because they are unique, original pieces often command high prices, especially if they have been created by famous artists.

That being said, art prints can still hold value, especially if they are of a high-quality, of a limited run of prints or signed by the artist. Depending on the printing process, a printed piece of artwork can be considered an original if the method used creates a unique outcome each time.

Limited edition VS open edition prints

Limited edition prints are prints which have a limited run, and when purchased, come numbered and with a certificate of authenticity. A limited edition print will be worth more than an open edition print. This is because an open edition print can be printed any number of times.

An open-edition print is a great option for affordable artwork, whereas a limited edition can be more of a long-term investment.

Things to consider when buying art prints

There are various factors to consider when buying an art print. You should keep in mind the printing process and type of art print you’re purchasing so that the colours don’t fade over time. You’ll also want to consider your budget, space and personal taste.  

Types of art print

Printmaking is an art form that has been around since the 1st Century AD. There are many different methods of printmaking that have unique characteristics. From more traditional methods like intaglio prints, to digital giclee prints.

Giclee Prints

Giclee printing is one of the more common forms of digital printing and its name comes from the French “to spray”. Giclee prints are printed on archival paper, panel or canvas, and the inks used are permanent, meaning the colours will not fade over time.

If you are purchasing a digital print that has been printed using an inkjet printer, it’s important to make sure that you choose a giclee print, as it will last much longer, and the colours will not fade like it would if printed with a normal inkjet printer.

Canal Reflections by Reuben Colley
Canal Reflections by Reuben Colley

Chromogenic Prints

A chromogenic print is also referred to as a c-type print. A c-type is a type of print which is produced using light-sensitive paper. Full-colour chromogenic prints are made with multiple layers of emulsion containing silver halide that are sensitised to different wavelengths of light. It combines different shades of cyan, magenta and yellow to form a full colour image.

This technique can create images from a digital image, film negative or transparency and combines chemistry with ink. Although chromogenic prints don’t last as long as giclee prints, they should withstand at least 60 years of light exposure.

Chromogenic Prints 


Lithographic printing is also known under various different names such as litho, offset and plate printing. Before digital printing, it was one of the most common forms of printmaking and is still used today for printing en masse.

Lithographic prints are created by painting an image on a plate and then covering it in ink for printing. One of the benefits of a lithograph is that the process can be used to print on many different materials and creates vibrant prints.

Curled Up 2022 76 x 60 ed 100

Curled Up (2022) by Tracey Emin, Lithograph on paper, signed edition of 100

Screen Prints

Screen printing is a type of printing technique where a stencilled design is transferred onto a flat surface using a mesh screen, ink and a squeegee. It’s a common process of printing designs in the garment industry but also is popular in the art world. Notable artists who create prints on silk and other materials using the screen printing method include Pop Artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

AWA - Beatles
The Beatles by Andy Warhol, Screenprint & coloured graphic on board.

Intaglio and Relief Prints

Intaglio printing is a form of printing that includes engraving or etching an image into a hard surface so that the impression creates an image from the recessed surface. Relief printing is the opposite of this where the image is created by applying ink to the non-recessed surface to create an image. Artists who employ this technique include Grayson Perry and Keith Haring.
Sponsored By You by Grayson Perry, Signed Etching (Edition of 68)


When considering purchasing a high-quality art print, you’ll want to have a budget in mind. The cost of a print will be influenced by whether it’s a limited edition, open edition. The materials used to print will also impact the price, with digital giclee print being one of the better value-for-money options. Another key factor that will impact the cost of the print will be how well-known the artist is. A limited edition screen print from an artist such as Warhol will be considerably more expensive than a screen print from an unknown artist.

Fine art prints from Colley Ison Gallery

Here at Colley Ison Gallery, we have high-quality prints available to suit all budgets and tastes. Our limited edition giclee prints start at £200 and feature well-known artists such as Reuben Colley, Goldie and Rick Garland.

We also have unique investment pieces from world-renowned artists including Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry and Andy Warhol. Our gallery located on Colmore Row in Birmingham is open from 10am – 6pm Monday to Friday, and from 10am – 4pm on Saturday for walk-in viewings, or for more information, or to arrange a private viewing contact us today.


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High quality limited editions by artists represented by Colley Ison Gallery are available here.
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