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Canvas Printing Glossary of terms

February 13th, 2011 No Comments

Note: If you find a term on our website that you don’t understand – please let us know and we will add it to our canvas printing glossary.

Black and White Printing: With the advent of digital technology any image can be printed as a black and white canvas print. Many commercial canvas printers offer black and white printing on coloured inkset machines. This results in a poor-quality, non-neutral print that can have a perceptible colour-cast under different lighting conditions. BrilliantPrints offers a dedicated machine using true black and white inks, for exceptional definition and true-neutral black and white printing.

Canvas: A very wide cross-selection of canvas is used by companies offering to put your photograph onto canvas. A poor quality canvas will often be thin, crumble easily when stretched, and originate from China. High quality canvas should be archival, heavy-weight and beautifully textured. At BrilliantPrints we use some of the world’s best US-sourced canvas as featured in fine art galleries and the top-art museums.

Border-Wrap: Border-wrapping involves a solid colour border (usually matching a colour tone from the main image) being printed around the edge of the wooden frame. The physical image remains on the front of your canvas print. Border-wrapping produces the most effective canvas prints when the subjects in the picture are close to the edge of the frame.

Colour Profile: A colour profile refers to the way in which a particular printer or computer monitor interprets the range of colours present in an image. Mismatched colour profiles can result in a consumer receiving a different result from the printing device than suggested by the output on the screen. Colour profiles can also refer to small files that can help you calibrate your computer to those of the canvas printer.

Colour Correction: Many images taken on digital devices can end up with a perceptible colour cast. This is a dominating colour tone or hue that was not represented in the original scene. Colour correction involves digital editing to remove the colour cast.

Diptych: A diptych is a single image or photograph divided into two distinct canvas pieces. The canvas panels on a triptych are almost always hung together. Each canvas print can be identically sized, or two different-sized panels can be used. When viewed together they seem to be a single canvas print.

Framing: A framed canvas print will be wrapped around a light-weight wooden frame. BrilliantPrints uses premium timbers that last and look significantly better. High quality frames (used for canvas printing or art-reproductions) are usually also profiled. Profiling (see definition) means that the minimum amount of canvas touches the frame – minimising the possibility of unsightly lines developing over time. We offer three frame sizes for your canvas print – 2cm, 3.2cm and 4cm (all at no additional charge)

Gallery-Wrap: Gallery-wrapping is perhaps the most popular way to show off a canvas print. When gallery-wrapping, the image on the front of the canvas is also wrapped around the edge of the timber frame. This produces a seamless, modern look that is a great way of showing off your new canvas art! When thinking about asking for a gallery-wrap for your next canvas print, you should remember that a small proportion of the outer image will be lost during the wrapping process. Where this is likely to be an issue, it it worth investigating border-wrapping options.

Giclee Printing: While the ultimate origins of the word giclee are somewhat hazy, it immediately derives from the French word “gicler” meaning to squirt. Literally, it refers to a particular process of printing, in which high quality digital images are printed on premium canvas using long-lasting inks. Giclee printing is generally perceived to result in the best quality canvas prints.

Lamination: An unlaminated canvas print is like a house without paint. Not only does it look worse, but your print won’t last anywhere near as long. The laminate is a liquid coating that is sprayed over the top of the printed canvas providing a fully sealed barrier that protects your print. Lamination offers a physical protective barrier, UV protection, fungal protection and anti-graffiti properties. A high quality laminate (like the one used by BrilliantPrints) will allow you to wipe your canvas print down with a damp cloth.

Light-fast: Most inks used in the canvas printing process have a particular light-fast guarantee. This rating specifies a time period in which there should be no perceptible fading of colours. A poor quality canvas print will use inks that have a limited light-fast rating. Over-time you will begin to notice a drop in quality. At BrilliantPrints we use inks that are light-fast for 75 years (colour) and 200 years (black and white)

Pigment Inks: A variety of inks are used by different companies printing on canvas. Genuine pigment inks are longer-lasting, produce better colour definition and higher quality images when printed on canvas.

Profiling: Profiled timber pieces are slightly curved – meaning that the canvas used for the print only touches the wood at a single point. While this is not immediately visible, it helps prevent unsightly lines appearing longer-term. Most canvas printers will not offer double-profiling as it is a time-consuming and labour intensive process.

Proof: A proof is a file that shows what an image will look like when printed as a canvas print. This allows you check that you are happy with borders, colour definition, cropping or any editing.

Ready-to-hang: A ready-to-hang canvas print can be placed straight on the wall. At a minimum it should have pre-installed eye-hooks and already be strung with high-quality twine.

Triptych: A triptych is a single image or photograph divided into three distinct canvas pieces. The canvas panels on a triptych are almost always hung together. Each canvas print can be identically sized, or three different-sized panels can be used. When viewed together they seem to be a single canvas print.

Un-framed: An unframed canvas print is simply printed on a piece of canvas. No framing is used. It might be suitable for situations where you would like to frame your print yourself, of if you would like to have an easily transportable “sample” canvas print. 

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