We’ve been wrestling lately with how to define fine art printing “substrates” so that you don’t fall asleep in the middle of this post. Unfortunately, the word itself – substrate – falls kind of flat. We tried to find a creative synonym for “substrate” and came up with … bupkis. So, yeah.

With regard to fine art reproductions, substrates are the underlying material onto which a print is applied. That factoid might not make you dance a jig, but it plays a role when you shop for art reproductions to complement and uplift your environment. The type of substrates you choose will affect the personality of your space. The quality of those substrates can make a big difference in how your art shows itself and how long it lasts. That’s why it’s helpful to know some basics about what’s at the bottom of your print.

High resolution images can be printed on a myriad of substrates, from vinyl to fabric to metal to stone and beyond. But fine art prints destined for your wall are most often produced on one of three substrates: paper, canvas or metal.

For this post, we wanted to spotlight high quality paper prints, which are stylish, versatile, economical and long-lasting. Oh, and pretty!

COLOR, CLARITY, CHARACTER (say that 5 times fast!)

Almost any two-dimensional, original artwork that inspires you will inspire you just as much in the form of a high-quality paper reproduction. For one thing, top quality papers, such as those we use at SFA, absorb color like they were born to it – which they were, actually. So, the richness of the original colors are maintained in the print.

Plus, quality printing on quality paper translates brush textures, shadows and highlights beautifully. You might not own the original, but the facsimile – even in black and white – will hold its own in clarity and character.


I’m sure you’ve noticed we use the word “quality” a lot. That’s on purpose. Quality paper makes a big difference, not just with how well the prints look and feel, but also how long they last. With some care to keep them out of the sun -- fine art prints on almost any substrate never belong in the sun -- they can last for generations. In fact, SFA paper prints are acid-free, certified archival for 100 years! This means fine art reproductions you love can also be enjoyed by posterity you might never meet. Unless you’ve got a magic pill, in which case sharing is caring! 😉


The most fun part about owning fine art prints is when you get to dress them up. The sky is the limit! It’s like deciding the final touches on an outfit – a sharp tailored blazer or flowy scarf; a big bold bracelet or delicate earrings. Translated to framing, you can dress your prints with single, double or triple mats, generous or narrow, colorful or quiet – or if you’re prone to minimalism, no mats at all. If your paper prints are small, an oversized mat and simple, ready-made frame, can create a big impact. Narrow mats offer their own sophistication.

Frames can be simple and quiet or deliciously ornate, in black or white or bright colors. The “glass” can be acrylic or regular glass or über clear museum glass. You can go industrial or rustic by showcasing your prints with clip and cable systems, acrylic plates, and a bunch of out-of-the-box doodads we don’t even know about. And if you get tired of one type of presentation, simply switch it out for another.


Finally, of all the substrates, paper prints are typically the most economical. Yes, frames and whatnot can add cost depending on the choices you make. The range of possibilities is pretty broad. But the shining light at the end of the tunnel will be customized-to-you centerpieces or accent art that feed your vision and elevate your environment without a big hit to your budget.

The big smile on your face – and on your space – will tell the tale!

Next time we post about substrates, we’ll feature canvas giclée prints, otherwise known as “Is it real or is it Memorex”!


Got questions about your SFA fine art paper prints? Contact us as team.sfa@sanguinefineart.com.

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