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Care of Digital Prints

With proper care my artwork can remain as bright and beautiful as the day you got it for many, many years to come! Here's more information.

what's important about matting and framing?

Framing and matting behind glass or plastic helps protect art. Until the artwork can be properly matted and framed, keep it between sheets of acid-free paper and avoid handling, as this could add unwanted fingerprints. Another reason to protect the print behind glass or plastic -- inkjet printing of any kind uses water based inks. Thus, these inks are NOT waterproof. Basically treat it as you would treat an original watercolor.

Extremes of light and temperature can hurt any work of art on paper. Bright light and high humidity have the worst effects on any print's longevity. Thus, definitely avoid storing prints in places like the basement, the attic, or the garage. The worst possible place for a print is in direct sunlight. The bright light in combination with heat (especially heat trapped behind glass) can really fade artwork quickly.

why archival matting? how?

As with any work of fine art on paper, the matting and framing should be done in an archival manner, using acid free mat board. Your local frame shop will be able to help you with this... just make sure that they know what they're doing.

I hate to say it, but some places are so accustomed to framing items without archival concerns (like posters, family photos, and cheap lithographs), that the person on duty that day at your frame shop might not actually understand what you're asking for. I found all this out myself the hard way, by handing an ill-fated print to a certain frame shop without giving adequate instructions. Your print should definitely NOT be mounted (glued flat to a board). Also, make sure the frame shop knows that the ink used is water soluble, to help prevent any unfortunate accidents.

how long do these prints last?

Gicleé-type (inkjet) digital printmaking has been an established artistic media for years now. The lightfast qualities of archival quality inks and paper result in an artwork that can last many decades before any noticeable fading occurs.

According to testing by the experts at Wilhelm Imaging Research, this particular combination of ink and paper can last 65 to 75 years without any noticeable fading. This is many decades more than what is expected for an original watercolor or even for some color photographs.

Mark McCormick, a preservation scientist for photo materials at the Smithsonian Institution, says that "Gicleé inks now are comparatively stable — more stable than many pastels or colored pencil works and more stable than many lithographs."