Canvas Prints versus Art Prints | What Terms Are You Using?

Canvas Prints Searches Are on the Rise

Historically, many art terms have had confusing meanings. The word “prints” or term “art prints” do not have a standard meaning. They are used so often by art marketers in different ways that without further descriptors they are just confusing.

Fine artists who specialize in high quality original prints, such as etchings, mezzotints, or stone lithographs would prefer that artists creating reproductions refrain from using the term “art print” to describe their reproductions on canvas or paper. I can understand the desire. Their form of printmaking is centuries old and the term has always been adequate for the fine art printmakers’ purposes.

The reality is art marketers use whatever terms they think will help them describe their works in the best way. For example, if a poster publisher wants to use  “graphics” to describe its work, there is no one to stop them. There is no law against using terms to describe any kind of art. It’s kind of a free-for-all.

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Art Terms Are Arbitrary and Confusing

The use of art terms changes all the time. It is not just “prints.” For instance, there is much confusion and multiple uses for the term “posters.” Likewise, the term “giclee” has become over used now, too. When  Lamp R Us starts advertising “giclee lamp shades,” this is not good thing for fine artists trying to market their reproductions as giclees.

Minimalist Graphics

The Bauhaus trend towards minimalism reflected in these examples shows our growing desire for authenticity and simplicity.

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Minimalism and Authenticity Are Trending

In today’s environment, the trend is to call things what they are, to strip away any artificial embellishment. Have you noticed how graphic design has gone to flat type with out drop shadows and other Photoshop techniques. Look at the examples in the image to see how GoDaddy.com lays out its product page, or how the 2012 London Olympics graphics were elemental, or how Microsoft’s Windows 8 uses minimalism in its design.

You are not seeing as much tricked-out Photoshop techniques being used in cutting edge graphic design. This trend is indicative of a larger movement towards the same desire for elegant simplicity in design and lifestyles. Give me something that is functional, yet attractive, without being gaudy or over-designed. Call products what they truly, don’t offend me with hype and nonsense. I will suss you out in a moment’s notice and grade you down for doing so.

Giclee and Art Prints Remain Usable, Useful Terms

I am not advocating dropping the terms “art prints” or “giclee prints” from your marketing. Due to its growing search popularity, it does make sense to me to add “canvas prints” to your content and on-page SEO for your website and your blog. While I believe you will not make a great living from selling art to strangers off your website or blog, you don’t want to lose potential sales when someone is specifically looking for a canvas image in your inventory.

You may have invested in growing an awareness for your work, and in having it be known as giclees, or giclee prints, or fine art prints. Nothing wrong with that and for staying the course on using them. I am suggesting you stay aware of how art terminology and search trends are evolving and to get with them, or in front of them as much as possible. Marketing is about awareness. The different ways you create awareness for your art products, the more likely you are to find eager buyers.

Google Trends Is a Most Useful Tool

When you watch the video, you will see how powerful the insights from Google Trends are, and how easy it is to use the tool. If you are not optimizing your blog posts and web pages by including highly searched terms to help describe your work, or you are leaving out terms because you didn’t realize the amount of traffic they receive, you cutting out potential customers from finding you on the Internet.

Related Links:

  • Is Giclee Passe?

  • Convergent Media – Is It Time to Bury Digital Art?
  • Convergent Media – Stretching the Imagination
  • The Artist’s Giclee* Handbook
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The Encyclopedia of the Art Business

Barney Davey

I help artists and photographers find buyers, sell more art and operate profitably.

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