Product Reviews » PrintedArt Makes A Big Impression
As I was walking down the aisles at the 2011 PhotoPlus Expo, I was struck from afar by PrintedArt's large, glorious prints mounted on aluminum with protective acrylic coating. I asked Managing Director, Klaus Sonnenleiter, if he would be so kind as to allow me to submit an image to PrintedArt to review the production process and final result. He acquiesced, and I eagerly returned home to choose my image and start the process.
I started out by registering on the PrintedArt website. It is a little confusing exactly what you are registering for, as they seem to offer the ability to become one of their artists. The website is fairly new, as the entire business is less than two years old. The site could use some work to clarify this issue, and I understand that it is currently being revised. PrintedArt is a boutique lab; they have a staff of three in operations and a sales staff of eight reps. The sale of prints to consumers is a secondary market for PrintedArt. Their primary market is higher-end designers and venues, such as hotels, that need large, colorful artwork.
Once I was registered, I submitted my image. I was surprised that TIFFs were not allowed, only GIFs and JPEGs. The reason I mention this is because I am used to submitting TIFFs. TIFFs are better for color management, due to their ability to handle 16-bit color profiles. However, PrintedArt realizes that most non-professionals use JPEGs. If you contact them and it becomes clear that you are ordering as a pro, TIFFs can be submitted. Truthfully, my relatively small 8MB JPEG turned out fantastic anyway, so I am sure yours will as well.
The Collection portion of the PrintedArt website shows the work of about a dozen professional photographers, broken into categories like Nature, Abstract, Travel, Architectural, etc. You may browse and order any of these images for your own decorative purposes. The Photo Lab tab brings you to a simple uploading and ordering process. As part of the process, you are required to agree that you are the copyright owner of any image you are about to upload and duplicate. I like this, especially as a pro!
PrintedArt offers a variety of features and products. You can get canvas wraps, as these are so in-demand these days. But they do not offer a mirror finish or a colored edge, only a true wrap of your image. They also offer unique Plexi Block displays, wherein the image is framed within a block of clear Plexiglass. The image bleeds and it is all fused together, so it becomes a hearty, robust presentation—somewhat indestructible and ageless. This looks very sharp, and would be most useful for smaller imagery that can be displayed on a piano, fireplace hearth, desk, etc.
Large Scale Images
But what drew me to the PrintedArt booth at the Expo was their large prints— 24” x 36” mounted on aluminum. The print is made on a special paper that is sealed to a backing of aluminum dibond. Dibond is two thin layers of aluminum with a thin layer of foam core sandwiched between, all chemically bonded together. This combination does not stretch, is not very susceptible to temperature or humidity change issues, and is firm but lightweight. All prints are made on a Canon Aqueous printer, using archival Lucia pigments. Then, the mounted print is covered with an acrylic film that seals perfectly—no bubbles, wrinkles, etc. The acrylic is a significant protective surface, which also has a great look. It can be carefully wiped clean with a cleaning spray. The print I ordered was 24” x 36”, and it came with a deluxe French cleat hanging system. Trust me, these cleats are built to handle the weight. Only a couple of screws into your wall, and it is ready to hang for a lifetime.
This is a carefully-made, one-of-a-kind product. It takes 2-3 weeks to complete and should not be rushed. Let PrintedArt do what they do so well. The inkject technology is the only kind they use—they see this as the future for fine art photo printing. The protective acrylic film is a 3-mil sheet that requires no heat to fuse, only pressure and the proper chemistry. The aluminum dibond behind the print is trimmed approximately 1/8” smaller than the print dimensions, so it is not visible when viewing the print. PrintedArt can also finish the print with a border of exposed aluminum. I am hoping to create some mounted prints with the aluminum exposed; I think it could be a very cool look.
Shipping and Packaging
The product was shipped via a flat-rate arrangement using standard couriers. But the packaging was very well done and interesting. You could tell it was a custom developed package. There were essentially three layers of a stiff but thin corrugated cardboard. To open, you simply cut along the border between two of the corrugations. The print was well-packed, and fit tightly with no movement. The print was covered with a plastic bag; the French cleat was mounted to the back of the print, and a second hanging cleat came ready to screw into your wall.
I was very pleased with my print from PrintedArt and my dealings with the company during the production process. Act like a pro and get treated like a pro, with top quality, unique results.
Follow the light…f-stop