What Is an Archival Pigment Print?

by Michael McCarty
Founder, Tribeca Printworks

circular image of michael mccarty

Archival prints are museum-quality pieces that use refined particles of pigment to create beautiful, high-resolution finished artwork. As its name suggests, this method of printing creates artwork that is designed to last for a long time. Two key elements play a role in how long of a lifespan an archival inkjet print will have — the ink and the paper.

Individuals, artists and museum curators have a variety of options to choose from, though, ranging from canvas to cotton watercolor paper. These options allow them to customize artwork based on their specific style, needs and budget.

What Is the History of Archival Quality Photo Prints?

The history of archival digital photo printing dates back to the 1990’s. This method, which is often used interchangeably with giclee printing, was originally completed by spraying ink from a digital printer onto the surface of a paper. Then, the extra droplets were deflected away to reveal the image. Years later, Piezo drop-on-demand printers were primarily used instead of digital printers.

Through this new method, multiple ink cartridges would go into a print head. This head, which has small charged crystals in various colors, releases a specific amount of ink through an electrostatic change. The finished result? A beautiful, pigmented print that can be enjoyed for years to come.

How Are Archival Prints on Canvas Used?corner of acrylic facemount frame

Archival prints can replicate any traditional image and can be reproduced in a wide range of sizes, offering endless possibilities. This printing method can be used by amateur artists who want to display or sell their work as well as individuals who want to preserve prints for future generations.

Most commonly, the archival photo printing method is used by art galleries and museums that wish to display notable prints or keep some aspect of culture preserved well into the future.

Why Is an Archival Pigment Print on Canvas Best for Museum-Quality Artwork?

Unlike a standard dye-based inkjet printer that can produce larger quantities of work at a time, this method focuses more on individual pieces and designing them in a way that’s built to last. An archival print is meant to have a lifespan of a century — or more.

When it’s kept in the right conditions and lighting, an archival print on canvas will retain its colors and beauty through long-term display. Combined, all these qualities make archival prints ideal for displaying top-quality work in galleries and museums.

Interested in Learning More About Our Archival Printing Services?

Here at Tribeca Printworks, our team has over 40 years of combined experience in the digital printing and art industry. We use the highest quality materials and printing methods to achieve best-in-class archival pigment prints. This combination ensures that the finished result is aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting.

We can help you create beautiful art — while also delivering competitive pricing and fast turnaround. To receive a free quote and consultation, be sure to fill out our online contact form today.