Glossary

Demystify your understanding of art terminology with our straight-talking glossary.

Art print

An art print is a reproduction of an original artwork, printed onto acid-free fine art paper using archival inks so the print does not fade and discolour with age. Art prints can be produced using a number of different methods, from hand printing to digital processes. Our print team have carefully selected the best possible methods to do justice to the artwork, bringing you the highest quality art prints. For technical printing terminology, see Giclée, lithograph, silkscreen and traditional stone lithograph below.

Cast acrylic

All of our prints are framed using acrylic glazing instead of glass. Cast acrylic is a high quality material, offering many benefits including 92% optical clarity and 90% UV protection. The shatter-resistant quality means it’s much safer than glass in your home or workplace and being 100% recyclable, acrylic is great for the environment too.

Conservation framing

We adopt the conservation framing method for our special Rare & Limited prints which simply means archival methods are used to preserve and present the print. The artwork is ‘floated’ (slightly risen) on conservation grade mount- board using archival tape (as used by the majority of galleries across the world) to protect the back of the print from damage over time. Using this tape means the print can easily be reframed in the future, should your tastes change. The print is placed in a recessed box for the best presentation.

Giclée

Pronounced ‘jee-clay’, giclée printing is a fine art, digital print process. We use this method of printing because it allows us to print your single art prints one at a time to very high, "museum quality" standards. This method also allows us to print on a variety of different print materials, including matte, gloss and watercolour paper. The high quality inks and our top-of-the-range precision digital printers ensure that your favourite artwork is faithfully reproduced every time. 

GSM

‘Grams per square metre’ is the unit of measurement for paper weight. The weightage does not directly affect the thickness of the paper. At King & McGaw, we generally use a minimum of 250gsm high quality fine art paper but this differs between the prints due to size and value.

Lithograph

Lithographic or "litho" printing is a print method we use when we receive a high number of orders of a single artwork. Offset lithographic printing allows us to produce large numbers of prints and still keep a consistent level of high quality.

Mount

A mount-board creates a window around the print, showing a gap between the artwork and the glazing which helps prevent damage from condensation or sticking to the acrylic. Also, our acid free, white-core mount board means the cut bevel-edge nearest the print remains crisp and white; lesser quality boards quickly discolour resulting in an unattractive yellowed edge.

Recessed box frame

Recessed box framing sets the print back from the glazing and is complemented by a paper border around the image instead of mount board. This style of framing works particularly well for vintage film and travel posters as well as graphic and typography prints.

Silkscreen

Silkscreen printing is a highly skilled method of reproducing artwork. Firstly, the printer creates an image on a fine mesh screen using a thin coat of wax. A different screen is created for each colour that is needed for the print, making this printing method more suitable for artworks with just a few colours and low volume. The screen is laid down onto the paper and ink is hand-pulled across it using a sponge like device. The ink seeps through the mesh onto the paper leaving a print of the image. This is done one colour at a time, with the print being set aside to dry after each impression.

Traditional stone lithograph

Traditional stone lithographic prints are hand-made using an artisan process. Based on the principle that oil and water don’t mix, the artist’s image is applied to a limestone surface using a greasy medium. During printing, the stone is kept wet allowing an oil-based ink to stick only to the greasy areas. Paper is then laid on the stone and run through a printing press. For each colour, the artist would prepare a different stone, making this a very skilled printing technique. We offer a range of collectable stone lithographs by celebrated artists, in partnership with Galerie Mourlot.