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What art paper should I use for my art prints?

One of the most common questions we get from new artists is:

"What paper should I use for my art prints?"

In this blog post we cover the top three most important things to consider when choosing the right art paper for your art prints:

#1: Who is my customer?

#2: How much profit do I want to make on each art print I sell?

#3: What is my business model?


We will also provide some examples of what some of our regular artists print on to help you decide. But let's start by going through the above questions...

 

#1: Who is my customer?

If you don't know who you are trying to market/sell your art prints to, then you will find it hard to make decisions, like choosing the right art paper. Paper choice is about finding the balance between the type of art print you are trying to create and the market you are selling to.

If you want to sell your art to the high-end market, then make sure you print on a luxury paper that looks and feels on point for that market. If you are trying to tap into the on-trend home improvement market, then price point will be important as you will be competing with all of the other art, in that space.

So, choosing a paper that lets you reach your desired price point, will be a driving force in choosing a paper.

In one of our regular customer, Alice Berry's case, she likes to limit the number of art prints she sells by providing a slightly more exclusive offering than a standard open edition art print. Alice's playful, colourful style of art appeals to young nesters, her peers and the home market and Alice carefully considers things like age, gender and location to describe her market.

In contrast, one of our regular customer's Byron Cole who sells Limited Edition photographic prints uses the Hanhemuhle Satin Rag or Smooth Cotton Rag. Byron chooses cotton rag because it is archival (i.e has a very long life), has creamier whites, and is heavier than other papers making it look very luxurious. 

#2: How much profit do I want to make on each art print I sell?

Now you know who your market is, deciding on a margin you wish to make on each sale is the next most important question when choosing what paper to use.
Be realistic, and start by asking yourself, "How much would I pay for my work?"

There isn't much point putting a high price on your work if you wouldn't spend that amount on an art print yourself. Why? because when it comes to selling, you need full confidence in your work and its value. 

We will visit pricing specifically in a future blog post soon, but the best thing you can do here is research as much as possible. Look at what similar work sells for in your local market. This should be where you begin.

Tip! 

Selling your art prints will always be a balance of price, margins and volume. Nothing is fixed so you would be wise to analyse your sales every 6 months or so, and check that you are reaching your overall business goals, making any price tweaks as needed. 

#3: What is my business model?

Finally, look at your whole business model. Are you selling online only, direct to your customers? Are you wholesaling your art prints to other galleries and retailers? Or is it a mix of both? Depending on the model you have, will also affect the margin you can create and therefore the price of your art and the paper you will choose. 

Also consider this, are you aiming for a high volume low margin business model or a high margin low volume model? Most artists lean towards the second model, partly due to the size of the New Zealand market, but also because lots of artists are part-time, and reaching high volume takes time. 

If you are just getting started, then this will come with time, so don't worry too much, start with an affordable art paper and then grow towards the higher end.

Tip!

Remember that most of the time, a person will choose an art print they like for every reason apart from the paper it is printed on. So don't let this decision create too much stress before getting some prints made and starting to sell your art :-)


The two most popular papers used are Enhanced Matte Paper and Textured Matte Paper.

How we can help you? 

If you need one on one support to help you make decisions like paper choice, pricing or wider topics like your overall business model then you might be interested in our Artist Mentoring & Strategy Service

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