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The Difference Between Canvas and Poster: Canvas vs. Poster

user iconby Gvido Grubeclock icon5 Minutescalender icon2024-01-31

Is there such a thing as a canvas poster? Well – not really. We run through the most importan differences between posters and canvas!

The initial differences are obvious enough. A canvas print is a rather sturdy piece composed of a hardwood frame with canvas fabric stretched across it. A photo poster, on the other hand, is a simple paper-thin format suited for a lighter subject – perhaps a group shot of the cast members from your favorite TV series. So one thing's for sure - instead of canvas poster (a non-existing unit) we have two completely separate entities. Designed to be light, easy to mass-produce and quickly applied to all kinds of surfaces, a poster is an entirely different medium from a canvas print.

Historical Significance

Posters and canvas prints share pretty much the same origin story, as both were made possible by the invention of lithography. However, the rise of the poster format is usually associated with the introduction of chromolithography, which was the first step towards modern mass print reproductions.

What is the difference between print and poster. Canvas on easels

Earlier, stretched canvas had been introduced as a more convenient and more advanced alternative to wooden panels, and had replaced that medium entirely by the end of the 17th century. Spreading throughout Europe as the dominant backing for painted artworks, it also became the preferred option in numerous other art mediums, such as acrylic painting, embroidery and eventually photo canvas printing. To this day, it’s one of the formats most sought-after by professional photographers for exhibiting their work. Here, another major difference arises.

What is the difference between print and poster. Motivational poster.

The original purpose of the poster was to provide information, and therefore the medium frequently used both graphic and textual elements. Canvas prints, on the contrary, were first developed as a backing for popular art pieces, and to a certain extent have the same function to this day. Quotation posters might be all the rage these days, but displaying textual information was never the main purpose of canvas prints.

They’re Two Distinct Physical Objects

As already suggested in the introductory paragraph, there are essential material differences. Posters are comparatively delicate; though usually made using high-quality paper, they can still easily be torn when a little force is applied. A canvas print, meanwhile, is as sturdy and resilient as a classical oil painting; any decent-quality print is a hand-crafted piece made for long and faithful service. A poster is really like a large-format postcard, doing its job well as long as it’s not exposed to wear and tear.

What is the difference between print and poster. Vintage canvas print and poster of Tintin.

Of course, the big difference in materials used also explains the significant difference in pricing. Although there are some exceptionally expensive posters, artworks that have seen their value increase with time and that are now regarded as collectibles (the original “international” poster for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis was reportedly sold for $690,000), regular posters rarely exceed the $100 mark and mostly sit comfortably in the $10-$20 range.

What is the difference between print and poster. Canvas with man in a meadow.

A canvas print, on the other hand, is usually priced above the $20 level and can easily cost several hundred dollars, depending on the size, the wood used in the manufacturing process, and the exact printing service you choose. Fortunately, the product range sets itself apart from the standard price range, offering excellent-quality canvas prints at prices ranging from as little as $5, up to $90 for the biggest available format.

Print Quality

Now, this is where your preferred medium will reflect your own aesthetic values. While printed posters often boast vivid and, at times, appealingly synthetic hues, canvas goes for harmony and a somewhat muted color palette. This can sometimes result in a certain garish quality in the case of the former and slightly diminished tones in the case of the latter.

What is the difference between print and poster. Motivational poster text.

It’s worth noting that while posters are often high-quality giclée prints, they can age quickly as they’re prone to sunlight and moisture damage. By contrast, a good-quality canvas will be printed using solvent-free HP latex inks that should ensure the image lasts for decades in all its original splendor. As long as your canvas is not placed in a particularly unsuitable environment, it will stay as good as new.

What is the difference between print and poster. Canvas frame and pepper photo print close-up.

As for the resolution – once again, this can depend on the original photo and the quality of service you choose. The difference in quality between canvas and photo poster shouldn’t usually be that great – the sharpness levels should be pretty good in both cases. With that said, canvas prints will always have the advantage of their three-dimensional bulk, which can enhance the impact of the image shown. There’s also the option to customize the edging of the frame, giving you room to experiment with complementary border styles.


Today, posters fulfill a similar function to the canvas and are incredibly popular amongst the younger generation, as they’re a fast and easy way to personalize interior space. Canvas, meanwhile, is built for a different kind of photo display and is far superior in its material composition. Make sure you check out the canvas prints section at, and snap up a premium canvas for the price of a poster!

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