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What Is the Difference Between Canvas Print and Poster?

Now, the answer actually seems pretty obvious. While canvas print is a rather sturdy piece comprised of a hardwood frame and perfectly stretched canvas fabric, a poster is a paper-thin, large format print of, say, cast members from your beloved TV series. Made to be light, easy to reproduce on a massive scale and affix-able to different kinds of surfaces, it is really an entirely different medium to begin with.

Historical Significance

Purely for historical accuracy, it must be noted that both posters and canvas prints share pretty much the same origin story, as both were made possible with the introduction of lithography. However, the rise of the poster format is usually associated with the invention of chromolithography, which was the first step towards true mass production of printed materials.

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

Meanwhile, stretched canvas was introduced as a more convenient and more advanced alternative to panels, replacing the medium entirely during the latter part of the 17th century. Spreading throughout Europe and surpassing the panel as the dominant backing for paintwork, it also became the preferred option in numerous other art mediums, such as acrylic painting, embroidery and finally, photo canvas printing. To this day, it’s one of the most sought-after formats for professional photographers to exhibit and popularize their work. Here, another major difference arises.

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

If we take a look at the original purpose of the poster, it is, by all indications, an informative medium that frequently uses both graphic and textual elements. Canvas prints, on the contrary, saw their rise as a means of duplicating popular art pieces and, to a certain extent, has maintained its function to this day. Although appealing, quote posters are all the rage these days. However, conveying textual information was never the primary intention when it comes to canvas prints.

Technically Speaking, They’re Really Two Different Things

As already implied in the introductory paragraph, it’s all about material differences. While the poster is usually made of a special paper that can still be easily torn apart when applying a little strength, canvas prints are more of a close alternative to classical oil painting. Not to be easily torn apart, it’s really a handcrafted piece made to serve long and well. In comparison, the poster is really like a large-format postcard, serving well as long as it’s left untouched and unmoved.

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

Of course, the vast difference in materials also dictates the significant difference in pricing. Although there are some exceptionally expensive posters, artworks that saw their value increasing with time and are now regarded as collectibles (the Metropolis original international poster reportedly was sold for $690 000), regular posters rarely exceed the $100 mark and are mostly sitting comfortably in the range of $10-$20.

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

Canvas print, on the other hand, usually easily surpasses the $20 margin and can go all the way to $385, depending on the size, the wood used in the manufacturing process, and the service you picked. Fortunately, stands pretty far away from the mentioned price range, offering excellent quality canvas prints for prices that range from $5.00 to $90.00 for the biggest available format.

Print Quality

Now, this is where the difference might be completely up to your perspective. While printed posters often boast vivid and, at times, appealingly synthetic hues, canvas goes for harmony and a somewhat muted color palette. This can often result in over-the-top obtrusiveness in the former case and slightly diminished tones in the latter case.

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

However, it’s worth noting that while posters are often high-quality giclee prints with a pleasantly smooth surface, the visuals are not protected from age and environment-induced damages. Meanwhile, specially picked, solvent-free HP latex inks used to manufacture canvas are produced to make the image last decades. As long as the canvas is not subjected to intense environmental changes and fluids, it will stay pretty much frozen in time.

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

When it comes to the resolution, once again, it can depend on the original photo and the quality of service you picked. Normally, the difference shouldn’t be that great and the sharpness levels should be pretty good in both. With that said, canvas prints will always have the perk of being dimensional, which makes the image visually more impactful by default. With the option to customize the edging, there’s also an entire room for experimentation with the most fitting canvas framework.


Today, posters are used to fulfill a similar function to the canvas and are the incredibly popular choice amongst the younger generations, as it’s a fast and easy way to personalize one’s interior. With that said, the canvas is built for an entirely different kind of photo display and is miles more superior in its material prowess. With prices that can easily compete with the majority of poster-selling websites, make sure to check the canvas prints section on


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