Prints and reproductions: What’s the difference?

If you’re a fan of art, you are probably aware of the popularity of prints and reproductions but you may have never actually considered what the difference between the two is. How do these different types of reproduced artwork vary, and why might you want to consider either of them for your own home?

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The reality is that most original artwork will be well out of most people’s budget, unless they happen to have the time and talent needed to identify an up-and-coming artist or to produce original artworks themselves that they want to hang in their homes.

Artwork reproduction pieces allow you to invite beautiful art onto your walls in a way that is cost-effective and modern.

Looking at prints

A print will have been hand-pulled by an artist using a print-making surface such as a screen, block, stone or plate. They will typically be signed and numbered by the artist, with a limited edition of less than 200 prints and sometimes as few as 10. When the print edition has been completed, the printmaking surface will usually be destroyed, ensuring that the prints become more valuable.

Looking at reproductions

An artwork reproduction, on the other hand, is a photograph of an original artwork that is printed in a batch run of 1,000 or more. The artist typically will not be involved in this process. Unlike with prints, where the print block wears down and there is variation in the paper to ensure that every print is unique, every reproduction will be nearly identical, without variation in paper or print.

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Reproductions will not match the quality of the artwork original. Sometimes a print run of repros will be signed and numbered like a print run and sold as limited edition fine art prints. It’s important to know the difference, however, so that you don’t accidentally buy the wrong thing. Find out more at

The different types of reproduction

You will find a variety of reproduction methods. Some of the main ones include painted by hand, where the original is carefully copied using the same artistic medium; limited-edition print; serigraphy, which is a silk-screen image; lithography, which is made on a press; and engravings.

By understanding the different methods, you can be sure you are buying exactly what you want.