What is an original print?

I have been having an interesting discussion with Tony Ogle and Brad Novak about how we can best explain the differences between original prints like screenprints and reproduction prints. They have come up with some suggested additions to our FAQ.

What is an original print?
Original prints encompass different media such as screen prints, lithographs, etchings, woodcuts, linocuts and monoprints. Within an edition, each print is individually pulled from a screen, plate, or block. Generally created as limited editions of archival quality, and because of the skill and effort required to produce them, original prints potentially have a high investment value.

What is the difference between a giclee print and an original print?
Giclee prints are created using the Giclee printing process which uses a very sophisticated digital printer to deliver a fine stream of ink onto archival paper. Original prints differ, encompassing several media such as screen prints, lithographs and etchings (amongst others). Each print is individually pulled from a screen, plate, or block to create limited editions of archival quality.

How is an original print produced?
Original prints are produced in many different ways, generally as limited editions. The main techniques include screen printing and lithography. Each print is individually pulled from a screen, plate, or block. Their creation involves the mastery of a printing press with the artist often solely or heavily involved in the process.


  1. An original print is a print which is "as first made" in all aspects .The time of production precedes all others.It is produced by the artists own hand, or by a third party to specification, with the artists authority and supervision, in a disclosed number,while they are
    alive. The signature serves to affirm all of these factors.
    I think that there exists a sliding scale of "originality" which is influenced by material and historic factors relating to the time and mode of production of rthe work and how this relates to the artists persdonal involvement in the work. In this respect , the notion of originality varies depending on the work discussed.
    The medium and mode of execution is in my opinion, artistic licence and irrelevent to its status as original or not.
    If the artist says its an original print, then it is.

  2. I do appreciate the effort to explain the print process on the screen print page. If I may though, I'd like to make one small comment about the naming of the prints on the website. It seems that the "art prints" are those which are machinemade copies of paintings etc. as opposed to the "original print" of which each and every one are editions of original handmade prints. This naming, which can cause confusion in regard to the authenticity of the work, is a very common occurrence which continue to concern printmakers and, I believe, the art buying public.
    It is especially important today as paintings are copied to a very high quality on sophisticated computers onto fine art paper and sold at a price which is often higher than the original print (depending on the name of the artist). Printmakers have tried and continue to work to inform about the difference because we as practitioners too often have to face an audience who remains ignorant about the difference and are therefor unable to appreciate the authenticity of our work. If the "art prints" were to be called "posters" or something similar, then I am sure the confusion would be easily overcome. Because your website is so comprehensive and influential, it would be fantastic if it were to use the correct terminology and so be part of removing the confusion in this matter.
    I belong to the New Zealand Printmakers Association as well as the Studio Printmaker's Collective here in Auckland and I know they would really appreciate if you gave some thought about this.