July 23, 2021 5 min read

When it comes to artwork prints, there are many options out there today, which is great. However, sometimes it can get overwhelming when trying to decide which is best for you. In this blog post, we compare metal art prints versus canvas art prints, examining their pros and cons, to help you make your final buying decision.

Metallic Art Prints

The Advantages of Metallic Art Prints

Metallic prints pair well with artwork pieces that contain deep contrast and vibrant colors. Subtle images don't usually look great on metal prints, as their sharpness emboldens any image and brings out its details. Thus, you may want to pass on metal prints if you have a low resolution or flawed image.

As a rule of thumb, these categories of artwork look great with metal prints:

Landscapes: Landscapes are typically abundant with vivid color. This is why many landscape artists and photographers choose metal for printing their work. For instance, the sight of the yellow Colorado Aspen leaves, or fall foliage on metal, can really stand out on a metallic art print.

Seascapes: Seascapes are another popular type of art for metal prints. The aesthetic blend of sky blue and the ocean is better suited to metal prints as the details in the waves are accentuated on the metal.

Black & White: Black and white photos are also great on metal prints. You may be wondering if there’s a contradiction somewhere between “metal prints are great for bold colors” and “black and white is great on metal prints”. The fact is: metallic prints offer unprecedented contrast. Photographers who deal in black and white photos are always looking for the right contrast to get that spark in their images, and metal is great for that.

Sunset: Metal prints are superb for getting that sunset to ignite on your wall. The warm colors of sunsets are brought alive by metal prints, with a “pop” that comes with much intensity.

Metal prints give a natural feel for most contemporary interiors. They look great at chic restaurants, C-suite offices, and hipster hangouts. Due to the bold colors and glossy finish they fit really well with almost all interiors, especially well-polished, modern environments.

Another benefit to metallic art prints is that because they're made of metal, this makes them very durable and less susceptible to damage when compared against other art mediums like wall posters or delicate fine art prints.

Metal prints are also easier to safely clean than other art styles such as wall posters, as the smooth metallic surface can simply be wiped down with a damp cloth without much fear of ruining the art piece.

The Downsides of Metallic Art Prints

Metallic prints are selective. They work best on images with vibrant colors and deep contrast as this ensures the aluminum can portray your artwork in the best light. The flip side of this is that for photographs or artwork pieces with less contrast, a metallic print can end up looking quite flat and rather bland. In these cases, a metal print may not be the best choice.

In addition, metallic art prints also often look out of place in more traditional settings, such as sitting rooms, home libraries, or living spaces with a more conventional feel. In cases such as these, the contrast between the traditional feel of the room, and the sleek and modern appearance of a vibrant metallic art print, can just look strange and incongruent.

Thus, when selecting artwork, a judgement call needs to be made as to whether you're going for a more modern or conventional environment. Then select your artwork styles accordingly.

Overview: Pros & Cons of Metallic Art Prints

The pros of metal prints include:

  • Smooth, sleek, modern appearance.
  • Look good with high-contrast, vibrant artwork.
  • They are water-resistant and therefore are easy to clean.
  • They are scratch resistant.
  • They are fade-proof.
  • They are very durable.

The cons of metal prints include:

  • They are selective, i.e. not all photographs will look great on metal prints.
  • They often look out of place in more traditional settings, such as sitting rooms and home libraries.
  • Don't have the thickness of canvas gallery wraps, and thus don't stand out quite as boldly from the wall surface.

Canvas Art Prints

The Advantages of Canvas Wall Art

Canvas prints are super popular due to their versatility, which is one key advantage of canvas prints over metal prints. They simply cannot look out of place anywhere, be it at home, in the office, or in a museum gallery. Canvas prints have an air of sophistication which makes them warm and inviting no matter the environment.

Both bold and soft images are great on canvas prints. The colors come out softer, flatter, and slightly dimmer than on a metal print. Canvas prints are unique in that their texture gives your photo a soft, artsy feel.

The wrapped presentation also makes for an attractive appearance. With a depth that typically ranges from 0.75" to 1.5", canvas wall art quite literally pops out from your wall, giving the artwork a uniquely bold and sharp appearance that's unmatched by any other art style.

The Disadvantages of Canvas Wall Art

The biggest downside to canvas prints is that, on average, they tend to be more expensive than metallic prints. This is because the creation process behind a canvas gallery wrap is more involved when compared against a simple, flat metallic print. Especially when you add a floating frame to your canvas art, creating your final art piece is a multi-step process that's more complicated than preparing a metallic print. This gets passed along to you in the form of higher prices.

Another downside to canvas art is that it's not quite as durable as metallic prints. While canvas prints are quite hardy, they're simply not on the same level as an aluminum art print. Especially if there's some home accident involving water damage (such as fire sprinklers going off inside a home), they're unlikely to sustain the same level of direct exposure to water as a metallic art print would.

Overview: Pros & Cons of Canvas Art Prints

Here is an overall summary comparing the pros and cons of canvas prints:

The pros of canvas prints include:

  • They are versatile
  • All kinds of images work well on canvas
  • They are glare-free
  • They look great in almost all settings—whereas metallic prints could look out of place in a home where your décor is not extremely modern.
  • The thickness of a gallery wrap makes them pop out from your wall, providing an unmatched boldness to their appearance.

The cons of canvas prints include:

  • They are not waterproof (in most cases) and will get destroyed by flooding or other home accidents involving water.
  • They tend to be more expensive than metal prints.
  • They are not as durable as metal prints, although a high-quality canvas print could last decades.

Canvas vs. Metal Prints: The Bottom Line

If your budget is on the high side, canvas art prints might be the right choice for your. Their versatility means that you can hardly go wrong with them no matter the feel and appearance of the space that you're decorating.

If, on the other hand, you're decorating a much more modern-looking interior, and your budget is on the lower side, metallic art prints may be the right choice for you.

Ultimately, the main factors that it comes down to are your budget and the nature of the space you're decorating.

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