June 26, 2021 4 min read

Perhaps more than any decorative item, posters can affordably enhance the look of bare walls. While most of us pay close attention to the actual artwork on the poster, buyers often overlook other vital aspects. Among other things, choosing the right poster finish can make a world of difference to the visual appeal of your artwork.

Printed posters are available mainly in two types of finishes: gloss/glossy and matte. It’s easy to identify the difference between the two when you see them in-person at an exhibition gallery. But before buying one from an online store, it’s worth taking a moment to consider the differences between the two.

To help everyone with making their purchasing decision, we have provided an overview of matte vs gloss posters in this article. Dive in to learn how the difference in finishes impacts the final appearance of the poster on your wall.

Matte vs. Gloss posters: Which is best? What is the difference?

Matte vs. Gloss Posters: At a Glance

After reading this post you will learn:

⦁ What is a Matte Finish? Pros and Cons
⦁ What is a Glossy Finish? Pros and Cons
⦁ Matte vs. Gloss: Key Differences
⦁ Matte or Glossy: Which is the Best Choice for Poster Finishes?

What is a Matte Finish?

Matte finishes provide a flat and muted color effect to accentuate the details. The end result with matte print finishes is suitable for both vibrant and subdued hues. When done correctly, this form of printing offers a smudge-free color effect without any extra shine or glare effect under the light.

What We Like About Matte Printing

⦁ The absence of a thick, shiny coating makes it easier to handle the printed paper
⦁ Enhanced color impact without reflective properties
⦁ Doesn't produce post-handling fingerprints
⦁ Doesn't produce a distracting glare due to bright lights
⦁ The preferable choice for framing your posters (due to the lack of reflective glares)
⦁ Best for comfortable viewing from any angle
Downsides of Choosing a Matte Poster
⦁ Produces fine quality prints only on expensive matte paper

Ambient light in room producing glare effect

Types of Images that Look Best in Matte Prints

Colorful posters and black & white portraits look best in matte print finishes, as do textured images with lots of details.

What is a Gloss Finish?

Glossy prints, as the name suggests, have an added layer of shiny coating on the poster to produce an eye-catching effect. This form of print looks vibrant and attractive even from a far distance.

Posters with glossy prints have a gorgeous appearance which eliminates the need to frame them behind a glass cover. However, these items require extra care. The finishes are vulnerable to fingerprints. When placed under bright lights, the sheen produces high-end glare and reflective impacts from various angles.

Why Choose a Gloss Poster?

⦁ Attracts the vision even from a great distance
⦁ Impressive ultra-smooth print finish
⦁ High-end image quality due to extra-protective coating
Reasons We Don’t Prefer Using Gloss Prints
⦁ The reflective coating produces severe glare both from ambient sunlight as well as interior room lighting
⦁ Distracts the vision from the artwork when light beams fall on the picture
⦁ High propensity to develop fingerprints
⦁ Not the ideal product for glass or Perspex framing (due to the double-glare effect that would be produced)

Fingerprint smudges on gloss finish poster.

("Hey, who got fingerprints on my fingerprint artwork?!")

Types of Photos that Look Best in Glossy Finishes

Gloss prints bestow a liveliness to colorful portraits, landscape photos, and dynamic sports images.

Matte vs. Gloss: What is the Difference?

Both gloss and matte finishes allow you to produce prints with dark and light shades as well as contrast effects. The key point of difference is that gloss prints have an added layer of a smooth, shiny coating.

Glossy posters may retain fingerprints when touched without care.

If you need a poster with bursting color impact, gloss prints can produce superb results. Professionals use glossy finishes when they want to accentuate the hues and add more depth to images that look rather flat. This sort of poster does not require a glass covering.

Matte finishes allow you to achieve muted but high-resolution crisp prints. They look best in a glass or Perspex covering. The framing also adds to the durability of the images since there is an extra thick protective coating.

Matte vs. Glossy Posters: An Overview Comparison

High-resolution muted color effect Exploding color impact
Non-reflective, anti-glare view Highly reflective glare effect
Safe for frequent handling Develop marks and stains when handled too much
Does not retain fingerprints Propensity to fingerprints
Shine-free finishes Ultra-sheen prints
A thin layer of colorful prints Thick print layer with added gloss coating
Prominent image texture Deep saturated image effect

Glossy or Matte: Which is the Best Poster Finish?

Unfortunately, there is no one correct choice between matte and glossy finishes when it comes to printing or purchasing a poster. Both of them are high-quality print finishes widely used depending on the type of results required. It is ultimately up to the professionals to decide what effects they want to achieve on the final printed image.

Choosing between these two forms of poster finishes depends on the location where you want to keep them. Rooms that get natural light throughout the day or have many overhead lights are ideal for matte posters. Such illuminations may produce distracting glares on a gloss poster due to its highly reflective properties.

Opt for a matte poster if you want to cut off the reflection and fingerprint smudges. Enjoy the comfortable viewing experience as you get sharper details with this form of print finish.

If you are looking for a poster to revamp the appearance of bare walls in large spaces such as gyms, restaurants, and kid's activity areas, pick up some glossy posters. They work great to transform the simplicity of the place and add a touch of exuberance.

Framed matte poster artwork on wall in modern room.

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