What’s the difference between an Open and Limited Edition?
A limited-edition print is just what it sounds like – only a limited quantity of a select print will be made and no more will be printed ever again. Each print is signed and the print number is shown. For example, if only 10 prints are made and you were the third person to purchase the print, it would have the signature and be marked 3/10. Keep in mind, there may be a certain number of limited editions in a particular size or paper, toning, etc, and then another batch in another size. Since these prints are limited by nature, they’re usually a lot more expensive and usually printed on higher quality archival paper, which also requires considerable more work to produce. Limited edition prints on archival paper will last for hundreds of years, however.
Open edition prints are unlimited in number and can be printed on any size of paper. Sometimes they are made to order, sometimes they are printed in batches. In my case, I still print these on the paper of your choice which could very well be archival fiber based paper or resin coated paper, and I sign every print. Should my work ever become valuable, these will be less valuable that a limited-edition print. That doesn’t mean you must sacrifice quality or enjoyability however.
So Which is Better
It just depends on what you are making the purchase for. If you’re making a purchase for decoration purposes, a resin coated print may be just fine. For art collectors who put value in the possibility of the print and artist becoming recognized in the future, a limited edition print should be considered. Many artists reserve their best work and materials, paper, etc. for limited edition prints.
What’s the difference between the Resin Coated, Fiber Based, and Digital Prints?
Resin Coated Prints
Resin coated prints exhibit a nice range of tones and make very good prints that will last a very long time. They’re easier to develop than fiber based prints as the emulsion layer is embedded in a top plastic coating on the paper. The development time is shorter, they also don’t need extensive washing after development and can be produced quickly. If you are looking for a print for your home or office decoration, this may be all you need without need to worry about any significant deterioration during your lifetime. The cost of resin coated prints is considerably cheaper than for fiber-based prints.
Fiber based Photopaper
For art collectors and museums, however, usually only fiber-based prints are ever accepted. With a fiber-based paper the emulsion is embedded within the grain of the paper. This not only affects archival qualities of the print but also the tonality of the finished print. A fiber-based print typically yields a deeper tone than a resin coated print. Fiber based paper prints use a heavier paper, the quality of the paper itself is more substantial. Naturally the cost of the paper is higher, as well as the work involved to make a fiber-based print as each print must be washed for an hour in a running water bath to remove the trace chemistry. After it dries, it must then be flattened with a heated press. That said, a properly processed fiber-base print is archival for hundreds of years. Most limited edition prints (at least in my case) will use this kind of paper.
When it comes to digital prints, the type of ink used is the paramount factor. Prints made on home inkjet printers usually use a dye type of ink. For sure, dye based inkjet prints can look very nice. They are, however, subject to fading especially when exposed to bright light. Pigment based inkjet inks are better for archival purposes and will last longer.