Custom Art: Why Professional Artists Print with Smartpress

Custom Art: Why Professional Artists Print with Smartpress

For professional artists and hobbyists alike, making high caliber prints of your creations is essential to keeping your business or side hustle booming. Smartpress helps bring this vision to life with the highest quality substrates and color matching that can’t be beat, whether you sell art online, showcase framed pieces at fairs or market custom prints at expos. Check out our design tips for custom art designed with paper, canvas and metal and use Smartpress as your secret weapon for artistic success.

Three large posters with custom art of a diner, bicycle and hotel on each one.


Leverage Large Posters

Large Posters highlight your designs in stunning color. And since so many artists are small business owners, too, that’s a big deal – the color quality reflects the quality of your work, after all.


Available up to 56-1/2 inches wide and a whopping 150 feet long, plus any unique dimensions in between, creating custom posters for online printing with Smartpress means you get exact color replication on poster stock that flaunts unbeatable ink preservation. 


Printed with the most durable type of ink (UV ink with a raised texture), your poster art doesn’t require a laminate for protection, but it’s available in matte, gloss and even dry erase, if you’d like it.

A collage of overlapping large poster prints with custom art of a hotel lobby, diner and cafe on each one.

Two hands rolling up a poster printed with a cafe scene on top of more posters laying flat.



For illustrator Jeff Lee Johnson, this impressive ink was just what he was looking for. “As an illustrator with a fine arts background and a grounding in realism, fine detail (along with very subtle shading and color modeling) is essential to my imagery,” Johnson said. 


“The posters have excellent color fidelity to my intention, feel substantial and have a lovely luster finish. I require prints that carry that attention to detail to my customers.”

Selling his eerily intricate imagery online and at science fiction and fantasy conventions, Johnson’s poster printing experience with Smartpress has been beneficial for his business.


“My goal is to have someone find my work online, purchase their own physical copy and then be wowed by seeing all of the details close-up and handling the print,” he said. “Judging from the feedback we’ve received, Smartpress is delivering that experience for my customers.”



Design Tip: Curious about those laminate options? Choose yours by specific look with flexible 3 mil thickness or sturdier 5 mil:

  • Gloss: Makes colors pop and adds visual depth to your imagery.
  • Matte: Reduces glare and reflections on your custom art. We recommend it for use in high-light environments.
  • Luster: Not as reflective as gloss, yet still provides great depth for your artwork.
  • Dry Erase: Create your own dry erase poster for a truly interactive art exhibition.
Two canvas prints with custom art of the Queens and Brooklyn boroughs in pink, orange, white and blue.

Canvas Prints: Matte Finish Canvas with Wrapped Edge Style, 18 x 24″

Canvas art with Brooklyn neighborhoods printed in dark blue, pink, orange and white.

The back of a canvas print with a hanging wire attached to the wooden frame.

Customize Canvas Prints

Designing your Canvas Prints with Smartpress ensures they blow the competition out of the water. High quality is what we do and we do it on every product. For custom canvas prints, that means both the heavyweight canvas itself and the frame.


No matter if your canvas art suits a single panel or spans multiple panels (we can do that, too), the waterproof and scuff-resistant canvas showcases every aspect of your art as it wraps around the custom frames and backings we create in-house. 

The process is pretty straight-forward, but the end result is anything but ordinary. In your choice of edge style and depth, each stretch frame is custom built. And we don’t use just any wood. You won’t find many knots in our premium kiln-dried poplar, so your abstract art and luscious landscapes impress from both the front and back.


And about that kiln drying? Our frames are dried to a moisture content that’s less than 5% to help resist bowing and warping. In short, with a frame like ours backing up your masterpiece, your ROI is guaranteed.



Design Tip: For canvas printing online, we don’t recommend designing your piece with borders. Since we manually stretch the canvas with the correct tension to keep the frame from warping, your design’s alignment may be affected.


And if your imagery doesn’t extend over the edge to the side of the frame, choose the Mirror Edge option in the Edge Style dropdown on the product page. This will ensure your imagery is reflected and wrapped around the frame.

Six metal prints in various sizes showing a variety of artwork.

Two metal wall mounts installed on the back of a custom metal print.


Master Metal Prints

If you prefer the metal arts, our custom Metal Prints take your sales sky high. From fine art, photography and graphic designs to office artwork and home decor, your work shines on our white-coated metal. 


Ideal for highly-detailed imagery, our custom metal printing features a dye sublimation process where the ink actually permeates the polymer coating on the metal. Dye sub printing showcases every shade and hue, so embrace color! Whether you’re selling your wares via a digital screen or in real life, the result is brilliantly vibrant color with amazing clarity and high resolution.


Whether your forte is metal print signs or fine art decor, Smartpress’ premium online printing services ensure your customers get their money’s worth – and then some. For indoor use only, your scratch-resistant metal prints feature a gloss white finish that boasts white-coated aluminum with superior shine.


As you design your metal print, we recommend keeping important text or logos away from the perimeter of the artwork – aim for a 1% margin on all four sides, so you have a 98% live area. And since two metal floating mounts are included to create double-take dimension, you get to give your customers easy installation assurance. (Dive even deeper into metal prints: Introducing Metal Prints: Stunningly Detailed, Fine Art Quality Decor.)


Design Tip: That secret weapon we mentioned? It’s Versions. Saving you time and money, it lets you print multiple works of custom art with different content and all in one order. Just be sure they have the same size, substrate and finish. It’s a feature Johnson found invaluable.


“Our most popular products are a series of like-themed images we offer in several sizes,” he said. “Many of my customers order the entire set, so we frequently order restocks of each image at the same time, in multiple sizes, which is easy with Versions!”

Two overlapping aluminum signs with Sanderson Hocus Pocus Co. Enchanted Brooms printed on them.


Two hands laying one aluminum sign with custom art in black text on top of another sign.

Advertise with Aluminum Signs

Catering to the outdoor decor crowd with your art prints? Custom Aluminum Signs make it easy to design both creative business signage and durable decorative staples. With heavy-duty aluminum composite, you’ll notice the rust-proof high-quality and substantial stability right away – two major selling points for your target audience and potential customers.


And while the white-painted aluminum sheets and solid plastic core can be displayed indoors, aluminum signage is best suited to the great outdoors with its waterproof, long-lasting and UV-resistant nature.


Whether your aluminum sign printing is for custom business signage or fun pop culture decor, designing is simple, no matter how intricate your vision. 

With digital die cutting, you can stick to simple shapes and add rounded corners to soften the finished look. Or exceed your customers’ expectations with shapes as complex as you like. (You can take your designs up another notch still with brushed silver material via Custom Quote!)


And as an online printer focused on customers first, we know just how important it is to ensure convenience is part of the experience. Thus, our aluminum signs feature options like drill holes in four different sizes, as well as hook and loop, magnet and double-sided foam tape so installation is always easy and never a barrier.


Hint: Unsure about how to resell your custom art? Wondering if your print project’s tax exempt? See which items are eligible, find out what forms you need and more with our tax exemption help



Large Posters Design by Jeff Lee Johnson
Canvas Prints Design by Ork Posters ©2007
Aluminum Sign Design by Farmhouse Sign Co.

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