This is a question we often hear. The inclusion of glass or plastic glazing is certainly the norm when selling a framed giclée art print, but whether it's a necessity (or even beneficial) is a question worth asking.
The main aspect that sets our products apart from other similar retailers is the quality of material used. All of our framed products include artworks printed on extra heavyweight Textured Cotton Paper. This is a highly resilient fine art paper with archival properties designed for long-term preservation, and so does not require an additional layer of protection.
In this post, we list the many benefits of framing without any glazing and why we think more people should catch on!
Quite simply, colours and tones will always appear more vivid and well-contrasted if it isn't separated by a layer of glass or plastic. This is because neither material offers true 100% transparency. Glass in particular has a very slight green tint that alters the perceived colour balance of the print. High quality acrylic offers better clarity than glass, while low end plastics can often be described as having a 'milky' or 'foggy' appearance.
Another major issue with glazing is that it is highly reflective, which means that the art is further obscured by the reflection of its surroundings, particularly under any strong source of light.
The cotton material of our paper has absolutely no sheen and offers a lightly textured appearance akin to canvas, and this better resembles the original art as intended by the artist.
When it comes to glass, the kind required to showcase artwork without obscuring the picture to a noticeable degree is incredibly thin, making it extremely fragile and potentially even dangerous. It is also far-and-wide the heaviest component of a frame.
This is primarily why other retailers choose plastic over glass when shipping framed items, the quality of which varies tremendously depending on source. Although low end plastics are resistant to shattering, they are prone to scratches and fingerprints. Acrylic is typically favoured by high-end retailers, but is included at a much greater cost.
A standard 2mm thick sheet of glass is actually relatively cheap. However, due to its fragile nature, a substantially large quantity of packaging is necessary to absorb shock during transit. We estimate that the amount of packaging required to ship a frame with glass is up to 80% more than a frame that is shipped without. This means a great deal more waste at a greater cost.
As a result of the additional packaging, the overall dimensions of the shipment is greatly increased, meaning that quotes for shipping are increased drastically (from our experience, as much as 60%)
We're all well aware that plastic has a detrimental effect on the environment due to its non-degradable properties. Many manufacturers of acrylic plastics may tout the reusability of such a product, but did you know that the manufacturing process itself has such a tremendous impact on our planet?
The biggest issue with acrylic is that it originates from fossil fuels. Oil is both a finite resource and one which causes significant pollution during its extraction and processing.
There are highly legitimate reasons for customers wishing to purchase their framed prints with glazing, and so we still offer this service on request. The most obvious reason for purchasing glazing is for protection in places susceptible to damp and moisture (e.g. bathroom or kitchen). For everywhere else in the home though, we highly recommend going glaze-free!