Acid-free – a paper that has had its lignin removed and is sulfur-free. Because of its alkaline nature (acid-free paper has a neutral pH of 7.0), acid-free paper deteriorates more slowly than untreated paper. The best grades of acid-free paper can last well over 500 years.
Alpha-cellulose -a plant-derived paper (as opposed to fabric-derived, like cotton) that is both acid-free and lignin-free. Examples of alpha-cellulose papers are made from sugarcane, bamboo, and rice.
Archival-grade – an especially durable acid-free paper. In the US, archival paper must meet the standards of ANSI (American National Standards Institute). Archival paper can be further broken into two classes: Archival-grade, rag paper made of naturally alkaline cotton pulp, and Conservation-grade, paper made from acid-free, buffered wood pulp.
Bagasse – a great alternative to rag and wood-pulp papers, bagasse is the by-product of the sugar making process. Specificaly, bagasse is the fiber that is left once all the juice has been extracted from the sugar cane stalk. As bagasse requires fewer chemicals for processing and uses less energy to produce, it’s a sensible, eco-friendly choice.
Baryta – a thin coating of barium sulfite used to provide a reflective coating on inkjet paper. Rooted in traditional photography, Baryta papers are considered to produce the blackest blacks and most saturated color possible, and are highly prized by professional photographers.
Buffered – a paper that is “buffered” has had calcium chloride (chalk) added to it during the manufacturing process to neutralize environmental acids that could cause it to deteriorate over time. When printing your artwork, choose a buffered paper to hinder unnecessary damage.
Cold-pressed – a paper with a textured finished, most noticeable in heavy watercolor papers, that is produced by the finished sheet being rolled through cold cylinders. Cold-pressed papers are a good choice when you want to bring texture into your work.
D-Max – a photographic term meaning “maximum density,” which refers to the maximum amount of darkness a paper is able to obtain when developed. If a paper is described as having a “high d-Max,”it will reproduce blacks and shadows well. Also written as d-Max, dmax, Dmax.
Foam board – a strong display board with a polystyrene foam core encased by lightweight, clay-coated paper for a super smooth surface. Acid-free foam board conforms to archival standards and is used when mounting and/or framing any acid-free work.
Gator board – a rigid, lightweight display board with a smooth surface and polystyrene core. The water-resistant surface is made of a melamine and wood veneer laminate, making it much more durable than foam board
Giclee – a term coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne to describe large format, high-resolution digital images made on inkjet printers. Today, the word giclee has evolved to denote a high-resolution image reproduced on an inkjet printer using pigment-based inks on archival-quality papers [link to “acid-free paper”] and canvases.
Hard proof – a printed hard copy of your image, used to correct any issues before final print run.
Hot-pressed – a paper that’s surface has a smooth finish, produced by being pressed through hot cylinders.
Lignin – a naturally occurring component of plants. Lignin, the dark part of trees, is often removed during the paper manufacturing process to make paper brighter. Lignin causes darkening or yellowing and embrittlement under light exposure. Archival-quality papers will always be lignin-free. Also spelled lignen.
Rag – Paper made from fabric fibers, usually cotton. Rag papers have a low acidity, high tensile strength, and long durability, making them ideal for archival purposes.
Substrate – the base material upon which an image is printed or mounted (ex., canvas, paper, acid-free foam board).