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What Does Archival Mean?

Archival; archivally sound – A non-technical term suggesting a material or product is permanent, durable, or chemically stable, and that it can therefore safely be used for preservation purposes.

The phrase is not quantifiable. No standards exist that describe how long an ‘archival’ or ‘archivally sound’ material will last.

All C-Type and Giclée prints made at Spectrum are produced to exceed the manufacturers’ recommended guidelines for permanence and as such, when stored appropriately, will exceed a lifespan of at least 70 years.

For more information on the lifespan and archival qualities of each, see the Wilhelm Institute or Aardenburg Imaging websites.

Archival C-Type print

To be truly archival, a C-Type print needs to be washed thoroughly with warm water to ensure that all the bleach used when processing is removed. This is why mini-lab prints cannot be classed as archival as a stabiliser is used instead of washing.

Spectrum exceeds the manufacturers’ guidelines by using a three-stage washing system to ensure the highest archival properties are achieved.

Archival Giclée print

We use only the highest quality acid-free Giclée papers, and genuine fade-resistant, archival Epson pigment inks.

When tested by the international testing facilities (the Wilhelm Institute and Aardenburg Imaging) these inks were ranked within the top three of all archival inks currently in production, although choice of media can also alter the final outcome.

Archival mounting

Archival mounting is a process of mounting a print or photograph to a material where the print will not suffer degradation due to the mounting process.

It does not mean it is reversible or removal.

We use a PH neutral adhesive mount film, making it compatible with sensitive papers.

Not all materials we mount to are classed as archival – materials such as display card, foam board, PVC and MDF contain acids and by-products that will break down over time.

Dibond, aluminium and Durospec (perspex reverse mounting) are fully archival. The longevity of the panel will dependent on where the work is stored.