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About Edition Numbering

huzz art shop

Photo by Daniel Cole for Design Week Portland

The practice of editioning prints comes from traditional printmaking processes like Seriography, Etching and Lithography. Editioning is a natural part of any type of printmaking as reproduction is part of the art form. With both printmaking and alternative photography processes there are many nuances to each print in the numbered edition, making every print valuable.

As part of the printmaking process, proofs of the design are created until the desired printing effect is achieved. Once this is done, an edition number is set for how many prints will be made of the design. One of the many differences between printmaking and photography is that in traditional printmaking, only a certain amount of prints can be made since the printmaking tools begin to deteriorate. For example, in Lithography, the image on the plate or stone begins to break down after only a few prints are pulled. This is a limitation of the medium that is not necessarily true for photography.

In photography, images can be printed infinitely, so often times the negative is sliced so that no more prints can be made. This creates a true edition with the prints becoming the only surviving form of the design or image. Below are a few definitions to terms that you will see around the site. For more information about this topic, see our post on Print Exclusivity.

Limited Edition
Limited Edition indicates a pre-determined quantity was decided prior to printing. No matter how popular the edition is, or how quickly they sell out, no other prints with the exact specifications will ever be printed again.

Artist Proof (AP) 
AP or “Artist Proof” signifies the first prints created. They are often considered to be the highest quality prints within the edition, and sometimes are the most unique in appearance as the artist is still determining how the final edition should look. Artist proofs are the natural outcome of the creative process and are often seen as owning a rare portion of an edition. Most often they will cost more than the numbered edition and are not included in the count of a limited edition.

Open Edition
Open-edition prints mean that they aren’t limited to a certain quantity as Limited Edition prints are. They can be produced both signed or unsigned and in an unlimited quantity. If Huzz Art Shop prints are offered as Open Edition prints, they are very rarely printed more than 10 times in a lifetime due to the difficulties of the printing processes used. More often Open Edition means that it has not been officially documented how many prints have been made of the design.

Hand Painted Multiples (HPM) / Artist Editions
HPM stands for Hand Painted Multiple. These are one-of-a-kind, unique works of art that have been hand-touched by the artist; similar to owning an original piece of artwork. They’re usually created using a variety of mixed media resulting in no two prints alike. For example, an alternative photography print will have been added to with watercolor or another medium to bring to life the final design in a new way. These artist editions are typically very limited in quantity and sell for significantly more than the limited edition.