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A Guide to Selecting Between Photography and Illustration Art Prints

In interior design, photographs and illustrations tend to be the default choices for wall art. While you do have alternatives like bas reliefs, paintings, and tapestries, these tend to be somewhat less common in modern interiors. When you’re decorating a wall on a budget, chances are, you’ll be doing it with enlarged photo prints or illustration art posters, such as those that you may find on DROOL.


Fortunately, both photos and illustrations can be used to convey a full spectrum of moods and ideas within a space. It’s also a great time to buy both, as high-quality, ready-to-hang reproductions on premium paper with archival frames are easily accessible online at fair prices. You’ll even find reduced carbon-emissions options made from sustainably sourced materials.


It’s challenging to make sweeping statements about how photos or illustrations work in the context of interior design because of how some artists blur the lines between the two mediums. That said, there are some subtle differences in how either tends to work within a given space. If you’re going to add some prints to your wall, it helps to know the practical differences between them:






Because photos can capture real-world scenes, they can add a serious sense of realism and nostalgia to a space. This is especially true if the photos are minimally processed and include relatable subjects within the frame. 


On the other hand, illustrations allow for infinitely stylised representations. They can be as fantastical or as “hyper-real” as you need them to be, making it possible to create a very specific mood within your space that may not necessarily be possible with real photos.


Adaptability to Different Interiors




As a general rule, photo prints tend to be easier to integrate into interiors. With some exceptions, photos can usually fit into different spaces without much trouble, thanks in large part to their realistic appearance fitting in with real-world elements outside of the frame. 


Illustrations can be a bit trickier to integrate since they tend to be more stylized, which often means that they can clash with interior design elements that have an incompatible theme. The flip side to this is that you can use illustrations to further reinforce the look and feel conveyed by a room. In any case, choosing the right frame or swapping out other room elements will help you dial in an overall design approach that suits your illustration.


Impact on Room Size and Shape




Both photographs and illustrations can be used to alter the perception of a room’s appearance. Generally, illustrations are better suited to complement the room's geometry or enhance specific visual effects, but you can also sometimes find photos of geometric subjects that can do the same. 


One neat trick that you can do with either is to use several smaller prints arranged closely together to maintain a cosy or intimate atmosphere. Larger-sized prints, on the other hand, can give a room a grander appearance. In any case, it helps to consider the room’s size in comparison to the size and scale of the prints you want to hang.


Preferences and Lifestyle




If have a penchant for realism or just want wall art that seamlessly fits with most types of interiors, you may lean towards photographs. On the other hand, if you like whimsical or highly stylised elements, illustration posters may be more to your liking.

Either way, you want to make sure your prints last you a lifetime. For the best quality photos and illustrations that last, always choose prints made with gallery-grade giclée printers and fade-resistant inks.






If you’re not interested in learning photography and printing yourself, you can also get authentic, ready-to-hang large-format reproductions of photos taken by professional photographers that fit most styles. Some websites even let you order photo prints by theme and colour so that they can match your specific preferences.


Fortunately, the same can be said about illustrations. These days, you’ll find plenty of well-priced and curated illustration reproductions sanctioned by the original artists on reliable platforms like DROOL Whatever your tastes, you’re sure to find something that really speaks to you.


Should You Choose Photos or Illustrations for Your Wall?




You can’t go wrong with either. Both photos and illustrations can bring out the full depth and character of an interior space, provided you choose the right ones. For these kinds of wall art, you just need to make sure that what you’re getting is authentic, printed on good quality stock, and produced with ecologically sustainable materials and processes. It’s also good to consider whether you need a UV-blocking glaze or a specific frame design that will work with the rest of your interior.


Most importantly, there is no “right” way to enjoy art. There are plenty of wonderful implementations of wall art in interior designs that combine both illustrations and photos, so feel free to mix and match both mediums. If it looks great and feels right to you, then that’s all that really matters.

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