Selling and stocking posters is not only a retail business, but it also provides a mail-order opportunity. Posters are almost always printed on various grades of paper (some are printed on cloth or canvas like an art print) and storing paper involves keeping it flat, dry and cool, or folding or rolling. Because posters are displayed flat and vertical on a wall--either bare or framed-- you should store them in the same manner they will be displayed.
Poster prints come off the press flat and stacked and will remain this way unless affected by climate or conditions. The best way to store poster prints is boxing them in a volume easily moved by hand. Some posters, at 3 or 4 feet in width and equal length, can add up to a heavy load with just 100 stacked together. Avoid volumes that can’t be kept flat and smooth when moved from shelf to table or back again. Also, avoid hot or humid storage areas. These can affect printing inks and paper composition. Paper browns and inks fade even if kept in a dark, but hot location. Attics and open warehouses with tremendous temperature changes through the day could ruin a poster inventory in just a few weeks.
If packaging the posters individually in cellophane or other clear plastic wrap, be sure to keep the package in a moderate climate. Hot temperatures can make turn plastic wrap brittle, making it easily torn. Also, if packaging and displaying posters with a cardboard backing sheet, do not fasten the poster to the cardboard with any tape, glue or staple, as the poster may be damaged when the customer tries to release it from the fastener.
Things to Avoid
Avoid folding posters in an effort to conserve space. Folding of a large printed image can “crack” ink and leave permanent lines and marks on the poster. Also, folding can lead to printed surfaces touching, causing ink to stick or transfer. This can ruin a printed image.
Don’t roll your poster prints for storage. If you are using mailing tubes to ship posters, wait until filling an order before rolling the poster and inserting it into the tube. The longer paper remains rolled, the more difficult it can be to get it flat again. A customer would prefer to have a poster emerge from the tube and unroll for easy display than have a coiled roll tube of paper. This can cause the corners of the poster to curl and wrinkle, even in the tightest and most pressed frame or wall display.
Wesley Tucker is a lifelong southerner whose politics are objective, whose sports are many and whose avocations range from aviation to anthropology to history and all forms of media. With a master's degree in mass communications from the University of South Carolina College of Journalism, Tucker has been a writer for more than 30 years, with work ranging from news reports to feature stories.