WhiteWall Direct Print on Wood Review: A natural-looking print with its very own personality
posted Friday, September 15, 2017 at 7:00 AM EDT
You may recall last month when we shared news about WhiteWall's new direct print on wood product. The folks at White Wall were kind enough to provide me a code to order my own 20 x 15 inch wooden print. Let's take a closer look at the new product and how my own print turned out.
The ordering process is a breeze. You need to prepare your file in the AdobeRGB or sRGB color space (it will be changed to sRGB for printing), but you need to ensure that the file has the color space embedded. You should also set it to a resolution of 300 pixels per inch. You then select your desired printing size, whether or not you want a white border (I did not) and if you want White Wall to apply its auto-optimization, which adjusts brightness, contrast and color. I also did not want the optimization, as I had prepared my file on a calibrated monitor. There is no .icc profile to download for checking your file when printing on wood as there is too much variation in the wood.
On the topic of the wood, the prints are made using a 7-color process directly onto birch wood which is peeled in single pieces from a log. The wood is then pressed into a 3/4-inch layered structure plywood for stability and durability. As the wood is prepared in single pieces, the maximum size is less than many other WhiteWall offerings, but you can still get prints nearly 40 inches on their longest edge. The prints also arrive ready to hang with milled slots on the back. I ended up wanting to use a wire hanger so I drilled holes for my preferred hanging method, but the slots it comes with are convenient for easy hanging on two screws or small nails.
I was also impressed with the packaging. The print was delivered in less than a week and it came heavily packaged with corner protectors. Unsurprisingly, the print was in perfect condition when I pulled it from the custom CNC machined packaging.
What about the print itself? The appeal for me of my print on wood is that it's truly individual. It's a natural look that is 100% unique. The grain is distinct to each print. In my case, there was some heavy grain marking in the water, which might bother me if a traditional print had that kind of mark, but in this case it's character. If you want a perfect print, wood is not the right option. But if you want a print with a natural look that has individuality, it's a good option.
The color reproduction is quite nice, although a bit warm as I expected. The print is a little bit darker in the white areas than I expected, but the overall print is quite similar in overall brightness to my calibrated monitor (which is calibrated to a brightness of 80 candelas per square meter and a color temperature of 6500 Kelvin). Given the inconsistent and natural surface of the birch wood, you aren't going to be able to print the same level of high detail you could on a nice paper, but from a normal viewing distance, the print looks rich and sharp. There are some small flecks of wood that stands out from the rest, being a bit lighter, but it's these imperfections that give it the natural look I wanted.
Overall, I'm very impressed with the print. It looks great.
For the purposes of this review, WhiteWall supplied me with a redemption code to receive a 20 x 15 inch wooden print free of charge. No other compensation was received in exchange for this review.
Note that photographs of prints are not a perfect representation. I tried to edit the images to match how the print looks to my eyes when viewing it in a naturally-lit room with light green walls.