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Does Using Print Shield Alter the Colors?

Updated: Dec 23, 2023

According to the manufacturer:

PremierArt™ Print Shield Spray is a lacquer based protective coating for inkjet prints. Its low solids formulation maintains the original look of the surface of the print and eliminates gloss differential common with pigmented inks. Perfect for any fine art ink jet print that needs protection. Also works great with RC photo papers.

we offer coating with Print Shield as an option - in our online ordering system just choose Spray Lacquer as the Coating option.

But... does this coating affect the colors of your prints? I don't really know myself - so lets do a quick test on our most popular cotton art paper, Aurora Art Natural from Red River Paper.

Note that we are a Red River Paper Print Services Provider and Affiliate Partner.


If you want to skip the testing details, the final result is "it makes the print very very slightly darker, but doesn't affect the colors to any perceptible degree"

keep reading for all the testing details to learn how we came to that conclusion


Note that this is just a quick evaluation on a single paper - doing a full test later on will involve multiple types of paper and a lot more color patches.

To start, I printed two copies of our ICC Profile Quick Evaluation Form:

and, after drying, coated one with three coats of Print Shield and left the other uncoated.

Doing a quick side by side visual evaluation shows them to be nearly identical as far as my eyes can tell. The green and purple look very slightly darker to me on the coated version.


Lets find out if that's right by doing some actual sciency measurements with a spectrophotometer.

We will go patch-by-patch and compare the coated and uncoated. In each of the screenshots below, the uncoated will be on the left, and the coated will be on the right.

Don't get scared off by the graphs and numbers, the meaning behind them will be explained.

Green Patch

What we can see here is the coated green patch is slightly darker, the red line, which represents the coated patch in the graph, is slightly lower than the black line, which represents the uncoated patch - this simply means that the coated one is a little bit darker. This can also be seen in the first set of the L*a*b* numbers, the first one the overall lightness value (lower number means darker).

The two lines follow each other pretty closely, but there is a bigger difference in the green area of the spectrum, indicating the coating may have dulled the green just a tad.

The "delta E" value, shown on the far right, is 1.47 - this means that there is a difference between the two colors but the difference is imperceptible to most people.


Red Patch

Again, here we see the red line is slightly lower than the black, indicating that its overall slightly darker. A delta E value here of of 2.07 indicates that most people wont be able to tell the difference.


Medium Gray

Same overall trend here. Just very slightly darker overall than the uncoated, this one has a very slight shift toward yellow. Again, not perceptibly different to most people


Light Brown

Nearly identical in color, just the coated one is ever so slightly darker. Difference is imperceptible to most people



The purple one is a tiny bit more green on the coated patch - but with a delta E of only 1.41 not many people at all are going to be able to tell the difference.



Bucking the trend a little bit, the black patch is actually a teeny-tiny bit lighter on the coated version. With a delta E of only 0.6 only super-humans are going to be able to tell any difference.



As usual, the coated one is very slightly darker. Its also slightly more magenta.

Delta E of 1.3 means very few people are going to be able to pick out the difference.



Like most of the others, the light gray patch is just slightly darker on the coated version. You can see where the red line gets a little closer to the black line in blue/violet area - thats because the coater patch is just very slightly bluer than the uncoated. But as with most of the others here, nobody doing any real level of critical scrutiny will be able to perceive a difference.

Want to coat your own prints with Print Shield? You can grab a can from Red River Paper here:

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to see the results of us leaving both of these prints exposed to sunlight and elements in a future article!

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