Giclee Printing 101

Giclee Printing 101


You may have heard the term “giclee” before. However, even if you haven’t, I am sure you have probably seen a giclee print before. Pronounced like “zhee-clay”, giclee printing can be described simply as a type of inkjet printing. Although inkjet printing can be done on your home printer, please be advised that not all prints are giclee prints. Giclee prints are unmatched in quality and are superior to typical ink-jet prints. So what is the difference? In this article, we will take you through the basics of giclee printing, the tools needed and the overall benefits.

What is it?

As stated before, giclee printing is a type of inkjet printing. However, giclee is a much higher quality print that boasts a much longer lifespan and an even better overall look. A giclee can also be described as a digital reproduction of artwork consisting of drawings, paintings, photographs and those created using computer software. You may argue that an inkjet print done correctly looks just as professional as a giclee print. However, in most instances, that is just not the case.

These prints are created by using professional printers using 8 colors to 12 color inkjet. These printers are made by professional companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Epson. These printers are remarkably modern and can create amazingly detailed prints of all types of different art. These high quality prints are usually found in museums and art galleries all over the world.

What makes a print a giclee print? Through the use of high quality products, these prints are made to look amazingly sharp. There are certain tools needed to create an actual giclee print.

Tools Needed

  • A professional pigment-ink printer
  • Pigment- ink printer ink
  • Professional paper

The main difference between a typical ink-jet print and a giclee print is the printer used. A giclee print is printed using an ink-jet printer that uses pigment ink rather than your typical dye based ink. These printers are usually larger than average printers than have room for multiple color cartridges of ink. These printers can hold up to 12 different colors, therefore having a wider range to print with. Pigment ink is a much higher quality than dye ink. Pigment ink can lasts upwards of 200 years without major fading! The paper you use is also one of the main differences between an ink-jet print and a giclee print. Professional paper will say so on the box and will mention it being of archival quality. Make sure the paper is also acid free and consists of cotton or rag base. There are several types of professional paper out there to fit your needs. These are all important tools for giclee printing and will not be seen in your typical ink-jet print.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of giclee printing are many however there are a few huge advantages to using this form of printing.

  • Quality
  • Customization
  • On-Demand

The quality of a giclee print cannot be rivaled. As stated before, a giclee print can last up to 200 years if cared for. The color is more vibrant and the details can be seen in full color. The entire process is professional, from the paper to the ink. The paper will not cause the ink to fade and the ink will last. Giclee prints can also be customized. When you are printing your artwork size customization is important. You can print any size needed from a 5 by 7 to huge wall prints. You can also use these printers to print onto other types of media as needed. This opens new doors of possibility for artists and their work. On-demand printing of your work is important as an artist. By using a giclee printing process, you can reproduce your work as needed instead of printing larger quantities than you actually need. This also keeps you from having to hire a printer to do the work for you. The opportunities are endless.

In conclusion, it is obvious that giclee printing is top notch compared to standard ink-jet printing. The quality is unmatched. You can customize your prints to whatever size needed and print on-demand as you deem fit. Not all prints can be termed a giclee print. By doing your research first you can learn the difference between standard prints and this high quality print. If you are interested in true giclee, make sure you purchase the correct tools, do your research to find the best products and then use your creativity to your advantage.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *