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What is Giclee Printing?

I often have customers ask me what a Giclée print is, so I thought I’d write a little blog to answer this question…

An important starting point is to understand that a Giclée Print is simply a high quality digital print. The confusion comes when understanding what the high quality elements are that separate a standard ink jet print to a Giclée print.

Let’s start with the actual word Giclée; pronounced “G-clay” it is a french verb that means to squirt or to spray. So in terms of printing this would relate to an inkjet printer. So to fulfil the quality aspect the inkjet printer would need to be of professional standard with more than the basic CMYK, so 4 ink cartridges. One of the beauties of Giclée printing is the depth of colour that can be achieved and this comes from the multiple ink cartridges. My printer for example has 9 different inks.

So we’ve got the ink side down, now if we used for example my 9 cartridge inkjet printer and printed onto standard A4 printer paper. We would not achieve a Giclée print and you’d probably also find that the paper would be soaked through with the ink!

To achieve a Giclée Print you need to follow this formula:

Quality pigment based inks + Archival quality paper = Giclée Print

It’s really important that the paper is of Archival Quality as the inks require it to do there thing and work to their full potential. With this right formula you can achieve a gorgeous print, rich in colour and depth, which will stand the test of time and not fade.

Of course to gain a Giclée print isn’t cheap and I often see artists selling digital prints at the same price as my Giclée prints and it is frustrating, so if you’re ever buying a print ask what the print process is, the artist will only be too happy to explain.

I hope this answers the key question and makes somes sense!

TM x


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