What is a giclee print?

A guide to giclee

A giclee print, also called a fine art print, is the closest duplication of an artwork that is physically possible.

The word “giclee” is a french term, which when translated means “to squirt out”. In the art world, it refers to the way an inkjet printer works – squirting or spraying the ink when printing artwork.

You might have also heard people mention “archival print” or “museum-grade printing.” All of these terms refer to the same process of art reproduction.

And a process it is.

In order to achieve a high quality fine art print, several steps must be followed. Specific equipment and materials must be used, and there is a certain degree of skill required of the person completing the job.

What’s the difference between a giclee and a traditional print?

A true giclee print will use pigment-based inks, archival material and a wide format printer that can hold up to 12 colours. A traditional print, or cheaper art print, will likely be printed on a lower end printer, using dye-based inks and paper than is a lower quality/not considered fine art paper.

The infographic below offers a nice visual of the process and benefits.

(click to enlarge image of infographic)

What is a giclee print

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Are all giclee prints of equal quality?

When comparing printing companies, many may appear to offer the exact same standard. Same inks, fine art material range, high tech equipment and even similar experience levels.

But, there is one critical part of the art reproduction process that sets companies apart.

The artwork capture.

The digital file used to produce your prints, plays a huge role in whether the final print looks “ok” or absolutely mind-blowing.

In other words, achieving the perfect print begins with the perfect artwork capture.

At Cie-Elle, we use a German built, large format flatbed scanner. This amazing piece of machinery allows us to scan artworks at over 800 megapixels, producing an extremely high resolution digital file. In turn, our artists can print in almost any size with exceptional detail and clarity. Printing in sizes larger than the original is even possible.

Read more about our artwork scanning process