Giclee Printing

What is Giclee Printing?

Fine art giclee printing is a term coined by a printmaker named Jack Duganne for a fine art digital print made on inkjet printers that produce high-quality prints. It is based on the French word gicleur, a French term for an inkjet nozzle. The word "gicler" is a french verb that means "to spray or to squirt." A lot of people started to use the term giclee to mean a fine art digital print that was somehow better than an inkjet print. Epson was one of the first companies to promote giclee printing for fine art photography. Canon and HP followed suite and developed improved ink sets and printers for giclee printing.

These large format inkjet printers use small spraying devices that can both match color and apply ink precisely, giving a high-quality print. Resolution, ink, paper and printer type are important factors in determining whether or not it is a giclee art print. 

Giclee Printing

Giclee printing is a one of the best print reproduction methods available to photographers and artists alike. Giclee's can be printed on canvas, watercolor paper as well as fine art paper. Many paintings are reproduced onto canvas using giclee printing methods. When applying ink on a giclee art print the ink jet is applied in microscopic droplets. The colors and tones on the giclee art print are absolutely smooth and applied with extreme accuracy. Many photographers and artists alike, including myself, love using giclee printing for their clients.

Over the years the term giclee printing has fallen out of favor in fine art world, but as an artist we continue to be asked what this term means. Many printers have tried to coin their own words to replace the term giclee printing. Some of those terms would be "digital pigment prints" or "fine digital print". I personally don't mind the term "giclee printing" but many fine art galleries and museums do not like the term because it is overly pretentious.

Ink and Archival Paper

As far as ink and paper go, they must be of high quality and considered "archival." This is achieved using inks that are pigment-based instead of dye-based. The printing paper also must be designated as archival to consider these as giclee art prints. The paper should be acid free and of superior quality. The printer is typically a larger model that is able to hold up to 12 ink cartridges which produce a wide range of colors. The printer is able to apply the ink with extreme accuracy in order to achieve a giclee art print that is absolutely smooth with accurate color and tone renditions.

 Fine Art Giclée Print by Robbie George Photography

As a professional National Geographic photographer I want the best printing method available for my nature pictures and prefer to using giclee printing or "fine digital print" for my clients. If you are looking for a giclee art print please browse through my nature photography gallery to find a piece of nature art for your home wall decor today!