What is Giclee and when to print on it

Artists are always on the lookout for new ways to practice their craft, and even though Giclee printing has been around for a couple of decades, prior to the advent of the new technology, for those who desire a quality reproduction once had to utilize four-color offset lithography to reproduce their original two-dimensional artwork.

While effective, four-color offset lithography presents distinct disadvantages in that the full job needs to be set up and produced in one run of a mass edition.

Also, when creating art via the old method, the job required expensive set up costs that include printing plate setups, and the need to subsequently store and market the resulting inventory has cost and logistical problems associated with their use.

What is Giclee Printing?

When first devised, the term Giclee applied to the creation of fine art on IRIS printers in the latter 1980s, but the process has since come to include any type of inkjet printer process that fold in other technological innovations.

The new techniques allow for such considerations as fade resistance, pigment-based prints, which work well with a variety of archival substrates that bring a great deal of textures and finishes into play.

For instance, Giclee Printing can be produced on a wide array of mediums including matte photo paper, cotton canvases, watercolors, or artist textured vinyl.

The resultant product features all the hues and the tonalities of the original painting, but owing to the fact that neither screen nor other mechanical devices are employed in the reproduction, there is a distinct lack of any visible screen pattern.

Giclee, a French word meaning to spray, garnered its name from the way an inkjet printer operates. That being said however, standard inkjet printers are much smaller than the machines used to reproduce Giclee, which require a large formatted printer.

If you are looking for a new way to reproduce your artwork digitally, the Giclee printing method is the best way to deliver a quality artistic piece of work.

How Does Giclee Effect Printing Quality?

Originally used to depict digital representations of conventional artwork whether utilizing drawings, paintings, or photography, now the process is generally meant to include any artistic project that might be completely created with the digital environment.

Regardless, Giclee printing is designed to produce artwork that is of both higher quality and a longer lifespan than the standard desktop inkjet printer. While Giclee printing is considered a type of inkjet printing, not all inkjet prints are in reality Giclee prints.

Indeed, to be considered an actual Giclee print, the piece must conform to three basic criteria that include document resolution, choice of paper, and the type of inkjet printer utilized.

Document resolution—to guarantee that your final print exhibits the highest quality detail and does not show signs of fragmentation, your document resolution should be set no less than 300 dots per inch (DPI). To be considered as a Giclee print the scanner, or camera, you use should have a minimum resolution of 300DPI.

Paper Selection—the next criterion that must be met involves the proper selection of paper. Rather than simply grabbing a ream of 20-pound office paper, you want to look for such terms as acid free, archival, and 100% cotton or rag base. The key factor however, is that the paper is of archival quality because this is the best paper for color reproduction and longevity of the finished art piece. A properly cared for Giclee print can be expected to last the owner for more than a century.

Proper Ink and Printers—as mentioned, a Giclee print is created on a large format printer, and the primary distinction that characterizes the true Giclee print is the use of pigment-based inks in comparison to the dry-based inks that are employed in lower cost inkjet units. Pigment-based ink provides the longevity in color and gives the finished product its longevity.

Tips for Printing like a Professional

If you are thinking about diving into the artistic world of Giclee prints, you will want to do your homework when shopping around for the best materials and equipment.

Specifically, if you are contracting work out to a printing company, you will want to talk to others in the artistic community who has used their services in the past. Make sure that you receive a good value and receive quality images for your efforts.

Secondly, you should assure that your files are large enough to result in superior quality prints, and that any printers used are capable of operating at the highest resolution as possible. The last thing that you want showing up in your finished print is the dot matrix pattern of inferior inkjet printers.

As such, do your homework to make sure that your printer is not only using the very best in large format, inkjet capabilities, but you want to make sure that they are using the signature pigment-based ink that is characteristics of the genre.