What Is Giclee Printing?

by Michael McCarty
Founder, Tribeca Printworks

Giclee Printing

If you have been searching for ways to make your artwork or photographs come to life, look no further than the impressive method of giclee printing. Giclee print is a fascinating alternative to typical printing jobs where you can see more detail and longer preservation for your artwork, photographs and artifacts.

Learn more about giclee prints and how you can benefit from this printing method for any project.

Where Does Giclee Come From?

As a starting point, the word itself, pronounced “gee clay,” is of French origin. However, its use in the world of fine art printing is an American construct. Loosely translated, it means “to spray.” Printmaker Jack Duganne of Duganne Editions in Santa Monica coined the phrase in the mid-1990s to refer to prints made with emerging technology. The digital printers in use at that time, Iris printers, did indeed spray the ink onto the paper’s surface, deflecting away the droplets that the image did not require.

The name caught on even though the Piezo drop-on-demand printers used today replaced the Iris printer and use a very different process. Piezo drop-on-demand print technology often features eight or nine ink cartridges feeding into a print head with tiny charged crystals within the chamber of each color. The crystals vibrate to release the appropriate amount of ink “on-demand” via electrostatic charge to produce your print.

What Is a Giclee Print?

In today’s world of fine art and technological advancements, giclee printing is a type of digital printing that creates a higher quality outcome for photographs, artwork, collages and other designs that come to life on paper. The main difference between giclee printing and standard inkjet printing is the tones printers use.

Most printers you can find in stores and available for public use contain yellow, black, cyan and magenta. In contrast, giclee printing uses a wider selection of less common shades, including light magenta, light cyan, orange, green and grays. With the broader scope of colors to print your images with, you can enjoy a higher-quality printing process that lets your work shine naturally.

Benefits of Giclee Printing

Although you may not hear the term “giclee” much in the art world, this printing method has many benefits when preserving your photographs or artwork with the highest quality finish. Whether you intend to print your work, create new hanging artwork at home or in public, or plan to preserve old photographs, giclee print can be your new go-to choice for quality images for everyone to admire!

The benefits of giclee printing include:

  • Portfolio production: If you are working on an artwork or photography portfolio, giclee printing can help you capture your efforts in high definition so others can admire the details of your work. The quality of each image can make your portfolio come to life so you can continue to gain recognition for your talents while broadening your creative horizons for future projects.
  • Longevity: One of the most significant features of giclee printing is the preservation of images, artwork and artifacts that anyone can use. Giclee print lasts 200 years without signs of fading or natural aging that most images show after storing for long periods. This benefit is perfect for those who hang artwork and artifacts in museums or enjoy preserving family photographs for future generations.
  • High definition and quality: The careful printing process of giclee techniques and the wider range of shades used for each image gives the final product the highest quality possible. Most printing options use pixels and dot screening to recreate original photos. However, giclee printing relies on the broader spectrum of available colors to capture the original piece perfectly for a high-definition replica you can admire for years.
  • Reproduction: Giclee printing is the perfect option for people who sell their photographs or artwork. Since giclee print can replicate an original piece without the quality decreasing with each copy, artists can enjoy selling as many images as possible with the high definition and detail that admirers love.

What Images Are Best for Giclee Printing?

Since giclee printing specializes in high-quality details and longevity after producing your chosen image, the best images you can print are ones you want to preserve for years to come. However, you can still select giclee printing for any of your decoration or exhibition needs if you simply enjoy the look of high-definition photographs and artwork.

Many choose giclee print for archival photos and artifacts because this printing method leaves no visible dot screen pattern and replicates even the smallest details. History lovers also enjoy the high-quality production of renowned artwork from well-known artists or significant artifacts.

Giclee Paper vs. Canvas

You can choose giclee printing for various types of material to print your image on, including high-quality paper and canvas. While both these options are appropriate for displaying prints around your home or office, there are a few notable differences that can make your decision easier.

Many artists use the convenience of canvas prints to display their artwork or photographs with ease. With a canvas print, you do not have to frame or add glass protectants to preserve the image. You only need to print your work on the canvas and hang it wherever you please! With paper prints, you can find framing options and a glass cover to help protect the image when you display the print. This difference typically means a small change in pricing based on whether you need a frame.

Both options are wonderful for showcasing your work and preserving beautiful photographs for you to enjoy for years to come.

How Can Tribeca Printworks Help You?

If giclee printing sounds like the perfect way to highlight your artwork or other images you love, Tribeca Printworks can help make these prints come to life! Our team of artists, art lovers and enthusiasts value working with artists of all experiences and aesthetic preferences so we can get to know more about you and your work when you print with us.

At Tribeca Printworks, we prioritize providing you with the highest quality images with the help of giclee printing for all your decoration, restoration and exhibition needs. You have the creative freedom to choose between expertly curated paper selections and giclee print options to give your work an extra spark when you’re ready to display your piece.

Get started on your giclee print project today.

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