What is a Giclée? Giclée (zhee-klay)
The French word "Giclée" is a feminine French noun that refers to a spray or a spurt of liquid. The word may have been derived from the French verb "gicler" meaning "to squirt".
The term”Giclée print" defines the recent elevation in state-of-the-art printmaking technology. Images are generated from high resolution digital scans and printed with archival quality inks onto various substrates including canvas, fine art, and photo-base paper. The Giclée printing process provides better color accuracy than other means of reproduction.
The Giclée Process:
Giclée prints are created typically using professional 8-Color to 12-Color ink-jet printers. Among the manufacturers of these printers are industry leaders like Epson, Cannon and Hewlett-Packard. These modern technology printers are capable of producing incredibly detailed prints for both the fine art and photographic markets. Giclée prints are sometimes mistakenly referred to as Iris prints, which are 4-Color ink-jet prints from a printer pioneered in the late 1970s.
Why a Giclée?
Giclée prints are advantageous to artists who do not find it feasible to mass produce their work, but want to reproduce their art as needed, or on-demand. Once an image is digitally archived, additional reproductions can be made with minimal effort and reasonable cost. The prohibitive up-front cost of mass production for an edition is eliminated. Archived files will not deteriorate in quality as negatives and film inherently does. Another tremendous advantage of Giclée printing is that digital images can be reproduced to almost any size and onto various media, giving the artist the ability to customize prints for a specific client.
Is a Giclée the best Quality?
A museum quality archival Giclée rivals traditional silver-halide and gelatin printing processes and is commonly found in museums, art galleries, and photographic galleries.
Is a Giclée valuable?
Numerous examples of Giclée prints can be found in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Chelsea Galleries.
Types of Ink, Substrates and Papers: Pigment inks are defined as any type of printed image that uses strictly pigments. The image stability of pigment printing is superior to that of any other method of printing, including traditional silver-halide or metal-based.
Digital inkjet printing has seen a surge in the use of the pigment ink as ink sets have been refined to be compatible with the latest in high-resolution inkjet technology.
Where archival dye-based ink sets exhibit excellent color gamut, pigment inks excel in permanence. A dye is molecularly soluble in its vehicle, but pigment is not. Pigment particles tend to be large enough to embed into the receiving substrate making them water-resistant. The particulate nature of pigment inks ensures their archival superiority. A particle of pigment is less susceptible to destructive environmental elements than a dye molecule.
Many digital papers have coatings which enhance color gamut. However, these delicate coatings are susceptible to scuffing and scratching, and diminish the archival properties of the print. Prints made with coated substrates are not considered true digital pigment prints.