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GICLEE PETIT

THE LITTLE PRINT COMPANY

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If you’ve ever considered printing fine art prints, you’re sure to come across giclee prints as an option. Giclee printing is a printing process in which pigment-based inks are squirted onto the medium of choice. If you’ve seen a giclee print in person, you know that their beauty and brilliance set the standard for fine art high. After admiring such a print, maybe you’ve wondered how to make a giclee print.

The Difference Between Standard and Giclee Prints

Understanding what sets giclee prints apart from standard photographic prints is the first step in learning how giclee prints are made. The basic principle behind giclee prints is that a 12 color inkjet printer squirts pigmented-based ink onto the printing medium. Unlike most inkjet printers, the 12 color inkjet allows for a more truer color representation; because a typical printer only offers four colors, that alone creates a vast difference in recreating true-to-life prints.

How Giclee Prints Are Made

Remember that giclee comes from the French word meaning “to squirt”; ink is squirted, drop by drop, during the giclee printing process. But beyond just the ink, there are three more elements at play when creating a true giclee print:

  1. Document resolution: Whether you are printing a digital print of your family vacation or printing a reproduction of an original piece of artwork, the resolution of the image must be at least 300 dots per inch (DPI). If you are using a digital image, you can check the resolution setting in Photoshop. Alternatively, if you are reproducing a piece of art, you should use a high-quality scanner that is capable of creating an image with that resolution.
  2. Choosing the right medium: The medium of a giclee print is very important when creating a giclee print. To ensure that prints never fade or yellow, the paper must be archival quality. If you are purchasing your own paper to make your prints, also ensure that your paper is 100% cotton or rag as well as acid-free. These must be listed on the package of paper. 
  3. Printer and ink: Once you have your document at the right resolution and you have the correct canvas or paper, the printer and ink must come into play. Whereas standard inkjet printers use dye-based ink, the giclee inkjet uses pigments. These pigments are squirted into tiny dots, thus creating the artwork.

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