What is Giclee?

  1. a digital printing process in which an ink-jet printer is used to produce a high-quality art print.
    "giclee is the only printing technique that captures the essence of my watercolors"
    • a print produced using the giclee process.
      "65 per cent of galleries now sell giclees
      1990s: from French giclée ‘spurt, squirt’.


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      Giclée (/ʒˈkl/ zhee-KLAY) is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers.[1] The name originally applied to fine art prints created on a modified Iris printer in a process invented in the late 1980s. It has since been used loosely to mean any fine-art, most of the times archival, inkjet print. It is often used by artists, galleries, and print shops to suggest high quality printing but since it is an unregulated word it has no associated warranty of quality.[2]


      The word giclée was adopted by Jack Duganne around 1990. He was a printmaker working at Nash Editions. He wanted a name for the new type of prints they were producing on a modified Iris printer, a large-format, high-resolution industrial prepress proofing inkjet printer on which the paper receiving the ink is attached to a rotating drum and that they had adapted for fine-art printing. He was specifically looking for a word that would differentiate them from regular commercial IRIS prints then used as proofs in the commercial printing industry. "Giclée" is based on the French word gicleur, the French technical term for a jet or a nozzle, and the verb coming from it "gicler" (to squirt out). "Une giclée" (noun) means a spurt of some liquid.[3][4][5] The French verb form gicler means to spray, spout, or squirt. It describes the movement of a liquid that is suddenly under violent pressure and has only got a tiny hole to exit the compressed space in which it is. Duganne settled on the noun giclée. [6][7][8]

      Current usage[edit]

      Besides its original association with Iris prints, the word giclée has come to be somewhat loosely associated with other types of inkjet printing including processes that use dyes or fade-resistant, archival inks (pigment-based), and archival substrates primarily produced on Canon, Epson, HP and other large-format printers.[9] These printers use the CMYK  (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) color process as a base but may have other added color cartridges for better color or black and white rendition (such as light magenta and light cyan, light and very light gray, even orange and green  inks in addition to regular cyan, magenta yellow and black inks); these improve the apparent color gamut and allow smoother gradient transitions and more accurate colors.[10] A wide variety of substrates on which an image can be printed with such inks are available, including various textures and finishes such as matte photo paper, watercolor paper, cotton canvas, pre-coated canvas, or artist textured vinyl.


      Artists generally use inkjet printing to make reproductions of their original two-dimensional artwork, photographs, or computer-generated art. Professionally produced inkjet prints are much more expensive on a per-print basis than the four-color offset lithography process traditionally used for such reproductions. (A large-format inkjet print can cost more than $50, not including scanning and color correction, compared to $5 for a four-color offset litho print of the same image in a run of 1,000.) Four-color offset lithographic presses have the disadvantage of the full job having to be set up and produced all at once in a mass edition. With inkjet printing the artist does not have to pay for the expensive printing plate setup or the marketing and storage needed for large four-color offset print runs. This allows the artist to follow a just-in-time business model in which inkjet printing can be an economical option, since art can be printed and sold individually in accordance with demand. Inkjet printing has the added advantage of allowing artists to take total control of the production of their images, including the final color correction and the substrates being used. As a result numerous individual artists own and operate their own printers.


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