Most basic definition, giclée is a French term for “to spray” or “to squirt”. It references the process that an inkjet printer uses to reproduce fine art or photography to create individual copies of the original piece. It is important to note that not all inkjet prints are giclée prints. With giclée printing, you can expect a higher quality product that lasts longer than your run-of-the-mill inkjet prints and there are certain criteria that must be met for a print to be considered a giclée
To uphold the quality of a true giclée, the resolution must be at least 300 dots per inch (DPI). Our systems are setting 1200-2400DPI.
Think about when you zoom in on a photograph. The more you zoom in, the more distorted the image becomes. To maintain the integrity of the work, you must increase the DPI because the more dots there are in a small space, the more detailed the final product becomes.
The next aspect to consider is what printer is used to print your giclée.
The type of printer used to produce a giclée print will impact the quality of the end product. Technical skills and stable equipment can make or break the giclée. Additionally, check the ink of the printer. The ink used for a giclée printer should be pigment-based, while a lower grade inkjet printer will use dye-based ink.
Finally but not the least, it is important to identify the medium that you want to have your giclée printed on. You have the choice of buying a giclée on archival paper or canvas. For giclée printing, the paper must be archival quality to ensure the longevity of the artwork. Canvas is essentially a fabric that has been specially prepared to handle and retain high-quality pigmented inks. It is sturdy and has archival properties, like archival paper, which means it is acid-free and will hold up to the standards set for a giclée.
In terms of price, printing on paper is generally about half the price of printing on canvas. As to be expected, the thicker, fabric-type material of high-quality canvas is more expensive than that of high-quality paper. The process necessary to create giclée prints on paper is less intensive and therefore more budget-friendly.
In addition, you must take into account the cost of protecting and framing the artwork. To maintain the integrity of a giclée print on paper, it is important to protect the work behind glass. An acid-free mat and quality-frame are recommended as well, which oftentimes are more expensive than the giclée itself. With a canvas print, it is not necessary to have a protective pane or frame to hang it. Depending on your aesthetic preference, you have the choice to hang the canvas free of frame, with a traditional frame, or with a modern floating frame. A floating frame is exactly what it sounds like: there is a small gap between the canvas and the frame edges, which creates the illusion of a floating giclée within the frame.
Finally, there is the option to have your giclée embellished. Embellishments are artistic alterations made by artists to the giclée print to customize the piece. Only canvas prints can be embellished and, because of this, canvas prints tend to resemble an original painting more closely than a giclée print on archival paper.