Unfortunately there is no universally agreed definition for
the term Giclée. So its always worth investigating how a Giclée
print has been produced before you buy it !
Our simplest definition for Giclée is:
Giclée (pron. 'jee-clay') - a process for printing
fine-art using very fine droplets of ink to produce very accurate reproductions.’
But of course there is quite a lot more to it than that.
To be of the very highest quality, a Giclée print will
comply with all of the key points above – if any of the key points are absent,
the quality of the print may be drastically reduced.
The Origin of Giclée
The first Giclée prints were produced in the early
1990s when the first large format inkjet printers emerged that were capable of
printing on non-standard printing paper and other stocks .
These devices were originally designed to enable specialist
printers and reprographics companies to produce ‘proofs’ of advertisements
to be placed in newspapers and magazines – on the actual stock
that they would finally be printed on. It was soon realised that
these devices could also be used to reproduce fine-art on high quality art stocks
and on real canvas.
The term ‘Giclée’, derived from the French
‘to-spray’, was coined to differentiate these fine-art prints from
prints produced using a conventional printing process.
Giclée vs Conventional Printing
Over 95% of colour printing today is produced using an ‘offset
lithographic’ printing process using 4 coloured printing inks (CMYK inks).
These four inks, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (K), are applied to paper in
small dots of varying size. The different dots of ink are ‘offset’
from one another on the paper (usually in rosette type shapes) and together form
the illusion of a relatively broader range of colour.
Just look closely enough at any magazine or conventionally
printed material and you will see that what your eye sees as an image with a wide
range of colour - is in fact produced using only four coloured inks.
CMYK printing has inherent limitations. Reproducing the entire
spectrum of colour by placing different amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow and black
ink next to each other on paper – is of course impossible !
But, with the skills of a very experienced printer or reprographics
expert these inherent limitations can be overcome to enable colour printed material
of a reasonably high quality to be produced at a very low cost.
However, it’s one thing to produce a magazine or product
brochure with acceptable colour reproduction quality - and quite another to faithfully
reproduce fine-art with a wide range and vibrant depth of colour !
Conventionally produced CMYK art prints look generally a little
dull and lifeless when compared to real Giclée prints.
N.B. Unfortunately, some prints are claimed to be Giclée
prints, but are reproduced using conventional (CMYK) printing processes –
beware of these inferior quality prints.
Giclée – High Fidelity Printing
Today’s most advanced printing devices, used for producing
Giclée prints, use up to eight different coloured inks, thereby producing
a far wider range and depth of colour than conventional CMYK printing. But crucially
they also mix inks. So, rather than simply arranging inks together to form the
illusion of ‘continuous tone’ colour, Giclée print devices
mix a wide palette of colours together to produce truly vibrant, accurate colour
reproductions with wide tonal ranges.
In the same way that you can mix together the colours red,
blue and green together with white and black to produce almost, but not quite,
the entire spectrum of colour, Giclée printing mixes colour to produce
a colour range that extend to the perceptible limits of the eye.
Giclee on Canvas – Looks just like the Original !
One of the major benefits of the Giclée process is
the ability to print on real artists canvas. The result is stunning, vibrant colour
reproduction combined with the texture of real canvas – prints that look
just like an original work of art.
Giclée Archive Inks – Reproductions that Last Lifetimes
Until very recently there were just two main types of ink
used by high-resolution inkjet devices - pigment and dye-based inks.
Pigment inks are very stable and have properties that inhibit
fading. But, they produce a limited range of colour – not very suitable
for Giclée prints.
Dye based inks produce a very wide range of vibrant colour.
But, unfortunately they do deteriorate quite rapidly – again not very suitable
for Giclée printing.
Today’s advanced hybrid inks combine the benefits of
both Pigment and Dye based inks – vibrant, long lasting colour. These ‘archive
quality’ inks have been independently tested to resist any visible fading
for over 100 years !
N.B. Again be aware that some Giclée prints that you
may be offered, are produced using non-archive quality inks.
Giclée – Expertly Produced
Perfect Giclée prints are a result of the expert application
of today’s most advanced printing technologies. However, producing the highest
quality prints requires considerable expertise in order to produce the first high
quality reproduction, and to ensure that the quality of the subsequent reproductions
matches the first print.
The fine tolerances of highly accurate Giclée print
devices need expert maintenance and re-calibration to ensure consistent quality.
OldMastersOnline Giclée Prints
All our Giclée canvasses are:
- Printed on highest quality canvas as used by Museums and Art
Galleries across the world.
- Produced using genuine ‘archive-quality’ inks
using the most advanced colour printing process available.
- Reproduced with over 10 years of expertise in high quality
Click your Browser Back Button to return to the previous