What's the Difference Between a Giclee Print and a Standard Print?
What is a Giclee Print?
Fine art prints or giclee prints are only printed on expensive high quality archival papers or canvas. The materials and inks must also be acid free and are traditionally made from 100% cotton canvas or rag paper. This is because these papers and canvases produce the best results for longevity and colour reproduction.
What are the differences between a giclee print and an ordinary print?
The main difference between a standard print and a giclee print is that giclee prints are made using only the best and most expensive materials and inks. The papers, canvases and inks used in the giclee process have a very long lifespan and as such, they are called ‘fully archival’ and can last anywhere from 100 to 200 years without any significant deterioration, fading or yellowing.
On the other hand, ordinary prints are made using lower cost dye-based inks and cheaper papers that tend to fade and decline very quickly.
How are giclee prints made?
Giclee prints are made using very expensive, large-format printers that contain between 8 to 12 colour ink cartridges as opposed to the 3 colour cartridges on an ordinary printer.
Because of the high number of ink cartridges and the quality of inks used, giclee prints have a richer, more sophisticated colour range than other printers can produce.
Why are giclee prints so expensive?
Giclee prints tend to be more expensive due to several factors in the production process.
Firstly, for a person to label themselves a giclee printer, they must undergo a high level of professional training to operate the large-format printers and, in some cases, receive an accreditation to earn the title of being a fully accredited giclee printmaker.
Next, the materials required to produce a giclee print must be fully archival. This means that the most expensive papers such as French, cold pressed 100% cotton rag and the German Hahnemühle papers are the materials of choice in addition to the high grade, pigment based inks. These combinations result in museum and art gallery grade prints that don’t compromise on quality.
On top of this, the giclee printing process itself is a very long operation as only one print at a time can go through the printer. Considering some giclee prints are over 1.5 meters in length, the printing process can be very time consuming and slow.
How long will giclee prints last?
The nature of the archival papers and inks ensure that, if properly cared for, a giclee print can last at least 100 to 200 years without obvious fading.
Looking after your giclee print requires paper prints to be framed under glass and placed in a location away from direct sunlight. Although hardier than paper prints, canvas prints should also not be placed where they will receive lots of direct sunlight.