This term, pronounced “zhee-KLAY”, is an industry buzz word among artists and we often receive questions about it. So what is giclée and what qualifies the use of that term?
Giclée was first used as a way to describe fine art printing done on a large-format, high-resolution industrial prepress proofing inkjet printer. For anyone who doesn’t have years of inside knowledge of printing technology, that means the term was used to describe a specific printing process without using marketing-unfriendly words such as “inkjet” or “computer generated”.
Today the term is used with types of inkjet printing but with no industry-regulated standard as to what counts as giclée printing, which leaves it up to companies offering it as a product to define and leaves customers rather in the dark.
At Photo Media Décor, we honour the term’s integrity and require strict qualifications to be met for our giclée printing:
- Acid-free, lignin-free archival substrates: any fine art papers, canvas, and photo paper are required to be acid-free and lignin-free which can make paper brittle and deteriorate over time. Whatever you choose to do your giclée print on, it’s going to stand the test of time.
- Fade-resistant, pigment-based ink: also known as water-based ink, the inks we use are fade-resistant and are used to last up to archival standards.
- Nine colour cartridges: our giclée is printed on an Epson 11880 which uses the CMYK color process, but has variations of each of each colour (CcMmYK model) such as light magenta in addition to regular magenta. This offers an apparent increase in resolution and colour gamut, and allows us to hit smoother gradient transitions. You’re getting the most accurate colour when you request a giclée print with us.
It is important to note that while archival standards are designed to last decades or even up to centuries for museum, government, and archival purposes, there are other environmental factors that can affect the longevity of your prints. Light, heat, and humidity can all deteriorate your prints by making them brittle, mouldy, or cause the substrates to break down. For the best results, keep your prints out of direct sunlight or UV light, stored in a dry, cool area.