What is a Giclée Print?

Giclée printing is the industry standard term for high quality reproduction printing. Pronounced 'zhee-clay', (even better if it's done with a French accent!) is based on the French word gicleur, meaning "nozzle" - the verb form gicler means "to squirt, spurt, or spray"  -doesn't sound quite so glamorous now does it!

Giclée prints are based on three major requirements:

  • Resolution - Any image that is to be printed as a giclée needs to be created at a resolution of no less than 300 dots per inch (DPI). In the case of a photo or conventional artwork reproduction, that means that the camera or scanner used to capture the image or scan the artwork must be able to do so at 300 DPI.
  • Paper - the paper or substrate used to actually print the final piece must be of archival quality. Typically it will say it is acid free and consists of a 100% cotton or rag base.
  • Ink - The biggest contrast between a standard inkjet print and a giclée print is that giclées are printed using pigment-based inks rather than the dye-based inks found in lower cost ink jets. Pigment-based inks have a longer life span that can last anywhere from 100 to 200 years without significant fading.

The type of printer used to create giclées is usually a larger format printer that specifically uses pigment-based inks and will hold around 8 to 12 different color ink cartridges. The more inks used, the more sophisticated the color range available on final output. 

Here at Art2Card we use a 12 colour printer and only source our ink and papers through reputable sources.