Giclée Printing


Giclée printing is a computerized, digital process that has revolutionized the quality and resolution of the reproduction of fine art.  Often termed IRIS giclée, after the original digital printer used for the process, it is contrasted with lithographic reproductions in that the dot patterns in giclée prints are not visible.  Because there are no screens involved, giclée prints have a higher resolution than offset lithographs.  Giclée prints so closely match the artist’s original work, that the prints are often mistaken for the originals.  Both the quality and the durability of the prints is equal to the original specifications.  These prints can be made on heavy, high quality watercolor paper, such as 140# Arches cold press or hot press.   To have an image reproduced in this process requires the skills of a good photographer, a drum scanner, and thousands of dollars for the special machinery that produces the image.  The image is stored in the computer and sent to the special printer that uses water-based organic inks. A series of tiny nozzles spray the paper, which is mounted on a rotating drum, with a fine stream of ink at more than four million droplets per second.  Since information controlling the jets comes directly from a computer, no printing film or plates are involved.  The inks are sprayed as droplets rather than dots, with each droplet four times smaller than a human hair; each droplet bleeds into the paper creating more of a continuous tone than dot patterns.  Once the printing is completed, which may take up to one hour, a special ultra violet stabilizer coating is applied to protect it from any discoloration.  This new art reproduction form has been widely accepted by museums and galleries.  For this reason, it is not unusual to see the words “museum quality” assigned to a limited edition giclée print.