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Why buy Giclée prints?

Updated: May 23

If you’re looking for some new art prints you might have stumbled across the world of Giclée prints and perhaps you’re scratching your head wondering why on Earth they’re so much more expensive than other similar prints. 

Learn the key features below so you can make an informed purchase.

First let’s cover what Giclée means

The word itself is derived from the French word “Gicleur”, meaning Sprinkler, a reference to the process used to spray ink onto the page during printing.

In a nutshell, Giclée printing is a digital printing process which uses an ink-jet printer to produce high-quality prints.

What do you mean by high quality prints?

The quality you’re paying for in a Giclée print comes down to the detailed accuracy of colour and texture in the printed image, as well as the longevity of colour vibrancy and paper robustness.

To you and I, that means your art print will look amazingly accurate and remain so for many years.

So how is that achieved?

High quality and longevity is achieved through 4 key factors:

1. Paper - Acid Free

Acid within paper will cause the paper to degrade, becoming yellow and brittle over time, so the use of acid free paper is essential to ensure a long lasting print. Many fine art inkjet papers are acid free and come in a fantastic range of textures & tones.

2. Printer - Wide Format

Giclee printers are large, wide-format machines which use a minimum of 8 ink cartridges. For reference, a standard inkjet printer you might use at home would typically have 2 or 3 cartridges.

The greater number of inks used creates a wider spectrum of colour which produces a wonderful richness to print quality. Every detail and texture within the original work is captured so accurately that they look just like the original.

For a painter this means every textural stroke can be seen. For my pressed flower medium, the natural textural beauty of a just-pressed flower is perfectly captured and, unlike the gently fading original, the flowers in the Giclee prints will keep their vibrancy for years to come.

3. Inks - Archival quality

Giclee printers use pigment-based inks, which are higher in quality versus the dye-based inks used in home printers.

They are known as archival inks, due to their fantastic longevity and resistance to fading.

This means that the colour and detail of Giclee prints will last long periods of time, over 100 years if cared for properly.

4. Resolution

For a print to be classed as Giclee, it must be printed (and the original scanned) at a minimum of 300dpi.

DPI = Dots Per Inch

The higher the DPI, the greater density of ink droplets per inch and the sharper the image will be when printed, producing that true to life realism.

Take a look at a real life example

Take a look at the image below which shows one of my original pressed flower artworks (on the right) side by side with a Giclee print of the same design.

  • I have my artworks scanned at 600dpi, so even when creating a print which is larger than the original you get the same detailed accuracy.

  • My Giclee prints are printed onto 290gsm Hahnemühle Bamboo paper, which is acid-free and has the most beautiful, soft textured, matt finish, which creates a wonderfully natural and enduring high quality print.

It's true that the colour of real pressed flowers will change over time, and I personally think that adds a special charm to owning an original, but for long lasting colour, accuracy and that just-pressed vibrancy, a Giclee print is absolutely the next best thing.

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