Giclee print what is it? Answered in simple English

What is a Giclee print

What is a Giclee print? A giclee print is a fine art digital printing process that produces prints of unsurpassed quality and detail. The word “giclee” is derived from the French verb “Gicler” meaning “to squirt.” The technology employed in a giclee printmaking process is basically a high end bubblejet printer that can produce a printed version of an original piece of artwork with almost any imaginable color range and resolution.

Images are printed onto high-quality cotton, canvas or archival quality artist paper using millions of tiny droplets (tiny dots, bubble jets) placed so close together that they cannot be distinguished by the naked eye. What’s more, the resulting print will last for many years without fading or discoloration if stored under proper conditions.

How is a Giclee print made?

The giclee printmaking process begins with the creation, photographing, or scanning of artwork into a high-resolution digital image file from the original piece of artwork. Once the digital image file has been created, it is then color corrected and then sent to a giclee printer via a computer. Pretty simple yes, but there is also a lot more involved.

Digital image

A giclee print starts life as either a digital artwork or an original artwork that is photographed or scanned into a high resolution digital file. By high resolution we mean 300DPI. DPI stands for Dots Per square Inch and it means the number of tiny dots it can make in one tiny 1-inch square. 300DPI is comparable to offset printing which is what is used in traditional printing processes for color magazines, it’s very high quality.

What does 300DPI look like?

Well, it looks pretty amazing. Have a look at this image that I have obtained from and you will see at a high level how good it is.

72 300 dpi

When you take into account the fact that giclee printers can print on a variety of surfaces including canvas, watercolor paper, and photo paper – you start to see just how versatile giclee printing really is.

So, if you’re an artist or photographer who wants to sell your work in print form, giclee prints are definitely worth considering. And if you’re a print buyer, giclee prints are a great way to get the highest quality prints possible.

Printing – inks, paper, or canvas

Where giclee prints differ from normal inkjet printing, bubblejet printing, or offset printing is that the giclee printer uses archival quality inks and prints the digital image file onto high quality artist paper or canvas. The print is then allowed to dry before being coated with a clear UV protectant spray.

So I mentioned high resolution digital image file but what does that actually mean in the context of a giclee print?

Well, giclee prints are made at a much higher resolution (300DPI) than traditional printing techniques which results in giclee prints of superior detail, depth, and quality. This means giclee prints can accurately represent the digital image that is 300DPI using printing that is also 300DPI. There is no loss in quality.

The giclee printing process also allows for a much wider color range than traditional printing techniques.

This combination of factors – high resolution, wide color range and superior detail – makes giclee prints the preferred choice of artists and photographers who wish to reproduce their work as fine art prints.

Giclee prints are also becoming increasingly popular with interior designers as they provide an easy way to add an original piece of artwork to a room without having to invest in an original painting or photograph.

So there you have it – giclee prints explained!

What are the benefits of making a giclee print?

As an artist, there are many benefits of producing giclee printing, but the main ones are:

  • You can print on a variety of different materials, including canvas, paper, and fabric.
  • You can reproduce high quality reproductions of your artwork for sale allowing you to extract additional income from your time making the original.
  • Giclee printing allows customers to purchase your artwork at a lower price point satisfying a market segment that may not be able to afford your originals.
  • The colors in Giclee prints are incredibly vivid and accurate.
  • Giclee prints have an exceptionally long lifespan – giclee prints don’t fade or deteriorate over time if stored or displayed correctly.
  • Giclee printing can become cost effective over time.
  • You can outsource the creation of the giclee digital file and giclee printing to a service for a reasonable cost.
  • You can purchase your own giclee printer for under $1000 and use it to literally print money! (not actual money but you know what I mean).

Giclee print what is it – Wrap up!

So now I hope I answered your question “Giclee print what is it?” in this post. Giclee prints are an excellent way to make money as an artist and to provide your fans with a high-quality, affordable version of your work. If you’re not already offering giclee prints, I highly recommend that you consider doing so.

What do you think? Have you tried giclee printing? Let me know your thoughts.

Other related Giclee articles are:


Cover image By Fountains of Bryn Mawr at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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