What are Giclée Prints?

Giclée Prints

What’s in a Name?

Giclée prints (gee-clay) are fine art inkjet prints produced to exacting standards on archival media substrates. The process was originally pioneered in the early 1990s by rock music legend Graham Nash and his business associate Mac Holbert.

Because the print technology of that time did not provide the archival permanence required for fine art printing, their team formulated new pigment-based inks to replace the existing dye-based technology of the Iris 3047 commercial inkjet printer.

By doing so, they ushered in a new era of fine art printmaking.

One member of Nash’s group was fine art printing pioneer Jack Duganne.  He coined the term Giclée to distinguish the new archival process from the common, non-archival inkjet and photographic prints that were then available.

The word “Giclée”, was derived from the French words “le gicleur” meaning “nozzle” or “the jet” and “gicler” meaning to spray or squirt out a liquid, thereby describing the function of the print head used in the machine.

Why does it matter?

Today, the term Giclée suggests a superior elevation in the fine art printmaking craft. Giclée prints are produced on large format certified inkjet printers that utilize special pigment-based inks.

Prints are available on a variety of archival fine art papers or Canvas that will provide fade resistance of at least 50 – 120 years, or more under average indoor display conditions.

When these materials and equipment are combined with our superior craftsmanship, you will find that the Giclée process provides better color accuracy and permanence than most other means of reproduction.

What are the benefits of making Giclée prints?

Giclée prints are advantageous to artists who find it is not feasible to mass produce their work, but still want to create limited editions of their art as needed.

Once an image is finalized and archived, additional reproductions can be made with minimal effort and cost. Thus the up-front cost of mass production is greatly reduced and printing is done on demand.

Another tremendous advantage to Giclée printing is that art can be reproduced to almost any size and on various media, giving the artist the ability to customize prints for a specific client or purpose. Multiple sizes can be produced to fit marketing needs.

How do I get Giclée Prints?

It Starts with the Capture

The process begins with digital capture or scanning. We can digitally photograph or scan client originals with excellent results. In many cases, we combine multiple high-resolution flatbed scans or digital captures using our proprietary process to produce image files of remarkable detail and exceptional clarity.

Soft Proofing

The second step is image correction. We remove dust or other unwanted artifacts from the scan or digital capture and flaws in the original can be corrected, or local color and density adjustments can be made to specific areas. By carefully adjusting the color, contrast, density, and saturation, we can achieve a very close match to the original.

We strongly encourage artist participation throughout this process as it helps to achieve the best reproduction. This is also where we establish final print size, border configurations, and select the type of media.


Once the artist is satisfied with the “Soft Proof” on our editing workstation, we make a small Giclée proof print or strip on the selected media to verify the accuracy of the corrections made in the setup process.

Variations can sometimes occur between the computer screen and the printer and media, and this is the only way to find out if anything needs to be changed.

During this iterative process, it may be necessary to make additional proof prints to verify the results of new corrections. Once the piece is proofed to the artist’s satisfaction and final approval is given, we will ask the artist to sign the back of the final corrected proof, and this will be held for future color matching to final printing.

Production Giclée Prints

At last, full-size Giclée prints are produced on our wide format Canon Pro 4000 printer. The image is archived on a CD, DVD, or USB stick for the artist as a backup.

Corrected files are archived on our system for future use allowing the artist to take advantage of our ability to produce Giclée printing on various media and in multiple sizes.

The flexibility of our Giclée process grants the artist the ability to customize prints to fit his or her marketing needs.

Available Fine Art Giclée Papers

Premium Archival Matte is a heavyweight 230gsm bright white paper that’s ideal for images not requiring a gloss finish. It yields highly saturated images while maintaining excellent highlight and shadow detail.

The flat matte surface produces brilliant prints with no glare or reflection in most direct lighting situations. Excellent archival life and rich blacks make this paper a great economical choice for fine art and B&W photography.

Sunset Cotton Etching Rag is a 285gsm paper with a smooth surface. It is a bright white paper made of 25% Cotton liners and 75% Alpha Cellulose. This economical hybrid paper meets the Fine Art Trade Guild Standards for Limited Edition Prints.

Hahnemuhle German Etching Rag is a 310gsm acid-free mold-made watercolor paper with a smooth, lightly textured surface. It’s ideal for images that are highly detailed and require photographic quality. Also, as the name suggests, it has a surface similar to an etching paper, which provides for excellent reproduction of traditional prints.

Hahnemuhle Museum Rag is a smooth, mold-made 350gsm 100% Cotton Rag paper with a bright white surface making it ideal for fine art use, and is especially well suited for reproducing charcoal drawings and pastel work.

It is also ideal for printing black and white photographic images because of it’s outstanding wide dynamic range. The ideal choice for museum and gallery fine art printing.

Artist Matte Canvas is a poly/cotton blend with a bright-white textured finish that can be used in a variety of fine art, photographic and commercial graphics applications including gallery and museum wraps, fine art photography reproductions.

Although it is water-resistant, we strongly recommend finishing this canvas with our acrylic coating to seal and protect your Giclée.