What is a Giclée Print?
Framing & Printing Guides

What is a Giclée Print?

Printing / What is a Giclée Print?

Few of us are able to purchase a work of fine art, but luckily there is an alternative for those who want to get their hands on beautiful pieces: giclée printing.

The word giclée (pronounced ‘zhee-clay’) derives from the French word ‘gicler’ which means to spray, spout or squirt. This technique uses a specialised inkjet printer and pigment-based inks to create a high quality print closely resembling a fine artwork.

Here at Soho Frames, we are experts in this method and offer giclée printing as part of our printing services. Whether you’re an artist or an art-lover, read on to discover all the reasons you should embrace giclée printing.

What is the difference between giclée and standard print?

It’s common for art to be mass-produced by printing it onto things like posters and postcards, which are typically made from smooth, matte, white paper. These will be created using a standard print technology such as lithography, which uses the classic CYMK colour combination – cyan, magenta, yellow, key (black).
Giclée printing, however, uses up to 12 individual colours to give more depth to the print and thereby allow it to resemble a painting more closely. A typical giclée will meet these standards:

  • Use pigment-based archival inks rather than dye-based inks
  • Display high resolution (normally at least 300 dots per inch)
  • Be printed onto acid-free archival paper to ensure longevity

What are the benefits of giclée printing? 

The most notable benefit of giclée printing is the high-quality results compared to other printing methods. As more colours are involved, the printer can create a much more accurate representation of the original artwork with immense sharpness and depth. The materials used also result in a more professional finish. A print made with archival inks and paper (such as the Hahnemühle digital fine art papers we offer here at Soho Frames) can last as long as 200 years without obvious fading if they are kept in optimal conditions.

Versatility is another benefit. Giclée printing can be used to reproduce almost any type of artwork, such as computer-generated designs, photography, oil, and watercolour pieces.

Do giclée prints have texture?

Paintings will have texture due to raised brush strokes but no print can replicate this accurately. However, giclée prints can be printed onto textured paper or canvas, and texture may be added afterwards using hand embellishments if desired. For example, a clear gel could be painted over the print using the same motion as the original brushstrokes.

Are giclée prints expensive?

Because we believe that giclée is by far the best printing technique, it is the only type we offer here at Soho Frames.

Elsewhere, however, you can get alternative prints at a reduced rate. The higher price of giclée printing in comparison not only comes down to the materials being more expensive, but the fact that only one print can go through the printer at a time. Consequently, the process can be more time-consuming and, therefore, pricier per unit compared to alternative techniques.

However, given that giclée printing offers superior detailing and has the potential to last much longer if treated correctly, we believe this method is worth the extra cost.

Is giclée printing right for everyone?

There are some occasions where giclée printing may not be the most suitable approach, such as printing onto fabric or any outdoor projects.

Generally speaking though, giclée printing will produce phenomenal results if you want a detailed, museum-standard image on paper or canvas. Find out more about our printing services here and get in touch to discuss your project so we can recommend the best technique and materials.

Empty Frame on grey background
More From Our Guides

Occasions to gift someone a bespoke picture frame

In today’s fast-paced digital world, we often find ourselves caught up in the whirlwind of snapping, filtering, and editing images to our heart’s content. Important moments are quickly captured by the countless devices at our disposal, only to be promptly forgotten as they get buried in our phone’s photo albums. Amidst this digital frenzy, there…

Read More