If you aren’t familiar with the term Giclée don’t feel bad. I had to look it up as well. Here’s what Wikipedia had to offer in terms of clarification: The word giclée was created by Jack Duganne, a printmaker. It is based on the French word gicleur, which means “nozzle” (the verb form gicler means “to squirt, spurt, or spray”). An etymology and French lesson in one post? We’re cranking out knowledge over here folks.
While I might not be familiar with the derivation of the term giclée I am familiar with what it means for us at the shop. Giclée printing is a digital process for printing artwork on paper, especially large format paper. Historically, large format poster prints were created using a process called lithograph printing or “offset printing” which involved plates and blending 4 colors to create the desired color scheme. Still a little lost? Yeah, me too. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons for some further clarity:
Pros of Giclee Cons of Giclee
– Able to keep up with the current advances in inkjet technology – Slower to produce each print
– Able to use more colors to match the tones of an original work – More costly per print, even with high volume runs
– Uses archival grade inks and media
– Can be printed on an as needed basis
– No inventory needs to be stored
Pros of Lithograph Cons of Lithograph
– Less expensive per print – Not cost effective unless producing 100s or more copies
– Quick to produce higher volume runs – Usually less accurate in color with an original
– Fades and yellows sooner
– Requires inventory space
The other option for poster printing is silk screen which also allows you to do a higher volume of prints. Last week I went on a tour of a large scale screen printing shop. We looked at two finished products side by side and, to be honest, if they hadn’t pointed out the differences I probably wouldn’t have noticed.
To break it down, basically, if you’re picking up the newest Nickelback poster at WalMart that was probably printed somewhere in China using lithography, if you’re purchasing a print at a local art gallery it was probably printed using a local screen printer. Where giclée, and Fallen Arrows fits in is for the person looking to get one or two high quality posters in a short amount of time. If you’re interested, you can set up a time to come by the shop to see several examples or, you can place an order simply by emailing your image and specifications to email@example.com