WHAT IS A GICLEE PRINT?

Information Compiled by
Annette Hammer

The following description of the Giclée process used by my printing company is the one I've found to be most effective for reproducing my original art.

A print of an original art work on paper or canvas using an Iris ink jet printer, is known as a "Giclée print. The french word giclée (zhee-clay) literally means "to sputter, to spurt, ot spray". In the case of a Giclée print, it is applied to mean a "spray of ink".

The Iris printer uses a continuous tone technology in which infinitely small pixels of color are sprayed onto the surface of the paper or canvas at a rate of 4 to 5 million droplets per second. Once completed, a 34" x 46" image is comprised of almost 20 billion droplets of ink, each one measuring no more than 15 microns in diameter. The Iris ink jet printer and its ink calibration system result in virtually contiuous tone prints. This process allows an extremely accurate reproduction of the original art work. The papers and canvas are acid free and archival in quality.

By comparison, a lithograph process (offset printing) offers a much coarser print dot with ink colors that last only 1 to 3 years before fading, on papers that are not archival in quality. The serigraph (silkscreen) process of printing often lacks depth in the finished image, compared to a Giclée print.

Instead of the conventional Iris ink dyes which are subject to fading, the inks used in this Giclée process are custom inks that offer up to 80 times more longevity (currently rated at 65 to 75 years), and greater color accuracy and richness on fine art papers and canvas. The prints are finished with an exclusively formulated overcoat that utilizes the most effective ultraviolet light absorber (UVA) available, plus an advanced Hindered Anime Light Stabilizer (HALS) which combats fading caused by indoor lighting. The coating is inert; its presence is virtually undetectable. Testing is currently underway to determine the extension this coating adds to the life of the print.

A Giclée print should be afforded the same care as an original watercolor or pastel and will exhibit as much permanency.