Giclée (pronounced "zhee-clay" is a name for the process of making fine art prints from a digital source using ink-jet printing. The word "giclée", from the French language word "le gicleur" meaning "nozzle", or more specifically "gicler" meaning "to squirt, spurt, or spray".
In the past few years, the word “giclée,” as a fine art term, has come to be associated with prints using fade-resistant "archival" inks (including solvent inks) and the inkjet printers that use them. These printers use the CMYK color process but may have multiple cartridges for variations of each color based on the CcMmYK color model (e.g. light magenta and light cyan inks in addition to regular magenta and cyan) which serves to increase the apparent resolution and color gamut and allows smoother gradient transitions. The most common printers used are models from manufacturers such as Canon, Eastman Kodak, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, ITNH Ixia, Mimaki, Mutoh, ColorSpan, and Roland DGA. A wide variety of substrates are available including various textures and finishes such as matte photo paper, watercolor paper, cotton canvas, or artist textured vinyl. Indeed, a new industry has been created in supplying the media for this emerging market.
Artists tend to use these types of inkjet printing processes commonly called "Giclée" to make reproductions of their original two-dimensional artwork, photographs or computer generated art. Professionally produced inkjet prints are much more expensive on a “per print” basis than the traditional four color offset lithography process originally used to make such reproductions (a large format inkjet can cost more than $50 a print, not including scanning and color correction, as opposed to $5 a print for a four-color offset litho of the same image printed in a run of 1000). However, since the artist does not need to pay for, market and store large print runs, and since the artist can print and sell each print individually to match demand, inkjet printing is used as an economical alternative to producing large runs of four color offset prints. Inkjet printing has the added advantage of allowing the artist to control every aspect of the image, its color and the substrate printed on, and even allows the artist to own and operate the printer itself.
Last Updated Friday, April 18 2008 @ 07:47 AM Mountain Daylight Time