What makes a giclee?
To be able to make such a high-quality print, the camera or scanner used to capture or scan the art must be able to do so with a high level of resolution. To compare, most digital photos are recorded at a resolution of 72 DPI on the screen, or “dots per inch,” and the image file of an art print needs to be at least 300 DPI—because the more dots of color that can be printed in a small area, the more detailed your final image will appear.
Giclee (or giclée) printing is a popular method among artists and galleries to produce something that looks just like an expensive piece of fine art, but doesn’t cost anything near as much to produce. With reproduction prints becoming more and more popular, giclee enables artists to reach a wider audience who may not be able to afford the real thing.
Giclee prints are printed on-demand, so avoid the expense of mass-production using Litho, also giving the artist the option of experimenting with different papers and finishes. For exquisite, high-quality reproductions, giclee really is the best way to go.
The name derives from the French word for ‘nozzle’ and is pronounced ‘Zhee-Clay’. It is an unregulated word, so has come to be used for any fine art that’s printed by an inkjet printer, usually archival (we will get back to this). However there are four basic criteria that must be met in order for a print to be considered giclee, and these involve the print’s resolution, and the paper, printer, and ink used.