The Art of Giclée Printing: Quality and Longevity in Fine Art

The Art of Giclée Printing: Quality and Longevity in Fine Art

When it comes to fine art prints, quality matters. You want your prints to resemble the original artwork as closely as possible, capturing all of texture, brush strokes, and unique touches that make your artwork stand out; that’s where Giclée (pronounced “zhee-clay”) printing comes into play. At Ki’ikau Printers, we produce the finest Giclée prints using archival inks and acid-free paper to guarantee your art prints will last a lifetime without fading.   

But what exactly is it and how does it differ from standard printing methods? We’re covering everything you need to know about Giclée printing and its significance to the world of fine art in this blog post. 


What is Giclée printing?  

Giclée is a term derived from the French word “gicler” meaning “to spray”, as this printing style uses small spraying devices to disperse ink evenly and match colors accurately.  

Originating in the late 20th century, Giclée printing emerged as a response to the demand for higher quality and more accurate reproductions of original artworks and has long since been the preferred method of choice for artists (and collectors) looking to preserve the integrity of original artwork.  

Unlike traditional printing methods, Giclée uses advanced inkjet technology, allowing for precision and control when applying archival inks onto various surfaces, such as acid-free canvas or acid-free fine art paper. We’ll talk more about the impact of acid-free substrates in the following section. 


Advantages of Giclée printing 

 As mentioned above, the biggest advantage of Giclée printing is its ability to reproduce original artwork with a level of vibrancy, accuracy, and detail that traditional printing methods cannot meet. Here’s why: 

Giclée printing relies on museum-quality materials, such as archival inks and acid-free paper or canvas to ensure the longevity and preservation of the prints.  

Archival inks, unlike traditional dye-based inks, are formulated with lightfast and chemically stable pigments that contribute to the print’s color accuracy and resist fading over time. Additionally, the use of acid-free substrates like paper or canvas prevents yellowing and deterioration over time, as it is made with a neutral pH level which helps reduce the risk of chemical reactions that can lead to degradation.  

In short, the quality of Giclée prints is simply unmatched, and it is revered as the gold standard for fine artists and creatives around the world. 

Giclee Vs. Traditional Fine Art Print Comparison

Pictured above: Traditional print (left) vs. Giclee print (right)


Tips for Artists  

While the printer itself has the biggest impact on print quality, there are several things you, the artist, can do to prepare your artwork for reproduction: scanning in a high resolution, cleaning up imperfections, and saving your files in the correct format and color settings. Check out our recent blog post, How to Prep Your Artwork for Print to learn more.  

As always, our printing team is here to help you along the way. Be sure to call, email, or stop by the studio to request test prints, figure out which paper type is best for your artwork, and have any other questions answered before beginning your project. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.