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January 07, 2021
You might not be aware that there are different types of prints that vary in their archival quality and richness in color. Today, I will educate you on the difference between giclée prints and digital prints.
This is an excellent question. Nowadays, with advances in technology and digital printing it’s more important than ever to know the difference between a giclée print vs digital print, especially if you intend to spend your hard earned money on either one.
Giclée is the first and only fine art print to be made with an ink jet printer. Pronounced, zhee’clay, the word comes from the French, meaning to spray, which is exactly what an ink jet printer does.
It was a major break through in the fine art community when giclée prints were introduced to the market in the late 1980s . The quality of a giclée print is far superior to all other forms of printing. It fact, when done correctly, it’s the closest an artist can get to matching their original 2-D artwork. For art lovers who wanted to collect fine art but couldn’t afford an original, giclée prints quickly became a popular alternative to purchase.
Simply put, it all boils down to the longevity of the art.
Before the internet, it was common to decorate the walls of your home with original artwork. There really was no other way to decorate your house if you wanted art on your walls. Choosing between original art and a fine art print use to be the only option a buyer had to think about, and if they had printing and framing needs; then, they went to a trained professional.
That is not the case any more!
The explosion of smart phones, devices, and home office printers along with the internet has given the ability to print any image imaginable into the hands of everyone. A person can simply print an image from their phone or computer on their home printer. This type of printing is called digital printing. Digital printing may be convenient; unfortunately, it’s not designed to last. The qualities of the materials used to make these prints are not archival. Within weeks noticeable damage will occur to digital prints from the sun and the humidity.
It’s easy to waste a lot of money on art prints that won’t last these days, which is why it’s so important to make sure the fine art you purchase is made from archival materials, especial if you are collecting art from a professional artist.
Giclée prints can be made to reproduce any form of 2-D artwork, such as oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings. In order to create a giclée print, four major criteria must be met during the printing process:
Resolution- The original piece of art should be professionally scanned or photograph at 300 dpi or higher resolution.
Ink- The ink must be pigmented (not dye). There also needs to be 8 or more different colored pigmented inks used in the printer.
Paper- The paper must be 100% archival. With that said there are a wide variety of materials available for giclee printing (as long as it’s archival) such as: canvas, gloss paper, mat paper, velvet paper, watercolor textured paper, and specialty artisan paper.
Printer- The printer itself must be a wide format ink jet printer. (This is not your everyday household office printer)
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