What is Giclee Printing?

At the end of the 1980's, Iris printers, originally designed as pre-press proofing machines, had become popular amongst artists and fine art photographers for reproducing their work. The Iris is essentially an early large-format inkjet printer.

This new medium needed a name, especially to distinguish the fine art prints from the pre-press proofs that were also being cranked out of the Iris printers.

In 1991 Jack Duganne of Nash Productios (the pioneers of fine art inkjet printing) came up with a word to identify and set the process apart from the rest. He wanted to stay away from words like "digital," and "computer," due to the negative view the world had about digital quality of the time. He focused on how the ink is laid down by the printer, and borrowed a french word, "giclée," which literally means "that which is sprayed."

Today the term has become synonymous with fine art inkjet printing, and is accepted by most artists and photographers.

Some clients prefer to label their prints "fine art digital prints," "inkjet prints," "pigment prints," or one of numerous appropriate titles.

 
  Adapted from Mastering Digital Printing, by Harold Johnson; ch. 1 pp. 28-29. This book is an essential addition to any artist or photographer's library if they are serious about reproducing their own work.