Giclée. It’s not an easy word to say or read. I pronounce it Gee-clay but have heard it referred to as Zhjeeeclaay (and in some circles I’ve heard it pronounced like gick-lee..bless them).
According to Wikipedia, the word has only been around for 21 years. It is based on the French word gicleur, which means “nozzle” (the verb form gicler means “to squirt, spurt, or spray”). It is basically used to explain a professional quality full colour inkjet print. Over time it’s become associated with fine, archival quality museum and gallery quality prints.
This photo lab in the US explains the history behind the term quite well.
The reason that it’s still not instant printing when you go to get your snapshots developed, is that the vast majority of photo kiosks (at department stores, chemists etc) are still using machines that print onto light-sensitive photo paper. It’s a wet process using chemicals, just like it’s always been. It’s just a newer type of computer driving it. This process is often called RA-4 but I think that is a brand name (like Hoover is to vacuum). Professional labs use a similar, but more sophisticated machine, with a much higher standard of quality control (in my opinion).
A standard RA-4 photo print (which is what the vast majority of prints in my Etsy shop are) offers me about 3-4 paper choices. I love the colours, they are nice and bright and the paper stock is a decent thickness at 250gsm. The prints are archival to ~100 years if kept under museum standards. Homes aren’t museums, but basically, if you keep your print out of direct light and use a suitable photo safe frame (not a cheap and nasty one full of strong adhesives and particle board), it will last a long time and resist fading (unlike a home inkjet print).
Personally, Giclée means freedom. It offers me more paper choices and more opportunities to alter my artwork. I have the option of printing at larger sizes onto a variety of different papers and mediums. I can add textures and laminates and really transform the look of my images. Printing a photograph on one paper can make it look like a painting. On another, it can look like it’s wet.
Australian nature 8×12″ Giclee photograph in 11×14″ foam backed white mat. Professionally printed at 2880dpi using archival quality Epson K3 Ultrachrome inks. This piece cost ~AUD $175 including postage and handling.
Above is a Giclée print made for a customer. It measures 8×12″ and is presented in an 11×14″ hand signed mat. The customer chose Ilford Galerie Pearl for this print, which gives a matte effect with a gentle sparkle at different angles. This was chosen as the print is to be framed and we wanted to ensure there was little reflection behind standard glass.
Some of the other options that would suit this image well, would have been a textured finish such as Canson Arches paper or canvas. Or we could’ve gone the other way with a high gloss paper if we were face-mounting the image onto acrylic.
Fine art prints are available from me on a custom order basis as you will be quoted 2-3 options based on paper type, presentation, and delivery.
You can choose an image from this gallery, or ask me about a picture seen on my blog or in my shops.
When contacting me for a quote I will need to know your location (ie country, state and postcode/zip) as well as any deadlines you may have. A matted print like the one above takes ~14 days plus shipping time.
I will wrap your matted print in foam wrap, sandwich it between mdf board for sturdiness (and to protect the corners), tape it up, then put it inside a waterproof bag ready for postage. Alternatively, I can quote for delivery via a service such as pack and send.
Within Australia, fine art prints will be sent by Express Post Platinum which can be tracked online and allows me to have insurance cover. This service takes 24 to 48hrs on weekdays, depending on your location. You must provide a contact telephone number and be available to sign for your parcel.
Don’t keep art confined to your computer screen. Choose something special and long lasting, invest in it, and love it forever.
I hope to talk to you soon! – Kell.