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Giclee or Art Print?


I know. There is a ton of information out there explaining, in great detail, the difference between a giclée and an art print, but I feel like the word giclée has been used so loosely over the years, that its meaning has become muddied. So, what's an artist to do when they want to sell prints? Do you call them giclée or art prints?


Simply put, the term Giclee has come to mean any high-quality print. So, how does this help us? Unfortunately, it doesn’t. The meaning has become so broad that it’s almost impossible to figure out the difference, if there even is any, between a Giclee and high-quality print.


To tell you the truth, when it came to naming my prints, I struggled a little


more than I care to admit. For the longest time, I had them listed as Art Prints and ended up changing them to Giclee Prints. As I sit here now, however, I realize that what I choose to call them on my website isn’t nearly as important as the quality of the product I want to provide my customer. As long as I’m providing high-quality prints, then I can sleep at night. So, what's the take-away?


Call them either/or. Don't get hung up on terms. Focus on high-quality products and when it comes to your customers, provide only the best.


The best art print, in my opinion, should meet the following four high-quality standards:

  1. The image being printed is a 300dpi (dots per inch) high-resolution file created and prepared specifically for printing.

  2. The image is printed with a professional-grade printer that contains more than the standard 4 color CMYK cartridges (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black). A printer should contain 9-12 ink cartridges including the colors Cyan, Light Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Vivid Light Magenta, Yellow, Light Black, Light Light Black, Photo Black, and Matte Black.

  3. The image is printed with an inkjet printer using pigment-based inks.

  4. The image is printed on archival quality 100% cotton rag.

Mostly, though, you want your art print to look as close as possible to the digital design or original work of art in terms of colors, exposure levels, contrast, sharpness, and vibrancy. If you can replicate these things in print then, you, my friend, are good to go!