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What Is Giclée Printing?

Posted by Adrian Davis on

If you’re a photographer or an artist, you know that reproducing artwork takes a lot of time and care. You may have heard of giclée printing and wondered what it is and how it differs from other types of printing. Read on to discover how to produce mind blowing prints without blowing your budget.


What Is Giclée Printing?

Giclée is French, and translates as ‘squirt’ or ‘spray’; a bit of a posh way to describe the printing technique. Giclée prints are produced with top end inkjet printers which squirt/spray ink onto the paper. Although all giclée prints are inkjet prints, not all inkjet prints are giclée prints. There are several factors that separate giclée prints from regular inkjet prints.



At Saxon Print we only use Epson Ultrachrome® HDR (High Dynamic Range) inks in our giclée printing process. These are more expensive than cheaper generic dye based brands of ink. Epson Ultrachrome® HDR pigment based inks are produced to higher standards and have proven stability, metamerism (meaning that there is almost no change under different light conditions), lightfastness, and reproduce a larger gamut of colour with deeper blacks.

Our printers can produce a wider tonal range due to using more inks than a regular inkjet printer. Your regular home inkjet printer will use 4 to 6 different inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, black, light cyan and light magenta) to reproduce a wide range of colours. Whilst this can produce some respectable results, it cannot cover the wide range of colours that are required to produce true giclée prints. Our presses use 11 different inks: The regulars; cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan and light magenta, all of which you may find in your printer at home. We also use matte black, photo black, light black, light light black, orange and green, all of which fill the gaps in the colour gamut missed by lesser printers.


Colour Accuracy

To ensure the colour accuracy of our giclée prints across a range of different stocks (i.e. the paper used) we use custom ICC profiles. An ICC (International Color Consortium) profile is a file which holds information about the colour reproduction ability of a particular printer and ink combination with a particular paper. Whilst using standard profiles that come with your home printer may give you some good results, they won’t give the best results. Standard profiles are created in lab conditions using the perfect inks, papers, room temperature and humidity levels, which most likely won’t be the same as your home. Using spectrometers and specialist software we can create our own profiles in a 'real world' environment, ensuring that we get the best results from our printers, for your prints.


Paper Stock

We print on high quality paper including acid free museum grade paper stock, which is free of optical brightening agents and can be kept for generations without change. This makes our range of paper stocks perfect for fine art, photographic and computer generated artwork reproduction. We can also print larger than a home printer, creating images from A4 to A1 and beyond.


Now that you know about the giclée printing process, how about taking a look at our range of specialist large format products which are guaranteed to impress:


Fine Art Prints

Choose from our range museum quality Canson® fine art and Woodstock™ papers. Available in a range of textures, so you can choose the perfect finish for your project. Printed to the highest standards and left unmounted, ideal for you to choose the perfect frame or mount.


Canvas Prints

A traditional way to display finely taken photography; our canvas prints are printed on to superior 330g canvas material which has a specially formulated coating that is designed for high quality fine art reproductions. Printed edge to edge, given a satin varnish to protect the print, then frame wrapped on sturdy 38mm gallery frames to your specification, our canvas prints are of a higher quality than most 'supermarket' options.


Photographic Prints

Eye-catching photographic prints on a choice of glossy and matte art papers are perfect as feature or standalone pieces. With amazing clarity and photographic colours, we will reproduce your images on our specialist press to ensure unbelievable colour accuracy and fluid graduations. Left as an unmounted print, ideal for you to choose the perfect frame or mount for your home.


If you can’t decide which material to print your images on, don’t fret. Why not order a pre-printed sample set? See and feel the quality for yourself and find the perfect paper for your project. Along with the sample pack you will receive a voucher code which can be used to save £5.00 off any product in our 'Photographic, Fine Art & Canvas Prints' collection.

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