What is giclée printing?

If you are browsing our online store or Windermere shop, you might notice that we stock and produce two different kinds of prints: risograph and giclée. You can read all about riso printing here, but what are giclée prints?

Before we begin, how on earth do you even pronounce giclée? Giclée is correctly pronounced zhee-KLAY. The term is derived from the French word gicleur (jet or nozzle) and the associated verb gicler (to squirt). Giclée prints are high quality prints produced on large-format inkjet printers and the name simply refers to how the machines spray ink on to the paper.

Giclée inkjet printing is used to make high quality reproductions of various kinds of original artworks, including drawings, paintings, collages and digital designs. But not all inkjet printers can produce giclée prints. To produce a high quality giclée print you need to tick four boxes: resolution, paper, ink and printer type.


Giclée prints are printed at high resolution to ensure that the artist’s original level of detail is accurately reproduced. The higher the resolution, the better the quality: giclée prints are printed at 300dpi (dots per inch) whereas, for example, photos on your computer screen are only 72dpi. Artworks that weren’t originally produced digitally (for example, watercolour paintings or ink drawings) are digitised using a high quality scan.


Giclée prints are printed on acid-free, museum quality paper. This kind of “archival” paper is made to last up to 100 years.


Giclée prints are produced using pigment-based inks that are also designed to last, so they shouldn’t fade over time.


Whereas traditional printing processes use the four-colour CMYK system, giclée printers use 12 colours, ensuring a vibrant depth of colour and excellent colour accuracy that will be almost indistinguishable from the original. Large-format inkjet printers can produce giclée prints in various sizes – here at National Park Print Shop we can produce giclée prints from A4 to A1 size.

So, there you have it! Giclée prints are high quality reproductions of original artworks that are designed to last. You can ensure that you keep your print in tip-top condition by following these simple steps:

  • Don’t handle your print too much. Natural oils on your hands could smudge your artwork.
  • Frame your print. Framing will protect your new artwork and keep it looking pristine.
  • Keep away from moisture. Damp can damage paper so probably best not to hang your print in your shower!
  • Keep out of direct sunlight. Although giclée prints are designed not to fade, direct UV exposure can cause them to fade over time.

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