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Zoë Law 'Legends of British Industry' at the National Portrait Gallery. Works produced as Giclée Fine Art prints by Genesis Imaging.
Legends by Zoe Law at The National Portrait Gallery. Giclée Fine Art Printing by Genesis Imaging.

Both ‘pigment print’ and ‘Giclée print’ terms denote a print made from a digital file directly to paper using an inkjet printer as an output device. While the term is broad, it has become associated with prints produced to fine art papers.

What does the term ‘Giclée’ mean?

The term ‘Giclée,’ a neologism coined by French printmaker Jack Duganne, is derived from the French word ‘gicler,’ which translates as ‘to squirt’ or ‘spray’ and describes how the printer nozzle applies the inks – or pigment inks – to the paper. Duganne chose the term as he was looking for a word that would not have the negative connotations then associated with the term ‘inkjet’, which had happened due to fading occurring in early prints.

The term ‘Giclée’ originally referred to fine art prints created on IRIS printers (large format colour inkjet printers which became prevalent in the 1980s). Since then, ‘Giclée’ has since been used in a broader sense to describe any prints made using an inkjet process. These prints are also often known as ‘pigment prints’ because of the inks (which contain tiny particles of colour, or pigment, suspended in a neutral carrier liquid) laid down by a digital printer. We use ‘Giclée print’ and ‘Pigment print’ to describe an archival grade inkjet print produced directly to fine art paper.

How do we produce Giclée Prints & Pigment Prints?

The Epson UltraChrome K4 inks that we use incorporate high-density pigments to produce prints with an extremely wide colour gamut. This 8-colour ink system includes Black, Light Black, and Light Light Black inks, improving mid-tones and highlights and significantly reducing colour casts by improving the printer’s grey balance. Improved pigment and resin chemistry in Epson K4 inks also means that prints produced in this way are also more scratch-resistant than earlier Giclée prints.

Epson UltraChrome K4 ink incorporates High-gloss Microcrystal Encapsulation™ Technology along with unique screening algorithms and Light Light Black ink that significantly reduces gloss differential. There is no longer any compromise for professionals that require glossy prints that have excellent longevity and durability.

Because the archival stability and image permanence concern artists, galleries and collectors, the inks or ‘pigment inks’ we use are archival. Twinned with our range of tactile fine art papers or canvas, these provide exceptionally vivid pigment prints with outstanding light fastness and stability.

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