What is the difference between a Pigment and Giclée Print?

Both pigment print’ and Giclee print’ terms denote a print made from a digital file directly to paper using an inkjet printer as an output device. Whilst the term is broad, it has come to be 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 verb gicler’, which literally translates as to squirt’ or to spray’ and describes the way that the printer nozzle applies the inks – or pigment inks – to the paper. Duganne chose the term as he was looking for a word which would not have the negative connotations then associated with the terms inkjet’ which had happened due to fading occurring in early prints.

While the term Giclée’ originally referred to fine art prints created on IRIS printers (large format colour inkjet printers which became prevalent in the 1980’s) the term Giclée’ has since been used in a wider sense to describe any prints made using an inkjet process. These prints are also often known as pigment prints’ because of the inks (which contains miniature particles of colour, or pigment, suspended in a neutral carrier liquid) that are laid down by a digital printer. We use both 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?

Incorporating high density pigments, the Epson UltraChrome K4 inks that we use produce prints with an extremely wide colour gamut. This 8-colour ink system incorporates Black, Light Black and Light Light Black inks which improves midtones and highlights and significantly reduces colour casts by improving the printers grey balance. Improved pigment and resin chemistry in Epson K4 inks also mean that prints produced in this way are also more scratch resistant than earlier Giclée prints.

Epson UltraChrome K4 ink incorporates High-gloss Microcrystal Encapsulatio™ 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 is a concern for artists, galleries and collectors, the inks, or pigment inks’ we use are archival, and twinned with our range of tactile fine art papers or canvas to provide exceptionally vivid pigment prints with outstanding light fastness and stability.


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