What is the Differerence Between Giclee and Digital Prints?

by Claire Gaulin-Brown

In my webstore you will find both giclee prints (pronounced zee-clay, but I say gee-clay just to sound a little less haughty), as well as digital or press prints. I am sure that you notice there is a definite price difference between the two, which if you are new to buying art prints, this can be really confusing and frustrating! I have been meaning to break it down for you, so let’s delve in!

First, cream of the crop!

Giclee prints are more expensive, how come? Basically, giclee prints are the best printing option available for the reproduction of artwork. The printing happens on an ink jet printer, with pigment based inks on acid free paper, both of which are archival. This means that the print that is produced will never change colour, or break down for at least 200 years. This kind of printing also produces the most accurate reproduction, due to the type of printer and ink, meaning that when you compare the original to a giclee print you will have a tough time deciding which is which, I love that moment! These are the main reasons why giclee prints are the preferred type of print for collectors to purchase. Think accuracy, think longevity!

Second, still good but not next level!

Digital prints are less expensive for a couple of main reasons. Most importantly, they are not archival, like the giclee print. Meaning that over time the colour of the paper or the actual inks may discolour. While it would take quite a while for that to happen (except if you hang it in direct sunlight, that will kill it pretty quickly), it’s important to note that you are not purchasing something that is built for longevity. Another draw back is that due to the digital printer that is used, the colours are more likely to differ slightly from the original. When I hold up a digital press print to the original, it’s fairly clear which one is a print. For a lot of scenarios these drawbacks don’t really matter, but it’s nice to know why you are going to be spending less, and what you can expect!

I hope that helps clear up confusion about prints! I honestly love talking about this, because its been a learning road for me as well and I love sharing what I have discovered! So if you have questions or just want to chat, feel free to email me (gaulinbrown@gmail.com) or shoot me a message on Instagram (@clairegaulinbrown)