When you’re printing your art, you usually have two options: lithograph prints or giclee. Though lithograph prints can be more affordable and faster to print, giclee printers are of a much superior quality. Artists and photographers who want to showcase their work are almost always better off choosing giclee prints.
Giclee Prints Are Superior in Quality
It is inarguable that giclee prints have a superior print quality to lithographs. Giclee prints have more accurate color matching, archival grade inks and media, and greater resolution. The only way a lithograph can be considered to be superior in appearance is that they have a wider range of paper options — but even that is only important if you’re attempting to create a very unusual type of print.
Giclee prints can be printed on everything from paper to canvas, so a limited number of paper types isn’t the downfall it may seem to be. For the most part, a giclee print is going to be the more versatile option. Not only does this truly represent the art or painting that is being reproduced, but it also makes it far more attractive to buyers.
Giclee Prints Can Be Printed on Demand
Giclee prints are sent to the printer on demand — and that means they can be printed very quickly. While each copy is going to print more slowly (due to the higher quality and the technology involved), printing can begin right away. This isn’t true when it comes to lithographic prints. Lithographs have a very long, expensive setup process, so you’re going to have to wait some time before you begin production.
Part of this is due to the advanced technology that giclee prints use. Giclee prints can utilize the best and most current inkjet processing technology. Lithograph, on the other hand, are a very old process that has been around hundreds of years. Though it has been fine-tuned and refined over the past century, it remains a relatively simple printing process that incorporates four traditional ink colors.
Giclee Prints Can Be Printed In Any Volume
Giclee prints are printed directly from a digital file. The digital file is sent to a printer, and a copy is made — there’s no setup involved. Lithographs require that the lithographic plates be individually made for print, one for each type of color. This setup process is far more involved.
Because of this, a giclee print can be printed as a run of one or one thousand. Though you will usually get discounts for higher volumes of print, you can still print one-offs fairly easily. Because of the long, expensive setup process of a lithograph, you can only use them for large volume runs. If you’re printing less than a hundred prints, a lithograph print isn’t going to be feasible.
So is giclee always the best choice? There are some times when lithograph prints could be a better option. If you’re trying to run high volume, low-cost prints of your work, lithographs are best — but that means that you’re going to be selling them very cheaply and that you’re going to have to sell a large volume. For the most part, giclee is going to give you a better quality print and a more versatile printing setup.