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Understanding Prints: Giclee Print vs Art Print

December 4, 2017 8:00 am

Whether you are an amateur photographer or a seasoned professional, you know that your work shines the best once it is printed. Your best work deserves to be on a wall – not just tucked away on a hard drive. However, choosing how to print your images isn’t always so simple. After all, there are many options for printing your work. As you work through your printing and mounting options, you probably have come across giclee prints and art prints, but what is the difference between those two?

What is a Giclee Print?

To print a giclee print, a 12 color inkjet printer squirts special pigments (not dyes) onto archival quality material – 100% cotton paper, linen rag, or canvas. Because of the pigments and quality print medium, giclee prints demonstrate longevity with fade-resistant colors.

What is the benefit of giclee prints? The beauty of a giclee print is that each reproduction is as true to the original as possible, and a lot of that has to do with the 12 colors of the printer. Printers with 12 colors are better suited to accurately recreating the original look of the image. This is especially important if you are planning on selling your artwork or entering it into competitions. As a bonus, an artist is no longer limited to selling just the original; s/he can sell as many copies as desired. As such, giclee prints are suitable for both printing of digital photographs as well as creating copies of original art.

Wondering how to show off your giclee prints? From competition to art galleries, your art is sure to stand apart from the crowd regarding quality and accurate color representations.

What is an Art Print?

While it’s easy to call any printed image, an “art print,” the Print Council of America defines the term this way: when an original image (drawn, painted, etc.) is then printed in a limited number by the artist; these limited editions are signed and numbered by the artist. In other words, an art print is a reproduction of an original piece of art.

What is the benefit of offering art prints to your clients? By offering art prints to your clients, you remain in control of all reproductions of your art, meaning your clients will only see your art printed the way you want it to be presented – high quality.

While it is common to see “art prints” in shops, take note that these are not true art prints. Those are typically posters, made of thin, easily damaged paper. When comparing a true art print to a generic poster print, the paper of an art print is typically archival and usually heavier in weight.

How to market an art print? Some artists prefer to sell copies of their original art in limited quantities. If you have a website or studio where buyers can peruse your work, let them know that each print they purchase is authentic, signed and numbered. This adds value to the piece and also increases resale value.

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