What Is a Giclée Print vs Art Print? (A Simple Comparison: The Difference Between Giclée Printing & Traditional Artwork Printed on Paper or Canvas, & How To Choose Between Them)

What’s the Difference Between Giclée Print and Art Print?

Are you an art lover?

If so, you know that there are all sorts of prints available on the market. But what’s the difference between a regular, standard art print and a giclée print?

In this post, we take a look at the two types of prints and explain the benefits of opting for a giclée print.

What Is An Art Print?

The term art print should not be confused with the term fine art print.

While fine art prints are considered original artwork, art print is a term commonly used to describe a type of art reproduction (a copy of an original work of art).

Examples of reproductions are prints that can be mass-produced like posters (see examples on Society6), canvas prints, and art prints (video from Society6 below).

Product Video: Society6 Art Prints

If you go to popular art sites such as iCanvas, Society6, or Redbubble, you’ll quickly notice that what they call art print is artwork printed on medium to heavy-weight, cotton paper with a white border. It’s common for art prints to come with a white border around the artwork for framing, but it’s not a requirement.

Art prints can be easily mass-produced without the aid of the artist who created the original artwork and they’re typically printed on white, premium, cotton paper with high-quality inks. Usually, the paper used for an art print is matte and can be smooth or lightly textured.

What Is a Giclée?

Like an art print, a giclée is a reproduction (copy) of an original work of art or photograph.

Giclées are typically art prints or canvas prints that have been printed using an inkjet printer and follow certain quality standards.

So, an inkjet print can be considered both an art print (or canvas print) and a giclée print. For example, the art prints made by iCanvas, Society6, or Redbubble have all been considered both art prints and giclée prints because they meet the standards described below.

Typically, giclée prints follow these standards:

  • Inkjet Printer: Standard prints are made using dye-based inks. Giclées are made using pigment-based archival inks (Amazon).
  • High Resolution and Color: They have the sharpest detail and highest resolution, displaying a full-color spectrum. Giclées capture every shade of an original work.
  • Archival Paper: The paper or surface used must be acid-free and of archival quality to ensure longevity.
Are Giclées Better Than “Traditional” Prints?

If you’re going to compare a giclée art print to a regular, traditional art print, then yes. A giclée art print is definitely better than an art print that doesn’t meet the standards of being a giclée.

First, giclée prints have a much wider color gamut. This means that they can reproduce more colors, making them more accurate representations of the original artwork.

Giclées are made using archival pigment-based inks. If kept in darkness and in specific environmental conditions, pigment-based inks can last up to 200 years without noticeable fading or yellowing.

Giclée prints also have a higher resolution than traditional prints, meaning that they will be sharper and more detailed.

Additionally, giclée prints are generally made with a finer quality of paper than traditional prints, which means that they will last longer and look better over time.

Under standard home or office lighting, without sunlight, you can expect a framed giclée printed on photo paper to last up to 85 years without any noticeable fading. (Any artwork exposed to sunlight will eventually fade.)

Which Should You Choose? (Do Art Prints Have To Be Giclée?)

Some people believe that art prints have to be giclées in order to be of any value. However, this is not true!

There are many different printing methods that can produce high-quality prints. In fact, some artists may prefer other printing methods because they produce unique results.

So, which should you choose?

The answer depends on a few factors, such as your budget and the type of artwork you’re looking for.

Traditional art prints are typically less expensive than giclée prints. They’re also less detailed and don’t have the same archival quality as giclées. However, they still look great and can last for many years if they’re properly framed and displayed.

Giclée prints are more expensive, but they offer superior quality and detail. They also have a longer lifespan than traditional art prints, making them a good investment if you plan to keep them for a long time.

Ultimately, the choice between regular/traditional art prints and giclée prints is a matter of personal preference.

Overview: Giclée vs Art Print

In a nutshell, the big difference between giclée prints and art prints has to do with the printing process.

First, an art print is a reproduction (a copy) of an original work of art. However, today, many online art galleries like Society6 and Redbubble* market art prints as being artwork or photos printed on paper.

Second, a giclée is actually a type of print that is printed from an inkjet printer, has high-quality resolution and color, and is printed on archival materials like archival paper or canvas.

Giclée prints also offer a wider range of colors and tones than traditional art prints, and they’re also more durable. If you’re looking for an elegant, high-quality way to display your artwork, giclée prints are the perfect option.

* Both Society6 and Redbubble’s art prints are also classified as giclée prints because they meet the requirements.