Giclee - a pretentious term for InkJet?

The word giclée is now in use as a generic term for digitally printed fine art reproductions. Is the term simply pretentious? At first glance the answer is YES - giclée is just a posh word for inkjet. However, anyone who has ever tried to accurately reproduce a piece of artwork will know that there's a lot more to Fine Art printing than the actual printing of an image. The final print is a very small percentage of the work involved. 

To us a giclée print is the final result of an in depth process. Achieving a faithful reproduction requires time, care and attention to detail in all aspects of the procedure. From the method of conversion to a digital file, selection of appropriate media, through careful colour managed processes and proofing to the final finished product. The service involves certification and archiving of the files to ensure that the image can be reproduced identically on demand in years to come. 

Giclée offers archival print permanence, with some combinations of inks and media tested in accelerated conditions to last at least 75 years. Some tests even indicate that over 200 years may be possible for prints framed under glass. (you have to question whether many original works could say the same!)

So, although a giclée print is an inkjet print no different in print method to that of a high quality display graphic, the giclée process, attention to detail, and artist involvement in the process itself, is perhaps a bit different. When you buy a giclée you're buying a detailed service that ends with an inkjet print and the ability to produce further identical prints on demand. 

You won't find us using the term "giclee" to describe the printing process, as we're proud to be very good inkjet printers, and don't feel the need to wrap that up in flowery language. We'd argue that we put similar effort into the accuracy of all our commercial work as well. However, we have to conclude that if the term is used to include all of the effort that goes in to the pre-print, print, certificating and archiving, then perhaps the term does deserve it's place.