Giclée | The Actual Definition & Pronunciation
Giclée ( zhee-KLAY ) is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers.The name originally applied to fine art prints created on Iris printers in a process invented in the late 1980s but has since come to mean any inkjet print. It is often used by artists, galleries, and print shops to suggest high quality printing but since it is an unregulated word it has no associated warranty of quality.
Origins of the Word
The word giclée was adopted by Jack Duganne, a printmaker working at Nash Editions. He wanted a name for the new type of prints they were producing on the Iris printer, a large-format, high-resolution industrial prepress proofing inkjet printer they had adapted for fine-art printing.
He was specifically looking for a word that would not have the negative connotations of “inkjet” or “computer generated”. It is based on the French word gicleur, the French technical term for an inkjet nozzle. The French verb form gicler meant to spray, spout, or squirt. Duganne settled on the noun giclée.
The Bottom Line
At POV, we do several types or printing which – with consideration of this very loose definition – can all be considered Giclee printing. We much prefer to describe each print process in a more objective way, as the term Giclee isn’t very helpful at this point.