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What is wrong with the word Giclee?

The word giclee has been abused and mis-used over the last several years since it originated in the 1990s.  The problem lies with the fact that anyone printing on any printer with any paper or canvas has been calling his or her product a giclee.  Just because you have a giclee or call your product a giclee this does not mean that you have a high quality product or one that is archival at all.   Due to the flood of sub par giclees to hit the market because of the decreased cost of printers this has really tarnished the name “Giclee”.  Old Town Editions never agreed with the term’s use. The French language word that giclee was derived from has somewhat vulgar connotations.  We expressed our concern about the word giclee when Jack Duganne suggested at an early printmakers conference that he call his prints giclees and so should everyone else.  Unfortunately the term was adopted upon majority vote.  We recommend our clients call their prints by something that actually describes the process and/or the quality of the product they are offering, while never ostracizing the term Giclee.  We like to set our prints apart from all the varying quality of prints on the market by calling them Archival Pigment Prints. We want to make sure our clients realize they are still selling giclees, but high quality archival giclees.

Unfortunately there has been a flood of “Giclee” print producers to hit the market over the last few years as well as do-it-yourselfers with no training in the printing industry.  These types of outfits commonly are online driven garage operation with no storefront and no overhead.   These fly by night operations come as fast as they go.  These types of outfits commonly have no idea what a good print is or what makes a good print.  We do not mean to discredit all giclees.  We just want to educate artists about the different types of prints and printmakers there are.  We know there are other printmakers such as ourselves out there making gorgeous archival giclees for their clients.  The many years of printmaking experience and knowledge are evident in the prints put out especially when compared to the printmakers that have little to no experience.