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What is Giclée Printing?

what is giclee printing - more sodding flowers poster by jolly & goode

Above: A section of the More Sodding Flowers poster by Jolly & Goode, a Giclée quality print. 

Jolly & Goode posters are Giclée quality prints. What does this mean?

In practical terms, it means that our posters are printed on high-quality archival paper using special inks and techniques that faithfully replicate a full spectrum of colour that won't easily fade. It also means we can make these museum-quality posters economically one at a time with minimal wasted energy or resources.

How is this possible?

As with many good things (including the music of Fleetwood Mac), Giclée printing was developed by British people working in California.  

The term Giclée was coined in 1991 at Nash Editions, a poster and fine-art print company in Manhattan Beach, California. The company was founded by English singer-songwriter Sir Graham Nash (of Crosby, Stills & Nash).

Rock posters and print reproductions were an important revenue stream in the entertainment business. Nash Editions is still in operation today, in Torrance, producing Giclée prints.

At Nash, they hacked (literally with a saw) a large format IRIS printer to make it produce fantastic full-spectrum colour prints that wouldn't fade. (Nash would later donate the original hacked IRIS Graphics 3047 printer to the Smithsonian.)

The term Giclée was derived from the French word gicleur, a technical term for a jet or a nozzle. The IRIS was an inkjet printer.

Today, the term Giclée is used to describe fine-art printing done by a (typically large format) inkjet printer on archival paper. Whilst artists, galleries and shops like ours use this term to set customer expectations for quality, there is no formal regulation of the term.

Before Giclée, art reproductions had to be done on a mass scale (typically a minimum run of 1000), and the prints were lower quality since they were printed using only four inks. 

After Giclée, individual artists could make a living selling limited edition prints of their original artwork. Giclée techniques make it economically feasible to produce prints in small quantities—even a quantity of one. Which is precisely how we make our posters for you.

We make every poster—and every other item in our store—one at time, especially for you. This greatly reduces the previously wasted energy and resources and space required by conventional manufacturing. It also improves quality. As providence would have it, we even have a print facility in California for our US customers. Cheers.

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