Industry Terms

Gicleé – (zhee-klay) – Gicleé is a general term for an extremely high-resolution digital print based on an orginal piece of artwork, such as painting or photographic print. The artwork is captured digitally and converted into a high-resolution digital file that is optimized for colour and accuracy to the satisfaction for the publisher, printer and artist. Gicleé prints are created using a state-of-the-art, professional 8-colour to 12-colour inkjet printer and are printed with archival quality inks onto various substrates including canvas, fine art and photo base paper. They are characterized by excellent saturation and depth of colour.

Lithography – Lithography is a planographic process in which the printing surface is uniformly flat – in other words, the drawing is on the same plane as the surface of the printing plate. Lithography is based on the chemical repellence of oil and water. Designs are drawn or painted with greasy ink or crayons on specially prepared limestone. The stone is moistened with water, which the stone accepts in areas not covered by the crayon. An oily ink, applied with a roller, adheres only to the drawing and is repelled by the wet parts of the stone. The print is then made by pressing paper against the inked drawing.

Serigraphy – Serigraphy is one of the oldest printmaking techniques in use today. It is a stencil process that is also known as silkscreen printing. Each colour requires a separate screen thus the painstaking labour of colour separation, colour application, press time and drying can take up to 100 days in order to complete a hand-pulled fine art serigraph edition.

Etching – Etching is an intaglio printing process in which the artist uses an etching needle to draw into the wax ground applied over a metal plate. The plate is then submerged in a series of acid baths, each biting into the metal surface only where unprotected by the ground. The ground is then removed, ink is forced into the etched depressions, the un-etched surface is wiped, and an impression is printed.

Multiple originals – The term multiple originals is used in several contexts. A fine art print is a “multiple original.” That is to say, usually within the confines of a limited edition, the artist conceives and executes his work specifically in the context of one or another of the serial techniques: etching, serigraphy, lino cut, lithography, etc. The term is also used for artworks created by the same artists in any other medium such as painting or drawing as long as they are all identical.

Edition – In printmaking, an edition is a number of prints struck from one plate, usually at the same point in time. In the art publishing industry where digital printing is used, edition is the number of copies printed from the same image.

Limited edition – Limited edition is an edition with a fixed number of impressions produced on the understanding that no further impressions (copies) will be produced later. Limited edition prints are usually hand signed and numbered by the artist or signed in the plate.
Open edition – Open edition is an edition that is limited only by the number that can be sold or produced before the plate wears or in case of digital print it is limited only by market demand and the publisher’s decision to produce the print.
Original print – An original print is produced in the same medium as the artist worked (eg etching, or lithography).

Print on canvas – The image is printed from a high-resolution digital file directly into the canvas using professional, 8-ink to 12-ink printer using durable pigment-based inks. The canvas’ surface can be coated with emulsion after the printing if the canvas itself was not water-resistant.

Canvas transfer – A canvas transfer is a print or poster image that has been transferred and fixed to a canvas surface. During the process a paper poster or print is coated with a special film that lifts the image from the paper. The film, with the embedded image, is heat-sealed to the canvas surface. The quality of the final product highly depends on the quality of the poster image or print such as what type of ink were used, how the ink react to heat.

Reproduction print – Reproduction prints are photographic reproductions of the original work that can be in any medium such as painting, textile, mixed media, drawing, esentially in the same category as a picture in a book or magazine, though better printed and on better paper. It can be printed on high quality fine art paper in limited edition as well, signed and numbered by the artist.

Archival quality – This term refers to the permanence and the longevity of the medium of artwork. In digital printing the paper has to be acid free, lignin free, usually with good colour retention and the ink is permanent, non-fading, high-quality ink to meet the criteria of archival quality.

Fine Art Paper – Fine art paper that serigraphs, lithographs, and giclees are printed on add immensely to the value and quality of the print. The paper weight and content make the difference in the way a print looks, feels, and ages. An intregal part of printmaking, paper is perhaps the foremost consideration for the publisher at the outset of the printing process, especially in terms of what best interprets the original piece and the artists intent.
Poster – A poster is a reproduction that involves taking an original piece of art and photographing or scanning it digitally and transferring that image to paper via inks or pigments, often using a lithographic printing or inkjet process.