What should I call my prints?

We’re often asked how to describe the prints we create in our studio for our clients.

We generally use the following terms to describe our prints; they succinctly identify the type of ink and paper used to create high-quality archival prints.

Archival Paper refers to all papers meeting an archival standard (ISO 9706 or ISO 11108). Traditionally, it includes wood-pulp and cotton pulp. Our Agave, Bamboo and Hemp papers also fall into this category.

Archival Cotton Rag refers specifically to papers meeting an archival standard and made using 100% cotton pulp.

Over the years, other terms have been used to describe the prints created for artists and photographers. The three most common terms used are ‘Giclée Print’, ‘Inkjet Print’ and ‘Photographic Print’.

Although these terms are commonly used and understood in the fine art community, these phrases are generic, open to interpretation or refer to a specific process.

Why we don’t use the term ‘Giclée Print’.

The term Giclée is based on the French word gicleur. Coined during the 1990s in the US, the term refers to the original technology used to create inkjet prints.

The term has fallen out of fashion and is not commonly used in contemporary fine art printing.

Why we don’t use the term ‘Inkjet Print’.

The term ‘Inkjet Print’ describes the type of printer used to create a print. Although technically correct, the term doesn’t indicate whether you’re using archival inks.

To communicate its longevity and archival quality, we specify the specific type of ink used (Pigment Ink).

Why we don’t use the term ‘Photographic Print’.

The term ‘Photographic Print’ describes prints made using a chemical process on light-sensitive paper. Historically, these prints were made in a darkroom.

In the present day, traditional photographic prints are most commonly made using the same chemical process within a machine, instead of a darkroom.

Updated on March 11, 2022

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