Knowing the difference between C-type printing and Giclee.

Many artists, upon looking into printing options for their work, find themselves asking the following question: What is the difference between Giclee and C-type printing? The problem is, however, that most replies are far too technical for laymen, or basically anyone who doesn’t work in printing, to understand. The machines used to create the artwork both involve the use of a number of mechanisms some of which may have been created using Rubber Injection Moulding like that found at as well as other mechanisms.  If you are looking for a more simplified answer, here’s our no-nonsense comparison between Giclee and C-type printing.

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Which is newer?

C-type printing, in terms of using it to produce fine art prints from a digital file, is the newer option, even though it originates from an older method of printing. C-type printing is a method of photographic printing that uses old fashioned light exposure (but using LED or laser light) and chemicals, essentially making it an evolved form of the way that photos used to be printed in dark rooms, but with digital copies rather than negatives. Giclee is a method of high-quality inkjet printing where colour is jetted on to the paper in dots. This method originated in the early nineties.

Which is cheaper?

At the moment Giclee printing remains a little higher in price but because prints tend to be done on better quality paper, that higher price balances out when you include the difference in the price of the paper.

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Which is the better print?

Like much of art, this is a matter of personal opinion. C-type gives more subtlety in the tone whilst Giclees can deal with more contrasting colours of much greater depth. Fine art Giclee prints from printers continue to be the most popular with artists. The main point here, of course, is that both have the benefit of bringing art to a larger audience.

Which can be printed on more varied paper textures?

Giclee can be printed on a broader range of papers, including textured ones that create a better ‘fine art’ feel to them than the standard gloss and matt options associated with C-type printing.

Which lasts longer?

It’s generally thought that a piece of art reproduced with Giclee (or inkjet) printing will generally last longer than one made with C-type technology.

For many artists, the winner remains to be Giclee, an option that means they can create beautiful textured copies of fine art.


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