The word 'giclée' is actually an invented
name for the process of creating fine art prints digitally
using an inkjet printer although it does have its roots in
the French for ink droplet.
Although this section talks about fine art, photographs print equally well with the same printers, in fact, some photographers prefer their photographs to be produced on a fine art printer.
Giclee Printing Versus Traditional Printing
Until giclee printing came along, the majority of artists (unless they were producing art prints which is a completely different subject) could only dream of producing prints of their work.
The problem was totally one of cost.
To set up a traditional print would cost hundreds of pounds and a large number of prints had to be produced in one go to make the process economic. Of course, the prints produced were a relatively low unit cost however sometimes many hundreds had to be printed which if they didn't sell...
Giclee printing is the opposite. The setup costs are very low (typically less than £30) however the print costs (compared to the unit
The major benefit for artists is that they do not have to lay out large sums of money in advance then hope to sell prints, instead, they can lay out a small amount then call off prints a few at a time as they are required.