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We're often asked what is the best description to use for prints
made at Image Science, or prints made on home pigment inkjet printers.
When prints are for sale, this can be an important question and can
help your print buyers know what they're buying, and therefore help you
Pigment Ink Print on Archival Paper
is probably the best term to use as it is accurate and easy for the
layman to understand. Variants might be 'Pigment ink on cotton rag'
or simply 'Pigment ink on rag'. This is more specific and should only
be used if the paper is actually cotton - many archival papers are not.
The more generic term is probably best. It describes the inks -
stable, pigment based inks, not dyes, and the paper substrate as
archival, this is assuming you have used an acid free, fibre based
paper that may also be buffered. This immediately promotes a sense of
longevity and stability, so people buying the prints can feel confident
they are buying a product made to last.
They are also commonly referred to as Giclee prints, Inkjet Prints or Photographic Prints.
These terms are not recommended and we generally advise against using
them, although Giclee Prints is in common use, particularly in the art
was derived in America from the French word 'Giclee' meaning 'to
squirt, spray' and was first used as a term to describe the way in which
the ink is placed onto the paper through an inkjet printer. In
French, it's actually used as a rude word with a sexual connotation. We
generally recommend avoiding this term if possible - it doesn't have
the same type of archival quality associated with it as Pigment Ink
Print on Archival Paper does and has definitely gone down in popularity
over the years, even in the American art market.
is the most basic term. While it's technically accurate, there may
still be some negative association with inkjet printing in uninformed
circles, and it doesn't tell the viewer what type of inkjet print is.
It could be a dye based print on an acid riddled paper, and thus be
prone to fading/yellowing in a few months.
is probably too broad a term and also has a historical implication of a
chemistry based print - i.e. one made with light sensitive paper using
a photographic exposure based process, such as traditional darkroom
prints or more modern alternatives made with machines like the Pegasus,
Lightjet and Lamda machines. These prints are also often called
'C-Type' prints (C for Chemistry).