All of the Art Prints produced by Style Cube are “giclée” prints. The term giclée is just another way of describing a fine art print created with digital technology. The word itself is derived from the French word for “squirt” and describes the printing process of a drop of ink being vaporised by an electrical charge and squirted on to paper or canvas. This is how a standard desktop inkjet printer works but a giclée printer is not only much larger but also more sophisticated and uses a different type of ink.
Special light-fast, pigmented inks are used to reproduce all the tonalities and hues of the original painting which results in vivid, pure colour and exceptional detail of the highest quality. Latest laboratory test results for giclée printing show lightfastness for up to 75 years.
The main differences between standard dye-based inks as used in a standard inkjet printer and the pigmented inks used for giclée art prints are:
Unlike the dye in a dye-based ink, pigment does not dissolve completely in water. Pigmented ink particles tend to settle into the tiny fibres that make up the paper or canvas. As the ink dries, the pigment particles get stuck in the fibres. So, pigmented inks are more water resistent than dye-based inks.
The particles in dye-based inks are spread out so tend to fade quicker, since all of the particles are exposed to the chemicals and sunlight that fade ink. Pigment particles form large “clumps” so it is much more difficult for sunlight and chemicals to react with all of the pigment particles, since many of them are hidden inside the “clumps”. The archival quality pigmented inks used for Style Cube’s giclée prints, when protected from sunlight, will last for decades.
Any dye, whether in an original painting, fine art print, photo, paint, fabric etc. will fade more quickly if exposed to direct sunlight (UV radiation). For this reason all of our prints are treated with up to three coats of matt UV varnish which not only protects the prints from sunlight but has the added benefit of increasing the water resistance. Style Cube recommends that original paintings and fine art prints are hung away from direct sunlight whenever possible.