Here is the pronunciation of the French word Giclée

The easiest way to learn to pronounce giclée is to hear it spoken in a sentence.

In English, it sounds most like: “gee-clay,” and some use “zhee-clay.” In Wikipedia, it looks like this: Giclée (/ʒiːˈkleɪ/ zhee-KLAY)
Click on the word to hear another version of how Giclée is pronounced and used in a sentence.

Modern Usage for Giclée

The word was serviceable in the 1990s, at the time of its origin, to refer to computer-generated prints. As its use became more widespread, it lost its cachet. For example, when marketers began using it to describe “giclee lampshades” and “giclee duvets,” the art print publishers stopped using it. Today, you hear “digital fine art print” and “digital fine art reproduction,” among other variations to describe prints made with inkjet printing technology.

The Term Still Gets Mangled

Despite increasing awareness, widespread use, and ubiquitous display at shows such as ArtExpo New York and ArtExpo Las Vegas (now defunct), there is still confusion about how to pronounce Giclée.

My apologies to French speakers who find my American accent foreign to their ears. It’s nevertheless a far improvement from “gick lee” and “gee-clay” and other abominations that are excruciatingly foreign to just about anybody’s ears except for those who mangle the pronunciation.

More About Giclées

The Wikipedia entry for Giclée:

Giclée (/ʒiːˈkleɪ/ zhee-KLAY) is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers.[1] The name originally applied to fine art prints created on a modified Iris printer in a process invented in the late 1980s. It has since been used loosely to mean any fine art, primarily archival, inkjet print. It is often used by artists, galleries, and print shops to suggest high-quality printing, but since it is an unregulated word, it has no associated quality warranty.[2]

Much of the terminology for art prints relate to the French language, which is not surprising since the art form evolved in France. Artist’s proofs, for example, are known as Épreuve d’Artiste or E.A.; a pochoir is a stencil print; a bon à tirer proof translates to “good to print”; and Hors Commerce, which means “before the sale,” is the print impression annotated H.C., which are “not for sale.” For many Americans, using foreign language terms, especially French ones, adds a touch of elegance and romance. However, the terms in their native language help describe different parts of the fine art printing business.

The early pioneers of digital printing naturally gravitated to a French word to help describe what might otherwise have been called a digital print, computer-generated print, or other distinctly non-romantic techie terms. Digital artists and digital art are more commonly accepted as fine art nowadays. These, however, were not terms one wanted to describe a new fine art printing technique in the early ’90s before Windows 95, AOL, the Mosaic browser, and other transforming technologies became commonplace along with the rise of the World Wide Web.

Learn How to Sell Giclees and Art Prints?

How to Profit from the Art Print Market – 2nd Edition

How to Profit from the Art Print Market
How to Profit from the Art Print Market

If you want to know how to sell giclees, you have come to the right source. For example, how to Profit from the Art Print Market, 2nd Edition, has helped thousands of artists learn more about the art print market and what they need to do to prepare themselves and their work for success selling giclees, limited edition prints, and open edition prints.

CLICK HERE to order your copy and to get your career moving toward success in the art print market.

The book was last revised in 2011. Some things have changed in the fine art print business since then. As such, there are some outdated facts in the book. Nonetheless, it remains the best primer on the art print market available. Many of the tips and insights are as valid today as when the first Edition was published in 2005

How to Price Digital Fine Art Prints Ebook

how to price digital prints
How to Price Digital Fine Art Prints – aka Giclee

Learning how to price art prints is a significant challenge for visual artists. The book helps artists avoid costly trial-and-error methods to determine pricing structures. It’s needed because there are no accepted pricing standards for giclées, the industry term for digital fine art print reproductions. How Price Digital Fine Art Prints, an ebook by art print industry veteran Barney Davey, fills the gap.

Learn More About Art Prints

I recommend that you learn more about art prints so you can enjoy them more fully for what they are. Reading this post will boost your knowledge of them: Art Prints Defined | The Definition of Art Prints.

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The goal is to make quality art marketing information affordable and available for all artists everywhere.


art prints, Artist's Proof, Fine Art, giclees, print market, Pronounce, The Art Print

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  • Hi Barney,
    I really don’t want to be the nit-picker here but if people would start looking into the phonetic transcription ( in square brackets […] )which can be found in ANY dictionary and which is internationally valid no matter which language you use, anyone would be able to pick out the correct pronounciation. There are always examples of words you would know how to pronounce them – especially in an english-xxxlanguage dictionary. I am always amazed how incredibly lazy people are.

  • It is a terrible term, especially when you look at the slang use in French. It doesn’t have the association you might want with a piece of fine art.

    The art community needs to get rid of this pretentious term for inkjets and go back to a simple, more-fitting description like “pigment on paper.”

  • Barney Davey says:

    Petra and Mark,

    Thanks for the comments. You both make valid points. I agree, it’s not that hard to learn language pronounciations. But rather than source a dictionary, many will use Google to help them. I’m guessing this blog will get lots of Google traffic for that reason.

    Last June, I published a post titled, Is Giclee Passe?. It questions whether the term has outlived its original intent and usefulness.

  • I am always amazed how incredibly
    judgmental people are.

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