Giclee vs Lithograph – What’s the Difference?

If you are new to the world of art prints then you ma well be wondering what is the difference between a Giclee and a lithograph.

Both types of prints are used by artists to recreate their works but the processes and the end results are quite different.

Giclee vs Lithograph

Giclee is a high quality image made on accurate inkjet printers, while a Lithograph is a print made using the process where an artist creates an image from a stone plate.

Which is more valuable Giclee or Lithograph?

Giclee is considered more valuable due to the high-quality resolution inkjet printers used to make the art. They are more durable as compared to lithograph. Giclee can last for two centuries without any visible sign of fading.

Many artists prefer Giclee since their original work can be passed through generations. On the other hand, lithographs are cost-effective for mass production; however, they are limited to 4 ink colors, which means there are no images with different colors. According to this analysis, it is fair to indicate that Giclee is more valuable due to quality and Longevity.


Giclee is an art term that means to spray ink. This type of contemporary art has become one of the most valuable forms of image conservation. Generally, Giclee is a reproduction of 2 dimensional art using a sophisticated inkjet printer. It is considered to have a higher resolution than lithographs.

The color range has more diversity than those of a serigraph. GiclĂ©e is initially produced by a high-resolution inkjet printer that sprays ink into approximately 1/100th the hair’s width.

The process helps an artist attain the highest quality of reproduction compared to other printing services in the art industry. It is an artistic endeavor that requires skills and patience when a person wants to achieve that fine art.


In creating a lithograph, an artist draws an image on a printing element using specialized pencils and crayons. After the artist is satisfied with his or her drawing, the surface is then exposed to chemical etching.

The chemical etch helps to bond the drawing materials to the stone surface. In this procedure, the blank parts will absorb the moisture and repel the ink, while the areas drawn near the plate will hold the lithographic ink. The water is wiped on to unpainted parts to prevent the lithographic ink from smearing.

As soon as the image is inked, the paper is placed on the stone, then covered with a tympan. Tympan is a layer of packing placed between the paper and plate to help stabilize the pressure. The highlighted materials pass through the scraper bar to ensure the color is bright. In creating a Lithograph, a person needs to use a thick stone since the machine has enormous pressure.

The paper and tympan are removed to reveal the image of the drawing on the stone. The piece retains the drawn image, which creates a perfect replica.

Lithograph printing involves splitting the image into four colors (Yellow, Black, Magenta, and Cyan) and then exposing it to aluminum plates. These aluminum plates are photosensitive. The aluminum plates are inserted onto the roller. Then, the colored image is rolled into the cylinder. The inked-paper passes through colored rollers to create a complete image.

The Pros of Giclee Prints


Giclee printing holds the color for a more extended period than other prints. These prints can last up to more than 200 hundred years without any traceable sign of fading. Giclee is a suitable form of printing for museum portraits that are designed to last for a long period.

This mode of art ensures that you have no worries about discoloration or fading.  Giclee prints are the best prints for someone who wants to create a history for future generations. 


As the technology of printing advances now and then, Giclee prints remain one of the most appropriate and accurate forms of printing. This mode of printing produces a perfect photocopy, which means there is accuracy for many images created from original art.

That’s why many artists prefer Giclee to sell their art since the copies are perfect as the originals. On top of that, it gives you the optimal reproduction of other materials. For example, you can get incredible results on the canvas when you use giclee print.


Giclee print produces higher quality prints than other standard printing services. The artwork is structured, which doesn’t have a jarring and horrendous dot. It doesn’t matter how many images you want to reproduce; the giclee will give you a perfect replication.


Photographers and artists can make minor changes to the artwork and remain authentic. The art’s exclusivity is on another level, causing many people to choose the Giclee print as an appropriate form of printing. 

Perfect for Portfolios

The physical collection is an essential thing for an artist since an individual has to show their work. As an artist, one can take high-quality giclee prints instead of carrying the original copy, which may be subjected to damage. 

The Cons of Giclee Prints

Giclee prints take too long to print due to the amount of pigment ink applied to each image. Giclee prints also take too long to dry before they are packaged. An individual has to wait for the pigment ink to settle on the membrane.

Pros of Lithograph Prints


Lithograph printing is considered to be pocket-friendly, where you can produce a large volume of prints. Equally, it cost less per image. It is a suitable mode of printing for those who want to create many prints and single prints.

Quickest mode of printing

It takes less than 2 seconds to print a lithograph print. This mode of printing is ideally suitable for commercial purposes. A company can use Lithograph printing to produce massive volumes within a short period. Commercial firms such as magazine companies can take advantage of Lithograph printing and save a lot of time and funds in their production systems.

Quality artwork

Lithograph printing produces high-quality imagery. It gives you good quality at lower prices as compared to other prints in the market. That’s why it is a preferred mode of printing for textbook, newspapers, postcards and magazines. The best thing about lithography printing is that there is no limitation on papers produced. Images are printed on both smooth and rough surfaces of the inked-paper.

Cons of Lithograph Prints

It is expensive for an artist or a photographer who wants to achieve that fine art using a lithograph printing. A person will require specialized large volume printers which would be costly than the usual prints.

Most Lithograph prints are not archival since the paper has a smooth texture. It makes the art quit flat and lose the original color. Also, Lithograph only uses four ink colors for the whole printing process, limiting the diversity of colors. The inks don’t last long either.