A - I



These are the copies of the final proofs that the artist signs as they are getting the colours and tonal values correct before commencing the print run itself. More commonly seen in intaglio and screen processes, as in litho (on a commercial level) they are approved before printing starts.



Means the same as 'proof' (see above).


  • CIELab Colour Space

A device independent colour space using a 3-dimensional theoretical model which contains all the hues and brightnesses visible to the human eye.



Manipulation of channels, shades, hues, contrast and levels of individual colours before printing to eliminate any colour casts and imbalances from the original or scanned image.



A system for measuring, describing and controlling the performance of colour-capable devices: scanners, digital cameras, monitors and printers. Each device is characterised using a measurement device (usually a spectrophotometer): this involves measuring a specific colour target and comparing the results to a theoretical ideal. The information generated is stored in an ICC Profile.


  • CMYK

Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black), aka "process colours". A colour system used by printers to combine each colour on a different printing plate to make up a full colour image. 4 colour printing. These are the primary colours of the halftone printing process (offset lithography). Most Giclée printers use RGB however.



A camera that captures information in a digital file, rather than on film. Digital cameras eliminate the film stage of reproducing an image, reducing colour variables and image degradation. A Scanback is a professional back for large format studio photography. The digital back scans directly onto a computer and many are capable of creating files of 300 – 500MB. This process is still very costly however, and requires a sound photographic knowledge.



Any print that is created from a digital file via a computer. In the context of this website, used to distinguish prints made on our Digital Press from Giclee prints.


  • DPI

Dots per inch. The measurement units of the output device quality of print. It refers to the number of dots a printer can print per inch. I.e.: a print at 600dpi will have 36,000 dots on one square inch of the paper (600 x 600). It is also (erroneously) used interchangeably with 'pixels per inch' when describing scanned images. See also Resolution and PPI (pixels per inch).



The information of a digital file is stored in various file formats. The formats are either proprietary (PSD is a PhotoShop file for example) or universal (e.g. JPEG or TIFF).



is the colour range that can be encompassed by a colour-capable device. Each scanner, camera, monitor and printer will have its own gamut.



Term referring to a digital print from a digitised image output from computer to an inkjet printer. It usually refers to a limited edition, fine art print, onto archival quality coated paper, and printed with pigment inks, which are UV stable. The blue Wool scale is a print standards scale set by the Fine Art Trade Guild, and it specifies a score of 6 or above, on paper over 250gsm, to qualify for the title of a Giclée print that has longevity.



A process of painting onto a Giclée edition after it is printed. The artist will usually pick out certain areas to highlight, either to create a texture similar to the original, or to pick out gold and metallic colours that can’t be reproduced.



Refers to a print process where the image is created by a metal plate being etched with acid or scratched on the surface of the printing plate. When the plate is inked up, ink will be pushed into the etched lines or areas and this is what will create the image in reverse directly onto the paper when rolled thorough the press. Processes include etching, engraving, mezzotint, drypoint, aquatint and photo etching.


  • IRIS (Printer)

An early inkjet printer that was first used for reproducing artwork onto fine art papers.


  • IT8

is a range of colour targets for colour characterisation of different devices and media such as scanners and printers. Used for making colour profiles to get consistent colours on different papers.

L - Z


The rate at which dyes, pigments and paints change colour or get lighter as a result of being exposed to UV or daylight, heat, acids or alkalis. The expected or estimated life of a print can be measured by tests such as the Blue Wool scale (UK) and the Wilhelm Laboratory Reports (USA). However the lightfastness can be affected by the combination of ink and paper used and therefore all the inks may not fade at the same rate.



A limited edition has a closed number of prints in the print run. Once this number of prints has been made, no more copies of the images can be reproduced or sold. (Apart from the artist's and printer's proof) This can add value to a print. In Lithography 850 is the usual standard number in the print run, at the artist or publisher’s discretion. With Giclée printing the numbers can be much smaller. The Fine Art Trade Guild conditions state that if it is declared a limited edition print no more than 1950 copies (including the artist's proof) must be produced.



High volume, 4-colour separation, process ink based printing process. Commercially, offset lithography is the quickest and commonest form of photomechanical reproduction. Artwork is scanned then separated in the CMYK colour channels onto 4 printing plates, printed in succession to create a full colour image. Separate colours can be added on further plates to create special effects such as gold ink or a varnished area that can not be made up from CMYK in the standard Pantone range. These are called spot colours. Artists still use offset and stone lithography to create artwork, but by hand it is a much lengthier process.



referring usually to offset lithographic prints and the fact that there is no limit to the number of prints produced from this image. An open edition also means it can be produced in various sizes, on cards and clothes etc.



Pigment inks are literally pigments of colour ground down very fine and suspended in a liquid to make ink, compared to dye ink, which is a dye suspended in liquid. As with other types of colour, pigment produces a more lightfast material or ink that will take longer to fade. Current pigment based inks on the market can be anywhere up to 100+ years lightfast, but this depends on a number of factors such as ink manufacturer, paper type and storage conditions. Pigment inks tend to have a smaller colour gamut than dye-based inks, but in recent years the gap has closed; their longevity makes them the preferred choice for Giclée printing.


  • PPI

See 'Resolution' below.



Refers to the ICC-compliant colour profile generated by a colour management system. An ICC profile describes how a device responds to, displays or reproduces colour; or in some cases, such as AdobeRGB, the profile describes a range of colours (or gamut).



The higher the resolution of a scanned image the more information is held. The resolution of an image is measured in ‘ppi’ - pixels per inch. So for example a resolution of 150ppi means that there are 22,500 pixels (150 x 150) in every square inch of an image. Although ppi and dpi (dots per inch) are frequently used interchangeably, the latter should only be used to refer to a printers' output resolution.


  • RGB

Red, Green and Blue. This colour system cannot be used for printing processes such as lithography, but is often used in digital printing. The actual inks in the printer however are still CMYK, often with the additional colours of light cyan, light magenta, an extra black and sometimes orange and green (called hexachrome) to give wider colour gamut and better tonal graduation. RGB are the primary colours of light, which are different to the primary colours of pigments in paints and inks.




An input device in which to capture a piece of artwork onto a computer as a digital file. A scanner uses light sensitivity to translate the picture into a pattern of dots. Types of scanner: Flatbed scanner, drum scanner, transparency scanner, scanback and digital camera.



A term used to describe silk screen prints, or prints where flat colour is built up in layers to create an image. Each colour requires a separate screen, and therefore makes it a costly process for producing limited edition print runs.


  • WORKFLOW (colour-managed)

This refers to having a complete system of scanner, monitor, software, printer and paper which are all calibrated to a common standard. This makes colour management easier, quicker and more accurate.