Lithograph printing is the traditional process of adding a colour at a time to specially coated paper using metal printing plates. The vast majority of prints available today are produced using this process.
Giclee printing, pronounced gee - clay, is a relatively new digital technique whereby a sophisticated printer sprays on small dots of ink, row by row in a single pass.
Both lithograph and Giclee can produce excellent results that meet the exacting standards of the Fine Art Trade Guild in terms of colour accuracy and permanence. However for the artist and publisher there are some important economic differences. The cost of Giclee paper and inks is very much more than a lithograph and they take much longer to produce (a single large image can take up to an hour to print). The original set up costs though are much lower, the advantage of this is that small edition sizes can be viable. This may prove to be a bonus for both artists and collectors as it means prints of very specialised subjects that would not normally be commercially viable can now be reproduced. Giclee prints can be identified by the fact they have a slightly less shiny surface.
Another advantage of the Giclee method is that it can be equally effective when using canvas as the printing medium, a good Giclee canvas can be difficult to distinguish from an original painting. A number of publishers are now including a small Giclee canvas edition with new print releases.