A point of view on print terminology
Maryland, April 2005

With both photography and printing rapidly changing these days there is an increasing confusion about what a print is, what type a given print is, what process it has been made with, what the originality of the print is, what quality it is made to meet and what a print edition is. Therefore, I have decided to present my personal view in this short article so that there is no confusion about the terminologies used on the Studio Gliese websites for our prints.

Print types and processes

Print: anything printed with any sort of ink on any type of material with any printing process. A large variety of printing processes exist such as relief printing, lithographic print, photographic printing, intaglio printing, serigraphic printing, and inkjet printing to name a few. Currently, our work is based on photo and inkjet related processes.

Photographic Print: any print made with light on any photo sensitized material. Examples are silver halide black and white prints, chromogenic color prints, dye-transfer color prints, dye-destruction color prints (Cibachrome/Ilfochrome), platinum black and white prints and many more.

Photo Print: a by any means photographed image turned into a print by any means and printed by any method on any material. A photo print is different from a photographic print in the sense that a photo print can be made with almost any type of printing process. Therefore a photographic print is always a photo print but a photo print does not need to be a photographic print. It is photo based but not photographically printed.

Inkjet Print: any image produced by any method printed on any material by use of an inkjet printer. The term inkjet print solely describes the process of making the final print using inkjet printing.

Giclée Print: same as inkjet print. It is just another commonly used word for it. Giclée is a French word for "that which is sprayed."

Pigmented Inkjet Print: any inkjet print made on any material with inks that have a high pigment content. Inks are made from colorants and a containing medium. The colorants in inkjet printing are made from either dyes or pigments or a combination of both. Pigments are substantially more lasting than dyes and a pigmented inkjet print therefore has much better longevity than a dye based print.

Print originality and quality

Original Print: any print that is the original artwork where the original artwork does not exist in any other form. Photographic prints and photo prints, unless made as reproductions of other art, are good examples of original prints. These types of prints are crafted, through image processing, from a base material such as a negative, a transparency, a digital image file, or a directly projected or scanned object. As they do not directly represent the base material but rather are interpretations of the base material they are the original artwork.

Fine Art Print: an exquisite print made with the best possible inks on the best possible materials as a reproduction of an original 2-dimensional artwork of any media.

Reproduction Print: a good print made with good inks on good materials as a reproduction of an original 2-dimensional artwork of any media.

Poster Print: low cost, medium quality, mass produced reproduction of an original artwork of any media.

Print editions

Open Edition Print: an unlimited number of prints may be made of any type of print. Many printing processes in theory enables the creation of an infinite or huge number of prints of the same artwork. For reproduction or poster prints of very popular artworks the quantity of prints produced over many years and generations may indeed become very large. However, due to the nature of mass production, the quality is not the same as for original prints and fine art prints. Original prints created in open editions rarely reach significant quantities for any one given image unless a particular image ends up being exceedingly popular. Even in this case, there is a natural limit to the quantity as each high quality original print is carefully crafted and very time consuming to make. In addition, most artists do not want to spend all their time creating prints from just a few images and therefore over time tend to phase out old open editions.

Limited Edition Print: a limited number of prints up to the specified maximum may be made of any type of print. The limited edition concept stems from some printing processes such as stone lithography where the printing stone can only produce a limited number of prints before it wears out. In this process, all prints in the limited edition are printed at once although they may never all be sold. Many print artists have adopted the notion of limited edition prints to clearly state when the edition of a given image will run out. For all printing processes where the prints do not have to be made at once but can be made over time, the edition can either be printed at once or as is most often the case over time. This means that the maximum number of prints that may end up being available of a given image in a limited edition may end up being much less than the maximum number specified for the edition. This is, as in an open edition, driven by the popularity of the image and the time it takes to make a print.

Unique Print: only one print is made. Although almost any printing process lends itself to the creation of multiple prints of the same artwork some artists sometimes choose to make only one print of a given image.

Prints available from Ulrik Gliese's work

- Limited Edition Original Pigmented Inkjet Photo Prints

- Open Edition Original Pigmented Inkjet Photo Prints

Prints available from Marian Gliese's work

- Open Edition Fine Art Pigmented Inkjet Prints

- Open Edition Reproduction Pigmented Inkjet Prints