If you search YouTube for giclée archival Inks, you will see pigment inks from an Epson printer or maybe a Canon printer. While many people print fine art with Epson inks, looking at the hue value of Epson inks you will see that they’re much better for pre-press than any other field. In Epson’s 9880-4880-9900-9890 inks, the yellow is a slightly greener value, the magenta is less red than even the 9800, the orange is a yellow orange, the cyan is blue cyan, and the green is a teal or blue green. The rich warm color values are missing.

When orange and green were introduced over 12 years ago, they were quickly dropped because the results of orange did not produce a dynamic red and greens were made very well with yellow and cyan. We’ve even found clogging issues in 7900 and 9900 series printers in the green channel suggesting that despite the availability of green ink, profiles still preferred mixing yellow and cyan to get greens.

I feel giclée and fine art paintings have a common relationship image structure: The media, quality of pigments, and software integration are paramount to giclée. Both artists and print makers want to make images that are rich and vibrant, while having superior light fastness. An artist chooses from numerous pigments, some of which offer greater brightness and some offer greater depth.

Artists would never think of using CMYK as their pallet. Yet people who produce giclée prints find themselves limited to these options. In the 15 years I have been in business printing and making custom inks, I have never come across a client telling me about his extended pallet of inks. There doesn’t seem to be a thirst for discussions on improving the quality. But given the possibility of richer and more vibrant colors, print makers are always eager to hear more.