Home » News and Blogs » Limited Edition Giclée Prints

Limited Edition Giclée Prints

photo of fine art giclée print

Limited Edition Giclée Prints

When reproducing your artwork, or photographs, one of the major considerations is how many prints should you include in your print run. There are many ‘rules’ surrounding the concept of limited edition giclée prints and here we hope to answer some of those questions. We’ll also discuss the benefits of Limited Edition giclée prints and how they differ from Open Edition Prints. Also we will look at Artists Proofs and Certificates of Authenticity and how they work with Limited Edition giclée prints.

limited edition giclée print of botanical orchid flowers drawing

Embossed Limited Edition giclée print with Certificate of Authenticity

What is a limited edition giclée print?

In simple terms, a limited edition print is a set of prints of the exact same image, which will only be produced to a maximum number eg. 100. These series of prints will always look exactly the same when processes such as accurate colour correction and artwork reproduction are followed. It is also worth noting, all prints in your edition do not have to be printed at the same time. Thus avoiding costly overheads, before you have made sales. You can order prints as you require them (eg. when you sell a print – see our on demand section here).

Not only can your order Limited Edition giclée prints as you sell them, but we can also ship them direct to your customer, including a Certificate of Authenticity with the Limited Edition print. This saves you time and hassle, to focus more on creating your art or photos.

The ‘rules’

One of the most comprehensive resources surrounding this topic comes from The Fine Art Trade Guild. The Fine Art Trade Guild provides guidance on how limited edition giclée printing should work. Firstly, it is recommended that a limited edition print run is kept to below 850 prints Worldwide. However, you can have as few prints as you like. This also includes any artist proofs. Bear in mind that, the lower the edition run, the ‘more rare’ your prints will be – potentially this can be good for resale. However, the more prints produced, the higher the potential income initially. This is really for the artist or photographer to decide upon. It depends on your objectives and purpose and of course the expectations of your buyers and collectors. We can of course, help advise and give guidance if required.

The Fine Art Trade Guild also states that, ‘a limited edition print is based on an agreement between the licensor, usually the artist or artist’s estate, as a holder of the copyright, and the licensee, usually the publisher.’ The licensor should agree that no previous reproductions have been made and will not be produced again for publication. The publisher will also agree to not exceed the agreed print run, which has previously been specified.

Additionally, to comply as a limited edition giclée print run, the image should not be produced in any other format, anywhere in the world. This includes on items such as greeting cards, postcards, mugs or other merchandise. Also you can’t recreate the image as a different sized print. However, there is an exception in that it can be printed for promotional purposes in items such as brochures or books.

Please feel free to Get in touch if you need further assistance.



Why are there rules for Limited Edition Prints?

Limited Edition prints were originally created from plates. As more and more prints were created from the plates, the image would become more feint. Therefore there was only a limited amount of prints that could be created, this also meant the first prints would be a better quality, with a sharper print image. In modern day we can print the same print many times, with no degradation in the print quality. Therefore to recreate this sense of exclusivity, new rules needed to be applied. Limiting the number of prints produced to the amount agreed between the artist, publisher and gallery. Also giving the customers and collectors of todays art and fine art photographs, security that the Limited Edition print they buy now maintains its level of exclusivity for all time.

You are not bound by any legal requirement, but if you portray your prints as Limited Edition and exclusive, then later you produce postcards, mugs and ’t’shirts, you may just lose those buyers and your reputation. Usually Limited Edition giclee prints come with a Certificate of Authenticity, which literally states the number of prints that will be produced and that the image will not appear on any merchandise. 

Please feel free to Get in touch, we’re more than happy to help

Certificates of Authenticity

This is a certificate that accompanies your Limited Edition print. It will have the name of the artist, the title of the artwork or photo, the size of the image and information on the number of prints in the Edition and the substrate they are to be printed on. It will also have its own specific print number of the Limited Edition.

The Certificate shows your commitment to your buyers and reassures them of your integrity as an artist. It also adds value to your Limited Edition print. Please click Certificates of Authenticity to learn more about them.

photo of embossed limited edition giclée printArtists Proofs

Originally when prints were printed from plates, the initial prints were usually test prints until the colours could be corrected. This meant the first prints were also the sharpest, detailed prints. These became known as Artists Proofs and became collectible items. Today artists and photographers may choose to have a test print (print proof) of their image to check colours and they don’t always sell these. They usually don’t differ that much from the final giclée print. 

Though some artists and photographers, still see this initial test print/ prints as part of their process and so they make these prints available to buy as Artists Proofs. Normally this type of print will have the letters AP on the bottom of the print rather than a number. They are seen as more exclusive than a Limited Edition print, as there is usually only one of this print in existence. Artists and photographers may not release this type of print for sale for years, after the initial Limited Edition print run. 


Signing, numbering and Embossing your Limited Edition prints

Part of the exclusivity of your Limited Edition prints is adding as much reassurance to your buyers as you can. This includes adding the number and signing the print. A signed print adds weight to its authenticity. It also reassures your buyers that you are happy to sign the print and add to its authentication. An added extra touch is to have your print embossed by your fine art printer/ publisher. Adding further value to your Limited Edition prints.

Please feel free to Get in touch to discuss this further



Digigraphie® by Epson

For a Limited Edition giclée print to be classified as Digigraphie®, it has to meet a specific set of technical printing criteria. At The Artists Print Room we are proud to be able to offer this level of service to our artists and photographers. It is part of our commitment to provide a high level fine art printing service. We don’t just print, we are fine art printers, there is a distinction.

There are three criteria for Digigraphie®. Firstly the number of proofs produced, then the format of the reproduction and finally the choice of media for printing on. It requires a commitment from the artist or photographer, that they will produce a Limited Edition print run and adhere to what was originally agreed in their certificate of the print. That means no change of media, print reproduction or extending the print run. This shows a higher level of commitment to your buyers and a guarantee to them of the quality of print they are buying from you.

photo of limited edition giclee print of botanical paintingDigigraphie® Criteria Commitment

So the criteria for Digigraphie® to begin with means using a certified Epson printer, certified inks, certified paper and an authenticated embossing stamp and certificate.

To achieve the continued high standards of Digigraphie® we as a Digigraphie® print laboratory have to undertake rigorous quality control checks every month, to maintain a consistently high level of fine art print reproduction.  

As a Digigraphie® fine art printers we also have to use certified Epson printers. Print at 2880 dpi with a minimum of 8 colours, with 2 blacks and 1 grey ink. We also have to use exceptionally high quality certified papers, such as Hahnemühle Museum Etching 350gsm and Canson Infinity Rag Photographique 310gsm. These are just two of the examples of Digigraphie® approved papers that we stock. Please Get in touch to discuss what choice of papers we have for Digigraphie® printing.

Digigraphie® seal of approval 

Finally we will emboss your Limited Edition prints with the Digigraphie® official stamp and provide the accompanying certificate. This certificate will detail the printer and inks used and our Digigraphie® laboratory information. Ensuring your buyers of an exceptionally high quality print. Digigraphie® is a recognised high standard of guaranteed quality within the art world and renowned by art galleries and museums.

Open Edition prints

Alternatively, you don’t need to ‘limit’ your print production and you can produce open edition prints. Basically, this means you can print as many as you like in whichever formats you like! However, the sales value and resale potential with open editions can be much less than with limited edition prints. With limited edition prints you tend to find that there is value added due to the uniqueness and exclusivity. Open edition prints suit mass production and high turnovers.

In Conclusion

So in conclusion, you may discover that Limited Edition prints may suit certain artworks or photographs and open edition may suit other artworks or photographs. You have to weigh up what you think your buyers will prefer. Also think about how exclusive you want a particular giclée print to be. Some artists and photographers become known for only releasing small Limited Edition print runs. This can create a rise in demand over supply, which means you can demand a higher price for your Limited Edition prints.

Please feel free to Get in touch to discuss your options further 


Did you know that we are the only fine art printing company in the UK which has been accredited by Canson Infinity, Hahnemühle Fine Art, Epson DigigraphieILFORD and the Fine Art Trade Guild? Also, why not sign up to our mailing list to keep up to date with news, products and future competitions at The Artists Print Room – just complete the form below.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram too!