The word "giclée" was created by Jack Duganne, a print maker working at Nash Editions. He wanted a name for the new type of prints they were producing on the IRIS printer, a large format high resolution industrial prepress proofing ink-jet printer they had adapted for fine art printing. He was specifically looking for a word that would not have the negative connotations of "ink-jet" or "computer generated". To make the word descriptive of ink-jet technologies he based it on the French language word "le gicleur" meaning "nozzle", or more specifically "gicler" meaning "to squirt, spurt, or spray".
Beside its association with IRIS prints, in the past few years, the word “giclée,” as a fine art term, has come to be associated with prints using fade-resistant, archival inks (pigment based, as well as newer solvent based inks), and archival substrates primarily produced on Epson and some other types of large format printers. These printers use the CMYK color process but may have multiple cartridges for variations of each color based on the CcMmYK color model (e.g. light magenta and light cyan inks in addition to regular magenta and cyan); this increases the apparent resolution and color gamut and allows smoother gradient transitions. A wide variety of substrates are available including various textures and finishes such as matte photo paper, watercolor paper, cotton canvas, or artist textured vinyl.