Monday, 16 February 2015

Yeti - Giclee Printing Review



I've known of Yeti for a while and had always heard really good things about their screen-printing service. So when I saw that they were branching out to offer giclee printing as well, I thought it would be great to write a quick review and see how the quality stands up to other printers I've used in the past.

Giclee printing is a term used to describe high quality Inkjet printing onto fine paper stock. Yeti use a 2 colour Canon ImagePROGRAF 6450 large format digital printer using the LUCIA EX 12-colour pigment print system - meaning the prints are archival quality (so they're light-fast and won't fade!).This makes it a really good option for illustrators and artists creating prints for exhibitions or sale, it's great quality, but still cost effective.

I chose to print one of my 'Illustrated Advent' pieces as it features some colours which can be a little tricky to reproduce vibrantly (or so I've found) - maybe that's a little mean, but I think it's good to put up a bit of a challenge! It's also one of my favourite recent illustrations, so it was a fitting choice.

The prints arrived carefully packaged in cardboard, brown paper and tissue paper - so absolutely no complaints. They even survived a rather forceful shove through the letter box (I think my postman was having a bad day!).


I spoke with Ed from Yeti, and we decided it would be great to try out the print on a variety of paper stock. (I love that this feels like writing a science lesson methodology!). I did find quite a difference between the paper types; and although they all came out beautifully, I definitely had my favourites.  

Here's what I found -

This first paper type (above) is 'Hahnemuhle Photo Rag at 308gsm' - it's lightly textured and has a nice weight to it. I was really surprised with how accurately the colours of the illustration were reproduced, the brights were vibrant and luminescent (in a good way!) and the very pale colours showed up well. This paper stock is a really good all rounder, I'd very happily use it for exhibitions, prints and products.


The second is the slightly more textured 'Hahnemuhle German Etching at 310gsm' (the thickest paper we tried).  It is quite similar to the first paper, although the texture is definitely more pronounced.  I don't think I would choose this level of texture if I was exhibiting a piece, but I think it would work beautifully to give a really bespoke edge to prints for sale, or for trimming into postcards/greetings cards. I think it's got that tactile quality that demands it be felt rather than just looked at!





The 'Origin Matt 230gsm - Coated Paper' had a smooth finish and was the more 'standard type' of the lot, although personally I think it was my favourite. The colours came out so, so beautifully on this (and I'm a picky one with colour), and the finish is understated but vibrant.


The final paper type was the 'Origin Lustre Pro 270gms - Photo Paper'. Now, I'm not really a fan of photo paper as I don't really appreciate the shine on it, especially with illustration. But if you were thinking of using giclee printing for photography work I think this would be a solid choice - the colours and print quality were still crisp (although maybe the colours were a tad less saturated than on the non-glossy papers), and the paper was nice and weighty.

So! Experiment over, and what's my conclusion? I can honestly say it's rare for me to be this impressed by print quality - just, the colours being so accurate to the illustration and the sheer vibrancy (although, yes, a little less so with the photo paper). Illustrators: I completely recommend using Hahnemuhle Photo Rag (380) and Origin Matt (230). 

Yeti have a price list on their website here if you want to find out a bit more, or here's a quick word from Ed about Yeti's background -

"My love of print started when I studied screen printing at Norwich School of Art and Design. I joined a digital printer’s shortly after graduating and in the 6 years I worked there my knowledge of the digital print process became extensive, so I decided to put my skills to better use by starting up my own printing company, using a combination of both traditional and modern methods.

I started Yeti just over a year ago and have seen the company go from strength to strength. I have had the pleasure of working closely with some very talented artists, illustrators and designers, building up a portfolio of print work.  Finally seeing my dream come true is very humbling."

If you want to know more, you can get in touch with Ed at hello@yetiscreenprint.co.uk, he'll help you out!

Just to let you know, I wasn't paid to write this (although I received the samples for free), so I've gotcha' back and I'll write my honest opinion for you.  Give me a shout if there's anything else you'd like to see me review and I'll try to make it happen!