These two phrases are often generalised as the same process of turning a digital image into a canvas-based print, unfortunately there are some specific differences between the two.
Pricing is will be the first that most people notice, Giclee prints can range anywhere from 50% to 300% more expensive than typical canvas prints. The price difference reflects the quality of the final product.
Normal canvas prints are printed by an large area ink-jet printer putting it’s ink onto a canvas surface. Typically the canvas used in normal canvas printing is relatively thin and a poly-cotton blend of fibres that offer a 10-20 year archival rating when cared for properly. The inks used are of good quality, but are still just inks and are susceptible to fading, bleeding and discoloration over it’s expected time.
In contrast Giclee Prints are produced using the very best technology, materials and practices. The canvas is often either 100% cotton, or a completely synthetic fibre. The dyes used by the printer are sprayed in a very fine mist giving fantastic saturation, stunning detail and the absolute best in colour reproduction.
The majority of canvas print companies also offer top-layer finishes for Giclee prints, ranging from chemicals that give you the look of brush strokes to other chemical treatments for your canvas that make it virtually water-proof. Giclee prints are of a far superior quality and the archival rating on these prints range from 100 to 200 years.