In GraficArtPrints we believe the best recognition to our work is the one provided by our customers with their daily confidence. Still, being professional printers and curious by nature, we wondered what was behind the titles Certified Studio by Hahnemühle or Digigraphie® by Epson.
Epson Digigraphie® vs. Hahnemühle Certified Studio
The requirements for obtaining both titles is distinctive. While Hahnemühle stresses on technical knowledge and proficiency in work, Epson limits it to force the studio to get a particular printer (Epson, of course), model which changes depending in what is to be sold at a given time, to sign a statement of intent and make payment of a quite an amount of money.
Obtaining the certificate from Hahnemühle is totally free, prior theoretical exam and after a representative from the German paper manufacturer personally visits the facilities of the study and checks knowledge of the person in charge.
Treatment received by the two companies is also antagonistic. While Hahnemühle responds quickly and efficiently, our experience with Epson is similar to the one you get from some phone companies when you want to terminate the service.
To be clear about our position and avoid speculation, we state that GraficArtPrints is user of Epson technology, is a Certified Studio by Hahnemühle since April 2013, and that the information about requirements needed to get the Digigraphie ® seal, has been provided by Epson Ibérica, SAU.
The invention of the stamp Digigraphie® by Epson dates back to 2003, being registered by Epson France.
Apart from the commercial interest of the brand in creating a concept that would increase sales of its products, the initial philosophy of it, was to add value to the prints, certifying the number of printed copies of a particular limited edition, plus record of inks and paper used.
At the time of the creation of the term Digigraphie ® and for a long period of time, the papers “certified” were only by the Epson brand. A disappointing start to the many workshops that used high quality papers from other manufacturers. It seemed more alike that Epson was trying to increase the sales of their papers that to really certify the quality and permanence of a giclée print.
Currently, the list of “certified” papers had no choice but to spread to other manufacturers such as Hahnemühle and Canson later one a French brand as Digigraphie®.
Leave off from this list American quality papers such as Museo, Moab or Pictorico, showed that Digigraphie® was not born to an international basis, but rather European, not to mention the lack of savoir-faire with the Americans, real pioneers in giclée printing.
Requirements to become a Digigraphie ® workshop
From these requirements we could deduce the following :
Digigraphie® is the print made by an authorized Epson printer, on any of the certified papers by Epson, after the the printer’s owner has paid the application fee.
It is not a Digigraphie® print, the one made by an authorized Epson printer, on any of the certified papers by Epson, if the the printer’s owner does not pay the application fee.
It may be the paradox that, some of the workshops currently having the Diggigraphie® seal have been recognized as such, with a printer that currently is discontinued or obsolete according to Epson list, while other workshops with an up to date machinery, have not shown any interest to satisfy the tax-fee to get the Digigraphie® seal.
The obligation to acquire the software “Mirage QA for Digigraphie ®” is also confusing since Mirage is a program / print RIP, which has nothing to do with improving quality, but through the productivity, with extra modules as the ICC profiler for Epson Spectroproofer.
In addition to the title “Epson Digigraphie®”, the seal to be applied to the print, shows as well the name of the workshop who processed the print. The artist must issue a “Certificate” where is to be written the edition number, paper used, etc… well, this document issued by the artist always has been called “Certificate of Authenticity” and is very prior to the appearance of the term Digigraphie®. Actually there was no need to come third parties to “certify” something that only the author is solely responsible.
Since the beginning of GraficArtPrints -if artists permit- we also apply a seal to sign our work. As a workshop, we are users of materials provided by the manufacturers. For any future claim, our seal indicate our craftmanship and we could act as claimants upon the manufacturers. As we already have such a seal ourselves, we know its cost and how far are the 390,00 € claimed by Epson for their seal and stamper.
On the other hand, the statement of intent that the applicant must sign is named “Ethical Contract Procedure” and in one of his articles can it be read the following:
“If in a limited edition, the printer model or the paper format of the work is changed, it is imperative that this becomes the subject of a new edition. Artist agrees not to exceed the number of individual print run of such as indicated in the certificate given to each purchaser of a work.”
Don’t you think that this paragraph is an open door to make as many prints as desired in the future of the same image? From these words it is understood that the fact to change the size or printer model, should be considered an entirely new edition.
For example, an author publishes a “limited edition” and certifies a maximum of 100 copies with printer A equipped with inks B, paper C and size D.
These “limited editions” usually are procuded on demand and in some cases (or most of them), the variables A and B reach their end of life, before having printed all copies of an edition.
What should an artist do when needs to print copy number 99 and any workshop does not have printer A anymore (because has been updated) or ink formulation B has changed ?
According to the Epson Ethical Contract Procedure, we understand that in a situation like that, a new limited edition should be issued as the variables A and B did change. Is this ethical procedure that Epson puts name?
We ignore what is the procedure of Digigraphie® by Epson in other countries, but from the response of Epson Ibérica SAU, we can only think of it just as a marketing strategy to increase sales of their papers and printers.
Maybe Digigraphie® was born with the good intention to certify the quality of the editions made by professional workshops. Today, this pack is also offered to individual artists wishing to apply that seal to their personal prints, by the way made by printers not certified to professional workshops. Will that be the sign that there’re no more professional workshops whom to sell them such invention ?