Do you find yourself asking ‘What is digital printing?’ Or do you understand what a print bleed is? Dealing with print companies can be daunting, and understanding the many printing terms can make life a lot easier. Check out some of the print lingo we use on a daily basis:
The amount of spare space necessary when ink runs off the page edge.
Refers to the basic printing process colors – cyan (aqua), magenta (pink), yellow and ‘K’ standing for black.
Crop marks are printed cutting lines. These appear on the printed creative before it is ‘finished’. Crop marks indicate where the publication should be trimmed.
A design that is to be fixed to some surface for a period of time. These can be adhered to almost any surface: walls, windows or floors and are usually printed on SAV (Self adhesive vinyl). A decal requires installation and removal.
Die cutting is the process whereby shapes are cut out of paper, or other substrates. Designers will generally have to specify a cutting grid in their page layout or vector drawing program. The printer will then use this as a guide for making the Die.
What is Digital Printing? Print methods such as laser and ink-jet printing are known as digital printing. In digital printing, an image is sent directly to the printer using digital files such as PDFs and those from graphics software such as Illustrator and InDesign. This eliminates the need for a printing plate, which is used in offset printing, which can save money and time.
Refers to the final size of the print item after it has been folded, trimmed and ready for distribution.
The final steps of the printing process after the actual printing is complete. Includes anything that needs to be applied to the print such as trimming, die cutting, folding, collating, hole drilling, scoring, binding, laminating, pockets/dowel etc.
The thickness of a sheet of paper is indicated by its weight, measured in grams per square meter (gsm). The standard weights of machine-made paper are 190 gsm, 300 gsm, 356 gsm, and 638 gsm but can also be anywhere in-between.
A printing technique whereby ink is spread on a metal plate with etched images, then transferred to an intermediary surface such as a rubber blanket, and finally applied to paper by pressing the paper against the intermediary surface. Most print shops use offset printing to produce large volumes of high-quality documents. Although the equipment and set-up costs are relatively high, the actual printing process is relatively inexpensive. This is usually used for high volume jobs.
This is otherwise known as CMYK or full color printing. The printing process where cyan, magenta, yellow and black are used to formulate other colors.
Pantone Matching System is a popular color matching system used by the print industry to print spot colors (colors that can be reproduced with only their own ink) but not for process colors, which need a combination of the four inks; CMYK.
This is the level of detail printable by a printer. The level can be indicated by dots per inch (dpi).
The ability to reduce or enlarge an image. To avoid distortion, some programs can maintain the ratio between width and height when you scale the image.
A spot color is an ‘extra’, or ‘special’ color that is used in addition to the CMYK four-color process. The extra ink is added to its own roller on the printing press, so as to more accurately print certain colors that are hard to reproduce with CMYK inks. There are a number of companies that manufacture and specify spot colors; most common of these is the Pantone color matching system.
- A0 = 841mm x 1189mm
- A1 = 594mm x 841mm
- A2 = 420mm x 594mm
- A3 = 297mm x 420mm
- A4 = 210mm x 297mm
- A5 = 148mm x 210mm
- A6 = 105mm x 148mm
- A7 = 74mm x 105mm
- A8 = 52mm x 74mm
Any material or surface that is to be printed on. For example, paper is a printing substrate. Other printing substrates can include plastics, card and even metals.