What follows is a glossary of terms commonly used in the printing industry. Familiarisation with these terms will help you communicate your printing needs to us at Afford A Print. But don’t worry; we are in the know with the language of the printing industry. We are committed to clear and understandable communication with all of our clients. There is nothing more important to us than meeting your printing needs.
These terms are universally accepted in the printing industry. These terms are not proprietary to any particular printing company. Therefore, the definitions you see here can and will be found elsewhere on the Internet.
Printing terms in alphabetical order (important subjects highlighted):
- Artwork –Any and all original materials and components (print, photographic, digital, etc.) that are necessary to/for building, producing, and reproducing your print project.
Bleed – any element that extends up to or beyond the edge of a printed page.
- Calendaring – paper-finishing process in which damp paper passed through several heated rollers to give it a smooth and shiny finish. Most book and writing papers are calendared while newsprint is usually not.
- Carbon Copy – a copy of written or typed material made with carbon paper.
- Carbonless Paper – paper that is chemically treated to transfer the impression from the first page to the subsequent pages.
C-fold – also known as the Letter Fold, is the Most Common Method of Tri-Folding a Document. A C-fold is a document folding method that uses two parallel folds to create six panels of roughly the same size – three panels on each side of the paper (commonly found with brochures or take away flyers). The outer panels are folded toward each other so that they overlap.
CMYK – a subtractive color model, used in color printing, and is also used to describe the printing process itself. CMYK refers to the four inks used in some color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black).
- Collate – to gather sheets or printed signatures together in their correct order. This is a common thing used for stapled booklets, manuals or printed books.
- Crop Marks – small printed lines around the edges of a printed piece indicating where it is to be cut out of the sheet. Sometimes referred to as cut marks.
- Digital Print – refers to methods of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers.You can find out what the difference is between digital and litho by clicking here.
- Digital Proof – color separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to color photographic paper creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed with ink. (This does not always accurately display the finished colour quality, especially if the job is carried out on another machine.)
- DPI – (dots per inch) refers to the output resolution of a printer or imagesetter. DPI in printing terms, refers to the physical dot density of an image when it is reproduced as a real physical entity. For example printed onto paper such as flyers, letterheads and compliment slips etc.
- Drop Shadow – a shadow image placed offset behind an image to create the effect of the image lifting off the page.
- Finish – the surface quality of paper. We can send you samples of different finishes in the post.
- Gloss Laminate – gloss laminate is visually stunning. It produces deeper, cleaner and crisper lines and colors, and gives vibrancy to cover photos. The glossy, reflective finish grabs attention and implies a richer product. Gloss laminate is durable in that it repels dust, dirt and fingerprints. Even when it does come into contact with surface dirt, it is easily wiped clean. Gloss is the standard for trade paperback covers.
- GSM – “Grams Per Square Meter;” a printing term used in determining the weight of paper. The higher the GSM, the heavier the paper.
- Justification – a common type of text alignment. The three most common text alignments are left (left margin), right (right margin), and full (evenly spaced from left to right margin).
- Lamination – applying thin transparent plastic sheets to both sides of a sheet of paper, providing scuff resistance, waterproofing and extended use. Some items like postcards can be laminated just on one side. This allows for people to write on the back which is usually uncoated.
- Litho Print – (also known as “lithography”); The name lithography comes from lithos, stone, and graphia and was invented in Prague by Alois Senefelder around 1796. Lithography is best described as a planographic process; this is nothing more than a process for printing from a smooth surface, called a plate, to a substrate, generally paper.You can find out what the difference is between digital and litho by clicking here.
- Logo – a symbol or other design adopted by an organization to identify its products, uniform, vehicles, etc. – Contact us for help with the design of your logo.
While printing terms are important, it’s more important to try and contact us before putting your design together. This is so you have the right format for us to print from. Different printers can require different formats.
- Matte – a coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring. See our guide here.
- Matte Laminate – a non-glossy, transparent sheet placed atop paper to reduce wear. See our guide here.
- Offset Paper – a term sometimes used for uncoated book paper. See our guide here.
- Outline Font – a typeface that has characters that are defined by an outline of the edges rather than a solid character; a font used by the printer in which each character is geometrically described, differing from bitmapped fonts that are viewed on a monitor and stored as patterns of dots. Outline fonts are scalable and can be output at any size.
- Overprinting – any printing that is done on an area that has already been printed. Printed Letterheads and compliment slips are a prime example of this – They are printed in one general print run, then they are insert into a desktop printer where they are printed over again.
- Pantone – a system of matching colors used in specifying printing inks.
- Perfect Binding – a binding process that prints on both sides of a sheet in a single pass through the press. This is a process used in printed booklets with large number of pages. A process also used in the printing of books.
- Physical Proof – a printed mock-up or prototype of a print project. This can provide you with a better idea of how large a font or image looks on a flyer at its final printed size.
- Print-ready File – a digital file of a project that is ready to go to print, without further editing or manipulation needed. For example, once a business card design is finished, the customer views a proof and that is then approved. A print-ready will then be printed from at the most suitable print machine.
- Rasterization – the process of changing vector graphics, fonts, gradients, and gradient meshes into bitmap images for display and printing.
- Resolution – the degree to which the eye can distinguish the varying components of an image. On a more technical level, the term resolution refers to a numerical measure of the clarity and sharpness a device, such as a computer monitor or printing press, can create an image. Common measures of resolution include pixels per inch (PPI) and dots per inch (DPI).
RGB – the color space of Red, Green and Blue. These are the primary colors of light, which computers use to display images on your screen. An RGB computer file must be translated into the CMYK (the primary colors of pigment) color space in order to be printed on a printing press.
- Saddle Stitch – the binding of booklets or other printed materials by stapling the pages on the folded spine.
- Silk – the screen or artwork used to print a particular color.
- Sublimation Printing – the process of printing onto a special sheet of paper, and then transferring that image onto fabric. The ink is heated until it disintegrates into the corresponding fabric. That makes the ink long-lasting, and you’ll never have the unfortunate “peeling” effect of a well-worn t-shirt.
- Transparency – images or text that are transparent or “show through.”
- Zig Zag Fold – or “z-fold” is a document folding method that uses two parallel folds to create six panels of equal size—three panels on each side of the paper.
Contact us if you would like to discuss any of these printing terms.
Why use us for your digital or litho printing needs?
A client gave us a recommendation for some business cards we did for their son. The review was left on BNI Connect, they said:
“We have used Nigel and Afford a Print personally on a couple of occasions now, and every time have had outstanding service and products. I’m passing this testimonial on from my son really as he has recently used Nigel’s services. He ordered some business cards from Nigel and was given some excellent advice on these.
When he finally got the artwork sent off, the business cards were printed and delivered within 48 hours – amazing! My Son is very pleased with the business cards – they look and feel perfect – so professional. I happily recommend Nigel and Afford a Print when ever and wherever I come across someone in need of a printer. thank you Nigel!” M. Eames
Your can read more of our client recommendations on Linkedin by clicking here.
You can read other reviews on Freeindex by clicking here.