100% Satisfaction Guarantee Buy with Confidence Personalised Corporate Christmas Cards with Free Colour Logo Order your Printed Stationery Here
My Shopping Basket 0 Items, Total .00

Printing Terms and Jargon

A basic understanding of some of the terms used in the printing industry can help you achieve better results. Here are some of the most commonly used printing terms.

Alteration: Any change made after artwork or copy has been given to the printer.

Anti¯Aliasing: A process of reducing or removing jagged distortions in curves and diagonal lines. It makes lines appear smoother.

Artwork: Copy prepared for print reproduction.

Bind: To secure leaves or sections into a book.

Bleed: A bleed is an extension of a print image beyond the edge you expect to see. When the page is trimmed, the colour or printed image goes to the edge of the page.

Bond Paper: Paper usually 70 ¯ 10gsm suitable for printing.

Chokes: Where darker coloured areas are printed to overlap very slightly into lighter colour areas so that there are no white gaps.

CMYK: This stands for (C) Cyan, (M) Magenta, (Y) Yellow, and (K) Black. All other printing colours are made from these four.

Copy: Text or images prepared for printing.

Crop: Cutting part of an image to remove parts of it you don¯t need. Cropping also lets you cut an image to a certain size.

Crop Marks: Narrow lines at the corners of a proof that show you where the page will be cut.

Die Cut: Die cutting lets you cut paper into unique shapes and sizes.

Digital printing: Printing technology that (with linking of printing devices to computers) results in faster turnaround times, lowered setup costs, and the ability to personalise documents easily. It is very useful for short print runs.

DPI (dots per inch): DPI or resolution refers to the sharpness of your design. It is the unit of measurement used to describe how clearly a printed output will appear.

Double­Sided or Duplex Printing: Printing on both sides of a single page.

EPS (Encapsulated PostScript): A file format developed by Adobe Systems. It can contain vector or bitmap art, or both. EPS can be used for commercial printing and can contain any colour mode.

GIF: (Graphic Interchange format): GIF images display up to 256 colours and usually have very small file sizes. They are the most widely used graphic format on the web. GIF files are unsuitable for professional printing.

Greyscale Mode: A file format containing up to 256 shades of gray but no colour. Greyscale can be used for on­screen and commercial printing applications.

GSM: Refers to the weight (thickness) of paper. For example professional looking business cards are best printed on around 300gsm paper.

JPEG: A file format developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group. JPEG supports 8­bit greyscale and colour depths up to 32­bit CMYK. JPEGs are the best way to display photographs on the web.

Offset printing: A common commercial printing method, in which ink is offset from a printing plate to a second roller then to paper. Off­set printing is usually used for longer print runs (the longer the print run the cheaper it becomes). It involves considerable pre-press and set­up time.

Opacity: Refers to the extent to which you can see a printed image through the other side of the paper. Usually the thicker the paper, the more opacity you have.

Overrun: Where more copies are printed than you actually need.

Overprint: To add a new image or text to an already printed item. This could be a correction or variable information.

Pica: A pica is the basic measurement unit in typesetting. There are 6 picas in 1 inch.

Pixel (picture element): the smallest unit that can be displayed on an electronic device. It usually refers to the smallest unit that computer monitors can show.

Proof: The proof is a copy of your print job. Proofs let you confirm everything is correct before going to press. Corrections can be made to proofs.

Ream: The unit for ordering paper. A ream is made up of 500 sheets.

Resolution: the crispness of detail in an image. Screen or computer monitor resolution is measured in dots by lines (eg 640 x 350); printer resolution is measured in dpi (eg 300 dpi).

RGB: Acronym for ¨Red, Green, Blue¨ Refers to the mode which creates the images you see on a television or computer monitor.

Spot colour separation: A term used for offset printing, which refers to the separation of solid premixed ink colours.

Spread: Refers to the combination of two facing pages, which are designed as a unit. Spread also refers to the adjacent inside panels of a brochure when opened.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format): A graphics file format best used for digital gray-scale halftones. TIFF files can be used on PC or Mac computers.

Typeset: Refers to the layout of text and text design.

Vector graphic: Vector graphics are drawn in paths allowing graphic designers to resize images without loss of quality (pixilated edges). The vector format is generally used for in printing while the bitmap format is used for onscreen display.