Printing Glossary

Confused by printing terms? Print design can be a confusing because of all the unfamiliar printing terms and concepts hopefully this glossary will give you a brief overlook to some of the most used terms, to ensure your designs look the same on paper as they do on screen. You can now continue on your journey to becoming a PRINT MASTER…

CMYK
Subtractive primary colors used for four-color process printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

RGB
Additive primary colors used for monitors and image capture by camera or scanning: red, green and blue.

SPOT COLOUR
Color generated by an ink (pure or mixed) that is printed using a single run.

PANTONE
A system for matching colors, used in specifying printing inks.

COLOR SEPARATION
The process by which original artwork is separated into individual CMYK color components for printing.

RESOLUTION
The resolution of a halftone screen is measured in lines per inch (lpi). This is the number of lines of dots in one inch, measured parallel with the screen’s angle.

DOTS PER INCH (DPI)
The resolution of an imaging device. i.e. Number of dots of ink a desktop printer prints per line per inch.

PIXELS PER INCH (PPI)
The number of pixels per inch in a digital image. The higher the number, the higher the resolution and the better the image quality.

BLEED
Printing term that is used to describe a document which has images or elements that touch the edge of the page, extending beyond the trim edge and leaving no white margin. Printers are unable to print right to the edge so When a document has bleed, it must be printed on a larger sheet of paper and then trimmed down the the proper size.

MOIRÉ
Patterns in an image caused by incorrect screen angles.

HALFTONE
A reproduction of a photograph or other image in which the various tones of gray or color are produced by variously sized dots of ink varying either in size or in spacing, thus generating a gradient like effect.

DIGITAL PROOF
A digital proof is a color prepress proofing method where a job is printed from the digital file using inkjet, color laser or other forms of reproduction, with the purpose to give a good approximation of what the final printed piece will look like.

PRESS PROOF
The primary goal of ‘proofing’ is to serve as a tool for customer verification that the entire job is accurate. A press proof is a test print made at the production printing press to provide the last chance for making adjustments before the volume printing of the print job begins.

PROOFREAD
To read and correct mistakes in a printed proof.

REGISTRATION
In color printing, registration is the method of correlating overlapping colors on one single image. Registration is achieve by aligning registration marks. If this is not done, the finished image will look fuzzy, blurred or “out of register”

GHOSTING
Is the presence of a faint image of a design in solid printing areas that is not intended to receive that portion of the image. This print defect is always in the machine direction and usually is a repeated pattern.

PAPER DUMMY
A paper dummy uses the specified paper and shows how the job will be assembled during production—including size, fold and binding. Get a paper dummy at the outset for any project involving numerous pages. Make sure to get a new paper dummy if the page size, paper or job specifications change.

PORTABLE DOCUMENT FORMAT (PDF)
A file format used to present documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems. Each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a fixed layout
flat document, including the text, fonts, graphics, and other information needed to display it.

PRESS-READY PDF
This file contains all the necessary items to print a job successfully on press. Including fonts, images, colors, document specifications, etc. Many printers can supply a profile that is used to generate a press-ready pdf with to their exact specifications.

PREFLIGHT
Describes the process of confirming that the digital files required for the printing process are all present, valid, correctly formatted and of the desired type.

PAPER STOCK
Printing paper type. From text to card stock weight, coated to uncoated, etc

UNCOATED PAPER
Paper manufactured with no surface coating. Characterized by a wide variety of grades and levels of quality.

COATED PAPER
Paper manufactured with a surface coating. Characterized by a wide variety of grades and levels of quality.

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