When you’ve ever worked with a design company on a printed document or marketing collateral, it may sometimes seem like these kinds of are speaking a foreign language. The print design world contains many words and phrases which are unfamiliar to the average person. But if you don’t understand the basic terminology, you could finish with a printed piece that doesn’t seem the way you want. Worse, it could result in the dreaded (and costly) reprint process – an outcome nobody wants.
To help make sure your print projects come out right the first time, here’s a basic glossary of important print design terms.
Bleed. This refers to any design element on a print piece that extends past the advantage of the paper. Designers indicate the bleed by setting up the record with a bleed mark, typically calculating 0. 125 inches past the trim area of the final printed piece.
CMYK. No, this is not dyslexic for “check your mail. ” CMYK stands for the combination of ink colors most often used in 4-color process or electronic printing: cyan (blue), magenta, yellow and black (represented by the “K”). Images in print documents are always imprinted in CMYK, and must be converted from other color formats to CMYK before printing, unless it is a low-Pantone color run.
Pantone colors. Also known as PMS (Pantone Color Matching System), these comprise a set of universal shades that every printer in the world can reproduce. Each Pantone color comes with CMYK, RGB, hexadecimal and Pantone colour codes. Using these codes helps develop color consistency throughout print plus digital branding materials.
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Crop represents. Printers typically fit multiple prints onto one large sheet associated with paper. Crop marks indicate where the printer should make cuts towards the final printed piece. They are also used to cut and separate the excess document and other prints.
Digital printing. Also referred to as 4-color process printing, digital publishing is specifically for CMYK color. It is most cost-effective for smaller amounts (250 to 1, 000 pieces), as it requires less prep work for the printer.
Finish. This refers to the area quality of the paper used for the particular printed piece. Different types of paper have got different finishes, such as matte, luster, glossy or textured finish. Commonly used finishes include glossy and matte.
Offset printing. Offset printing is generally used for larger print jobs of 1, 000 pieces and up. The inkjet printer sets up a different plate for each color, and runs every print through each color plate to create the last printed piece. This requires more setup on the part of the printer. But it allows both CMYK and Pantone colors to be used on the press, and allows for larger initial runs as well as re-runs for larger print jobs.
PPI/DPI. PPI stands for “pixels per inch”; DPI for “dots per “. ” Both are used to communicate the resolution of images, and simply because they refer to the same measurement can be used interchangeably. There are two standard PPI measurements, with 72ppi referring to the optimal quality for a computer screen, and 300ppi mentioning the typical optimal resolution for published images.
Print document images must always be at 300ppi before delivering to print; otherwise they will look blurry and pixilated. If 300ppi images are printing blurry, it means they are too small for the picture print area, and a larger picture is needed. Making the photo larger in Photoshop will not resolve the pixilation problem.
RGB. RGB is an acronym for “red, green and blue” – the colors that make up all of the color combinations seen on a monitor. Documents and images set regarding screen viewing are typically in RGB. In order to use the images for print out, they must be converted to CMYK in Photoshop. It also helps to make sure they’re at 300ppi, as images extracted from the Internet are usually set to 72ppi and could not be large enough to print.
Proof. After prepping the final design files, the printer sets up a printing proof, which is typically an electronic digital file in PDF format. Looking at a printing proof is essential intended for identifying any design or content-related issues before the piece gets delivered to press. Once you approve a proof, on the phone to make any more changes. The best way to evaluation the digital proof file (if it’s a PDF) is to open it and view it carefully in Adobe Acrobat. Do not print it for review on your home or office computer, as these computer printers use different inks and methods not up to par with professional printers. Viewing the proof on a monitor is the closest you can get to the real final product. Any differences will be minute.