Understanding how printing works (and how to speak the language of printers) is important for designers and business owners as well.
But are you confused by printing terms such as bleed, resolution, and CMYK?
Keep this jargon-busting glossary close by to get you well on your way to understanding what graphic designers are talking about.
Above the fold::
The portion of a webpage that’s visible without scrolling. In print, it’s the portion of the paper that’s visible when folded.
Refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet before trimming. In other words, the bleed is the area to be cut off. These marks (along with the crop marks) help the printers understand where to ccut and allows the final trimmed document to be seamless (ie. no white margin) particularly when using images that extend to the edge of the page. A document with bleed must be printed on a larger sheet of paper and then trimmed down.
CMYK refers to four-color (or plate) process printing. Almost every printed material – from magazines to business cards – is printed using a CMYK color model. Each letter refers to a color used in the process.
C = Cyan
M = Magenta
Y = Yellow
K = Key (Black)
Crop Marks ::
Printed lines showing where to trim a printed sheet.
Dots per inch is a measure of printing quality. Many printers work by producing tiny dots per square inch to create an image, more dots equal greater accuracy and detail.
The feel and texture of any paper.
A font is a set of printable or displayable text characters in a specific style and size.
Font family ::
A set of fonts all with the same typeface, but with different sizes, weights and slants. Font family is also a group designation for defining the typefaces used in CSS documents.
Fading from one color to another, or from opaque to transparent.
Graphic design ::
Graphic design is the art of projecting ideas with visual content. It’s a form of design that communicates through images and words – such as logos or brochures.
Known as the worldwide standard of color. Pantone colors provide printers with very specific formulas for mixing ink to precisely match a desired color.
Refers to the physical number of pixels within a raster image. High resolution images have 300 DPI, while online images are 72 DPI. When using an image for print, the higher the resolution the better, but typically 300 DPI is the minimum to ensure the image will reproduce well.
Sans Serif ::
A style of typeface where there are no small lines at the end of each character.
A style of typeface where small lines are at the end of each character. Common serif fonts are Arial and Helvetica.
Spot Color ::
Is used when you need to match a very specific color.
Trim Size ::
The actual size of the finished printed piece.
Typography is the art and technique of arranging type and it involves using typefaces as a means of communication.
These are a handful of common print terms you may hear when working with a print shop. Have you come across an unusual printing term to share or need an explanation of? Ask us in the comments section below.