Some really useful stuff post it noteHow many times has your designer or printer fired an expression at you and you’ve thought, “Aaghh, I wonder what they mean by that?”

Well to help to build harmonious client and designer/printer relationships, here are a few jargon words busted …

Artwork – the computer files usually created using specialist designer software and these files are used to print the final job. These artwork files really have to be created by a designer, unless you are a budding designer yourself and you have the right software. You will need software like Photoshop, Quark/InDesign. So creating something yourself in Word or PowerPoint just won’t do the job I’m afraid!

Bleed – the area of colour beyond the crop marks of a printed job, ensuring a continued print covering of colour
right to the edge of the final finished (cropped) item. About 3-5mm is normally sufficient.

Copy writing –  the process of writing text or words for an advert or website.

Crop marks – printed grid lines showing where to trim a printed sheet to the final desired size.

CYMK – the four process colours used as standard for full colour printing: Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Black. Every possible colour combination for print including all photographs or graphic images can be created using these 4 simple process colours. There are a couple of exceptions – for example, Silver and Gold – which are printed as ‘Specials’. Also see ‘Spot Colours’ listed below.

Digital printing – This is a more recent development in printing (than traditional lithographic printing) and depending on the quality of digital printers used, the results may vary. The best digital printers produce a printed quality as crisp and clear as the best lithographic printers. Digital printing is often used for smaller print runs that would be uneconomical on a traditional lithographic printing press.

DPI – (dots per inch) or often referred to as Resolution. It refers to the sharpness of your image or design. It does not matter how good the printers are, if the photo, image or scanned design is not sharp enough then the final reproduced printed item will not appear crisp, clear and professional. For the best result, you should have at least 300dpi (larger formats like display stands or very large posters require a lower resolution).

Gloss – A shiny finish to paper stock or a varnish finish can be gloss or matt.

Graphics – photographs, illustrations, drawings, or computer created images.

GSM – a standard paper industry measurement for paper density or weight (grammes per square metre). Photocopier paper is very lightweight and is around 80-90gsm. Business cards are normally printed onto 300-400 gsm paper stock (see ‘Stock’ below).

Laminate – to cover with film (often gloss finish), to bond or seal one surface to another. A matt laminate looks very slick on your business cards!

Lithographic printing – this is the traditional and older method of printing and gives a very clear and crisp result.

Pantone – a universal colour matching and coding system used for printing specific colours (a bit like a very large domestic paint colour chart!) where each colour is defined with a unique reference code. The colours in your logo will often be specified using Pantone colours but can also be recreated using 4 colour process printing (see CYMK), although the colour won’t be an exact match. The paper stock used and how porous it is will also impact on the final colour results.

Perfect bound – a type of binding that glues the edge of sheets to a cover like a telephone book, or glossy magazine.

Print run – the quantity of printed items you need.

Proof – usually supplied as an electronic Adobe Acrobat PDF file – this is a visual representation of what your finished item will look like. It should be noted that when viewed on your PC screen or printed on your office printer, it won’t be an exact 100% colour match to the finished item which will of course, be on paper or card stock and printed professionally. Ask your printer to show you samples and a colour chart, especially if you want specific colours or a certain finish.

RGB – reference to the Red, Green and Blue basic colours which are used on PC monitors. A Pantone or CYMK breakdown colour can be re-created in RGB for use on your website or email newsletters.

Saddle stitch – binding a brochure with staples in the seam where it folds.

Spot colour – a solid colour used in printing, often a Pantone specified colour, that is printed as a special ink not a mix of the CYMK process colours (Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Black).

Spot varnish – a varnish used to highlight a specific part of the printed item, again often with a gloss finish. Can be good to highlight photographs or even typography for a more luxurious effect.

Stock – paper or board materials used for printing onto.

Tints – A percentage shade of a single colour or combined colors to create a lighter effect.

If you’ve come across any more that cause confusion, do let me know!