What You Need to Know About Print Design Terminology

What You Need to Know About Print Design Terminology

If you’ve ever worked on a written paper or marketing collateral with a design agency, it may often seem like a foreign language is being spoken. The field of print design involves several words and phrases which the average person is unfamiliar with. But if you don’t understand the basic vocabulary, then you might end up with a printed piece that doesn’t look the way you want. Worse, this could lead to the dreaded (and expensive) reprinting process-an outcome no one wants. great post to read

Here’s a simple glossary of relevant print design words to help ensure your print designs come out right the first time.

Bleed, Bleed. This refers to any design element which extends past the edge of the paper on a print piece. Designers show a bleed by setting up a bleed mark to the paper, usually measuring 0.125 inches past the final printed piece’s trim area.

CMYK. No, this is not dyslexic to “check your mail.” CMYK stands for the most widely used combination of ink colors in the 4-color method or digital printing process: cyan (blue), magenta, yellow and black (represented by the “K”). Pictures in print documents are always printed in CMYK and must be converted to CMYK before printing from other color formats, unless it is running in low Pantone color.

Colours.Pantone. Often known as PMS (Pantone Color Matching System) these provide a set of universal colors that can be reproduced by any printer in the world. CMYK, RGB, hexadecimal and Pantone color codes are given in each Pantone colour. Using these codes helps to establish color continuity in printed materials and digital branding.

Cutting points. Multiple prints usually fit onto one wide sheet of paper. Crop marks indicate where the printer should be making cuts to the final printed product. These are also used for cutting and sorting unused paper and other prints.

Pressing digital. Digital printing is also known as 4-color process printing, specifically for CMYK colour. With smaller quantities (250 to 1,000 pieces), it is most cost-effective, because it needs less prep work for the printer.

Word. This refers to the consistency of the surface paper used for the printed piece. Different paper forms have different finishes, for example matte, luster, glossy or textured finishes. Commonly used finishes are matt and glossy.

Offset to print. Offset printing is typically used for large print jobs of up to and including 1000 pieces. To create the final printed item, the printer sets up a different plate for each color, and runs each print through each color plate. This needs more printer setup on the side. But it allows for the use of both CMYK and Pantone colors on the paper, which allows for larger initial runs and re-runs for larger print jobs.