Printing Terms You Need to Know

Making contact with a printer to ask for a quote could be an overwhelming experience. Your printer would have a number of questions relating to the project you are considering and being familiar with a few simple printing terms can help you give the right information that’ll guarantee an accurate quote for your print job.

Here are a few of the basic printing terms you’ll need to know:

  • Bleed
    This is the extra image area needed if you want the graphics on your poster to stretch right to the edges of the completed piece. Your printer is going to ask you to stretch your design outside the intended edges. This extra border would be cut away to guarantee full coverage of your completed piece. The measure of extra space needed is known as the bleed.
  • CMYK
    CMYK is short for cyan, magenta, yellow and ‘key’ (black). They are the 4 basic ink colors employed in most full-color printing. This kind of printing is also known as four color process. Every color you can print is delivered by a mix of these 4 colors, to create the needed results.
  • Digital Printing
    This is the term for a printing method where your source file is loaded onto a computerized machine that reads your file and prints out a completed piece similar to your desktop printer at home. There are several types of digital printing on the market today and the method your printer makes use of is determined by what you are printing.
  • Ganging or gang-run printing
    This means merging 2 or more projects to print simultaneously on the same sheet. Grouping multiple projects into just one print run will offer substantial cost savings. However all projects has to be on the same stock or they cannot be printed as a gang run.
  • Large Format
    Large format printing is an expression used to describe large commercial printers that can output very large prints. If you’re making graphics that will be put on walls, wrapped around a car or a vending machine, or placed outside on a billboard, bus shelter or outside wall.
  • Litho (lithography)
    This is a process of printing working with plates that are specifically created so that the image area draws in ink, while the rest of the plate repels it. The images are first printed onto a rubber blanket, after which it is transferred from the blanket to the paper. This form of printing is also known as offset.
  • Media
    Media In the printing world means the material your project is going to be printed on. Today’s specialized and commercial printers can work with a variety of materials, like fabrics, plastics, vinyl, screen, as well as paper products.
  • Over-run (Overs)
    Overs are additional copies of the job that are printed above the quantity ordered. This is generally done when set up for the job is expensive; this is done to make sure that the printer has adequate copies to handle any possible snags that come up during the finishing process.
  • RIP (Raster Image Processor)
    RIP is a computer that translates the output file into native printer data. Within this process the operator can perform technical operations like color management, trapping and imposition to ensure the finished file is perfect.
  • Screen printing
    Screen printing is much more than t-shirts. It relates to a printing process where ink is forced through a fine mesh screen to make a graphic on paper or fabric. Large format screen printers are also very effective for retail and display media.
  • Trim Size
    Trim size is the actual size of the finished printed piece.