Glossary of printing terms you need to know.
Updated: Apr 13, 2022
Here are some common printing terms you need to know when creating artwork for your direct mail campaign or print marketing.
If this is your first time preparing artwork for print there might be a lot of print terminology and acronyms you haven't come across before. As a printer, we use these terms on a regular basis when discussing projects. We have pulled together the most used terms and created a printing terms glossary to help see you through.
Glossary of printing terms
Artwork is the finalised print-ready file work that will be printed. It is in the correct layout and format with all images and text.
Binding is how several pages are held together such as spine glue, stitched or spiral wire bound depending on the item.
Bleed is space (usually 3mm) over the intended document size that images and colour continue out into. This gives enough leeway for when the product is trimmed so there is no white space where the image should be.
Colour refers to CYMK, Pantone, RGB or Spot. It refers to the different ways colours can be referenced and made up to ensure a consistent colour on all types of project whether it's distributed online or in print.
Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (or Key) represent the 4 main colours that can make up any other colour in printed materials. this is achieved by by changing the ratio of each CMYK colour used.
Crops marks can be added to artwork when saving your artwork ready for print. They are small marks on your document that indicate to production staff where your work should be trimmed to.
is used to describe the resolution number of dots per inch in a digital or hard copy print.
A die-cut is typically custom made. It is a cutting tool to cut specific shapes out of printed materials.
Digital printing uses toners much like an office printer. An individual file can be created for each printed piece lending itself to personalised print on large scale.
Short for Encapsulated Postscript File, a type of high-resolution file.
EPS is a file extension for a graphics file format used usually used in vector-based images. An EPS file can contain text as well as graphics.
Stands for File Transfer Protocol. A method of sending files. You may also come across STFP which stands for Secure File Transfer Protocol. Always ensure you send your files via secure channels.
Gloss paper has a high surface shine and smooth finish. It absorbs the ink well creating vibrant, crisp images. It reflects the light making it catch the eye. It lends itself to printing Images and photographs.
Produces a high shine finish with richer colours and cleaner lines. Repels surface dirt, although scuffs and scratches are more visible.
Meaning Grams per square meter this refers to the weight of the paper. The higher the number the heavier the weight of the paper is.
Foiling is an additional layer of material that can only be used in conjunction with Matt or Gloss lamination. It can be used to enhance elements of your digital print creating a high-end finish.
A popular choice of format for print. Jpeg stands for JOPint Photographic Experts Group.
Laminating is an optional process that happens to the paper after being printed on. Adding a gloss lamination will give your product a high shine reflective surface. Matt lamination will give it more durability and a textured finish. There is a variety results lamination can achieve.
Litho printing uses printing plates and a wet ink process to print your artwork. Typically used in high volume runs of identical items.