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12 Printing Terms You Should Know

12 Printing Terms You Should Know

 We could talk for hours about printing. It’s what we do. However, we realise that it can be extremely overwhelming for someone who doesn’t know much about our field when we start throwing words and acronyms like bleed and GSM around. So we have thought long and hard about this, and have put together a guide of what we believe are the most common printing words and phrases that you need to know. Let’s dive in. 
1. Bleed
This is the extra area around the document/finished piece. It is important that you extend all images, block colour and graphics to this bleed edge (usually 3mm). This will ensure no elements are cut off or have a white outline. 

This acronym stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black). These are the four main colours used in most printing. It’s also known as the four colour process. This is the setting your document should be in for all print material

3. RGB
This stands for Red, Green, Blue and is the colour system used on websites and digital media. It is important that this setting is not used on printed materials and only on digital media that will be seen on a computer or TV screen.

4. Pantone Colours
Sometimes known as PMS (Pantone Colour Matching System), these are colours that are universal, meaning they can be exactly replicated by every printers in the entire world. Every Pantone colour has a unique code that fits with that specific colour. It helps ensure consistency throughout the brand.

5. Crop Marks
In a large printers, there is usually multiple pages printed on the same large piece of paper to save time, energy and money. Crop marks are little lines in the four corners of your artwork that highlights where to cut it to make the final piece.

6. Digital Printing
This is a printing process used for smaller quantities of printed products. (Generally under 1000) It’s the most cost effective way and requires less prep work.

7. Offset Printing
For anything over 1000 pages or pieces, offset printing is the way to go. Unlike digital printing, you are able to use Pantone colours using this method. 

8. Finish
This is the surface of the paper used for the final printed piece. There are a variety of different options such as matt, glossy, textured, but each printers has its own product range which it will advise you of.

9.  GSM
This stands for “Grams per square meter’ and it’s the thickness of the paper. For example, 60gsm is about the average home printer paper, but 300gsm would be super thick, high quality paper.

10. DPI
This acronym stands for dots per inch. It is basically how high quality your image is. The higher the number, the better the image quality. It’s recommended for printed products that images have at least 300DPI to ensure the best possible quality print. 

11. Gutter
This is the section in the centre of the book where the two pages meet. Sometimes, depending on the binding, the gutter can be partially obscured by a coil. Having a gutter helps ensure that none of your artwork or finished piece gets lost in the spine. 

12. Coated Paper
Where uncoated paper feels typically more natural, coated paper is a smooth finish, looks and feels professional and improves how the colours look on the page. 

We hope this helped you to understand some of the most commonly used printing terms. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!