Know What You Want

When it comes to the print process there are numerous terms that can easily boggle the mind of anyone who does not work in the print field day to day. When requesting quotes for upcoming print projects there is no doubt that the response you will receive will have terms that many are not familiar with. It is good to have a general understanding of what you are looking for, as well as, being open to what the professionals suggest to you.

Some terms that may come up in conversation about a potential print job are:

Bind: joining of sheets together with wire, glue, or other options

Bleed: printing that continues to the edge of the sheet after the page is trimmed

C1S or C2S: abbreviations for coated one side and coated two sides

CMYK: the four process colors, cyan, magenta, yellow, and black

Collate: arranging printed material in a specific order

Die Cut: irregular shapes cut into paper using a custom die

Digital Proof: proofs produced by electronic memory and then transferred onto paper via laser or ink-jet.

DPI: “dots per square inch,” a measure of resolution for printers and monitors

Finished Size: size of final product

Flat Size: size of product prior to completion

Gloss: light reflecting (paper, ink, laminates, UV coating, and varnish)

Laminate: a thin transparent plastic sheet that provides protection from liquid and heavy use

Matte Finish: flat (not glossy)

Offset Printing: technique that transfers ink from plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper

Page: one side of a sheet within a publication

Proof: test sheet intended to reveal any errors or flaws

Resolution: sharpness of an image on paper or other display

RGB: abbreviation for red, green, and blue

Saddle Stitch: the bind by stapling sheets together on a fold

Spot Color / Varnish: one ink or varnish applied to specific areas of a sheet

UV Coating: liquid applied to a printed project, then cured with ultraviolet light

Varnish: liquid applied for appearance or protection

While this is only a basic list of terms that I could think of on the spot, I hope that it helps. Whenever you are working on a project that is outside your comfort zone it is always helpful to have an understanding.