Here are some common printing terms so YOU understand what printers are saying!

The final part of the printing process where the printed item is trimmed to exact size, collated, bound into a book or catalogue format and then packed and dispatched.

Bleed and Bleed Area
Sometimes, a panel of colour on the page runs to the very edge. Because the process of trimming or binding a page is not exact to the fraction of a millimetre, ink needs to run over the edge of the page so the colour and/or the image look neat.

Die Cut
Where a cut is made in a stock using a special knife. It is like a cookie cutter which makes a specific shape exactly the same on all items in bulk rather than one by one. It can also be used to create fold lines by simply creasing the stock rather than cutting it.

Dots Per Inch – (DPI)
If you’re supplying files to printers or your design team, this concept is critical. For the best quality colour printing on a non digital printing press, a resolution of 300 or more Dots Per Inch (DPI) at 100% of the size of the image is required. For appearance on a computer screen, a resolution of only 72 DPI at 100% is required. Digital printing on an office colour printer, or on a printer designed for commercial volumes of colour prints, can be successful using images of 72 DPI. However, large-run high quality printing using four colour process requires the files to be 300 DPI.

Where a specially shaped indentation is pressed into paper or plastic. This shape might form part of a logo or graphic style for a booklet. De-boss is the opposite; it is where the shape is pressed out.

Four Colour Process
If you look closely, through an eye glass, at printing on a piece of paper you’ll see that full colour images are made up of a series of dots. For colour images, the combination and weighting of the dots on the page creates the colours and images. The four colours are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and BlacK (CMYK). For black and white images, the image is made up of black dots only.

GSM or Stock Weight
Grams per Square Metre (GSM) is used to measure the “thickness” of paper or card.
Standard office paper 80 GSM
Glossy brochures 150 GSM
Business Cards 300 to 400 GSM

High Resolution Image (Hi Res Image)
This type of file is an image or graphic file where the DPI is high. These files are required for high quality printing on a non-digital printing press. Greater than 300 DPI at 100% is considered to be high resolution.

Large Format Printing
Digital printing of plans, banners, posters and billboards. Printing can be on to paper stock, vinyl or other types of plastic.

Low Resolution Image (Low Res Image)
This type of file is an image or graphics files where the DPI is low. These files are suited to the internet where the image must load on to a screen quickly. 72 DPI at 100% is considered low resolution. These files are not suitable for high quality printing.

NCR stands for No Carbon Required and refers to paper which has been treated with a special coating so when paired together in sets of 2 or more sheets the paper reacts to the pressure of a pen so that whatever is written on the first sheet is copied onto the subsequent sheets.

Overprinting means that all the separation colours not used in the foreground colours are transparent, and the background filters through in these areas.

Pantone PMS Spot Colours
This is where ink is mixed to an exact colour then printed on a page so it appears exactly the same every time – no matter who prints it. This is called spot colour printing. Spot colours are matched by all printers who use a universal colour ink mixing and matching system known as the Pantone Matching System (PMS). PMS colours are known by numbers such as PMS 287 Blue or PMS 032 Warm Red.

This is the most common type of file supplied to a printer. A PDF can be supplied at low res or high res to suit the printing method required.

Perfect Binding
Where a booklet or book is glued and bound with card on the outer cover and a square finish to the spine.

Pre Press
The process of preparing for printing by checking artwork files for any issues that may affect the quality of the final outcome (e.g. fonts and images are embedded)

A bundle of paper, the standard is 500 sheets of paper.

Saddle Stitch
Where a booklet or newspaper is folded and stapled on the side fold.

Where a crease is made in a piece of card or board for the purpose of helping that card or board fold neatly in the same place every time.

Sheet Fed
A printing press where the paper is fed in to the press one sheet at a time. Usually for medium run high quality printing projects.

The material on which something is printed. Could be vinyl for a billboard skin, or bond paper for letterhead.

Tri-fold Brochure
A piece of paper that has two folds creating three equal panels. Can be a standard tri-fold, z-fold or gate fold.

Trim and Trim Marks
Trim marks appear on artwork and are used by the printer to cut the sheet of paper to the exact size once it has been printed. These are included because many copies are often printed on the same large sheet of paper to save time.

Vector Artwork – .ai and .eps files
Vector artwork is a scalable format of electronic artwork. This format is commonly used for the supply of logos and for big signs. Vector artwork can be scaled to any size from 1 millimetre to 1 kilometre with no loss of clarity. These include .ai and .eps files.

Web Printing
Where printing is done on a sheet of continuous paper, usually at high speed for large volumes. Usually used for large run catalogues like the Coles and Woolworths catalogues and most newspapers.