• Kait // TeamClearIdeas

7 Printing + Design Industry Terms

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

Imagine this. You come in to the office, and start asking me if we can design and print a booklet for your business. I start rattling off all of these questions about the desired specs, and soon you start thinking, what in the world is this girl talking about? I see the quizzical look on your face, and I realize, words that I’m used to hearing every day, you may have never heard of in your life.


So I’ve gathered a small list of some of our most frequently used terms, and have attempted to define them in easy to understand language for you!


1. Bleeds - This refers to when color “runs off the edge” of the paper, rather than having a white border. Having something printed with bleeds is sometimes more costly because a lot of the time it has to be printed on a larger sheet of paper and cut down to size. Some people think that the printer will actually print the color off the edge of the paper and this is not the case. The file has to be set up with bleeds so there is enough color to be cut off the edges to receive the desired end result.


2. Crop Marks - Also known as cut marks, is sometimes put on a print ready document so that after it is printed, the production specialist knows exactly where to cut it down to size, this is especially helpful when it comes to documents with bleeds.


3. CMYK - This is an acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black). They are the colors that are used to produce four color process prints. It’s important to create designs intended for print in CMYK format to ensure that the color translates correctly from the computer to the printer. CMYK will not appear as vibrant on the screen as RGB, but will print out just fine! (p.s. If you’re unsure, we can always print a production sample before printing the full run)


4. RGB - This refers to Red, Green, and Blue. These are the colors that are used to represent colors on a computer screen. You can get a full spectrum of colors using RGB, and therefore you can get vibrant, rich colors on a computer screen that will look dull when printed out.


5. Spot color - A spot color is a special premixed ink that is used instead of process inks or toner (CMYK), and that requires its own printing plate on a printing press. Spot colors are used when only a few colors are specified (such as a corporate logo) and color accuracy is critical. We can get the color pretty close when trying to print a spot color on a CMYK printer, but it will never be exactly the same.


6. Self cover - This refers to when the cover of the booklet is the same paper stock is the inside pages, rather than having (for example) a heavier weight cover and text weight pages for the inside.


7. UV Coating - Basically this is a shiny coating that is applied after a product is printed to enhance the colors and protect against scratches, tears, and fingerprints. It’s a great way to make your business cards stand out!


Comment below if there are any other terms you want to know, or if you have any questions about the ones that are listed!

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