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Print and Graphic Design Terminologies

Artwork – all original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, intended for printing. Also called art.

Bleed – the part of a document which has images or elements that touch the edge of the page, extend beyond the trim edge and leave no white margin. When a document has bleed, it must be printed on a larger sheet of paper and then trimmed down.

Border – the decorative design or ruler surrounding matter on a page.

Color correct – to adjust the color combinations to achieve desired hues.

Crop marks – small markings present in proofs that determine the exact point where printers will cut to create a certain page size.

CMYK – abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four process colors.

Digital printing – a method of printing digital-based images directly to a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers.

DPI – an acronym for “dots per square inch,” a measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters, and monitors.

Embossing/Debossing – a special option where certain areas on paper are raised or pressed down to achieve a sophisticated effect. Commonly used for invitations.

Foiling – a special print option where a thin sheet of film is applied to certain parts of the paper for a metallic effect. Commonly seen on business cards or invitations.

Graphics – visual elements that supplement text to make printed messages clearer or interesting.

Graphic Design – arrangement of type and visual elements along with specifications for paper, ink colors and printing processes that, when combined, convey a visual message.

GSM – an acronym for “grams per square meter.” It is used to measure the weight & thickness of paper stock. Thicker papers have a higher gsm count and are generally more durable in comparison to papers with a low gsm count.

Hotspot – printing defect caused when a piece of dirt or air bubble causes incomplete draw-down during contact platemaking. It leaves an area with weak ink coverage or visible dot gain.

Ink Balance – relationship of the densities and dot gains of process inks to each other and to a standard density of neutral gray.

Layout – the arrangement of elements within a page.

Offset printing – the most common and ideal type of printing for mass printing. In offset printing, the desired print image is burned onto a plate and is then transferred (or offset) from the plate to a rubber blanket, and then to the printing surface.

RGB or CMYK color system – types of color systems that are used for digital screens and printing.

UV Varnish – UV Varnish is a coating technique to create a shiny, high gloss effect on certain parts of the paper surface only.

300 DPI – an acronym for “dots per inch.” The higher the DPI, the better quality your photo will look like when printed. It is the standard resolution for photos to look clear when printed out.

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