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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 – Bleed is a printing term that is used to describe a document which has images or elements that touch the edge of the page, extending beyond the trim edge and leaving 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 rule surrounding matter on a page.

Color correct – to adjust the relationship among the process colors to achieve desirable colors.

Crop marks – Crop marks are small markings present in proofs on where is the exact point the printers will cut off the page.

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

Digital printingrefers to methods of printing from a digital-based image 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 – considered as “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 usually sophisticated effect. Also common with invitations.

Foiling – It is a special print option where a thin sheet of film is applied on certain parts of the paper to achieve a metallic effect. Common with business cards or invitations.

Graphics – visual elements that supplement type to make printed messages more clear 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 – GSM can be defined as ‘grams per square metre’. It is used to measure the weight & thickness of a paper stock. Thicker papers will have a higher gsm count and are generally more durable and sturdy in comparison to papers with a low gsm count.

Hotspot – printing defect caused when a piece of dirt or an air bubble caused incomplete draw-down during contact platemaking, leaving an area of 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 – a sample of the original providing (showing) position of printed work (direction, instructions) needed and desired.

Offset printing – Offset printing is the most common and most ideal for high volume commercial printing technology. 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 – In a nutshell, RGB color system is the one used for computer, TV, LED or any digital screens. Brighter and more colors can be shown. On the other hand, CMYK is the color system used for printing. CMYK has less colors available since there is limitation to combining colors in inks. For our case, any design on Canva uses RGB but has to be converted to CMYK when printed. This is the reason why some colors look muted when printed.

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 – DPI stands for ‘dots per inch’. The higher the DPI, the better quality your photo will look like when printed. 300 dpi is the standard resolution for photos to look clear when printed out. 72 dpi (standard screen resolution) is not recommended since it will look blurry when printed.

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