Printer Lingo: Terms Every Graphic Designer Should Know

Printer Lingo Terms List!

Sometimes it seems like printers speak a foreign language, the way terms are thrown around. We know it can be confusing. That’s why we put this handy guide together to help you better understand what your printer is telling you.

Acid-free paper:
Used for printing jobs where preservation is a priority. Acid-free paper resists deterioration as it ages.

Aqueous Coating:
Improves the durability of printed pieces. Used for protection and provides a high-quality gloss finish to prevent fingerprints.

All the materials needed to create a printed piece, including photos, text, and any graphic images like logos.

The process of attaching sheets of paper together using glue, staples, or other fastening tools.

This refers to extending an image beyond the edge of a page to avoid white space.

This is a term used for when ink or coating causes two sheets to stick together, causing damage to the prints once they are separated.

Enlarge an image for better visibility.

The proof of an item prior to printing that features blue text and graphics on white paper.

The color model used in most printing. It stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black).

Gathering multiple pages of printed material in a specific numerical order.

Color Bars:
This is a color test strip printed on the trim area of a press sheet and is a guide to help the press operator measure print proofs and/or attributes.

Color separation:
The process of preparing a photo to print by converting its colors to the CMYK color model.

Composite proof:
The final proof that includes color separations, type, and graphics.

The arrangement of elements on a page.

Cover stock:
A type of paper that is thicker than standard paper.

Crop Marks:
Also known as trim marks, are small printed lines in the corners of your press sheets to show the printer where to trim the paper.

The process of using a die to make an impression on paper that extends below the surface. The opposite of embossing.

Die cut:
The process of curing images using a die.

Dots per inch (DPI):
The resolution of a printer. The stronger the DPI, the better quality the finished product.

A sample of the finished product for customer approval.

Dye Sublimation:
A realistic or photographic looking color print that can be used instead of ink on substrates by heating dyes.

Producing a raised image on a page using special types of dies and heat.

Encapsulated Post Script. A file format used to transfer vector-based designs and postscript information between applications.

The characteristic of a sheet of paper.

Foil embossing:
A foil stamped atop a piece of paper with an image underneath.

Four-color process:
Printing using cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

Using dots to produce an image.

Matte finish:
A paper finish characterized by its non-glossiness.

Brand name of colors used by printers.

The sequence of numbers used to identify pages in a multi-page document.

A dotted line on a piece of paper that makes it easy to tear.

A unit of measurement used by printers equaling 1/6th of an inch.

The brand name of the computer language used by printers.

Any paper that is identified as a grade #1 or better by it’s manufacturer.

A test sheet that gives a preview of the finished product.

The sharpness of an image or graphic.

The percentage an image should be sized.

A method for creasing paper by using a metal rule to make folding easier.

Spot color:
Pre-mixed ink that provides a more exact color match.

The shape and size of the printed letters on a page.

Uncoated paper:
Paper that has not been cured, which means it better absorbs ink.

UV coating:
Bonded and cured liquid that protects the printing on a sheet of paper.

Variable Data Printing:
A form of digital printing and on-demand printing in which elements such as text can be changed from one printed piece to the next without slowing down the printer. Learn more here.

One or two words that separate from their paragraph to end up on the next page.

If you’re looking to take a printing project to the next level with laser cutting, embossing, foil stamping, lamination, we’re your one-stop shop. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

If you needed it yesterday you better contact us today!

We can turn even the most complex jobs around quickly – and without all the time and expense creating dies. Let’s talk about your project!