The print industry can be overwhelming with its unique terminology and jargon. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or simply curious about print, this glossary is here to help.

From traditional offset printing to digital printing, this glossary covers a wide range of terms, definitions, and explanations. Whether you want to understand typography, learn about print techniques, or get familiar with equipment and materials, this glossary has it all.

Clear communication is crucial, and knowing the language of print allows you to effectively communicate, collaborate with professionals, and make informed decisions. With this glossary, you’ll be able to ask the right questions, understand industry discussions, and optimize your print projects.

Expect concise definitions, practical examples, and straightforward explanations. Whether you’re new to print or experienced, this resource is designed to be accessible and enlightening, making it an invaluable asset in your print-related endeavours.

So, let’s dive into the world of print terminology with confidence and curiosity. “A Comprehensive Print Glossary to Empower You!” is here to unravel the complexities and equip you with the knowledge to excel in the print industry.

Print Glossary

Large Format Printing Glossary:

  1. Bleed: The extra area added to the print document that extends beyond the final trim size, allowing for cutting variations.
  2. DPI (Dots Per Inch): A measurement of the resolution or clarity of an image, indicating the number of dots that can be placed within a one-inch span.
  3. Grommets: Reinforced holes inserted into printed materials, such as banners or signs, for easy hanging or mounting.
  4. Large Format Printer: A printer specifically designed to handle large-scale printing, typically used for posters, banners, and signage.
  5. Lamination: A protective coating applied to the surface of a print to enhance durability, resistance to fading, and weatherproofing.
  6. Mounting: The process of affixing a print to a rigid backing material, such as foam board or acrylic, for stability and display purposes.
  7. Plotter: A type of printer that uses pens or markers to draw continuous lines on paper or other materials.
  8. Resolution: The level of detail and sharpness in an image or print, usually measured in pixels per inch (PPI) for digital images or dots per inch (DPI) for printed materials.
  9. Substrate: The material on which the image is printed, such as vinyl, fabric, paper, or canvas.
  10. UV Printing: A printing method that uses ultraviolet light to cure or dry the ink instantly, resulting in a more durable and vibrant print.
  11. Vinyl Printing: Printing on vinyl material, commonly used for outdoor signage, vehicle wraps, and banners.
  12. Fabric Printing: Printing on various types of fabrics, such as polyester, cotton, or silk, to create customized textiles, flags, or event backdrops.
  13. Backlit Printing: Printing on translucent materials, typically used for lightboxes and illuminated signs to enhance visibility and vibrant colours when lit from behind.
  14. Dye-Sublimation Printing: A printing technique that uses heat to transfer dye onto polyester or polymer-coated substrates, resulting in vibrant and durable prints for fabrics, soft signage, and promotional displays.
  15. Mesh Printing: Printing on mesh material, commonly used for outdoor banners and building wraps, allowing wind to pass through and reduce wind resistance.
  16. Fine Art Printing: High-quality printing on archival paper or canvas, typically used for reproductions of artwork, photography, or limited edition prints.
  17. Floor Graphics: Printing designs or advertising messages directly on the floor surface, commonly used for marketing in retail spaces or trade shows.
  18. Wall Murals: Large-scale printing on self-adhesive or pre-pasted wallpaper material, creating immersive and visually striking wall coverings for interior spaces.
  19. Vehicle Wraps: Printing and wrapping vehicles with vinyl graphics or wraps for promotional or branding purposes, providing a mobile advertising platform.
  20. Point-of-Purchase (POP) Displays: Printing and creating custom displays, standees, or signage for retail environments, aimed at capturing attention and driving sales at the point of purchase.

Press & Digital Format Printing Glossary:

  1. CMYK: The colour model used for printing, representing the colours cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. These four colours are combined in varying amounts to create a wide range of printable colours.
  2. RGB: The colour model used for digital design, representing the primary colours red, green, and blue. These colours are combined in varying intensities to create a wide range of digital colours.
  3. Die Cutting: The process of using a sharp, custom-shaped blade to cut out specific shapes or patterns in printed materials.
  4. Embossing: A printing technique that creates a raised design or pattern on paper by pressing it against a metal plate or die.
  5. Offset Printing: A widely used commercial printing method where ink is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket and then onto the printing surface.
  6. Pantone Matching System (PMS): A standardized colour-matching system used in the printing industry to ensure accurate and consistent colour reproduction.
  7. Perfect Binding: A bookbinding method where pages are glued together at the spine and then attached to a wraparound cover.
  8. Spot Colour: A single, pre-mixed ink used to print specific elements or colours in a design, often used alongside CMYK printing for precise colour reproduction.
  9. Spot Varnish: A glossy or matte coating applied to specific areas of a printed piece to add texture or highlight certain elements.
  10. UV Coating: A liquid coating applied to printed materials and cured instantly using ultraviolet light, providing enhanced protection and a glossy finish.
  11. Variable Data Printing (VDP): A technique that enables customization and personalization of each printed piece by incorporating unique data, such as names, addresses, or images.
  12. Digital Press: A printing machine that uses digital technology to directly print onto various substrates, offering flexibility, quick turnaround, and cost-effective solutions.
  13. Toner: The dry powder used in digital printing machines to create the image or text on the paper through an electrostatic process.
  14. Large-Scale Digital Printing: Digital printing on a larger scale, suitable for posters, banners, signage, and other oversized applications.
  15. Variable Data Imaging (VDI): Similar to VDP, this term refers to the process of incorporating customized data or images into printed materials using digital printing technology.
  16. Digital Die-Cutting: The use of digital cutting systems to precisely cut or create unique shapes and designs in printed materials, providing customization and intricate finishing.
  17. White Ink Printing: The capability to print with white ink, allowing for printing on dark or transparent substrates and creating unique visual effects.
  18. Digital Colour Management: The process of maintaining consistent and accurate colour reproduction across different devices, ensuring the desired colour output is achieved in digital printing.
  19. Print Automation: The integration of software and systems to streamline and automate the printing workflow, reducing human intervention and increasing efficiency.

Online Printing:

  1. Bleed Area: The extended area beyond the final trim size, where the design or background colour should extend to avoid any white edges after trimming during the printing process.
  2. Instant Quote: A feature on online printing websites that provides customers with immediate cost estimates based on their specific printing requirements.
  3. Print-On-Demand (POD): A printing method where items are printed as they are ordered, reducing the need for inventory and allowing for more flexible and on-demand production.
  4. Template: A pre-designed layout or format provided by online printing services that customers can customise with their own content, ensuring proper sizing and alignment.
  5. Online Design Tool: A web-based tool offered by online printing services that allow customers to create or customize their designs directly on the website without needing external design software.
  6. Order Tracking: A feature provided by online printing services that allow customers to track the progress of their print orders, from submission to production, shipping, and delivery.
  7. File Preparation: The process of preparing digital files for printing, including tasks such as ensuring correct file formats, colour modes, resolution, and embedding fonts, to ensure optimal printing results.
  8. Proofing: The review and approval process where customers can preview and approve a digital proof of their design before it goes into production, ensuring accuracy and quality.
  9. Shipping / Delivery Options: The various methods and delivery services offered by online printing services to deliver printed materials to customers, providing flexibility in terms of speed, cost, and tracking options.
  10. Line Item: One product configuration with one design allocated to it.

Other Graphic Design Glossary Terms

  1. Alignment: The arrangement and positioning of elements within a design to create visual balance and cohesion.
  2. Grid: A system of horizontal and vertical lines used to align and organize elements in a design, creating a consistent structure.
  3. Hierarchy: The visual arrangement of elements to indicate their importance and guide the viewer’s attention through the design.
  4. Kerning: The adjustment of space between individual characters in a text to improve readability and aesthetics.
  5. Leading: The vertical space between lines of text, typically measured from baseline to baseline, affects the overall legibility and readability.
  6. Mockup: A visual representation or prototype that showcases how a design will look in its final form, often used to present concepts to clients or stakeholders.
  7. Sans Serif: A typeface that does not have small decorative flourishes or strokes at the end of characters, resulting in a clean and modern appearance.
  8. Serif: A typeface that has small decorative flourishes or strokes at the end of characters, giving it a more traditional and classic look.
  9. Typography: The art and technique of arranging and selecting typefaces, fonts, and text within a design to enhance readability, communication, and aesthetics.
  10. Vector Graphics: Images or graphics created using mathematical formulas and points, allowing them to be scaled up or down without loss of quality.
  11. White Space/Negative Space: The empty or unmarked areas in a design, which help create visual breathing room, balance, and focus.
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