Common print terminology explained

Below you will find short list (and explanation) of some print jargon you might have heard us use. 

Bleed
This is the printed section which extends off the trimmed area. This ensures there is no white edge if any movement occurs when trimming. From a design point of view, it is best to use a 3mm bleed when designing for small format print. Large format print may require slightly more bleed depending on the template.

CMYK
An abbreviation used for the four colours used in printing; cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Crop marks
Crop marks show the printer where the page needs to be trimmed to – also known as cut marks or tic marks.

Die cut
To cut irregular shapes using a die/cutting form.

DPI
Abbreviation for dots per square inch which is a measurement of output resolution used in both print and digital displays.

GSM
Refers to the weight of the paper, ‘grams per square’.

FSC® certified paper

FSC® – Forest Stewardship Council® – an international, non-governmental organisation who promote the practice of responsible forestry. FSC® certification is when businesses have been certified to show that the standards for using forest products responsibly have been met. 

Laminate
A thin, see-through, plastic sheet which is applied to a thick stock. It protects against liquid, damage and can have a gloss, matt, silk, velvet or soft touch finish.

Matt paper
Matt paper is a coated paper that has a flat finish. While it can be written on, it is still coated

Pantone® colour
A standardised colour matching system (PMS) which uses the Pantone® numbering system for identifying colours.

Paper stock
The type of paper used to print onto – characterised by the weight, size and finish.

PEFC
PEFC stands for the Programme for the Endorsement for Forest certification which gives independent recognition to owners and managers for their responsible management practices of making sure their products are from sustainably managed forests.

Perfect Binding
Used in book and catalogue production, individual pages are collated together with the spine ground off to create a rough edge. Glue is then applied and a cover drawn on before the book is trimmed to size. The book is finished with a square back.

Personalised print
Personalised print is where each piece is different from the previous. This can include a different name, image or special offer depending on the data provided.

Print finishing
This refers to the type of print finishing required to produce the final product e.g. trimming, folding, binding and other post-press operations.

RGB
An abbreviation for colours red, green and blue which are used for digital displays. RGB colours must be converted to CMYK prior to printing.

Saddle stitch
A type of binding created by stapling sheets together at the spine.

Side stitch
A type of binding, created by stapling sheets together along one edge.

Silk paper
Silk paper is a coated paper, between gloss and matt. It is the most popular paper stock and is often used for brochures and leaflets.

Spiral bind or wiro bind
Type of binding where you use spiral bound wire or plastic material which is looped through holes.

Substrate
Surface or material which is printed onto.

Uncoated paper
Paper that hasn’t been coated with clay. It is also called offset paper.

UV coating
A clear liquid that is printed onto paper and is then cured by Ultraviolet (UV) light. 

Web-to-print
A bespoke online portal, storing marketing assets and allowing personalisation of pre-agreed templates e.g. business cards, leaflets, posters and promotional items.

Woodland Carbon balance
The woodland carbon scheme allows businesses to mitigate the C02 emissions from the paper used in printing their literature, by funding the planting of native trees in UK woodlands.

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