Whether you are in charge of print management for a large firm or you are a small business owner, printing is an important part of your success. But what if you have no experience with the printing industry? Certain printing terms and ideas are very specific to the industry, and in order to be in control of your business you need to understand what they mean.

These terms and concepts have evolved over the last centuries as printing itself has grown and changed. If you want to harness the power of printing, read ahead and go through our list of 10 printing terms that you need to know.

1. DPI

You’ll hear this one a lot when it comes to quality and price. DPI is an acronym for ‘dots per inch.’ If you want the best looking prints possible, a higher DPI will always be better. Remember – DPIs can’t be compared accurately across different technologies and types of printers. A very high number for one device might not be very high for another.

2. Large format

These industrial printers can also be called ‘wide format.’ While some units are only capable of printing A2 on rolls, other models are able to print on rolls that are 64 inches wide.

3. RIP

This acronym stands for a Raster Image Processor. This is an accessory to software that can help enhance printing. This means that a printer can create the best quality text, vector art and bitmap graphics possible.

4. Solid ink

While the at home printer uses an ink cartridge, many of our large text printers utilise solid ink. This is then melted into an ink wax that we use for printing text and doing basic proofs. We do not usually use solid ink for photos or graphic designs.

5. Colourimeter

Just like it sounds, this is a meter than measures colour for the printing process. It measures the hue and intensity of the light that is emitted by the monitor. This info is then used to calculate exactly how the colour of your prints should look when printed.

6. Finish

Simply put, this printing term refers to the texture, look and feel of any paper that we use. We carry many different finishes in stock, and we can mix and match them to suit your needs. These include embossed, laid finish, matte and more.

7. Trim size

Once we have printed your pages and project, we trim away all unnecessary pieces. What is left over is referred to as the trim size.

8. Cut sizes

Paper sizes such as A4 actually come from much larger sizes of paper (called parent sizes) down to size. These parent sizes fit into our commercial printing presses, and we can cut them into almost any size, called a cut size.

9. Perfect Binding

Perfect binding might sound extra special, but it is really quite standard! This refers to a paper block adhered to a cover, much like a paperback book. We can also use PUR binding, which is the same, but with extra strength glue.

10. Saddle Stitching

You might want a project saddle stitched; this refers to folding paper in half and stitching down the centre. In order to do this, your sheet count must be a multiple of four

11. Pantone

The Pantone Colour Matching System is a way that printers can ensure that standard colours are used across the industry. If you want a very specific colour for your logo or design, refer to its pantone and we will make sure it is a perfect match!

12. Dye-based inks

Once you have chosen your pantone, now we have to choose which kind of ink you are going to choose for your project. Dye based ink produces a bright, vibrant puncg of colour – but remember, these can fade more quickly than other inks. We use these for photos, and at times for proofing.

13. Pigment-based inks

When we are using an inkjet printer, they come with 12 different colours that we call pigment inks. These pigment inks are often used to print in black and white grey scale, sepia tones and archival art. While they are lighter to start with, they fade slowly.

14. Solvent inks

Solvent inks are quite rare, as we only use them in Epson’s top range printer. That said, they are a fantastic option if you are willing to pay the extra. They are a dye based ink, but with extra longevity and stability. They work well on fabric, vinyl and canvas, as well as on paper.

15. Dye Sublimation

Are you interested in having any fabrics or fabric transfers printed? Dye sublimation (usually called dye –sub) is perfect for fabric printing or for making transfers that can be heat pressed onto cloth.

Feel free to contact us if you require any clarification on these terms.


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