Digital Print Terminology

A guide to the definitions of the most common printing terms used today.  
I guess you can consider it "Digital Printing Terms 101"

Not sure what the print terminology on my forms mean?  
I understand, so look at the list below for the printing definitions you see on my forms.

Bleed - Artwork typically needs a .125" bleed past the trim area for cutting purposes. This will eliminate any text or images being cut off when cutting. Example:  8.5" x 11" document with bleed measures 8.75" x 11.25" which will create a .125" bleed around the document for cutting.

CMYK - A 4-color process of digital printing which stands for: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (K).  

Pantone Colors - Otherwise known as PMS (Pantone Color Matching System}. These colors represent a set of universal colors that every printer in the world can replicate. Each color comes with CMYK, RGB, hexadecimal and Pantone color codes. These help create color consistency for print and digital branding.

Crop Marks - Also known as Trim Marks indicate where the printer should make cuts to the final printed piece. Printers gang up (fit multiple prints onto one large sheet of paper) and then cut accordingly.

Digital Printing - A four color process of printing using CMYK color.

Finish - The surface quality of the paper.  Most commonly used include glossy or matte, others include luster, pearlized, linen and other textured finishes.

PPI/DPI - PPI stands for "pixels per inch" while DPI stands for "dots per inch". They define the resolution of images. There are two standard PPI measurements, including 72ppi which is the optimal resolution for your computer screen, and 300ppi which is a typical resolution for printed images. Printed images should always be at 300 ppi before sending to production, if not they will look blurry and pixelated.  

RGB - Stands for red, green, blue which are the colors that make up your computer screen. When using images for print, they must be converted to CMYK in photoshop. They should also be at 300ppi because images taken from the internet are usually set to 72ppi which most likely won't be large enough to print.

Proof - After your printer sets up your print file, whether it is a print ready file or the printer did the layout/design work, you will receive a pdf proof of your artwork. Once you receive your proof, you will need to check for any spelling errors, layout/design errors or if you want any changes made to your artwork. Once you approve your proof it is ready to send to production.

4/0 - Full Color (cmyk) on front only.

4/4 - Full Color (cmyk) on both sides.

1/0 - B/W on front only

1/1 - B/W on both sides.

Aqueous Coating - A water based coating applied like ink to protect and enhance the print underneath.

C1S or C2S - Abbreviation for paper with coating on one side or coating on both sides.

Coated Paper - A coating of clay or other substances that enhances reflectivity and ink holdout. 

Matte Finish - Flat finish on coated printing paper.

Polyester - Printing substrate that doesn't tear, is waterproof and very durable.

Rigid Vinyl - Printing substrate also known as PVC.

Styrene - Printing substrate also know as Polyestyrene.

UV Coating - Liquid applied to printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

Spot UV - Application of UV coating on a specific area of the print to make it stand out from the rest of the design.

Raised Spot UV - The same as Spot UV but the specific area is raised off the print.

Coroplast - Basically coroplast is a plastic cardboard made from 3 layers of polypropylene plastic substrate.  It's very durable and waterproof and great for displaying in a number of ways.

NCR Forms - NCR stands for "No Carbon Required" and are also known as 2 or 3 part forms.