Common Design and Print Terms

The world of design and production is filled with all kinds of fun terms. For those unfamiliar with the industry, the terms may sound imaginary, almost like going to a mechanic who tells you your flux capacitor needs to be fixed. So, how do you know your agency isn’t blowing smoke? Below are some common terms that sound funky, but trust us – they’re real and we know what we’re talking about.

Bleed – Printing an image past where the final print will be trimmed, which allows color to extend all the way to the edges of the final print.

Collect – Gathering the artwork, along with fonts and images, in the final format needed for output.

CMYK – Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four process colors.

Four-Color Process (4cp) – Any printing method that utilizes CMYK to create the illusion of different colors.

Gang – To combine multiple jobs on one print plate in order to reduce costs and set up charges.

Ghosting – When an image on one side of a document shows through to the other side.

High Res – Files which have a “high resolution” DPI or “dots per square inch” count.

Imposition – A layout of pages on mechanicals or flats so they will appear in proper order after press sheets are folded and bound.

Kerning – Adjusting the lateral space between letters.

Leading – The vertical spacing between lines of text.

Mock Up – A to-scale creation of the original printed material possibly containing instructions or directions.

PANTONE® Matching System (PMS)– Numbering system for identifying 3,000+ colors created through combinations of 14 primary color inks. The Pantone Company produces numerous color-matching systems for standard print and computer applications.

Pixelization – Process of enlarging image pixels to increase image size, resulting in jagged edges and blurry images.

Preflight – Process of checking a graphic file for potential problems before sending it for final output.

Spread – Two pages that face each other and are created as one visual or production unit.

TrueType – The most common format for fonts that work on both Mac OS and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Vector Image – A computer image that uses geometrical primitives (such as points, lines, polygons and Bezier curves) to produce mathematical descriptions of paths for the graphic, which eliminates pixelization.

Wireframe – is a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of a website, like a blueprint.

Anyone who wants to talk like the designers do can pick up a Pocket Pal by International Paper.  It’s a great resource for everything graphic arts related and here’s where you can find it: