Having a print job done involves communication between the client, designer, the print management company and the printer. To ensure that the leaflet, flyer, poster or brochure or any other type of print material is done properly, printing terms are employed. These terms communicate what is desired in the design process and the outcome. This makes it essential for everyone involved in the printing process to learn these terms and their definitions.

Accordion fold – two or more parallel folds which open like an accordion.
Banner – a large headline or title that extends across the full page width.
Bleed – text or pictures that extend beyond the trim marks on a page.
Character count – number of characters in a piece of copy, line or paragraph.
CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black), the four process colours.


Cropping – the elimination of parts of an image or other original that are not required to be printed.
Downloadable fonts – type faces which can be stored on a disk and then downloaded to the printer when required for printing.
DPI (Dots Per Inch) – the measurement of resolution for page printers, phototypesetting machines and graphics screens. Most page printers work at 300dpi.
Dummy – A rough layout of a printed piece showing position and finished size.
EPS – Encapsulated Post Script, a known file format usually used to transfer post script information from one program to another.
File format – standardised means of organising and storing digital images.
Font – a complete set of characters in a typeface.

Format – Size, style, shape, layout or organisation of a layout or printed product.
Galley – the printing term for long metal trays used to hold type after it had been set and before the press run.
Galley proof – proofs taken from the galleys before being made up into pages.
Grid – acts as a measuring guide and shows text, illustrations and trim sizes.
GSM – Grams per square metre. The unit of measurement for paper weight.

Gutter – the central blank area between left and right pages.
Head – the margin at the top of a page.
JPEG – a lossy compression technique for color images. Although it can reduce files sizes to about 5% of their normal size, some detail is lost in the compression.
Landscape – work in which the width used is greater than the height.
Layout – a sketch of a page for printing showing the position of text and illustrations and giving general instructions.
Make-up – the assembling of all elements, to form the printed image.
Margins – the non printing areas of page.
Opacity – term used to describe the degree to which paper will show print through.
Padding – space between content and border.
Page proofs – the stage following galley proofs, in which pages are made up and paginated.
Pagination – the numbering of pages in a book.
Pantone – a registered name for an ink colour matching system.
Proof – a copy obtained from inked type, plate, block or screen for checking purposes.
PNG – is a raster graphics file format that supports lossless data compression
Quote or Quotation – a price estimate to produce a specific printed piece, frequently with custom attributes not priceable in standard online pricing tools.
RGB color model – an additive color model in which red, green, and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colours.
Ruler – rulers displayed on the screen that show measures in inches, picas or millimeters.
TIFF – a computer file format for storing raster graphics images, popular among graphic artists, the publishing industry, and both amateur and professional photographers in general.
Trim – the cutting of the finished product to the correct size. Marks are incorporated on the printed sheet to show where the trimming is to be made.
Weight – the degree of boldness or thickness of a letter or font.

Have you encountered a printing term not on the list below? Let us know in the comments below.

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