The horror of print jargon

The world of print can be overwhelming at times, particularly when some of the terminology sounds as if it were derived from a series of 80s horror movies – bleed, die, gutter, slug! Understanding some basic terms can really aid communication between your designer and printer. Here are the most common terms broken down so you can get a handle on the industry’s jargon.

Bleed

Although it sounds a bit gory, bleed refers to an area of print that goes beyond the edge of the artwork before trimming. In other words, the bleed is the area to be trimmed off. The trimming process can be off by a millimetre or two, so this ensures that images your print goes all the way to the edge of the page.

Crop

Not those teeny tiny tops people used to wear rollerblading (although we do love those) crop refers to the indicator lines placed outside the edge of the artwork. These ensure the artwork is cut correctly and straight!

Trim

The final size of a printed page after excess edges have been cut off is the trim size. Crop marks indicating where to cut are printed at the edges of the paper.

DPS

It’s not a social media abbreviation for Dude Packs Swag. It’s an advertising abbreviation by Double Page Spread referring to two facing pages in a magazine, book or brochure.

CMYK

Acronym for the four-colour print process, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Why is black a letter K? We had to google it stands for key because in printing, cyan, magenta and yellow printing plates are carefully keyed, or aligned, with the key of the black.

Spot

Not that zit you have been trying to pop all week, but a special colour or ink outside the normal four-colour process that is produced in a single run. A spot can be a foil, fluoro, metallic, pastel or varnish – anything that has a different look or finish to a regular four-colour finish.

Gutter

We have all ended up in one at 4 in the morning. In print however, this is the margin space between two facing pages usually where the binding of a magazine or book is. It’s recommended not to have any important artwork going into this space.

Die cut

It sounds like a technique from a retro martial arts film, but a die-cut is a cut made using a special knife plate that can’t be produced by a regular guillotine. Think of the clear windows in your food packaging or cut out windows in envelopes.

Slug

How on earth does a word like this find its way into print? Beats us but we can tell you what it means. Slug is the area outside of the artwork beyond the bleed, which usually contains instructions for the printer.

Foil

Much like the roll you have sitting in the kitchen draw, foil or foil-stamping, refers to the application of pigment or metallic foil to paper where a heated die is stamped onto the foil. It can add significant cost (and time) to your project but can give a luxurious feel to the artwork. Often combined with embossing for extra impact.

References
mclarenpress.com
wikopedia