Know Your Terminology
I have notice for a while that many Graphic Designers don’t really understand how the printing processes of the design works. Many designers just feel that they are the creative thinkers and produces the file and send them off to have the print operator to produce the file. While yes that is true, however, a designer must still understand the processes that takes place on how a digital file is read and rip by a printer. A knowledge of this not only makes it easier for the print operator, but also to the designer themselves. Below are some of the terms and processes that a designer should know, especially if he/she works with various print suppliers. This would lead to a lot less frustration and better partnership.
RIP – raster image processing [verb] or raster image processor [noun] — is the process and the means of turning vector digital information such as a PostScript file into a high-resolution raster image. That is, the RIP takes the digital information about fonts and graphics that describes the appearance of your file and translates it into an image composed of individual dots that the imaging device (such as your desktop printer or an imagesetter) can output. Ripping are done by a software such as Fiery or Creo
Trapping – when two colours are beside each other on the screen, when printed one can see a tiny white gap between the colours, even though its not present on the actual file. To compensate this one has to overlap a colour over the other one, so when printed the white gap would not be presence. This process doesn’t apply to inkjet printers which applies all the colours at once, however, in commercial printers where each colour is apply one at a time and due to shifting, this white gay may occur.
Bleed – refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming. The bleed is the part on the side of your document that gives the printer that small amount of space to move around paper and design inconsistencies. Generally a bleed of 1/8 inch is require by a print supplier, however, if something is to be die cut its best to give a ¼ inch because of the possible movement of the paper during the die cut procedure.
Spot Colour – Colors created without screens or dots, such as those found in the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM®, are referred to in the industry as spot or solid colors. From a palette of 14 basic colors, each of the spot colors in the PANTONE MATCHING System is mixed according to its own unique ink mixing formula developed by Pantone. Due to the gamut of the 14 basic colors, some spot colors will be cleaner and brighter than if they were created in the four-color process described below. Spot colors are commonly used in corporate logos and identity programs, and in one, two or three-color jobs.
Unlike process colours which are CMYK, four–color process, 4/c process or even just process. To reproduce a color image, a file is separated into four different colors: Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y) and Black (K).
When to use Spot Colours
- Publication needs a color that cannot be accurately reproduced with CMYK inks, such as precise color matching of a corporate or logo color.
- Printing a specific color over multiple pages that requires page to page color consistency.
- Printing over a large area, such as a poster (spot color inks may provide more even coverage).
- Need more vibrant colors or more exacting color matching than what CMYK inks produce.
- Project requires special effects such as metallic or fluorescent spot inks.
When to use Process Colours:
- Publication uses full-color photographs.
- Publication includes multi-color graphics that would require many colors of ink to reproduce with spot colors.
- Needs more than two spot colors (check with your printer; process color printing can be less expensive than using three, four, or more spot colors).
Butt/Kiss Register – refers to when two colors meet together precisely without any room for overlap or space in between, as opposed to a lap register. This is fairly easy to achieve when printing on paper but can be more difficult on other surfaces such as glass or ceramics. But play close attention to trapping (see above).
GSM – or grams per square meter (g/m2) refers to the weight of paper stock. Some prefer to use the “#” symbols to express this. A typical office paper about 24# is equivalent to 90 g/m2 or a heavy weight 110# is equivalent to 300 g/m2.
Knockout – A knockout is a portion of an image that has been removed. When two colors overlap, they don’t normally print on top of each other. The bottom color is knocked out of – not printed – in the area where the other color overlaps.
Knockout type is typically text that is knocked out or reversed out of a dark background so that the type appears in the color of the paper.
Kerning – Basically refers to the space between letters. Often when one is doing a booklet or brochure in order to make the page or sentence aesthetically pleasing the designer might need to slightly space 2 or more letters closer together or further apart.
Tracking – As oppose to kerning, tracking refers to the space between words.
Leading – Typically just refers to line spacing and its pronounce “ledding”
Pantone – PMS (Pantone Matching System) A brand-name for a popular color matching system, or series of printed color swatches used to match, specify, identify, and display specific colors or colored ink combinations. It’s a universal colour system that would allow a precise colour matching to be produce by different printers.
White Space – Also refer as negative space and is the area that is not occupied by text or image.
Binding – Refers to the combining of stacks of paper together. However, there are a variety of methods to do this.
1. Perfect binding: Gluing the outside edge of the signatures to create a flat edge.
2. Saddle-stitch binding: Uses one or more staples on the fold of the signature.
3. Side-stitch binding: Stapling the signatures together on the side rather than the fold.
4. Case binding: Signatures are sewn together and attached to the hard cover.
5. Coil binding: Holes are punched into the side of the pages and fitted together using metal or plastic coils.
Double Bump – Is the process of printing a single image twice so that it has two coatings of ink. But must be careful of shifting of the paper.
Ghosting – Phenomenon of a faint image appearing on a printed sheet where it was not intended to appear. Chemical ghosting refers to the transfer of the faint image from the front of one sheet to the back of another sheet. Mechanical ghosting refers to the faint image appearing as a repeat of an image on the same side of the sheet.
Imposition – Arrangement of pages on mechanicals or flats so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.
Pagination – Refers to the numbering of pages in their order.