Printed marketing material – printing jargon explained

Printed marketing material and visual merchandising can give your brand a space to tell its story or offer more insight into your services. Sometimes a design agency is hired to create the designs for you externally, and other times the concepts are created in-house. Either way, understanding printing principles can arm you with the knowledge to ask for the product that truly aligns with your brand. It also helps when you can provide an agent with the correct specifications from the get-go to avoid the tedious back and forth. Remember that you can always ask for samples of something you might be interested in as papers/print types/coating etc are always more accurate in person.

CostSmart’s printing professionals and partners can assist you with all your printing needs from flyers to large scale promotional signage. If you have any questions about printing techniques or whether a particular out-of-the-box design is do-able (it usually is!), then contact us on 1300100461.

Bleed: There are two bleed types, external and internal.

External: When an illustration, background or image is extended beyond the intended edge of the page. This allows for a small amount of movement that may occur when printing is being cut to size. Standard bleed allowance is normally 3mm, but your printer or agent will alert you if it’s different. You can easily add a bleed guide to PDF’s or Adobe Creative files so you can gauge how far you need to extend the design. You might be asked for your artworks bleed size, which would be referring to the size of your artwork including the extra external bleed.

Internal: Also known as the ‘text safe’ space, the internal bleed is when text is kept a certain distance from the trim edge to avoid any chance of it affected during the cutting process. It is also usually 3mm in size.

Celloglaze: This can also be referred to as laminate. It is a protective plastic film that is heat bonded to a page for products like business cards and booklet covers. While gloss is a common finish, Celloglaze also comes in matte or velvet finish. Many business cards now lean towards a clean matte finish, plus it also is perfect for products that may need to be written on.

CMYK: You might know this one just by replacing the ink in your home printer. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black are the colours of commercial printing. When designing a print product, it is important that the colours used are CMYK.

Coated Paper: This means that a small percentage of clay has been added into the surface coating of the paper to give a smoother and more even finish, with greater opacity.

Colour Mode: Just as we mentioned earlier about using CMYK when designing print products, Colour Mode refers to the colour setting used to create an artwork. CMYK is one type, as is RGB or PMS.

Crop marks: You have probably seen these little black marks in the corners of a PDF. These crop marks indicated where the artwork will be trimmed to size. Anything outside the marks will be removed. You can easily add to crop marks to a PDF before sending off to a printer.

Die-Cutting: This is a post-press finish that allows packaging and print pieces to have unique cutouts that can vary from simple to extremely detailed. Die-cutting adds a dimensional nature to the product.

Embossing/Debossing: raising and depressing aspects of your packaging gives your customers a tactile experience. Some techniques include:

Sculptured: Often hand-crafted, sculpturing involves raising or lowering features in a sharp or rounded manner. They expertly depict definition and texture in a realistic manner.

Multi-level: This finish allows for multiple angles and three-dimensional definition.

Single-level: This is the most popular and efficient finish, with just one layer of dimension.

Finish Size: This is the final size your artwork will be trimmed to.

Finishing: This could include anything that occurs after printing. Some examples could be trimming, folding, stitching, binding, or laminating.

Foil Stamping: A machine with a metal plate engraved with the desired design stamps picks up a foil and then transfers it onto the document. The result is a document that has a highly reflective image with a bright and dense metallic appearance.

Folding: This one seems straight forward, but there are so many folding options and additional folding instructions that needed to be added to an artwork. There are a plethora of folding options for your standard brochure so be sure clarify specifications before getting started on artwork or briefing a designer. Chances are if you want your brochure to be folded in a certain way, it can be done! Let us know what you have in mind and we will help you make it happen. We can also help with setting the panel orientations and the fold/score positions correctly.

Perfect Binding: This is when the cover and pages of a booklet are bound along the spine using adhesive. Be sure to enquire about glue strengths because quality does vary.

PMS (Pantone Matching System): Pantone colours can be purchased by a printer pre-mixed or expertly mixed by a pressman. This ensures colour consistency and a standardised selection of colours. Pantone Guides can be purchased so you can see a true representation of the colours.

PP (Printed Pages): This refers to the number of printed pages in a document, magazine, or booklet. It does not refer to the number of sheets of paper.

Rasterized Fonts: If you have been advised that there may be rasterised fonts in your soft PDF proof, this, means that some or all of the text in your artwork is made up of pixels rather than vectors. When creating text in design software (e.g. Adobe Illustrator), the text is made up of vector shapes which can be scaled indefinitely without losing quality. Once a design is saved as an image format like JPEG, the text automatically is converted to pixels or rasterized fonts.

Saddle Stitched: A form of binding in which all pages are bound in the centre of the booklet from the outside in using wire staples. Saddle stitching is ideally suited to booklets or magazines in the 8pp to 80pp (printed page) range.

Scodix: A great way to add a tactile and dramatic effect as a raised UV coating. The extra volume brings an added dimension that can accentuate the art of the graphic, as well as invite the intended user to engage and touch the product.

Shimmering/Pearlescent: A pearlescent effect is created by combining coating pigments with transparent layers. The way the different layers amplify or absorb light creates a pearl-like effect. Iriodin is another form of coating that has a similar effect. Alternatively, there are glitter coatings, where large metallic particles are added into UV gloss coating. Glitter is a lot less subtle than the pearlescent coating, demanding much more of the user’s attention.

Soft Proof: A digital PDF file created by the printer from the artwork you provide. Printers will supply a soft PDF proof to the customer so they can receive approval. Always request this if it isn’t offered.

Spot UV: This is a popular clear, high-gloss embellishment used in printing. It is very versatile as it can be placed over specific graphics or patterns to draw focus.

STAX: This is a card type that is extremely thick and has a coloured seam through the centre. It is often used for business cards and high-touch print products.

Text Pages: These are all the pages except for the cover of a book, booklet, or magazine-style product.

Trim Edge: The edge where the job will be cut to size.

Uncoated paper: Papers that do not contain clay in their surface coating. This can also be referred to as bond or laser bond. Standard uncoated paper would be used for products like a letterhead.

Vector text and graphics: As mentioned earlier, they can be enlarged indefinitely without losing quality. Technically, vector graphics and text are created using mathematical equations that define geometrical shapes.

Velvet/Soft Touch Coating: Both Velvet and Soft Touch add a plush and luxurious feel to print materials, while also improving durability. The layer of Velvet coating results in muted colours which is said to add a level of elegance. If you don’t want the colours affected, then Soft Touch coating is for you!

Whatever you’re buying, CostSmart will assist you in sourcing and procuring goods and services; saving you money, minimising risks and creating efficiencies. Our complete supply chain expertise includes Branded Products & Specialised Sourcing, Print Management, Uniforms & Workwear, Analysis, Warehousing and Logistics (3PL) and Customised EStore Solutions. Please get in contact today to see how CostSmart can help you and your business!