If you are into the printing business, then you must have encountered terms that made you scratch your head. Being in a technical business like printing, you need to get familiarized with the right vocabulary to understand the different processes and systems regarding this profession.
No matter if you are a garment decorator who performs printing on apparel to create fancy custom patches or a promo product manufacturer who needs to imprint logos of companies, you should get yourself familiarized with some of the most common terminologies that are used in the printing business.
To all the newbies in the printing business, we present here some of the common terminologies to help them understand the different aspects of this business:
An artwork is any drawing or photo that needs to be printed on a substrate. To create an artwork on a substrate, you should tweak it appropriately taking into consideration the creative and technical requirements of your job. It should have the right size and set of colors and should have the right format type to be printable on a substrate.
Banding is when strips of missing ink appear on a print. It occurs due to a dried ink that clogs the print head nozzle which in turn causes missing stripes of ink on a print.
· Blank T-shirt
A blank t-shirt is any t-shirt that is manufactured with the aim to print any artwork, such as custom made patches. It comes with a tear away label or tag that an apparel company can replace with its own label or tag.
Bleeding is a common phenomenon in printing that occurs when the ink infiltrates beyond the printing area of a substrate. Bleeding is a common issue in screen printing and it commonly happens when you are printing two colors.
· Color Separation
Color separation is a process by which printers breaks down a full-color image before they reproduce them on a print. This helps them convert a RGB image into CMYK colors in order to print on a substrate.
In printing, coverage refers to the opacity of a print. In other words, it is the measure of quality of ink application on a print.
Curing is the process to dry an ink on a print so that it sticks firmly to a substrate and doesn’t dissolve in water.
· Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, And Key (CMYK)
CMYK is abbreviated as cyan, magenta, yellow, and key. It is a color model that printers use to produce different colors in an artwork.
· Direct toGarment Printing (DTG)
Direct to Garment or DTG is a printing method that uses the modern printing method to print any type of artwork on a garment. DTG is known for producing complex and detailed artwork in full color. It uses an inkjet printer to produce the print directly on a garment.
· Dot Per Inch (DPI)
DPI is abbreviated as Dot Per Inch. DPI defines the number of dots that appear on a print produced from an inkjet printer.
· Dye Migration
Dye migration is a term that is associated with printing on a polyester material. It happens when ink of an artwork turns into gas and reacts with dye of the substrate and changes its color. Dye migration is an issue connected with printing methods that uses heat to transfer artworks on a substrate, such as dye sublimation and heat press printing.
· Dye Sublimation
Dye sublimationis a printing method that uses heat to transfer a solid ink into gas. It is a more durable form of printing than other printing methods since the ink of artwork gets absorbed by fibers of a substrate. Since the ink becomes part of the fiber of a substrate, it never cracks or peels off.
Flashing is a procedure by which an underbase gets dried during the screen printing process. Flashing makes it easier for the printers to dry the underbase without removing a substrate from the pallet which saves time and energy.
A gamut refers to the entire range of color hues that a device can reproduce for displaying or printing an artwork.
Ghosting is a common printing issue. It happens when the copy of an artwork appears on surrounding areas of a print. Ghosting appears on a substrate due to various factors, such as using a low-bleed ink or applying inappropriate temperature and moisture while printing.
Gradient is a graphic effect in which a color gradually changes its hue in a print. Gradients are commonly used in artworks to highlight an aspect of a design.
Halftone is another widely used graphic effect in which several dots appear to create a design. The dots vary in size and spacing and look similar to a gradient effect.
· Heat Press Printing
A common printing method uses heat-sensitive transfer paper to print artwork on a substrate using a heat press machine. The heat press machine applies a specific heat and pressure to create artworks on a substrate.
A hue is any color or shade of a color.
· Lines Per Inch (LPI)
Lines Per Inch or LPI refers to the halftones that forms an image. It defines the quality of a print and is taken into consideration before a print. The higher the LPI of an artwork, the higher will be its quality.
A mesh is a material used over a screen as a medium to transfer ink on a substrate. A mesh screen is measured in terms of mesh count which denotes the total number of holes in a mesh.
· Pantone Matching System (PMS)
Pantone Matching System or PMS is a universally used color matching system used by professional printers to reproduce the exact colors on a print that we see on a screen.
· Plastisol Ink
A plastisol ink is a kind of ink that is predominantly used by screenprinters to create artworks on different types of substrates. It is made of polymer fibers and is not soluble in water.
· Raster Graphics
Raster graphics are graphics that are based on pixels rather than on geometrical shapes like curves, circles and lines. Since raster graphics are based on pixel where every pixel represents a color, they tend to blur when they are scaled. This is why raster graphics are not a favorite of professional printers.
· Raster Image Processing (RIP)
Raster Image Processing or RIP defines a software that is used to convert a vector graphic into a raster graphic.
· Red, Green and Blue (RGB)
Red, Green and Blue or RGB is a color model that mixes red, green and blue to reproduce different range of colors on a screen.
Registration is a process by which printers align a print on a platen using a screen frame. Using registration marks on a screen sets a proportion of alignment between different colors in a print.
Resolution is the measure of width and height of an image in terms of pixels.
· Screen Printing
Screen Printing is one of the most popular printing methods used by professional printers all around the world. This printing methods uses a mesh screen to transfer an artwork on a substrate.
A substrate is any product onto which a print is produced.
· Vector Graphic
A vector graphic is any type of graphic that uses geometrical shapes to reproduce an artwork on a surface. Unlike a raster graphic, a vector graphic doesn’t pixelate when it is resized and hence widely used in printing business.
· Vinyl Sheet
Vinyl sheet is used as a carrier of an artwork that needs to printed on a substrate. A vinyl sheet comes in various sizes, colors and shapes to fit into the requirements of a print.
An underbase refers to the application of a white ink on a dark material. Using an underbase is essential to produce vibrant and sharp colors on a dark material.
· Water-Based Ink
Water-based ink is made from water. Rather than creating a layer over a substrate,it gets absorbed by it. Unlike plastisol ink, water-based ink is soluble in water. These are some of the commonly used terminologies in the printing business. As a newbie printer, you should learn them to get more insights into the printing business.