Packaging and printing has some of its own special language. To help you out and give your brain a test, we have put some of the most common words and expressions along with meanings below. I promise there is no exam at the end 🙂
Debossing – An inverted form of embossing. An image or decoration is recessed into the paper, so it’s lower than the paper surface
Die Cutting or Formecutting Cutting and creasing to shape. Formecutting refers to a process where a blade is shaped and mounted, then pressed onto stock to produce unique shapes, perforations, or creases.
Die Cutting / Punching – Cut printed materials to shape with die cutting. The die-cutting process allows you to make multiple numbers of the same shape from a specially shaped blade, much like a cookie cutter.
Embossing – Embossing creates images or design features that are raised to stand out above the surface of the paper. It can add a touch of elegance and a sense of professionalism or sophistication.
Finishing – Any process that follows printing, including folding, stitching, binding, laminating, die cutting.
Foiling – Foil is printed on products to create shiny effect. Foiling allows you to imprint foil on printing products to create unique graphics or a shiny appearance.
Four-colour process – Printing using four colour separation plates – yellow, magenta, cyan and black. CMYK The inks are translucent and can be combined to produce a wide range of colours
Gloss cello or Gloss Varnish – A clear, shiny finish that brings out and emphasises colours. It makes images look brighter, adds definition and radiance.
GSM – Grams per square metre, a standard measure of the weight of paper.
Image area – Any part of the design to be printed, stamped or embossed.
CMYK – The abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The colours used in full-colour printing process.
External bleed – When an illustration or image is extended beyond the edge of the page. Whirlwind requires a 3mm external bleed – anything that touches an edge must be extended a further 3mm past it. This allows for a small amount of movement in the printing process.
Formecutting or Die Cutting – Cutting and creasing to shape. Formecutting refers to a process where a blade is shaped and mounted, then pressed onto stock to produce unique shapes, perforations, or creases.
Knife, forme cut or die cut – The process of cutting paper and card into different shapes after it has been printed.
Laminate – A thin transparent plastic coating that is bonded to paper or board by heat and pressure. This provides protection, as well as a matt or gloss finish.
Laminating – Adds a plastic coating to print products. Laminating adds a thin, transparent plastic coating to printing products. Laminating has both a protective and aesthetic effect. Not only is this process suitable for small cards and other items, it’s also useful for larger workplace notices, maps and diagrams.
Machine varnish – A thin, protective coating applied to a printed sheet to reduce marking or scuffing.
Matt cello or Matt Varnish– A non-reflective varnish applied to a printed surface to protect it. A matt cello has a slightly granular look and tends to make colours look more vivid.
Pantone – The name of an ink colour matching system, created by Pantone Inc of USA.
Printing plate – The surface that carries an image to be printed.
Proof – A test print that shows how the finished product will look.
PDF – Portable Document File, a type of formatting that enables files to be viewed on a variety of computers regardless of the program used to create them. PDF files retain the “look and feel” of the original document.
PMS – Pantone Matching System, a standard that creates different ink colours by mixing inks with a minimal amount of base colour. A process guide shows how Pantone spot colours will appear when converted to process colours (CMYK).
PPI – Pixels Per Inch, a measurement describing the size of a printed image. The higher the number, the more detailed the image will be.
Resolution – The number of pixels in an image. The more pixels, the higher the resolution and the better the picture. For a good quality print result, colour and gray scale raster images (pixel-based/scans) should be 300dpi (maximum 350dpi). Mono raster images (bitmaps) should be 1200 dpi maximum.
RGB – Red, Green, Blue, a model for describing colours that are produce by emitting light rather than absorbing it. They are known as additive colours because when they are added together they create all colours. RGB colours are what you see on your computer screen, these must be converted to CMYK for printing.
Sheet fed – A printing press that prints single sheets of paper, rather than printing from reels of paper.
Spot colour – A colour that’s not produced with our standard four-colour process, the colour is printed using ink made exclusively. It’s used when you require a very specific ink colour.
Spot UV -Varnish is applied to selected spots. Spot UV is the process by which a glossy or other finish is applied to selected spots on print products for design or colour-enhancement.
Stock – The general term for any paper or board that is used as a printed surface.
Trim – Cutting the printed product down to the correct size.
Trim marks – The guide marks on the printed sheet that indicates where you want to cut/trim the printed sheet.
Vector graphics – These are images created using mathematical statements that define geometric shapes. You can move, resize, and change the colour of vector graphics without losing quality. Unlike bitmaps, vector graphics are not dependent on resolution so you can scale them to any size without losing detail or clarity.