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Ever wondered what all those confusing terms are that printers always quote at you. Well here’s a simple glossary to help you understand what we’re talking about!

The CMYK colour model (process colour, four colour) is used in color printing. CMYK refers to the four inks used in some colour printing: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black). Images and files for print should be supplied in CMYK.

The RGB colour model is when Red, Green and Blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colours. All screens/monitors use RGB light to form colours. Images and files for the web should be supplied in RGB.

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format used to represent documents in a manner independent of application software (InDesign, Quark, Word) and operating systems (PC or Apple Mac). Each PDF file contains a complete fixed layout flat document, including the text, fonts, graphics, images, colours and other information needed to display it. All digital and litho prints run from PDF files.

Bleed&TrimsTrims – (or Cut marks)
These are small marks indicating the edge of the required sheet size and show where the printed sheet should be cut to leave the job the required finished size. All PDF files supplied for print should have trim marks.

It is very difficult to print exactly to the edge of a sheet of paper so, to achieve this, it is necessary to print a slightly larger area than is needed and then trim the paper down to the required finished size. Images, graphics and colour fills which are intended to extend to the edge of the page must be extended beyond the trim line to give a Bleed.

Is used to describe the resolution number of dots per inch (DPI) in a digital print. PDFs/Images for Digital and Litho print must have a minimum of 300dpi to achieve sharp high quality prints.

Hi Res
Image Resolution is the detail an image holds. The term applies to digital images and a Higher resolution means more image detail. High Resolution files for print must be 300dpi minimum. Hi Res PDFs/Images contain lots of information so have a fairly large file size. An A4 PDF containing photos and text could be 5 to 10MB (Megabytes).

Low Res
Low Resolution files are used for proofing purposes. Low Res images are 72dpi so are a much smaller file size. A Low Res A4 PDF containing photos and text could be 500 to 750Kb (Kilobytes). There is 1000Kb in 1 Mb. This is a better size for emailing proofs but would look very blocky and blurred if used for digital print.

If you have any terms that you don’t fully understand, please contact us here