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Graphic Design & Print Glossary of Terms

Print & Design Terms

Camera Ready Art: Before digital files, a printed piece was laid out on a board and physically photographed to prepare for printing. Today most camera ready art is supplied in the form of digital files.

Color: does so much for a design piece, yet it is so subjective. The light on the color, the substrate under the color and the eyes that see the color are all variables in viewing color. A graphic designer needs to address these variables as well as those that exist in reproducing color:

  • Photographic / Additive Color (rgb) Red, Green and Blue phosphers are what make up the colors on your tv screen and computer monitor. Red, Green and Blue dyes are used in photographic paper to yield fulll color photographs. Red, Green and Blue yield a beautiful range of color, but is expensive to print in large quantities.

  • 4 Color Process / Subtractive Color (cmyk) Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black are the 4 colored inks used to reproduce color photographs and images on press. They are also used in your color printer. It is a cost effective way to print full color, but does not reproduce as much of the spectrum as Red, Green and Blue.

  • Web Safe Color Originally there were only 216 colors that could be successfully displayed over the web. HOWEVER as technology moves forward more and more browsers can display additional colors. The cast of those colors is determined by the monitor and system they appear on.

  • Pantone Matching System: color matching system for inks devised by Pantone, Inc. to maintain color consistency in printed reproduction. Pantone colors can be used as a less expensive alternative to 4 color process. Pantone colored inks can also be used as a 5th and 6th color to maintain control and gain more latitude in process printing.

Bleed - An extra 1/8" on each side ( top, bottom, left & right) added to the final size to accomodate any text or images that run over the edge or BLEED of the piece. Always set your paper size, the when designing, design 1/8" past the paper's edge to allow for the bleed.

Safety - Safety is at least 1/8" from the final trim size. Don't place any critical images or text beyond the safety to avoid it from getting cut off when the finished piece is trimmed.

Trim - Trim size is the final, cut size of the finisited printed piece.

Digital Files: Files created, stored, transferred or processed on a computer.

Domain Name: the text name that brings you to the numeric IP address of a computer on the Internet. Domain Name Lookup is the process of converting a text name into a numeric IP address.

EPS (Encapsulated Postscript): the most widely used file format for graphics which are to be included in page-layout and text files.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format): graphic image file format used on the web, may be a static image or a simple animation.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group): generally a photographic or tonal image in digital format, viewable on any platform

PDF (Portable Document Format) an electronic image that preserves all the original graphic elements of a printed document - including fonts. You can view, navigate, print, or forward pdf documents electronically without compromising the original design. PDF files are perfect for the Web because the document doesn't change from platform to platform and the text is rendered before graphic images and hypertext links -yielding faster download times. Links, forms and navigation aids can be added to pdf files making them more interactive. Their small file size and simplicity also make them the perfect choice for e-mailing proofs or finished documents as well as for delivering documentation on a cd. Acrobat Reader, needed to view pdf documents can be downloaded FREE from Adobe Systems Inc. - just click on the logo below.

Platform: the computer operating system (i.e. Windows NT, Mac OS X etc.) and its associated hardware.

Postscript: a page description language that translates text and graphic images into instructions for the printer. Postscript developed by Adobe Systems, Inc. was a major turning point in computer imaging. Not to be confused with encapsulated postscript (eps).

Protocol: an established method of exchanging data over the Internet (i.e. ftp, http).

Raster Graphics: graphic file made up of tiny dots called pixels. A larger number of pixels in an image yields a higher resolution. Tiff, jpeg and bmp images are raster graphics.

Resolution: determines the quality of the image. A computer image's resolution is measured in dpi (dots per inch). The resoluion of traditional film for print is measured in lines per inch or line screen. A 150 line screen is equivalent to 300 dpi.

TIFF (Tag Image File Format): file format used to store large non-compressed image files, generally used for high resolution print.

Vector Graphics: a mathematical means of representing pictures by drawing lines and shapes in relationship to designated coordinates. The saved file contains instructions for drawing the image, which can be enlarged or reduced without losing quality. Eps, svg and dxf files are examples of vector graphics.


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