Regardless of your industry sector, the size of the company you work for, or even your budget, every business needs to procure printed material – whether that’s adhoc or on a regular basis.

Print is not dead. In fact, the list of different types of printing your business may require is extensive and growing. Print collateral may include:

  • Business cards for new team members or your recent brand refresh
  • Personalised printed materials
  • Posters and leaflets for local campaigns
  • Creative assets for direct mail campaigns
  • Staff onboarding packs to welcome new recruits
  • Event collateral and event merchandise to engage delegate or stand visitors

But can you talk the lingo of print production?

Like most industries, print has its unique terminology – “jargon” – which can quite rightly be confusing if you’re new to print, not ordered anything for a while or you’ve been asked to manage the production of an asset that you’re not familiar with.

So, if you want to brush up, here’s our 101 for ‘jargon-busting’ print terminology

Let’s get started with paper…

GSM – Believe it or not, paper gets measured by its weight! GSM stands forgrams per square metre’ and is the most popular way of measuring the weight of paper (although you may come across others like microns). The higher the GSM number, the heavier the paper – it’s as easy as that. If you have some copier paper to hand, look at the packaging – it’s probably got a weight of around 80gsm.

When you ask us to quote on any print, we’ll advise on the right paper or card for your project, taking into consideration other important criteria such as durability, impact, and sustainability.

…moving swiftly on to pages

PP – Short for printed pages, PP refers to the number of pages in a document, including covers. A printed page is a side of a page, for example a greetings card is one piece of card folded in half but has 4pp – a front cover, two inside sections and a back cover.

Next up is colour!

4/0 – This is an item that is printed full colour to one side only

4/4 – This is an item that is printed full colour to both sides

Colour codes for print

CMYKCyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black) – these are the ink colours used by commercial printers but also the colours you find in most home printers.

CMYK guide

Pantone – Means all colours, Pantone is a system used to match colours for print purposes. CMYK colour codes can be used for printing on paper, however these are not suitable for the ink matching processes used in screen and pad printing on physical products.

As your print production partner, CMYK and Pantone are the colour codes that we’ll require from you.  Send us your company’s branding guidelines document which should contain the information we need.

Many SMEs don’t have branding guidelines, so let us know if you’re struggling with working out the correct colours and we’ll take care of that for you.

Colour codes for digital (on-screen) assets

RBG – (red, green, and blue) refers to a system for representing the colours to be used on a computer display, NOT for printing purposes. Red, green, and blue can be combined in various proportions to obtain any colour for digital assets (on screen).  You may also see HEX codes.  HEX codes are 6-digit codes beginning with a # (e.g. #FFFFFF for white) and are mainly use for website design or basic design tools such as Canva

And finally print production

Proof – An example of what your artwork will look like when printed, so you can check for errors before approving the finished design for print.  Once approved your job goes into production and changes cannot be made so checking a proof for errors is crucial.

Lithographic/Litho – A print process that uses metal plates, ink, and water to transfer artwork onto the paper. This technique is best suited to long runs where we will plan your print on larger sheet sizes. For smaller runs (typically 250 to 500, dependent on the type and size of the collateral) we’ll use digital printing techniques.

Again, when you work with THEMPC you don’t have to worry about whether you need litho or digital – we’ll make that decision for you based on our conversations, the number of items you need printing and what’s most cost effective.

Bleed – Area around your artwork where you extend your design. The printer can then trim the paper to the right size, trimming off the bleed area so there are no white borders left on your finished design where the cutters might be a mm off here or there.

Crop Marks – When you send us your artwork, you may notice solid black lines that appear on each corner. These are crop marks and they’re used as guides when cutting the printed design down to size. Your designer will add these to the artwork for you.

Lamination – A thin plastic film which is used to coat the paper and increase its longevity and create a premium look and feel. Lamination types include matt, gloss, and soft touch lamination, each giving a different unique texture to your print.

Machine Seal – Seal or sealer is a printing term, and is a coating applied over printed ink to fix it in place. The application of a layer or seal across the freshly printed ink helps prevent smudging.

Flat Size – The size of the printed material before it’s been folded but after it’s been trimmed.

Want to better understand more print finishing terminology? Look here

‘All under one roof’ Hampshire printing services – from THEMPC

To offer faster print turnaround times and bring you more print options, we’ve recently invested in some of the latest digital print technology – adding to the depth and breadth of print management and production services. We’ve even created our own software platform – SwagOnline- which provides you with the ability to place your web order, to print and ship – all from one easy to use swag management system.

Leave the printing to us and focus on your main role.

Producing outstanding print at exceptional prices, we deliver superior customer services through our experienced team – contact us on 01256 352415 to arrange a quotation for your next project