Printing: Tips and Terms
Colours & Inks
CMYK: CMYK is short for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black, and is normally pronounced as separate letters. CMYK is a colour model in which all colours in the printed piece are described as a mixture of these four process colours. CMYK is the standard colour model used in offset printing for full-colour documents & produces full photographic colour. Because this printing uses inks of these four basic colours, it is often called four-colour printing.
PANTONE® MATCHING SYSTEM
standard colour-matching system used for printing spot colours (see below).
A PMS colour is a standard colour defined by percentage mixtures of different
Most applications that support colour printing allow you to specify colours by indicating the Pantone name or number. This assures that you get the right colour when the file is printed, even though the colour may not look right when displayed on your monitor.
A spot colour refers to a method of specifying and printing colours in which each colour is printed with its own ink. Spot colour printing is effective when the printed matter contains one to three different colours, but it becomes prohibitively expensive for more colours.
Lamination: The ultimate in protection, film lamination applies a strong, protective layer of plastic to the printed sheet. This is usually available in gloss and matte finishes.
Varnish: Varnish is essentially ink without pigment/colour. It is applied as another ink colour on the press.
UV Varnishing: A
method of adding a gloss finish to printed surfaces. The advantage of
UV varnishing is that it is similar to printing an extra colour and can
be applied to selected areas to produce special effects. The UV refers
to the Ultra-Violet lamp under which the varnished sheets pass for rapid
A Note about coatings:
Use coatings to avoid fingerprinting, scuffing, smudging or cracking on glossy Substrate stock.
Some coatings deepen the ink colour they cover, yellow with age and/or may discolour white Substrate.
You cannot glue or foil stamp over some coatings.
In printer lingo, a bleed is when the ink goes the whole way to the edge of a printed sheet. In order to print ink to the edge of a page, the piece will be printed on larger Substrate (printing the ink beyond the final edge) and trimmed to the final size. Although bleeds make for very attractive design, they can increase the printing costs.
Collating: The process of assembling the various sections or sheets of a document in the correct order.
Crease: A printed job can be creased mechanically to make folding easier. There are times when you might want a printed piece delivered flat for ease of storage and then do the folding yourself, manually.
Drilling: Making the holes in Substrate for use in a ring binder. Drills can neatly perforate a much greater thickness of Substrate than can the kind of hole punch you have in the office.
Perfect Binding: A type of book binding where the pages are held in the spine by glue. Many magazines and most paperback books are perfect bound.
Saddle Stitch: A simple way of assembling a small booklet or magazine with a wire stitch through the fold. You may call it stapling but printers call it stitching.