4/4 – stands for four process colours over four process colours (basically full colour on both the front and back of the document). You’ll also see various combinations like 4/0 (full colour front, no printing on back), 2/2 (two colours on front and two colours on back), etc.


.ai – Illustrator file

bleeds – an image that runs off the trimmed edge of the page (no white border)

c1s – coated one side

c2s – coated two sides

CMYK – stands for a combination of cyan/magenta/yellow/black and is generally what “four process colours” refers to

Die cut – special shape to the document (e.g. round corners on a business card)

Digital printing – image is sent directly to the printer via PDFs or other compatible software and eliminates the need for a printing plate. It creates faster turnaround times and is best used for smaller runs and situations where precise colour match is not necessary.

dpi – stands for dots per inch and is a term used to describe resolution or how “sharp” an image is. Printed documents typically require a file resolution of 300dpi. Anything less will result in an image that is not as clear.

Dye-sublimation printing – a printing process that uses heat to transfer dye onto materials such as a plastic, card, paper, or fabric.

.eps – InDesign file

Gloss – coated paper that has a gloss or shiny finish

Hi-res – high resolution (at least 300dpi)

.jpeg– a type of file format

Large format printing – computer controlled printing machine that supports a print roll width of between 18” and 100”. Used to print banners, posters, vinyl graphics, architectural drawings, etc.

Lo-res – low resolution (under 300dpi) which results in a lower quality document

Matte – a coated stock without the gloss (note: this is different from uncoated stock)

Offset printing – printing technique where the inked image is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket and then to the printing surface. Most cost effective for medium to large runs. Essential when precise colour match is required.

PDF – stands for Portable Document Format and is the type of finished file format that is ideally required for print.

PMS colours – stands for Pantone Matching System, The idea behind the PMS is to allow designers to “color match” specific colors when a design enters production stage, regardless of the equipment used to produce the colour.

Screen printing – a printing technique whereby a mesh is used to transfer ink onto a substrate, except in areas made impermeable to the ink by a blocking stencil. One colour is printed at a time, so several screens can be used to produce a multicoloured image or design.

Sheet fed printing – a type of offset printing whereby single sheets of paper are fed into the press one at a time via a suction bar that lifts and drop each sheet into place.

Uncoated – no coating on the paper

Web printing – a type of offset printing whereby the paper is fed into the press via continuous rolls of paper as opposed to flat sheets. Typically used for very large runs.