A Guide to Common Printing Terms

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There are a lot of words being thrown around in the world of printing; some you will know, some you won’t have heard of. There’s technical jargon and confusing terminology, and various techniques that all sound somewhat similar, even though they’re not. This can make printing feel daunting, even though it doesn’t need to be. In this guide, we have taken a look at some of the most common printing terms and phrases, helping you to navigate your printing projects confidently.

Flatbed Printer, UV Inks and DTF Pring: Printing Terms You Should Know

  • Offset Printing – This is a traditional printing method that transfers an image from a metal plate onto paper. It’s ideal for large volume printing runs, as the cost per unit becomes lower with a higher print volume.
  • Flatbed Printing – Flatbed printing is when a flatbed printer places ink directly onto a flat surface. This versatile technique is perfect for printing on materials such as wood, metal, glass and fabric.
  • UV Inks – UV inks cure instantly under ultraviolet light, creating prints that are resistant to fading, scratching and moisture. They’re a popular choice for UV flatbed printers and ideal for outdoor applications.
  • Sublimation Ink – This is a specialised ink that bonds with the fibres of a fabric during the printing process. Sublimation ink creates vibrant, wash resistant designs, making it perfect for DTF printing on clothing.
  • Digital Printing – This printing method uses a digital file to create an image on a variety of materials.
  • DTF Printing – When you DTF print, you are printing onto a transfer film using sublimation ink. This film can then be applied to a variety of surfaces, including fabrics and curved objects.
  • Bleed – This is the area of your design that extends beyond the intended cut line. This ensures no white borders appear after trimming.
  • CMYK – CMYK is a colour model using cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks. Using these colours, a wide range of other colours can be used in printing.
  • Laminating – A process that adds a protective layer to your printed piece, increasing its durability and resistance to moisture or scratches.
  • Die Cutting – This technique uses a custom made die to cut out specific shapes from your printed material, often used for creating product packaging or unique marketing materials.
  • Flexo Printing – This is a printing process that uses a flexible printing plate to transfer ink onto a variety of materials. It’s often used for packaging materials like labels and corrugated boxes.
  • Screen Printing – Screen printing is a traditional technique that uses a stencil to transfer ink onto a material. It’s ideal for printing bold, solid colours on various materials, such as fabrics and uneven surfaces.

Of course, these are just some of the popular printing terms that you are likely to come across. Whether you’re using UV inks and a flatbed printer, or you’re opting to DTF print with sublimation ink, understanding common phrases can make it a lot easier to navigate the world of printing.