The amount of clear space from the edge of a printed piece. If design elements get too close to the edge of a printed piece it risks being cut off.
In printing the term “Bleed” refers to the amount of space outside of the print area. Bleed is only important if the design of a printed piece “runs off” the edge or if the design gets very close to the edge (within 1/16″). If a printed piece does not have bleed added the result can be a tiny amount of white space on the edge of some of the final pieces.
Registration is where 2 colors touch each other. This typically refers to spot color printing.
When 2 or more colors overlap each other. This typically refers to spot color printing as well.
Trapping refers to the amount of overprint used when 2 colors have close registration or “tight registration”. Also typically used in spot color printing.
Crop marks illustrate where a printed piece gets cut to a final size.
Process printing is another name for CMYK printing. CMYK process uses cyan, magenta, yellow and black to build a vivid full color spectrum much like a computer monitor uses RGB (red, green & blue)
Spot Color Printing
Spot color printing uses the Pantone® color matching system (PMS) to print with specified colors.
Once a piece is printed a U.V. coating can be applied to add a tremendously high gloss photo finish. Consequently it can also be added as a spot color in specified areas only.
pt & #
pt refers to how thick a specific paper is or the paper caliper. (ex. 14pt, 12pt, 16pt) | # rating refers to the density or weight of specific paper. (ex. 80#, 100#, 130#). Paper that is coated such as gloss or matte coated is typically measured in caliper. Uncoated papers and traditional printing paper is generally referred to as “#” ratings.
Foiling is a process in which shiny colored foil is stamped into paper. (We use a custom letterpress to apply foil using a brass die that is made on a CNC machine). See artwork guidelines for file setup instructions.
Embossing is when paper is pressed out in a certain area. (We use a letterpress & custom brass die made on a CNC for this process). A side effect of an embossed business card is that the backside has an imprint. Embossing ads a unique design touch to any business card, and ads an amazing amount of dimension and texture. See artwork guidelines for file setup instructions.
This is a process of cutting business cards into a specific shape. Rounded corners also are made with a die cutting process (This process utilizes a letterpress with custom brass CNC die)
This list will continue to grow as more questions arise and suggestions are made, if you don’t see a term you want to know about shoot us an e-mail. Our goal with this page is to educate print buyers, designers, desktop publishers and anyone designing a business card about the printing process.