Whether you’re looking to print invitations, business cards, brochures, flyers or handouts, the possibilities are practically endless when it comes to print. There are decisions to be made about paper size and texture, ink color, foils, using a die-cut, the actual print process and more. Before designing a piece for print production, it’s a good idea to talk to a printer about your vision and budget for the project. They’ll be able to provide direction on how to best achieve your goals and what you can do with your budget.
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What is PMS? PMS stands for Pantone Matching System. It’s also known as spot color and is a reference system to control ink colors, which allows for exact color matching. Because colors can appear differently on different monitors or screens, PMS creates a more standard system for consistency of colors. PMS is used with offset printing.
What is offset printing? Offset printing uses plates to transfer an image onto a rubber “blanket” which is then rolled onto a sheet of paper. The name offset is due to the technique indirectly transferring ink to paper. Offset printing is ideal for larger print quantities.
What is digital printing?
Digital printing is the transfer or a digital image onto a new surface by placing ink drops in a pattern to replicate the image. It’s a more modern method compared to traditional options that use plates or have more processes to set up. Because of this, digital printing is often more cost-effective and faster for smaller quantity print jobs.
What is CMYK? CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Printers use these four colors in varying quantities to create all other colors. While the colors will be very close, it is typically less precise than PMS. CMYK printing is also known as full-color, digital, process and four-color printing. It is ideal for smaller print quantities and print projects with variables like names and addresses.
What are some popular printing techniques? If you want to add some extra depth or personality to your print piece, using embossing/debossing techniques and speciality inks are a wonderful to achieve that. Embossing and debossing techniques create a raised or depressed element on the paper by applying pressure with a metal plate. Clear spot, like the name suggests is a clear ink that can be applied as a top layer to create a highlight effect. Using foil adds a unique, metallic sheen for creating drama and highlights. And using pigmented inks, instead dyes, will allow you to create a longer lasting, water-resistant design.
What is weight?
The weight describes how much a ream of paper weighs. The higher the weight, the heavier or more substantial each individual page will be. For reference, the average pack of printer paper has a 20 lb. weight.
What is caliper? Caliper refers to the thickness of the paper.
What does print-ready mean?
When you send files to a printer, they will want the files to be print-ready. A print-ready file has bleeds or trim lines, the resolution is at least 300 and it is saved as a PDF. Raw files, such as an Adobe InDesign file can be sent to the printer, but you’ll have to package all the linked images and fonts for the printer. A PDF file format compresses all design assets and fonts within the file.
The printing processes, dyes, inks and paper combinations are limitless. Talking with a printer will help you understand your options. In doing so, you’ll be able to create a design and choose a print process that achieves your goals of getting attention, making connections and getting people to engage with your brand. If you have an idea for a print project, let us know! We’d love to help you design it and we know the folks at Tovar Printing will bring it to life.