15 printing terms every designer needs to know – Part 1

15 printing terms every designer needs to know

01. Colorimeter

A colorimeter is used to correctly calibrating a monitor

In order to measure the intensity and hue of light emitted from a computer monitor a piece of equipment called a colorimeter can be used. The instrument is placed flat on the screen and makes the measurements using a light-reading cell. The information obtained by the colorimieter is then analysed to build a profile that calibrates the monitor.

To create an instant profile when it comes to print, professional printers have built-in colour calibration which tests and measures the response of an ink and paper combination.

The calibration that takes place before each run takes in to account and compensates for changes in ambient temperature, pressure, humidity, and variations in stock.

02. DPI

DPI stands for dots per inch. The higher the DPI is the better the image will be.

However DPI values don’t compare across technologies. Inkjet printers will usually print at around 700dpi for basic proofing, 1440dpi for typical output and 2560dpi for very high quality. Higher DPI values will mean that it takes longer to print and will use more ink as there are more dots per square inch.

03. Dye-based inks

 dye-based inks
Dye-based inks produce brighter colours than pigment-based inks, but fade faster

Dye based inks are often water-soluble. These inks stain media directly rather than printing on a substrate. The colours produced by Dye based inks are brighter than for pigment inks, however they do fade more quickly. Dye-based inks are often used for photo printing, and occasionally for proofing.

04. Dye sublimation

‘Dye-sub’ is an alternative printer technology which can be used when printing on fabric and other specialised applications. There are some inkjet models, such as Epson printers, which can be used with dye-sub inks. Prints can be made directly onto fabric. Alternatively you can print on to transfer paper, then fix into the fabric with a heat press.

05. Large format

Large format is also sometimes  known as ‘wide format’. These terms refer to big industrial printers. Smaller printers can print up to A2 on sheets or rolls. Whereas the largest models can print on rolls up to 64 inches wide. The prices of these can Prices range from around £2,000 to more than £20,000. The generally use the same technology as desktop printers but are bigger and should be more reliable.

06. Pantone colour matching system

 Pantone coverage
The Pantone Color Matching System a standardised colour reproduction system known worldwide.

The Pantone colour matching system allows you to accurately reproduce a specific colour across different prints which can help maintain the look and feel of your brand. Modern printers can output 98% of the Pantone range. This is good enough for accurate proofing, however the range also depends on the paper used.

Part 2

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