Common Industry Terms

Direct Digital Printing

Direct Digital Printing or Computer-To-Plate CTP In digital printing (CTP) technologies, presses are connected to workstations that create PostScript files from digital files created in page layout applications like QuarkXpress and Indesign. These files containing text and images are then sent to directly to the press. The presses do not require film, or in some cases, printing plates. Digital printing produces fast turn-around times, lower production costs.

Process Color

Cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK), combined in a matching system to recreate thousands of colors in offset and direct digital printing.

Spot Colours

Spots colours are pre-mixed inks. Each spot colour is reproduced using a single printing plate. A spot colour printed at 100% has no dot pattern. A tint of the same colour is created by printing smaller halftone dots. Process Colours Process colours are reproduced by printing overlapping dots of cyan, magenta, Yellow and Black, these colours are commonly referred to as CMYK.

EPS (Encapsulated PostScript or Vector File such as SVG)

A computer image that used geometrical primitives (such as points, line, polygons and Bezier curves) to produce mathematical descriptions of paths for the graphic. Vector graphics are resolution independent and can be printed to any size physically possible.

JPEG/JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

Graphic file format designed for use with photographs and other color bitmaps. The JPEG format uses a mathematical compression technique to reduce file size by removing a user-selectable percentage of the images data information. Usually used for compressing full-color or grayscale images. Primarily used for screen and web display rather than printing due to its low resolution.

RGB (Red, Green and Blue)

The three additive colors used by monitors and scanners for transferring and representing color data. The rule of thumb in imaging is that input and display are in RGB, while output is done in CMYK. RGB is typically used in video display applications.


The number of pixels or samples per inch in a device is capable of recognizing or producing, measured in horizontal columns (width) by vertical rows (height). Megapixels can be calculated by multiplying pixel-columns with pixel-rows. Resolution is a measure of the detail in an image; the higher the resolution the higher the amount of detail and the bigger the file size.

DPI (Dots Per Inch)

Unit of measure use to describe the printing resolution of and output device, or the printed resolution of an output device, or the printed resolution of images, based on the number of separate ink droplets representing either horizontally or vertically in one inch. Also correlates to pixels per inch and samples per inch. DPI is a significant influence on the size of an image file; a high DPI indicates higher resolution.

Resizing Images

Change of reproduction size. Files can generally be resized so prints can be made smaller or larger. Significant up-sizing often results in jaggies, but an adjustment of up to 10% is acceptable.

PPI (Pixels-Per-Inch)

A measurement of the number of pixels that will occur within the vertical and horizontal planes of a one inch areas in a raster image. The higher the number, the greater the resolution and maximum viewable size without aliasing.


Printing an image past where the final print will be trimmed, which allows color to extend all the Way to the edges of the final print.

PANTONE® Matching System

Numbering system for identifying 3,000+ colors created through combinations of 14 primary color inks. The Pantone company produces numerous color-matching systems for standard print and computer applications.

PDF (Portable Document System)

Electronic document format from Adobe Systems Inc. that allows the distribution of files across platforms that can display a document as originally designed and formatted – and, when fully developed, also allow printing – without requiring the original software application or fonts on the viewing computer.

Soft Proofing

Using an onscreen image as a proof. Usually an Adobe Acrobat PDF.

Digital Contract Proof

A high-quality color sample suitable for predicting color appearance on a lithographic press or production printer, produced on a lower-cost inkjet, dye sublimation, or other digital printer without the use of film.