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Screen Printing Terms | Graphic Terms You Need To Know

You're going to speak to a lot of people as a screen printer. It will be your job to explain things to customers and employees. For this reason you need to know what you are talking about. We’ve compiled a list of terms and their definitions for you so that you will be able to get up to speed fast.

Graphic Terms

CMYK - A color mode that stands for the colors Cyan (blue), Magenta, Yellow, and Key (black). The color mode is used for printing. Different percentages of the four colors are combined to create the color that is needed. 

RGB - A color mode that stands for Red, Green, and Blue. This color mode is used for the web. Different percentages of the three colors are combined to create the color that is needed. 

Raster Image - An image that is created with a grid of pixels (tiny dots of color). A bitmap is created with the images in a particular order. When the pixels are viewed from a distance the image appears. Raster images viewed up close appear blurry. Raster images viewed from afar appear crisp. Common file types include .jpg, .png, .bmp, .gif, .tif.

Vector Image - an image that is created using a mathematical formula. The lines and curves are combined to create an image. The image may be scaled up or down without loss of resolution because an algorithm is created to represent the image. The resolution does not change because when changing a variable of the algorithm the other variables change with it. Examples of vector file types include: .ai, .eps, .svg. 

Print Resolution - Printers indicate the resolution using DPI (dots per inch). Photographs or images use PPI (pixels per inch) to indicate the resolution. 

Screen Resolution - The number of pixels a screen can display. Sharper images require higher resolutions.

DPI - Dots per inch. A printer will print this number of dots on a page/substrate per square inch. More dots create higher resolution. Less dots create low resolution. A high DPI is typical for all printed materials. Low DPI is indicated for web materials. The term PPI (pixels per inch) is sometimes used interchangeably with DPI. 

Bleed - A print term used to describe colors that go past the edge of the document. The color extends past the image as if it is bleeding. . 

Camera Ready - When art is complete and ready to print. 

Use These Graphic Terms In Your Business

It is imperative that you understand each of these terms. Get to know these terms intimately. They are the foundation of the entire screen printing process. After you have learned each of these terms you will be able to communicate with everybody in the screen printing world.

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