Design and Layout
Feathering, in the design world, refers to the sharpness of an edge of an image or graphic. If you feather an edge, then it will appear to fade out as opposed to being a crisp continuous edge.
A flat image is an image with no layers. For example, a JPEG is a flat image unlike a PDF or a native file like a PSD can be saved with editable layers. A flat image is a compressed version of a design.
A grid as it pertains to design and layout is a design system implemented by the designer for maintaining consistency and alignment of text and images. To learn more about setting up your grid using guides, click here.
Layers refer to the different levels that you can place individual graphics, text, or images in a design file. Layers make it possible for you to place one design element on top of another.
Margins are guidelines a designer will set up and utilize to keep all information within a certain area of the design. To learn more about setting up margins in your design programs, click here.
A mockup is a digital representation of what a physical printed product will look like after production. For example, when you use our online design tool and click on the preview, you are seeing a mockup.
Pixelization is when a digital image is enlarged beyond its maximum file size, creating an image that no longer has a smooth blending of detail but visible squares or pixels. You want to avoid pixelization at all cost.
Resolution refers to the level of detail within a digital image. The higher the resolution, the more fine detail in the image. When going to print, it is best to have a resolution of 300 so all text and images will be clear.
Cutting of your printing piece is done in large stacks and may vary from the top and the bottom of the stack. The safe area is the area of your design that is safest to place all important information such as logos or page numbers that must not get cut off.
Scaling in the design world refers to the growing or shrinking of an image or text while maintaining the original proportions. The opposite of this would be to skew an image or text, which will make your design elements appear stretched or squished. The way to ensure you are scaling instead of skewing is to hold down SHIFT while you are changing the size of your design elements.
Vectors are graphics that are formed by connected lines, anchor points, and curves to create a solid shape. Each of these elements has a definite position in relation to one another and can be scaled without causing pixilation. Vector files are saved as SVG, EPS, PDF, or .AI and are unlike JPEG, PNG, GIF, etc.
Coating refers to when paper has been coated by a mixture of materials to create certain paper qualities. Depending on the coating type, coated paper can be harder to write on than uncoated paper.
Collate means to collect, arrange, and assemble in a specific order of sequence. In printing, it means to assemble multiple sheets or parts together to create a set. It is most commonly used in the preparation of booklets.
Creasing is a process that prepares the paper for folding by creating two parallel folding points. Creasing makes your product fold evenly, cracks less along the edge of the fold, and provides an overall more professional appearance.
Die Cut refers to the process of cutting out a specific shape or design out of a printed product. PrintingCenterUSA does not die cut any products (except for presentation folders).
A digital proof is what is provided to the customer after the files have been prepared for print. The digital proof will highlight the bleed line, trim line, safety line, page order, etc. You must review your digital proof closely and either approve or reject it.
Dot gain refers to a natural effect in the printing process that causes printing defect that causes the dots, or the smallest printed unit, of a project to print larger. This causes darker tones and hyper-saturation. It occurs in most printing applications and is compensated for using color curve adjustments.
A hard copy proof is provided upon request from the customer at an additional cost. A hardcopy proof is a physical print of your art files from the product. It is mailed to you for approval. A hard copy proof will be the best representation of how your color will appear on the final product.
Offset printing is printing on a 4 color lithography press where the pages of your project are imposed onto a plate, then the image is transferred to an intermediate blanket cylinder that prints one of the 4 CMYK colors at a time onto the individual pages of your product.
Preflighting is the process used to evaluate all digital components of an art file (usually aPDF) before it is sent to print. The preflighting process will fonts, etc. will all print as expected.
Cutting of your printing piece is done in large stacks and may vary from the top and the bottom of the stack. The safe area or inner margin in which to keep all important elements within to prevent them from trimming off, should be at least 1/8" inside the edge of the final trim size.
Pronounced “wizzywig,” WYSIWYG means “What you see is what you get.” Meaning that when you receive your proof, what you are seeing is exactly exceptions:
Color: If you are viewing a digital proof, the colors may slightly differ from what is printed. This is due to the color conversion of RGB (computer monitor) to CMYK (print) color. I’s and L’s: Due to the outlining of fonts, your Ls and Is may look bolder than intended. However, they will print normally.
A PDF, or portable document format, is the best file format for sending your art files for print. PDFs are an electronic image of text and graphics that can be saved using various specifications, such as bleeds or color profiles, making them useful for printing.
Raster images or graphics are composed of pixels. A raster image can be scaled down while avoiding pixelization but cannot be scaled up to be larger than its maximum size. A JPG is a common raster image file type.
A complementary color is a color that is on the exact opposite side of the color wheel. When complementary colors are placed next to each other, they appear to “pop.” The sets of standard complementary colors are: Blue-Orange, Red-Green, and Yellow-Purple.
A palette is a chosen range of colors for a design. For example, if your project revolved around the picture below (left), then you may select your supporting design and graphics to be the color swatches below (right).
Condensed type refers to a font variation within a font family that makes the width of each letter shorter, therefore giving the font an appearance of being taller or “condensed.”
A font family is a set of fonts with similar design qualities but in various weights or treatments to provide distinguishing yet consistent options to a copywriter or typographer. For example, the Arial typeface has options like regular, regular italic, bold, bold italic, and black (which is thicker than bold).