tech speak

Some technical terms explained:

CMYK – stands for “cyan, magenta, yellow and black” – the foor colours that printing presses use. This is the colour you use for images on items printed on a print press or digitally printed.

RGB – stands for “red ,green, blue” – the three colours your computer monitor uses. This is the colour you use for images that go on websites or emails.

High resolution – 300 dpi (dots per inch) resolution or over. This is the resolution you use for images printed on a print press or digitally printed.

Low resolution – Usually 72 dpi (dots per inch) resolution.This is the resolution you use for images on websites. (Anything less than 300 dpi is also classed as low resolution, and means it will print soft if you go ahead and print it. 

Pixels – Photographs on computers are made up of many pixels. The more pixels the clearer the image will be and the higher the resolution when placed in a layout.

Vector file – A vector is a graphic that is drawn with lines and filled shapes rather than pixels. It can be scalled infinately large, and placed easily on a coloured background or over another image. It is an ideal format to have your logo in. Files are usually saved with endings of .eps or .ai. You may have been supplied these file types but not be able to open them. However it is important that you send them onto the designer you are using as they will be able to use them.

Hard copy – Something that exists on a piece of paper, such as a print out of your logo.

Soft copy – Something that exists on the computer, such as a PDF proof.

PDF – Stands for “Portable Document File” and is the file type usually used for proofing to you. All moderncomputers have Acrobat Reader to view these PDFs.

Proof – A copy of your artwork for you to check and sign off. This is usually supplied at low resolution to keep the file size small on email and is not a final document for print.

Stock photo – A photograph or illustration obtained from a website that specialise in providing photos for print an web uses. These days most stock photos are royalty free which means you can find the image that best represents what you want, purchase it for a fee and then use it for almost anything you like (within the stock photo sites’ terms of use.

Clear cutting / cutout – Adding a transparent or white background to an image, such as cutting round a person or object so it hasn’t a background.

Crops and bleed – Files ready for print will contain crops and bleed if the image(s) go to the edge of a page. The crop marks show the position that it is to be trimmed and the “bleed” is the colour or image going off the page so it can be trimmed off. By bleeding colour or an image you don’t get a small white gap when the brochure or magazine etc is trimmed.

InDesign – The name of the professional software I use to do layouts in.

Photoshop – The name of the professional software I use to manipulate images in. 

What happens if I only have a low resolution image or logo?
It is certainly best to have a high resolution image on a design, this way it can be used large and will print clear. To compensate for lack of resolution the image may be able to be used smaller, If a logo it may be able to be redrawn as a vector file. Email through what you have and I’ll be able to judge whether it will be usable or not.

If you need clarification on any of these then please feel free to contact me and ask.