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C-M-Y-K, Crop Marks, and Bleeds… Oh My!

by Tracey Papke

As in many industries, printing has developed a whole language of their own. And that is great when one printer is speaking to another. The problem arises when you would like to have your brochure printed for your business and you are asked to “pull the bleeds and place the crop marks”. Your initial response may be “Excuse me, what?” Well, have no fear, here is a list of common terms and definitions that may help!

CMYK: Stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. It is the color model used in 4 color                      printing.

 

4 Color Process: The process that combines CMYK colors to create an image.

 

RGB: Stands for Red, Green, and Blue. It is the color model that is used for images that will be viewed on a screen; web design or animation, for example.

 

Bleeds: The term to indicate the printing goes to the edge of the page. A printer will print on larger sized paper and then trim it down to the desired size.

 

Pulling Bleeds: This means the background is “pulled” beyond the desired page size, while all of the text and/ or images remain inside the intended finished size. The excess (usually a minimum of 1/8”) will be trimmed off.

 

Crop Marks: The horizontal and vertical lines that are placed at the edge of an image and are used as guides for trimming off the bleed.

 

Offset Printing: Printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.

 

Vector Art: Artwork that is created with programs [like Adobe Illustrator] that use mathematical equations and geometric points, lines or shapes. The art that is created is clean, camera ready and can be scaled without loss of quality.

This is only a small list of terms that the printing industry uses. A basic understanding of printing will save you time and money, and your best bet is to partner with a local printer!

 

Tracey Papke is the owner of Potamus Press, a commercial print shop that specializes in offset and digital printing. For more information please visit www.potamuspress.com or call (951)693-2136.

Written by Tracey Papke

Tracey Papke is the owner of Potamus Press, a commercial print shop that specializes in offset and digital printing. For more information please visit www.potamuspress.com or call (951)693-2136.

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