Following is a list of some of the terms we use regularly that might not be familiar to the averge non-design geek. Let us know if there are other terms we should add.

Bleed is the extra area outside of a finished document that designers must allow if they want images, that are butting up to the edge of the page, to be cropped properly. Because printed documents are guillotined in large batches, is it impossible for the printer to guarantee that every sheet will be cropped exactly on the crop-marks. Printers will generally specify that graphics must extend into the bleed areas by at least 1/8”. In larger print jobs, it is sometimes necessary to allow up to 1/4”.

The four inks used in process printing are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK). By printing these four inks in a unique dot pattern at varying angles almost any color may be created on a printing press.

Creative Brief
Short communique of intent, goals and restrictions of a particular design project.

Crop Marks
Marks at the outer edge of a printed piece indicating the final trimmed edge of the paper or other substrate.

Dots Per Inch. Loosely translates to Pixels Per Inch. Images for print should be at least 300dpi at actual size. For web, at least 72dpi. Other production processes require different resolutions (mostly lower than 300dpi).

This stands for ‘For Placement Only’ or ‘For Position Only’. We will sometimes put these initials over text, a photo, graphic or blank box being used as a placeholder. It may also indicate the image is not high-resolution and needs to be replaced before sending the final artwork to press.

Offset Printing
The process of printing when ink is first applied to one surface (printing plate) and offset onto another surface (paper).

Pantone Matching System
A propietary ink matching system. The standard for specifying exact colors in the print and other industries.

Digital or hard-copy representation of design for review and approval.

Raster vs Vector Image
People have written long essays trying to explain the difference between raster images and vector images. We'll try to keep it simple here and if you really want a deeper understanding we can provide links to all the information you will ever need.

A raster image is generally a photograph or scan. People use Photoshop to work on raster images. Rasters are also referred to as bitmap images because they are made up of bits called pixels. The number of pixels in a raster image determine its resolution. More pixels = higher resolution. The resolution of a raster image determines the quality of reproduction at various sizes.

A vector image is produced using points and lines in a drawing program such as Adobe Illustrator. Because these points and lines are defined mathematically, artwork produced in this manner is infinitely scaleable. Vector images generally offer the designer more flexibility but it has limitations as well.

Both formats have their place and in many cases only one of them is the right option. A simple equation that is usually true:

Raster = Photos
Vector = Graphics & Type

Resolution is relevant primarily to raster images as all vector images are infinitely scalable and resolution-independent. Resolution is generally specified in Dots Per Inch (DPI).

The three colors used in specifying video. All video color may be expressed through a combination of Red, Green, and Blue.