When you first begin to look into printing for your business, the terms and slang can be overwhelming and confusing. We totally understand, and we’re here to help. You can count on Zipp to utilize these terms to give you the highest quality prints; however, it’s always helpful to have a basic understanding of printing lingo when deciding the best options for your business.

We aren’t claiming to be a printing term dictionary, but we can certainly define some of the most important ones for you. 

1. Dimensions

Our dimensions are formatted as “length x width,” with the “x” meaning “by.” It sounds like high school math class, but the way the dimensions are listed matters even more when it comes to ordering printed products.

Let’s say you wanted to print on a standard sheet of printer paper. If you were wanting the layout to be vertical, you would say, “8.5×11.” However, if it should be laid out horizontally, you would say “11×8.5” instead. Asking for something to be printed horizontally on an 8.5×11 sheet of paper isn’t a crime. However, switching around the numbers will save you and the designer any potential confusion when it comes to getting what you actually want.

2. CMYK vs. RGB

These acronyms definitely just look like letters squished together. CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) and RGB (red, green, blue) are both color formatting options for web design.

Your computer monitor is probably already set to RGB. This is simply because computers put out light, whereas paper absorbs it. Convert your design to CMYK before printing for your colors to be as bright on paper as they appear on your monitor . Try adjusting your computer monitor’s format rather than allowing the printer to do it automatically. Then you are able to have more control over the final outcome and brightness of the colors. 

3. Cover Stock vs. Book Weight

Cover stock (also sometimes called card stock) is a thick paper with a lot of durability. It’s best for products that will endure a lot of wear and tear such as business cards, postcards, or menus. Cover stock can be uncoated (matte) or coated (glossy); the way you’re intending to use the product will influence the coating.

Book weight paper (also referred to text weight) is a thinner, lighter weight paper. Usually, book weight paper is used for posters, brochures, or flyers. This weight can also be glossy or matte; it all depends on your preference. 

Got more questions about printing lingo?

Don’t worry if you’re still feeling overwhelmed by the amount of terms involved in printing. That’s why we’re here to work with you. If you have more questions about what is right for your business, contact us here at Zipp. We’ll be more than happy to assist you in finding the products you need!