If you are unfamiliar with commercial printing mediums and terms it is time to learn the lingo dude 🙂 This way, when you are ready to order your custom signage, you’ll be in the know! The following list includes the more popular mediums that are being used in today’s printing technology.

1. Offset method: is a commonly used printing technique where the inked image is transferred (or “offset”) from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface. When used in combination with the lithographic process, which is based on the repulsion of oil and water, the offset technique employs a flat (planographic – Planographic printing means printing from a flat surface, as opposed to a raised surface) image carrier on which the image to be printed obtains ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts a water-based film (called “fountain solution”), keeping the non-printing areas ink-free. You can benefit from this process for bulk needs. This way, the materials will be more affordable.

2. Digital method: is printing using digital techniques developed for computer printers such as inkjet or laser printers. The process differs from lithography, flexography, gravure, and letterpress printing in several ways:

• Every print can be different, because printing plates are not required, as in traditional methods.
• There is less waste chemical and paper, because there is no need to bring the image “up to color” and check for registration and position.
• The ink or toner does not permeate the substrate, as does conventional ink, but forms a thin layer on the surface and may in some systems be additionally adhered to the substrate by using a fuser fluid with heat process (toner) or UV curing process (ink).

Because there is less initial setup, it is useful for rapid prototyping, and cost effective for small print runs. This process can create your materials at a faster turnaround rate. This is because this tool utilizes the computer to printer technique. This can also give quality results when it comes to colors, although it still hasn’t beaten the offset method. The main advantage of the digital method is the faster turnaround time. You can also have your materials done in larger sizes.

3. Custom printing: means exactly what it says… you can have your materials done in custom sizes with your choice of ink. But you can have them printed with variable information and full color when you opt for the digital method.

4. Full Bleed and No Bleed: refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming. The bleed is the part on the side of your document that gives the printer that small amount of space to move around paper and design inconsistencies. Bleeds in the USA generally are 1/8 of an inch from where the cut is to be made. Bleeds in the UK and Europe generally are 2 to 5mm from where the cut is to be made. This can vary from print company to print company. Some printers ask for specific sizes; most of these companies place the specific demands on their website. Full Bleed is a term that describes printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming. If you look at a piece of printing material, and the color does not go all the way to the edge of the paper, then it is no bleed printing. If the color goes to the edge of the paper, then it is bleed printing.

5. Gang-run printing: describes a printing method in which multiple printing projects are placed on a common printing sheet in an effort to reduce printing costs and paper waste. Gang runs are generally used with sheet-fed printing presses and CMYK process color jobs, which require four separate plates that are loaded into the press. It takes up to 250 sheets for a “make ready,” which is the process of getting the plates inked up and the ink levels set correctly.

Printers use the term “gang run” or “gang” to describe the practice of placing many print projects on the same sheet or piggybacking a project on a vacant, unused portion of a print sheet.

6. Well… I think five is enough for any article 🙂 However, if you would like to know more please visit a glossary of printing terminology! I hope this gives you a better idea of what that gibberish is we tend to spout when discussing print jobs.