Five printing terms you need to know (part 3)

printing toronto, printing vancouver, printing ottawa, printing calgary, printing halifaxA lot of effort goes into developing marketing materials and other print collateral. Many people are involved in the process and successful marketing materials directly impact your bottom line. Marketing develops brand awareness and helps you build your business and land new customers.

If you want to be able to communicate effectively with the person or agency designing and printing your products, it helps to speak their language! Sometimes being on the same page is as simple as understanding the meaning of some key industry terms. Following up on two of our previous posts (part one is here and part two is here), here are a few common printing terms and their explanations so you can be “fluent” when it comes to print-speak!


This is simply an abbreviation for red, green, and blue—the additive colour primaries. Many times you may design, proof, or preview in RGB and use it for web-based design. You will usually need to convert to CMYK to ensure accurate printing.


This is a term used to refer to printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming. In other words, the printing is “bleeding“ over the allotted area.


No, nobody died! This is an abbreviation for raster image processing or raster image processor. In either case, your printing professional is referring to a device that renders page description commands into bitmapped information ready to be sent to a device such as a laser printer or imagesetter for output.

Colour separation

Colour separation is a technique that uses a camera, scanner or computer to break up continuous-tone colour images into four halftone negatives. Sometimes this is referred to simply as “separation.” In either case this technique prepares your material for four-colour process printing.

Four-colour process printing

Also known as colour process printing, full colour printing and process printing, four-colour process printing is a printing technique that uses black, magenta, cyan and yellow (CMYK) to simulate full-colour images.

Are there any print-related terms that you’d like to see here? Let us know!

Brittany Giles is the Social Media Specialist at The Printing House.

  • Printchomp

    I have really enjoyed this series of posts. I think knowing the correct terminology makes it better (and easier) for designers and printers to work alongside one another.

    • Brittany

      Thanks, we appreciate it! Anything to help reduce any confusion – design and print talk can be a language all its own.