From CMYK to Em Dashes

It’s always nice to see the different range of customers we have – from those with very little knowledge on graphic design and printing (yet eager to learn), to expert graphic designers with a background in the print biz. After all, we pride ourselves on being able to provide affordable, high-quality printing to a wide range of businesses (big or small) and individuals of all sorts.

With this in mind, we asked you on Facebook and Twitter what print terms have you scratching your head, and it was no surprise to see an array of answers ranging from commonly used print terminology, to the rarely used and more specialized, design-related terminology (more of that later).

Although we had some helpful customers chime in with their brilliant responses, we thought a blog post dedicated so some of those print and design terms would be a good way to clear up some of that confusion for all of our readers and followers.

1. CMYK is a term you’ll hear quite often, as it’s the standard color mode used for commercial, offset printing, and the only color mode GotPrint accepts. It is comprised of four inks: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, which when applied in different concentrations, produce the final desired color. It’s a rather cost-effective method to use for printing, and produces wonderful, full-color prints.
2. It may be helpful to know that “convert fonts to curves” is also known as converting fonts/text to outlines or paths. It is a process undertaken usually when sharing files with others who may not have the same fonts or when font embedding is not an option. In addition, converting fonts to curves gives the designer more control over making changes to the shape of certain characters (in a logo, for example).

3. The platen gap is the distance between the print head and the surface of the paper as it passes through the printer. This distance needs to be adjusted (usually done on the control panel of the printer) accordingly with the thickness of your paper, to prevent issues with your prints. But if you’re printing through GotPrint, you don’t have to worry about this term!

4. Finally, you asked about the en dash (–) and the em dash (—). You may have already guessed that the en dash is the width of the capital letter N, and the em dash is the width of the capital letter M, but how are they used? The en dash is used usually to indicate a range, such as Monday-Friday, whereas the em dash is used mostly to indicate a break in thought in a sentence. But keep in mind that there are different ways of using these dashes, depending on the style choice you prefer.

Are there any terms that have you confused that you need clarification on? Let us know and we’ll add them to the list.