Printing Glossary

Camera-ready artwork
This means that the printer can pick up the sheet of paper you've given her, take it over to the camera that makes plates for the press, take a picture of it, and print your material. If there are any steps between the counter and the camera, like adding a photograph, or moving a line of text, or separating colors, it isn't camera-ready.

Dots per inch
(DPI) Usually refers to the resolution of a printer. The higher the number of dots per inch, the better and cleaner the type will look.

Film Negative
Photographic film containing an image in which the values of the original are reversed so dark areas appear light and vice versa.

The reproduction of continuous-tone images, such as photographs, through a screening process which converts the image to dots of various sizes. The number of dots-per-inch is called the line count and the amount of coverage is determined by the size of the dots in the uniform pattern.

The frequency of dots in halftone images. Linescreen refers to the number of lines of dots in a one-inch area.

Stands for Pantone Matching System, a proprietary system of choosing ink colors for printing. Each color has a number, and the numbers correspond to a formula. The formula includes the percentage of each ink color to be mixed.

Four Color Process Printing
(Four-Color Process or Full Color) Printing from a series of *halftone plates (each of a single color) layered over each other to produce the full spectrum of colors. The four colors used (you knew there had to be a reason they called it four-color process, right?) are Black, Cyan, Yellow, and Magenta. Virtually every color can be printed by combining these four colors.

Fabric stretched over a frame and precoated with a light-sensitive coating to produce open areas of negative images (from film). Screens are then used on the printing press to transfer the image to shirts or fabric by pushing ink through the open areas with a squeegee. Screens can be stored and used again for reprints of your job.

Simulated Process Color:
CMYK inks (used in four color process) are transparent and do no print on dark garments. Generally a dark shirt design is created using specific spot colors that combine to give a process color look without actually using CMYK inks.

Spot Color Printing
Use of one or more particular PMS colors in printing your shirts. Different from process color because the plates are not printed on top of each other, so each color is distinct, not blended.

Stochastic Printing (Frequency Modulation Printing):
As opposed to Halftone printing, which uses a range of dot sizes to represent value (light to
dark), the stochastic process creates tonal value by variably spacing dots of a uniform size.
The greater frequency of dots in an area creates a darker value while a lower concentration of dots creates lighter tonal value.

This word used to apply to the process of taking a small metal block with a letter of the alphabet on it and setting it in a huge box to form lines and paragraphs. Since we now use computers, typesetting can mean anything from printing a file with a 300-dpi laser printer to printing a file with a linotype machine, which generates 2400 dpi. We strongly suggest you ask whoever is doing your typesetting exactly what they mean by it.