In digital printing, you’ll come across different terminology that’s associated with various aspects of printing. As a print buyer or marketer, you need to familiarize yourself with the different terms and phrases used in the industry in order to efficiently and effectively carry out print projects as desired. Technology is an integral part of the digital printing process, helping to shape the different terminology used. Whether it’s a product, technique, or process, knowing digital printing terminology is a valuable skill, and it could be quite useful when making print decisions. Want to make a print order correctly and use the correct print terminology? Check out these digital printing terms that you may need to use when ordering digital printing products.

Terms Unique to Digital Printing

There are several terms that are important to digital printing, which is helpful to know when taking on printing projects.

Direct-to-Garment, or DTG, is a method of textile printing that utilizes specialized ink to print directly onto the garment with the use of a DTG printer. During the process, the fibers of the fabric soak up the ink, becoming a permanent part of the garment. Advantages of DTG include garment prints that are not prone to cracking, peeling, or distorting.

Roll-to-Roll printing, sometimes called direct-to-fabric printing, is a textile printing process that involves printing directly onto a roll of fabric, rather than on garments. A Roll-to-Roll printer with specialized ink is used in the process, and the ink becomes a part of the fabric. Advantages of roll-to-roll include textile that is crack-free, peel-free, and fade-free.

Dye sublimation is a two-part digital printing technological application, also called digital sublimation, involving the use of sublimation inks to print images or graphics onto specialized transfer paper, and the use of heat transfer to apply the images or graphics to a particular substrate. This method is typically applied when decorating apparel, banners, and signs.

Related Post: Direct Printing vs. Dye Sublimation

Raster Image Processor (RIP) is a software that converts (rasterizes) computer vector files (like Illustrator and JPG, for example) into a raster graphic image called bitmap. RIP allows you to enlarge images for printing, while still maintaining the details of the graphics.

Mass customization is the production of personalized or customized goods or services to meet customers’ unique needs at low unit cost. Creativity and flexibility are two of the main drivers of mass customization.

Color gamut is a full range of colors and tones identifiable by the visible spectrum with the use of an imaging system. Substrate characteristics, such as hue, saturation, lightness, and brightness, all influence a printing device’s color gamut.

Web-to-Print, sometimes called W2P or WEB2Print, is a cost-effective practice of online printing or printing using websites. There is web-to-print software that makes it possible to alter the typeface and layout, for instance, to create unique content for automated printing.

Related Post: How a Web-to-Print Portal Can Save You Money

Terms Used to Order Digital Printing Products

Several common terms are associated with digital printing products when ordering.

Substrate refers to the base material that your graphic is printed on. Substrates include paper, from lightweight to paperboard, plastic films, textiles, metal, parchment, or glass.

Related Post: Substrate Varieties

Large Format, sometimes referred to as wide-format printing, varies from printer to printer and involves printing requiring special equipment for large-scale print dimensions. Window posters, trade show signage, or hanging banners are examples of large format print materials.

Die-cut involves using a steel cutting die to cut a thin, flat material into a particular shape. This process is commonly used to enhance marketing materials.

Print embellishments are special elements added to your printed piece to grab attention. These can include varnish, embossing, foil stamping, soft-touch, and much more.

Coatings are finishing protective elements added to the end product or print piece to prevent damage or add embellishments, such as grit, matte, and satin.

Bleed is printing to the edge of a sheet of paper beyond the trim - the point at which the print piece is cut from the main sheet.

Related POST: Bleeds and Crop Marks

Crop marks, also referred to as trim marks, are indications in the form of the lines that are printed in the corner of the paper, which indicate where to cut the paper for the final product.

Paper stock is the type of paper used for your print design, with the primary features of paper stock for consideration being weight, finish, and gloss.

Proof refers to the preliminary version of a printed piece that gives an idea of what the final product will look like when printed.

Knowing these essential digital print terms is a big advantage when working on a print project, whether large or small in scale. It will save you time and money and allow you to make the right decision for your specific print project. Familiarize yourself with these terms if you are a print buyer so that you can avoid making mistakes with your print order. Then get in touch with the experts at Ironmark to get your project started on the right foot.


Written by Lynne Kingsley

Lynne Kingsley oversees the digital marketing client services team as well as the marketing strategy division for the company. Since joining the company in 2016, she has increased Ironmark’s digital presence by over 700%, establishing a new lead generation mechanism for the sales team. A certified inbound marketing professional and HubSpot agency partner, Kingsley has been helping companies transform their marketing function into fully diverse and streamlined growth engines since 2003. With agency and client-side work under her belt, Kingsley’s strategic experience spans both the B2B and B2C sectors. Prior to joining the Ironmark team, she served as in-house marketing director for several non-profit organizations. Kingsley is an honors graduate of the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University.
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