10 Printing Terms Designers Need To Know

Like any other profession, graphic design is full of jargon. To be successful you need to familiarise yourself with some of these terms. It doesn’t matter whether you are a student, beginner or you are doing a refresher course. The following terms are going to come in handy at one time or another.

Raster images

Raster images which are also known as bitmap images consist of thousands of pixels that establish the form and colour of the image. Photos are good examples of raster images. The most common raster editor is known Photoshop. It allows you to work with colour and other properties of the pixels.

Vector images

Unlike raster images, vectors do not lose quality even when resized. Vector based images have coordinates which are defined as the x and y coordinates. Normally, the points join to form shapes where you can add colour fills. Vectors are used to create logos. The use of vector images is advancing really fast.


What is a colorimeter? It is a device whose work is to measure the hue and intensity of light released from a computer’s monitor. The device placed flat on the screen since it possesses a light reading cell in its underside. It analyses the information and then builds a profile that acts as a calibrator to the monitor. There are printers which come with inbuilt colour calibration.


DPI is the abbreviation for Dots per Inch. For designing, a high DPI is better than a low DPI. Since high-quality DPIs are smoother, they take long to print and also use a lot of ink.

Dye-based inks

The dyes stain media directly and are normally water soluble. The colours are brighter as compared to pigments and therefore tend to fade faster. Their dye-based inks are used for proofing and photo printing.


Raster Image Processor is a software accessory that is used as an enhanced printer driver. It produces high-quality output for bitmap graphics, vector works and text. Although it’s not that important in graphic design it makes work look real and more presentable.

Solid ink

As the name suggests, the ink is brought in solid form but later melted into wax before use. It is best for office work and is mainly used by Xerox printers. It is not wise to use it for art or photo printing. Large formats are rare to find.