If you’re just starting out in print, bought your first Roland DGA device, or you’re just interested to learn more about common print terms, this cheat sheet is for you. It will allow you to identify and check-off the commonly used terms that print professionals use. To help you get familiar with the lingo, our Roland DGA experts have put together this short list of commonly misunderstood print terms:

Die Cut (Perforated Cut or Perf Cut) 
A cutting process that results in each sticker being cut into the shape of the image— including the paper liner. 

Color Gamut
A term that refers to the range of color that a printer can print. Some printers have “wide color gamuts” — meaning they can reproduce a wider variety of color hues, different black tones, and reproduce smooth color transition without visible color separation. 

Vector Files
File types typically created in CorelDRAW® or Adobe Illustrator® which are scalable to any size, and commonly saved as eps or pdf files.  It is often the preferred file type for printing because you can enlarge vector elements without degrading the image quality. You can also easily assign spot colors to vector shapes when creating vector files.   

Raster Files 
A file type often created in Adobe Photoshop and saved as a jpeg, png, and pdf photo file. Raster files contain pixels that make up the image you design or take with your camera.  Large files taken with high-resolution cameras or designed as high-resolution files are commonly scaled up to use in wide-format print applications, however, low-resolution images cannot scale-up without them looking “pixelated”.  The image above is an example of a crisp raster image compared to a pixelated raster image.

RIP Software 
This is the software that processes your designs for output with a printer. When you purchase a printer from Roland DGA, the RIP software is included – typically Roland DG’s VersaWorks 6 or another related production program.  Using this software, you can import an image created in your design software into your RIP software for print output.  RIP software communicates directly with your printer to instruct it what to print— translating the data from .pdf, .eps, .jpg, etc. into the ink droplets your printer will output.

Design Software
The term “design software” refers to software programs that are used to create your graphics.  Commonly used design software programs include CorelDRAW, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop

Color Profiles
Each combination of printer and material type has its own ink recipes to get the best results. A color profile is a pre-determined “color space” created to use in your design and print output, to ensure predictable color results with that printer and substrate. Color profiles communicate the sequence and levels of ink colors for outputting in your RIP software, in order to achieve your desired color.  

Take-Up Reel
A take-up reel attaches to the front of your printer at its base to neatly roll-up the printed vinyl, paper, or other material as it comes off your printer— keeping the material off the floor. Smaller desktop printers do not have them.  A controller and a sensor on the take-up reel work together to automatically roll-up your printed material.

This stands for “cubic centimeter” and is commonly used as the unit of measurement for volume of ink.  It is also equivalent to milliliter, or ml for short.

This is not a fun word for a print pro – referring to the printed media shifting or “skewing” its movement towards one end of the media roll. It can largely be avoided with the proper set-up of Roland DGA equipment known for “non-skew” production, but it can be very frustrating for printing or laminating when the media needs to move through these devices at a precise angle. 

Kiss Cut (Contour Cut)  
A print process in which each sticker is cut on a sheet of multiple stickers to leave the paper liner still intact— allowing you to peel off each sticker off individually from the paper liner. 

Spot Colors 
Specific color choices you can apply to graphics in your design software— similar to a paint color swatch that has a variety of “spot” color options.  For example, Coca Cola has its own spot color for Coca Cola red and Home Depot has a specific spot color for Home Depot orange.  Most brands use spot colors to define the exact color for their logos to ensure they get the consistent color they want on their branded promotions and graphics.

Dots per inch (DPI, or dpi) is a measurement of raster file image quality and refers to the images “dot-density”. The higher the dot-density, the higher the file resolution. Web images and smaller images are commonly around 72 dpi in resolution, while images for print are typically 300 dpi and higher. (note: very large print images for billboards and wall graphics often have a smaller dpi to limit file size.)

Spot UV Effects
A term referring to different printed special effects using UV ink, such as “UV embossing”, “spot varnishing”, “digital UV embossing”, “3D print embossing” and other effects. In UV inkjet printers, a clear (or gloss) UV ink is directly print to a specific area of a sign, product or substrate with multiple clear ink passes to create the effect of varnish or emboss. The more ink passes, the more prominent the raised text, texture, or design element. Available on Roland DG’s UV printers as a matte ink finish or gloss ink finish, it can also be used to quickly and effectively create braille on signage as well.

Created in your design software program, this term refers to the color transitions from one color to another — often from light-to-dark color in an “ombre effect.”  Printers, such as TrueVIS printers with wider color gamuts yield smoother gradients that don’t have visible color transitions from one color to another.  

This is a protective, adhesive clear film that’s removed from its liner and applied to printed graphics to help them last longer and prevent damage.  It’s typically applied to your printed graphics with a laminator device.

Popping the Laminator
This what a laminator operator does when tunneling of the media is causing a wrinkle on a print project.  “Popping” simply means hitting the roller release just long enough to pull the media and the overlaminate taught through the laminator to remove the wrinkles.

Eco Solvent Ink
A type of ink used with Roland DGA printers that have minimal odor and can be used in indoor and outdoor applications. The term “eco-solvent” refers to the low VOC level or low solvent oil concentrate in the inks. The latest TrueVIS TR2 eco-solvent inks offer exceptional color results.