Breaking Down Industry Terminology

While on the phone with customers often they will ask me the meaning of a word I have chosen to describe a product or a property of the product. So I forwarded this idea onto my manager and, in turn, he asked everyone here at Coastal to think of words that are often used in conversations that might be unknown to the customer. And this is what everyone came up with!  I hope that this helps in breaking down some of the words used when talking about a product or process.

  • Auto Pop Up: This is a feature on a heat press that allows it to automatically open once the timer is done. When the timer goes off the heat press “pops” open allowing access to the item being pressed.
  • Bleed: Extending a printed image beyond the size of the intended product to ensure of the product will be completely covered by the transfer.
  • Bulk System/CIS: A bulk system (or CIS: Continuous Ink System) is a term used to describe the way a printer obtains it ink. Instead of using cartridges inside the printer, the ink is stored outside the printer in a bulk system that is refillable from bags or bottles.
  • Calendered: Is a term used when talking about intermediate sign vinyl. This sign vinyl usually is a cost alternative to the premium sign vinyl (see Cast) and is mainly for short term applications on flat surfaces.
  • Cast: Is a term used for premium sign vinyl. This has a longer durability, conformability, and longevity compared to the intermediate sign vinyl.  Premium sign vinyl can be applied to irregular or compound curved surfaces.
  • Chromablast: This is a process made for 100% cotton. It is a similar idea for sublimation offering light colored 100% cotton fabrics a permanent image with a soft hand.
  • Clamshell: This is one of the two styles of heat presses available. It describes how that style of heat press closes. The press closes from the back much like a clam closes it shell.  Ideally this press is used with items ½” thick or less to help keep even heat on the item.
  • Color Management: In digital imaging systems, color management is the controlled conversion between the color representations of various devices, such as image scanners, digital cameras, monitors, TV screens, film printers, computer printers, offset presses, and corresponding media.The primary goal of color management is to obtain a good match across color devices; for example, the colors of one frame of a video should appear the same on a computer LCD monitor, on a plasma TV screen, and as a printed poster. Color management helps to achieve the same appearance on all of these devices, provided the devices are capable of delivering the needed color intensities.Parts of this technology are implemented in the operating system (OS), helper libraries, the application, and devices. A cross-platform view of color management is the use of an ICC-compatible color management system.
  • Color Space: A comparison of the chromaticities enclosed by some color spaces.A color model is an abstract mathematical model describing the way colors can be represented as tuples of numbers, typically as three or four values or color components (e.g. RGB and CMYK are color models). However, a color model with no associated mapping function to an absolute color space is a more or less arbitrary color system with no connection to any globally understood system of color interpretation.Adding a certain mapping function between the color model and a certain reference color space results in a definite “footprint” within the reference color space. This “footprint” is known as a gamut, and, in combination with the color model, defines a new color space. For example, Adobe RGB and sRGB are two different absolute color spaces, both based on the RGB model.In the most generic sense of the definition above, color spaces can be defined without the use of a color model. These spaces, such as Pantone, are in effect a given set of names or numbers which are defined by the existence of a corresponding set of physical color swatches. This article focuses on the mathematical model concept.
  • Drape: The drape of a heat transfer paper describes the way the paper lays on fabric once it has been pressed.
  • Force: The amount of downward pressure a blade in a vinyl cutter uses to make a cut
  • Hand: This describes how the transfer paper feels once it has been pressed.
  • ICC profile: In color management, an ICC profile is a set of data that characterizes a color input or output device, or a color space, according to standards promulgated by the International Color Consortium (ICC). Profiles describe the color attributes of a particular device or viewing requirement by defining a mapping between the device source or target color space and a profile connection space (PCS). This PCS is either CIELAB (L*a*b*) or CIEXYZ. Mappings may be specified using tables, to which interpolation is applied, or through a series of parameters for transformations.Every device that captures or displays color can be profiled. Some manufacturers[1] provide profiles for their products, and there are several products[2] that allow an end user to generate his or her own color profiles, typically through the use of a tristimulus colorimeter or preferably a spectrophotometer.The ICC defines the format precisely but does not define algorithms or processing details. This means there is room for variation between different applications and systems that work with ICC profiles. As of 2009, the current version of the specification is 4.2,[3] but most devices support only version 2.
  • Image Resolution: Is an umbrella term that describes the detail an image holds. The term applies to raster digital images, film images, and other types of images. Higher resolution means more image detail.Image resolution can be measured in various ways. Basically, resolution quantifies how close lines can be to each other and still be visibly resolved. Resolution units can be tied to physical sizes (e.g. lines per mm, lines per inch), to the overall size of a picture (lines per picture height, also known simply as lines, TV lines, or TVL), or to angular subtenant. Line pairs are often used instead of lines; a line pair comprises a dark line and an adjacent light line. A line is either a dark line or a light line. A resolution of 10 lines per millimeter means 5 dark lines alternating with 5 light lines, or 5 line pairs per millimeter (5 LP/mm). Photographic lens and film resolution are most often quoted in line pairs per millimeter.
  • Inkjet: The inkjet printer uses ink cartridges or bulk systems. These inks are also water based and therefore not water resistant.
  • Large Format: Anything over 42”
  • Laser: The laser printers use a toner instead of ink to print. They also can run hot because they use heat to disperse the toner.
  • Masking: The process of removing sign vinyl in most cases to the application tape you need when applying it to the window or sign board.
  • Opaque: Most people think this means clear. It doesn’t. Opaque means giving the backing a solid layer. Light cannot pass through it. In our industry, it usually has to do with dark transfer paper. The opaque (white) backing is laid down so that the color of the shirt doesn’t bleed through into the image.
  • Piezo Print head: This is a special print head used in sublimation compatible printers. The Piezo print head disperses the dye electronically instead of heat.
  • Raster Image Processor: is a component used in a printing system which produces a raster image also known as a bitmap. The bitmap is then sent to a printing device for output. The input may be a page description in a high-level page description language such as PostScript, Portable Document Format, XPS or another bitmap of higher or lower resolution than the output device. In the latter case, the RIP applies either smoothing or interpolation algorithms to the input bitmap to generate the output bitmap.Raster image processing is the process and the means of turning vector digital information such as a PostScript file into a high-resolution raster image.Originally RIPs were a rack of electronic hardware which received the page description via some interface (e.g. RS232) and generated a “hardware bitmap output” which was used to enable or disable each pixel on a real-time output device such as an optical film scanner.A RIP can be implemented either as a software component of an operating system or as a firmware program executed on a microprocessor inside a printer, though for high-end typesetting, standalone hardware RIPs are sometimes used. Ghostscript and GhostPCL are examples of software RIPs. Every PostScript printer contains a RIP in its firmware.Earlier RIPs retained backward compatibility with photosetters so they supported the older languages. So, for example Linotype RIPs supported CORA
  • Resolution: In terms of graphic design, it’s the measurement of the quality of an image (usually high resolution or low resolution).
  • Small Format: Refers to anything under 42”
  • Solvent Ink: Basically any ink that is not water based. Also is a pigment ink and not a dye ink and is used in outdoor signage and printable vinyl.
  • Sublimation: Is the process in which a solid is changed into a gas while skipping the liquid phase. In dye sublimation the ink and paper work together so that when heat is applied the dye changes from a solid to a gas and becomes part of the item/garment.
  • Swinger: Another type of heat press, the swinger, again describes how the heat press closes. Instead of closing from the back the top part of the heat press swings to the side. This press is ideal for items over a half an inch thick.
  • Teflon: Is a protective sheet that can be used on top or bottom platen of your heat press. This will help keep the stray ink from getting onto your heat press and will keep it clean. If used properly they will last a couple of years.
  • Weeding: is a term used for removing the excess vinyl that is around your image when using heat transfer vinyl. Vinyl is made up of a vinyl layer, as well as a clear carrier sheet. After cutting, you can easily peel away the vinyl that does not belong, leaving only your image on the clear sheet.

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