Handy Graphic Designer Words

Have you ever worked with a graphic designer and you wondered what the heck they are saying to you? Do you feel clueless about the design world and wish you knew more? Well lets learn what they are saying to you! ML Creative wants to help you, the consumer, to understand the terminologies that are used by graphic designers, printers and web designers. We want to help you stand on your own two feet and feel confident about what is being said to you. Every week we will post some words and their meanings to help you feel more confident about working with these talented people.

To get this rolling we would like to share some common terms this week that are used in today’s design world.

Vector Graphic – Vector Graphics are made of paths that have a start and an end point, along with curves and angles. A path can be a line, a square, a triangle or a curved shape. Vector Graphics are not made of pixels like JPEGs (Joint Photographic Experts Group), GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) and BMP (Bitmap) images. Because vector based images are not made of a specific number of dots they can be scaled to a much larger size without losing any quality.

Bleed – Any design element that extends up to or past the edge of a printed page.

High Resolution (aka Hi Res) – An image that contains a large number of pixels in one unit area that produces a sharp detailed image. So the more pixels you have in an image, the better the quality you will see.

DPI (aka Dots Per Inch) – used to measure the resolution of an image both on screen and in print. Don’t get confused, these are dots per linear inch not square inch. The higher the number the better the detail.

Four Color Process – A printing process in which artwork is produced on separate metal plates creating a printed piece. Process colors are a non-standard color produced by using four colors Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

Designing a Pocket Folder

Want to make your pocket folder and printing life a whole lot easier? Just follow these steps and it will all go smooth. Most pocket folder designs are the standard size 9″ x 12″ (closed) with either one or two 4″ pockets on the inside. One of the most often made mistakes that cost designers money is creating their design in multiple files (cover, back cover and pockets separated), instead of one file. When designing your pocket folder in this way the printer or you will end up fixing it, either way it will cost you extra money and time.

  • In your design program set your page up to be 18″ x 16″.
  • Set your vertical guide to be at the 9″ mark to split the outside front cover (right side) and outside back cover (left side).
  • Set your horizontal guide to be at the 12″ mark to split up the covers from the pockets. Remember, these pockets will fold up, so if you have text or a picture they must be set upside down, so when the pockets are folded they will be right side up.
  • Don’t forget to add .125″ (1/8″) bleed if you are planning to cover your pocket folder with color.

PF Diagram

We hope this helps you in your design process. If you have any questions or comments please drop us a line.

Tips For Creating a Tri-fold Brochure Layout

Here are some tips you want to remember when designing a three panel 11″ x 8.5″ brochure. First, the most common mistake made is dividing your three panels equally (3.666″ x 3.666″ x 3.666″). This is a problem because when your file is printed and folded you will notice that the middle will “bow out” and not lay flat. In order for you to avoid this, your third panel that folds in first needs to be at the minimum of 1/16″ (.0625″) shorter then your other two panels. (See Sample Below)

If you leave the panels equal then your printer will have to under trim the last panel so it will fold properly. They achieve this by trimming 1/16 off the back panel, so your brochure will now lay flat. A problem that comes with this method is if you have any text or images in that area, they will get cut off. Let’s say that you have a 1/2″ (.5″) border running around the edge of your piece that is equal in width on all four sides and the printer trims 1/16″ off the back panel. What do you think the result will be? Three sides with with a 1/2″ border and the back panel border at 7/16″ (.4375″). Not what you are looking for, I’m sure.

So if you would like to create a tri-fold brochure that will fold properly, follow the diagrams that I created below.

Outside panels:
3.625″ x 3.6875″ x 3.6875″
Keep a 1/8″ (.125) safety area clear of anything you may not want cut off. (unless you want an image or color to bleed off the page)


Inside panels:
3.6875 x 3.6875 x 3.625
Keep a 1/8″ (.125) safety area clear of anything you may not want cut off. (unless you want an image or color to bleed off the page)


How to save time at the printer on 4 Color Jobs

PDF File Submissions to your print vendor

Have you ever had a job for a client that was time sensitive and you didn’t have the luxury of delays at your printer? Here are some tips for you to follow so your files will be clean, and get printed quickly and smoothly.

For the most part printers like to receive Hi-Res PDFs from their clients (of course you can also send your native files as well), so you want to be doubly sure that your files have been created correctly. Even though most printers will fix or correct PDF files, they are most certainly going to charge you to do so and you’ll want to avoid that! Remember they may also charge you to resubmit your file and have it preflighted again. Most important, you may lose your print slot and delay your final due date, which won’t make your client very happy.

Here is a checklist you can follow:

• Be sure your images are at least 300 dpi
• Make sure all images and vector art are CMYK (no Spot colors)
• Possibly outline your fonts (converted from text to vector art) before creating your PDF
• Have all your bleeds in place (if your file bleeds)
• Your file should be the size that you were quoted
• Before you submit your file print it and fold it down (if necessary) to its final size and
double check your work