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Definitions of Printers Terms

The below terms are used in the screenprinting, heat transfer and direct printing business.

ARTWORK - Original design intended for reproduction.

ARCHIVAL INKS - For inkjet printer inks, these inks have particles of base materials. Archival inks are very colorfast, washable and permanent. Archival inks are the preferred inks for inkjet heat transfers fow use on white, and light colored fabrics. Perfect when using Opaque heat transfer paper. Similar to Pigmented Inks.

BANDING - In inkjet printers, this is where the printed image has light and dark lines on the image. Usually caused by too low a DPI and/or wrong type of material being printed on.

Banded Sleeves - This refers to the bottom of the sleeve on Staff or Golf shirts in which the opening usually has an elastic band around it and then sewn. Makes a snug fit in the opening. Sometimes refered to as Welted.

BLEEDING - The migration of ink onto unwanted areas. This usually occurs when one ink color spreads or mixes with another color, forming a third color. This can also occur when you print a low opacity ink onto a dark colored shirt. - white ink onto a red shirt as an example.

For inkjet heat transfers, BLEEDING occurs when you are using a non-pigmented ink to print your heat transfers. After imprinting, when the garment is washed, the ink (usually black ink) will run or bleed on the shirt.

BLOW OUT - In sublimation ink transfers, this is when you raise/open the heat press, and the sublimation ink vapors/gas escape or 'blow out' of the outside edges of the heat transfer paper.

BLEND - This describes the content of the fabric- 50/50 means 50% cotton, 50% polyester or other material. 90/10 means 90% cotton and 10% other material. 100% usually means 100% cotton. Please be sure to read the fabric labels to know EXACTLY what the actual materials are.

BULK FEED SYSTEM - An assortment of hoses that connect inside your Epson printer to large plastic bottles that contain the inks you use to print with. Instead of ink coming from the disposable cartridges, ink is pulled from the very large ink supply bottles, passed through the ink cartridges that are in your printer, and then printed. Very cost effective but substantial cash outlay to purchase ($100 to $500 average) depending if it is pigmented or sublimation ink. The same as Continuous Feed System.

CAMERA READY - Completed artwork, either in black and white or color, that is ready to be scanned, copied, imported or otherwise used for printing. No touchup is required.

CART - An inkjet cartridge.

CARTRIDGE - An inkjet cartridge

CLIP ART - Camera ready art that is either purchased or available elsewhere that is not copyrighted and/or OK to use for commercial purposes.

COLD PEEL TRANSFER - A design pre-printed onto a sheet of paper with plastisol ink that is applied to a garment by heat. The paper backing is removed after it has cooled down. See HOT PEEL TRANSFER.

COLOR CORRECTING - These are settings for printing heat transfers, either your have made yourself in the Printer Preference Section of your Epson printer, or have been supplied by the various ink manufacturers. Sometimes refered to as PROFILES.

COLOR MIGRATION - See BLEEDING

COLOR SEPARATION - Separating a multi or full color design into it's individual colors (multi) or it's primary colors of yellow, magenta and cyan, as well as black. For screenprinters, individual screen are made for each ink color and the ink is applied where needed to create the design.

CONTINUOUS FEED SYSTEM (CFS) - An assortment of hoses that connect inside your Epson printer, and to large plastic bottles that contain the inks you use to print with. Instead of ink coming from the disposable cartridges, ink is pulled from the very large ink supply bottles, passed through the ink cartridges and then printed. Very cost effective but substantial cash outlay to purchase ($100 to $500 average) depending if it is pigmented or sublimation ink. The same as Bulk Feed System.

CONTRACT PRINTER - A screenprinting firm that that prints specific orders for other companies, most of whom supply the garments and camera ready artwork.

COPYRIGHT - The authors ownership for anything that has been printed, drawn, created, etc... General rule of thumb: if you can see or hear it, don't copy it. Always ask permission to use it and have it in writing.

Direct To Garment (DTG) printing - this process is where the garment is laid flat and moved into a special printer. This printer prints directly onto the item. After the item has been printed, it is then exposed to heat where the inks are cured (set) so the designs do not come off.

FLASH CURE - A partial curing (fusing) process of plastisol inks, most often used in multi color printing between applications.

FLOCK - Very short individual fibers (man made material) that are applied via adhesive to a backing to form a velvety surface.

FLUORESCENT - Describes brightly or "neon" colored inks or substartes.

FOUR COLOR PROCESS - The process of reproducing a full color design from the original artwork on the screenprinted surface. Special process color inks, which are transparent, are used. See COLOR SEPARATION.

GANG PRINTING - Printing more than one image, onto the same sheet of transfer paper, at the same time. In screenprinting, 'ganging' more than one image onto the same stencil and covering all images except the one that is needed for screenprinting.

GHOSTING - In sublimation or pigmented transfers, this is when the imprinted image has a double image. Usually caused when you open the heat press and the transfer 'lifts' a bit, then settles down onto your substrate in a different spot.

HALFTONE - A print that is photographically reproduced using a series of small and large dots to represent various shades or tones in a design. In screenprinting, details and dark and light tones are represented by dots of varying sizes: small dots form light tones, large dots form darker tones.

HAND - The 'feel' of ink on a fabric's surface. A "soft hand" has a light hand. A print with "no hand" feels as if nothing has been printed on it. Sublimation ink heat transfers all have a 'no hand' feel. Inkjet heat transfers have a 'soft hand' feel. 'Heavy hand' examples are puff inks and the rubbery feeling lettering found on football jerseys and such. Also, the weight, heft and fineness of the farbic itself. As an example, a Pima Lisle cotton knit has a finer hand than a 50/50 sweatshirt.

HEAT PRESS - A manual press that enables you to heat transfer plastisol, hot peel, cold peel, sublimation ink heat transfers from the paper that it is printed on, onto substrates such as t-shirt fabrics, metal, mylar, ceramic mugs, tiles, glass, mylar......

HEAT TRANSFER - The proces of transfering a design from a specially treated paper, to a garment or other product. These papers are made specifically for certain inks. With inkjet printed sublimation ink transfers, the paper must be able to withstand up to 400 degrees of heat AND the ink itself should NOT be absorbed into the paper. For pigmented ink transfers, the paper must have a special coating on it which will stand the heat (300-350 degrees) PLUS the coating MUST transfer itself AND the ink, to the product.

HEMMED - This refers to mostly Staff or Golf shirts in which the sleeve has been stitched straight across. Makes for a very loose opening at the bottom of the sleeve. Similar to to sleeve sewing on a regular t-shirt.

HOT PEEL - A specially treated paper with a pre-printed design that is transfered onto a garment with a high heat. The paper is removed from the garment while it is still hot. Plastisol ink is used on these 'release' or transfer papers.

INKJET PRINTERS - For heat transfer printers, the use of an inkjet printer which will print both Pigmented and Sublimation ink heat transfers. Most prefered printer are the EPSON line of printers. Epson is prefered as they do not use heat to apply the ink to the printing paper.

LOGO - A style of lettering or a design of a company used as a trademark to identify itself.

MESH - The woven fabric that is used to make screens for screenprinting. Sometimes referred to as a type of very open fabric used in sports clothing.

METALLIC INK - Powdered metals, such as aluminum or bronze, processed with inks to give the look of silver or gold. Not available with sublimation inks.

OPACITY - The quality or ability of the ink to NOT let light through. To completely cover a substrate, hiding the color of the fabric under it. EX: High Opacity would include a solid color, which, when applied to a fabric, would prevent the color of the fabric showing/bleeding through.

Low or No Opacity would include sublimation inks. Sub inks are translucent which means, transparent.

OPAQUE - A solid color that will not allow the fabric to show through.

OPAQUE TRANSFER PAPER - A very dense white, polymer material that is supported by a non-printable backing sheet. Used for printing inkjet transfers (both sublimation and pigmented) which can be applied to dark colored fabrics. Can also be cut with a vinyl cutter.

PASTEL - A color that is subdued and lightened by adding white coloring.

PIGMENTED - For inkjet printer inks, these inks have particles of base materials. Pigmented inks are very colorfast, washable and permanent. Pigmented inks are the preferred inks for inkjet heat transfers for use on white, and light colored fabrics. Perfect when using Opaque heat transfer paper. Similar to Archival Inks.

PIZZA WHEELS - Term used when ink has gotten onto your inkjet printer wheels. These wheels force the paper through the printer and the ink is transfered from the wheel to your paper.

PLASTISOL - A family of inks popularly used by screenprinters.

PROFILES - These are settings for printing heat transfers, either you have made yourself in the Printer Preference Section of your Epson printer, or have been supplied by the various ink manufacturers. Sometimes refered to as Color Correcting.

PRESS RUN - The total number of finished printed garments in a job order.

PRINTER PREFERENCES - Epson printers only. This is where you can adjust your Epson printer to achieve the right amount of brightness, saturation and other printing qualities. Here you can also create, save and use profiles you have created when using certain brands and types of inks, plus the substrate it will be imprinted on.

PROCESS COLOR - The primary screenprinting colors of Magenta (red), Cyan (blue), Yellow and Black of which are printed one over the other to produce different hues in a full color print. The inks used are transparent with low opacity. These require color separations.

PUFF INK - A screenprinted ink that expands when heated, giving a three dimensional look.

PREPRINTS - Items that have the artwork already printed on them and are sold (wholesale - retail), by the printer or manufacturer, officially licensed to do so. 99.99% of all preprints are copyrighted and licensed.

REGISTRATION - The aligning of screens, or in the case of inkjet printers, the aligning of the printing heads, to ensure proper color/design printing and crisp detail on the transfer or printed surface.

SCANNING - The ART of placing your photo or artwork onto a flatbed scanner. This scanner then copies the artwork and places it into your hard drive of your computer. Once this is done, you can then use a graphics program to edit, touchup and enhance the artwork.

SCREEN - The combination of mesh material stretched over a frame, to which a stencil is attached for printing. Also refers to the fabric itself.

SPOT CURE - The quick, partial curing (fusing) of screenprinting ink. See FLASH CURE.

STENCIL - The part of the screenprinting screen that creates the printed image. It can be chemical or paper.

STEP AND REPEAT - A process when a single image is exposed onto a screen several times to give multiple identical images. See GANG PRINTING.

SUBLIMATION - A type of heat transfer in which dyes, rather than inks, are used to print a design, which is then heat pressed onto a substrate, using a combination of time, heat and pressure. The dyes vaporize and are absorbed by the fibers or coating on hard products. The process has no hand and can be used to imprint textiles as well as mugs, plates, metal and other specialty items.

Today ,most sublimation ink heat transfers are printed using mostly Epson inkjet printers with pre-filled cartridges or bulk feeding systems.

SUBSTRATE - Abything that is printed or heat pressed onto.

TEXTILES -Woven or knit fabrics...cloth.

TRANSFER - The process of transfering by heat, a design from a specially treated paper onto a garment or other product. Plastisol, Pigmented and Sublimation ink heat transfers are commonly used.

TRANSLUCENT - Allowing some light to pass through.

TRANSPARENT - Having the quality of letting light through, or being seen through (semi-transparent). Color process inks are considered transparent.

TURNAROUND - The time it takes to do a job from the initial order to customer delivery.

WATER BASE INK - Inks that have a water base as opposed to a petroleum or plastisol base.

WATER SOLUBLE INKS - Inks that wash with water, but NOT thinned with water.

WELTED - This refers to the bottom of the sleeve on Staff or Golf shirts in which the opening usually has an elastic band around it and then sewn. Makes a snug fit in the openeing. Sometimes refered to as Banded.

WET ON WET - Screenprinting only. Printing one ink color over another before the first color has dried.

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