4-Color Imprint – An image that uses the CMYK printing process; the process uses
four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) blended together in varying amounts to
produce the desired image. The image may have many multiple colors and gradients
or just one single color and still be called a "four-color imprint." This process is
used to print BIC products like Sticky Notes, magnets, and mouse pads.
AI File – Adobe Illustrator file. The native file format for Adobe Illustrator; it is typically used to save artwork in vector format.
Bitmap image – A digital image made up of any number of colored dots or pixels. Files using this format usually end with .bmp and are typically used on Internet web photos and artwork. A bitmap image is considered a placed image format. They are typically low resolution, low quality images that work for web browsing but are not suitable for printing processes.
Bleed – Artwork that extends beyond the imprint area and off the edge of the product, usually done to provide a visual effect. Used on Sticky Notes/Cubes, magnets and mouse pads. The bleed area is usually trimmed off during production, so anything vital to the imprint should not be in this area.
Build (color build) – The numerical formula used to print a color using the CMYK or RGB process.
CMYK – A multicolor printing process. It uses four colors to produce images: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. These colors are combined in various percentages called "builds" to produce a wide variety of other colors. It does not allow for glossy, vibrant colors or metallic colors, however.
BIC Graphic recommends all art files be converted to CMYK before being submitted, especially for products such as note pads, mouse pads or magnets; this can help avoid unwanted color shifts.
Color Shift – An alteration in color on a printed item from the original submitted art. This can be caused in a variety of ways: RGB art being submitted for a CMYK printed item, using coated PMS colors on an uncoated PMS printed product, spot colors used on a CMYK printed product, or even simply by a color being unsuited for use on a particular product due to the material used.
Cube Sides – Side locations on Sticky Cubes are as follows:
Default (Font default) – This occurs when a font is used that we do not have loaded onto our computers. The font will "default" when the image is loaded; it will alter itself to a font used on our system and will no longer be accurate. Fonts are copyrighted items; they must be purchased by each individual user and as such cannot be sent to us via email or disk. It is recommended that all fonts be converted to outlines instead.
DPI – Acronym for Dots Per Inch. A unit of measurement for the resolution of the image.
EPS File – Encapsulated PostScript file. A file format used to save artwork in vector format. It is loadable and exportable on a wide variety of art programs.
Floodcoat – An application of ink that coats the entire surface of the product and bleeds off the edge. Typically used on Sticky Notes to simulate a desired paper color. Some colors are copyrighted by companies, however, and cannot be used for this purpose. BIC Graphic recommends a maximum opacity of 30% for most flood colors if the product is intended to be written upon; anything heavier makes writing on the product difficult to read.
Font – A typestyle used for text. Fonts may be purchased and/or found on the Internet. Most are protected by copyright; when emailing an art file that contains text, it is safest to outline fonts so they do not default. GIF File – Graphic Interchange Format file. Typically used on the Internet and in e-mail programs/formatting, it has a wide variety of uses, and can even include a loop of animation. Images pulled from websites typically have a low resolution however, and are not normally suitable for printing purposes. A GIF file is a placed image format.
Gradient – A variation of a color over a given area; a color fade or transition effect. Colors can change from dark to light (or vice versa) or even transition into another color. Gradients can vary in size and magnitude of color fadeoff or change. Typically used on 4 color process images.
Halftone – A way of printing an image using varying amounts of a single color to produce a shading effect; this is the same process used to produce newspaper photos. Similar in concept to a gradient, it is typically used on screen printed products; not all screen printed products can utilize this, however.
Imprint Area – The maximum allowable area allowed for artwork to fit into on a given product. On products that allow bleeds, artwork that extends outside the imprint area will be physically cut off when the product is trimmed. Anything important should fit inside the imprint area.
JPEG/JPG File – Joint Photographic Exports Group file. An art file type that is capable of being highly compressed, greatly reducing the file size. This makes it widely used for such things as digital photographs and images used on Internet web sites.
Phantom – A visual effect produced by reducing the intensity of the color when printed, making it appear transparent or "ghosted." Especially useful on note pads so that the art does not interfere with the legibility of anything written over it. BIC Graphic recommends phantoms be set at 10% of original opacity if the art is intended to be written over; anything heavier may make any writing illegible.
Pixel – The colored dots that form a rasterized image.
Placed image – A piece of artwork composed of rasterized art. This image can only be moved or resized in its entirety and cannot be altered or edited. Placed images can be part of another piece of art and can be used in combination with vector art to form an imprint.
PMS – Pantone Matching System. A color scale used for precise color selection and matching. PMS colors have two primary styles:
Point – A unit of measurement used to denote the thickness or width of a line. Also used to denote the letter size of a font. BIC Graphic products have varying minimum point sizes for both lines and text; specific information may be found in the General Details section for the product in your catalog.
Rasterized art – An art image that is composed of variously colored pixels, such as a digital photograph. The pixels have fixed color values and cannot be altered (without a professional art program and a great deal of time and patience). These cannot be used for screen printing (on products such as pens, for example) and are only recommended for use on products such as note pads, magnets, mouse pads or digital products.
Resolution – A numerical value denoting the quality of an image using DPI. Generally, high resolution images are clearer and cleaner than low resolution images; BIC Graphic recommends a minimum resolution of 300 DPI. For comparison, most image files used on typical Internet web sites have a resolution of approximately 72 DPI (which makes them unsuitable for printing purposes). Unfortunately, high resolution images usually require a large file size. Images may have their resolution manually decreased to reduce this problem, but the image quality suffers as a result. Once the resolution of an image has been reduced, the original quality cannot be restored, even if the resolution is manually increased again.
RGB – A multicolor printing process. It uses various "builds," or combinations of three colors (red, green and blue), to create other colors. This process is capable of creating very bright and vivid colors, as visible light contributes to the process as well. BIC Graphic does not utilize RGB printing and recommends all files be converted to
CMYK before submission. Screen printed – An imprint which is printed using a synthetic mesh with a negative image of the artwork "burned" into it. The ink is then "painted" through the mesh negative onto the product. Typically used on hard, non-porous surfaces such as plastic. This is the primary printing method for many BIC products and requires vector artwork; we advise submitting vector formatted art when at all possible.
Spot color – A color which does not have a specific CMYK build assigned to it. This usually makes it difficult to reproduce accurately when using the CMYK printing process and a color shift may result. BIC Graphic does not recommend using spot colors and advises converting all art to CMYK before being submitted.
Standard color (stock color) – A series of colors BIC uses as standard options for products; the colors available may change from product to product. When requesting one of these, the word "stock" is recommended, such as "stock red" or "stock blue."
Vector art – An art image that is composed of points and lines that can be used to create shapes and text. The art is created algorithmically by the art program, which means the image can be resized and recolored easily without any loss of resolution. This art format is highly recommended by BIC Graphic; it is easily manipulated and can be altered with minimal difficulty if needed.