Jargon Buster – Understanding the Lingo used in the industry.

Published - 25th July, 2016

Jargon Buster – The language of the Promo Industry.

Jargon is in every industry and for a newcomer or even an established veteran trying to understand and explain it can be difficult.

Jargon Confused-Thinking“JARGON- Noun – special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand.”

The Promo industry has its fair share of jargon, some of which is obvious, but other terminology can cause your brain to hurt.  In this latest blog we have taken some of the most commonly used terms and tried to explain in plain English what they mean.

Take a look at our Jargon Buster guide below – let us know if we have missed anything.

  • 3D puff embroidery – Foam is inserted underneath the embroidered stitches to raise them and produce a 3D finish.
  • 4 colour process printing – 4 colour process printing uses four ink colours (CMYK – cyan, magenta, yellow and key black), combining half tone dots of each colour in different percentages to create a range of colours that can be used to reproduce photographic designs on white and light coloured garments.
  • AI file – A vector based artwork file created or designed specifically to be used and edited in Adobe Illustrator – an essential component for all print related branding techniques.
  • Appliqué – An applique design is achieved by producing digitally cut pieces of fabric and stitching them on to the garment. The process is usually adopted for large designs that would be too expensive for embroidery due to the number of stitches involved.
  • Bespoke – Bespoke suppliers can produce clothing that is made to order, enabling you to choose every element of the design, from the garment shape to the colour of the yarn and the details of the finishing touches, such as labels and buttons. They are commonly used for items such as cycle jerseys, where seam-to-seam printing (where the fabric is printed before the garment is cut and constructed) may be required.
  • CAD design – A range of digitally created designs allowing you to see new techniques and concepts for your clients.
  • CMYK – The four colours used for full colour or 4 colour process printing. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key Black are used by combining dots of each colour in different percentages to create a range of colours.
  • Digital transfer print (DTP) – A printing process where a design is printed onto white transfer vinyl then transferred from that vinyl onto a garment using heat. This process is often used for full colour designs that are too complex for screen-printing or applied onto substrates that will not accept a standard screen print transfer.
  • Digitising – The process of turning an artwork file into a digital programme that tells an embroidery machine which stitches to use and where they should be embroidered on the garment.
  • DPI (dots per inch) – The term used to indicate the resolution of an image. The higher the DPI, the higher the number of dots per inch and in turn the higher the quality and resolution of the image or artwork.  For almost all visuals and print the minimum requirement would be 300dpi.
  • Dye-sublimation – This printing process involves the design being printed in reverse onto coated transfer paper. The image is then transferred from the paper onto the garment using heat. The heat opens the pores of the polyester or poly-cotton fabric, allowing the ink to penetrate into the material.
  • EN471 – A European standard safety specification for professional hi-visibility clothing, which requires minimum performance and testing methods to ensure visibility day and night.
  • EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) – An image file format that is compatible with PostScript printers and is often used for transferring files between various graphics applications. It is a commonly used vector artwork file, accessible by most vector based artwork packages.
  • Fill stitch – A type of embroidery stitch used to cover large solid areas of a design, where parts of a design are too wide for a satin stitch.
  • Glow in the dark embroidery – Phosphorescent thread is used to create embroidered designs that glow in the dark.
  • GSM (Grams per Square Metre) – The unit/metric measurement used for measuring fabric weight. The higher the GSM, the heavier the fabric.
  • High build printing – A printing technique that uses a range of different special effect inks to ‘build up’ a 3D print effect.
  • Jpg / Jpeg – The most common image format, used mainly for digital or photographic images.
  • Marl – Used to describe fabrics that have a speckled or grainy effect, usually achieved by mixing a small amount of polyester with cotton.
  • Microfibre – A man-made fabric made up from microscopic strands or fibres to produce a fabric that is both soft and hard-wearing.
  • MOQs (Minimum order quantity) – Clothing & textile suppliers often set a minimum order quantity for certain products to ensure orders are profitable.
  • Moisture wicking fabric – Fabric that is designed to draw moisture (including sweat) away from the skin, most often used for sportswear.
  • Oeko Tex – An independent certification for textile products, where yarn, fabrics and all elements of textile products are tested for harmful substances. A product which is Oeko Tex Standard 100 certified has had all elements tested and found to be safe.
  • Off-the-shelf – Stock products that can be sourced to order in your preferred colours, styles and sizes, then branded with your design.
  • Offshore manufacturers – Manufacturers based outside the UK (and often utilised by UK suppliers), producing bespoke products, such as seam-to-seam or pantone matched clothing.
  • Pantone reference – A standardised colour matching system used to communicate colour specifications between printers and customers.  This can also be crossed referenced over to embroidery threads.
  • PDF (Portable Document Format) – A file format used for storing and transferring files with multiple elements, such as text, fonts and graphics.
  • Poly-cotton – Fabric made from a combination of polyester and cotton.
  • Pre-production sample (PPS) – A sample printed product, produced and supplied in advance of the full order. For complex, pantone matched or bespoke orders a pre-production sample may be required to ensure that your order is delivered as expected.
  • Proof  – After you have placed a promotional clothing order and sent through your artwork, we will send you a proof. This is often a PDF which shows your artwork placed on a garment mock-up, so that you can check the size, position, colours and design are all correct before the garments are printed.
  • Satin stitch – Satin stitch is the most common type of embroidery stitch and can be embroidered up to about 8mm in width. Most text within an embroidery design will be produced in satin stitch.
  • Screen printing – A process used to print onto various substrates including clothing and textiles, by pushing ink through stencils attached to print screens (see Print Screens above).
  • Sedex – A global not-for-profit organisation promoting responsible and ethical business practices across global supply chains.
  • Smeta (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) – Developed by Sedex, the SMETA is an audit that suppliers can opt into, which ensures staff and ethical standards are adhered to in all aspects of a company and their supply chains.
  • Special effect embroidery – There are several different special effects that can be produced using embroidery, including glow in the dark, metallic and puff effects. Ask your supplier for details of their special effect options.
  • Spot colour printing – The process used to print block colours of solid ink without the use of halftones or gradients.
  • Stitch count – The number of stitches required to produce an embroidery design. Most suppliers will price a design based on the number of stitches involved.
  • Sublimation printing – See dye sublimation printing (above).
  • Swatch – A swatch of fabric featuring an example of printing or embroidery.
  • Vector graphics – These are artwork files based on vectors (also called paths), which lead through locations called control points or nodes. These files do not pixilate when enlarged and are also capable of containing other information such as Pantone colours and fonts. The most commonly used vector artwork files are ai or eps files.
  • WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) – An independent, not-for-profit global organisation promoting safe, lawful, humane and ethical manufacturing through certification and education.

Jargon like the above may seem daunting but we hope the above helps with some of the confusion and make things easier to understand.  If there are any we have missed off let us know, the more the better.

Look at it this way, the promo industries jargon is nowhere near as bad as the legal or military industry –  their lists of acronyms runs into the thousands if not more.

For further information or to speak to one of the sales team please feel free to contact us on 01376552235 or email  info@sharonleeltd.co.uk