Your Go-To Glossary for Print on Demand Terms

by Gooten Editorial Team on Aug. 9, 2022

In order to succeed in the print on demand space, you’ll need to know the lingo. That can be easier said than done, as new terms are popping up all the time. To help you keep your terminology straight, we’ve put together a comprehensive glossary. Here are all the print on demand terms you need to know.

General Terms


A brick-and-mortar business has actual, physical storefronts that people can visit to buy or sell. Most print on demand companies exist without brick-and-mortar facilities, and thus without the overhead involved with maintaining a physical space.


In dropshipping, a third-party company store fulfills, and ships products on your behalf.


The term e-commerce, or electronic commerce, simply refers to any transaction in which people buy or sell online.

E-commerce platform

The e-commerce platform is the software and Web hosting provider where you set up your e-commerce business. Shopify is one well-known example.


Fulfillment refers to all the actions involved with getting an order ready to ship to the customer… for example, printing the product, packaging it, etc.


Short for mobile commerce, this term denotes the buying and selling of products via mobile device. It’s basically just a subset of e-commerce.

Multichannel Selling

When you engage in multichannel selling, you’re selling your products in a variety of places, not just your website. For example, you may also sell in various online marketplaces or on social media platforms.

Online Marketplace

An online marketplace is a website where third-party sellers can gather to sell their products to consumers. Etsy and Amazon Marketplace are two well-known examples.

Print on Demand

Print on demand refers to a system of printing where items are made/customized to order, as opposed to produced in bulk.

Profit Margin

The profit margin refers to how much money you actually make on each sale. Basically, it’s the retail price, minus what you have to pay for materials, shipping, and related expenses.

Shopping Cart

In e-commerce, the shopping cart refers to the virtual space where customers set their products as they shop. Your goal as an e-commerce merchant is for them to complete their transaction, actually purchasing the items in their shopping cart as opposed to abandoning their shopping cart.

Marketing Terms


With bundling, you’re taking a number of related products and selling them to customers as one complete package. 


Cross-selling is a marketing practice in which you try to persuade customers to buy closely related, complementary, or supplementary products. For example, if you’re selling someone a hoodie, you may try to cross-sell them on sweatpants, allowing them to have a matching outfit.

Social Proof

Social proof can refer to any type of marketing collateral that helps customers to see that other people have bought and enjoyed your product. Reviews and testimonials are the most common types of social proof.


This marketing strategy is all about convincing customers to purchase an upgraded version of your product; or, to buy a base product with add-ons and enhanced features.

Graphic Design Terms


This abbreviation denotes dots per inch, and speaks to exactly that: The number of dots the printer can place in a given inch. Generally speaking, fewer dots means a blurrier image. 


A mockup is simply an image that shows how a particular product will look with your design on it.

Print File

The print file is what you send to your printer; it contains your design along with the desired size, color profile, and image placement. Your printer will process this file and output it onto the garment or product in question.


These refer to the two most common color spaces used in print on demand graphic design: Standard Red Green Blue and Cyan Magenta Yellow Key, respectively.


A graphic element that has transparency is less than 100 percent opaque. In other words, it will be at least partially see-through.

Apparel Terms


This is one of the most common fabric types, which means print on demand sellers should be aware of the different cotton types. For example, ring-spun cotton is made by twisting cotton strands, making a rope of cotton fibers. Combed cotton, on the other hand, has shorter fibers removed to make a softer, more compact fabric.

DTG Printing

DTG stands for direct-to-garment printing. This is the method we employ here at Gooten, as it allows for the most color options and the highest standards of printing quality.

Dye-sublimation Printing

This digital printing method involves transferring a solid substance to a gas without ever turning it into liquid. It’s often employed for all-over T-shirts.

Embroidery Printing

This printing method is primarily used to print logos on thicker apparel.

Fabric Blend

This term is used to denote any product that’s made from a combination of two or more fabric types. 

Fabric Weight

Fabric weight indicates the mass of a garment. You’ll usually see it measured in ounces per square inch. A higher fabric weight means a thicker garment.


This man-made fiber is made from petroleum products. It’s lightweight, and it’s typically stretchier than cotton.


Pre-shrunk products have already been through the shrinking process, which means there is unlikely to be significant shrinkage once that product is put into the washing machine. 

Thread Weight

This term indicates the thickness of the thread that’s used for a particular garment. Thread weight is usually measured in “singles,” and most fabrics will fall somewhere between 30 and 120. A higher weight number indicates thinner thread, which in turn means a softer fabric.

Woven Print Technique

This technique is often used for printing blankets, and involves solid-colored yarns being woven with black and white yarns to create a rich array of colors.

Terms Related to Non-Apparel Products

Archival Quality

Paper that’s described as having an archival quality is made without acid, and does not degrade like other types of paper do.

Full Bleed

This term denotes printing that goes beyond the edge of where the paper is trimmed, meaning there is no white space or margin left around the image.


This abbreviation stands for grams per square meter, a unit that’s often used to measure the thickness of paper. The typical poster has a thickness of around 120 GSM.

Luster Paper

Often used in prints and posters, luster paper has a semi-gloss finish, putting it somewhere between matte and glossy paper.

Matte Paper

Often used in prints and posters, matte paper isn’t glossy and doesn’t have much sheen.

Shipping Terms


The carrier simply refers to the mail delivery company that transports your orders to the end customer. FedEx, UPS, DHL, and USPS are some common options.

Customs Duties

These taxes may be levied on a print on demand order based on shipping country and retail price.

Standard Shipping Rates

These are fixed prices that you pay to transport a product. Standard shipping rates are usually determined by the type and number of products involved.

Tracking Number

Each order you send out should have its own tracking number, allowing you to keep track of each order that’s sent out.

Sustainability Terms


A product may be labeled as biodegradable if it breaks down in warm, moist environments, particularly with the help of microorganisms.

Carbon Footprint

An organization’s carbon footprint refers to its total volume of greenhouse gas emissions.

Corporate Social Responsibility

A company that cares about its corporate social responsibility cares not just about its own bottom line, but about the impact its products and business practices have on society and on the environment.


Greenwashing is a type of duplicitous marketing practice, in which products are advertised as being more environmentally friendly than they truly are.


A product may be classified as organic if it’s made without the use of any toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Organic cotton, in particular, is an eco-friendly option that also happens to be softer to the touch than other types of cotton.

Terms Related to the Gooten Product Hub


The All tab lists all the products you create, regardless of where they are saved. (In other words, it includes products from all of your stores as well as products in storage.)


In this tab, you’ll find all the products you’ve saved to your Etsy store.


In this tab, you’ll find all the products you’ve saved to your Shopify store.


The Storage tab lists all products that are not currently listed in one of your stores.


In this tab, you’ll find all the products you’ve saved to your WooCommerce store.