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Glossary

We take great pride in making our clients feel confident about their jobs during the production process. To help you gain a better understanding of what happens throughout the duration of your project, we’ve compiled a glossary of terms that we commonly use in our industry.

This helpful list of printing terms is excerpted from Getting It Printed (www.printindustry.com).
A  •  B  •  C  •  D  •  E  •  F  •  G  •  H  •  I  •  J  •  K  •  L  •  M  •  N  •  O  •  P  •  R  •  S  •  T  •  U  •  V  •  W
Acid-free Paper

Papermade from pulp containing little or no acid so it resists deterioration from age. Also called alkaline paper, archival paper, neutral pH paper, permanent paper and thesis paper.

A4 Paper

ISO paper size 210 x 297mm used for Letterhead.

Airbrush

Pen-shaped tool that sprays a fine mist of ink or paint to retouch photos and create continuous-tone illustrations.

Aqueous Coating

Coating in a water base and applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the printing underneath.

Artwork

All original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, intended for printing. Also called art.

B

Back Up

(1) To print on the second side of a sheet already printed on one side. (2) To adjust an image on one side of a sheet so that it aligns back-to-back with an image on the other side.

Bind

Usually in the book arena, but not exclusively, the joining of leafs or signatures together with either wire, glue or other means.

Bindery

Usually a department within a printing company responsible for collating, folding and trimming various printing projects.

Blanket

Rubber-coated pad, mounted on a cylinder of an offset press, that receives the inked image from the plate and transfers it to the surface to be printed.

Bleed

Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming.

Blind Image

Image debossed, embossed or stamped, but not printed with ink or foil.

Blow-Up

An enlargement, usually used with graphic images or photographs.

Blurb

A description or commentary of an author or book content positioned on the book jacket.

Board Paper

General term for paper over 110# index, 80# cover or 200 gsm that is commonly used for products such as file folders, displays and post cards. Also called paperboard.

Body

The main text of work not including the headlines.

Bond paper

Category of paper commonly used for writing, printing and photocopying. Also called business paper, communication paper, correspondence paper and writing paper.

Book Paper

Category of paper suitable for books, magazines, catalogs, advertising and general printing needs. Book paper is divided into uncoated paper (also called offset paper), coated paper (also called art paper, enamel paper, gloss paper and slick paper) and text paper.

Border

The decorative design or rule surrounding matter on a page.

Bristol Paper

General term referring to paper 6 points or thicker with basis weight between 90# and 200# (200-500 gsm). Used for products such as index cards, file folders and displays.

Broken Carton

Carton of paper from which some of the sheets have been sold. Also called less carton.

Bullet

A dot or similar marking to emphasize text.

Butt Register

Register where ink colors meet precisely without overlapping or allowing space between, as compared to lap register. Also called butt fit and kiss register.

C

C1S and C2S

Abbreviations for coated one side and coated two sides.

Camera-ready Copy

Mechanicals, photographs and art fully prepared for reproduction according to the technical requirements of the printing process being used. Also called finished art and reproduction copy.

Carbonless Paper

Paper coated with chemicals that enable transfer of images from one sheet to another with pressure from writing or typing.

Carton

Selling unit of paper weighing approximately 150 pounds (60 kilos). A carton can contain anywhere from 500 to 5,000 sheets, depending on the size of sheets and their basis weight.

Case

Covers and spine that, as a unit, enclose the pages of a casebound book.

Cast-coated Paper

High gloss, coated paper made by pressing the paper against a polished, hot, metal drum while the coating is still wet.

Catalog Paper

Coated paper rated #4 or #5 with basis weight from 35# to 50# (50 to 75 gsm) commonly used for catalogs and magazines.

CMYK

Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four process colors.

Coated Paper

Paper with a coating of clay and other substances that improves reflectivity and ink holdout. Mills produce coated paper in the four major categories cast, gloss, dull and matte.

Collate

To organize printed matter in a specific order as requested.

Color Control Bar

Strip of small blocks of color on a proof or press sheet to help evaluate features such as density and dot gain. Also called color bar, color guide and standard offset color bar.

Color Correct

To adjust the relationship among the process colors to achieve desirable colors.

Color Separation

(1) Technique of using a camera, scanner or computer to divide continuous-tone color images into four halftone negatives. (2) The product resulting from color separating and subsequent four-color process printing. Also called separation.

Comb Bind

To bind by inserting the teeth of a flexible plastic comb through holes punched along the edge of a stack of paper. Also called plastic bind and GBC bind (a brand name).

Contrast

The degree of tones in an image ranging from highlight to shadow.

Coverage

Extent to which ink covers the surface of a substrate. Ink coverage is usually expressed as light, medium or heavy.

Cover Paper

Category of thick paper used for products such as posters, menus, folders and covers of paperback books.

Creep

Phenomenon of middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages. Also called feathering, outpush, push out and thrust.

Crop Marks

Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks and tic marks.

Cure

To dry inks, varnishes or other coatings after printing to ensure good adhesion and prevent setoff.

Cutting Machine

A machine that cuts stacks of paper to desired sizes. The machine can also be used in scoring or creasing.

Cutting Die

Usually a custom ordered item to trim specific and unusual sized printing projects.

Cyan

One of the four process colors. Also known as process blue.

D

Data Compression

Technique of reducing the amount of storage required to hold a digital file to reduce the disk space the file requires and allow it to be processed or transmitted more quickly.

Deboss

To press an image into paper so it lies below the surface. Also called tool.

Density

(1) Regarding ink, the relative thickness of a layer of printed ink. (2) Regarding color, the relative ability of a color to absorb light reflected from it or block light passing through it. (3) Regarding paper, the relative tightness or looseness of fibers.

Desktop Publishing

Technique of using a personal computer to design images and pages, and assemble type and graphics, then using a laser printer or imagesetter to output the assembled pages onto paper, film or printing plate.

Die Cut

Device for cutting, scoring, stamping, embossing and debossing.

Digital Proofing

Page proofs produced through electronic memory transferred onto paper via laser or ink-jet.

Dog Ear

A letter fold at the side of one of the creases, an indentation occurs.

Dots-per-inch

Measure of resolution of input devices such as scanners, display devices such as monitors, and output devices such as laser printers, imagesetters and monitors. Abbreviated DPI. Also called dot pitch.

Double Bump

To print a single image twice so it has two layers of ink.

DPI

Considered as “dots per square inch,” a measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters and monitors.

Drill

In the printing arena, to drill a hole in a printed matter.

Dull Finish

Flat (not glossy) finish on coated paper; slightly smoother than matte. Also called suede finish, velour finish and velvet finish.

Dummy

Simulation of the final product. Also called mockup.

Duotone

Black-and-white photograph reproduced using two halftone negatives, each shot to emphasize different tonal values in the original.

Duplex Paper

Thick paper made by pasting highlights together two thinner sheets, usually of different colors. Also called double-faced paper and two-tone paper.

E

Emboss

To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface. Also called cameo and tool.

Engraving

Printing method using a plate, also called a die, with an image cut into its surface.

EPS

Encapsulated Post Script, a known file format usually used to transfer post script information from one program to another.

Estimate

Price that states what a job will probably cost. Also called bid, quotation and tender.

F

Felt Finish

Soft woven pattern in text paper.

Fine Papers

Papers made specifically for writing or commercial printing, as compared to coarse papers and industrial papers. Also called cultural papers and graphic papers.

Finish

(1) Surface characteristics of paper. (2) General term for trimming, folding, binding and all other post press operations.

Finished Size

Size of product after production is completed, as compared to flat size. Also called trimmed size.

Fixed Costs

Costs that remain the same regardless of how many pieces are printed. Copyrighting, photography and design are fixed costs.

Flat Size

Size of product after printing and trimming, but before folding, as compared to finished size.

Flexography

Method of printing on a web press using rubber or plastic plates with raised images. Also called aniline printing because flexographic inks originally used aniline dyes. Abbreviated flexo.

Flood

To print a sheet completely with an ink or varnish. flooding with ink is also called painting the sheet.

Foil Emboss

To foil stamp and emboss an image. Also called heat stamp.

Foil Stamp

Method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die. Also called block print, hot foil stamp and stamp.

Folder

A bindery machine dedicated to folding printed materials.

Foldout

Gatefold sheet bound into a publication, often used for a map or chart. Also called gatefold and pullout.

For Position Only

Refers to inexpensive copies of photos or art used on mechanical to indicate placement and scaling, but not intended for reproduction. Abbreviated FPO.

Four-color Process Printing

Technique of printing that uses black, magenta, cyan and yellow to simulate full-color images. Also called color process printing, full color printing and process printing.

G

Gang

To reproduce two or more different printed products simultaneously on one sheet of paper during one press run. Also called combination run.

Gate Fold

A sheet that folds where both sides fold toward the gutter in overlapping layers.

Gloss

Consider the light reflecting on various objects in the printing industry (e.g., paper, ink, laminates, UV coating, varnish).

Grain Direction

Predominant direction in which fibers in paper become aligned during manufacturing. Also called machine direction.

Graphic Design

Arrangement of type and visual elements along with specifications for paper, ink colors and printing processes that, when combined, convey a visual message.

Gray Scale

Strip of gray values ranging from white to black. Used by process camera and scanner operators to calibrate exposure times for film and plates. Also called step wedge.

Gripper Edge

Edge of a sheet held by grippers on a sheetfed press, thus going first through the press. Also called feeding edge and leading edge.

GSM

The unit of measurement for paper weight (grams per square meter).

H

Halftone Screen

Piece of film or glass containing a grid of lines that breaks light into dots. Also called contact screen and screen.

Head-to-tail

Imposition with heads (tops) of pages facing tails (bottoms) of other pages.

Highlights

Lightest portions of a photograph or halftone, as compared to midtones and shadows.

Hue

A specific color such as yellow or green.

I

Image Area

The actual area on the printed matter that is not restricted to ink coverage.

Imagesetter

Laser output device using photosensitive paper or film.

Imposition

Arrangement of pages on mechanicals or flats so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.

Impression

(1) Referring to an ink color, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through a printing unit. (2) Referring to speed of a press, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through the press.

Imprint

To print new copy on a previously printed sheet, such as imprinting an employee’s name on business cards. Also called surprint.

Ink Jet Printing

Method of printing by spraying droplets of ink through computer-controlled nozzles. Also called jet printing.

Inserts

Within a publication, an additional item positioned into the publication loose (not bound in).

Interleaves

Printed pages loosely inserted in a publication.

J

Jogger

A vibration machine with a slopping platform to even-up stacks of printed materials.

K

K

Abbreviation for black in four-color process printing. Hence the ‘K’ in CMYK.

Kiss Die Cut

To die cut the top layer, but not the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper. Also called face cut.

Kraft Paper

Strong paper used for wrapping and to make grocery bags and large envelopes.

L

Laid Finish

Finish on bond or text paper on which grids of parallel lines simulate the surface of handmade paper. Laid lines are close together and run against the grain; chain lines are farther apart and run with the grain.

Laminate

A thin transparent plastic sheet (coating) applied to usually a thick stock (covers, post cards, etc.) providing protection against liquid and heavy use, and usually accents existing color, providing a glossy (or lens) effect.

Landscape

Artist style in which width is greater than height. (Portrait is opposite.)

Laser Bond

Bond paper made especially smooth and dry to run well through laser printers.

Leading

Amount of space between lines of type.

Leaf

One sheet of paper in a publication. Each side of a leaf is one page.

Ledger Paper

Strong, smooth bond paper used for keeping business records. Also called record paper.

Letter fold

Two folds creating three panels that allow a sheet of letterhead to fit a business envelope. Also called barrel fold and wrap around fold.

Letter Paper

In North America, 8 1/2′ x 11′ sheets. In Europe, A4 sheets.

Letterpress

Method of printing from raised surfaces, either metal type or plates whose surfaces have been etched away from image areas. Also called block printing.

Lightweight Paper

Book paper with basis weight less than 40# (60 gsm).

Linen Finish

Embossed finish on text paper that simulates the pattern of linen cloth.

Lithography

Method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose nonimage areas repel ink. Nonimage areas may be coated with water to repel the oily ink or may have a surface, such as silicon, that repels ink.

Live Area

Area on a mechanical within which images will print. Also called safe area.

Logo

A company, partnership or corporate creation (design) that denotes a unique entity. A possible combination of letters and art work to create a “sole” entity symbol of that specific unit.

Loupe

Lens built into a small stand. Used to inspect copy, film, proofs, plates and printing. Also called glass and linen tester.

M

Magenta

One of the four process colors.

Makeready

(1) All activities required to prepare a press or other machine to function for a specific printing or bindery job, as compared to production run. Also called setup. (2) Paper used in the makeready process at any stage in production. Makeready paper is part of waste or spoilage.

Margin

Imprinted space around the edge of the printed material.

Mask

To prevent light from reaching part of an image, therefore isolating the remaining part. Also called knock out.

Matte Finish

Flat (not glossy) finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper.

Metallic Ink

Ink containing powdered metal or pigments that simulate metal.

Metallic Paper

Paper coated with a thin film of plastic or pigment whose color and gloss simulate metal.

Midtones

In a photograph or illustration, tones created by dots between 30 percent and 70 percent of coverage, as compared to highlights and shadows.

Mock Up

A reproduction of the original printed matter and possibly containing instructions or direction.

Monarch

Paper size (7′ x 10′) and envelope shape often used for personal stationery.

M Weight

Weight of 1,000 sheets of paper in any specific size.

N

Natural Color

Very light brown color of paper. May also be called antique, cream, ivory, off-white or mellow white.

Nested

Signatures assembled inside one another in the proper sequence for binding, as compared to gathered. Also called inset.

Novelty Printing

Printing on products such as coasters, pencils, balloons, golf balls and ashtrays, known as advertising specialties or premiums.

O

Offset Printing

Printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.

Opacity

(1) Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents printing on one side from showing through the other side. (2) Characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.

Opaque

(1) Not transparent. (2) To cover flaws in negative with tape or opaquing paint. Also called block out and spot.

Overlay

Layer of material taped to a mechanical, photo or proof. Acetate overlays are used to separate colors by having some type or art on them instead of on the mounting board. Tissue overlays are used to carry instructions about the underlying copy and to protect the base art.

Overprint

To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint. Also called surprint.

P

Page

One side of a leaf in a publication.

Panel

One page of a brochure, such as one panel of a rack brochure. One panel is on one side of the paper. A letter-folded sheet has six panels, not three.

Parallel Fold

Method of folding. Two parallel folds to a sheet will produce 6 panels.

Parent Sheet

Any sheet larger than 11′ x 17′ or A3.

Perfect Bind

To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue. Also called adhesive bind, cut-back bind, glue bind, paper bind, patent bind, perfecting bind, soft bind and soft cover.

Perforating

Taking place on a press or a binder machine, creating a line of small dotted wholes for the purpose of tearing-off a part of a printed matter (usually straight lines, vertical or horizontal).

Pica

A unit of measure in the printing industry. A pica is approximately 0.166 in. There are 12 points to a pica.

Pixel

Short for picture element, a dot made by a computer, scanner or other digital device. Also called pel.

Plate

Piece of paper, metal, plastic or rubber carrying an image to be reproduced using a printing press.

PMS

Obsolete reference to Pantone Matching System. The correct trade name of the colors in the Pantone Matching System is Pantone colors, not PMS Colors.

Point

(1) Regarding paper, a unit of thickness equating 1/1000 inch. (2) Regarding type, a unit of measure equaling 1/12 pica and .013875 inch (.351mm).

Portrait

An art design in which the height is greater than the width. (Opposite of Landscape.)

Price Break

Quantity at which unit cost of paper or printing drops.

Printer Spreads

Mechanicals made so they are imposed for printing, as compared to reader spreads.

Process Color (Inks)

The colors used for four-color process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.

Proof

Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.

R

Rag Paper

Stationery or other forms of stock having a strong percentage content of “cotton rags.”

Reader Spread

Mechanicals made in two page spreads as readers would see the pages, as compared to printer spread.

Ream

500 sheets of paper.

Recycled Paper

New paper made entirely or in part from old paper.

Register Marks

Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register. Also called crossmarks and position marks.

Resolution

Sharpness of an image on film, paper, computer screen, disc, tape or other medium.

Reverse

Type, graphic or illustration reproduced by printing ink around its outline, thus allowing the underlying color or paper to show through and form the image. The image ‘reverses out’ of the ink color. Also called knockout and liftout.

RGB

Abbreviation for red, green, blue, the additive color primaries.

Rotary Press

Printing press which passes the substrate between two rotating cylinders when making an impression.

S

Saddle Stitch

To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine, as compared to side stitch. Also called pamphlet stitch, saddle wire and stitch bind.

Satin Finish

Alternate term for dull finish on coated paper.

Scale

To identify the percent by which photographs or art should be enlarged or reduced to achieve, the correct size for printing.

Scanner

Electronic device used to scan an image.

Score

To compress paper along a straight line so it folds more easily and accurately. Also called crease.

Screen Printing

Method of printing by using a squeegee to force ink through an assembly of mesh fabric and a stencil.

Screen Tint

Color created by dots instead of solid ink coverage. Also called Benday, fill pattern, screen tone, shading, tint and tone.

Self Mailer

A printed item independent of an envelope. A printed item capable of travel in the mailing arena independently.

Separations

Usually in the four-color process arena, separate film holding qimages of one specific color per piece of film. Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. Can also separate specific PMS colors through film.

Shade

Hue made darker by the addition of black, as compared to tint.

Shadows

Darkest areas of a photograph or illustration, as compared to midtones and high-lights.

Sheetfed Press

Press that prints sheets of paper, as compared to a web press.

Sheetwise

Technique of printing one side of a sheet with one set of plates, then the other side of the sheet with a set of different plates. Also called work and back.

Signature

Printed sheet folded at least once, possibly many times, to become part of a book, magazine or other publication.

Size

Compound mixed with paper or fabric to make it stiffer and less able to absorb moisture.

Slip Sheets

Separate sheets (stock) independent from the original run positioned between the “printed run” for a variety of reasons.

Solid

Any area of the sheet receiving 100 percent ink coverage, as compared to a screen tint.

Soy-based Inks

Inks using vegetable oils instead of petroleum products as pigment vehicles, thus are easier on the environment.

Spiral Bind

To bind using a spiral of continuous wire or plastic looped through holes. Also called coil bind.

Spot Color or Varnish

One ink or varnish applied to portions of a sheet, as compared to flood or painted sheet.

Spread

(1) Two pages that face each other and are designed as one visual or production unit. (2) Technique of slightly enlarging the size of an image to accomplish a hairline trap with another image. Also called fatty.

T

Tabloid

Using a broadsheet as a measure, one half of a broadsheet.

Tag

Grade of dense, strong paper used for products such as badges and file folders.

Text Paper

Designation for printing papers with textured surfaces such as laid or linen. Some mills also use ‘text’ to refer to any paper they consider top-of-the-line, whether or not its surface has a texture.

Thermography

Method of printing using colorless resin powder that takes on the color of underlying ink. Also called raised printing.

Tint

Screening or adding white to a solid color for results of lightening that specific color.

Transparency

Positive photographic image on film allowing light to pass through. Also called chrome, color transparency and tranny. Often abbreviated TX.

Trap

To print one ink over another or to print a coating, such as varnish, over an ink. The first liquid traps the second liquid. See also Dry Traps and Wet Traps.

Trim Size

The size of the printed material in its finished stage (e.g., the finished trim size is 5 1\2 x 8 1\2).

U

Uncoated Paper

Paper that has not been coated with clay. Also called offset paper.

UV Coating

Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

V

Varnish

Liquid applied as a coating for protection and appearance.

Vellum Finish

Somewhat rough, toothy finished paper.

W

Watermark

Translucent logo in paper created during manufacturing by slight embossing from a dandy roll while paper is still approximately 90 percent water.

Web Press

Press that prints from rolls of paper, usually cutting it into sheets after printing. Also called reel-fed press. Web presses come in many sizes, the most common being mini, half, three quarter (also called 8-pages) and full (also called 16-pages).

Window

(1) In a printed product, a die-cut hole revealing an image on the sheet behind it. (2) On a mechanical, an area that has been marked for placement of a piece of artwork.

Wove

Paper manufactured without visible wire marks, usually a fine textured paper.

book_getting_it_printed

For more resources about printing, visit PrintIndustry.com.
Getting It Printed
By Eric Kenly


  (253) 872-8268
  info@sunpressprint.com

1721 West Valley Hwy N, Suite 4
Auburn, WA 98001

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