We are often asked for definitions of print terminology and asked how things work. What does Spot Gloss UV mean? What is the purpose of the Colour Control Bar on my Epson proof? Is PUR Binding stronger than Perfect Binding?
We have collated an almost exhaustive list of around 400 printing words or terms that have been put together for the print and associated graphic arts industries. You can visit Erwins’ A-Z Australian Printing Glossary on our website.
Just click here to view or scroll down below…..
A4 Paper ISO standard paper size 210 x 297mm or 8.3 x 11.7″. The common paper size used outside the US in place of 8.5 x 11.
Abrasion Resistance Resistance to frictional rubbing as distinct from resistance to knocks and impacts. Abrasion tests may be made by means of the finger alone, or with a cloth or a pad with or without a mildly abrasive powder. The pressure, speed and time of rubbing as well as the character of the rubbing agent should be controlled when making comparisons of abrasion resistance.
Accordion Fold Two or more folds parallel to each other with adjacent folds in opposite directions, resembling the bellows of an accordion. Also known as ‘Z fold’ or ‘Zigzag fold’ as the fold looks like the letter ‘ Z.’
Acid-Free Paper Paper made 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.
Adhesive Binding Applying glue or another, usually hot-melt substance, along the backbone edges of assembled, printed sheets. The book or magazine cover is applied directly on top of the tacky adhesive. (Alternative term: perfect binding)
Against The Grain At right angles to the grain direction of the paper being used, as opposed to with the grain. Also named across the grain and cross grain.
Align Lining up characters and images on a document using a base or vertical line as a reference point.
Alley Space between columns of type on a page.
Anti-Offset Powder A fine powder that is sprayed over the printed surface of coated paper as it leaves the press, this prevents set-off.
Aqueous Coating This clear coating is used to protect your printed pieces. It provides a high-gloss surface that deters dirt and fingerprints. Aqueous coating improves the durability of postcards as they go through the mail, and protects business cards as they ride around in people’s pockets. It also looks beautiful on brochures, catalogue covers, and stand-alone flyers.
Art Paper Coated paper grade that is triple coated with 20-40gsm per side and has a satin/silk or gloss finish. Higher qualities often contain cotton.
Artboard Alternate term for Mechanical.
Artwork The images and/or text to be printed (usually supplied as a print ready PDF). Best practice is to supply artwork as a high resolution PDF (minimum 300 dpi), with crop marks and 3mm bleed.
Ascender Any part of a lower case letter which rises above the main body of the letter such as in “d”, “b” and “h”.
Author’s Corrections Changes made by the customer, usually at the proofing stage. These are sometimes chargeable, as opposed to in-house errors which are not.
Back Slant Any type that tilts to the left or backward direction; opposite of italic type.
Back Up In printing, to print the second side of a sheet already printed on one side. In computers, to make a copy of your work on a separate disk in case something happens to the original.
Backbone Alternate term for the spine of a publication.
Banding Method of packaging printed pieces using paper, rubber, or fibreglass bands.
Bank One successive row of staggered tabs from first to last position.
Banker Envelope An envelope that has a long closure flap across the long edge of the envelope.
Basis Weight Basis or basic weight refers to the weight, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that particular paper grade.
Bind To attach pages of a book or other publications to each other with staples, adhesives, thread, wire or other means, commonly between two covers.
Binder A book-like device used to hold a quantity of sheets, commonly loose-leaf paper. Binders can either be temporary or permanent, the former allowing the easy removal and insertion of sheets, the latter not.
Binding The fastening of the assembled sheets or signatures along one edge of a publication. There are many different methods of binding including saddle stitching, perfect and burst binding.
Bitmap (BMP) An image represented by an array of picture elements, each of which is encoded as a single binary digit.
Blanket A rubber coated fabric sheet that’s mounted on a cylinder of an offset press. It receives the inked image from the plate and transfers it to the surface to be printed.
Bleed The additional print area around a document to allow the image/colour to run off (or ‘bleed off’) the edge of the finished article. The additional area is then trimmed off in line with the crop marks once the job is complete.
Bleed Size The size of the artwork including external bleed. E.g. the size of a DL flyer including 3mm of external bleed is 105mm x 216 mm.
Blind Emboss A design that is stamped or pressed into a piece of paper, without the use of ink. The design or text is only visible as a raised area on the paper/card.
Body Copy Text or graphics printed other than on tab extensions (i.e. the “body” of the sheet).
Booklet Mailer Envelope designed to open on the long edge for ease of inserting documents that cannot be folded. Envelopes typically come in C4 and C5 sizes and in either Plain Face or Window Face. Also called wallet envelope.
Border A margin/strip around the outer edge of the artwork.
Brightness In paper, the reflectance or brilliance of the paper.
Bulk A term given to paper to describe its thickness relative to its weight.
Bulk Pack To pack printed pieces in boxes without prior wrapping in bundles.
Burst Binding A method that binds text pages by forcing glue into notches along the spines of gathered signatures before affixing a paper cover. Also called notch bind and slotted bind.
Butt To join without overlapping or space between.
Butt Fit Ink colours overlapped only a hairline so they appear perfectly butted.
Calender To make paper smooth and glossy by passing it between rollers during manufacturing.
Caliper The measurement for the thickness of a sheet of paper or board, expressed in microns or millionths of a metre. It’s also the name of the tool used to make the measurement.
Carbonless Paper Chemically treated paper that enables transfer of impression from one sheet to another with pressure from writing. Also known as NCR Paper.
Case Bind Method to bind using glue to hold signatures to a case made of binder board covered with fabric, plastic or leather. Also named cloth bind, edition bind, hard bind and hard cover.
Cast Coated Board Coated paper dried under pressure against a polished cylinder to produce a high-gloss enamel finish.
Celloglaze A plastic film heat bonded to printed products such as booklet covers, business cards and postcards. This provides protection, as well as a matt or gloss finish. It can be applied to one side, or both sides of a printed item. It cannot be applied to just a portion/spot of the printed item, i.e. just a logo or picture. Also sometimes referred to as laminate or cellosheen.
Cellosheen See Celloglaze or Laminate.
Centre Marks Lines on a mechanical, negative, plate, or press sheet indicating the centre of a layout.
Centre Spread The two pages that face each other in the centre of a book or publication.
Cerlox Binding Plastic rings (19 rings in 11″) in twelve different colours that are put through rectangular-punched holes to bind paper.
Chain Lines Lines that appear on laid paper as a result of the wires of the papermaking machine.
Chalking A powdering effect left on the surface of the paper after the printing process is complete. It’s the result of ink not drying properly and due to a fault in printing.
Choke Technique of slightly reducing the size of an image to create a hairline trap or to outline. Also called shrink and skinny.
Clip Art Graphic images, designs, and artwork in digital form that can be used in a digital document.
Clipping Path An outline, embedded into the file, that tells an application which areas of a picture should be considered transparent.
CMYK Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the 4 process colours, which combined together in varying proportions can be made to produce the full colour spectrum.
Coarse Screen Halftone screens commonly used in newsprint; up to 85 lines per inch.
Coated Paper Paper with a coating of clay and calcium carbonate is applied to the surface of the paper to create the smooth surface. The coating improves reflectivity and ink holdout. Typically, mills produce coated paper in the cast, gloss, and silk/satin.
Coil Binding Where a metal or plastic wire is spiralled through holes punched along the side of a stack of paper. Commonly used for reports, proposals and manuals. Documents bound with coil have the ability to lay flat and can rotate 360 degrees. Also called spiral binding.
Cold Lamination (gloss or matt) Lamination process using pressure sensitive adhesives to bind film to the material being laminated. This is a preferred option when laminating heat-sensitive work.
Collate In bindery and finishing, to gather sheets or printed signatures together in their correct order. See also gather.
Collating Marks In printing, a set of numbered symbols that are printed on the folded edge of press signatures as a means of indicating the proper collating or gathering sequence.
Colour Balance The relative amounts of process colours used to reproduce an image, either digitally or when printed on a press.
Colour Control Bar A colour test strip that is printed on the waste portion of a press sheet. It helps a press operator to evaluate and control the quality of the printed material relative to ink density, registration and dot gain. The Colour Control Bar can also include a Star Target, which is designed to detect inking and press problems.
Colour Correction Using a computer to adjust, change or manipulate a colour image, such as retouching, adjusting colour balance, colour saturation, contrast, etc.
Colour Gamut The entire range of hues possible to reproduce on a specific system, such as a computer screen, or four-colour printing press.
Colour Matching System System of numbered ink swatches that facilitates communication about colour.
Colour Mode Colour mode/space/model should be CMYK in four colour process printing (NOT RGB).
Colour Separating The processes of separating the primary colour components (CMYK) for printing.
Colour Separation The separation of the colours making up a full colour original; usually into the three primaries (C,M,Y) plus black, each of which will be reproduced by a separated printing plate.
Colour Sequence The order in which process inks are printed on a printing press. Also called the colour rotation or lay down sequence.
Colour Swatch Sample of an ink colour.
Comb Bind To bind by inserting the teeth of a flexible plastic comb through holes punched along the edge of a stack of paper. Commonly used for catalogues, reports and manuals. Also called plastic bind.
Composite Proof Proof of colour separations in position with graphics and type.
Concertina Fold A method of folding in which each fold opens in the opposite direction to its neighbour, giving a concertina or pleated effect.
Continuous Stationery Forms which are produced from reels of paper and then fan folded. These can be either single or multi-part forms.
Contrast The degree of tonal separation or gradation in the range from black to white.
Copy For an editor or typesetter, all written material. For a graphic designer or printer, everything that will be printed: art, photographs, and graphics as well as words.
Copyright Ownership of creative work by the writer, photographer, or artist who made it.
Corflute A hollow fluted plastic board manufactured from lightweight extruded polypropylene.
Corner Marks Marks printed on a sheet to indicate the trim.
Coverage Extent to which ink covers the surface of a substrate. Ink coverage is usually expressed as light, medium or heavy.
Crash Folding When a document requires more than one fold and any subsequent folds cross over previous folds, e.g. A3 folded to A4 and then crash folded to DL for mailing.
Crash Number Numbering paper by pressing an image on the first sheet which is transferred to all parts of the printed set.
Crease Where a line is scored to allow for easier and tidier folding. Any board over 170gsm in weight may require creasing before folding.
Creep When middle pages of a folded section extend slightly beyond the outside pages.
Crop Marks Lines marking where the paper is to be trimmed after printing. Designers include trim marks on artwork to codify where trimming should occur.
Cropping Trimming or masking off unwanted portions of an image or printed area.
Crossover Image that continues from one page of a publication across the gutter to the opposite page.
CTP Computer to Plate (CTP) eliminates the film process by imaging directly onto the printing plate.
Curves A term used when converting a font or graphic into a mathematical vector format. Can also be called ‘Outline Paths.’
Cut Number of tab positions in a bank (example: 1/5 cut = 5 tabs of equal size completing a bank.
Cyan A shade of blue used in four-color process printing. The C in CMYK. Also referred to as process blue.
Dampener Fountain Alternate term for Water Fountain on a press.
Dampening An essential part of the offset printing process whereby rollers distribute a solution to the plate that covers the non-printing area of the plate, repelling ink in those areas. Some newer presses use a waterless ink technology that does not use dampening.
Dampening Solution Alternate term for Fountain Solution.
Deboss To press an image into paper so it lies below the surface. Also called tool.
Densitometer An optical device used by printers and photographers to measure and control the density of ink or colour.
Density Relative darkness of copy, ink on paper, or emulsion on film, as measured by a densitometer.
Density Range Expression of contrast between darkest and lightest areas of copy.
Die Sharp metal rule used for die cutting or block of metal used for embossing or foil stamping.
Die-cut Where an irregular shape is cut from the paper instead of trimming square edges. This can be any shape but requires a die or cutting forme to be made up. Typically, a wooden die or block has positioned steel rules in the shape of the desired pattern.
Digital Colour Printing A printing process that allows colour printing directly from electronic images without the need for film, colour separations or printing plates. This process is economical on small print runs.
Digital Colour Proofing (hard copy) Colour separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to colour photographic paper creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed with ink in the offset process.
Digital Colour Proofing (soft copy) An electronic colour proof reproduced from the electronic data and normally presented in PDF format.
Direct Mail Mail designed to motivate readers to respond directly to senders with a purchase, donation, or other action.
DL Probably at one time the abbreviation of DIN Lang (Deutsche Industrie Norm, Long), is now identified as “Dimension Lengthwise” by ISO 269. A DL brochure’s measurement is 99mm x 210mm (an A4 folded into three equal parts). A DL envelope is 110mm x 220mm (to fit a DL brochure inside).
DLX Slightly larger than a DL envelope size to accommodate for high speed inserters at the mail house. A DLX envelope is sized at 120mm x 235mm.
Dot The smallest individual element of a halftone.
Dot Gain The apparent increase in dot size, or tone value, measured on the press sheet compared with the size specified in a digital file or measured on the film separations. The increase is both optical and mechanical and varies with the type of paper and line screen being used. Dot gain is higher with uncoated paper or newsprint.
Dots Per Inch (DPI) Measurement of the resolution of output devices such as monitors, laser printers, and image setters. The more dots the device is able to print to the inch, the better it is able to faithfully reproduce the desired text or image.
Draw Down Sample of specified ink and paper, used to evaluate colour.
Drilling The drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding.
Drop Shadow A shadow image placed offset behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page.
Dry Gum Paper Label paper with glue that can be activated by water.
DTP Direct to Plate Offset plate material imaged directly opposed to film being used to ‘burn’ plates.
Dummy Sample of the proposed work prepared before printing to assist in assessing design and estimating production requirements. A binder’s dummy is made to establish the exact dimension of the bound book.
Duotone A two-colour halftone reproduction generated from a one colour photo.
Embedded Fonts A process that allows fonts to be viewed by all computers – even if they don’t have the same font installed. Essential for printing.
Emboss To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface. Also called cameo and tool.
Encapsulation Where printed material is fully enclosed and sealed in plastic. This leaves a small, clear plastic border around the sheet where it is sealed. Encapsulation is durable and water resistant.
End Sheet Sheet that attaches the inside pages of a case bound book to its cover. Also called pastedown or end papers.
EPS Encapsulated Post Script, a known file format usually used to transfer post script information from one program to another.
Epson Proof Industry standard high resolution digital colour proof.
Eyeleting Small circular metal “rims” applied around a punched hole in paper.
Fan-a-part Sets Padded sets of forms – each set within the pad is sealed at the foot for ease of use.
Felt Side The smoother side of a sheet in the paper. The wire side is the rougher side of the paper. The difference happens in the papermaking process. The differences are eliminated when papers are gloss or satin coated.
File Format A set of instructions that describe how to store, access or transmit digital information. Being able to match the format of data created in one program to what can be received by another is the basis for file compatibility.
Film Laminate Thin sheet of plastic adhered to printed paper for protection.
Finished Size Size of product after production is completed, as compared to flat size. Also called trimmed size.
Finishing Any of a variety of processes performed to document or publication after printing. Finishing can include cutting, trimming, folding and binding, as well as decorative operations as embossing, foil stamping, and laminating.
Flat Size The size before folding, after trimming. Can also be used if a product is to be supplied creased but unfolded.
Flexography Method of printing on a web press using rubber plates with raised images. Flexo is used for packaging products that include cardboard boxes, grocery bags, gift wrap, can labels, food labels and bottle labels.
Flush Cover Cover that is trimmed to the same size as inside pages, as with paperback books.
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.
Folding To bend the paper over itself so that one part of the sheet lies on over another part.
Folio (page number) The actual page number in a publication.
Font The characters which make up a complete typeface and size.
Font Kerning The process of fitting adjacent characters together to use space efficiently and to produce attractive lines of text. Kerned characters nest together, and move under the rise of an adjacent letter, r, for example. The letter j can fit close to a preceding letter d, but the letter d can’t move especially close to a preceding letter o.
Foot Margin The distance between the bottom edge of the body of type (text) on a page and the bottom edge of the trimmed page. Also called ‘tail margin.’
Format Size, shape, and overall style of a layout or printed piece.
Fountain Solution Mixture of water and chemicals that dampens a printing plate to prevent ink from adhering to its non-image area.
Four Colour Process Printing using four colour separation plates – yellow, magenta, cyan and black. The inks are translucent and can be combined to produce a wide range of colours.
French Fold In binding and finishing, a type of fold in which a sheet printed on one side is folded first vertically, then horizontally, to produce a four-page folder.
FTP File Transfer Protocol, a method of transferring files from one computer to another over the internet without using email. Files are uploaded via a website and often require a username and password. The primary benefit of FTP, as opposed to email, is the size/speed at which files can be sent and received.
Full Colour Or ‘four colour process’ using the four basic printing colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
Gang Printing To reproduce two or more different printed products simultaneously on one sheet of paper during one press run. Also called combination run. In the offset printing process it reduces cost by eliminating plates and make readys for multiple jobs. The disadvantage is if the designs are not similar there can be a trade off in the quality. For example, running a heavy black next to a design with a strict skin tone requirement may mean the design with the heavy black will not be at its maximum darkness. Gang printing is not recommended for colour critical print jobs.
Gate Fold When a printed document is folded twice with the folds meeting at one point to make a ‘gate.’
Gather To assemble signatures into the proper sequence for binding. See also collate.
Ghosting Also known as gloss ghosting. A condition occurring during the printing process when vapours from drying ink on one side of a press sheet interact chemically with dry ink or blank paper on sheets in contact with or on the reverse side of the same sheet creating unintended faint images.
Gloss Cellosheen See ‘laminate.’
Gluing A permanent method of fixing multiple items together.
Grain The direction of the fibres of paper. It is easier to fold with the grain.
Grain Direction Predominant direction in which fibres in paper become aligned during manufacturing. Also called machine direction.
Green Printing Green Printing is printing in a way which is environmentally friendly. This involves the use of vegetable/soy based inks, recycled papers and energy conservation.
Grey Scale A digital image in which the value of each pixel is a single sample, that is, it carries only intensity information. Images of this sort, also known as black-and-white, are composed exclusively of shades of grey, varying from black at the weakest intensity to white at the strongest.
GSM Grams per square metre. This is the standard measurement of weight for paper. This is not the same as thickness.
Guillotine A machine used to trim stacks of paper. The guillotine-cutting blade moves between two upright guides and slices paper evenly as it moves down.
Gusset Expandable portion of a bag, file folder, pocketed folder or envelope.
Gutter Space between columns of type where pages meet at the binding.
Hairline (Rule) Subjective term referring to very small space, thin line or close register. The meaning depends on who is using the term and in what circumstances.
Halftone Dots Dots that by their varying sizes create the illusion of shading or a continuous-tone image.
Halftone Using small dots to produce the impression of a continuous-tone image. The effect is achieved by varying the dot size and the number of dots per square inch.
Hard Bind Alternate term for Case bind.
Hard Cover Bound with a case of binder’s board.
Head Margin The white space above the first line on a page.
Heatset Web Web press equipped with oven to make ink dry faster, thus able to print coated paper.
Hickey The effect that occurs when a speck of dust or debris (frequently dried ink) adheres to the printing plate and creates a spot or imperfection in the printing. It is most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage. These donut shaped spots appear on the printed sheet as dark spots surrounded by a halo. Also called bulls eye and fish eye.
Highlights The lightest tones of a photo, printed halftone or illustration. In the finished halftone, these highlights are represented by the finest dots.
Holdout A paper characteristic that prevents the stock from absorbing ink, allowing it to dry on the surface of the paper. A stock with better holdout results in a sharper image.
Hole Punching When holes are added to a job for completion, e.g. 2 to 4 holes to be filed in a ring
binder; calendars with a single hole for hanging.
Hot Melt An adhesive used in some binding processes, which requires heat for application. Hot melt glue is used for traditional perfect binding.
Hue The wavelength of light reflected or transmitted from an object. However, hue is more commonly known as the actual colour, such as red, yellow, or blue.
ICC International Colour Consortium, established by the printing industry to create, promote and encourage the standardisation of colour.
ICC Profiles Standard guidelines for colour management. The profile allows one piece of software or hardware to “know” how another device created its colours and how they should be interpreted or reproduced.
Illustrator Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor developed and marketed by Adobe Systems. The latest version, Illustrator CS6, is the sixteenth generation in the product line.
Image Area Portion of a plate corresponding to inking/stamping/embossing on paper; portion of paper on which ink/stamp/emboss appears.
Imposition The positioning of pages on the press sheet so that when the sheet is printed, the pages fall in the desired order, in the correct orientation. (i.e. right-side up) and with the correct margins. Imposition allows for the proper page sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.
Imprint To print new copy on a previously printed sheet, such as imprinting an employee’s name on business cards. Also called surprint or overprint.
InDesign A desktop publishing software application produced by Adobe Systems. It can be used to create works such as posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers and books. InDesign can also publish content suitable for tablet devices in conjunction with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. Graphic designers and production artists are the principal users, creating and laying out periodical publications, posters, and print media.
Ink Jet Printing Method of printing by spraying droplets of ink through computer-controlled nozzles. Also called jet printing.
Insert In bindery and finishing, an insert is one printed signature that has another signature wrapped around it. Insert also refers to any preprinted page or set of pages that are placed into separately printed publication. Examples of inserts are advertising supplements, maps or foldouts.
ISBN A number assigned to a published work and usually found either on the title page or the back of the title page. Considered an International Standard Book Number.
Jacket The paper cover sometimes called the “dust cover” of a hardbound book. Also called ‘dust jacket.’
JPEG Joint Photographic Experts Group, a file compression format that allows high quality full colour or gray-scale digital images to be stored in relatively small files. The degree of compression can be adjusted, allowing a selectable trade-off between storage size and image quality. JPEG typically achieves 10:1 compression with little perceptible loss in image quality.
Justify The alignment of text along a margin or both margins. This is achieved by adjusting the spacing between the words and characters as necessary so that each line of text finishes at the same point.
Kerning The narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page.
Keylines Lines that are drawn on artwork that indicate the exact placement, shape and size of elements including halftones, illustrations or other graphic elements. Also called holding lines.
Kiss Cut To die-cut the top layer but not the backing of a two layered sticker/label.
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 plastic film heat bonded to printed products such as booklet covers, business cards and postcards. This provides protection, as well as a matt or gloss finish. It can be applied to one side, or both sides of a printed item. It cannot be applied to just a portion/spot of the printed item, i.e. just a logo or picture. Also sometimes referred to as celloglaze or cellosheen.
Laser Bond Bond paper made especially smooth and dry to run well through laser printers.
Laser Printing A method of printing that uses a laser beam to produce an image on a photosensitive drum.
Layout A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, images, thumbnails etc., of a final printed piece.
Layout File The file created by computer application software which contains all the imported elements and where all the design and layout of a document are performed.
Leading Space between lines of type. The distance in points between one baseline and the next.
Legible Characteristic of copy having sufficient contrast with the paper on which it appears and determined by such features as typeface, size, leading, and quality of printing.
Letterpress A method of printing where the wrong-reading raised surface of a printing plate is inked and impressed directly onto the paper. There are four types of letterpress presses; platen, flatbed cylinder, rotary and belt. Letterpress is also known as ‘relief’ printing.
Lick & Stick Envelope Where a dry substance along one edge of the closing flap, when moistened and pressed shut, seals the envelope.
Lines Per Inch (lpi) The number of lines or rows of dots there are per inch in a screen and therefore in a screen tint, halftone, or separation. Refers to the quality of a halftone screen. It is important to distinguish it from dpi which refers to the resolution of a device or image. Commonly lpi is used at exactly half of the dpi of the device or image, i.e. 300dpi would equal 150lpi.
Lithography Method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose non-image areas repel ink. Non-image areas may be coated with water to repel the oily ink or may have a surface, such as silicon, that repels ink.
Live Area Alternate term for Image area.
Long Grain Paper made with the machine direction of the fibres in the longest dimension of the sheet.
Loop Stitch To saddle stitch with staples that are also loops which slip over rings of binders.
Loose-leaf Binding A means of mechanical binding in which pages are bound together by means of inserting the metal rings or poles of a three-hole binder into drilled or punched holes along the binding edge of the pages.
Machine Varnish A thin, protective coating applied to a printed sheet to reduce finger-marking or scuffing.
Magnetic Black Black ink containing iron oxides, used for magnetic ink character recognition used for cheque printing.
Matt Finish Flat (not glossy) finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper.
Matt Laminate A non-reflective film applied to a printed surface to protect it. A matt laminate has a slightly granular look and tends to make colours look more vivid.
Matt Varnish Ink or varnish that appears dull when dry. Also known as Satin Varnish.
Mechanical Binding Mechanical binding is a means of fastening sheets of paper together using metal or plastic attachments inserted through punched or drilled holes in the paper. Mechanical binding is the process of binding a book using methods such as cerlox, spiral wire, wire-o or plasticoil binding.
Metal Plate A metal sheet with a specially coated ‘emulsion’ on its surface which when exposed through a film mask or by CTP process will produce an image. When the plate is loaded onto printing press it then reproduces this image using inks onto the paper.
Metallic Ink Ink containing powdered metal or pigments that simulate metal.
Micrometer Instrument used to measure thickness of paper.
Midtones Tones in a photograph or illustration about half as dark as its shadow areas and represented by dots between 30% and 70% of full size.
Mill Swatch Paper sample book provided by a mill.
Mock-up A rough sample to assist in understanding sequence of pages, finishing requirements etc. Alternate term for Dummy.
Moiré Pattern An undesirable grid-like pattern caused by the misalignment of dots on a printed document. This can occur when printing or sometimes when scanning from pre-printed material.
Mottle A term used to describe spotty or uneven ink absorption. Especially noticeable in large solids.
Mounting To secure a printed item or photograph to another surface, usually thick board paper stock.
Mylar Reinforced Tab Strengthened tab extension resulting from application of a mylar coating around tab extension and onto the body of the sheet.
Nested Signatures assembled inside one another in the proper sequence for binding, as compared to gathered. Also called inset.
Newsprint A light, low-cost unbleached paper made especially for newspaper printing.
Non-image Area Portion of mechanical, negative, or plate that will not print.
Notch Binding The gouging of grooves in the spine of a book block to facilitate the penetration of adhesive during subsequent burst binding.
Numbering Tickets or forms are numbered for ease of use/tracking in the user’s environment.
Offset Powder Fine powder sprayed on freshly printed sheets to prevent transfer of wet ink as they accumulate in the delivery stack.
Offset Printing Printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.
Onsert A piece of printed material (e.g. an event flyer) or other item (eg- CD or product sample) that is placed on top of other printed material (e.g. magazine or catalogue) at the mail house. It is then usually plastic wrapped with a flysheet and is lodged from the mail house for delivery to individual addresses. An onsert is different to an insert. An insert is placed within a publication whereas an onsert is placed on top.
Opacity Quality of papers that defines its opaqueness or ability to prevent two-sided printing from showing through.
Opaque Ink Heavily pigmented ink that blocks out colour of underlying ink or paper.
Outline Paths A term used when converting a font or graphic into a mathematical vector format. Can also be called ‘curves’.
Overprint To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint. Also called surprint or imprint.
Overs Printed pieces in an overrun.
Padding A finishing operation in which a flexible adhesive – called padding glue – is applied to one edge of a stack of sheets. When the adhesive is dry, sheets can be torn off individually (also used to create notepads).
Page Count Total number of pages, including blanks and printed pages without numbers.
Pantone The name of an ink colour matching system, created by Pantone Inc of USA.
Pantone Colours Premixed ink colours that are often specified for printing as a spot colour. Can be matched using CMYK but will not be identical to its Pantone colour counterpart.
Paper Dummy Unprinted sample of a proposed printed piece trimmed, folded, and, if necessary, bound using paper specified for the job.
Parallel Fold A method of folding where two folds are parallel to each other. Two parallel folds produce a six-page sheet.
PDF Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format used to represent documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems. Each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a fixed-layout flat document, including the text, fonts, graphics, and other information needed to display it.
Peel ‘n’ Seal Envelope Where a covering strip is placed over the sealing substance on the flap. Once peeled back and the envelope is pressed shut it is sealed.
Perf Marks On a “dummy” marking where the perforation is to occur.
Perfect Binding Binding for a finished book where the cover wraps around the text pages including the front, spine and back. Glue mechanically wiped onto the spine area seals the cover to the text. A greater margin is required on the inside of pages to allow for ease of reading. Very durable.
Perforating Taking place on a press or a binder machine, creating a line of small dotted wholes for the purpose of tearing-off part of a printed item (usually straight lines, vertical or horizontal).
Photoshop Adobe Photoshop is a graphics editing program developed and published by Adobe Systems. Adobe’s 2003 “Creative Suite” rebranding led to Adobe Photoshop 8′s renaming to Adobe Photoshop CS.
Picking An occurrence in printing whereby the tack of ink pulls fibres or coating off the paper surface, leaving spots on the printed surface.
Pigment Finely-ground particles giving colour and opacity to ink.
Pixel Short for picture element, a dot made by a computer, scanner or other digital device. Also called pel.
Plain Faced Envelope An envelope that has no window.
Plastic Comb Binding A means of mechanical binding in which the pages are bound together by means of a plastic comb. This comb consists of a plastic strip which extends a series of curved plastic prongs. These are inserted into drilled or punched holes along the binding edge of the pages.
Platen Press A letterpress that opens and closes like a clamshell.
PMS (Pantone Matching System) A standard that creates different ink colours by mixing inks with a minimal amount of base colour. A process guide shows how Pantone spot colours will appear when converted to process colours (CMYK).
Pocket Envelope A envelope that opens on the short edge.
Point A measurement for the size of type, distance between lines and thickness of rules. One point equals one seventy-second of an inch (0.3515mm).
Portrait Where a document is oriented so the long edges are on either side. As opposed to landscape.
PostScript A tradename of Adobe Systems, Inc. for its page description language. This language translates a digital file from an application into a language a compatible printer or other device can use to create its output.
PP (Printed Pages) The actual number of printed pages not the number of sheets of paper. For example, an 8pp A4 magazine is 2 x A3 sheets, double sided, folded and saddle stitched to A4.
PPI (Pixels Per Inch) A measurement describing the size of a printed image. The higher the number, the more detailed the image will be.
Pre-flight In digital prepress this is the test used to used to analyse or evaluate every component needed to produce a high quality print job. The process helps reduce the likelihood of rasterisation problems and the subsequent production delays that they cause.
Press Check Event at which make-ready sheets from the press are examined before authorizing full-production to begin.
Press Proof Proof made on press using the plates, paper, and ink specified for the job.
Press Seal Envelope Where an envelope has two flaps for closing. A sticky sealing substance on each flap, when pressed together, seals the envelope shut.
Pressure-sensitive Self-adhesive paper covered by a backing sheet.
Primary Colours The basic colours of a colour system, which are used to mix all other renderable colour tones. The primary colours are cyan, magenta and yellow (black functions only as an auxiliary colour for the technical aspects of printing) in the CMYK system, and red, green and blue in the RGB system.
Process Colour Colour specified in percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. when superimposed during printing the four colour printing process, their separate plates can recreate millions of different colours.
Process Printing A system where a colour image is separated into different colour values (cyan, magenta, yellow and black or CMYK) by the use of filters and screens or digitally with a software program and then transferred to printing plates and printed on a printing press, reproducing the original colour image.
Progressive Proof Press proof showing each colour of a job separately or several colours in combination.
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.
Proofread To examine copy or a proof for errors in writing or composition.
Pulp Mixture of wood and/or cotton fibres, chemicals, and water from which mills make paper.
PUR Binding Method of binding books and brochures using polyurethane adhesive. It is processed hot and hardens by cooling. The bond is then impervious to heat. PUR adhesive binding is a particularly high-quality method that is ideal for high-use products such as trade show catalogues and for difficult types of paper.
PUR Glue Polyurethane-reactive hot-melt glue, which is more flexible than older types of glues and is used as layflat adhesive binding. PUR glue is considered to be the most flexible and durable bookbinding glues on the market. They yield products that lie flatter and require less backbone preparation than other glues.
PVA Glue PVA glue is applied cold; once dried, the resins penetrates deep into the structure of the paper stock, forming a solid bond.
Ragged Left The term given to right-justified type that is uneven on the left.
Ragged Right The term given to left-justified type that is uneven on the right.
Raised Printing Alternate term for Thermography.
Raster Image Electronic representation of printable data using a grid of points called pixels. Each pixel contains a defined value about its colour, size and location in the image – this enables picture perfect printing.
Rasterised Fonts If you have been advised that there may be rasterised fonts in your artwork, this means that some or all of the text in your artwork is made up of pixels rather than vectors. When creating text in desktop publishing software (e.g. Microsoft Publisher / Adobe InDesign), or vector software (e.g. Adobe Illustrator / Corel Draw), the text is made up of shapes which can be scaled indefinitely without losing quality. However, if a design is saved to an image file format (e.g. JPEG / Tiff), the text automatically becomes rasterised (it is no longer made up of vector shapes, it is now made up of pixels). This means that if you enlarge text it will lose quality. High resolution rasterised text may look the same as vector text when printed. However if rasterised text is low-resolution it may appear blurry, jagged, pixelated and sometimes illegible.
Ream 500 sheets of paper.
Recto Right-hand page of an open publication.
Recycled Paper New paper made entirely or in part from previously used or previously manufactured paper.
Register To place printing properly with regard to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet. Such printing is said to be in register.
Register Marks Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register. Also called crossmarks and position marks.
Remoistenable Glue A line of glue applied to paper that when moisture is applied, sticks like an envelope flap.
Resolution The number of pixels in an image. The more pixels, the higher the resolution and the better the picture. For a good quality print result, colour and gray scale raster images (pixel-based/scans) should be 300dpi (maximum 350dpi). Mono raster images (bitmaps) should be 1200 dpi maximum.
Retouch To enhance a photo or correct its flaws.
Reverse Printing Printing of solid background behind tab or body copy with actual copy appearing unprinted (i.e. in colour of unprinted paper).
Reversed-out Type appearing white on a black or colour background, either a solid or a tint.
RGB An acronym for red, green and blue. RGB is a colour model used for computer monitors and colour video output systems. RGB describes colours that are produced by emitting light rather than absorbing it. They are known as additive colours because when they are added together they create all colours. Colour separations for litho printing cannot be made directly from RGB files and need to be converted to CMYK first.
Right Reading Copy reading correctly (normally) from left to right.
RIP Raster Image Processor, a production device used to convert a digital file into a raster image. The raster image is the electronic representation of printable data.
Roll Fold A method of folding in which the two panels on the edges of the page fold in over the centre panel. It is essentially a fold that keeps rolling onto itself.
Rosette The formation created by the dots that make up four-colour images. The dots, in magenta (red), cyan (blue), yellow, and black, overlap each other in a cluster. Because the dots are not perfectly round, and because they are turned at angles to each other, this cluster resembles the arrangement of petals in a rose.
Rotogravure Gravure printing using a web press.
Rule Line used for graphic effect.
Ruling See Screen ruling.
Run On Describes when a printing price is quoted and is given as a figure for the basic job plus a figure for additional copies. For example, the price may be 2000 copies at $500, with an $80 per 1000 run-on price. This enables the print buyer to calculate a range of prices for different quantities. It is very important to note that the run-on price is for copies printed at the same time as the main run. For instance, in the example given, you could not have 2000 copies today and then expect to have another 1000 at some future date for just $80. In many cases the set-up and Make Ready charges represent a large proportion of the print cost so this cost needs to be included with each job
Running Head/Running Foot A title at the top or bottom of a page that appears on all pages of a book or chapter of a book.
Saddle-Stitch Where a document is wire stitched on the spine, better known as stapled. The process involves inserting forms on top of other forms over a saddle and driving stitches through the gathered piece’s backbone.
Scale To identify the percent by which images should be enlarged or reduced.
Scanning The process of converting a hard copy into digital data ready for editing and design. The quality of the scan is dependent on the quality of the original, the scanning equipment and software as well as the experience of the operator.
Scoring Making a line or a crease in paper or board to enable clean and accurate folding. Scoring is recommended on heavier stocks and it minimises cracking of the ink and paper at the edge of the fold.
Screen Angles The placement of halftone screens to avoid unwanted moiré patterns. Frequently used angles are black 45º, magenta 75º, yellow 90º, and cyan 105º.
Screen Density Amount of ink, expressed as percent of coverage, that a specific screen allows to print.
Screen Printing The oldest method of printing. Ink is applied to a porous silk screen and passes through a stencil or template to leave an impression.
Screen Ruling A measurement equalling the number of lines or dots per inch on a halftone screen.
Screen Tint Area of image printed with dots so ink coverage is less than 100% and simulates shading or a lighter colour.
Scumming A common printing problem that occurs when the non-image areas of the plate take on some ink. This often causes streaks on printed material.
Section A printed sheet that is folded to make multiple pages. Multiple sections are placed together to make up a book. Individual sections are either saddle-stitched or perfect bound together.
Self Cover A cover that is the same paper stock as the internal sheets.
Self Mailer Printed piece designed to be mailed without an envelope.
Separation Alternate term for Colour Separation.
Set Off A printing problem that occurs when wet ink from the printed side of the sheet transfers to the back of the sheet above it.
Sew To use thread to fasten signatures together at the spine of a book.
Sharpen To decrease the dot size of a halftone, which in turn decreases the colour strength.
Sheet Fed Press A printing press that prints single sheets of paper, rather than printing from reels of paper.
Sheeter Device to cut roll of paper into sheets.
Sheetwise The printing of two different images on two different sides of a sheet of paper by turning the sheet over after the first side is printed and using the same gripper and side guides.
Shingling Allowance made during pasteup or stripping to compensate for creep.
Short Grain When the grain of the paper runs against the longest dimension.
Show Through When the printing on one side of a sheet is seen from the other side, a frequent problem with thin papers.
Shrink Wrapping Sealing and heat-shrinking in plastic film of individual or multiple tab sets or pieces.
Side Stitch Binding for a finished book where the staples can be seen on the front of the book and are pushed through the book to the back. Also referred to as cleat bind.
Signatures In printing, any single press sheet on which multiple page have been imposed which, when folded and cut, forms a group of pages. Most books and other publications are printed as group of signatures. The multiple imposition allowing a significant reduction in the number of independent pressruns required to print all pages.
Single Sided Page When a page is to have text/image on only one side.
Slip Sheet Blank sheet placed between newly-made printed products to prevent setoff or scuffing during handling and shipping.
Slit To cut paper using a disk or wheel.
Slur Undesirable phenomenon of halftone dots becoming slightly elongated during printing. The problem is caused by paper slipping during the impression stage, causing smearing of the image.
Soft Cover Bound without a case; usually perfect bound, but also sewn and bound with a paper cover.
Soft Proof A digital electronic proof. PDF files are the most common used.
Solid Any area of the sheet that has received 100% ink coverage
Soy Inks Inks made with soy oils instead of petroleum as the base. They are considered to be more environmentally friendly, a standard component of green printing.
Spec Sheet Short for sheet on which specifications are written.
Specialty Papers Paper distributor term for carbonless, pressure-sensitive, synthetic, and other papers (eg- coloured stocks, textured stocks) made for special applications.
Specialty Printer Printer specializing in making a particular product.
Specifications Complete and precise descriptions of paper, ink, binding, quantity, and other features of a printing job.
Spine Binding edge of a signature or publication.
Spiral Binding Where a metal or plastic wire is spiralled through holes punched along the side of a stack of paper. Commonly used for reports, proposals and manuals. Documents bound with coil have the ability to lay flat and can rotate 360 degrees. Also called coil binding.
Spot Colour In offset printing, a spot colour is any colour generated by an ink (pure or mixed) that is printed using a single run. A spot colour is often nominated by using a PMS colour.
Spot UV Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light to create a glossy look. Spot UV works particularly well when used to highlight one article on a page such as a logo.
Spot Varnish One varnish applied to portions of a sheet, as compared to flood or painted sheet.
Spread Two or more adjoining pages that would appear in view on sheet.
Stamping Alternate term for Foil stamping.
Stapled Top Left Corner When a single staple, positioned at the top left corner is used to hold the document together.
Stepped Booklets Upgraded versions of standard booklets with a narrow strip on every page (usually on the right hand side or bottom) with the information describing the content. These strips are visible along the edge of the booklet and enable fast location of content without using a standard index or contents page.
Stitch Bind To bind with wire staples
Super Calendaring A machine procedure that produces a very smooth paper surface that is exceptional for printing.
Swatch A sample of colours or paper stocks.
Swatch Book Book with small samples of paper or ink colours.
Synthetic Paper Plastic or other petroleum-based paper.
Tab Mylar Clear or coloured plastic coating around tab extension.
Tack Characteristic of ink making it sticky.
Thermography Method of printing using colourless resin powder and heat applied to wet ink yielding raised images. Also called ‘verkotype’ or ‘verko.’
TIFF Acronym for Tagged Image File Format. TIFF (.TIF) pictures can be black-and-white line art, greyscale or colour. TIFF is a bitmapped file format and is a widely used format for image/photographic files but is unsuitable for text unless its is created at a very hi-resolution.
Tint A halftone screen that contains all the same sized dots.
Tip-On To bind a foldout or other insert into a book by means of an adhesive.
Transparency The ability of an ink or coating to allow light to pass through it. Process colours are transparent to allow them to blend and create other colours.
Trapping A slight overlapping between two touching colours that prevents gaps from appearing along the edges of an object because of misalignment , movement on the printing press and the flexing of paper while it moves through the press.
Trim Marks Lines on a mechanical, negative, plate, or press sheet showing where to cut edges off of paper or cut paper apart after printing.
Trim Size The final size of a printed piece after being cut from the sheet of paper that it was printed on.
Typo A spelling mistake in printed material resulting from a mistake in typing or setting type.
Undercolour Removal The removing of cyan, magenta, or yellow from a heavily colored image to limit the total amount of ink being applied to that image to avoid potential production problems.
UV Coating A very shiny and durable high gloss coating applied to printed material. Applied as a liquid laminate then cured with ultraviolet light. Also called ‘UV Varnish.’
Variable Data Printing (VDP) A form of on-demand printing in which elements (such as text, graphics, photographs, etc) can be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the press, using information from a database. For example, a set of personalized letters, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with a different name and address on each letter.
Varnishing/Sealing The application of a varnish/sealant to a surface to offer protection against marking and/or improve its overall appearance.
Vector Graphics Images created using mathematical statements that define geometric shapes. Moving, resizing, and changing the colour of vector graphics can be achieved without losing quality. Unlike bitmaps, vector graphics are not dependent on resolution so they can be scaled to any size without losing detail or clarity.
Verko Method of printing using colourless resin powder and heat applied to wet ink yielding raised images. Also called ‘verkotype’ or ‘thermography.’
Vignette A photo or illustration, in which the tones fade gradually away until they blend with the background they are printed on.
Viscosity The properties of tack and flow in printing inks.
VOCs Abbreviation of Volatile Organic Compounds. Petroleum based chemicals used in some printing inks and coatings whose high vapour pressure allows easy evaporation into the air.
Wallet Envelope An envelope that has a long rectangular closure flap across the long edge of the envelope.
Watermark Translucent logo, mark or image in paper created during manufacture by slight embossing while paper is still approximately 90 percent water. The watermark is visible when the paper is held up to the light.
Web Printing A web printing machine accepts that substrate in a large roll (the web), either in lithographic, flexographic, or gravure processes. It is usually cut into sheets after printing. Web presses are very fast and are the most economic for long run and high volume work. 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).
Wet Trap When varnish or ink is printed over wet ink. The application is said to be a ‘wet trap’.
Widow A single word or two left at the end of a paragraph, or a part of a sentence ending a paragraph, which loops over to the next page and stands alone. Also, the last sentence of a paragraph, which contains only one or two short words.
Window Faced Envelope An envelope that has an address window.
Wire/o Binding A type of spiral binding comprising a double set of wire loops inserted into punched or drilled holes along the binding edge of a set of pages.
Wiro Binding See Wire/o Binding.
With The Grain Parallel to the grain direction of paper.
Work and Tumble To print one side of a sheet of paper then turn the sheet over from gripper to back using the opposite gripper edge but the same side guide to print the second side.
Work and Turn To print one side of a sheet of paper then turn the sheet over from left to right and print the second side using the same gripper edge to print the second side.
WYSIWYG What-you-see-is-what-you-get (pronounced “wizzywig”). Refers to systems that allow you to preview your print work on screen, the printed page will look the same as the preview.
Z Fold A method of folding in which each fold opens in the opposite direction to its neighbour, giving a pleated effect. The fold looks like the letter ‘ Z.’ Also known as a ‘zigzag’ fold or ‘accordion fold.’
Zip File Zipping a file compresses one or more files into a smaller archive. It takes up less hard drive space and less time to transfer across a network or the internet.