We take great pride in making our clients feel comfortable and confident about their printing jobs during the production process. To help you gain a better understanding of what's happening to your project, we've compiled a glossary of common (and not so common) printing terms.
A type of paper folding in which each fold runs in the opposite direction to the previous fold creating a pleated or accordion effect.
A transparent or translucent plastic sheet material of a variety of colors, used as a basis for artwork and overlays.
In photographic reproduction, the primary colors of red, green and blue which are mixed to form all other colors.
Large white areas in a design layout.
The position of elements on a page in relation to a referenced horizontal or vertical line.
Also called reflex blue. A pigment used in carbon black inks and varnishes to improve luster.
The white area at the margins of text or illustrations used to form a foldout.
Water soluble plate coatings, which are less toxic and less polluting.
All illustrated material (ornamentation, photos and charts, etc.) that is prepared for reproduction.
Changes made after composition stage where customer is responsible for additional charges.
A flap where the edges are more rounded; also called a wallet flap.
The flat steel table of a cylinder printing press upon which the type sits during the printing process.
A heavy paperboard with a cloth covering that is used for hardback binding of books.
Various methods of securing folded sections of paper together and fastening them to a cover to form a book.
On offset presses a fabric-reinforced sheet of rubber to transfer the impression from the plate onto the paper.
Extra inked area that crosses designated trim line; used to allow for variations that occur when the reproduction is trimmed or die-cut.
A design or bas relief impression that is made without using inks or metal foils.
Photographic proof made from flats for checking accuracy, layout and imposition before plates are made; also known as a dylux.
The main shank or portion of the letter character other than the ascenders and descenders; a term used to define the thickness or viscosity of printer's ink.
A grade of durable writing, printing and typing paper that has a standard size of 17x22 inches.
A term given the unfinished stage of bookmaking when the pages are folded, gathered and stitched in but not yet cover bound.
A general classification of paper stock used to print books.
A registration problem, usually on copiers, where the image appears to bounce back and forth. A bounce usually occurs in one direction depending on how the paper is passing through the machine.
A pamphlet that is bound in booklet form.
A term used in platemaking to describe the amount of plate exposure time.
The measurement of thickness of paper expressed in thousandths of an inch or mils.
A term given to any copy, artwork etc., that is prepared for photographic reproduction.
Instructions in the typesetting process that indicate the use of a capital letter to start a sentence and the rest of the letters in lower case.
Two sizes of capital letters made in one size of type, which is indicated by the use of a larger capital letter to start a sentence with the rest of the letters being in smaller capitals.
A paper that is coated and then pressure dried using a polished roller which imparts an enamel-like hard gloss finish.
An abbreviation for the four primary colors used in four-color process printing--cyan (a light blue), magenta (a pinkish purple), yellow and black.
Paper coated with clay, white pigments and a binder. Better for printing because there is less picking.
To gather sheets or signatures together in their correct order. Reference: Gather.
This term refers to a color test strip, which is printed on the waste portion of a press sheet. It is a standardized GATF (Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) process which allows a pressman to determine the quality of the printed material relative to ink density, registration and dot gain. It also includes the Star Target, which is a similar system designed to detect inking problems.
The processes of separating the primary color components for printing.
Space between two or more columns of type on one page.
A halftone screen made on film of graded density, and used in a vacuum contact with the film.
Image made of non-discernable picture elements which give appearance of continuous spectrum of grey values or tones.
The degree of tonal separation or gradation in the range from black to white.
Refers to any typewritten material, art, photos, etc., to be used for the printing process.
A term describing a general category of papers used for the covers of books, pamphlets, etc.
When the rubber blanket on a cylinder moves forward due to contact with the plate or paper. Result of added thickness of folded sheets being behind one another in a folded signature. Outer edges of sheets creep away from back most fold as more folded sheets are inserted inside the middle.
To eliminate a portion of the art or copy as indicated by crop marks.
Markings at edges of original or on guide sheet to indicate the area desired in reproduction with negative or plate trimmed (cropped) at the markings.
Machine for accurately cutting stacks of paper to desired dimensions; can also be used to crease. Also trims out final bound books' top size (soft cover).
Sharp edged device, usually made of steel, to cut paper, cardboard, etc., on a printing press.
A shade of blue used in the four-color process; it reflects blue and green and absorbs red.
The rough or feathered edge of paper when left untrimmed.
The lay of paper fibers relative to tightness or looseness which affects the bulk, the absorbency and the finish of the paper.
Design, letters or shapes cut into metal (mostly brass) for stamping book covers or embossing. An engraved stamp used for impressing an image or design.
An intaglio process for printing from images engraved into copper or steel plates.
Color separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to color photographic paper, creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed.
Darkening of halftone image due to ink absorption in paper causing halftone dots to enlarge. Terms to describe the occurrence whereby dots are printing larger than they should.
Dots Per Inch; the standard measurement of resolution for printers, photo type setting machines and graphics screens. The higher the value, the finer the detail of the finished print.
The actual drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding.
A shadow image placed strategically behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page.
Any matte-finished paper.
Color reproduction from monochrome original. Keyplate usually printed in dark color for detail, second plate printed in light flat tints. A two-color halftone reproduction generated from a one-color photo.
Paper which has a different color or finish on each side.
The process by which an image is printed onto a specially coated paper and from there transferred onto the final media (e.g. a piece of fabric) through the application of heat.
The finish of paper surface that resembles an eggshell achieved by omitting the calendar process. Reference: calendar rolls.
A process of generating a prepress proof in which paper is electronically exposed to the color separation negatives; the paper is passed through the electrically charged pigmented toners, which adhere electrostatically, resulting in the finished proof.
A method of paper finishing whereby a pattern is pressed into the paper when it is dry.
A printing process whereby images such as copy or art are etched onto a plate. When ink is applied, these etched areas act as small wells to hold the ink; paper is forced against this die and the ink is lifted out of the etched areas, creating raised images on the paper.
The form used by the printer to calculate the project for the print buyer. This form contains the basic parameters of the project including size, quantity, colors, bleeds, photos, etc.
Paper folding that emulates an accordion or fan, the folds being alternating and parallel.
A cloth conveyor belt that receives papers from the Fourdrinier and delivers it to the drier. Reference: fourdrinier.
The smoother side of paper, usually a soft weave pattern used for book papers. A soft weave pattern used for book papers.
Also called wash coat; any thinly coated paper stock.
Dull - (low gloss) also matte or matte gloss.
Papers that have a surface resembling metal.
Machine used to fold signatures down into sections.
The characters which make up a complete typeface and size.
A sheet of paper printed on one side and folded first vertically and then horizontally to produce a four-page folder where the printing is on the outside of the folds.
Group of frames or impositions in the same form of different jobs arranged and positioned to be printed together.
A series of metal fingers that hold each sheet of paper as it passes through the various stages of the printing process.
The grippers of the printing press move the paper through the press by holding onto the leading edge of the sheet; this edge is the gripper edge.
Low-cost papers such as newsprint made by the mechanical pulping process as opposed to chemical pulping and refining.
Printing registration that lies within the range of plus or minus one half row of dots. It is the thinnest of the standard printers' rules.
A color separation process developed by Pantone
Imperfections in presswork due to dirt on press, trapping errors, etc.
That portion of the printing plate that carries the ink and prints on paper.
Arrangement of pages so that they print correctly on a press sheet and the pages are in proper order when the sheets are folded.
The device which stores and meters ink to the inking rollers.
Extra printed pages inserted loosely into printed pieces.
Text that is used to denote emphasis by slanting the type body forward (leaning to the right).
To vibrate a stack of finished pages so that they are tightly aligned for final trimming.
A parallel lined paper that has a handmade look.
A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, roughs, thumbnails, etc., of the final printed piece before it goes to print.
Printing that utilizes inked raised surfaces to create the image.
A personalized type or design symbol for a company or product.
Process of adjusting final plate on the press to fine tune or modify plate surface.
Imprinted space around the edge of a page.
Commonly taken as the area between the highlight and shadow areas of a subject's face in halftone image.
When two-sheet passes on a press are misaligned.
The most commonly used printing method, whereby the printed material does not receive the ink directly from the printing plate but from an intermediary cylinder called a blanket which receives the ink from the plate and transfers it to the paper.
Quality of papers that defines its opaqueness or ability to prevent two-sided printing from showing through.
A quality of paper that allows relatively little light to pass through.
A hard finished paper that emulates animal skin; used for documents, such as awards, that require writing by hand.
A sheet that is larger than the cut stock of the same paper.
Markings usually dotted lines at edges showing where perforations should occur.
Binding process where backs of sections are cut off, roughened and glued together, and rung in a cover.
Punching small holes or slits in a sheet of paper or cardboard to facilitate tearing along a desired line.
A printing technique where ink is transferred to paper from a flat surface. Lithography and offset printing are a type of planography. Also called surface printing.
A method of binding books whereby holes are drilled on the side closest to the spine and a plastic grasping device is inserted to hold the pages together.
Actual press sheet to show image, tone values and colors, as well as imposition of frame or press-plate.
In printing the four primary colors are cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black.
See Camera Ready
The ability of a paper to show reproduced (printed) images.
Two consecutive pages as they appear on a flat or signature.
Printing inks, usually in sets of four colors. The most frequent combination is yellow, magenta, cyan and black, which are printed one over another in that order to obtain a colored print with the desired hues, whites, blacks and grays.
An impression of composed type and illustrations made for the purpose of checking the accuracy of the layout, type and color.
500 sheets of paper.
The arrangement of two or more images in exact alignment with each other.
Any crossmarks or other symbols used on layout to assure proper registration.
A term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other.
Stitching where wire staples pass through the spine from the outside and are clinched in the center. Only used with folded sections, either single sections or two or more sections inserted to form a single section.
A paper that shows sign of erasure so that it cannot be altered or tampered with easily.
A smooth, delicately embossed finished paper with sheen.
Impressions or cuts in flat material to facilitate bending or tearing.
Unwanted ink marks in the non-image area.
A cover made out of the same paper stock as the internal sheets.
A problem that occurs when the printing on one side of a sheet is seen from the other side.
A term to describe the process of the cutting of printed sheets by the cutting wheels of a printing press.
Back edge of a book.
A binding whereby a wire of metal or plastic is spiraled through holes punched along the binding side.
Small area printed in a second color.
A proofreader's symbol that is usually written in the copy margin. It indicates that the copy, which was marked for correction, should be left as it was.
A term for unprinted paper or other material to be printed.
A paper's ability to withstand pressure.
A printing process whereby slow drying ink is applied to paper and while the ink is still wet, is lightly dusted with a resinous powder. The paper then passes through a heat chamber where the powder melts and fuses with the ink to produce a raised surface.
Inks that do not block out the colored inks that they print over, but instead blend with them to create intermediate colors.
The process of printing wet ink over printed ink which may be wet or dry.
A clear shiny ink used to add gloss to printed pieces. The primary component of the ink vehicle. Reference: vehicle.
A finish of paper that is rough and bulky, and has a degree of tooth.
The procedure of cleaning a particular ink from all of the printing elements (rollers, plate, ink fountain, etc.) of a press.
A translucent logo that is embossed during the papermaking process while the paper slurry is on the dandy roll. Reference: dandy roll.