Print Glossary

Below we have placed some of the more common printers terms to help you understand the printing process:

Art paper: A term used to describe a range of smooth papers with a filled surface

Application: A computer program designed for a particular use, such as a graphics package or page layout application, ie Photoshop or InDesign

Artwork: A process which follows the initial design stage which makes rough ideas into a print-ready form

A/W: Abbreviation for artwork

Backing up: Printing on the reverse side of a printed sheet

Binding: Process of fastening papers together

Blanket: Thick rubber sheet that takes receives ink image from plate and delivers to paper on the press

Bleed: The printed image which extends beyond the trim edge of a sheet or page. A bleed may occur at the head, front, foot and/or gutter of a page

Blend: A smooth transition between two colours, also known as a graduated tint

Carbonless paper: Paper coated with chemicals that enable transfer of images from one sheet to another when pressure is placed on the sheet via writing or typing. Also known as NCR

CMYK: Abbreviation for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black) which are the 4 process colours and which when combined together in varying ratios can be made to produce the full colour spectrum

Collating: Gathering together of sheets of paper and placing them into the correct order

Colour separation: Process by which a continuous tone colour image is separated into the four process colours (CMYK) for print production

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

Crease: To mechanically press a rule into heavy paper or board to enable it to be folded without cracking. Also known as scoring

Crop Marks: Lines indicating where to trim, perforate or fold a printed job

Crop: To trim the edges of a picture or page to make it fit or remove unwanted portions

Densitometer: Our printers use this machine to measure the density of the ink on the paper, this enables the printer to maintain the highest level of standards throughout the print run

Density: The degree of darkness of light absorption or opacity of printed images

Die-cutting: Process of using sharp metal rules on a wooden block to cut out specialised shapes such as folders

DPI: A measure of the quality of an image from a scanner or output resolution of a printer. The more dots per inch, the higher the quality will be but with a larger file size

Duotone: A method of enhancing a mono image by using two colours

Embed: Implies the inclusion of elements and data into a computer file necessary to maintain or change the elements when used remotely

Embossing: A process performed after printing to stamp a raised (or depressed) image into the surface of paper, using engraved metal embossing dies, extreme pressure, and heat. embossing styles include blind, deboss and foil-embossed

EPS: Encapsulated PostScript, a computer file format widely used by the printing and graphics industries

Foil stamping: A metallic finish, or other embossed finishes applied by specialist equipment

Font: One of a range of typefaces in which lettering can be produced during the type setting stage, e.g. Arial – 10pt

Four-colour process: Reproduction of full-colour photographs or art with the four basic colours of ink (cyan, magenta, yellow and black)

French fold: Two folds at right angles to each other

Full colour: Or ‘four colour process’ using the four basic printing colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and black

Gutter: Line or fold at which facing pages meet

GSM: Paper weight is measured in grams per square metre

Greyscale: Shades of grey ranging from black to white; in printing, greyscale uses only a black halftone plate

Halftone: Picture with varying shades of tone created by varying size dots

Head margin: The white space above the first line on a page

Hickey: Spot or imperfection in printing

Heidelberg: Probably the best printing presses in the world – all of our presses are made by Heidleberg

ISDN: A file transfer system using one or more telephone lines, faster than e-mail enabling it to carry larger computer file sizes

Image area: Portion of paper where ink appears

Imposition: Positioning pages in a press-ready form so that they will be in the correct numerical sequence after folding

JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group – a common standard for compressing image data

Kerning: The adjustment of spacing between letters

Kiss-cut: To die-cut but not all the way through the paper – commonly used for peel off stickers

Lamination: A thin film coating which is applied to the paper or board to give a more glossy or matt appearance

Lithographic printing: A printing process based on the principle of the natural aversion of water to grease. The areas to be printed receive and transfer ink to the paper, the non-printing areas are treated with water to repel the ink

Make-ready: The work associated with the set-up of printing equipment before running a job

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 on the plate. When the plate is loaded onto the printing press it then reproduces this image using inks onto the paper

Micrometer: Instrument used for measuring the thickness of paper

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

Matt: A non glossy finish

Origination: A term used to describe all of the processes which prepare a job for the printing stage

Outline paths: A term used when converting a font or graphic into a mathematical vector format

Offset printing: A method in which the plate or cylinder transfers an ink image to an offset or transfer roller, which then transfers the image to stock

Over-run: Copies printed in excess of the quantity specified in the order

Page count: Total number of pages, including blanks and printed pages without numbers

Perfecting: Process of printing both sides of one sheet during a single pass through the press

Perfect binding: A bookbinding method in which pages are glued rather than sewn to the cover – used primarily for paperback books

PDF (Portable Document Format):  is a file format used to present documents in a manner independent of application software or operating systems. A PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a document, including the text, fonts, graphics, and other information needed to display it and so is the best way to present pages and artwork to us for printing.

Point: A measurement for the size of type, distance between lines and thickness of rules. One point equals 0.3515mm)

Pantone® colours: Premixed ink colours that are often specified for printing as a spot colour, can be matched using CMYK but will not be exactly the same colour as its Pantone colour counterpart

Process colour: Colour specified in percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. When superimposed during printing the four colour printing process this can recreate millions of different colours

Proof: A representation of the finished job produced for customer inspection so errors can be corrected prior to printing

Registration marks: Crosses or other marks placed on artwork which help to ensure perfect alignment

Reversed-out: Type appearing white on a black or colour background, either a solid or tint

Resolution: the number of dots per inch (dpi) in a computer-processed document. The level of detail retained by a printed document increases with higher resolution

RIP: (Raster Image Processor) A computer used to create an electronic bitmap for actual output

Registration marks: Reference marks on the page used to align overlaying colours. Also known as trim marks or crop marks

RGB: An acronym for red, green and blue. RGB is a colour model used for computer monitors and colour video output systems. Colour separations for litho printing can not be made directly from RGB files and need to be converted to CMYK first

Saddle stitch: A binding process in which a pamphlet or booklet is stapled through the middle fold of its sheets using metal wires

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 used

Score: A pressed mark in a sheet of paper or card to make folding cleaner and easier

Self-cover: The paper used inside a booklet is the same as that used for the cover and is generally printed on the same press run

Stock: A term for the material any project is printed onto

Spot colour: Spot colour is not made using the process colours instead the colour is printed using an ink made up specially. Each spot colour requires its own separate printing plate

Spread: Two or more adjoining pages that would appear in view on sheet

Solid: An area on the page which is completely covered by the ink

TIFF: Acronym for Tagged Image File Format. TIFF (.TIF) pictures can be black-and-white line art, greyscale or colour. This is a widely used format for image/photographic files but is unsuitable for text unless created at a very hi-resolution

Tint: An area of tone made by a pattern of dots, which lightens the apparent colour of the ink with which it is printed

Trapping: A slight overlapping between two touching colours that prevents gaps from appearing along the edges of an object because of misalignment or movement on the printing press

Turnaround time: Amount of time needed to complete a project

UV varnish: A liquid laminate that is bonded and cured with ultraviolet light

Varnishing/sealing: The application of a varnish/sealant to a surface to offer protection against marking and improve it’s overall appearance

Wire-o binding: A method of wire binding books along the binding edge that will allow the book to lay flat

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

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