Printing Glossary

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Accordian Fold: A bindery term which means two or more parallel folds which result in a sheet that opens up like an accordian.

Against the Grain: Perpendicular to the grain direction of paper.

Aliasing: A defect that is caused by a graphic file which does not have enough resolution to reproduce image detail and causes visible jagged lines along the image edges.

Artwork: The original copy from the customer which includes all graphics, text, illustrations & photos.

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Backup: To print on the reverse side of a printed sheet.

Bind: The process where sheets are fastened together into brochures, booklets, catalogs or books by using coils, wires, staples, or glue.

Bindery: The final step of a printing process which includes cutting, trimming, drilling, collating, folding and stapling.

Bitmap: An image file format which refers to rows and columns of dots or pixels which represent the image.

Blanket: A heavy rubber coated pad used on a printing press which is used to transfer ink from the plates to the paper.

Bleed: Printing which extends beyond the edges of a final trimmed piece of paper. More information about bleeds is available in our Printing FAQ.

Blind Embossing: A finishing process in which a design is formed into a sheet using a die causing a slightly raised image.

Bond Paper: Low cost and lightweight paper most often used for newsletters and stationary.

Brightness: The reflective quality or brilliance of paper which affects contrast in printing processes.

Bulk: The thickness of paper relative to weight.

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C1S: Acronym for paper coated on one side only.

C2S: Acronym for papers coated on both sides.

Caliper: A way to measure paper thickness which is normally expressed in thousandths of an inch or points.

Camera-Ready Art: A file which is print ready.

Cast Coated: A type of paper which is coated with a high gloss finish.

Coated Paper: Paper which has a thin clay coating on its surface.

Collate: A finishing term which means placing sheets in the correct finished order.

Color Balance: A term which means the proper ratio of cyan, yellow, magenta and black ink to produce the proper resultant color.

Color Bar: A strip of color printed on the edge of a sheet by an offset press which is used to validate color accuracy.

Color Correction: Methods of adjusting color in a machine.

Colorimeter: A light sensitive device used for measuring color with a response that simulates the average human eye.

Comb Bind: A common binding method which uses a plastic comb.

Computer-To-Plate: A technology that utilizes the transfer of digital data directly to a printing plate.

Contrast: The range of differences between the lightest and darkest colors in an image.

Copy: Materials used for printing.

Cover Paper: Heavyweight paper that is commonly used for brochures, covers of books, and postcards.

Crop: The virtual or actual cutting or trimming of the sides of an image.

Crop Marks: Lines printed at the edges of a printed sheet that detail where the paper is to be trimmed.

Cyan: One of the 4 basic colors of a four color printing process.

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Densitometer: An instrument used to measure the density of colored printing.

Die: A metal plate used for making a impressed design on papers.

Direct Imaging: A new technology that directly transfers the digital image to press plates using lasers.

DI Pres:s An offset press which utilizes direct imaging (DI) technology.

Dot: Also known as a pixel, the smallest element of a halftone.

Dot Gain: The spreading of inks on paper.

Dots Per Inch (DPI): A defined measurement of resolution of a printed image which is defined by the number of dots (pixels) that are fitted into a 1 inch by 1 inch square.

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Emboss: A common finishing process which presses an image into a paper which creates a raised image.

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Flood: The process of covering the entire sheet of paper with varnish or ink.

Foil: A thin metal film which is applied to paper in foil embossing and foil stamping.

Foil Emboss: A process of stamping foil onto paper using a special die.

Foil Stamping: A common process of pressing foil onto paper using a heated die.

Four Color Process: A printing process which creates a color image by using the 4 colors of cyan, magenta, yellow and black (K).

Four Over Four (4/4): Four color printing on both sides of the piece of paper.

Four Over One (4/1): Four color printing on one side and one color printing on the other side of paper.

Four Over Zero (4/0): Four color printing on one side and no printing on the back side of a piece of paper.

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Gang Runs: A method of printing in which multiple images (files) are printed on the same piece of paper to save setup costs. 

Ghosting: A printing defect in which a faint image appears across a printed page in offset printing.

Gloss: A shiny surface paper coating.

Grain: The direction that fibers in paper are aligned.

Grayscale: An image which consists of multiple shades of black and gray.

Grippers: Small metal fingers in a offset press which grab and hold the paper as it is printed.

Guide: A metal rail that guides paper through a press as it is printed.

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Halftone: The pattern of dots within a grid which produces a continuous tone image.

Hickey: A defect in a printed sheet caused by lint, dried ink, or dust or other contaminants.

House Stock: Paper that is normally stocked in-house.

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Image Area: The portion of a sheet which can be printed.

Imposition: The process of organizing pages in the correct order so they are printed properly.

Impression: Occurs when an image is printed on paper from a plate in an offset press.

Ink Fountain: The part in the offset press which contains the ink.

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Magenta: - One of the 4 basic colors in a 4 color printing process.

Matte: The coating on paper which is dull.

Micrometer: A measurement tool which is used to measure the thickness of paper.

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Opacity: - A measurement of paper which describes the show through of printing on a sheet of paper.

Overrun: - The over producton of printed materials.

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Page Count: Total number of pages in a printed document.

Pantone Matching System: The standard color matching system used by most graphic designers and printers.

Perfect Bind: A technique for binding commonly used for books whereas the edge of book is glued to cover.

Perforation: The process of peircing small holes for tearing or folding.

Plate: A flat sheet of metal or other material used in a offset printing press for producing images.

Process Colors: The 4 colors used for printing full color (cyan, yellow, magenta, black).

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Ream: A common quantity of paper, typically 500 sheets.

Raster Image Processor (RIP): An electronic machine which converts data into pixels.

Resolution: The number of pixels in a printed image commonly expressed as pixels per inch (ppi) or dots per inch (dpi).

RGB: Red, green, blue.  These colors are used in video displays.

Rich Black: A deep and dark color of black created by combining other process colors with black.

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Saddle Stitch: A bindery process which uses multiple staples to hold the spine of a booklet together.

Score: A crease in a piece of paper which allows it to fold easier and without cracking.

Self Cover: For booklets, defined as where the cover is the same type and weight of paper as the text.

Signature: A full sheet of paper before folding or stitching.

Spine: The bound edge of a book.

Spot Varnish: Application of varnish to specific parts of paper.

Step-And-Repeat: The process of printing the same image in different places on a plate or paper.

Stock: The paper which will be used for printing the image on.

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Trim Marks: Lines printed on the sheet to designate where to trim.

Typesetting: A process of arranging artwork or test in preparation for printing.

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Uncoated: A paper which has no coating.

Up: Common term used to describe how many times the same image is printed on a sheet of paper.

UV Coating: A clear plastic coating which is applied to paper in a liquid form and cured by ultraviolet light.

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Varnish: A clear liquid coating applied to paper printed products during the printing process.

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Watermark: A design created in paper during the production of the paper which is visible in the paper.

Wire-O: A common binding method which uses wire with double loops.

With The Grain: The folding of paper which goes in the same direction as the paper grain goes.

Work-And-Tumble: Print the second side of a sheet by flipping the sheet over head to tail.

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