Glossary of Print Terms

A

Accordion fold

A term for two or more parallel folds that result in a sheet that opens like an accordion

Against the grain

Perpendicular to the direction of the paper grain

Aliasing

A defect which occurs when a graphic file does not have enough resolution to reproduce image detail and causes visible jagged lines along the edges

Anti-aliasing

Technique of filling the edges of an object with pixels to eliminate jagged lines and make it appear smoother

Aqueous Coating

A fast-drying, water-based coating that is applied after printing that gives a glossy finish and protects the print’s surface.

Artwork

In printing, this is the original copy which includes all text, graphics, photos and illustrations

B

Back up (when printing)

To print the reverse side of a sheet already printed on one side

Bind

To fasten sheets or sections into brochures or booklets with the use of wire, thread, glue, staples, etc

Binding

The process by which sheets are fastened together which include cutting, trimming, collating, perforating, and folding to form the finished product

Bitmap

An image file format that refers to the rows and columns (map) of dots or pixels that form an image

Bitmap Images

Computerised image made up of a collection of dots or pixels; these images appear blocky when you zoom in; also known as raster images

Blanket

The thick rubber coated pad of a printing press that transfers ink from the plate to the sheet

Bleed

Printing that goes beyond the edge of the final trim size

Blind embossing

A technique in which a design is pressed into a sheet without ink or foil, creating a raised image

Bond paper

Durable and lightweight paper commonly used for letterheads and business stationery

Border

Margin or line between the image area and the edge of the paper

Brightness

The brilliance or reflective quality of paper affecting contrast in printing

Bulk

The thickness of paper relative to its weight

C

Caliper

Measurement of paper thickness expressed in thousandths of an inch

Cast coated

A type of coated paper with a high gloss enamel finish

Chrome

Colour transparency

Coated paper

Paper with a thin surface coating of clay that produces a smooth finish

Collate

A finishing term for arranging pages or sheets in correct order before binding

Colour Balance

Refers to the proper ratio of cyan, magenta, and yellow ink during printing to keep colour consistency and produce the desired colour of an image

Colour bar

Strips of colour used as a tool to check colour accuracy and density

Colour correction

Methods of adjusting and improving colour qualities such as colour balance, contrast, etc

Colour filter

Filters used in colour separation

Colour key

A printer’s proof made from 4 acetate or transparent films of various colours, one sheet per process colour, which when combined simulates the finished product

Colour matching system

Colour chart in an electronic system used to compare, measure or mix colours

Colour separations

Preparing a full-colour image for printing by separating it into the four basic process colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and black

Colour Sequence

The order in which the four-colour process inks are printed on the press

Comb bind

A method of binding by inserting a plastic comb through holes along the side or edge of a stack of pages

Computer-to-Plate (CTP)

A technology that enables transfer of digital data directly to a metal plate for printing, eliminating the use of conventional films

Continuous-tone copy

Illustrations and photographs that have a range of shades

Contrast

The range of difference between the darkest and lightest areas in an image

Copy

Any material (text or artwork) to be used in printing a piece

Cover paper

A heavyweight paper commonly used for covers of books, brochures, catalogues and folders

Creep

Creep is the shifting position of the page in a saddle-stitched bind. Creep moves the inside pages away from the spine.

Crop

To cut off sides or portions of an image

Crop marks

Lines at the edges of a sheet that show where the page will be trimmed

Crossover

Printing across the gutter or from one page to the facing page of a publication

Cure

The process of drying inks or coatings through chemical processes to develop strong adhesion

Cyan

Shade of blue; One of four basic ink colours used in 4 colour printing process (CMYK)

D

Deboss

To press an image below the surface of paper

Densitometer

An instrument used to measure the density of coloured ink to determine consistency

Density

The degree of darkness of an image

Die

Metal plate cut for impressing a design or image on paper

Die cutting

A process of cutting paper in a shape or design using metal dies

Direct Imaging

A technology that eliminates the use of film plates by directly transferring the image from digital files to the press plates using a laser

Direct Imaging Press (DI)

An offset press where the plate is imaged directly on the press with laser

Dot

The individual element of a halftones; also referred to as a “pixel”

Dot gain or spread

The spread of ink on paper; occurrence when dots print larger than they were on the film

Dots Per Inch (DPI)

A measurement of resolution of a screen image or printed image defined by the number of dots that fit horizontally and vertically into one inch; The higher the DPI, the sharper the image

Double burn

Exposing a printing plate to multiple images

Draw-down

A method of applying a thin coating or ink on paper to roughly determine colour

Drop-out

Parts of artwork that are not reproduced

Dummy

A preliminary layout of a copy showing the position and general style made to resemble the finished product

Duotone

A halftone image made up of two colours

Duplexing

The ability of a press to print on both sides of a sheet of paper

E

EPS (Encapsulated Postscript File)

An Adobe graphic file format for high resolution images; it translates graphic and text into code that tells a printer to print in the highest resolution possible and also has low resolution view files for quick screen viewing.

Emboss

Technique of pressing an image into paper so that creating a raised image

Emulsion

Photosensitive sensitive coating on printing plates and film

F

Feeder

Section of a printing press that separates the sheets and feeds them into position for printing

Flood

To cover a page completely with ink or varnish

Flop

The backside of an image

Foil

A thin metal applied to paper used in foil stamping and foil embossing

Foil emboss

To foil stamp or emboss an image on paper using a die

Foil stamping

Pressing a design or image on paper without ink using a foil and heated metal die

Four colour process

The process of printing using the combination of four basic colour inks (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) to produce a range of colours and create a colour image

Four back Four (4/4) or Four over four

A print job with four colour printing on both sides of the paper

Four back One (4/1) or Four over one

A print job with four colour printing on the front side and one colour (usually black) on the back side

Four back Zero (4/0) or Four over zero

A print job with four colour printing on the front side and no printing on the back side

FSC Certified Paper

Forest Stewardship Council certified paper

G

Gang

Economical way of printing by printing multiple images on the same sheet using the maximum sheet size

Ghosting

A printing defect where a faint unwanted image appears on a page

Gloss

Shiny coating applied to paper

Grain

The direction in which the fibres of a paper lie

Graphic Design

The use of visual elements to express a message

Grayscale

An image made up of a range of shades of black and white

Grippers

The metal fingers on printing presses that hold the paper and controls it as it passes through the press

H

Halftone

Pattern of dots within a fixed grid to reproduce a continuous-tone image

Hard copy

A document or data printed on paper

Highlight

The lightest part in an image

House Sheet

Paper kept in stock by a printer

I

Image area

Portion of a page or paper that can be printed on

Imposition

Arranging printed pages correctly so they will fold in the proper sequence

Impression

The pressure of a printing press on paper; image caused by pressure of a press plate on paper

Ink fountain

The container on a printing press that hold the ink

K

Keyline

An outline drawing to show the exact size and position of an artwork

L

Laid finish

A pattern of parallel lines running across the grain, creating a ribbed and handmade effect

Line copy

High contrast copy made up of solids or lines which do not require a halftone screen; also called line art or line work

Lines per inch (LPI)

The number of lines of dots per inch in a halftone screen; the higher the LPI., the sharper the image

Lithography

A method of printing where plates are chemically treated so that the image area accepts ink and non-image areas repel ink.

M

Magenta

Also known as process red; one of the 4 basic ink colours in process colour printing; M in abbreviation CMYK

Mask

Blocking light from reaching parts of a printing plate, also called knockout

Matte

Dull non-glossy finish

Micrometer

Devise used to measure the thickness (caliper) of paper

Middle tones

The tones in a photograph between highlights and shadows; must be balanced for accurate reproduction

Moire

An undesirable screen pattern caused by incorrect screen angles

N

Negative

A film in which the white areas of the original image appear black and the black areas appear white

O

Offset Printing

A common printing process in which the image to be printed is transferred from a metal plate to a rubber blanket onto paper

Offsetting

Transfer of ink or impression from one page to the opposite page

Opacity

The property of paper that minimizes the show-through on a printed sheet

Outline halftone

A halftone image with the background removed to outline the main image

Overrun

Production of larger quantities than ordered

P

Page count

Total number of pages in a book or publication

Pantone Matching Systems (PMS)

The standard colour-matching system used by printers and graphic designers

Perfect Bind

A binding technique in which pages are collated into a single sheet and then glued together and attached to the cover with an adhesive

Perfecting press

A printing press that prints both sides of a sheet at the same time

Perforation

Process of making holes or a series of cuts to make tearing or folding easy

Pica

A printer’s measure of type; One pica is 1/6 of an inch

Plate

A flat sheet of metal on which an image is reproduced using a printing press

PostScript

A page description language developed by Adobe Systems that tells a printer how an image is to be printed

Process colours

The four basic colours used in printing to simulate full spectrum colour — Cyan (blue), magenta (process red), yellow (process yellow), black (process black)

R

Raster

To render an image, pixel by pixel, vertically and horizontally

Raster image

See bitmap image

Raster Image Processor (RIP)

A device that translates data into dots or pixels

Ream

A quantity of paper equivalent to 500 sheets

Resolution

Refers to the number of pixels an image expressed in pixels per inch (ppi) or dots per inch (dpi); the higher the number, the sharper the image

RGB

Refers to red, green, blue – the additive primary colours used for colour video display as on a computer screen

Rich Black

A darker and deeper black colour created by combining other ink colours with black ink. The values to create Rich Black is usually 60% Cyan & 100% Black. Or 40% Cyan, 30% Magenta, 30% Yellow, 100% Black. Never use Rich Black for small type below 20pt

Ruleup

A map or drawing showing how a printing job must be imposed with a specific press and sheet size; also called Press Layout

S

Saddle stitch

A method of binding using staples in the seam or spine of a book or booklet where it folds

Scanner

An instrument used to make colour separations; also an instrument to scan images or photos in desktop publishing

Score

A mark or crease pressed on paper to make folding easier

Scoring

The process of pressing a sheet of paper to create a groove or line for folding

Screen angles

The angles at which halftone screens are positioned to avoid unwanted patterns

Self-cover

The paper used as cover is the same as that used in the inside pages

Shadow

The darkest areas of a photograph or image

Side stitch

To bind by stapling sheets along one side of a sheet

Signature

Term for a printed sheet after folding

Specifications

A precise description of features of a print order such as paper stock and quantity

Spine

The back edge of a bound book or publication that connects the 2 covers

Split Run

Printing of a book or booklet that has copies bound in different ways

Spoilage

Planned paper waste — also known as make readies

Spot varnish

Varnishing a specific part of a sheet

Stamping

Pressing a design or image onto paper with a metal die

Step-and-repeat

Technique of repeatedly exposing the same image on the plate in different places

Stock

The paper or material to be printed on

Stripping

The process of positioning film negatives for plate making

Substrate

Any surface or material on which printing is done

T

Tagged Image File Format (.TIFF)

A standard graphic image file format often used for storing high resolution images that can easily handle up to 24 bits of photographic image colour

Tint

A mixture of a hue with white

Tissue overlay

A thin transparent paper placed over artwork for protection and may be used for marking printer instructions

Trapping

Printing of one ink over the other to prevent gaps from appearing

Trim marks

Marks on a printed sheet that show where to cut or trim the page

Trim size

The final size of a printed image after trimming

Typesetting

To arrange or layout artwork and text for printing

U

Uncoated

Paper with no treatment or coating on the surface

Under-run

Production of fewer copies than ordered by customer

Up

Printing multiple copies of the same on the same sheet — ie 2 up or 4 up

UV coating

Liquid glossy coating applied to paper’s surface and cured with ultraviolet light

V

Varnish

A clear liquid coating applied to printed sheet for protection and shine

Vector Images

Images made up of solids, lines and curves that can be scaled or edited without affecting image resolution

W

Waste

Planned spoilage

Watermark

A distinctive design created in paper during manufacturing that is visible when the paper is held up to the light

Web

The roll of printing paper used in web or rotary printing

Web press

A high speed printing press that print on a continuous roll of paper or web rather than on individual sheets

Wire O

A method of binding using double loops of wire through a hole

With the grain

Folding or feeding paper into the press parallel to the paper’s grain or fiber

Work and turn

Printing the second side of a sheet by turning the sheet over from the gripper to the tail utilising the same side guides and plate

Wove paper

A paper having a uniform unlined surface and a smooth finish