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Printing Terms Glossary

Not unlike many industries, printing has a language that is all its own. We have assembled a database of printing terminology and definitions to help you to understand "print speak."

Use the alphabetical legend below to find terms in our Printing Terms Glossary. If you don't find a term that you are looking for let us know and we'll make sure that it gets added.

 
AB CDEFGH I J KLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
 
A (Absorption - ASCII)
 
 
Absorption – The property which causes paper to take up liquids or vapors in contact with it.

Accordian Fold – A bindery term used to describe two or more parallel folds which open like an accordian.

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.

Additive Primaries – Red, Green and Blue (RGB). When lights of these colors are added together, they produce the sensation of white light.

Against the Grain – A bindery term used to describe folding paper at a perpindicular angle to the grain direction of the paper. This is generally not recommended for a quality finished product. See also Grain Direction.

Alkaline Paper – A paper made with synthetic alkaline sizing and an alkaline filler such as calcium carbonate which gives the paper more than four times the life (more than 200 years) of acid-sized papers.

Alteration – Any change made by the customer after copy or artwork has been given to the service bureau, separator or printer. The change could be in copy, specifications or both. Also called AA, author alteration and customer alteration.

Analog Proof – A pre-press color or position proof made from film negative separations.

Anti-Offset Spray – A fine spray of dry powder used on the sheet delivery unit of a printing press to prevent wet ink from tranferring from the front of one press sheet to the back of another. Also called dust, offset powder, powder and spray powder.

Antique Finish – A paper term describing the surface, usually on text grade papers, that has a naturally rough finish.

Aqueous Coating – Coating in a water base and applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the printing underneath.

Art – A general term used to describe digital files or reflective copy used to generate film negatives and printing plates.

ASCII – American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A standard means of representing text as numerical data. A common file format for automated mail list generation.

 
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B (Backbone - Butt Register)
 
 
Backbone – A bindery term used to describe the back edge of a bound book which connects the front and back covers, more commonly referred to as the spine.

Back Up – A printing term used to describe the imaging of the reverse side of a sheet which has already been printed on one side.

Bad Break – A typesetting term used to describe the starting of a page or ending a paragraph with a single word. Commonly referred to as a widow.

Basic Size – The standard size of sheets of paper used to calculate basis weight in the United States and Canada.

Basis Weight – A paper term used to describe the weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of paper that has been cut to a given standard size for that grade of paper. (ie, 500 sheets of 25" X 38" 50# Offset paper weighs 50 lbs.) Also called ream weight and substance weight (sub weight). In countries using ISO paper sizes, the weight, in grams, of one square meter of paper. Also called grammage and ream weight.

Bind – A term generally used in printing to describe the joining of leafs or signatures together with either wire, glue or other means.

Bindery – A production department in a printing plant which uses specialized machinery to cut, fold and bind printed materials using a variety of techniques.

Bitmap – A digital imaging term used to describe the electronic representation in pixels of an image, indicating the position of every possible spot. See Raster Image. Commonly used as a descriptive term for a low-resolution image (ie, bitmapped) indicating a flawed printed image.

Black Printer – A printing term used to describe the Black (K) plate in process (CMYK) printing.

Blank – A paper term used to describe a category of paperboard ranging in thickness from 15 to 48 points.

Blanket – An offset printing term used to describe a rubber-surfaced fabric which is clamped around a cylinder, to which the image is transferred from the printing plate and from which it is transferred to the paper surface.

Bleed – A printing term used to describe an extra amount of printed image (typically 1/8") which extends beyond the trim edge of the sheet to compensate for minor variables associated with the automated paper cutting process.

Blind Emboss – A letterpress term used to describe a rasied, stamped image that does not register to foil or ink, giving a bas-relief effect.

Blocking – A term used to describe the sticking together of printed sheets causing damage when the surfaces are separated. Usually caused by improper drying of inks, varnishes or coatings. Also referred to as Bricking.

Blueline – A prepress photographic proof made from stripped negatives where all colors show as blue images on white paper. Because ‘blueline’ is a generic term for proofs made from a variety of materials having identical purposes and similar appearances, it may also be called a blackprint, blue, blueprint, brownline, brownprint, diazo, dyeline, ozalid, position proof, silverprint, Dylux and VanDyke.

Board Paper – General term for paper over 110# index, 80# cover or 200 gsm that is commonly used for products such as file folders, displays and post cards. Also called paperboard.

Body Copy – A typesetting term used to describe text used for the main part of a printed piece, as distinguished from the heading.

Bond – A paper term used to describe a grade of writing or printing paper which is characterized by strength, durability and permanence. Typically used for stationery.

Book Block – A bindery term used to describe a stack of folded signatures gathered, sewn and trimmed, but not yet covered.

Book Grade – Category of paper suitable for books, magazines, catalogs, advertising and general printing needs. Book paper is divided into uncoated paper (also called offset paper), coated paper (also called art paper, enamel paper, gloss paper and slick paper) and text paper.

Bounce – A printing term used to describe a repeating registration problem in the printing stage of production.

Brightness – A paper term used to grade the reflectance or brilliance of the paper.

Bristol – A general paper term referring to paper that is 6 points or thicker with basis weight between 90# and 200# (200-500 gsm). Used for products such as index cards, file folders and displays.

Brochure – A high quality printed piece used for marketing. Typically folded or bound as a booklet.

Broken Carton – Carton of paper from which some of the sheets have been sold. Also called less carton.

Bronzing – A printing term used to describe the process of printing with a sizing ink, then applying powdered bronze while the ink is still wet to produce a metallic lustre.

Build a Color – To overlap two or more screen tints to create a new color. Such an overlap is called a build, color build,stacked screen build or tint build.

Bulk – A paper term used to describe the degree of thickness of a paper relative to its basis weight.

Bullet – A dot or similar marking used in typesetting to emphasize text.

Burn – A platemaking term commonly used to describethe exposure of a photo-sensitive printing plate with the printing image.

Burst Perfect Bind – To bind by forcing glue into notches along the spines of gathered signatures before affixing a paper cover. Also called burst bind, notch bind and slotted bind.

Business Reply Mail – A direct mail term describing pre-addressed mail, usually cards, envelopes or labels that can Be mailed without prepayment or postage. After delivery of the mailing piece, the U.S. Postal Service collects postage due, based on a printed permit number on the piece that Identifies the addresses. Business Reply Mail usually mails at first class rates.

Butt Register – Register where ink colors meet precisely without overlapping or allowing space between, as compared to lap register (or trapping). Also called butt fit and kiss register.

 
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C (C1S - Cutting Die)
 
 
C1S – A paper term. Abbreviation for coated one side.

C2S – A paper term. Abbreviation for coated two sides.

Calendering – A paper term used to describe the process in which paper is passed between a stack of cast-iron rolls at the end of a paper machine to increase the smoothness and gloss of the paper surface.

Caliper – A paper term used to describe the thickness of paper, usually expressed in thousands of an inch (mils). ALSO, a device on a sheetfed printing press that detects double sheets or on a binding machine that detects missing signatures or inserts.

Camera Ready Art – A prepress term used to describe original copy which is ready for the photomechanical generation of film negatives.

Carbonless Paper – A paper that has been coated with chemicals that enable transfer of images from one sheet to another with pressure from writing or typing.

Carton – Selling unit of paper weighing approximately 150 pounds (60 kilos). A carton can contain anywhere from 500 to 5,000 sheets, depending on the size of sheets and their basis weight.

Case – A bindery term used to describe the covers of a hardbound book.

Case Bind – To bind using glue to hold signatures to a case made of binder board covered with fabric, plastic or leather. Also called cloth bind, edition bind, hard bind and hard cover.

Cast Coated – A paper term used to describe a coated paper high has been dried under pressure against a polished cylinder to produce an exceptionally high-gloss enamel finish.

Catalog Paper – A general paper term used to describe coated paper rated #4 or #5 with basis weight from 35# to 50# (50 to 75 gsm) commonly used for catalogs and magazines.

CEPS – Color Electronic Prepress System. Computer, scanner, printer and other hardware and software designed for image assembly, color correction, retouching and output onto proofing materials, film or printing plates.

Chain Lines – A paper term referring to the widely spaced lines in laid paper. ALSO – A printing term used to describe blemishes on printed images caused by tracking.

Chalking – A printing term used to describe the improper drying of ink where pigment "dusts off" because the drying vehicle has been absorbed too rapidly into the paper. Also referred to as crocking.

Chokes and Spreads – A prepress term used to describe the overlapping of overprinting images to avoid color or white fringes or borders arounf image detail. Commonly referred to as trapping. Used to compensate for minor misregistration from ink blanket-to-blanket on the multicolor printing press.

Chrome – An ink term used to describe the strength of a color as compared to how close it seems to neutral gray. Also called depth, intensity, purity and saturation.

CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black. The subtractive process colors used in full-color printing.

Coated Paper – A paper term used to describe paper that has a surface coating with clay clay and other substances that produces a smooth printing surface and improves reflectivity and ink holdout. Typical coated surfaces are Gloss, Dull and Matte. Most coated papers are available in varying shades of white, brightness and opacities. While most coated papers are white, there are several natural, eggshell and cream brands available.

Coating – A printing term used to describe an emulsion, varnish or laquer applied over a printed surface to protect it. Most common types of coating are Aqueous and UV (Ultraviolet).

Collate – A bindery term used to describe the gathering of sheets or printed signatures.

Color Balance – A printing term used to describe the correct combination of cyan, magenta, yellow and black to accurately produce colors as represented on a color proof.

Color Bar – A strip of small blocks of color on a proof or press sheet to help evaluate features such as density and dot gain. Also called color control bar, color guide and standard offset color bar.

Color Blanks – Press sheets that have been printed with photos or illustrations, but without type. Also referred to as shells.

Color Break – In multicolor printing, the point, line or space at which one ink color stops and another begins. Also called break for color.

Color Build – A printing term referring to the overlapping of screen tints of two or more colors to create a new color.

Color Cast – A general term referring to unwanted color that affects an entire image or portion of an image.

Color Correction – A digital prepress term used to describe the process of manipulating a digital image to improve color rendition.

Color Curves – A digital prepress term referring to instructions in computer software that allow users to change or correct colors. Also called HLS and HVS tables.

Color Gamut – A digital prepress term describing the entire range of hues possible to reproduce using a specific device, such as a computer screen, or system, such as four-color process printing.

Colorimeter – An electronic optical instrument used for measuring color as it is seen by the human eye.

Color Key – Brand name for an overlay color proof. Sometimes used as a generic term for any overlay color proof.

Color Proof – A prepress term used to describe a contract-quality digital or analog color proof used on press to match process colors.

Color Separation – A prepress term used to describe the process of separating color originals into the primary printing color components.

Color Sequence – A printing term referring to the order in which inks are printed. Also called laydown sequence and rotation.

Color Shift – A printing term used to describe a change in image color resulting from changes in register, ink densities or dot gain during four-color process printing.

Comb Bind – A bindery term referring to the process of binding printed sheets by inserting the teeth of a flexible plastic comb through holes punched along the edge of a stack of paper. Also called plastic bind and GBC bind (a brand name).

Commercial Printer – A term used for a printer that produces a wide range of products such as announcements, brochures, posters, booklets, stationery, business forms, books and magazines. Also called job printer because each job is different.

Compiled List – A direct mail term used to describe a list of names and addresses that is created specifically for renting to Direct mail markers and represents a particular targets market. Names are usually taken from directories, trade shows rosters, public records, or list of other people with common characteristics.

Composite Proof – Proof of color separations in position with graphics and type. Also called final proof, imposition proof and stripping proof.

Composition – (1) In typography, the assembly of typographic elements, such as words and paragraphs, into pages ready for printing. (2) In graphic design, the arrangement of type, graphics and other elements on the page.

Comprehensive Dummy – A simulation of a printed piece complete with type, graphics and colors. Also called color comprehensive and comp.

Computerized Imposition – A digital prepress term used to describe the use of software programs to automatically perform the page layout functions of placing an image on film negatives or a printing plate.

Consumer Profile – A direct mail term describing an outline of significant demographic and psycho graphic details about the user of a particular product. The data may include the user’s age category, Marital status, income level, education, occupation, sex, area of residence, and/or purchase behavior patterns.

Continuous Tone – A digital prepress term used to describe a photographic image which contains smooth gradient tones, as opposed to a simulated halftone dot gradient pattern.

Control Group – A direct mail term used to describe a standard against which test results are compared, such as previously utilized direct mail package that is being compared to new packages that offer some variation in copy

Contrast – A general term used to describe the tonal graduation between the highlights, mid-tones and shadows in an original or reproduced image.

Converter – A general term referring to a business that makes products such as boxes, bags, envelopes and displays from printed press sheets.

Coverage – A printing term referring to the extent to which ink covers the surface of a substrate. Ink coverage is usually expressed as light, medium or heavy.

Cover Weight – A paper term used to describe a grade of paper, characterized by high bulk and strength, typically used for the covers of catalogs, brochures and booklets.

CRA – See Camera Ready Art.

Crash – A bindery term referring to coarse cloth embedded in the glue along the spine of a book to increase strength of binding. Also called gauze, mull and scrim.

Creep – A bindery term refrring to the middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages due to the offset created by the combined thickness of multiple folded signatures. Also called feathering, outpush, push out, thrust and shingling.

Crop – A prepress term used to describe the elimination of portions or an image, usually on a photograph.

Crossover – Type or art that continues from one page of a book or magazine across the gutter to the opposite page. Also called bridge, gutter bleed and gutter jump.

CTP – Computer-To-Plate. A process in which printing plates are imaged in a completely digital workflow, which eliminates the need for film negatives and manual imposition.

Cure – To dry inks, varnishes or other coatings after printing to ensure good adhesion and prevent setoff.

Curl – A paper term used to describe the distortion of a sheet due to differences on structure or coatings from one side to the other, or to absorption of moisture on an offset press.

Cutoff – The circumference of the impression cylinder of a web press, therefore also the length of the printed sheet that the press cuts from the roll of paper.

Cutscore – A letterpress term used to describe a sharp-edged knife, usually several thousands of an inch lower the the cutting knives in a diecutting die, used to cut slightly into the paper or board surface for folding purposes.

Cutter – A bindery machine that cuts stacks of paper to desired sizes. The machine can also be used in scoring or creasing.

Cutting Die – A custom-made steel rule paper cutting device used to trim specific and unusual sized printing projects.

 
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D (Data Compression - Dynamic Range)
 
 

Data Compression – A digital prepress term referring to the technique of reducing the amount of storage required to hold a digital file to reduce the disk space the file requires and allow it to be processed or transmitted more quickly.

Deboss – A letterpress term describing the process of pressing an image into paper so it lies below the surface.

Deckle – A paper term used to describe the width of the wet sheet as it comes off the wire of a paper machine.

Deckled Edge – A paper term used to describe the untrimmed feathery edges of paper formed where the pulp flows against the deckle.

Densitometer – An electronic optical instrument used to measure and control the density of color inks on the substrate.

Density – (1) Regarding ink, the relative thickness of a layer of printed ink. (2) Regarding color, the relative ability of a color to absorb light reflected from it or block light passing through it. (3) Regarding paper, the relative tightness or looseness of fibers.

Density Range – A general digital printing term referring to the difference between the darkest and lightest areas of copy. Also called contrast ratio, copy range and tonal range.

DDCPDirect Digital Color Proof. Color proof made by a laser, ink jet printer or other computer-controlled device without needing to make separation films first.

Die – A general letterpress term referring to a range devices for cutting, scoring, stamping, embossing and debossing.

Die-Cutting – The process of using sharp steel rules to cut special shapes for labels, boxes and containers, from printed sheets.Die-cutting can be done on either flat-bed or rotary presses. Rotary die-cutting is usually done inline with the printing.

Digital Color Proof – A prepress color proof produced from digital data without the need for color separated film negatives.

Digital Dot – A halftone dot created by a computer and printed out by a laser printer or imagesetter. Digital dots are uniform in size, as compared to halftone dots that vary in size. 

Direct Response – A mailing term describing advertising whereby the only connection the consumer has to the product is the advertising, and the only way a consumer can act on the advertisement or commercial is to return a coupon or make a phone call.

Dot – The individual element of a halftone image.

Dot Gain – A printing term describing a defect in which dots print larger than they should, causing darker tones or stronger colors, reducing detail and lowering contrast. Also referred to as dot growth, dot spread and press gain.

Dot Size – A general printing term referring to the relative size of halftone dots as compared to dots of the screen ruling being used. There is no unit of measurement to express dot size. Dots are too large, too small or correct only in comparison to what the viewer finds attractive.

Double Black Duotone – Duotone printed from two black printer halftones, one shot for highlights and the other shot for midtones and shadows. Used primarily to print images that appear to be one color but with an exceptionally rich tonal range.

Double Bump – To print a single image twice so it has two layers of ink for greatly increased density and color saturation.

Double Burn – A prepress term referring to the exposure of film or a printing plate twice with two different negatives and thus creating a composite image.

Double Dot Halftone – A prepress term describing a composite halftone image that has been double-burned onto one plate from two halftones, one shot for shadows, the second shot for midtones and highlights.

Doubling – A printing defect appearing as blurring or shadowing of the image. Doubling may be caused by problems with paper, cylinder alignment, blanket pressures or dirty cylinders.

DPIDots-Per-Inch. Measure of resolution of input devices such as scanners, display devices such as monitors, and output devices such as laser printers, imagesetters and monitors. Also called dot pitch.

DPS Dennis Printing Service. The only name you need to know for all of your printing and imaging needs.

Draw-Down – An ink-making term used to describe and ink chemist's method of determining the shade of an ink color. A small portion of ink is placed on paer and drawn down with the edge of a putty knife or spatula to get a thin film of ink which approximates that produced in the offset printing process. Typically requested for specially mixed ink colors or for previewing the effects of a standard ink color on a specific substrate.

Dropout Halftone – A halftone image in which the contrast has been increased by eliminating dots from highlight areas.

Drier – A substance added to printing inks to hasten drying.

Dry Back – A term used to describe the nature of printed ink colors becoming less dense as the ink dries.

Dry Trap – To print over dry ink, as compared to wet trap. Commonly used when printing with metallic inks or varnishes for higher quality gloss and lustre.

DTPDesktop Publishing. Technique of using a personal computer to design images and pages, and assemble type and graphics, then using a laser printer or imagesetter to output the assembled pages onto paper, film or printing plate.

Dull Finish – A paper term used to describe a flat finish on coated paper; slightly smoother than matte. Also called suede finish, velour finish and velvet finish.

Dummy – A preliminary layout showing the position of illustrations and text as they are to appear in the final reproduction. A set of blank pages made up in advance to show the size, shape, form and general style of a piece of printing.

Duotone – A digital prepress term used to describe a two-color halftone reproduction from a one-color photograph. 

Duplex Paper – A paper with a different color or finish on each side.

Duplicator – A small format offset printing press made for quick printing.

Dylux – Brand name for photographic paper used to make blueline proofs. Commonly used as generic term for blueline.

Dynamic Range – A prepress term describing the density difference between highlights and shadows of scanned images.

 
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E (Electronic Front End - Etch)
 
 

Electronic Front End – General term referring to a prepress system based on computers.
 
Electronic Image Assembly – Assembly of a composite image from portions of other images and/or other page elements using a computer.
 
Electronic Publishing – (1) Publishing by printing with device, such as a photocopy machine or ink jet printer, driven by a computer that can change the image instantly from one copy to the next. (2) Publishing via output on fax, computer bulletin board or other electronic medium, as compared to output on paper.
 
Emboss – A letterpress term referring to the process of pressing an image into paper so it lies above the surface.
 
Emulsion – Casting of light-sensitive chemicals on papers, films, printing plates and stencils.
 
Emulsion Down/Emulsion Up – Film whose emulsion side faces down (away from the viewer) or up (toward the viewer) when ready to make a plate or stencil.
 
Encapsulated PostScript file – A digital prepress term referring to a digital file containing both images and PostScript commands.
 
End Sheet – A bindery term referring to a sheet that attaches the inside pages of a case bound book to its cover. Also referred to as pastedown or end papers.
 
English Finish – A paper term describing a smooth finish on uncoated book paper; smoother than eggshell, rougher than smooth.
 
Engraving – A printing method using a plate, also called a die, with an image cut into its surface.
 
EP – Abbreviation for envelope.
 
EPSEncapsulated Post Script, a common digital prepress file format typically used to transfer post script information from one software program to another.
 
Equivalent Paper – A term referring to paper that is not the brand specified, but looks, prints and may cost the same. Also called comparable stock.
   
Etch – The process of using chemicals to carve an image into metal, glass or film.

 
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F (Face - Full Range Halftone)
 
 

Face – A bindery term referring to the edge of a bound publication opposite the spine. Also referred to as foredge.ALSO– an abbreviation for typeface referring to a family of a general style.
 
Fake Duotone – A halftone image in one ink color printed over screen tint of a second ink color. Also called dummy duotone, dougraph, duplex halftone, false duotone, or flat tint halftone.

Fast Color Inks – A term referring to inks with colors that retain their density and resist fading as the product is used and washed.
 
Feeding Unit – A component of a printing press that moves paper into the register unit.
 
Felt Finish – A paper term referring to a soft woven pattern in text paper.
 
Felt Side – A paper term referring to the side of the sheet of paper that was not in contact with the Fourdrinier wire during papermaking, as compared to wire side.
 
Fifth Color – An ink color used in addition to the four needed by four-color process.
 
Film Laminate – A thin sheet of plastic bonded to a printed product for protection or increased gloss.
 
Fine Papers – Papers made specifically for writing or commercial printing, as compared to coarse papers and industrial papers. Also called cultural papers and graphic papers.
 
Fine Screen – A prepress term referring to a screen with ruling of 150 lines per inch (80 lines per centimeter) or higher.
 
Finish – (1) Surface characteristics of paper. (2) General term for trimming, folding, binding and all other post press operations.
 
Finished Size – The size of a printed product after production is completed, as compared to flat size. Also called trimmed size.
 
Fit – A prepress term referring to the ability of film negatives to be registered during stripping and assembly. Good fit means that all images register to other film for the same job.
 
Fixed Costs – Costs that remain the same regardless of how many pieces are printed. Prepress operations and press make-ready are typical fixed costs for most printing projects.
 
Flat Color – (1) Any color created by printing only one ink, as compared to a color created by printing color builds or four-color process. Also called block color and spot color. (2) color that seems weak or lifeless.
 
Flat Size – Size of a printed product after printing and trimming, but before folding, as compared to finished size.
 
Flexography – Method of printing on a web press using rubber or plastic plates with raised images. Also called aniline printing because flexographic inks originally used aniline dyes. Abbreviated flexo.
 
Flood – To print a sheet completely with an ink or varnish. flooding with ink is also referred to as painting the sheet.
 
Flush Cover – A bindery term referring to a booklet cover that is trimmed to the same size as inside pages, as compared to overhang cover. Also referred to as cut flush.
 
Flyleaf – A bindery term referring to a sheet or leaf at the front and back of a casebound book that is the one side of the end paper not glued to the case.
 
Fogging Back – A digital prepress term referring to the technique used in making type more legible by lowering density of an image, while allowing the image to show through. Also referred to as ghosting an image.
 
Foil Emboss – A letterpress term referring to foil stamping and embossing an image. Also called heat stamp.
 
Foil Stamp – A letterpress term referring to a method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die. Also called block print, hot foil stamp and stamp.
 
Folder – A bindery machine dedicated to folding printed materials.
 
Fold Marks – Markings on printed pres sheets indicating where a fold is to occur, usually located at the top edges.
 
Foldout – A bindery term referring to a multi-panel folded sheet bound into a publication, often used for a map or chart.
 
Folio – A general printing term referring to the actual page number in a publication.
 
Form – A printing term referring to each side of a printed signature.
 
Format – A general term referring to the size, style, shape, layout or organization of a layout or printed product.
 
Form Bond – A paper term referring to lightweight bond paper, easy to perforate, made for business forms. Also called register bond.
 
Form Rollers – Rollers on a printing press that come into contact with the printing plate, bringing it ink or water.
 
Fountain – A trough or container on a printing press that holds fluids such as ink, varnish or water. Also called duct.
 
Fountain Solution – A mixture of water and chemicals that dampens a printing plate to prevent ink from adhering to the non-image area. Also called dampener solution.
 
Four-Color Process Printing – A technique of printing that uses black, magenta, cyan and yellow to simulate full-color images. Also called color process printing, full color printing and process printing.

FPOFor Position Only. Refers to inexpensive copies of photos or art used on mechanical to indicate placement and scaling, but not intended for reproduction.

Free Sheet – A paper term referring to a paper made from cooked wood fibers mixed with chemicals and washed free of impurities, as compared to groundwood paper. Also called woodfree paper.
 
French Fold – A bindery term referring to a sheet that is folded with two right angle folds to form a four page uncut section.
 
Full-Range Halftone – A halftone image with a tonal density ranging from 0 percent coverage in its highlights to 100 percent coverage in its shadows.

 
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G (Gang-Run to Gutter)
 
 

Gang-Run – To reproduce two or more different printed products simultaneously on one sheet of paper during one press run. Also called combination run.
 
Gate Fold – A bindery term describing a sheet that folds where both sides fold toward the gutter.
 
Gather – To assemble printed signatures next to each other in the proper sequence for binding, as opposed to nesting. Also referred to as stacking.

GCRGray Component Replacement. The technique of replacing gray tones in the yellow, cyan and magenta films, made while color separating, with black ink. Also referred to as achromatic color removal.

Ghosted Halftone – A halftone image for which the density has been reduced to produce a very faint image.
 
Ghosting – (1) Phenomenon of a faint image appearing on a printed sheet where it was not intended to appear. Gas ghosting refers to the transfer of the faint image from the front of one sheet to the back of another sheet. Mechanical ghosting refers to the faint image appearing as a repeat of an image on the same side of the sheet. (2) Phenomenon of printed image appearing too light because of ink starvation.
 
Gilding – A bindery term referring to the process of gold leafing the edges of a book.
 
Gloss – A general term referring to light reflectivity in realtion to paper, ink, varnish, laminants or coating.
 
Grade – A general paper term used to distinguish between or among printing papers, of which the specific meaning depends on the context used. Grade can refer to the category, class, rating, finish or brand of paper.
 
Graduated Screen Tint – A screen tint that changes densities gradually and smoothly, not in distinct steps. Also referred to as gradient, ramped screen and vignette.
 
Grain Direction – A paper term referring to the predominant direction in which fibers in paper become aligned during manufacturing. Also referred to as machine direction.
 
Grain Long Paper – A paper term referring to the orientation of fibers which run parallel to the long dimension of the sheet.
 
Grain Short Paper – A paper term referring to the orientation of fibers which run parallel to the short dimension of the sheet.

Grammage – A paper term referring to the basis weight of paper in grams per square meter (gsm).
 
Graphics – Visual elements that supplement type to make printed messages more clear or interesting.
 
Gravure – A method of printing using metal cylinders etched with millions of tiny wells that hold ink.
 
Gray Balance – Printed cyan, magenta and yellow halftone dots that accurately reproduce a neutral gray image.
   
Gray Scale – A digital prepress term referring to an image which has a tonal range comprised entirely of shades of black, gray and white. ALSO – A strip of gray values ranging from white to black. Used by process camera and scanner operators to calibrate exposure times for film and plates. Also called step wedge.
 
Grind Edge – An alternate bindery term for binding edge when referring to perfect bound products.
 
Grindoff – A bindery term referring to a portion, approximately 1/8 inch (3 mm), along the spine that is ground off of gathered signatures before perfect binding.
 
Gripper Edge – The edge of a sheet held by grippers on a sheetfed press, thus going first through the press. Also referred to as feeding edge and leading edge.
 
Groundwood Paper
– A paper term referring to newsprint and other inexpensive papers made from pulp created when wood chips are ground mechanically rather than refined chemically.
   
Gutter – A bindery term referring to the inside margins toward the back or the binding edges of a multi-page booklet

 
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H (Hairline Registration - Hue)
 
 

Hairline Registration – Registration of printing images that is within plus or minus 1/2 row of dots.

Halftone – A reproduction of a continuous tone image through a screening process which converts the image into a dot pattern.
 
Halo Effect – A printing term which describes a defect represented as a faint shadow surrounding printed halftone dots, typically occuring in highlight areas or around bright objects. Also referred to as halationand a fringe.
 
Hard Dots – Halftone dots with no halos or soft edges, as compared to soft dots.
 
Head-to-Tail – Imposition with heads (tops) of pages facing tails (bottoms) of other pages.
 
Heat-Set Web – A web press that is equipped with an oven to quickly dry ink, thus allowing it to print coated paper.
 
Hickey – A printing term which describes a spot or imperfection, most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage, caused by dirt or paper particles on the plate or blanket.
 
High-Fidelity Color – Color reproduced using six, eight or twelve separations, as compared to four-color process.
 
High-Key Photo – A prepress term referring to a photo which has its most important details appearing in the highlight areas.
 
Highlights – A general imaging term referring to the lightest portions of a photograph or halftone image, as compared to midtones and shadows.
 
Hinged Cover – A bindery term which refers to a perfect bound cover scored 1/8 inch (3mm) from the spine so it folds at the hinge instead of, along the edge of the spine.

Holdout – A paper term referring to a property of coated paper with low ink absorption which allows ink to set on the surface with a high gloss level. Papers with too much holdout can cause off-setting problems.
 
Hot Spot – A printing defect caused when a piece of dirt or an air bubble caused incomplete draw-down during contact platemaking, leaving an area of weak ink coverage or visible dot gain.

House List - A direct mailing term referring to a customer file or database of names of previous responders and/or customers that is owned by the company doing the mailing. There is no charge to use these names, and can be mailed as often as the company chooses.
 
House Sheet – A paper kept in stock by a printer that is suitable for a variety of printing jobs. Also referred to as a floor sheet.
 
Hue – The primary attribute of a color which distinguishes it from other colors.

 
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I (Image Area - Interleaves)
 
 

Image Area – The actual area on the printed matter which contains all printed content.
 
Imagesetter – A general prepress term which can refer to a variety of imaging output devices which use lasers to transfer images on photosensitive paper, analog film or printing plates.
 
Imposition – A prepress term referring to the arrangement of pages ona signature so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.
 
Impression – A general printing term referring to one press sheet passing once through a printing unit on the press.
 
Impression Cylinder – A metal cylinder on a press that pushes paper against the plate or blanket, thus forming the image.

Imprint – A term referring to the process of printing new copy on a previously printed sheet, such as imprinting an employee’s name on business cards. Also referred to as a surprint.
 
Ink Balance – a term which describes the relationship of the densities and dot gains of process inks to each other and to a standard density of neutral gray.
 
Ink Fountain – A reservoir on a printing press that stores and supplies ink to the inking rollers.
 
Ink Jet Printing – A method of printing text or images by spraying droplets of ink through computer-controlled nozzles.

Insert – A printed piece that has been prepared for insertion into a publication of other printed material.
 
Intaglio Printing – A method of printing such as Gravure or Engraving which uses image carriers with two surface levels, having inked areas lower than noninked areas. Also referred to as recess printing.
 
Integral Proof – A composite color proof of separations shown on one piece of proofing paper, as compared to an overlay proof. Also referred to as composition proof, laminate proof, plastic proof and single-sheet proof.
 
Interleaves – Printed pages that are loosely inserted into a publication or other printed material.

 
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J (Job Lot Paper - Jog)
 
 

Job Lot Paper – Paper that didn’t meet specifications when produced, has been discontinued, or for other reasons is no longer considered first quality.
 
Jog – A bindery term refrring to the alignment of sheets of paper into a compact pile.

 
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K (K - Kraft)
 
 

K – Abbreviation for black in four-color process printing. Hence the ‘K’ in CMYK.
 
Key – (1) The screw that controls ink flow from the ink fountain of a printing press. (2) To relate loose pieces of copy to their positions on a layout or mechanical using a system of numbers or letters. (3) Alternate term for the color black, as in ‘key plate.’
 
Keylines – A prepress term referring to lines or rules on a mechanical or film negative showing the exact size, shape and location of photographs or other graphic elements. Also referred to as holding lines.
 
Key Negative or Plate – A prepress term referring to a film negative or printing plate that prints the most detail, thus whose image guides the registration of images from other plates. Also referred to as a key printer.
 
Kiss Cut – A letterpress term used to describe the process of diecutting the top layer, but not the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper. Also referred to as a face cut.
 
Kiss Impression – The lightest possible impression that will transfer ink onto a substrate.
 
Kraft – A paper term which describes a type of strong paper that is typically used for wrapping and to make grocery bags and large envelopes.

 
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L (Laid Finish - Low Key Photo)
 
 

Laid Finish – A paper term used to describe the ribbed surface 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.
 
Lamination – A thin transparent plastic sheet applied to printed matter to provide protection against liquid and heavy usage.

Landscape – A term used to describe a page layout which width is greater than height. Portrait is opposite of landscape.
 
Lap Register – A printing term used to describe image registration in which ink colors overlap slightly, as compared to butt register. Also referred to as a trap.
 
Laser Bond – A paper term used to describe a grade of bond paper that is made especially smooth and dry to run well through laser printers.
 
Laser-Compatible Ink – An ink term that describes a type of ink that will not fade or blister as the paper on which it is printed is used in a laser printer. Also referred to as presystems ink.

Laser Personalization – A direct mailing term that refers to the creation of a personalized letter, catalogs or reply device by laser-printing (Or ink-jet printing) unique information on or in each copy. Personalization enables advertisers to create reader-specific versions of their mailing that will enforce relationship marketing and improve response.
 
Lay Flat Bind – A bindery term which refers to a method of perfect binding that allows a publication to lie fully open. Also referred to as Lay Flat Perfect Binding.
 
Lay Edge – The foremost edge of a sheet of paper as it feeds into a press.
 
Leading – A typesetting term that refers to the amount of space between lines of type.
 
Leaf – One sheet of paper in a publication. Each side of a leaf is one page.
 
Ledger Paper – A paper term used to describe a type of strong, smooth bond paper used for keeping business records. Also referred to as record paper.
 
Letter Fold – A bindery term used to describe a type of fold which uses two parallel folds to create three panels that allow a sheet of letterhead or other printed material to fit a business envelope. Also referred to as a barrel fold or wrap around fold.
 
Letterpress – (1) A method of printing from raised surfaces, either metal type or plates whose surfaces have been etched away from image areas. Also referred to as block printing. (2) A general industry term referring to diecutting, foil stamping, embossing as well as letterpress printing.
 
Lightweight Paper – A general paper term used to describe a type of book paper with a basis weight less than 40# (60 gsm).
 
Line Copy – Any high-contrast image, including type, as compared to continuous-tone copy. Also referred to as line art and line work.
 
Line Negative – A film negative that is imaged from line copy.
 
Linen Finish – A paper term used to describe an embossed finish on text or bond paper that simulates the pattern of linen cloth.

List Broker – A direct mail term that referrs to an agency that arranges for the rental of a mailing list on behalf of the list owner in return for a commission on the rental fee.
 
Lithography – A method of printing which uses plates that contain image areas that attract ink and nonimage areas that repel ink. Nonimage areas may be coated with water to repel the oily ink or may have a surface, such as silicon, that repels ink.
 
Live Area – A prepress term which refers to the area on a mechanical or form within which images will print.

Long Ink – An ink term used to describe ink that has a good flow on the ink rollers of a press.
 
Looseleaf – A binding method which allows for insertion and removal of pages in a publication, such as a 3-ring binder.

Loose Color Proof – A proof of a halftone or color separation that is not assembled with other elements from a page, as compared to a composite proof. Also referred to as a scatter proof.


Loupe – An optical device that has a magnifing lens built into a small stand. Used to inspect copy, film, proofs, plates and printing. Also called glass and linen tester.
 
Low Key Photo – A prepress term which describes a photo which has its most important details appearring in the shadow areas, as opposed to a high key photo.

 
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M (Magenta - M Weight)
 
 

Magenta – One of the four process colors which reflects or transmits blue and red light and absorbs green light.
 
Makeready – (1) All activities required to prepare a press or other machine to function for a specific printing or bindery job, as compared to production run. Also called setup. (2) Paper used in the makeready process at any stage in production. Makeready paper is part of waste or spoilage.
 
Making Order – An order for paper that a paper mill makes to the customer’s specifications, as compared to a mill order or stock order.
 
Male Die – A letterpress term used to describe a die with a convex surface that applies pressure during embossing or debossing. Also referred to as a force card.
 
Mark-Up – To write instructions indicating alterations or corrections on a prepress proof.
 
Mask – To prevent light from reaching part of an image, therefore isolating the remaining part. Also referred to as knock out.
 
Master – A paper or plastic plate used on a duplicating press.
 
Match Print – A generic term which refers to a composite color proof. Specifically, a brand name for a form of a four-color-process proofing system manufatured by 3M.
 
Matte Finish – A paper term used to describe a flat paper surface finish that is without gloss or lustre.

Mechanical – A prepress term which describes the camera-ready assembly of type, graphics and other copy complete with instructions to the printer. A hard mechanical consists of paper and/or acetate, is made using paste-up techniques, and may also be called an artboard, board or paste-up. A soft mechanical, also called an electronic mechanical, exists as a file of type and other images assembled using a computer.
 
Mechanical Bind – A bindery term that refers to a method of binding which uses a comb, coil, ring binder, post or any other technique not requiring gluing, sewing or stitching.
 
Mechanical Separation – A prepress term used to describe color breaks made on the mechanical using a separate overlay for each color to be printed.
 
Metallic Ink – Ink containing powdered metal or pigments that simulate metallic lustre.
 
Metallic Paper – A type of paper that is coated with a thin film of plastic or pigment whose color and gloss simulate metal.
 
Midtones – In a photograph or illustration, tones created by dots between 30 percent and 70 percent of coverage, as compared to highlights and shadows.
 
Mil – A unit of measurement which equals 1/1000 Inch.

Mill – A manufacturing facility that produces paper products.
 
Mock Up – A reproduction of the original printed matter and possibly containing instructions or direction.
 
Moiré – An undesirable pattern resulting when halftones and screen tints are made with improperly aligned screens, or when a pattern in a photo, such as a plaid, interfaces with a halftone dot pattern.

Molleton – A thick cotton fabric, similar to flannel, that is used on the dampening rollers of a press.

Monarch – Paper size (7" x 10") and envelope shape often used for personal stationery.
 
Mottling – Spotty, uneven ink absorption. Also called sinkage. A mottled image may be called mealy.
 
Mull – A specific type of glue used for book binding and personal pads that require exceptional strength.

Mullen Tester – A machine used for testing the bursting strength of paper.
 
Multicolor Printing – Printing in more than one ink color (but not four-color process). Also called polychrome printing.

M Weight – The weight of 1,000 sheets of paper in any specific size.

 
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N (Natural Color - Nth)
 
 

Natural Color – A paper term used to describe a very light brown color of paper. May also be referred to as antique, cream, ivory, off-white or mellow white.
 
Nested – A bindery term that refers to printed signatures that have been assembled inside one another in the proper sequence for binding, as compared to gathered. Also referred to as inset.
 
Neutral Gray – Gray with no hue or color cast.

Negative – A sheet of exposed analog film containing an image in which the values of the original are reversed so that the dark areas in the subject appear light on the film and vice-versa.

News Print – A paper term which refers to a type of paper that is used used in printing newspapers. Considered low quality and “a short life use.”
 
Newton Ring – A prepress term used to describe a flaw in a photograph or halftone that looks like a drop of oil or water.
 
Nipping – A bindery term which refers to the process of expelling air from a gathered or nested book at the sewing stage.
   
Non-Repro Blue – A light blue color that does not record on graphic arts film, therefore may be used to preprint layout grids and write instructions on mechanicals. Also referred to as drop-out blue, ands fade-out blue.
 
Novelty Printing – Printing on products such as coasters, pencils, balloons, golf balls and ashtrays, known as advertising specialties or premiums.


Nth – A direct mailing term describing the extraction of a sample from a list of names on an interval basis. For example, a 7th - name selection would take every seventh name on the file based on whatever sequence the names are in.

 
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O (OCR - Over Run)
 
 

OCROptical Character Recognition. An electronic means of scanning or reading text, and converting the scanned image to an electronic equivalent.

Offset Printing – A method of printing that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.
 
Opacity – (1) Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents printing on one side from showing through the other side. (2) Characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.

Opaque Ink – An ink that conceals all color beneath it.
 
OPIOpen Prepress Interface. Hardware and software that link desktop publishing systems with color electronic prepress systems which use an extension to PostScript that automatically replaces low-resolution placeholder images with their high-resolution counterparts.
 
Outline Halftone – A prepress term used to describe a halftone image in which the background has been removed or replaced to isolate or silhouette the main image. Also referred to as a knockout halftone or silhouette halftone.

Overhang Cover – A book or brochure cover that is larger in size than the pages it encloses.
 
Overlay – A layer of material taped to a mechanical, photo or proof. Acetate overlays are used to separate colors by having some type or art on them instead of on the mounting board. Tissue overlays are used to carry instructions about the underlying copy and to protect the base art.
 
Overlay Proof – A color proof, such as a Color Key, consisting of polyester sheets laid on top of each other with their image in register, as compared to an integral or composite proof. Each sheet represents the image to be printed in one color. Also referred to as a celluloid proof or layered proof.
 
Overprint – To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint. Also called surprint.
 
Over Run – Additional printed matter beyond ordered quantity

 
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P (Page - Publishing Grade)
 
 

Page – One side of a printed leaf or sheet.
 
Page Count – Total number of pages contained in a printed piece. Also referred to as extent.
 
Page Proof – A composite proof of type, photos and graphics as they will look on the finished page complete with elements such as headings, rules and folios.
 
Pagination – The numbering of pages in a multi-page document.
 
Painted Sheet – A sheet that is printed printed with ink edge to edge, as compared to spot color. The painted sheet refers to the final product, not the press sheet, and means that 100 percent coverage results from bleeds off all four sides.
 
Panel – One page of a brochure, such as one panel of a rack brochure. One panel is on one side of the paper. A letter-folded sheet has six panels, not three.
 
Paper Plate – A cost-effective, yet low grade printing plate made of strong and durable paper that is used on duplicating presses.
 
Parallel Fold – A bindery term referring to a method of folding a sheet with two or more folds with a common directional orientation.
 
Parent Sheet – A large sheet of paper from which smaller sheets are cut.
 
Pasteboard – A paper term referring to a type of chipboard that has another sheet of thinner paper pasted to it.
 
Paste-Up – To paste copy to mounting boards and, if necessary, to overlays so it is assembled into a camera-ready mechanical. The mechanical produced is often called a paste-up.
 
PEPrinter Error. A proofreader mark indicating a mistake by a typesetter, prepress service or printer as compared to an error by the customer.
 
Perfect Bind – To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue. Also referred to as adhesive bind, cut-back bind, glue bind, patent bind, soft bind and soft cover bind.
 
Perfecting Press – A press that is capable of printing both sides of the paper during a single pass. Also referred to as a duplex press or perfector.
 
Perf Marks – Markings on a mock-up or proof indicating where a perforation is to occur.
 
Perforating – The creation a line of small dotted wholes for the purpose of tearing-off a part of a printed matter (usually straight lines, vertical or horizontal).
 
Pica – A unit of measure used in the printing industry. A pica is approximately 1/6 of an inch. There are 12 points to a pica.
 
Photostat – Brand name for a diffusion transfer process used to make positive paper prints of line copy and halftones. Often used as alternate term for PMT.
 
Picking – A term used to describe a printing flaw whereby ink pulls bits of coating or fiber away from the surface of paper as it travels through the press, thus leaving unprinted spots in the image area. Picking occurs when the pulling force (tack) of ink is greater than the surface strength of the paper.
 
Pickup Art – Artwork that has been used in a previous job, to be incorporated in a current job.

PICT – The standard MacIntosh digital data encoding format.

Pigment – An ink term which refers to the fine solid particles used to give inks color, transparency or opacity.

Piling – The building up or caking of ink on rollers, plates or blankets. ALSO the accumulation of paper dust or coating on the blanket of an offset press.

Pin Register – A technique of registering separations, flats and printing plates by using small holes, all of equal diameter, at the edges of both flats and plates.
 
Pixel – Short for picture element, the smallest resolvable point of a raster image which is the basic unit of digital imaging. Also referred to as a pel.
 
Planographic Printing – A method of printing, such as lithography, by which image carriers are on level surfaces with inked areas separated from noninked areas by chemical means.
 
Plate – Piece of paper, metal, plastic or rubber carrying an image to be reproduced using a printing press.

Plate Cylinder – The cylinder on a printing unit on which the plate is mouted.
 
Platemaker – (1) In quick printing, a process camera that makes plates automatically from mechanicals. (2) In commercial lithography, a machine with a vacuum frame used to expose plates through film. (3) An individual who performs platemaking duties.
 
Plate-Ready Film – Imposed or stripped negatives that have been fully prepared for platemaking.

Platesetter – An imagesetter used in a CTP (Computer-To-Plate) workflow that uses lasers to write images directly onto the paper, polyester or aluminum plate material.
 
Pleasing Color – Color that the customer considers satisfactory even though it may not precisely match original samples, scenes or objects.
 
PMSPantone Matching System. The printing industry standard for color matching.
 
PMTPhotomechanical Transfer. Brand name for a diffusion transfer process used to make positive paper prints of line copy and halftones. Often used as alternate term for photostat.
 
Point – (1) Pertaining to paper: a unit of thickness equating 1/1000 inch. (2) Pertaining to type: a unit of measure equaling 1/12 pica and .013875 inch (.351mm).

Porosity – A paper term referring to the property of paper which allows the permeation of air, an important factor in ink penetration.
 
Portrait – A layout format in which the height is greater than the width. Opposite of Landscape.

Position Proof – A proof, such as a blueline, used for checking position, layout and/or color breakouts of image elements.
 
Position Stat – Photocopy or PMT of a photo or illustration made to size and affixed to a mechanical.
 
Positive Film – Film that prevents light from passing through images, as compared to negative film that allows light to pass through. Also referred to as knockout film.

Postal Presort - A direct mailing term referring to the process of sorting mail destination address and type of headline prior to mailing in order to comply with US Postal Service regulations for Standard Mail preparation and, in most cases, to qualify for the postage discounts.
 
Post Bind – A method of binding that uses a screw and post inserted through a hole in a pile of loose sheets.

PostScript – The digital prepress industry standard page description computer language developed by Adobe Systems, Inc. to describe an image to an imagesetter using purely text-based digital data.

Preflight – A digital prepress term describing the process of analyzing digital art files for every component required to correctly produce a printing project prior to beginning production on the project.
 
Prepress – Camera work, color separations, stripping, platemaking and other prepress functions performed by the printer, separator or a service bureau prior to printing. Also referred to as preparation.
 
Prepress Proof – A general term referring to any color or position proof made using ink jet, toner, dyes or overlays, as compared to a press proof printed using ink. Also referred to as a dry proof or off-press proof.
 
Preprint – To print portions of sheets that will be used for later imprinting.
 
Press Check – A proofing stage at which makeready sheets from the press are examined by the client or project manager before authorizing full production to begin.
 
Press Proof – A proof made on press using the plates, ink and paper specified for the job. Also referred to as strike off and trial proof.
 
Press Time – (1) Amount of time that one printing job spends on press, including time required for makeready. (2) Time of day at which a printing job goes on press.

Pressure-Sensitive – A paper term used to describe a type of paper or vinyl material with an adhesive coating which is protected by a removeable backing sheet until used as a label.
 
Price Break – Quantity at which the per-unit cost of paper or printing drops.

Printability – A paper term which refers to the properties of the paper that affect its appearance and the quality of reproduction.
 
Printer Spreads – Mechanicals made so they are imposed for printing, as compared to reader spreads.
 
Printing Plate – Surface carrying an image to be printed. Quick printing uses paper or plastic plates; letterpress, engraving and commercial lithography use metal plates; flexography uses rubber or soft plastic plates. Gravure printing uses a cylinder.
 
Printing Unit – Assembly of fountain, rollers and cylinders that will print one ink color. Also referred to as a color station, deck, ink station, printer,or tower.

Print Quality – A general term which refers to the visual impression of a printed piece.
 
Process Camera – A camera used to photograph mechanicals and other camera-ready copy.
 
Process Colors – The colors used for four-color or "full color" process printing: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK)
 
Production Run – Press run intended to manufacture products as specified, as compared to makeready.

Progressive Proof – A type of press proof used in multi-color or process printing showing the sequence of printing and the result after each additional color has been applied. Commonly referred to as progs

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.
 
Proofreader Marks – Standard symbols and abbreviations used to mark up manuscripts and proofs. Also called correction marks.
 
Publishing Grade – A general paper term referring to paper that is made made in weights, colors and surfaces suited to books, magazines, catalogs and free-standing inserts.

 
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Q (Quality - Quotation)
 
 

Quality – A general and subjective term relating to expectations by the customer, printer and other professionals associated with a printing job and whether the job meets those expectations.
 
Quarto – (1) A bindery term referring to a sheet that has been folded twice, making pages one-fourth the size of the original sheet. A quarto makes an 8-page signature. (2) A book made from quarto sheets, traditionally measuring about 9’ x 12’.
 
Quick Printing – A term used to describe a classification of printers that use small sheetfed presses, called duplicators.
 
Quotation – A firm price offered by a printer to produce a print job as specified by the client.

 
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R (Rag Paper - Ruleup)
 
 

Rag Paper – A paper term used to describe bond or other forms of stock having a strong percentage content of “cotton rags.”
 
Rainbow Fountain – A technique of putting ink colors next to each other in the same ink fountain and oscillating the ink rollers to make the colors merge where they touch, producing a rainbow effect.
 
Raster Image Processor – see RIP
 
Reader Spread – Mechanicals made in two page spreads as readers would see the pages, as opposed to a printer spread.
 
Ream – 500 sheets of paper.
 
Recycled Paper – New paper that has been made entirely or in part from paper that has been previously used.
 
Reflective Copy – Products, such as fabrics, illustrations and photographic prints, viewed by light reflected from them, as compared to transparent copy. Also called reflex copy.

Reducers – An ink term which refers to varnishes, solvents and other compounds that are used in prinking inks to reduce viscosity.
 
Register – The fitting of two or more printing images in precise alignment with one another.
 
Register Marks – Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in registration. Also called crossmarks and position marks.
 
Relief Printing – A method of printing in which the image carriers have surfaces with two levels with inked areas being higher than noninked areas. Relief printing includes block printing, flexography and letterpress.
 
Repeatability – Ability of a device, such as an imagesetter, to produce film or plates that yield images in register.
 
Reprographics – A general term for xerography, diazo and other methods of copying used by designers, engineers, architects or for general office use.
 
Resolution – The sharpness or quantification of printout quality of an image on film, paper, computer screen, disc, tape or other medium.
 
Resolution Target – An image, such as the GATF Star Target, that permits evaluation of resolution on film, proofs or plates.
 
Reverse – Type, graphic or illustration reproduced by printing ink around its outline, thus allowing the underlying color or paper to show through and form the image. The image ‘reverses out’ of the ink color. Also referred to as a knockout or liftout.
 
RGB – Abbreviation for Red, Green, Blue, the additive color primaries.
 
Right Reading – Copy that reads correctly in the language in which it is written. Also describes a photo whose orientation looks like the original scene, as compared to a flopped image.

RIPRaster Image Processor. A device that translates PostScript page description commands into bitmapped information for an output device such as a laser printer or imagesetter.
 
Rotary Press – Printing press which passes the substrate between two rotating cylinders when making an impression.
 
Round Back Bind – To casebind with a rounded (convex) spine, as compared to flat back bind.
 
Rule – A line used as a graphic element to separate or organize copy.
 
Ruleup – A map or drawing given by a printer to a stripper showing how a printing job must be imposed using a specific press and sheet size. Also called press layout, printer’s layout and ruleout.

 
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S (Saddle Stitch - SWOP)
 
 

Saddle Stitch – A bindery term referring to the process of binding by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine, as compared to side stitch. Also referred to as pamphlet stitch, saddle wire and stitch bind.
 
Satin Finish – A paper term that refers to a coated paer finish similar to that of a Dull Finish, but with a slight sheen.

Scanner – An electronic device used in the making of color and tone-corrected separations of images.
 
Score
– To compress or indent a linear mark with a string or rule in the paper to make folding easier. Typically required for folding pieces printed on cover weight paper or 100# book weight paper.
 
Screen Angles – The angles at which multi-color halftone screens are imaged with relation to one another, used to avoid undesireable moiré patterns. Standard screen angles for process (CMYK) printing are: Cyan 105°, Magenta 75°, Yellow 90° and Black 45°.
 
Screen Density – A prepress term referring to the percentage of ink coverage that a screen tint allows to print. Also referred to as screen percentage.
 
Screen Ruling – The number of rows or lines of dots per inch or centimeter in a screen for making a screen tint or halftone. Also referred to as line count, ruling, screen frequency, screen size and screen value.
 
Screen Tint
– A color created by dots instead of solid ink coverage. Also called Benday, fill pattern, screen tone, shading, tint and tone.

Scum – A term referring to a printing defect which occurs as a film of ink that prints in the non-image areas of a printing plate.

Selection Criteria - A direct mailing term which refers to the basis for extraction of a subset from a group. Selection criteria often pertain to a list selection made on the basis of some characteristic of the individuals on the list, such as income, age, occupation, purchase history, etc.

Selective Binding – A bindery term referring to the placement of printed signatures or inserts in magazines or catalogs according to demographic or geographic guidelines.
 
Self Cover – A brochure or booklet cover of the same paper as the inside text pages.

Self-Mailer - A direct mail piece that is designed to be mailed without an envelope. It can either be folded and sealed, like an envelope, or tab sealed with a water seal and mailed.
 
Separation – A prepress term referring to the isolation and imaging of colors represented in a full color image into the CMYK color space used for process printing.

Serigraphic Printing – A method of printing, such as mimeograph and silkscreen printing, which uses image carriers of woven fabric, plastic or metal that allow ink to pass through some portions and block ink from passing through other portions.

Setoff – A printing term referring to the undesirable transfer of wet ink from the top of one sheet to the underside of another as they lie in the delivery stack of a press. Also referred to as offset.
 
Shadows – A prepress term referring to the darkest areas of a photograph or illustration, as compared to midtones and highlights.

Shared Mail - Direct mail promotions from several companies which are sent to the same list of individuals in order to share the costs of list rental and production.
 
Sheetfed Printing
– A classification of printing that utilizes presses that print on individual sheets of paper, as compared to a web press, which prints on a continuous roll of paper.
 
Sheetwise – A printing term that refers to the technique of printing one side of a sheet with one set of plates, then the other side of the sheet with a set of different plates. Also called work and back.
 
Shingling – A prepress term referring to the allowance made during stripping or imposition to compensate for creep. Alsoreferred to as stair stepping and progressive margins.
 
Side Stitch – A bindery term referring to a method of binding by stapling through multiple sheets along one edge, as compared to saddle stitch. Also referred to as cleat stitch and side wire.
 
Signature – A printed sheet which is folded at least once, possibly many times, to become part of a book, magazine or other publication.

Silkscreen Printing – A method of printing by using a squeegee to force ink through an assembly of mesh fabric and a stencil.
 
Sizing – A paper term which refers to a compound that is mixed with paper fibers to make it stiffer and less able to absorb moisture.
 
Slip Sheet – A colored sheet of paper that is inserted between multiple sets of collated sheets to identify the separation of individual sets.
 
Solid – Any area of the sheet receiving 100 percent of ink coverage, as compared to a screen tint.

Solo Mail - Direct mail promotion from one company for a specific product or service. It is the opposite of a shared mailing and represents the majority of direct mail promotions.
 
Soy Inks – An ink term used to describe inks which use vegetable oils instead of petroleum products as pigment vehicles.

SPC –  Statistical Process Control. A method used by printers to ensure quality and delivery times as specified by customers.

Specialty Printer – A printer whose equipment, supplies, work flow and marketing is targeted to a particular category of products.
 
Specifications – The complete and precise written description of features of a printing job such as type size and leading, paper grade and quantity, printing or binding method. Commonly abbreviated as specs.
 
Spectrophotometer – An electronic Instrument used to measure the refraction index of color.
 
Specular Highlight – A prepress term referring to a highlight area with no printable dots, thus no detail, as compared to a diffuse highlight. Also referred to as a catchlight or dropout highlight.
 
Spine – A bindery term referring to the back or binding edge of a publication.
 
Spiral Bind – A bindery term referring to a binding process that uses a spiral of continuous wire or plastic looped through holes. Also referred to as coil bind.
 
Split Fountain
– A technique of putting ink colors next to each other in the same ink fountain and printing them off the same plate. Split fountains keep edges of colors distinct, as compared to rainbow fountains, which blend edges.
 
Spoilage – Printed product that must be thrown away instead of delivered as final product which represents commercially unacceptable flaws.

Spot Color – Ink that is applied to portions of a sheet, separate from process inks.
 
Spread – (1) Two pages that face each other and are designed as one visual or production unit. (2) A technique of slightly enlarging the size of an image to accomplish a hairline trap with another image. Also referred to as a fatty.
 
Stat
– An abbreviation of photostat, a general term for an inexpensive photographic print of line copy or halftone.
 
Step and Repeat – A prepress technique of exposing an image in a precise, multiple pattern to create a flat or plate.
 
Stock Order – An order for paper that a mill or merchant sends to a printer from inventory at a warehouse, as compared to a mill order.
 
String Score – A score that is created by pressing a string against paper, as compared to scoring using a metal edge.
 
Strip – To assemble images on film for platemaking. Stripping involves correcting flaws in film, assembling pieces of film into flats and ensuring that film and flats register correctly. Also referred to as film assembly and image assembly.
 
Substance Weight – An alternate term for basis weight of paper. Also referred to as sub weight.
   
Substrate – Any surface or material onto which a printed image is placed.
 
SWOPSpecifications for Web Offset Publications. Specifications recommended for web printing of publications.

 
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T (TAC - Trim Size)
 
 

TACTotal Area Coverage. A prepress term referring to the total of the dot percentages of the process colors in the final film. Also referred to as density of tone, maximum density, shadow saturation, total dot density and total ink coverage.

Tack – An ink term referring to the property of cohesion between particles relative to the separation force of ink required for proper transfer and image trapping on multi-color presses.

Tag Board – A paper term referring to a grade of dense, strong paper used for products such as badges and file folders.
 
Target Ink Densities –The densities of the four process inks (CMYK) as recommended for various printing processes and grades of paper. See also Total Area Coverage.
 
Template – A standard layout pertaining to a printing project’s basic details in regard to its common dimensions and/or content.

Text – The body matter of a booklet as distinguished from the cover.
 
Text Paper
– A paper term referring to a designation for printing papers with textured surfaces such as laid or linen. Some mills also use ‘text’ to refer to any paper they consider top-of-the-line, whether or not its surface has a texture.
 
Thermography – A method of printing which uses a colorless resin powder that takes on the color of underlying ink and produces a raised printed image when exposed to heat lamps used in this printing process.
 
TIFFTagged Image File Format. A digital file format used to store images from scanners and video devices.
 
Tint – The screening or addition of white to a solid color that results in the lightening of that specific color.

Tolerances – A general term referring to the specification of acceptable variations in registration, ink density, dot gain or a variety of other variable printing parameters.
 
Tone Compression – A prepress term used to describe the reduction in the tonal range of an reproduced image from the original image.
 
Touch Plate – A spot color printing plate that accents or prints a color that four-color process printing cannot reproduce. Also referred to as a kiss plate.
 
Trade Shop – A service bureau, printer or bindery working primarily for other graphic arts professionals, not for the general public.
 
Trap – A term referring to the printing one ink over another or to print a coating, such as varnish, over an ink. The first liquid traps the second liquid. See also Dry Trap and Wet Trap.
 
Trim Size – The size of the printed material in its finished state.

 
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U (UCA - UV Coating)
 
 

UCA Undercolor Addition. A prepress term describing a technique of making color separations that increases the amount of cyan, magenta or yellow ink in shadow areas.

UCRUndercolor Removal. TA prepress term describing a technique of making color separations such that the amount of cyan, magenta and yellow ink is reduced in midtone and shadow areas while the amount of black is increased.

Uncoated Paper – A paper that has not been coated with clay. Also referred to as offset paper.
 
Unsharp Masking – A prepress term describing a technique of adjusting dot size to make a halftone or separation appear sharper (in better focus) than the original photo or the first proof. Also referred to as edge enhancement and peaking.
 
Up – A general term used to indicate multiple copies of one image printed in one impression on a single sheet. “Two up” or “three up” means printing the identical piece twice or three times on each sheet.
 
UV Coating – A high gloss liquid coating that is applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

 
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V (Value - VOC)
 
 

Value – The shade (darkness) or tint (lightness) of a color. Also called brightness, lightness, shade and tone.
 
Varnish – A thin liquid protective coating applied as a coating for protection and appearance. Also used in ink mixing as all or part of the ink vehicle.

Vehicle – An ink term referring to the fluid component which acts as a carrier for the pigment.

Vellum Finish – A paper term used to describe a paper surface that has a somewhat rough, toothy finish which is relatively absorbent for fast ink penetration.
 
Velox – Brand name for high-contrast photographic paper.
 
Viewing Booth – A small area or room that is set up for proper viewing of transparencies, color separations or press sheets. Also referred to as a color booth.
 
Vignette – A decorative design or illustration that fades to white.
 
Vignette Halftone – A halftone image having a background which gradually and smoothly fades away. Also referred to as a degrade.
 
Virgin Paper – A paper that is made exclusively of pulp from trees or cotton, as compared to recycled paper.

Viscosity – An general ink term referring to the tack or flow properties of inks or varnishes.

VOCVolatile Organic Compounds. Petroleum substances used as the vehicles for many printing inks.

 
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W (Warm Color - Wrong Reading)
 
 

Warm Color – A descriptive term for a color with a yellow or red cast.

Washup – The process of cleaning ink and fountain solutions from rollers, fountains, screens, and other press components.
 
Waste – Unusable paper or paper damaged during normal makeready, printing or binding operations, as compared to spoilage.

Waterless Printing – A specialized technique of offset printing which uses plates having a silicone rubber coating in non-image areas that is printed on a press with no dampening system.
 
Watermark – A paper term which referrs to a translucent logo in paper created during manufacturing by slight embossing from a dandy roll while paper is still approximately 90 percent water.

Web – A roll of paper that is used in web printing.
 
Web Break – A split of the paper as it travels through a web press, causing operators to rethread the press.
 
Web Gain – Unacceptable stretching of paper as it passes through the web press.
 
Web Printing – A classification of offset printing which uses presses that print from rolls of paper, usually cutting it into sheets after printing. Web presses come in many sizes, the most common being mini, half, three quarter (also called 8-pages) and full (also called 16-pages).

Web Tension – The amount of pull or tension applied in the direction of travel of a web of paper by the action of a web press.

Wet Trap – To print ink or varnish over wet ink, as compared to dry trap.

WFWrong Font. A proofreading mark indicating a letter or figure of the wrong size or face.

Widow – A typesetting term referring to a single word or part of a word on a line by itself, ending a paragraph or starting a page. Generally avoided.
 
Window – (1) In a printed product, a die-cut hole revealing an image on the sheet behind it. (2) On a mechanical, an
area that has been marked for placement of a piece of artwork.

Wire-O Binding – A method of booklet binding which uses a continuous double series of wire loops which run through punched slots alonf the binding edge of a booklet.
 
Wire Side – A paper term referring to the side of the paper that rests against The Fourdrinier wire during papermaking, opposite of the felt or top side.

With the Grain – Folding or feeding paper into a press with the grain of the paper being parallel to the blade of the folder or to the axis of the impression cylinder. See also Grain Direction.
 
Woodfree Paper – A paper term referring to paper that is made with chemical pulp only.
 
Working Film – Intermediate film that will be duplicates to make final film after all corrections are made. Also referred to as buildups.
 
Wove Paper – A paper term referring to a type of paper that is manufactured without visible wire marks, usually a fine textured paper with a soft, smooth finish.
 
Wrong Reading – An image that is backwards when compared to the original. Also referred to as flopped or reverse reading.

 
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X (X-Coordinate - Xerography)
 
 

X-Cooridinate - A page layout term indicating a finite position on the horizontal axis (left to right).

Xerography – An electrophotographic duplicating process that uses a corona charged photoconductor surface, electrostatic forces and dry or liquid toner to form an image.

 
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Y (Y-Coordinate - Yellow)
 
 

Y-Coordinate - A page layout term indicating a finite position on the vertical axis (top to bottom).

Yellow – A 4-color process ink which reflects red and green light and absorbs blue light.

 
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Z (Z-Fold)
 
 

Z-Fold – A bindery term which refers to a type of fold which incorporates two parallel folds, one of which faces in and the other facing out.

 
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