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Glossary of Printing Terms

A

Acid-free Paper: Paper made from pulp containing little or no acid so it resists deterioration from age. Also called archival paper.

Author’s Alteration: “AA’s” Any change made by the customer after sending files to the printer.

B

Basis Weight: In the U.S. and Canada, the weight in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to the basic size. 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.

Bleed: Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming.

Blueline: Prepress proof where all colors show as blue images on white paper. Blueline is a generic term for proofs made from a variety of materials having similar appearances that may also be called blueprint, position proof, silverprint, Dylux and VanDyke.

Bond Paper: Paper treated under pressure to assure uniformity and reduce fiber loss. Frequently confused with watermarked paper.

C

Camera-Ready Copy: Mechanicals, photographs and art that are fully prepared for reproductions according to the technical requirements of the printing process being used.

CMYK: Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black), the process colors.

Coated Paper: Paper with a coating of clay and other substances that improves the reflectivity and ink holdout.

Cockle Finish: Slightly puckered surface on bond paper.

Comb Bind: To bind by inserting the teeth of a flexible plastic comb through holes punched along the edge of a stack of paper.

Contract Proof: Any proof that the consumer considers final, OK to print.

Cover Paper: Category of thick paper used for products such as posters, menus, folders, and covers.

Crop Marks: Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks and tic marks.

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

D

Deckle Edge: Edge of paper left ragged as it comes from the papermaking machine instead of being cleanly cut. Also called feather edge.

Die Cut: To cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard using a die.

Dull Finish: Flat (not glossy) finish on coated paper.

Dummy: Simulation of the final product. Also called mock-up.

Duotone: Black and white photograph reproduced using two halftone negatives each shot to emphasize different tonal values in the originals.

E

Emboss: To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface also called cameo and tool.

Engraving: Printing method using a plate, also called a die, with an image cut into its surface.

Estimate: Price that states what a job will probably cost. Also called a bid or quotation.

F

Felt Finish: Soft woven pattern that simulates feltcloth.

Fine Papers: Papers made specifically for writing and printing.

Finish: 1. Surface characteristics of paper. 2. General term for trimming, folding, binding and all other postpress operations.

Foil Stamp: Method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die. Also called block print.

Font: Complete assortment of uppercase and lowercase characters, numerals, punctuation and other symbols of one typeface.

Format: Size, style, shape, layout or organization of a layout or printed product.

For Position Only: Refers to inexpensive or low resolution images used to indicate placement and scaling, but not intended for reproduction. Abbreviated FPO.

G

Gloss Finish: Shiny finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper.

Graduated Screen Tint: Screen tint that changes densities gradually and smoothly, not in distinct steps. Also called degrade, gradient, ramped screen and vignette.

Gray Scale: Strip of gray values, ranging from white to black, used to calibrate exposure times for film and plates. Also called step wedge.

H

Hairline: Subjective term referring to very small space, thin line or close register.

Halftone: A photograph or continuous-tone illustration that has been converted to dots for reproduction.

Hard Copy/Proof: Type and images on paper or proofing material.

I

Image Trap: Slight overlapping of images to ensure they appear registered.

Imposition: Arrangement of pages so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.

Imprint: To print new copy on a previously printed sheet, such as imprinting an employee’s name on business cards. Also called surprint.

Integral Proof: Color proof of separations shown on one piece of proofing paper. Also called laminate proof.

J

Job Lot Paper: Paper that didn’t meet specifications when produced, has been discontinued, or for other reasons is no longer considered first quality.

Job Ticket: Form used to specify the production schedule of a job and the materials and processes it needs. Also called docket, production order and work order.

JPEG: A name for a kind of computer image file, abbreviation for Joint Photographic Experts Group. Also called JPG.

K

Kerning: Adjusting space between pairs of letters to make them appear better fitted.

Keylines: Lines on a mechanical or negative showing the exact size, shape and location of photographs or other graphic elements. Also called holding lines.

Kiss Die Cut: Die cut through face materials but not backing.

Knockout: Alternate term for reverse. See also Reverse.

L

Laid Finish: Watermarked finish on which grids of parallel lines simulate the surface of handmade paper.

Laser Bond: Bond paper made especially smooth and dry to run well through laser printers.

Laser-Imprintable Ink: Ink that will not fad or blister as the paper on which it is printed is used in a laser printer.

Legacy Materials: Art, film or files from previous print jobs for incorporating into a new job.

Line Copy: Any high-contrast image, including type.

Linen Finish: Embossed finish that simulates the pattern of linen cloth.

M

Mailing Service: Business that addresses, sorts and bundles mailings according to USPS standards.

Matte Finish: Flat (not glossy) finish on photographic paper.

Mechanical: Camera-ready assembly of type, graphics and other copy complete with instructions to the printer. Also called an artboard and pasteup.

N

Native File: File still in the application in which it was originally created.

NCR Paper: Abbreviation for No Carbon Required paper, a brand name for carbonless paper.

O

Offset Printing: Printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a press blanket and then to paper instead of directly from a plate to paper.

Overlay Proof: Color proof consisting of clear plastic sheets laid on top of one another with their images in register. Also called layered proof.

Overrun: Print quantity delivered that is more than the total ordered.

P

Page: One side of a leaf in a publication.

Page Count: Total number of pages that a publication has. Also called extent.

Page Proof: Proof of type and graphics as they will look on the finished page complete with elements such as headings, rules, and folios.

Pantone®: Color ink matching system for commercial printing. Also called PMS.

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.

Q

Quality: Subjective term relating to expectations by the customer, printer and other professionals associated with a printing job and whether the job meets those expectations.

Quotation: Price offered by a printer to produce a specific job.

R

Ream: 500 sheets of paper.

Recycled Paper: New paper made entirely or in part from previously used paper.

Resolution: Ability of a device to record or reproduce a sharp image.

Reverse: Type images reproduced by printing ink around their outline, thus allowing the underlying color of paper to show through and form the image.

Roman Type: Style considered normal for a given typeface.

Rule: Line used as a graphic element to separate or organize copy.

S

Saddle Stitch: To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine. Also called pamphlet stitch, saddle wire and stitch bind.

Score: To compress paper along a straight line so it folds more easily and accurately. Also called crease.

Screen Font: Font produced to appear on a computer monitor, but not on a printer.

Screen Ruling: Number of rows or lines of dots per inch or centimeter in a screen for making a screen tint or halftone. Also called a line count, screen frequency, screen size and screen value.

Screen Tint: Color created by dots instead of solid ink coverage. Also called fill pattern, shading, tint & tone.

Screw and Post Bind: To bind using a bolt that screws into a post. Bolts and matching posts are available in lengths ranging up to 3 inches.

Side Stitch: To bind by stapling through sheets along one edge. Also called cleat stitch and side wire.

Specifications: Complete and precise written description of features of a printing job. Abbreviation specs.

Spiral Bind: To bind using a spiral of continuous wire or plastic looped through holes. Also called coil bind.

Spot Color: Any color created by printing only one ink. Also called flat color. See Pantone®.

T

Tagged Image File Format: Computer file format used to store images from scanners and video devices. Abbreviated TIFF and TIF.

Thermography: Method of printing using colorless resin powder that takes on the color of underlying ink. Also called raised printing.

Tracking: Adjusting space between all letters to make them fit.

Typeface: Font identified by a name such as Helvetica or Times.

Type Style: Characteristic such as bold, italic or roman.

U

Uncoated Paper: Paper that has not been coated with clay. Also called offset paper.

UV Coating: Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

V

Varnish: Liquid applied as a coating for protection and appearance.

Vellum Finish: Somewhat rough, toothy finish on paper.

W

Warm Colors: Yellows, oranges and reds.

Watermark: Translucent logo in bond paper created during manufacture.

Wove Finish: Somewhat smooth, slightly patterned finish on bond paper.