Resources & Support

Glossary Of Terms

Glossary Of Terms

We take great pride in making our clients feel confident about their jobs during the production process. To help you gain a better understanding of what’s happening to your project, we’ve compiled a glossary of terms that we commonly use in our industry.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W
  • Accordion Fold

    A type of paper folding in which each fold runs in the opposite direction to the previous fold creating a pleated or accordion effect.

  • Art Work

    Any materials or images that are prepared for graphic reproduction.

  • Author's Alterations (AA's)

    Changes made after composition stage where customer is responsible for additional charges.

  • Base Line

    This is a term used to describe the imaginary horizontal line upon which stand capitals, lower case letters, punctuation points etc.

  • Basic Size

    This term refers to a standard size of paper stock; even though the required size may be smaller or larger.

  • Basis Weight

    Basis or basic weight refers to the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that particular paper grade.

  • Binding

    Various methods of securing folded sections together and or fastening them to a cover, to form single copies of a book.

  • Bleed

    Extra ink area that crosses trim line, used to allow for variations that occur when the reproduction is trimmed or die-cut.

  • Blind Emboss

    A design or bas relief impression that is made without using inks or metal foils.

  • Blind Embossing

    Embossed forms that are not inked, or gold leafed.

  • Boldface

    Any type that has a heavier black stroke that makes it more conspicuous.

  • Bond

    A grade of durable writing, printing and typing paper that has a standard size of 17x22 inches.

  • Book

    A general classification to describe papers used to print books; its standard size is 25x38 inches. A printed work which contains more than 64 pages.

  • Bulk

    A term given to paper to describe its thickness relative to its weight.

  • Bulk

    A term used to define the number of pages per inch of a book relative to its given basis weight.

  • Caliper

    The measurement of thickness of paper expressed in thousandths of an inch or mils.

  • Caps & Lower Case

    Instructions in the typesetting process that indicate the use of a capital letter to start a sentence and the rest of the letters in lower case.

  • Caps & Small Caps

    Two sizes of capital letters made in one size of type.

  • Case Binding

    Books bound using hard board (case) covers.

  • Clay-Coated Boxboard

    A strong, easily folded boxboard with clay coating used for making folding boxes.

  • Coated (Paper)

    Paper coated with clay, white pigments and a binder. Better for printing because there is less picking.

  • Coated Art Paper

    Printing papers used for printing projects that require a special treatment of detail and shading.

  • Coated Stock

    Any paper that has a mineral coating applied after the paper is made, giving the paper a smoother finish.

  • Collate

    To gather sheets or signatures together in their correct order. (see Gather)

  • Color Bars

    This term refers to a color test strip, which is printed on the waste portion of a press sheet. It is a standardized (GATF-Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) process which allows a pressman to determine the quality of the printed material relative to ink density, registration, and dot gain. It also includes the Star Target, which is a similar system designed to detect inking problems.

  • Composition

    The assembly of characters into words, lines and paragraphs of text or body matter for reproduction by printing.

  • Condensed Type

    A narrow, elongated type face.

  • Continuous Tone

    Image made of non-discernable picture elements which give appearance of continuous spectrum of grey values or tones.

  • Contrast

    The degree of tonal separation or gradation in the range from black to white.

  • Corner Marks

    Marks on a final printed sheet that indicate the trim lines or register indicators.

  • Cover

    A term describing a general type of papers used for the covers of books, pamphlets etc.

  • Cracking

    Delamination.

  • Crop

    To eliminate a portion of the art or copy as indicated by crop marks.

  • Crop Mark

    Markings at edges of original or on guide sheet to indicate the area desired in reproduction with negative or plate trimmed (cropped) at the markings.

  • Cross-over

    Elements that cross page boundaries and land on two consecutive pages (usually rules).

  • Crossover

    A term used to describe the effect of ink from an image, rule or line art on one printed page, which carries over to another page of a bound work.

  • Curl

    Not lying flat and tending to form into cylindrical or wavy shapes. A term to describe the differences of either side of a sheet relative to coatings, absorbency etc.; the concave side is the curl side.

  • Cut-off

    A term used in web press printing to describe the point at which a sheet of paper is cut from the roll; usually this dimension is equal to the circumference of the cylinder.

  • Cutter

    Machine for accurately cutting stacks of paper to desired dimensions...can also be used to crease. Also trims out final bound books' top size (soft cover).

  • Cutting Die

    Sharp edged device, usually made of steel, to cut paper, cardboard, etc., on a printing press.

  • Densitometer

    An optical device used by printers and photographers to measure and control the density of color.

  • Density

    The degree of tone, weight of darkness or color within a photo or reproduction; measurable by the densitometer. Reference, densitometer.

  • Die

    Design, letters or shapes, cut into metal (mostly brass) for stamping book covers or embossing. An engraved stamp used for impressing an image or design.

  • Die Cutting

    A method of using sharp steel ruled stamps or rollers to cut various shapes i.e. labels, boxes, image shapes, either post press or in line. The process of cutting paper in a shape or design by the use of a wooden die or block in which are positioned steel rules in the shape of the desired pattern.

  • Digital Proof

    Color separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to color photographic paper creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed.

  • Dot

    The smallest individual element of a halftone.

  • Dot Gain

    Darkening of halftone image due to ink absorption in paper causing halftone dots to enlarge. Terms to describe the occurrence whereby dots are printing larger than they should.

  • Draw-down

    A method used by ink makers to determine the color, quality and tone of ink. It entails the drawing of a spatula over a drop of ink, spreading it flat over the paper.

  • Drill

    The actual drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding.

  • Drop Shadow

    A shadow image placed strategically behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page.

  • Dry Mount

    Pasting with heat sensitive adhesives.

  • Dull Finish

    Any matte finished paper.

  • Dummy

    A term used to describe the preliminary assemblage of copy and art elements to be reproduced in the desired finished product; also called a comp.

  • Duotone

    Color reproduction from monochrome original. Keyplate usually printed in dark color for detail, second plate printed in light flat tints. A two-color halftone reproduction generated from a one-color photo.

  • Duplex Paper

    Paper which has a different color or finish on each side.

  • Eggshell Finish

    The finish of paper surface that resembles an eggshell achieved by omitting the calendar process. Reference, calendar rolls.

  • Embossed

    A method of paper finishing whereby a pattern is pressed into the paper when it is dry.

  • Embossing

    To raise in relief a design or letters already printed on card stock or heavy paper by an uninked block or die. In rubber and plastic plate making the process is usually done by heat.

  • Fan Fold

    Paper folding that emulates an accordion or fan, the folds being alternating and parallel.

  • Felt Finish

    The smoother side of paper, usually a soft weave pattern used for book papers.

  • Filling In

    A fault in printing where the ink fills in the fine line or halftone dot areas.

  • Finish

    The surface quality of paper.

  • Finish (Paper)

    Dull - (low gloss) also matte or matte gloss.

  • Fit

    The registration of items within a given page.

  • Flush Cover

    A bound book or booklet etc. having the cover trimmed to the same size as the text.

  • Foils

    Papers that have a surface resembling metal.

  • Fold Marks

    Markings at top edges that show where folds should occur.

  • Folder

    Machine used to fold signatures down into sections.

  • Folio or Page Number

    Number of page at top or bottom either centered, flushed left or flushed right often with running headline.

  • Font

    The characters which make up a complete typeface and size.

  • Free sheet

    Any paper that is free from wood pulp impurities.

  • French Fold(er)

    Folder with printing on one side so that when folded once in each direction, the printing on outside of the folds.

  • Gang

    Group of frames or impositions in the same forme of different jobs arranged and positioned to be printed together.

  • Gathering

    Assembling sheets of paper and signatures into their proper sequence; collating.

  • Ghosting

    Marring a print by the placement of an image of work printed on the reverse side which has interfered with its drying so that differences in the trapping frame colors or glass variations are apparent.

  • Graduated Screen

    An area of image where halftone dots range continuously from one density to another.

  • Grain

    Direction of fibers in a sheet of paper governing paper properties such as increased size changes with relative humidity, across the grain, and better folding properties along the grain.

  • Grained Paper

    A paper embossed to resemble various textures, such as leather, alligator, wood, etc.

  • Gravure

    An intaglio or recessed printing process. The recessed areas are like wells that form the image as paper passes through.

  • Gripper Edge

    The grippers of the printing press move the paper through the press by holding onto the leading edge of the sheet; this edge is the gripper edge.

  • Groundwood

    Low cost papers such as newsprint made by the mechanical pulping process as opposed to chemical pulping and refining.

  • Gutter

    Space between pages in the printing frame of a book, or inside margin towards the back or binding edge. The blank space or margin between the type page and the binding of a book.

  • Hairline register

    Printing registration that lies within the range of plus or minus one half row of dots. It is the thinnest of the standard printers' rules.

  • Halftone

    Tone graduated image composed of varying sized dots or lines, with equidistant centers.

  • Hickies

    Imperfections in presswork due to dirt on press, trapping errors, etc.

  • High Bulk Paper

    Paper stock that is comparatively thick in relation to its basis weight.

  • Highlight Dot

    The highest density of a halftone image.

  • Highlights

    The lightest tones of a photo, printed halftone or illustration. In the finished halftone, these highlights are represented by the finest dots.

  • Hot melt

    An adhesive used in the binding process, which requires heat for application.

  • House Sheet

    This is a term that refers to a paper that a printer keeps on hand in his shop.

  • IBC

    Inside back cover.

  • IFC

    Inside front cover.

  • Image Area

    That portion of the printing plate that carries the ink and prints on paper.

  • Imposition

    Arrangement of pages so that they print correctly on a press sheet, and the pages are in proper order when the sheets are folded.

  • Impression

    Product resulting from one cycle of printing machine. The pressure of the image carrier, whether it be the type, plate or blanket, when it contacts the paper.

  • Indicia

    Markings pre-printed on mailing envelopes to replace the stamp.

  • Inserts

    Extra printed pages inserted loosely into printed pieces.

  • Italic

    Text that is used to denote emphasis by slanting the type body forward.

  • Job Number

    A number assigned to a printing project used for record keeping and job tracking. Also used to retrieve old jobs for reprints or reworking by customer.

  • Jog

    To vibrate a stack of finished pages so that they are tightly aligned for final trimming.

  • Kerning

    The narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page.

  • Laid Finish

    A parallel lined paper that has a handmade look.

  • Laser Engraving

    A paper cutting technique whereby laser technology is utilized to cut away certain unmasked areas of the paper. The cutting is a result of the exposure of the paper to the laser ray, which actually evaporates the paper.

  • Layout

    A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, roughs, thumbnails etc., of the final printed piece before it goes to print.

  • Leaf Stamping

    A metal die, either (flat, or embossed), created from the image or copy, which is then heated to a specific temperature which allows the transfer of a film of pigmented polyester to the paper.

  • Letterspacing

    The addition of space between typeset letters.

  • Line Copy

    Any copy that can be reproduced without the use of halftone screens.

  • Linen

    A paper that emulates the look and texture of linen cloth.

  • Lithography

    The process of printing that utilizes flat inked surfaces to create the printed images.

  • M weight

    The actual weight of 1000 sheets of any given size of paper.

  • Machine Coated

    Paper that has had a coating applied to either one or two of its sides during the papermaking process.

  • Make Rready

    Process of adjusting final plate on the press to fine tune or modify plate surface.

  • Matte Finish

    A coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring. Reference, calendaring.

  • Mottle

    A term used to describe spotty or uneven ink absorption.

  • Natural

    A term to describe papers that have a color similar to that of wood; also called cream, off-white or ivory.

  • Newsprint

    A light, low cost groundwood paper made especially for newspapers. Reference, groundwood.

  • OBC

    Outside back cover.

  • OFC

    Outside front cover.

  • Offset

    The most commonly used printing method, whereby the printed material does not receive the ink directly from the printing plate but from an intermediary cylinder called a blanket which receives the ink from the plate and transfers it to the paper.

  • Offset Gravure

    A complex offset process involving multiple transfers between the gravure plate, the plate cylinder and a solid rubber plate.

  • Offset Lithography

    Indirect printing method in which the inked image on the press-plate is first printed onto a rubber blanket, then in turn offsets the inked impression on to the sheet of paper.

  • Offset Paper

    A term for uncoated book paper.

  • Opacity

    Quality of papers that defines its opaqueness or ability to prevent two-sided printing from showing through.

  • Opaque

    A quality of paper that allows relatively little light to pass through.

  • Opaque Ink

    Ink that completely covers any ink under itself.

  • Over Run

    Surplus of copies printed.

  • Overhang Cover

    A cover of a book that extends over the trimmed signatures it contains.

  • Overprinting

    Any printing that is done on an area that has already been printed.

  • Page

    One side of a leaf.

  • Paperboard

    Any paper with a thickness (caliper) of 12 points (.3mm) or more.

  • Parchment

    A hard finished paper that emulates animal skin; used for documents, such as awards, that require writing by hand.

  • Parent Sheet

    A sheet that is larger than the cut stock of the same paper.

  • Perf Marks

    Markings usually dotted lines at edges showing where perforations should occur.

  • Perfect Binding

    Binding process where backs of sections are cut off, roughened and glued together, and rung in a cover.

  • Perfecting

    Printing both sides of the paper (or other material) on the same pass through the printing machine.

  • Perfecting Press

    A printing press that prints on both sides of the page in a single pass.

  • Perforating

    Punching small holes or slits in a sheet of paper or cardboard to facilitate tearing along a desired line.

  • Photoengraving

    Making printing plates by exposure of line and halftone negatives on sensitized metal, converting the image into an acid resist, and etching the print to the relief required for letterpress printing.

  • Plate

    Reproduction of type or cuts in metal, plastic, rubber, or other material, to form a plate bearing a relief, planographic or intaglio printing surface.

  • Plate Cylinder

    The cylinder on a printing press on which the plate is mounted.

  • Platemaking

    Making a printing plate from a film or flat including preparation of the plate surface, sensitizing, exposing through the flat, developing or processing, and finishing.

  • Point

    A measurement unit equal to 1/72 of an inch. 12 points to a pica, 72 points to an inch.

  • Ppi

    Pixels per inch.

  • Press-Proof

    Actual press sheet to show image, tone values and colors as well as imposition of frame or press-plate.

  • Primary Colors

    In printing the four primary colors are cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black.

  • Printability

    The quality of papers to show reproduced printed images.

  • Process Inks

    Printing inks, usually in sets of four colors. The most frequent combination is yellow, magenta, cyan, and black, which are printed, one over another in that order, to obtain a colored print with the desired hues, whites, blacks, and grays.

  • Process Printing

    Printing from two or more half tones to produce intermediate colors and shades.

  • Ragged Left

    The term given to right-justified type that is uneven on the left.

  • Ragged Right

    The term given to left-justified type that is uneven on the right.

  • Register

    The arrangement of two or more images in exact alignment with each other.

  • Register Marks

    Any crossmarks or other symbols used on layout to assure proper registration.

  • Right Angle Fold

    A term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other.

  • Runability

    A term used to describe how well a paper runs on a printing press.

  • Saddle Stitching

    Stitching where the wire staples pass through the spine from the outside and are clinched in the center. Only used with folded sections, either single sections or two or more sections inset to form a single section.

  • Satin Finish

    A smooth delicately embossed finished paper with sheen.

  • Score

    Impressions or cuts in flat material to facilitate bending or tearing.

  • Screen Ruling

    A measurement equaling the number of lines or dots per inch on a halftone screen.

  • Scum

    Unwanted ink marks in the non-image area.

  • Self Cover

    A cover made out of the same paper stock as the internal sheets.

  • Shadow Dot

    The lowest density of a halftone image.

  • Sharpen

    To decrease the dot size of the halftone which in turn decreases the color strength.

  • Show Through

    A problem that occurs when the printing on one side of a sheet is seen from the other side.

  • Side Stitching

    Stitching where the wire staples pass through the pile of sections or leaves gathered upon each other and are clinched on the underside.

  • Signature (Section)

    Printed sheet (or its flat) that consists of a number of pages of a book, placed so that they will fold and bind together as a section of a book. The printed sheet after folding.

  • Slitting

    A term to describe the process of cutting of printed sheets by the cutting wheels of a printing press.

  • Smoothness

    That quality of paper defined by its levelness which allows for pressure consistency in printing, assuring uniformity of print.

  • Spine

    Back edge of a book.

  • Spiral Bind

    A binding whereby a wire or plastic is spiraled through holes punched along the binding side.

  • Spot Color

    Small area printed in a second color.

  • Stability

    The quality of paper to maintain its original size when it undergoes pressure and moisture changes.

  • Stet

    A proofreader's symbol that is usually written in the copy margin, that indicates that the copy, which was marked for correction, should be left as it was.

  • Stock

    A term for unprinted paper or other material to be printed.

  • Super Calendaring

    A machine procedure that produces a high finished paper surface that is extremely smooth and exceptional for printing.

  • Synthetic Papers

    Any petroleum based waterproof papers with a high tensile strength.

  • Tack

    The adhesive quality of inks.

  • Tag

    A dense, strong paper stock.

  • Text

    A high quality printing paper.

  • Thermography

    A printing process whereby slow drying ink is applied to paper and while the ink is still wet, it is lightly dusted with a resinous powder. The paper then passes through a heat chamber where the powder melts and fuses with the ink to produce a raised surface.

  • Tint

    A halftone screen that contains all the same sized dots.

  • Tooth

    The rough surfaced finish of papers such as vellum or antique.

  • Transparent

    Inks that do not block out the colored inks that they print over, but instead blend with them to create intermediate colors.

  • Trapping

    The process of printing wet ink over printed ink which may be wet or dry.

  • Trim Marks

    Marks placed on the sheet to indicate where to cut the page.

  • Uncalendared

    Papers that are not smoothed by going through the calendaring process.

  • Up

    A term used to describe how many similar sheets can be produced on a larger sheet; two up, four up, etc.

  • Varnish

    A clear shiny ink used to add gloss to printed pieces. The primary component of the ink vehicle. Reference, vehicle.

  • Vellum

    A finish of paper that is rough, bulky and has a degree of tooth.

  • W&T

    An abbreviation for work and turn.

  • Washup

    The procedure of cleaning a particular ink from all of the printing elements (rollers, plate, ink fountain etc.) of a press.

  • Watermark

    A translucent logo that is embossed during the papermaking process while the paper slurry is on the dandy roll. Reference, dandy roll

  • Web

    The roll of paper that is used in web or rotary printing.

  • Web Press

    Cylinder printing machine in which the paper is fed from a continuous reel, as opposed to sheet fed.

  • Wet Trapping

    The ability of an ink film to accept subsequent ink films.

  • Wire Stitching Or Stapling

    To fasten together sheets, signatures, or sections with wire staples. 3 methods... saddle stitching, side stitching, and stabbing.

  • Wove

    A smooth paper made on finely textured wire that gives the paper a gentle patterned finish.

  • Writing Paper

    Another name for bond paper.