This glossary contains printing terms that may be of interest as well
as help to you in completing your next project.
Accordion fold: Bindery term, two or more parallel folds which
open like an accordion.
Against the grain: At right angles to direction of paper grain.
Alteration: Change in copy of specifications after production has
Author's corrections: Also know as "AC's". Changes or additions
to copy after it has been typeset.
Back up: Printing the second side of a sheet.
Banding: Packaging printed materials using rubber or paper bands.
Basis weight: Weight in pounds of a ream of paper cut to the
basic size for its grade.
Bind: To fasten sheets or signatures with wire, thread, glue. or
Bindery: The department where the flat printed sheet is
transformed into the final format.
Blanket: The thick rubber mat on a printing press that transfers
ink from the plate to paper.
Bleed: Printing that goes to the edge of the sheet after
Blind embossing: An image pressed into a sheet without ink or
Blueline: Blue photographic proof used to check position of all
Bond & carbon: Business form with paper and carbon paper.
Bond paper: Strong durable paper grade used for letterheads and
Brightness: The brilliance of paper. Higher numbers are brighter
Bulk: Thickness of paper stock in thousandths of an inch or
number of pages per inch.
Bulk pack: Boxing printed product without wrapping or banding.
Burn: Exposing a printing plate to high intensity light or
placing an image on a printing plate by light.
Butt: Joining images without overlapping.
Butt fit: Printed colors that overlap one row of dots so they
appear to butt.
Pressure sensitive writing paper that does not
Caliper: Paper thickness in thousandths of an inch.
Camera-ready copy: Print ready mechanical art.
Cast coated: Coated paper with a high gloss reflective finish.
Chrome: A term for a transparency.
Coated paper: A clay coated paper with a hard, smooth finish.
Collate: A bindery term for arranging paper in a precise order.
Color bar: A quality control term regarding the spots of ink
color on the tail of a sheet.
Color break: Separate mechanically or by software, the parts to
be printed in different colors.
Color correction: Methods of improving color separations.
Color key: Color proofs in layers of acetate.
Color matching system: A system of formulated ink colors used for
Color separations: The process of preparing artwork, photographs,
transparencies, or computer generated art for printing by separating into
the four primary printing colors (CYMK).
Composite color: Combining all images, type, and design elements
on one or more pieces of film directly from the page layout program.
Continuous-tone copy: Illustrations, photographs or computer
files that contain gradient tones from black to white or light to dark.
Contrast: The tonal change in color from light to dark.
Copy: All furnished material or disc used in the production of a
Cover stock: A heavy paper used to cover books, make presentation
folders, business cards, etc.
Crash number: Numbering paper by pressing an image on the first
sheet which is transferred to all parts of the printed set.
Crimping: Puncture marks holding business forms together.
Cromalin: Trade name for DuPont color proofs.
Crop: To cut off parts of a picture or image.
Crop marks: Printed lines showing where to trim a printed sheet.
Crossover: Printing across the gutter or from one page to the
facing page of a publication.
Cyan: One of four standard process colors - Blue.
A quality control, measurement device to
measure the density of printing ink.
Density: The degree of color or darkness of an image or
Die: Metal rule or imaged block used to cut or place an image on
paper in the finishing process.
Die cutting: Cutting images in or out of paper.
Digital color: Combining all images, type, and design elements on
a color proof sheet directly from the page layout program.
Dot: An element of halftones. Using a loupe you will see that
printed pictures are made many dots.
Dot gain or spread: The difference in size between the dot on
film v. paper.
Double burn: Exposing a plate to multiple images.
Draw-down: A sample of ink and paper used to evaluate ink colors.
Drop-out: Portions of artwork that do not print.
Dummy: A rough layout of a printed piece showing position and
Duotone: A halftone picture made up of two printed colors.
Dylux: Photographic paper made by DuPont used for blueline
proofing of a job. Shows all elements in blue. Usually used for 1 or 2
color printing only.
Emboss: Pressing an image into paper so that it will create a
Emulsion: Light sensitive coating found on printing plates and
Eurobind: A patented method of binding perfect bound books so
they will open and lay flatter.
Flat: An assembly of negatives taped to masking materials for
Flood: To cover a printed page with ink, varnish, or plastic
Flop: The reverse side of an image.
Foil: A metallic or pigmented coating on plastic sheets or rolls
used in foil stamping and foil embossing.
Foil emboss: Foil stamping and embossing a image on paper with a
Foil stamping: Using a die to place a metallic or pigmented image
4-color-process: The process of combining 4 basic colors to
create a printed color picture or other colors composed from the basic 4
French fold: Two folds at right angles to each other.
Fugitive glue: Soft, pliable, transparent glue strip
approximately 1/8" wide used to seal self mailers to post office
Galley proof: Text copy before it is put into a mechanical layout
or desktop layout.
Gang: Getting the most out of a printing press by using the
maximum sheet size to print multiple images or jobs on the same sheet. A
way to save money.
Gate fold: A page that folds into the gutter creating a page when
open about twice the orignal size.
GBC bind: To plastic comb bind by inserting the comb into punched
Generation: Stages of reproduction from original copy. A first
generation reproduction yields the best quality.
Ghosting: A faint printed image that appears on a printed sheet
where it was not intended.
Gloss: A shiny look, highly reflective of light.
Glue bind: A rubberized coating of glue on the edges of stacked
Grain: Predominant direction of the fibers in a sheet of paper.
Grippers: The metal fingers on a printing press that hold the
paper as it passes through the press.
Gutter: Blank space where 2 pages meet at the binding or the
space between columns of type
A very thin line or gap about the width of a hair or 1/100 inch.
Halftone: Converting a continuous tone to dots for printing.
Hard copy: The output of a computer printer, or typed text sent
Hickey: Reoccurring unplanned spots that appear in the printed
image from dust, lint, dried ink.
High-bulk paper: A paper made thicker than its standard basis
Highlight: The lightest areas in a picture or halftone.
Image area: Portion of paper on which ink can appear.
Imposition: Positioning printed pages so they will fold in the
Impression: Pressure of printing surface to the paper.
Imprint: Adding copy to a previously printed page.
Indicia: Postal information place on a printed product.
Ink holdout: Characteristic of paper to keep ink on the surface
and not bleed or spread throughout the fibers. Results in sharper and
finer image quality.
Ink fountain: The reservoir on a printing press that hold the
Jog: To straighten or align a pile of papers by vibration.
Justify: Lines of type that align on left and right sides.
Lines on mechanical art that show position of photographs or
Kiss die cut: To cut the top layer of a pressure sensitive sheet
and not the backing.
Knock out: To mask out an image.
Simulating the surface of handmade paper.
Laminate: To cover with film, to bond or glue one surface to
Line art: High contrast black & white copy not requiring a
Lines per inch: The number of rows of dots per inch in a
Loose color: A collection of color images from the print project
shouwn outside of the page layout.
Loupe: A magnifying glass used to review a printed image, plate
and position film.
Process red, one of the four basic colors in
Makeready: All activities reading a press for printing.
Mask: Blocking light from reaching parts of a printing plate.
Matchprint: Trade name for 3M integral color proof.
Matte finish: Dull paper or ink finish.
Mechanical: Camera ready art all contained on one board.
Mechanical separation: Color breaks as overlays for each color to
Micrometer: Instrument used to measure the thickness of paper.
Middle tones: The tones in a photograph that are approx. half as
dark as the shadow area.
Moire: When screen angles are incorrect odd patterns are created
The image on film that makes the white areas of originals black and
black areas white.
Non-reproducing blue: A blue color the camera cannot see. Used in
marking up artwork.
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