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Printing Terms

Printing Terms

A transparent sheet placed over originals or artwork, allowing the designer to write instruction.  Also describes a clear protective sheet sometimes used as a cover and bound with booklets

Accordion fold
Bindery term, two or more parallel folds which open like an accordion

Acid-free Paper
Paper made from pulp containing little or no acid which makes it resistant to deterioration from age. Also called alkaline paper, archival paper, neutral pH paper, permanent paper and thesis paper. Acid-free paper addresses the problem of preserving documents and artwork for long periods.

Additive Color
Color created by mixing light of two or more different colors. Red, green, and blue are the additive primary colors normally used. Computer monitors are the most common examples of additive color. Additive color is in contrast to subtractive color, in which colors are created by subtracting (absorbing) parts of the spectrum of light present in ordinary white light, by means of colored pigments or dyes, such as those in inks.

A4 Paper
The standard size of typing paper adopted by the International Standards Organization. ISO paper size 210 x 297mm used for Letterhead.

Against the Grain
Paper will tear and fold more easily with the grain and with greater difficulty against the grain. Refers to the direction of fibers in a sheet of paper generated during paper formation.

Pen-shaped tool that sprays a fine mist of ink or paint to retouch photos and create continuous-tone illustrations.

Any change made by the customer after copy or artwork has been given to the printer. The change could be in copy, specifications or both. Also called AA (author alteration).

Anti-offset Powder
In printing, anti-set-off spray powder is used to make an air gap between printed sheets of paper. This enables the ink to dry naturally and therefore avoid the unwanted transfer of ink from one printed sheet to another.

Antique Paper
Roughest finish offered on offset paper.

Aqueous Coating
Aqueous coating is a fast-drying, water-based, protective coating which is applied while the paper stock is on press to achieve a finish that exceeds the quality of a varnish. This water-based finish dries quickly and is resistant to smudges and fingerprints.

All original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, intended for printing

Author’s Alterations (AA’s)
When a client asks for a change in the text or artwork after it has already been submitted and layout approved and especially if the file has already gone out for printing, this is an AA or Author’s Alteration.

Back Up
To print on the second side of a sheet already printed on one side. (2) To adjust an image on one side of a sheet so that it aligns back-to-back with an image on the other side.

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

Basis Weight
The weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to the basic size. In countries using ISO paper sizes, the weight, in grams, of one square meter of paper.

Usually in the book arena, but not exclusively, the joining of leafs or signatures together with either wire, glue or other means.

The department within a printing company responsible for collating, folding and trimming and binding various printing projects.

Rubber-coated pad, mounted on a cylinder of an offset press, that receives the inked image from the plate and transfers it to the surface to be printed.

Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming. Full bleed is printing from one edge of the paper to the other without a border.

Blind Embossing
Image debossed, embossed or stamped, but not printed with ink or foil.

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.

Boiler Plate
Blocks of repetitive type used and copied over and over again.

Bond paper
Category of paper commonly used for writing, printing and photocopying.

Book Block
Folded signatures gathered, sewn and trimmed, but not yet covered.

Book Paper
Category of paper suitable for books, magazines, catalogs, advertising and general printing needs. Book paper is divided into uncoated paper, coated paper and text paper.

A repeating registration problem in the printing stage of production. (2) Customer unhappy with the results of a printing project and refuses to accept the project.

Broken Carton
Carton of paper from which some of the sheets have been sold.

Butt Register
Register where ink colors meet precisely without overlapping or allowing space between.

Buy Out
To subcontract for a service that is closely related to the business of the organization. Also called farm out. Work that is bought out or farmed out.

C1S and C2S
Abbreviations for coated one side and coated two sides.

To make the surface of paper smooth by pressing it between rollers during manufacturing.

Thickness of paper or other substrate expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils or points), pages per inch (ppi), thousandths of a millimeter (microns) or pages per centimeter (ppc).

Camera-ready Art
Term used in the commercial printing industry meaning that a document is, from a technical standpoint, ready to “go to press”, or be printed.

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

Covers and spine that, as a unit, enclose the pages of a casebound book.

Case Bind
To bind using glue to hold signatures to a case made of binder board covered with fabric, plastic or leather.

Cast-coated Paper
High gloss, coated paper made by pressing the paper against a polished, hot, metal drum while the coating is still wet.

Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks used in four process printing. The CMYK model works by partially or entirely masking colors on a lighter, usually white, background. The ink reduces the light that would otherwise be reflected. Such a model is called subtractive because inks “subtract” brightness from white.

Coated Paper
Paper with a coating of clay and other substances that improves reflectivity and ink holdout. Mills produce coated paper in four major categories cast, gloss, dull and matte.

To organize printed matter in a specific order as requested.

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 Cast
Unwanted color affecting an entire image or portion of an image.

Color Control Bar
A test strip comprising a series of grayscale and color patches printed onto a substrate as a means of ensuring proper and uniform color balance during printing.

Color Correct
To adjust the relationship among the CMYK process colors to achieve desirable colors.

Color Curves
Instructions in computer software that allow users to change or correct colors. Also called lookup tables.

Color Gamut
The entire range of hues possible to reproduce using a specific device, such as a computer screen, or four-color process printing.

Color Model
A color model is an abstract mathematical model describing the way colors can be represented as  numbers, typically as three or four values or color components. 

Color Separation
(1) Technique of using a camera, scanner or computer to divide continuous-tone color images into four halftone negatives. (2) The product resulting from color separating and subsequent four-color process printing. Also called separation.

Color Sequence
Order in which inks are laid down on the paper when printed

Color Shift
Change in image color resulting from changes in register, ink densities or dot gain during four-color process printing.

Comb Bind
To bind by inserting the teeth of a flexible plastic comb through holes punched along the edge of a stack of paper. Also called GBC bind (a brand name).

Commercial Printer
Printer producing a wide range of products such as announcements, brochures, posters, booklets, stationery, business forms, books and magazines.

Composite Art
Mechanical on which copy for reproduction in all colors appears on only one surface, not separated onto overlays. Composite art typically has a tissue overlay with instructions that indicate color breaks.

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

(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
Simulation of a printed piece complete with type, graphics and colors. Also called color comprehensive and comp.

Continuous-tone Copy
Refers to images that have a virtually unlimited range of color or shades of grays. Photographs and television images are examples of continuous-tone images. In contrast, computer hardware and software is digital, which means that they can represent only a limited number of colors and gray levels. All photographs and those illustrations having a range of shades not made up of dots, as compared to line copy or halftones.

The degree of tones in an image ranging from highlight to shadow.

Business that makes paper into products such as boxes, bags, envelopes and displays.

Thick paper that protects a publication. Parts of covers are often described as follows: Cover 1=outside front; Cover 2=inside front; Cover 3=inside back, Cover 4=outside back.

Extent to which ink covers the surface of a substrate. Ink coverage is usually expressed as light, medium or heavy.

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

When the bulk of the paper in a saddle stitched booklet causes the inner pages to extend or creep further out than the outer pages when folded. 

Crop Marks
Crossed lines placed at the corners of an image or a page to indicate where the paper is to be trimmed.

Type or art that continues from one page of a book or magazine across the gutter to the opposite page.

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

Cut Sizes
Paper sizes used with office machines and small presses.

Abbreviation for hundredweight using the Roman numeral C=100.

One of the four process colors. Also known as process blue.

To press an image into paper so it lies below the surface.

Instrument used to measure density. Reflection densitometers measure light reflected from paper and other surfaces; transmission densitometers measure light transmitted through film and other materials.

Desktop 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. Abbreviated DTP.

Device Independent Colors
‘Device independent’ means a color can be described and specified without regard to whether it is reproduced using ink, projected light, photographic chemistry or any other method.

Device for cutting, scoring, stamping, embossing and debossing.

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

Digital Proofing
A digital proof is a color prepress proofing method where a job is printed from the digital file to a PDF which will give a good approximation of what the final printed piece will look like. The digital proof is less expensive than other prepress proofs. Digital proofs can often be produced on the actual paper stock of the job adding another element of accuracy.

Dot Gain
Phenomenon of halftone dots printing larger on paper than they are on films or plates, reducing detail and lowering contrast.

Dot Size
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.

DPI is a measurement of printer resolution that defines how many dots of ink are placed on the page when the image is printed. 

Double Bump
To print a single image twice so it has two layers of ink.

See Dots Per Inch

Sample of inks specified for a job applied to the substrate specified for a job. Also called pulldown.

To drill a hole in a printed matter.

Dull Finish
Flat (not glossy) finish on coated paper; slightly smoother than matte.

Simulation of the final product. Also called mockup.

A halftone reproduction of an image using the superimposition of one contrasting color halftone (traditionally black) over another color halftone. This is most often used to bring out middle tones and highlights of an image. The most common colors used are blue, yellow, browns and reds.

To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface.

Encapsulated PostScript file
Computer file containing both images and PostScript commands. Abbreviated EPS file.

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

See Encapsulated Postscript File

Price that states what a job will probably cost. Also called bid, quotation.

The individual performing or creating the “estimate.”

Edge of a bound publication opposite the spine. Also, an abbreviation for typeface referring to a family of a general style.

Felt Finish
Soft woven pattern in text paper.

Fifth Color
Ink color used in addition to the four CMYK inks needed by four-color process printing. Often used when a specific logo color can’t be easily reproduced using just the CMYK inks

Film Laminate
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.

Fine Screen
Screen with ruling of 150 lines per inch (80 lines per centimeter) or more.

(1) Surface characteristics of paper. (2) General term for trimming, folding, binding and all other post press operations.

Finished Size
Size of printed product after production is completed, as compared to flat size. Also called trimmed  or folded size.

Fixed Costs
Costs that remain the same regardless of how many pieces are printed.

Flat Size
Size of product after printing and trimming, but before folding.

To print a sheet completely with an ink or varnish. flooding with ink is also called painting the sheet.

The reverse side of an image

Flush Cover
Cover trimmed to the same size as inside pages, as compared to overhang cover.

Leaf, at the front and back of a casebound book that is the one side of the end paper not glued to the case.

Foil Emboss
To foil stamp and emboss an image.

Foil Stamp
Method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die.

A bindery machine dedicated to folding printed materials.

Fold Marks
Markings which indicate where a fold is to occur.

A page in a book or magazine designed to be opened out for use and then folded away.

Folio (page number)
The actual page number in a publication.

Each side of a signature.

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

In graphic design and printing FPO equates to for position only or for placement only. Blank placeholders or temporary low-resolution illustrations are watermarked or stamped with the acronym FPO to indicate where the final version of an image is to be placed in the final file. The purpose of watermarking “FPO” prominently over the image is to prevent the low-res image from being mistakenly kept in the final output.

Four-color Process Printing
To reproduce full-color photographic images, typical printing presses use 4 colors of ink. The four inks are placed on the paper in layers of dots that combine to create the illusion of many more colors. CMYK refers to the 4 ink colors used by the printing press

French Fold
A printed sheet, printed one side only, folded with two right angle folds to form a four page uncut section.

Full-range Halftone
Halftone ranging from 0 percent coverage in its highlights to 100 percent coverage in its shadows.

To reproduce two or more different printed products (or different client jobs) simultaneously on one sheet of paper during one press run.

Gate Fold
A sheet that folds where both sides fold toward the gutter in overlapping layers.

(1) Phenomenon of a faint image appearing on a printed sheet where it was not intended to appear. Chemical 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.

Consider the light reflecting on various objects in the printing industry (e.g., paper, ink, laminates, UV coating, varnish).

A term that refers to the quality category of a paper stock determined by the method of manufacturing and by the contents of the paper, which provide the various surface characteristics. Paper grade also refers to the specific type of paper, such as coated, uncoated, bond, or index. Digital paper grades may include laser, ink-jet, or multipurpose papers.

Grain Direction
Predominant direction in which fibers in paper become aligned during manufacturing.

Grain Long Paper
Paper whose fibers run parallel to the long dimension of the sheet. Also called long grain paper.

Grain Short Paper
Paper whose fibers run parallel to the short dimension of the sheet. Also called short grain paper and wide web paper.

A metric measure of paper weight, grammage is based on the same square meter sheet of paper, regardless of paper grade. Grammage is expressed in grams per square meter or g/m2 or GSM.

Graphic Design
Arrangement of type and visual elements along with specifications for paper, ink colors and printing processes that, when combined, convey a visual message.

 Gray Balance
Printed cyan, magenta and yellow halftone dots that accurately, reproduce a neutral gray image.

Gray Levels
Number of distinct gray tones that can be reproduced by a computer.

Gray Scale
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
The edge of a book block that is roughed to create a stronger bond when referring to perfect bound products.

Gripper Edge
Edge of a press sheet held by grippers on a sheetfed press, thus going first through the press.

The unit of measurement for paper weight (grams per square meter).

The inside margins or blank space between two facing pages is the gutter. The gutter space is that extra space allowance used to accommodate the binding in books and magazines. The amount of gutter needed varies depending on the binding method.

Hairline (Rule)
In typography, a very thin rule line typically less than one-half point wide. On some output devices, the hairline rule is as thin as the smallest printer spot the device can image.

The reprographic technique that simulates continuous tone imagery through the use of dots, varying either in size, in shape or in spacing.

Halo Effect
Faint shadow sometimes surrounding halftone dots printed.

At the top of a page, the margin.

Imposition with heads (tops) of pages facing tails (bottoms) of other pages.

Spot or imperfection in printing.

High-fidelity Color
Color reproduced using six, eight or twelve separations, as compared to four-color process.

Hinged Cover
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.

House Stock
Paper kept in stock by a printer and suitable for a variety of printing jobs.

Postal information place on a printed product

Image Area
The actual area on the press sheet that can be printed on,

Laser output device using photosensitive paper or film used to image plates

One of the fundamental steps in the prepress printing process. It consists in the arrangement of the printed product’s pages on the printer’s sheet, in order to obtain faster printing, simplify binding and reduce paper waste. Correct imposition minimizes printing time by maximizing the number of pages per impression, reducing cost of press time and materials. To achieve this, the printed sheet must be filled as fully as possible.

Referring to an ink color, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through a printing unit.

Impression Cylinder
Cylinder, on a press, that pushes paper against the plate or blanket, thus forming the image.

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

Inkjet Printing
Method of printing by spraying droplets of ink through computer-controlled nozzles. Often used to add mailing addresses to preprinted materials.

In-Plant Printer
Department of an agency, business or association that does printing for a parent organization.

Within a publication, an additional item positioned into the publication loose (not bound in).

Job Number
A number assigned to a specific printing project in a printing company for use in tracking and record keeping.

Job Ticket
Form used by printers to communicate job specs and the materials and tasks required.

Abbreviation for black in four-color process printing.  The ‘K’ in CMYK.

Kiss Cut
To die cut a shape in the top layer, but not the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper so the top layer can be peeled off.

Kraft Paper
Strong paper used for wrapping and to make grocery bags and large envelopes.

A thin transparent plastic sheet applied to paper stock providing protection against liquid and heavy use.

Page orientation is the way in which a rectangular page is oriented for normal viewing. The two most common types of orientation are portrait and landscape. The specific word definition comes from the fact that a close-up portrait of a person’s face is more fitting for a canvas or photo where the height of the display area is greater than the width, and is more common for the pages of books. Landscape originally described artistic outdoor scenes where a wide view area is needed, but the upper part of the painting would be mostly sky and so is omitted.

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

Lay Flat Bind
Method of perfect binding that allows a publication to lie fully open.

In typography refers to the distance between the baselines of successive lines of type.

One sheet of paper in a publication. Each side of a leaf is one page.

Letter fold
Two folds creating three panels that allow a sheet of letterhead to fit a business envelope.

Letter Paper
In North America, 8 1/2′ x 11′ sheets. In Europe, A4 sheets.

Method of printing from raised surfaces, either metal type or plates whose surfaces have been etched away from image areas.

Line Copy
Any high-contrast image, including type, as compared to continuous-tone copy. Also called line art and line work.

Linen Finish
Embossed finish on text paper that simulates the pattern of linen cloth.

Method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose non image areas repel ink. Non image areas may be coated with water to repel the oily ink or may have a surface, such as silicon, that repels ink.

Live Area
Area on a mechanical within which images will print. Also called safe area.

Binding method allowing insertion and removal of pages in a publication.

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

Lens built into a small stand. Used to inspect copy, film, proofs, plates and printing

One of the four process colors.

All activities required to prepare a press or other machine to function for a specific printing or bindery job, as compared to production run.  Paper used in the makeready process at any stage in production. Makeready paper is part of waste or spoilage.

Non printed space around the edge of the printed material.

Instructions written usually on a “dummy” or proof.

To block out part of an image, therefore isolating the remaining part. Also called knock out.

Match Print
A form of a four-color-process proofing system.

Matte Finish
Flat (not glossy) finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper.

Camera-ready assembly of type, graphic and other copy complete with instructions to the printer.

Mechanical Separation
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 metal.

Metallic Paper
Paper coated with a thin film of plastic or pigment whose color and gloss simulate metal.

In a photograph or illustration, tones created by dots between 30 percent and 70 percent of coverage, as compared to highlights and shadows.

Mock Up
A reproduction of the original printed matter and possibly containing instructions or direction.

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.

Spotty, uneven ink absorption.

Multicolor Printing
Printing in more than one ink color (but not four-color process).

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

Signatures assembled inside one another in the proper sequence for binding, as compared to gathered.

Neutral Gray
Gray with no hue or cast.

News Print
Paper used in printing newspapers. Considered low quality and “a short life use.”

Nonimpact Printing
Printing using lasers, ions, ink jets or heat to transfer images to paper.

Novelty Printing
Printing on products such as coasters, pencils, balloons, golf balls and ashtrays, known as advertising specialties or premiums.

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

Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents printing on one side from showing through the other side.

Not transparent.

To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint.

Over Run
Additional printed matter beyond order. Overage policy varies in the printing industry.

One side of a leaf in a publication.

Page Count
Total number of pages that a publication has.

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

The numbering of pages in a book.

One page of a brochure, such as one panel of a rack brochure.

Paper Plate
A printing plate made of strong and durable paper in the short run offset arena.

Parallel Fold
The fold lines in paper with parallel folds all run in the same direction, parallel to each other. Parallel folds are commonly used for all kinds of brochures (such as tri-fold), stationery inserted into business envelopes, and other materials. 

Parent Sheet
Any sheet larger than 11′ x 17′ or A3 from which smaller sheets are cut.

To paste copy to mounting boards and, if necessary, to overlays so it is assembled into a camera-ready mechanical.

Proofreader mark meaning printer error and showing 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.

Perfecting Press
Press capable of printing both sides of the paper during a single pass. Also called duplex press and perfector.

Perf Marks
Markings indicating where the perforation is to occur.

Taking place on a press or a binder machine, creating a line of small dotted wholes for the purpose of tearing-off a part of a printed matter (usually straight lines, vertical or horizontal).

A unit of measure in the printing industry. A pica is approximately 0.166 in. There are 12 points to a pica.

Phenomenon of ink pulling 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.

Unwanted small holes (defects) in printed areas caused of a variety of reasons.

Pin Register
Technique of registering separations and printing plates by using small holes, all of equal diameter, at the edges and used to perfectly align separations or plates

Short for picture element, a dot made by a computer, scanner or other digital device. A

Piece of paper, metal, plastic or rubber carrying an image to be reproduced using a printing press.

A machine that makes plates used on an offset press for reproducing illustrations or printed mater.

Pleasing Color
Color that the customer considers satisfactory even though it may not precisely match original samples, scenes or objects.

A popular  color matching system  used by the printing industry to print  spot colors. Most applications that support color printing allow you to specify colors by indicating the Pantone name or number. This assures that you get the right color when the file is printed, even though the color may not look right when displayed on your monitor.

(1) Regarding paper, a unit of thickness equating 1/1000 inch. (2) Regarding type, a unit of measure equaling 1/12 pica and .013875 inch (.351mm).

An art design in which the height is greater than the width. (Opposite of Landscape.)

Post Bind
To bind using a screw and post inserted through a hole in a pile of loose sheets.

Camera work, color separations, stripping, platemaking and other prepress functions performed by the printer, separator or a service bureau prior to printing.

Prepress Proof
Color proof made using ink jet, toner, dyes or electronic PDF, as compared to a press proof printed using ink.

To print portions of sheets that will be used for later imprinting.

Press Check
Event at which makeready sheets from the press are examined before authorizing full production to begin.

Press Proof
Proof made on press using the plates, ink and paper specified for the job.

Press Time
Amount of time that one printing job spends on press, including time required for makeready.

Pressure-sensitive paper
Paper material with self sticking adhesive covered by a backing sheet

Price Break
Quantity at which unit cost of paper or printing drops.

Printer Spreads
Mechanicals made so they are imposed for printing, as compared to reader spreads.

Any process that transfers to paper or another substrate an image from an original such as a film negative or positive, electronic memory, stencil, die or plate.

Printing Plate
Printing processes such as offset lithography use printing plates to transfer an image to paper or other substrates. The plates may be made of metal, plastic, rubber, paper, and other materials. The image is put on the printing plates using photomechanical, photochemical, or laser engraving processes.

Process Color (Inks)
The colors used for four-color process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.

Production Run
Press run intended to manufacture products as specified, as compared to makeready.

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.

Price offered by a printer to produce a specific job.

Rag Paper
Stationery or other forms of stock having a strong percentage content of “cotton rags.”

Ragged left
Type that is justified to the right margin and the line lengths vary on the left.

Ragged right
Type that is justified to the left margin and the line lengths vary on the right.

Raster Image Processor
Device that translates page description commands into bitmapped information for an output device such as a laser printer or imagesetter.

Reader Spread
Mechanicals made in two page spreads as readers would see the pages, as compared to printer spread.

500 sheets of paper.

Recycled Paper
New paper made entirely or in part from old paper.

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.

When printing an image that has more than one color, it is necessary to print each color separately, and to ensure that each color overlaps the others precisely. If this is not done, the finished image will look fuzzy, blurred or “out of register” (see image to right). To help line the colors up correctly, a system of registration is necessary.

Register Marks
Small shapes, or patterns (most commonly a circle or oval with a cross through it) placed in non-image areas of negatives, positives, color separations, or plates to ensure correct register—or alignment—of successive colors and/or images.

General term for xerography, diazo and other methods of copying used by designers, engineers, architects or for general office use.

Sharpness of an image on film, paper, computer screen, disc, tape or other medium.

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 called knockout.

Abbreviation for red, green, blue, the additive color primaries.

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

Saddle Stitch
To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine.

Satin Finish
Alternate term for dull finish on coated paper.

To identify the percent by which photographs or art should be enlarged or reduced to achieve the correct size for printing.

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

Screen Angles
Angles at which screens intersect with the horizontal line of the press sheet.

Screen Density
Refers to the percentage of ink coverage that a screen tint allows to print. Also called screen percentage.

Screen Printing
A printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil to receive a desired image. The attached stencil forms open areas of mesh that transfer ink or which can be pressed through the mesh as a sharp-edged image onto a substrate. A fill blade or squeegee is moved across the screen stencil forcing ink into the mesh openings during the squeegee stroke. Basically, it is the process of using a stencil to apply ink onto a substrate, whether it be t-shirts, posters, stickers, vinyl, wood, or other material.

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 line count, ruling, screen frequency, screen size and screen value.

Screen Tint
A screen pattern that consists of dots that are all the same size and create an even tone.

Self Cover
Self Cover means that the paper used for the cover of a book or other bound document is the same as the paper used for the interior pages.

Self Mailer
A printed item independent of an envelope. A printed item capable of travel in the mail without being enclosed in an envelope.

Color separation is the process by which original artwork is separated into individual color components for printing. The components are cyan, magenta, yellow and black, known as CMYK. By combining these colors, a wide spectrum of colors can be produced on the printed page. In this four color printing process, each color is applied to a printing plate. When the colors are combined on paper the human eye combines the colors to see the final image.

Set-off is the term given to the unwanted transfer of ink from one printed sheet to another. The problem can occur with most types of printing, and is avoided by the use of anti-set-off spray powder.

Hue made darker by the addition of black, as compared to tint.

Darkest areas of a photograph or illustration, as compared to midtones and high-lights.

Sheetfed Press
Press that prints sheets of paper, as compared to a web press.

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.

Allowance, made during paste-up or stripping, to compensate for creep. Creep is the problem; shingling is the solution.

Side stitch
To bind by stapling through sheets along, one edge, as compared to saddle stitch.

Printed sheet folded at least once, possibly many times, to become part of a book, magazine or other publication.

A pallet used for a pile of cut sheets

Slip Sheets
A blank sheet of paper slipped between newly printed sheets to prevent offsetting.

Any area of the sheet receiving 100 percent ink coverage, as compared to a screen tint.

Soy-based Inks
Inks using vegetable oils instead of petroleum products as pigment vehicles, thus are environmentally friendly.

Specially Printer
Printer whose equipment, supplies, work flow and marketing is targeted to a particular category of products.

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. Abbreviated specs.

Back or binding edge of a publication

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

Paper that, due to mistakes or accidents, must be thrown away instead of delivered printed to the customer, as compared to waste.

Spot Color or Varnish
One ink or varnish applied to portions of a sheet, as compared to flood or painted sheet.

Two pages that face each other and are designed as one visual or production unit.

Term for foil stamping

Step and Repeat
A backdrop display that has one or more sponsor logos repeated in a step or diagonal alternating pattern. Used during media press conferences and special events.

A proof mark meaning let the original copy stand

Stocking Paper
Popular sizes, weights and colors of papers available for prompt delivery from a merchant’s warehouse.

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 called film assembly and image assembly.

Substance Weight
Alternate term for basis weight, usually referring to bond papers. Also called sub weight.

Any surface or material on which printing is done.

Subtractive Color
Color produced by light reflected from a surface, as compared to additive color. Subtractive color includes hues in color photos and colors created by inks on paper.

Subtractive Primary Color
Yellow, magenta and cyan. In the graphic arts, these are known as process colors because, along with black, they are the inks colors used in color-process printing.

Supercalendered Paper
In paper manufacturing calendaring is the process of smoothing the surface of the paper by pressing it between cylinders or rollers. An additional set of calendars or supercalendars used after the initial papermaking process produce an even smoother, thinner paper called supercalendered paper.

Specifications for Web Offset Publications, (SWOP), is an organization and the name of a set of specifications that it produces, with the aim of improving the consistency and quality of professionally printed material in the United States. The SWOP specification covers many areas related to print production.

As a paper size, an 11” x 17” sheet

Grade of dense, strong paper used for products such as badges and file folders.

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

A standardized layout.

Text Paper
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.

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

Reduced-size versions of pictures used to help in recognizing and organizing them

Screening or adding white to a solid color for results of lightening that specific color.

Total Area Coverage
The amount of ink layered on a page (colors printed on top of each other as in 4-color process printing) is the Total Ink Coverage(TIC) or Total Area Coverage (TAC) for a document

Trade Shop
Printer or bindery working primarily for other graphic arts professionals, not for the general public.

To print 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 Traps and Wet Traps.

Trim Size
The size of the printed material in its finished stage (e.g., the finished trim size is 5 1\2 x 8 1\2).

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

Unsharp Masking
Technique of adjusting dot size to make a halftone or separation appear sharper (in better focus) than the original photo or the first proof.

Term 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
Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

Liquid applied as a coating for protection and appearance.

Vellum Finish
A very slightly rough or tooth texture intended to mimic natural vellum.

Virgin Paper
Paper made exclusively of pulp from trees or cotton, as compared to recycled paper.

Abbreviation for volatile organic compounds, petroleum substances used as the vehicles for many printing inks.

Wash Up
To clean ink and fountain solutions from rollers, fountains, screens, and other press components.

Unusable paper or paper damage during normal makeready, printing or binding operations, as compared to spoilage.

A visible embedded overlay on a digital photo consisting of text, a logo, or a copyright notice. The purpose of a watermark is to identify the work and discourage its unauthorized use.

Web Press
Press that prints from rolls of paper, usually cutting it into sheets after printing. Also called reel-fed press.

With the Grain
Parallel to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to against the grain. See also Grain Direction.

Woodfree Paper
Made with chemical pulp only. Paper usually classified as calendered or supercalendered.