Glossary Of Terms

Glossary Of Terms

We take great pride in making our clients feel comfortable and confident about their printing 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 common (and not so common) printing terms.

  • 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.

  • Acetate

    A transparent or translucent plastic sheet material of a variety of colors, used as a basis for artwork and overlays.

  • Alignment

    The position of elements on a page in relation to a referenced horizontal or vertical line.

  • Amberlith

    Red-orange acetate used for masking mechanicals when photographing for plates. The amberlith area appears black to the camera, and prints clear on the resulting film.

  • Antigua

    An 11th century Italian script typeface.

  • Aqueous Plate

    Water soluble plate coatings, which are less toxic and less polluting.

  • Arms

    Those elements of letters that branch out from the stem of a letter, such as in "K" and "Y."

  • Arrowhead

    A symbol shaped like an arrowhead that is used in illustration to direct a leader line. Reference: leader line.

  • Artwork

    All illustrated material (ornamentation, photos and charts, etc.) that is prepared for reproduction.

  • As To Press

    A term used for proofs that show the final page positioning of all graphical elements.

  • Ascender

    Any part of a lower case letter which rises above the main body of the letter such as in "d", "b" and "h."

  • Assembled Negative

    Film negatives consisting of line and halftone copy which are used to make plates for printing.

  • Author's Alterations (AA's)

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

  • Autolithography

    A printing method whereby the image is hand drawn or etched directly onto lithography plates or stones.

  • Background

    The part of a photograph or illustration that appears behind the principal subject; the surface upon which the main image is superimposed.

  • Backslant

    Any type that tilts to the left or backward direction; opposite of italic type.

  • Baking

    A term given to the procedure of drying coatings onto papers.

  • Balance

    A term used to describe the aesthetic or harmony of elements on a page, whether they are photos, art or copy, within a layout or design.

  • Balloon

    In an illustration, any line which encircles copy or dialogue.

  • Basic Size

    Refers to a standard size of paper stock even though the required size may be smaller or larger.

  • Bauhaus

    A design school in Germany where the Sans Serif font was originated.

  • Binding

    Various methods of securing folded sections of paper together and fastening them to a cover to form a book.

  • Black Letter

    An old style of typeface used in Germany in the 15th century; also referred to as Old English (US) and Gothic (UK).

  • Black Printer

    Refers to the film portion of the color separation process that prints black; increases the contrast of neutral tones.

  • Blackening

    Darkening a portion of a sheet of paper due to the excessive pressure of the calendar roll. Reference: calendar rolls.

  • Blackout

    Also referred to as black patch; a piece of masking material which is used in layout to mask an area leaving a window into which another element can be stripped.

  • Blanket

    On offset presses a fabric-reinforced sheet of rubber to transfer the impression from the plate onto the paper.

  • Blanket-to-Blanket Press

    A printing method in which there are two blanket cylinders through which a sheet of paper is passed and printed on both sides.

  • Bleed

    Extra inked area that crosses designated 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.

  • Blistering

    Although seemingly dry, paper does contain approximately 5% moisture. In cases where there is excessive moisture and the paper is passed through a high heat-drying chamber, the moisture within the paper actually boils and causes a bubble or blistering effect.

  • Block

    Illustrations or line art etched onto zinc or copper plates and used in letterpress printing.

  • Blow-up

    Any enlargement of photos, copies or line art.

  • Body

    The main shank or portion of the letter character other than the ascenders and descenders; a term used to define the thickness or viscosity of printer's ink.

  • Body Size

    The point size of a particular type character.

  • Boiler Plate

    Repetitive blocks of type that are picked up and included routinely without recreating them.

  • Boldface

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

  • Bolts

    The edges of folded sheets of paper, which are trimmed off in the final stages of production.

  • Bond

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

  • Book

    A printed work which contains more than 64 pages.

  • Book Paper

    A general classification of paper stock used to print books.

  • Brace

    A character " }" used to group lines or phrases.

  • Brocade

    A heavily embossed paper.

  • Brochure

    A pamphlet that is bound in booklet form.

  • Bronzing

    A printing method whereby special ink is applied to sheets and then a powder is applied producing a metallic effect.

  • Cadmium Yellow

    A pigment made from cadmium sulfide and cadmium selenide.

  • Calendar Board

    A strong paperboard used for calendars and displays.

  • Caliper

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

  • Camera Ready

    A term given to any copy, artwork etc., that is prepared for photographic reproduction.

  • Caps & Lowercase

    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, which is indicated by the use of a larger capital letter to start a sentence with the rest of the letters being in smaller capitals.

  • Carbon Black

    A pigment made of elemental carbon and ash.

  • Carbonate Paper

    A chemical pulp paper (calcium carbonate), used mostly for the printing of magazines.

  • Case

    The stiff covers of a hardbound book.

  • Case Binding

    Books bound using hard board (case) covers.

  • CMYK

    An abbreviation for the four primary colors used in four-color process printing--cyan (a light blue), magenta (a pinkish purple), yellow and black.

  • Coated (Paper)

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

  • Coated Stock

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

  • Cold Color

    Any color that moves toward the blue side in the color spectrum.

  • Cold-Set Inks

    A variety of inks that are in solid form originally but are melted in a hot press and then solidify when they contact paper.

  • Collate

    To gather sheets or signatures together in their correct order. Reference: Gather.

  • Collating Marks

    Black step-marks printed on the back of folded sheets, to facilitate collating and checking of the sequence of book signatures.

  • 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.

  • Color Separating

    The processes of separating the primary color components for printing.

  • 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.

  • Contrast

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

  • Copy

    Refers to any typewritten material, art, photos, etc., to be used for the printing process.

  • Cover

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

  • Cracking

    Delamination.

  • Creep

    When the rubber blanket on a cylinder moves forward due to contact with the plate or paper. Result of added thickness of folded sheets being behind one another in a folded signature. Outer edges of sheets creep away from back most fold as more folded sheets are inserted inside the middle.

  • 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.

  • Crossmarks

    Marks of fine lines, which intersect to indicate accurate alignment of art elements.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Cyan

    A shade of blue used in the four-color process; it reflects blue and green and absorbs red.

  • Cylinder Gap

    The gap in the cylinders of a press where the grippers or blanket clamps is housed.

  • Dampening

    An essential part of the printing process whereby cloth covered rubber rollers distribute the dampening solution to the plate.

  • Deckle Edge

    The rough or feathered edge of paper when left untrimmed.

  • Deep Etching

    The etching or removal of any unwanted areas of a plate to create more air or white space on the finished product.

  • Delete

    An instruction given to remove an element from a layout.

  • Densitometer

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

  • Density

    The lay of paper fibers relative to tightness or looseness which affects the bulk, the absorbency and the finish of the paper.

  • Density

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

  • Descender

    A term that describes that portion of lowercase letters which extends below the main body of the letter as in "p."

  • 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 (e.g. labels, boxes or 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.

  • Die Stamping

    An intaglio process for printing from images engraved into copper or steel plates.

  • 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.

  • Diploma

    A fine type of paper made specifically for the printing of diplomas, certificates and documents.

  • Direct Screen Halftone

    A color separation process using a halftone negative made by direct contact with the halftone screen.

  • Display Type

    Any type that stands out from the rest of the type on a page which attracts attention of the reader.

  • Distribution Rollers

    In the printing process, the rubber coated rollers responsible for the distribution of ink from the fountain to the ink drum.

  • Dog Ear

    Occurs when you fold into a fold (such as a letter fold). At the side of one of the creases you get an indentation. It may look like a small inverted triangle.

  • 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.

  • DPI

    Dots Per Inch; the standard measurement of resolution for printers, photo type setting machines and graphics screens. The higher the value, the finer the detail of the finished print.

  • 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.

  • Dull Finish

    Any matte-finished paper.

  • 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.

  • Dutch

    A type of deckle-edged paper originally produced in the Netherlands. Reference: deckle edge.

  • Dye Sublimation

    The process by which an image is printed onto a specially coated paper and from there transferred onto the final media (e.g. a piece of fabric) through the application of heat.

  • Eggshell Finish

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

  • Electronic Composition

    The assembly of characters into words, lines and paragraphs of text or body matter with graphic elements in page layout form in digital format for reproduction by printing.

  • Electronic Proof

    A process of generating a prepress proof in which paper is electronically exposed to the color separation negatives; the paper is passed through the electrically charged pigmented toners, which adhere electrostatically, resulting in the finished proof.

  • Elliptical Dot

    Halftone screens in which the dots are actually elongated to produce improved middle tones.

  • Em

    A unit of measurement equaling 12 points or 4.5mm.

  • 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.

  • Emulsion

    A light sensitive substance used as a coating for film; made from a silver halide compound.

  • Enamel

    A term that describes a glossy coating on paper.

  • Endsheet

    Attaching the final sheet of a signature of a book to the binding.

  • Engraving

    A printing process whereby images such as copy or art are etched onto a plate. When ink is applied, these etched areas act as small wells to hold the ink; paper is forced against this die and the ink is lifted out of the etched areas, creating raised images on the paper.

  • Estimate

    The form used by the printer to calculate the project for the print buyer. This form contains the basic parameters of the project including size, quantity, colors, bleeds, photos, etc.

  • Estimator

    One who computes or approximates the cost of work to be done.

  • Etch

    The process of producing an image on a plate by the use of acid.

  • Even Smalls

    The use of smaller-sized capitals at the beginning of a sentence without the use of larger-sized caps.

  • Expanded Type

    Type with width greater than normal producing a rectangular effect.

  • Fan Fold

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

  • Fat Face

    Type that is quite varied in its use of very thin and very wide strokes.

  • Felt

    A cloth conveyor belt that receives papers from the Fourdrinier and delivers it to the drier. Reference: fourdrinier.

  • Felt Finish

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

  • Felt Side

    It is the top side of the sheet in the paper making process that does not lie on the fourdrinier. Reference: fourdrinier.

  • Finish

    The surface quality of paper.

  • Finish (Paper)

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

  • Fist

    A symbol used in printing to indicate the index; usually seen as a pointing finger on a hand.

  • Fit

    The registration of items within a given page.

  • Flash Point

    A term given to the lowest temperature of ignitibility of vapors given off by a substance.

  • Flat

    In lithography, the assembly of photographic negatives or positives onto a vinyl acetate or transparent polyester sheet in preparation of making a printing plate. There is one flat created for each printing color.

  • Flock Paper

    Paper that is patterned by sizing, and then coated with powders of wool or cotton (flock).

  • Flush Cover

    A bound book or booklet 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

    Numbering of a page at the top or bottom and either centered, flushed left or flushed right.

  • Font

    The characters which make up a complete typeface and size.

  • Form Rollers

    The rollers that come into direct contact with the plate of a printing press.

  • Forwarding

    In binding, the process between folding sheets and casing in, such as rounding and backing, putting on headbands, reinforcing backs, etc.

  • Fringe

    A halo that appears around halftone dots.

  • Fuzz

    A term for the fibers that project from the paper surface.

  • Gang

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

  • Ganging

    The bundling of two or more different printing projects on the same sheet of paper.

  • Gather

    To assemble or collect sections into single copies of complete books for binding.

  • Gathering

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

  • GIGO

    Garbage In, Garbage Out.

  • Goldenrod

    An orange-colored paper with gridlines, used to assemble materials for exposure for platemaking.

  • Graduated Screen

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

  • Grain

    The direction of fibers in a sheet of paper; governs paper properties such as increased size changes with relative humidity.

  • Grained Paper

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

  • Gripper

    A series of metal fingers that hold each sheet of paper as it passes through the various stages of the printing process.

  • 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.

  • Gumming

    The application of gum arabic to the non-printing areas of a plate.

  • 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.

  • Halftone Paper

    A high finish paper that is ideal for halftone printing.

  • Halftone Screen

    A sheet of film or glass containing ruled right-angled lines, used to translate the full tone of a photo to the halftone dot image required for printing.

  • Head Margin

    That space which lies between the top of the printed copy and the trimmed edge.

  • Hexachrome

    A color separation process developed by Pantone

  • 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.

  • Highlights

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

  • Hollow

    That space on the spine of a case bound book between the block of the book and the case binding.

  • Hot Melt

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

  • 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.

  • Index Bristol

    A relatively thick paper stock; basis size 25 1/2" x 30 1/2."

  • Indicia

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

  • Ink Fountain

    The device which stores and meters ink to the inking rollers.

  • Inserts

    Extra printed pages inserted loosely into printed pieces.

  • Interleaves

    Extra blank pages inserted loosely into book after printing.

  • Iridescent Paper

    A coated stock finished in mother-of-pearl.

  • Italic

    Text that is used to denote emphasis by slanting the type body forward (leaning to the right).

  • Jacket

    The paper cover of hardbound book, sometimes called the "dust cover."

  • Job Number

    A number assigned to a printing project used for recordkeeping 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.

  • Jogger

    Vibrating, sloping platform that evens up the edges of stacks of paper.

  • Kerning

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

  • Keying

    The use of symbols, usually letters, to code copy that will appear on a dummy.

  • Keyline

    Lines that are drawn on artwork that indicate the exact placement, shape and size of elements including halftones, illustrations, etc.

  • Kiss Impression

    A delicate printed impression, just heavy enough to be seen.

  • Lacquer

    A clear gloss coating applied to printed material for strength, appearance and protection.

  • 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.

  • Lay Edge

    Edge of a sheet of paper being fed into a printing press.

  • Layout

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

  • Leaders

    The dots or dashes used in type to guide the eye from one set of type to the next.

  • Leading

    Space between lines of type; the distance in points between one baseline and the next.

  • Leaf

    One of a number of folds (each containing two pages) which comprises a book or manuscript.

  • 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.

  • Ledger Paper

    A stiff heavy business paper generally used for keeping records.

  • Length

    The optimum length of a filament of ink.

  • Letterpress

    Printing that utilizes inked raised surfaces to create the image.

  • 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.

  • Lithocoated Paper

    A paper that is coated with a special water-resistant material which is able to withstand the lithographic process.

  • Lithography

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

  • Logotype

    A personalized type or design symbol for a company or product.

  • M Weight

    The actual weight of 1,000 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.

  • Machine Direction

    An alternate term for grain direction. Reference: grain.

  • Make Ready

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

  • Margin

    Imprinted space around the edge of a page.

  • Mark Up

    To write up instructions, as on a proof sheet.

  • Mask

    1) The blocking out of a portion of the printing plate during the exposure process; 2) A photo negative or positive used in the color separation process to color correct.

  • Match Print

    Photographic proof made from all color flats to form composite proof showing color quality as well as accuracy, layout and imposition before plates are made.

  • Matte Finish

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

  • Measure

    The width of type as measured in picas. Reference: picas.

  • Mechanical

    A term used to describe finished artwork that is camera ready for reproduction, including all type, photos, illustrations, etc.

  • Midtone Dot

    Commonly taken as the area between the highlight and shadow areas of a subject's face in halftone image.

  • Moire

    An undesirable halftone pattern produced by the incorrect angles of overprinting halftone screens.

  • Mull

    Coarse muslin glue placed on the back of book or pads for strengthening.

  • Natural

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

  • Negative

    Film that contains the same images as the original print, except that all colors and shades are reversed. Reference: positive.

  • Newsprint

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

  • OA of Register

    When two-sheet passes on a press are misaligned.

  • OBC

    Outside back cover.

  • OFC

    Outside front cover.

  • Off-shore Paper

    Any papers made outside the US and Canada.

  • 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.

  • Onionskin

    A light bond paper used for typing and used with carbon paper because of its thinness.

  • 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.

  • Orthochromatic

    Any light-sensitive surfaces that are not sensitive to red.

  • Overhang Cover

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

  • Overlay

    A transparent sheet placed over artwork, in register with the work it covers; this is used to call out other color components of the work, instructions or corrections.

  • Overlay Proof

    A process of proof making whereby the color separations are individually exposed to light sensitive film. This film is then set in registration with a piece of white paper in the background.

  • Overprinting

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

  • Overrun

    Surplus of copies printed.

  • Overset

    Type that is set in excess of the allotted space.

  • Page

    One side of a leaf.

  • Page Makeup

    The assemblage of all the necessary elements required to complete a page.

  • Page Proofs

    Proofs made up from pages.

  • Panchromatic

    Films or other photographic materials sensitive to all colors.

  • 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.

  • Peeling

    Delamination.

  • Perf Marks

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

  • Perfect

    A term used to describe the binding process where the signatures of a book are held together by a flexible adhesive.

  • 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.

  • Pica

    Standard of measurement, 1/6 inch. 1 pica = 12 points, 72 points = 1 inch

  • Piling

    A buildup of pigment or paper coatings onto the plate, blankets or rollers.

  • Planography

    A printing technique where ink is transferred to paper from a flat surface. Lithography and offset printing are a type of planography. Also called surface printing.

  • Plastic Comb

    A method of binding books whereby holes are drilled on the side closest to the spine and a plastic grasping device is inserted to hold the pages together.

  • 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

    The process of making printing plates, including preparation of the plate surface, chemically sensitizing the plate, exposing it to the flat, developing or processing the plate, and finally the finishing of the plate.

  • Point

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

  • Positive

    Film that contains an image with the same tonal values as the original; opposite of a negative.

  • Premium

    Any paper that is considered better than #1 by its manufacturer.

  • Presensitized Plate

    A plate that has been treated with light-sensitive coatings by the manufacturer.

  • 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.

  • Print Ready

    See Camera Ready

  • Printability

    The ability of a paper to show reproduced (printed) images.

  • Printers Pairs

    Two consecutive pages as they appear on a flat or signature.

  • 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.

  • Proof

    An impression of composed type and illustrations made for the purpose of checking the accuracy of the layout, type and color.

  • Rag Paper

    Papers with a complete or partial content of cotton fibers.

  • 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.

  • Ream

    500 sheets of paper.

  • 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.

  • Roll To Roll

    A web press printing process where the roll of paper is printed and stored on a roll to be shipped.

  • Runability

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

  • Saddle Stitching

    Stitching where 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 inserted to form a single section.

  • Safety Paper

    A paper that shows sign of erasure so that it cannot be altered or tampered with easily.

  • Satin Finish

    A smooth, delicately embossed finished paper with sheen.

  • Scaling

    The enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area.

  • Score

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

  • Screened Print

    A photo print made by using a halftone negative; also called a velox.

  • Self Cover

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

  • Sharpen

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

  • Sheetwise

    The printing of two different images on two different sides of a sheet of paper by turning the page over after the first side is printed and using the same gripper and side guides.

  • 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)

    A group of pages that, having been printed together on one large sheet of paper, are folded, cut and bound, along with the book's other signatures, into a book.

  • Slitting

    A term to describe the process of the 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 of metal or plastic is spiraled through holes punched along the binding side.

  • Spot Color

    Small area printed in a second color.

  • Spread

    A film image that is larger than the original image to accommodate ink trapping. Reference: trapping.

  • Stability

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

  • Step and Repeat

    A process of generating multiple exposures by taking an image and stepping it according to a predetermined layout.

  • Stock

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

  • Tack

    The adhesive quality of inks.

  • Tag

    A dense, strong paper stock.

  • Tensile Strength

    A paper's ability to withstand pressure.

  • Text

    1) The main body matter of a page as opposed to any headlines or captions; 2) A type of high quality printing paper.

  • Thermography

    A printing process whereby slow drying ink is applied to paper and while the ink is still wet, 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.

  • Ticket Envelope

    Envelopes used mostly for holding theater tickets.

  • Tint

    A halftone screen that contains all the same sized dots.

  • Titanium Oxide

    A bright white pigment (opaque) used for printing on metal and flexible packaging.

  • Tooth

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

  • 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.

  • Twin Wire Machine

    Fourdrinier papermaking machines with two wires, instead of a wire and felt side. This assures higher quality when two sides are used for printing.

  • Up

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

  • Upright

    A term given to books bound on the longer dimension.

  • Vellum

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

  • Velour Paper

    A term given to papers that are coated with an adhesive and then flock dusted.

  • Vignette

    Fade to white or a small decorative design or illustration. A photo or illustration in which the tones fade gradually away until they blend with the surface they are printed on.

  • W&B

    An abbreviation for work and back. Reference: sheetwise.

  • 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.

  • Widow

    A single word or two left at the end of a paragraph, or a part of a sentence ending a paragraph, which loops over to the next page and stands alone. Also, the last sentence of a paragraph which contains only one or two short words.

  • Wire Stitching or Stapling

    To fasten together sheets, signatures or sections with wire staples; methods include 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.