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.
A type of paper folding in which each fold runs in the opposite direction to the previous fold creating a pleated or accordion effect.
A transparent or translucent plastic sheet material of a variety of colors, used as a basis for artwork and overlays.
The position of elements on a page in relation to a referenced horizontal or vertical line.
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.
An 11th century Italian script typeface.
Water soluble plate coatings, which are less toxic and less polluting.
Those elements of letters that branch out from the stem of a letter, such as in "K" and "Y."
A symbol shaped like an arrowhead that is used in illustration to direct a leader line. Reference: leader line.
All illustrated material (ornamentation, photos and charts, etc.) that is prepared for reproduction.
A term used for proofs that show the final page positioning of all graphical elements.
Any part of a lower case letter which rises above the main body of the letter such as in "d", "b" and "h."
Film negatives consisting of line and halftone copy which are used to make plates for printing.
Changes made after composition stage where customer is responsible for additional charges.
A printing method whereby the image is hand drawn or etched directly onto lithography plates or stones.
The part of a photograph or illustration that appears behind the principal subject; the surface upon which the main image is superimposed.
Any type that tilts to the left or backward direction; opposite of italic type.
A term given to the procedure of drying coatings onto papers.
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.
In an illustration, any line which encircles copy or dialogue.
Refers to a standard size of paper stock even though the required size may be smaller or larger.
A design school in Germany where the Sans Serif font was originated.
Various methods of securing folded sections of paper together and fastening them to a cover to form a book.
An old style of typeface used in Germany in the 15th century; also referred to as Old English (US) and Gothic (UK).
Refers to the film portion of the color separation process that prints black; increases the contrast of neutral tones.
Darkening a portion of a sheet of paper due to the excessive pressure of the calendar roll. Reference: calendar rolls.
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.
On offset presses a fabric-reinforced sheet of rubber to transfer the impression from the plate onto the paper.
A printing method in which there are two blanket cylinders through which a sheet of paper is passed and printed on both sides.
Extra inked area that crosses designated trim line; used to allow for variations that occur when the reproduction is trimmed or die-cut.
A design or bas relief impression that is made without using inks or metal foils.
Embossed forms that are not inked or gold leafed.
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.
Illustrations or line art etched onto zinc or copper plates and used in letterpress printing.
Any enlargement of photos, copies or line art.
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.
The point size of a particular type character.
Repetitive blocks of type that are picked up and included routinely without recreating them.
Any type that has a heavier black stroke that makes it more conspicuous.
The edges of folded sheets of paper, which are trimmed off in the final stages of production.
A grade of durable writing, printing and typing paper that has a standard size of 17x22 inches.
A printed work which contains more than 64 pages.
A general classification of paper stock used to print books.
A character " }" used to group lines or phrases.
A heavily embossed paper.
A pamphlet that is bound in booklet form.
A printing method whereby special ink is applied to sheets and then a powder is applied producing a metallic effect.
A pigment made from cadmium sulfide and cadmium selenide.
A strong paperboard used for calendars and displays.
The measurement of thickness of paper expressed in thousandths of an inch or mils.
A term given to any copy, artwork etc., that is prepared for photographic reproduction.
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.
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.
A pigment made of elemental carbon and ash.
A chemical pulp paper (calcium carbonate), used mostly for the printing of magazines.
The stiff covers of a hardbound book.
Books bound using hard board (case) covers.
An abbreviation for the four primary colors used in four-color process printing--cyan (a light blue), magenta (a pinkish purple), yellow and black.
Paper coated with clay, white pigments and a binder. Better for printing because there is less picking.
Any paper that has a mineral coating applied after the paper is made, giving the paper a smoother finish.
Any color that moves toward the blue side in the color spectrum.
A variety of inks that are in solid form originally but are melted in a hot press and then solidify when they contact paper.
To gather sheets or signatures together in their correct order. Reference: Gather.
Black step-marks printed on the back of folded sheets, to facilitate collating and checking of the sequence of book signatures.
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.
The processes of separating the primary color components for printing.
The assembly of characters into words, lines and paragraphs of text or body matter for reproduction by printing.
A narrow, elongated type face.
The degree of tonal separation or gradation in the range from black to white.
Refers to any typewritten material, art, photos, etc., to be used for the printing process.
A term describing a general category of papers used for the covers of books, pamphlets, etc.
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.
To eliminate a portion of the art or copy as indicated by crop marks.
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.
Marks of fine lines, which intersect to indicate accurate alignment of art elements.
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.
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).
Sharp edged device, usually made of steel, to cut paper, cardboard, etc., on a printing press.
A shade of blue used in the four-color process; it reflects blue and green and absorbs red.
The gap in the cylinders of a press where the grippers or blanket clamps is housed.
An essential part of the printing process whereby cloth covered rubber rollers distribute the dampening solution to the plate.
The rough or feathered edge of paper when left untrimmed.
The etching or removal of any unwanted areas of a plate to create more air or white space on the finished product.
An instruction given to remove an element from a layout.
An optical device used by printers and photographers to measure and control the density of color.
The degree of tone, weight of darkness or color within a photo or reproduction; measurable by the densitometer. Reference: densitometer.
The lay of paper fibers relative to tightness or looseness which affects the bulk, the absorbency and the finish of the paper.
A term that describes that portion of lowercase letters which extends below the main body of the letter as in "p."
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.
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.
An intaglio process for printing from images engraved into copper or steel plates.
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.
A fine type of paper made specifically for the printing of diplomas, certificates and documents.
A color separation process using a halftone negative made by direct contact with the halftone screen.
Any type that stands out from the rest of the type on a page which attracts attention of the reader.
In the printing process, the rubber coated rollers responsible for the distribution of ink from the fountain to the ink drum.
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.
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.
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.
The actual drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding.
A shadow image placed strategically behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page.
Any matte-finished paper.
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.
Paper which has a different color or finish on each side.
A type of deckle-edged paper originally produced in the Netherlands. Reference: deckle edge.
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.
The finish of paper surface that resembles an eggshell achieved by omitting the calendar process. Reference: calendar rolls.
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.
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.
Halftone screens in which the dots are actually elongated to produce improved middle tones.
A unit of measurement equaling 12 points or 4.5mm.
A method of paper finishing whereby a pattern is pressed into the paper when it is dry.
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.
A light sensitive substance used as a coating for film; made from a silver halide compound.
A term that describes a glossy coating on paper.
Attaching the final sheet of a signature of a book to the binding.
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.
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.
One who computes or approximates the cost of work to be done.
The process of producing an image on a plate by the use of acid.
The use of smaller-sized capitals at the beginning of a sentence without the use of larger-sized caps.
Type with width greater than normal producing a rectangular effect.
Paper folding that emulates an accordion or fan, the folds being alternating and parallel.
Type that is quite varied in its use of very thin and very wide strokes.
A cloth conveyor belt that receives papers from the Fourdrinier and delivers it to the drier. Reference: fourdrinier.
The smoother side of paper, usually a soft weave pattern used for book papers. A soft weave pattern used for book papers.
It is the top side of the sheet in the paper making process that does not lie on the fourdrinier. Reference: fourdrinier.
The surface quality of paper.
Dull - (low gloss) also matte or matte gloss.
A symbol used in printing to indicate the index; usually seen as a pointing finger on a hand.
The registration of items within a given page.
A term given to the lowest temperature of ignitibility of vapors given off by a substance.
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.
Paper that is patterned by sizing, and then coated with powders of wool or cotton (flock).
A bound book or booklet having the cover trimmed to the same size as the text.
Papers that have a surface resembling metal.
Markings at top edges that show where folds should occur.
Machine used to fold signatures down into sections.
Numbering of a page at the top or bottom and either centered, flushed left or flushed right.
The characters which make up a complete typeface and size.
The rollers that come into direct contact with the plate of a printing press.
In binding, the process between folding sheets and casing in, such as rounding and backing, putting on headbands, reinforcing backs, etc.
A halo that appears around halftone dots.
A term for the fibers that project from the paper surface.
Group of frames or impositions in the same form of different jobs arranged and positioned to be printed together.
The bundling of two or more different printing projects on the same sheet of paper.
To assemble or collect sections into single copies of complete books for binding.
Assembling sheets of paper and signatures into their proper sequence. Reference: collating.
Garbage In, Garbage Out.
An orange-colored paper with gridlines, used to assemble materials for exposure for platemaking.
An area of image where halftone dots range continuously from one density to another.
The direction of fibers in a sheet of paper; governs paper properties such as increased size changes with relative humidity.
A paper embossed to resemble various textures, such as leather, alligator, wood, etc.
A series of metal fingers that hold each sheet of paper as it passes through the various stages of the printing process.
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.
The application of gum arabic to the non-printing areas of a plate.
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.
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.
Tone graduated image composed of varying sized dots or lines, with equidistant centers.
A high finish paper that is ideal for halftone printing.
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.
That space which lies between the top of the printed copy and the trimmed edge.
A color separation process developed by Pantone
Imperfections in presswork due to dirt on press, trapping errors, etc.
Paper stock that is comparatively thick in relation to its basis weight.
The lightest tones of a photo, printed halftone or illustration. In the finished halftone, these highlights are represented by the finest dots.
That space on the spine of a case bound book between the block of the book and the case binding.
An adhesive used in the binding process, which requires heat for application.
Inside back cover.
Inside front cover.
That portion of the printing plate that carries the ink and prints on paper.
Arrangement of pages so that they print correctly on a press sheet and the pages are in proper order when the sheets are folded.
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.
A relatively thick paper stock; basis size 25 1/2" x 30 1/2."
Markings pre-printed on mailing envelopes to replace the stamp.
The device which stores and meters ink to the inking rollers.
Extra printed pages inserted loosely into printed pieces.
Extra blank pages inserted loosely into book after printing.
A coated stock finished in mother-of-pearl.
Text that is used to denote emphasis by slanting the type body forward (leaning to the right).
The paper cover of hardbound book, sometimes called the "dust cover."
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.
To vibrate a stack of finished pages so that they are tightly aligned for final trimming.
Vibrating, sloping platform that evens up the edges of stacks of paper.
The narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page.
The use of symbols, usually letters, to code copy that will appear on a dummy.
Lines that are drawn on artwork that indicate the exact placement, shape and size of elements including halftones, illustrations, etc.
A delicate printed impression, just heavy enough to be seen.
A clear gloss coating applied to printed material for strength, appearance and protection.
A parallel lined paper that has a handmade look.
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.
Edge of a sheet of paper being fed into a printing press.
A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, roughs, thumbnails, etc., of the final printed piece before it goes to print.
The dots or dashes used in type to guide the eye from one set of type to the next.
Space between lines of type; the distance in points between one baseline and the next.
One of a number of folds (each containing two pages) which comprises a book or manuscript.
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.
A stiff heavy business paper generally used for keeping records.
The optimum length of a filament of ink.
Printing that utilizes inked raised surfaces to create the image.
The addition of space between typeset letters.
Any copy that can be reproduced without the use of halftone screens.
A paper that emulates the look and texture of linen cloth.
A paper that is coated with a special water-resistant material which is able to withstand the lithographic process.
The process of printing that utilizes flat inked surfaces to create the printed images.
A personalized type or design symbol for a company or product.
The actual weight of 1,000 sheets of any given size of paper.
Paper that has had a coating applied to either one or two of its sides during the papermaking process.
An alternate term for grain direction. Reference: grain.
Process of adjusting final plate on the press to fine tune or modify plate surface.
Imprinted space around the edge of a page.
To write up instructions, as on a proof sheet.
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.
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.
A coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring. Reference: calendaring.
The width of type as measured in picas. Reference: picas.
A term used to describe finished artwork that is camera ready for reproduction, including all type, photos, illustrations, etc.
Commonly taken as the area between the highlight and shadow areas of a subject's face in halftone image.
An undesirable halftone pattern produced by the incorrect angles of overprinting halftone screens.
Coarse muslin glue placed on the back of book or pads for strengthening.
A term to describe papers that have a color similar to that of wood; also called cream, off-white or ivory.
Film that contains the same images as the original print, except that all colors and shades are reversed. Reference: positive.
A light, low-cost groundwood paper made especially for newspapers. Reference: groundwood.
When two-sheet passes on a press are misaligned.
Outside back cover.
Outside front cover.
Any papers made outside the US and Canada.
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.
A complex offset process involving multiple transfers between the gravure plate, the plate cylinder, and a solid rubber plate.
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.
A term for uncoated book paper.
A light bond paper used for typing and used with carbon paper because of its thinness.
Quality of papers that defines its opaqueness or ability to prevent two-sided printing from showing through.
A quality of paper that allows relatively little light to pass through.
Ink that completely covers any ink under itself.
Any light-sensitive surfaces that are not sensitive to red.
A cover of a book that extends over the trimmed signatures it contains.
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.
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.
Any printing that is done on an area that has already been printed.
Surplus of copies printed.
Type that is set in excess of the allotted space.
One side of a leaf.
The assemblage of all the necessary elements required to complete a page.
Proofs made up from pages.
Films or other photographic materials sensitive to all colors.
Any paper with a thickness (caliper) of 12 points (.3mm) or more.
A hard finished paper that emulates animal skin; used for documents, such as awards, that require writing by hand.
A sheet that is larger than the cut stock of the same paper.
Markings usually dotted lines at edges showing where perforations should occur.
A term used to describe the binding process where the signatures of a book are held together by a flexible adhesive.
Binding process where backs of sections are cut off, roughened and glued together, and rung in a cover.
Printing both sides of the paper (or other material) on the same pass through the printing machine.
A printing press that prints on both sides of the page in a single pass.
Punching small holes or slits in a sheet of paper or cardboard to facilitate tearing along a desired line.
Standard of measurement, 1/6 inch. 1 pica = 12 points, 72 points = 1 inch
A buildup of pigment or paper coatings onto the plate, blankets or rollers.
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.
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.
Reproduction of type or cuts in metal, plastic, rubber or other material, to form a plate bearing a relief, planographic or intaglio printing surface.
The cylinder on a printing press on which the plate is mounted.
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.
A measurement unit equal to 1/72 of an inch. 12 points to a pica, 72 points to an inch.
Film that contains an image with the same tonal values as the original; opposite of a negative.
Any paper that is considered better than #1 by its manufacturer.
A plate that has been treated with light-sensitive coatings by the manufacturer.
Actual press sheet to show image, tone values and colors, as well as imposition of frame or press-plate.
In printing the four primary colors are cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black.
See Camera Ready
The ability of a paper to show reproduced (printed) images.
Two consecutive pages as they appear on a flat or signature.
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.
An impression of composed type and illustrations made for the purpose of checking the accuracy of the layout, type and color.
Papers with a complete or partial content of cotton fibers.
The term given to right-justified type that is uneven on the left.
The term given to left-justified type that is uneven on the right.
500 sheets of paper.
The arrangement of two or more images in exact alignment with each other.
Any crossmarks or other symbols used on layout to assure proper registration.
A term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other.
A web press printing process where the roll of paper is printed and stored on a roll to be shipped.
A term used to describe how well a paper runs on a printing press.
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.
A paper that shows sign of erasure so that it cannot be altered or tampered with easily.
A smooth, delicately embossed finished paper with sheen.
The enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area.
Impressions or cuts in flat material to facilitate bending or tearing.
A photo print made by using a halftone negative; also called a velox.
A cover made out of the same paper stock as the internal sheets.
To decrease the dot size of the halftone which in turn decreases the color strength.
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.
A problem that occurs when the printing on one side of a sheet is seen from the other side.
Stitching where the wire staples pass through the pile of sections or leaves gathered upon each other and are clinched on the underside.
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.
A term to describe the process of the cutting of printed sheets by the cutting wheels of a printing press.
That quality of paper defined by its levelness which allows for pressure consistency in printing, assuring uniformity of print.
Back edge of a book.
A binding whereby a wire of metal or plastic is spiraled through holes punched along the binding side.
Small area printed in a second color.
A film image that is larger than the original image to accommodate ink trapping. Reference: trapping.
The quality of paper to maintain its original size when it undergoes pressure and moisture changes.
A process of generating multiple exposures by taking an image and stepping it according to a predetermined layout.
A term for unprinted paper or other material to be printed.
The adhesive quality of inks.
A dense, strong paper stock.
A paper's ability to withstand pressure.
1) The main body matter of a page as opposed to any headlines or captions; 2) A type of high quality printing paper.
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.
Envelopes used mostly for holding theater tickets.
A halftone screen that contains all the same sized dots.
A bright white pigment (opaque) used for printing on metal and flexible packaging.
The rough surfaced finish of papers such as vellum or antique.
The process of printing wet ink over printed ink which may be wet or dry.
Marks placed on the sheet to indicate where to cut the page.
Fourdrinier papermaking machines with two wires, instead of a wire and felt side. This assures higher quality when two sides are used for printing.
A term used to describe how many similar sheets can be produced on a larger sheet; two up, four up, etc.
A term given to books bound on the longer dimension.
A finish of paper that is rough and bulky, and has a degree of tooth.
A term given to papers that are coated with an adhesive and then flock dusted.
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.
An abbreviation for work and back. Reference: sheetwise.
An abbreviation for work and turn.
The procedure of cleaning a particular ink from all of the printing elements (rollers, plate, ink fountain, etc.) of a press.
A translucent logo that is embossed during the papermaking process while the paper slurry is on the dandy roll. Reference: dandy roll.
The roll of paper that is used in web or rotary printing.
Cylinder printing machine in which the paper is fed from a continuous reel, as opposed to sheet fed.
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.
To fasten together sheets, signatures or sections with wire staples; methods include saddle stitching, side stitching and stabbing.
A smooth paper made on finely textured wire that gives the paper a gentle patterned finish.
Another name for bond paper.