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.

  • 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.

  • Aqueous Plate

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

  • Artwork

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

  • Background

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

  • Bleed

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

  • Bond

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

  • Camera Ready

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

  • Cast Coated

    A paper that is coated and then pressure dried using a polished roller which imparts an enamel-like hard gloss finish.

  • 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.

  • Collate

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

  • Color Separating

    The processes of separating the primary color components for printing.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Kerning

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

  • Margin

    Imprinted space around the edge of a page.

  • 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.

  • Perfect Binding

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

  • Print Ready

    See Camera Ready

  • Proof

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

  • 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.

  • Self Cover

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

  • 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.

  • Spiral Bind

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

  • Stagger Cutting

    A process of cutting many sheets from the same parent sheet in which the smaller sheets have different grain directions; also called dutch or bastard cutting.

  • Stock

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

  • 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.

  • Trim Marks

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

  • Watermark

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