Printing Terms and Definitions
Web Offset printing is a process in which a continuous roll of paper is fed through a printing press. Pages are separated and cut to size after they have been printed. Web offset printing is used for high-volume jobs such as mass marketing insert advertising, direct mail inserts, books, magazines, newspapers, catalogs and brochures. There are two methods of web offset printing, known as heatset and coldset. In the heatset process, the ink is dried rapidly by forced-air heating. In the non-heatset or coldset process, the ink dries more slowly by ordinary evaporation and absorption.
Sheet-fed Offset printing is a process in which individual pages of paper are fed into the press. Sheet-fed offset printing is popular for small and medium-sized quantities.
Adobe Acrobat - Software created by Adobe for converting any document to an Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) file. Any computer can open your document using the free downloadable software Adobe Acrobat Reader, and it will look exactly as you intended - with layout, fonts, links, and images intact. Click here to download Acrobat Reader for Free.
Attachment - When referring to e-mail, an electronic file placed within an e-mail for the purpose of sending through the Internet.
Bind - To fasten sheets or signatures with wire, thread, glue, or by other means.
Bindery - Where materials go for assembly. Cutting, folding, binding and boxing are some of the activities performed in bindery.
Black - One of the basic colors in process color printing. This is refered to as the k color when referencing the cmyk printing process
Bleed - Ink which prints beyond the trim edge of the page, created for the purpose of allowing ink to extend to the edge of the page after trimming. Without bleed, cutting the product becomes extremely difficult and may sacrifice the quality of the product. For best results, create .125 inch bleed (past trim edge) on all edges where bleed is desired.
Blind Debossing - An image pressed into a sheet without ink or foil, creating a lowered area.
Blind Embossing - An image pressed into a sheet without ink or foil, creating a raised area.
Blueline - A blue photographic proof used to check position of all image elements. Similar to a blueprint.
CMYK - Printing process where four ink colors (typically cyan, yellow, magenta and black) are used in screened combinations to represent all other colors.
Center Justified - Type that is justified to the center of the left and right margins; the line lengths vary on both sides.
Collate - Gathering paper in a precise order.
Color Bar - A line of colored blocks in a row or a single color placed at the tail of a press sheet and used to measure the density of color across the width of a sheet.
Color Correction - Improving color separations by altering digital file or the or the amount of ink applied to a press sheet.
Color Matching System - A system of formulated ink colors used for communicating color.
Color Separations - The process of preparing artwork, photographs, transparencies, or computer-generated art for printing by separating color into the four primary printing colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
Computer-to-Plate - Also known as CTP. The process by which plates are created using information sent to a direct-to-plate device from a computer, bypassing film.
Crop - To cut off parts of a picture or image.
Crop Marks - Printed lines showing where to trim a printed sheet.
Cyan - One of the basic colors used in 4-color process printing. This is the bright blue color.
Debossing - Pressing an image into paper so that it will create a lowered area.
Densitometer - A quality control devise used to measure the density of printing ink.
Density - The degree of color or darkness of an image or photograph.
Die - Metal rule or imaged block used to cut or place an image on paper in the finishing process.
Die Cutting - The process of using a die to cure images in or out of paper.
Digital Printing - Technology which permits the linking of printing presses to computers. Benefits include: faster turnaround times, lowered production costs, and the ability to personalize documents. It is frequently used for on-demand or short-run color printing.
Digital Proof - A proof delivered electronically, as opposed to physically. The most typical example is a .pdf proof.
Dot Gain - A term used to explain the difference in size between the dot on film versus the dot on paper.
Duotone - A halftone picture made up of two printed colors.
e-commerce - The convenient process of ordering products and services online.
e-mail - Abbreviation for electronic mail.
Embossing - Pressing an image into paper so that it creates a raised area.
Emulsion - Light-sensitive coating found on printing plates.
Flood - To cover a printed page with ink, varnish or plastic coating completely.
Foil - A metallic or pigmented coating on plastic sheets or rolls used in foil stamping and foil embossing/debossing.
Foil Emboss/Deboss - Foil stamping and embossing/debossing an image on paper with a die.
Foil Stamping - Using a die to place a metallic or pigmented image on paper.
Font - Traditionally defined as a complete character set of a single size and style of a particular typeface. For example, the set of all characters for 9-point Helvetica italic is a font, and the 10-point size would be a separate font, as would the 9-point regular.
4-Color Process - The process of using cyan, magenta, yellow and black in combination to creat all colors.
FTP - An acronym meaning File Transfer Protocol. The process of sending or receiving files electronically through the Internet. Not to be confused with attaching an attachment to an e-mail, FTP is performed using an FTP client (software) or a Web page with FTP capabilities.
Full Justification - Type that is justified to the right and left margins, creating no variation between line lengths on either end.
Gloss - A shiny look, reflecting light.
Gradient - A transition of color, creating a blended change between screen percentages of a single color or between two different colors.
Grain - The direction in which the paper fiber lie.
Graphic Design - Refers to a number of artistic and professional disciplines which focus on visual communication and presentation. Various methods are used to create and combine symbols, images and/or words to create a visual representation of ideas and messages.
Gripper - In sheet fed printing, a clamp-like device which grabs the front of the press sheet and pulls it through the press.
Halftone - Converting a continuous tone image to dots for printing.
Hard Copy - The output to a computer printer.
Image Area - Portion of paper on which ink can appear.
Imposition - Positioning printed pages so they will fold in the proper order.
Impression - Putting an image on paper.
Imprint - Adding an additional to a previously printed page.
Indicia - Postal information placed on a printed product.
Justification - The act of specifying how a block of type will look on a page. Commonly used are left justified, right justified, center justified, and full justification.
Knock Out - To mask out any area of ink.
Left Justified - Type that is justified to the left margin and the line lengths vary on the right.
Magenta - One of the basic colors used in 4-color process printing. This is the bright pink color.
Makeready - All the activities required to prepare a press for printing.
Mask - Blocking light from reaching parts of a printing plate.
Matchprint - The process of using gels or naps to create a color proof which accurately represents how a job will look when printed on press when printed in 4-color process.
Offset Printing - Printing performed on a traditional printer, where plates mounted onto rollers are used to transfer ink onto paper.
Opacity - The amount of show-through on a printed sheet. The more opacity, or the thicker the paper, the less show-through.
OpenType’Ń˘ Font - OpenType is a cross-platform font file format developed jointly by Adobe and Microsoft. The two main benefits of the OpenType format are its cross-platform compatibility, the same font file is compatible on Macintosh and Windows computers.
Overrun - Copies printed in excess of the specified quantity.
Page Count - Total number of pages in a printed project.
Perfect Bound - A type of binding that glues the edge of sheets to a cover,
Printing Plate - Usually a flat piece of metal onto which an image is burned using light. The plate is mounted onto a roller of a press and transfers the printing ink onto the paper.
PMS - The abbreviated name of the Pantone Color Matching System. The Pantone Color Matching System is largely a standardized color reproduction system. By standardizing the colors, different printers in different locations can all refer to the Pantone system to make sure colors match within industry standards.
Point - For paper, a unit of thickness equaling 1/1000 inch. For typesetting, a unit of height equaling 1/72 inch.
Postscript - An object-oriented computer language for describing the appearance and layout of documents. Used to print high-resolution text and graphics.
Postscript Font - PostScript fonts contain outline font specifications developed by Adobe Systems used in professional digital typesetting.
Proof - A print out or mock-up of a job.
Proofing - When a job proof has been sent to the proofreader, sales representative, client representative, or to the client to be looked over.
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.
Ream - Prepackage cut-size sheets of paper stock. Typically 500 sheets for text/writing stock, and 250 sheets for cover stock.
Register - To position print in the proper position in relation to the edge of the sheet and to other printing on the same sheet. Also refered to as registration.
Register Marks - Cross-hair lines or marks on film, plates and paper that guide strippers, platemakers, pressmen and bindery personnel in producing a printing job.
Right Justified - Type that is justified to the right margin and the line lengths vary on the left.
Saddle Stitch - Binding a booklet or magazine with staples in the seam where it folds.
Scanner - Device used to make digital color separations, halftones, duotones and tritones. Also used to scan art, pictures or drawings and convert them to digital images.
Score - A crease put on paper to help it fold better.
Screen - Commonly called line screen, this is the measure of how many halftone lines are printed in a linear inch. The value is expressed as Lines Per Inch (LPI). This important measurement relates to the way printers reproduce photographic images and also defines the necessary resolution of an image. The LPI is dependent on the printing press, output device and the type of paper.
Screen Angles - The angle at which the rows of halftone dots run in relation to the horizontal. In order to eliminate undesirable moire patterns when the four color separation halftones are overprinted in multi-color printing, each screen needs to be placed at a different angle, as the dots of one color interfere with those of another color, creating the distinct moire patterns. Ideally, moire is kept minimal when screens are set at a 30 degree angle from one another.
Screen Font - The file a computer uses to display the font correctly on screen. Without this file, the font may print correctly, but will look incorrect on screen.
Screen Percentage - The amount of ink coverage applied.
Self Cover - Using the same paper as the text for the cover.
Side Stitch - Binding by stapling along one side of a sheet.
Signature - A sheet of printed pages which, when folded, become a part of a publication.
Spot Color - Use of solid color pre-mixed ink such as a Pantone color. Usually used in combination with another solid color such as black.
Spot Varnish - Varnish used to highlight a specific part of the printed sheet.
Stock - The material to be printed.
Stripping - The positioning of film on a flat prior to platemaking.
Tail - The edge of the press sheet which leaves the press last.
Tints - A shade of a single color or combined colors.
Trap - An area where ink overlap minutely. Trap is used to make sure any shift in printing does not result in areas where paper is seen where there should be ink.
Trim Marks - Similar to crop or register marks. These marks show where to trim the printed sheet.
Trim Size - The final size of one printed image after the last trim is made.
Tritone - A halftone picture made up of three printed solid colors.
TrueType Font - TrueType fonts are used by both the screen and the printer to display and print the font correctly.
Type Face - A set of one or more fonts, in one or more sizes, designed with stylistic unity, each comprising a coordinated set of glyphs.
Type Font - Refers to the complete alphabet for a specific typeface.
Type Style - Refers to the specific attribute within a typeface's family. Styles can include italic, bold, bold italic, condensed, expanded, black or outline.
Typography - The art and technique of arranging type, type design, and modifying type glyphs. Type glyphs are created and modified using a variety of illustration techniques.
UV Coating - Liquid laminate bonded and cured with ultraviolet light. Considered environmentally friendly.
Varnish - A clear liquid applied to printed surfaces for looks and protection.
Washup - Removing printing ink from a press by washing the rollers and blanket. Certain ink colors require multiple washups to avoid ink and chemical contamination.
Wire O - A bindery trade name for mechanical binding using double loops of wire through a hole.
Wire-O Binding - A method of wire binding books along the binding edge that will allow the book to lay flat using double loops.
Work and Turn - Printing one side of a sheet and turning it over from left to right, using the same side guides and plate for the second side.
Yellow - One of the basic colors used in 4-color process prinitng.
If you have any questions regarding terms used to describe processess related to the printing and graphics industry, contact Naylor Information Marketing Services at 404-739-7299 or Click Here to email any questions.