We hope that you find this glossary useful should need to check
up on the meaning of any technical printing terms. If there is
something you want to know that is not on the list please email
or call and ask.


We hope that you find this glossary useful should need to check
up on the meaning of any technical printing terms. If there is
something you want to know that is not on the list please email
or call and ask.

Acid-free Paper

Papermade from pulp containing little or no acid so it resists deterioration from age. Also called alkaline paper, archival paper, neutral pH paper, permanent paper and thesis paper.

A4 Paper
ISO paper size 210 x 297mm used for Letterhead.

Against the Grain

At right angles to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to with the grain. Also called across the grain and cross grain. See also Grain Direction.


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

Anodized Plate

An offset printing plate having a treated surface in order to reduce wear for extended use.

Anti-offset Powder

Fine powder lightly sprayed over the printed surface of coated paper as sheets leave a press. Also called dust, offset powder, powder and spray powder.

Antique Paper

Roughest finish offered on offset paper.

Aqueous Coating

Coating in a water base and applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the printing underneath.


All original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, intended for printing. Also called art.

Author’s Alterations (AA’s)

At the proofing stage, changes that the client requests to be made concerning original art provided. AA’s are considered an additional cost to the client usually.

Back Up
(1) 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.


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


Usually a department within a printing company responsible for collating, folding and trimming 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.

Blind Folio

A page number not printed on the page. (In the book arena, a blank page traditionally does not print a page number.)

Blind Image

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


Sticking together of printed sheets causing damage when the surfaces are separated.

An enlargement, usually used with raphic images or photographs



The main text of work not including the headlines.

Bond paper

Category of paper commonly used for writing, printing and photocopying. Also called business paper, communication paper, correspondence paper and writing paper.

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


The decorative design or rule surrounding matter on a page.


Thickness of paper relative to its basic weight.

Burst Perfect Bind

To bind by forcing glue into notches along the spines of gathered signatures before affixing a paper cover. Also called burst bind, notch bind and slotted bind.

Butt Register

Register where ink colors meet precisely without overlapping or allowing space between, as compared to lap register. Also called butt fit and kiss register.

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

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. Also called cloth bind, edition bind, hard bind and hard cover.


Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four process colors.

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


To organize printed matter in a specific order as requested.

Color Balance
Refers to amounts of process colors that simulate the colors of the original scene or photograph.

Color Control Bar
Strip of small blocks of color on a proof or press sheet to help evaluate features such as density and dot gain. Also called color bar, color guide and standard offset color bar.

Color Correct

To adjust the relationship among the process colors to achieve desirable colors.

Color Electronic Prepress System

Computer, scanner, printer and other hardware and software designed for image assembly, color correction, retouching and output onto proofing materials, film or printing plates. Abbreviated CEPS.

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 printed. Also called laydown sequence and rotation.

Color Shift

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

Color Transparency

Film (transparent) used as art to perform color separations.

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 plastic bind and 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. Also called job printer because each job is different.

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


Thick paper that protects a publication and advertises its title. 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.


Phenomenon of middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages. Also called feathering, outpush, push out and thrust. See also Shingling.

Crop Marks
Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks and tic marks.


Type or art that continues from one page of a book or magazine across the gutter to the opposite page. Also called bridge, gutter bleed and gutter jump.

Cutting Die

Usually a custom ordered item to trim specific and unusual sized printing projects.


Abbreviation for hundredweight using the Roman numeral C=100.


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

Data Compression
Technique of reducing the amount of storage required to hold a digital file to reduce the disk space the file requires and allow it to be processed or transmitted more quickly.

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.


(1) Regarding ink, the relative thickness of a layer of printed ink. (2) Regarding color, the relative ability of a color to absorb light reflected from it or block light passing through it. (3) Regarding paper, the relative tightness or looseness of fibers.

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 for cutting, scoring, stamping, embossing and debossing.
Die Cut
To cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard using a die.

Digital Proofing

Page proofs produced through electronic memory transferred onto paper via laser or ink-jet.

Digital Dot

Dot created by a computer and printed out by a laser printer or imagesetter. Digital dots are uniform in size, as compared to halftone dots that vary in size.

Direct Digital Color Proof

Color proof made by a laser, ink jet printer or other computer-controlled device without needing to make separation films first. Abbreviated DDCP.

Dot Gain

Phenomenon of halftone dots printing larger on paper than they are on films or plates, reducing detail and lowering contrast. Also called dot growth, dot spread and press gain.

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.

Measure of resolution of input devices such as scanners, display devices such as monitors, and output devices such as laser printers, imagesetters and monitors. Abbreviated DPI. Also called dot pitch.


Printing defect appearing as blurring or shadowing of the image. Doubling may be caused by problems with paper, cylinder alignment, blanket pressures or dirty cylinders.


Considered as “dots per square inch,” a measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters and monitors.


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


In the printing arena, to drill a whole in a printed matter.

Dry Back

Phenomenon of printed ink colors becoming less dense as the ink dries.

Dry Trap

To print over dry ink, as compared to wet trap.

Dual-purpose Bond Paper
Bond paper suitable for printing by either lithography (offset) or xerography (photocopy). 
Abbreviated DP bond paper.


Simulation of the final product. Also called mockup.


Offset press made for quick printing.

Electronic Front End (Electronic Composition)

General term referring to a prepress system based on computers.

Electronic Image Assembly

Assembly of a composite image from portions of other images and/or other page elements using a computer.

Electronic Publishing

(1) Publishing by printing with device, such as a photocopy machine or ink jet printer, driven by a computer that can change the image instantly from one copy to the next. (2) Publishing via output on fax, computer bulletin board or other electronic medium, as compared to output on paper.

To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface. Also called cameo and tool.


Casting of light-sensitive chemicals on papers, films, printing plates and stencils.

Encapsulated PostScript file

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

End Sheet

Sheet that attaches the inside pages of a case bound book to its cover. Also called pastedown or end papers.


Abbreviation for envelope.


Encapsulated Post Script, a known file format usually used to transfer post script information from one program to another.

Equivalent Paper

Paper that is not the brand specified, but looks, prints and may cost the same. . Also called comparable stock.


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


The individual performing or creating the “estimate.”


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

Fast Color Inks
Inks with colors that retain their density and resist fading as the product is used and washed.

Feeding Unit
Component of a printing press that moves paper into the register unit.

Fifth Color
Ink color used in addition to the four needed by four-color process.

Film Laminate
Thin sheet of plastic bonded to a printed product for protection or increased gloss.

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 product after production is completed, as compared to flat size. Also called trimmed size.


Refers to ability of film to be registered during stripping and assembly. Good fit means that all images register to other film for the same job.

Fixed Costs

Costs that remain the same regardless of how many pieces are printed. Copyrighting, photography and design are fixed costs.

Flat Color

(1) Any color created by printing only one ink, as compared to a color created by printing four-color process. Also called block color and spot color. (2) color that seems weak or lifeless.

Flat Plan (Flats)

Diagram of the flats for a publication showing imposition and indicating colors.

Flat Size

Size of product after printing and trimming, but before folding, as compared to finished size.


Method of printing on a web press using rubber or plastic plates with raised images. Also called aniline printing because flexographic inks originally used aniline dyes. Abbreviated flexo.


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

Flush Cover

Cover trimmed to the same size as inside pages, as compared to overhang cover. Also called cut flush


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. Also called heat stamp.

Foil Stamp

Method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die. Also called block print, hot foil stamp and stamp.


A bindery machine dedicated to folding printed materials.

Fold Marks
With printed matter, markings indicating where a fold is to occur, usually located at the top edges.


Gatefold sheet bound into a publication, often used for a map or chart. Also called gatefold and pullout.

Folio (page number)

The actual page number in a publication.


Each side of a signature. Also spelled forme.


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

Form Roller(s)

Roller(s) that come in contact with the printing plate, bringing it ink or water.


Trough or container, on a printing press, that holds fluids such as ink, varnish or water. Also called duct.

Fountain Solution
Mixture of water and chemicals that dampens a printing plate to prevent ink from adhering to the nonimage area. Also called dampener solution.

Four-color Process Printing

Technique of printing that uses black, magenta, cyan and yellow to simulate full-color images. Also called color process printing, full color printing and process printing.

Full-range Halftone

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

4pp Fold
ie one sheet folded in half (eg an A3 sheet folded in half creates 4pp A4)

4pp with an off-centre fold


8pp cross-fold
ie one sheet folded in half then folded in half across it’s previous fold (eg an A3 sheet folded in half creates 8pp A5)

6pp Roll Fold
ie one sheet folded in thirds rolling in on itself
NB the 2 panels A and B need to be 2mm bigger than panel C to allow for C not to foul on the inside fold (eg an A4 sheet folded in thirds creates 6pp 1/3A4 – sometimes erroneously described as “DL” because it fits into a DL envelope)

6pp “Z” Fold or “Concertina” Fold
ie one sheet folded in thirds in opposite directions
NB these panels can be the same size or they can be changed to make panels of differing sizes (eg an A4 sheet folded in thirds creates 6pp 1/3A4 – sometimes erroneously described as “DL” because it fits into a DL envelope)

8pp Roll Fold
ie one sheet folded in quarters rolling in on itself
NB Panels A & B need to be 2mm bigger than panel C then it will not foul on the inside fold, & panel D should be 2mm smaller than panel C (eg A sheet 210mm high by 394mm folds to 210x100mm – panel C will be 210x98mm and D will be 210x96mm)

8pp “Z” Fold or “Concertina” Fold
ie one sheet folded in quarters in opposite directions
NB these panels can be the same size or they can be changed to make panels of differing sizes (eg A sheet 210mm high by 396mm folds to 1/3A4 – sometimes erroneously described as “DL” because it fits into a DL envelope)

8pp “Half and Half again” Fold
ie one sheet folded in half then again in half making “quarters”
NB these panels can be the same size or they can be changed to make panels of differing sizes (eg A sheet 210mm high by 396mm folds to 1/3A4 – sometimes erroneously described as “DL” because it fits into a DL envelope))

8pp “Closed-gate” Fold
ie one sheet outer 2 panels fold towards the centre and then folded through the centre NB the outer panels must fold short of the centre line, by 2mm, to prevent them fouling when the centre fold is made (eg A sheet 210mm high by 392mm folds to 1/3A4 – sometimes erroneously described as “DL” because it fits into a DL envelope)

12pp “Map” Fold
ie one sheet folded in half then folded in thirds “Z” style
NB these panels can be the same size or they can be changed to make panels of differing sizes (eg An A3 sheet folds to 1/3A4 – sometimes erroneously described as “DL” because it fits into a DL envelope)

24pp “Map” Fold
ie one sheet folds sixths “Z” style with a cross fold
NB these panels can be the same size or they can be changed to make panels of differing sizes (eg An A2 sheet folds to 1/3A4 – sometimes erroneously described as “DL” because it fits into a DL envelope)


Galley Proof

Proof of type from any Source, whether metal type or photo type. Also called checker and slip proof.

Gate Fold

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


Signatures assembled next to each other in the proper sequence for binding, as compared to nested. Also called stacked.


(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).

Gloss Ink

Ink used and printed on coated stock (mostly litho and letterpress) such as the ink will dry without penetration.


General term used to distinguish between or among printing papers, but whose specific meaning depends on context. Grade can refer to the category, class, rating, finish or brand of paper.

Graduated Screen Tint

Screen tint that changes densities gradually and smoothly, not in distinct steps. Also called degrade, gradient, ramped screen and vignette.

Grain Direction

Predominant direction in which fibers in paper become aligned during manufacturing. Also called machine direction.

Grain Long Paper

Paper whose fibers run parallel to the long dimension of the sheet. Also called long grain paper and narrow web 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.

Basis weight of paper in grams per square meter (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.


Visual elements that supplement type to make printed messages more clear or interesting.


Method of printing using metal cylinders etched with millions of tiny wells that hold ink.

Gray Balance

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

Grind Edge
Alternate term for binding edge when referring to perfect bound products.


Approximately 1/8 inch (3 mm) along the spine that is ground off gathered signatures before perfect binding.

Gripper Edge

Edge of a sheet held by grippers on a sheetfed press, thus going first through the press. Also called feeding edge and leading edge.


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


In the book arena, the inside margins toward the back or the binding edges.

(1) To photograph or scan a continuous tone image to convert the image into halftone dots. (2) A photograph or continuous-tone illustration that has been halftoned and appears on film, paper, printing plate or the final printed product.

Halftone Screen

Piece of film or glass containing a grid of lines that breaks light into dots. Also called contact screen and screen.
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, most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage, caused by dirt on the plate or blanket. Also called bulls eye and fish eye.


Lightest portions of a photograph or halftone, as compared to midtones and shadows.

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 Sheet

Paper kept in stock by a printer and suitable for a variety of printing jobs. Also called floor sheet.


A specific color such as yellow or green.

Image Area
The actual area on the printed matter that is not restricted to ink coverage,

Laser output device using photosensitive paper or film.


Arrangement of pages on mechanicals or flats so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.

(1) Referring to an ink color, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through a printing unit. (2) Referring to speed of a press, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through the press.

Impression Cylinder

Cylinder, on a press, that pushes paper against the plate or blanket, thus forming the image. Also called impression roller.

Ink Balance
Relationship of the densities and dot gains of process inks to each other and to a standard density of neutral gray

Ink Fountain
Reservoir, on a printing press, that holds ink.

Ink Holdout

Characteristic of paper that prevents it from absorbing ink, thus allowing ink to dry on the surface of the paper. Also called holdout.

Ink Jet Printing
Method of printing by spraying droplets of ink through computer-controlled nozzles. Also called jet printing.

Inner Form
Form (side of the press sheet) whose images all appear inside the folded signature, as compared to outer form.

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

Intaglio Printing

Printing method whose image carriers are surfaces with two levels, having inked areas lower than noninked areas. Gravure and engraving are the most common forms of intaglio. Also called recess printing.

Integral Proof
Color proof of separations shown on one piece of proofing paper, as compared to an overlay proof. Also called composition proof, laminate proof, plastic proof and single-sheet proof.

A number assigned to a published work and usually found either on the title page or the back of the title page. Considered an International Standard Book Number.

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

Job Ticket

Form used by service bureaus, separators and printers to specify production schedule of a job and the materials it needs. Also called docket, production order and work order.


A vibration machine with a slopping platform to even-up stacks of printed materials.


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

(1) The screw that controls ink flow from the ink fountain of a printing press. (2) To relate loose pieces of copy to their positions on a layout or mechanical using a system of numbers or letters. (3) Alternate term for the color black, as in ‘key plate.’

Kiss Die Cut
To die cut the top layer, but not the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper. Also called face cut.

Kiss Impression
Lightest possible impression that will transfer ink to a Substrate.

Kraft Paper

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

Laid Finish
Finish on bond or text paper on which grids of parallel lines simulate the surface of handmade paper. Laid lines are close together and run against the grain; chain lines are farther apart and run with the grain.


A thin transparent plastic sheet (coating) applied to usually a thick stock (covers, post cards, etc.) providing protection against liquid and heavy use, and usually accents existing color, providing a glossy (or lens) effect.


Artist style in which width is greater than height. (Portrait is opposite.)

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

Laser-imprintable Ink
Ink that will not fade or blister as the paper on which it is printed is used in a laser printer.

Lay Flat Bind

Method of perfect binding that allows a publication to lie fully open. (Also known as Lay Flat Perfect Binding.)

Lay Edge

The edge of a sheet of paper feeding into a press.


A sample of the original providing (showing) position of printed work (direction, instructions) needed and desired.


Amount of space between lines of type.


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

Ledger Paper

Strong, smooth bond paper used for keeping business records. Also called record paper.

Letter fold

Two folds creating three panels that allow a sheet of letterhead to fit a business envelope. Also called barrel fold and wrap around fold.


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

Line Copy

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

Line Negative
Negative made from line copy.

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 nonimage areas repel ink. Nonimage 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 (e.g., trim-4-drill-3).

Machine Glazed (MG)

Paper holding a high-gloss finish only on one side.


One of the four process colors.


(1) All activities required to prepare a press or other machine to function for a specific printing or bindery job, as compared to production run. Also called setup. (2) Paper used in the makeready process at any stage in production. Makeready paper is part of waste or spoilage.

Manuscript (MS)
An author’s original form of work (hand written, typed or on disk) submitted for publication.

Imprinted space around the edge of the printed material.


Instructions written usually on a “dummy.”

Matte Finish

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

Mechanical Bind

To bind using a comb, coil, ring binder, post or any other technique not requiring gluing, sewing or stitching.

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.


Mostly used over phone lines, a device that converts electronic stored information from point a. to point b.


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. Also called sinkage. A mottled image may be called mealy.


A specific type of glue used for books binding and personal pads needing strength.

Neutral Gray
Gray with no hue or cast.

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

Newton Ring

Flaw in a photograph or halftone that looks like a drop of oil or water.

Offset Printing

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


(1) Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents printing on one side from showing through the other side. (2) Characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.

Onion Skin
A specific lightweight type (kind) of paper usually used in the past for air mail. Seldom used today (in the typewriter era).

Open Prepress Interface

Hardware and software that link desktop publishing systems with color electronic prepress systems.

Outer form

Form (side of a press sheet) containing images for the first and last pages of the folded signature (its outside pages) as compared to inner form.


Layer of material taped to a mechanical, photo or proof. Acetate overlays are used to separate colors by having some type or art on them instead of on the mounting board. Tissue overlays are used to carry instructions about the underlying copy and to protect the base art.

Overlay Proof
Color proof consisting of polyester sheets laid on top of each other with their image in register, as compared to integral proof. Each sheet represents the image to be printed in one color. Also called celluloid proof and layered proof.


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

Over Run

Additional printed matter beyond order. Overage policy varies in the printing industry. Advance questions avoid blind knowledge.

One side of a leaf in a publication.

Page Count

Total number of pages that a publication has. Also called extent.

Page Proof

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


In the book arena, the numbering of pages.


One page of a brochure, such as one panel of a rack brochure. One panel is on one side of the paper. A letter-folded sheet has six panels, not three.

Paper  (Coated and Uncoated)

Paper can be divided into two broad families, coated papers and uncoated papers.  Uncoated Paper is some times called ‘Bond’ or ‘Offset’ these are interchangeable terms referring to the type of paper. (the type that you usually find in a photocopier if you are not familiar).
Coated papers are ‘shiney’ papers (coated in China clay) available in matt, silk and gloss finishes.  Coated paper produces a technically better print result though the soft textured look of uncoated is fashionable at the moment (2010).

Parallel Fold

Method of folding. Two parallel folds to a sheet will produce 6 panels.

Perfect Bind

To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue. Also called adhesive bind, cut-back bind, glue bind, paper bind, patent bind, perfecting bind, soft bind and soft cover. See also Burst Perfect Bind.

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

Perf Marks

On a “dummy” marking 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.


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


Obsolete reference to Pantone Matching System. The correct trade name of the colors in the Pantone Matching System is Pantone colors, not PMS Colors.


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. Also called preparation.

Prepress Proof

Any color proof made using ink jet, toner, dyes or overlays, as compared to a press proof printed using ink. Also called dry proof and off-press proof.

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. Also called strike off and trial proof.

Press Time

(1) Amount of time that one printing job spends on press, including time required for makeready. (2) Time of day at which a printing job goes on press.

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

Printer Pairs

Usually in the book arena, consecutive pages as they appear on a flat or signature.

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

Surface carrying an image to be printed. Quick printing uses paper or plastic plates; letterpress, engraving and commercial lithography use metal plates; flexography uses rubber or soft plastic plates. Gravure printing uses a cylinder. The screen printing is also called a plate.

Printing Unit

Assembly of fountain, rollers and cylinders that will print one ink color. Also called color station, deck, ink station, printer, station and tower.

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.

P.U.R. Binding

PUR (polyurethane reactive) glue is the most durable binding glue available.

PUR adhesives differ from conventional EVA hot melts in that they cure by crosslinking via a chemical reaction with moisture contained in the paper stock or surrounding air. Once cured, the adhesive’s higher molecular weight provides a tough, pliable bond that is resistant to temperature extremes.

A common concern with perfect bound books is their stability in extremely hot or cold temperatures. PUR adhesive is impervious to temperature extremes. That means PUR-bound books can be used anywhere – from the hottest summer heat to the most harsh of winter conditions – without unwanted remelting or cold cracking.

The page pull strength of a PUR-bound book is more than 2.5 times that of a standard perfect-bound book using EVA adhesive. Books bound with PUR adhesive simply will not fall apart, even under heavy usage in the most demanding conditions.

The composition of PUR adhesive enables it to form a strong bond with the paper even in the presence of inks, coatings and varnishes. This is in contrast to EVA perfect binding, where these items must be removed from the spine area prior to binding. Another major advantage of PUR adhesive is its flexibility once cured.


Subjective term relating to expectations by the customer, printer and other professionals associated with a printing job and whether the job meets those expectations.

Quick Printing
Printing using small sheetfed presses, called duplicators, using cut sizes of bond and offset paper.


Price offered by a printer to produce a specific job.

Raster Image Processor

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

500 sheets of paper.

Recycled Paper

New paper made entirely or in part from old paper.


To place printing properly with regard to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet. Such printing is said to be in register.

Register Marks
Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register. Also called crossmarks and position marks.


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.


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

Round Back Bind

To casebind with a rounded (convex) spine, as compared to flat back bind.


Map or drawing given by a printer to a stripper showing how a printing job must be imposed using a specific press and sheet size. Also called press layout, printer’s layout and ruleout.

Saddle Stitch
To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine, as compared to side stitch. Also called pamphlet stitch, saddle wire and stitch bind.

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.


Electronic device used to scan an image.


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. The common screen angles for separations are black 45 degree, magenta 75 degree, yellow 90 degree and cyan 105 degree.

Screen Density

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

Screen Printing

Method of printing by using a squeegee to force ink through an assembly of mesh fabric and a stencil.

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
Color created by dots instead of solid ink coverage. Also called Benday, fill pattern, screen tone, shading, tint and tone.

Self Cover

Usually in the book arena, a publication not having a cover stock. A publication only using text stock throughout.

Self Mailer

A printed item independent of an envelope. A printed item capable of travel in the mailing arena independently.


Usually in the four-color process arena, separate film holding qimages of one specific color per piece of film. Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. Can also separate specific PMS colors through film.


Undesirable transfer of wet ink from the top of one sheet to the underside of another as they lie in the delivery stack of a press. Also called offset.


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.

Side stitch

To bind by stapling through sheets along, one edge, as compared to saddle stitch. Also called cleat stitch and side wire.


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

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 easier on the environment.


Instrument used to measure the index of refraction of color.


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.


(1) Two pages that face each other and are designed as one visual or production unit. (2) Technique of slightly enlarging the size of an image to accomplish a hairline trap with another image. Also called fatty.

Standard Viewing Conditions

Background of 60 percent neutral gray and light that measures 5000 degrees Kelvin the color of daylight on a bright day. Also called lighting standards.


Short for photostat, therefore a general term for an inexpensive photographic print of line copy or halftone.

Step and Repeat

Prepress technique of exposing an image in a precise, multiple pattern to create a flat or plate. Images are said to be stepped across the film or plate.

Stocking Paper

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

Stumping (Blocking)

In the book arena, hot die, foil or other means in creating an image on a case bound book.

Any surface or material on which printing is done.


Taking an already printed matter and re-printing again on the same.


Using a broadsheet as a measure, one half of a broadsheet.

Tagged Image File Format

Computer file format used to store images from scanners and video devices. Abbreviated TIFF.

Target Ink Densities

Densities of the four process inks as recommended for various printing processes and grades of paper. See also Total Area Coverage.


Concerning a printing project’s basic details in regard to its dimensions. A standard layout.


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


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

Trade Shop

Service bureau, 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.

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

Somewhat rough, toothy finish.

Viewing Booth

Small area or room that is set up for proper viewing of transparencies, color separations or press sheets. Also called color booth. See also Standard Viewing Conditions.


Decorative design or illustration fade to white.

Vignette Halftone

Halftone whose background gradually and smoothly fades away. Also called degrade.

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.


Translucent logo in paper created during manufacturing by slight embossing from a dandy roll while paper is still approximately 90 percent water.

Web Press

Press that prints from rolls of paper, usually cutting it into sheets after printing. Also called reel-fed press. Web presses come in many sizes, the most common being mini, half, three quarter (also called 8-pages) and full (also called 16-pages).

Wet Trap
To print ink or varnish over wet ink, as compared to dry trap.

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.


Paper manufactured without visible wire marks, usually a fine textured paper.

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