Glossary of Print Terms

Glossary of Print Terms

author’s alterations: customer’s corrections/changes made at the proofing stage. These are charged to the customer. 
back up: Printing on the reverse side of a sheet already printed on one side. Back up position is critical and must be accurate to ensure consistent position throughout a folded product. 

binding: process of fastening papers together. 

bleed: the printed image extends beyond the trim edge of a sheet or page. A bleed may occur at the head, front, foot and/or gutter of a page. 

bond paper: A grade of writing or printing paper, usually used for letterheads or business forms. (see Uncoated) 

carbonless paper: paper coated with chemicals that enable transfer of images from one sheet to another with pressure from writing or typing. 

CMYK (aka ‘four colour process’): abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the 4 process colours, which combined together in varying proportions can be made to produce the full colour spectrum. 

coated stock: Material coated on one or both sides with a mixture china clay, latex and other loadings to fill up surface pits and improve the printing surface. The process can be accomplished either on-line on the papermaking machine (machine coated) or as a separate operation (off-machine coated). 

collating: arranging of printed sheets into the desired sequence. 

colour separation: process by which a continuous tone colour image is separated into the four process colours for print production. 

cover paper: a heavyweight paper made particularly to protect inner, thinner sheets of such printed items as booklets. 

crop marks: marks at the edges of an illustration or photograph to indicate the portion to be reproduced. 

CTP: Acronym for Computer To Plate, the process by which digital data is converted via a RIP device to drive a platesetter, which generates the finished printing plate. 

DPI: dots per inch; measure for output resolution of various devices. 

die-cutting: The process of using sharp steel blades known as rules to cut a shape into paper or board. 

dummy: a mock-up made to resemble the final printed product which uses the proposed grade, weight, finish and colour of paper. 

Finished Size: The size once trimmed and folded 

Flat Size: The size before folding, after trimming. Can also be used if a product is to be supplied creased but unfolded. 

FSC Forest Stewardship Council (FSC.org) is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organisation established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. Certain paper brands are accredited by the FSC. 

Gate Fold: where left and right edges fold to the centre

GSM / grammes per square metre: The weight of paper or board, measured in grammes per square metre. For example, office copier paper is normally 80gsm, whereas the cover of a book might be 350gsm 

gutter: line or fold at which facing pages meet. 

halftone: picture with shades of tone created by varying size dots. 

justified: text which is flush to both the left and right margins. 

lamination: A plastic film bonded by heat and pressure to a printed sheet. The laminate can be either gloss or matt to enhance the appearance of the print and provide moisture-resistant protection to the paper surface. 

lithographic printing: Method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose non-image areas repel ink. Non-image areas may be coated with water to repel the oily ink or may have a surface, such as silicon, that repels ink. The printing and nonprinting surfaces are on the same plane on the plate and the substrate makes contact with the whole surface. 

make-ready: the work associated with the set-up of printing equipment before running a job. 

overs: copies printed in excess of the quantity specified in the order. 

PMS (Pantone Matching System): Followed by 3 or 4 digits to make up a code e.g. PMS 072. See spot colours 

PP (Printed pages): Refers to the number of pages in a document e.g. 12pp (12 pages) 

Portrait: Where a document is oriented so the long edges are on either side. As opposed to landscape 

perfect binding: a bookbinding method in which pages are glued rather than sewn to the cover. Used primarily for paperback books. 

point: a measurement for the size of type, distance between lines and thickness of rules. One point equals one seventy-second of an inch (0.3515mm). Proof: A copy of the final document for approval before going to print. 

ream: 500 sheets of paper 

ragged right: typesetting style in which lines end in unequal lengths on the right side (usually justified on left). 

registration marks: crosses or other marks placed on artwork which ensure perfect alignment (‘registration’). 

reversed-out: type appearing white on a black or colour background, either a solid or a tint. 

resolution: the number of dots per inch (dpi) in a computer-processed document. The level detail retained by a printed document increases with higher resolution. 

RIP (raster image processor): computer used to create an electronic bitmap for actual output. This may be built into an imagesetter or may be separate. 

roll fold: similar to a take-away menu 

saddle stitch: a binding process in which a pamphlet or booklet is stapled through the middle fold of its sheets using saddle wire. 

score: a pressed mark in a sheet of paper, usually a thick paper, to make folding cleaner and easier. 

seal or sealer: A coating applied over the print to fix it. This helps prevent set off and smudging 

self-cover: Where the cover and text pages are on the same paper stock 

set off: This is where the ink from one sheet is transferred on to the reverse of the sheet above. Leaving ample time for the ink to dry and applying a sealer helps to prevent this 

signature: folded, printed paper forming a section of a book; usually in a multiple of four, and more often a multiple of eight. 

solid: an area on the page which is completely covered by the ink. 

stock: the paper or card which is to be printed on. 

tint: an area of tone made by a pattern of dots, which lightens the apparent colour of the ink with which it is printed. 

uncoated paper: Paper which has not been coated in clay – as opposed to ‘coated’ paper such as matt and gloss. An example of uncoated paper is bond. Uncoated paper is often used for stationery 

UV Varnish: A liquid coating applied to a printed sheet for protection and enhancement, which is dried immediately by exposure to UV light. 

wire-0 binding: A continuous double series of wire loops run through punched slots along the binding side of a booklet. 

Z-fold: 2 folds on a document to make the finished item look like the letter “Z”

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