Print Glossary

A glossary of some of the terms used in the printing industry is shown below:

Quick Search
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Acetate
A clear plastic material usually used as a proof overlay.

Alley
The gap between columns of text on a page.

Art Paper
A term used for high quality coated paper.

Author's Amendments
Also called Author's Corrections, these are changes made by the customer at the proofing stage.

return to top

Bank Paper
A thin paper of less than 50gsm.

Bitmap
A bitmap is an image made up of rows and columns of pixels.  Also called a Raster Image.

Blanket
A rubber-coated pad that is mounted on a cylinder of an offset press.  It receives the inked image from the plate and then transfers it to the surface to be printed.

Bleed
Where the image to be printed extends over the crop marks (usually by 3mm).  This ensures the print on the finished documents will run to the edges after trimming and avoids leaving a white border.

Blind Emboss
A type of embossing where no ink is used.  The image or text is only visible as a raised area on the paper/board.

Boards
A term for paper over a certain weight which is generally around 180gsm.

Bond Paper
A term for uncoated paper.

return to top

Carbonless Paper
Paper that is coated with chemicals to enable image transfer from one sheet to another with pressure from writing or typing.

C&CCC
Cheque and Credit Clearing Company, the standards to which all cheques used in the UK clearing system must adhere to. Previously known as APACS.

Cartridge Paper
A thicker paper commonly used for illustrating.

CBS1
Used in bank forms, Clearing Bank Specification 1 must be 95gsm paper and of specific characteristics.  It is chemically treated to prevent tampering.

CBS2
Used in bank forms, Clearing Bank Specification 2 must be an 80/85gsm paper and of specific characteristics with low background fluorescence for OCR readability.

CB Paper
Paper that has the carbonless coating applied to the reverse in order to transfer an image to the CFB and/or CF paper.

CFB Paper
Paper that has the carbonless coating applied to the face and reverse in order to receive an image from a CB paper and transfer an image to a CFB or CF paper. ..

CF Paper
Paper that has the carbonless coating applied to the front in order to receive an image from a CB or CFB paper.CCCVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

CMYK
Abbreviation of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black which are the four colours used for printing full colour (also known as 4 colour process).

Coated Paper
This is paper which has a coating on one or both sides.  Coated paper can have a gloss or silk finish.

Computer-To-Plate
Imaging a plate directly from the computer elimanating the need for a film negative to create the image on a plate.

Corner marks
Corner marks are lines in artwork that show the corners of a page or finished document.

Corrugated
A type of board for boxes which is made by sandwiching fluted kraft paper between sheets of paper or cardboard.

Crimping
Crimps are used on multipart continuous stationery to hold the parts together.  Special blades that look like small teeth pass over the parts pushing the paper downwards cutting and folding a small section which holds the parts together.

Crop Marks
Crop marks are lines in artwork that show where the paper or board is to be trimmed after printing.

Cutting Tool
A custom made cutter used to die-cut paper or board to a particular shape.

return to top

Debossing
Where an image or text is pressed or stamped into the paper or board creating a depression as opposed to an embossed, raised impression.

Desensitizing
This is where desensitizing ink is applied in specific areas on the face of carbonless CFB and/or CF paper to prevent image transfer.  It works by deactivating the CF coating.

Die-cut
This is where a custom made cutting tool is used to cut paper or board to a particular, non standard shape.

Digital Print
The printing of digital images direct from computer software to paper, board or other material. The ink or toner forms a layer on the surface instead of being absorbed into the paper like in litho printing. No plates are required for digital printing which means every impression printed can be different making it especially suitable and cost effective for short print runs. The quality isn't as high as with litho printing but the turnaround is generally quicker. 

Dot Gain
The term for printing dots that spread on press during the printing process.  Standard gain for sheetfed offset is around 14% which means if your artwork contains a 20% screen you will probably get around a 34% tint on paper.  Dot gain changes between paper stock and other press conditions and is usually higher on bond paper than on coated stock.

Dot Matrix Printer
A printer that is used for continuous stationery, it forms characters by printing a series of dots.

DPI (Dots Per Inch)
Describes the image resolution. For print, all images in a document should be a minimum of 300dpi.

return to top

Embossing
Where an image or text is pressed in to the paper or board to leave a raised effect.

Encapsulation
A process where printed material is sealed and fully enclosed in plastic leaving a small, clear border around the sheet. Encapsulation is water resistant and durable.

EPS (Encapsulated Postscript)
A vector file that can be scaled to any size with no loss of quality.   

return to top

Flat size
The finished size of document after trimming but before folding.

Flexographic Print
A method of printing that uses water based inks and a flexible rubber plate.  The water based inks dry quicker than the oil based inks used in litho printing so flexo printing enables faster production.  Flexographic printing is good at printing large areas of solid colour.  The flexible plate enables printing on a wide range of materials and is used for products like aluminium cans, corrugated cardboard boxes, plastic shopping bags and envelopes.

Four-colour process
Full colour printing using Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK).  

Full Colour
Four colour process printing using CMYK.  

return to top

Ganging
Often used in full colour work, ganging is the term used for printing two or more print jobs on the same sheet during a print run.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
A compressed file format that is generally used on the internet due to its reduced size.  Tends to be low resolution and unsuitable for print.

Gloss Paper
A coated paper with a smooth surface and a high shine.

Gluing
Multipart continuous forms can be held together by spot gluing or line gluing in addition to crimping.  Spot gluing generally makes the parts easier to separate.  Cutsets are held together by line gluing at the head of the form.  

GSM
Grams per square metre. This is a guide to the weight of the paper or board per sheet.

Gutter
The line or fold at which facing pages in a document meet.

return to top

Hot Spot Carbon
Often used on security mailers, hot spot carbon is applied in specific areas on the reverse of a bond sheet to allow for selective image transfer to the sheet below.

return to top

Ivory Board
A high quality board with a bright appearance often used for business cards.

return to top

JPEG (Joint Photograph Experts Group)
A file format commonly used in print and on the internet that is compressed to reduce the file size.

return to top

Kiss Cut
This is where the top layer of a label is die-cut but not the backing.

return to top

Laid Paper
A type of paper with a ribbed texture created using a dandy roll in the manufacturing process.

Laminating
A thin plastic film is fixed to one or both sides of the paper or board making it more durable.  Matt lamination or gloss lamination can be applied.  

Landscape
Where the width of a document is greater than the height/depth.

Lithographic Print
Litho offset printing is where a metal plate is treated so that the image area attracts the oil-based inks and the wet non-image areas resist them.  The plate is attached to a cylinder in the press and the ink transfers to an offset rubber blanket and then to the paper, board or other material which absorbs the ink.   

return to top

Make ready
All work associated with setting up the print press and finishing equipment before production commences.

Matt Paper
A smooth coated paper with a dull finish.

Metallic Ink
Ink containing powdered metal or pigments to create a metallic effect.

MICR (Magnetic Image Character Recognition)
Numbers printed with magnetic ink so that they can be read by MICR scanning equipment.  Used on cheques.

Microns
Board thickness is measured in microns (1000 microns = 1mm).   

return to top

NCR (No Carbon Required)
A term used for carbonless papers.

Numbering
Numbering is done on the top copy of a multipart form and the image transfers through to subsequent copies.  The number can change sequentially from one set to the next.

return to top

OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
A system that allows a scanner to convert text into a form that can then be edited using a word processor.

OCR Paper
Paper manufactured for use with OCR equipment.  It is generally a brighter paper to give greater contrast with the printed characters that the OCR equipment reads and records. 

Offset Printing
A lithographic method of printing in which the ink is first transferred from the metal plate to an offset blanket and then to the paper, board or other material.

Opaque
A printed design inside an envelope to reduce show through.

return to top

Pantone
A range of spot colours including metallic and fluorescent inks that are identified by a code.  For example, PMS 485 is a popular red.

PDF (Portable Document Format)
A universal file format which combines images and text.

Perfect Binding
Where the inner pages of a booklet are glued into the cover with a square back spine.

Perforations
A series of cuts on a sheet that allow part of the form to be removed.  Perfs can be vertical or horizontal and the area between each cut is called a tie.

Pixels
 A pixel is made up of three dots (RGB) and is the smallest unit of a digital image.  They create a continuous tone image by appearing to merge.  The more pixels per inch the higher the resolution.   

Pixellation
A term used to describe the degradation of a bitmap image where it's individual pixels appear as square blocks. This happens when a bitmap image is magnified on a computer screen and also when a low resolution image is printed on a high resolution device.  Website images are often low resolution at 72dpi.  If printed on a commercial printing press, you would see 72 square blocks for every inch of image and get a poor result.  For commercial print images need to be a minimum of 300dpi.

PMS (Pantone Matching System)
This is an internationally recognised system for specifying ink colours and helps establish a consistency of colours for commercial printers around the globe.  

Pocket
An envelope with the opening on the short edge. 

Portrait
Where the height/depth of a document is greater than the width.

PP
Printed pages. Refers to the number of printed pages in a document e.g. 16pp (16 pages).

Press Ready Artwork
Artwork is referred to as being "press ready" when it can be printed without any modifications being required.

Proof
A preview of a print job to check content, layout and colour separation prior to production.

Pulp
Pulp is a dry fibrous material made by chemically or mechanically separating fibres.  Used for products such as beer mats, images printed on pulp are not as sharp and are often darker than on other paper and boards. 

return to top

Raster Image
A raster image is generally a scanned image or photo and is also called a bitmap.  

Ream
500 sheets of paper.

Recycled Paper
New paper made entirely or in part from old paper.

Register Marks
Register marks are cross-hair lines in artwork designed to help keep printing in register.  They are also known as crossmarks and position marks.

Resolution
Describes image quality and is referred to as pixels per inch (PPI) on a computer monitor and dots per inch (DPI) on paper, board or other material.  A 72ppi web image contains 72 pixels per one inch line and therefore 5,184 pixels per inch.  A 300dpi image printed on paper contains 300 dots per one inch line and therefore 90,000 dots per square inch.    

Reversed-out
When the paper colour shows through to display text or an image within a solid or tinted colour background.

RGB
The three colour channels of red, green and blue light required to view an image on a computer monitor. 

RIP (Raster Image Processor)
Device that translates page description commands into bitmapped information for an output device such as a laser printer or imagesetter.

return to top

Saddle Stitch
Where a booklet is wire stitched (stapled) on the spine.

Screen Tint
A percentage of a solid ink colour to create a lighter shade.  A screen is made up of dots of the same size.  The larger the dot, the heavier the tint. 

Screen Printing
Ink is applied to a porous silk screen which is a fine mesh contained within a frame.  The ink passes through a stencil to create a printed image.  Used for printing on fabric, banners and board that is too thick to pass through a litho press.  Screen printing is low resolution so is fine for printing solids but is not recommended for tints.

Sealer
A coating that is applied over the print which helps prevent set off.

Self-Cover
Where the cover and inner pages of a booklet are printed on the same paper stock.

Self Contained Carbonless
A paper that can generate an image itself through the application of pressure without the need for other carbonless sheets.

Self Seal
Two strips of latex on envelope flaps that seal with each other on contact.

Set Off
This is where the ink from one finished sheet is unintentionally transferred onto another finished sheet.  Leaving ample time for the ink to dry and applying a sealer can help to prevent this from happening.

Sheet-fed
A sheet-fed printing press uses individual sheets instead of continuous rolls of paper as used in web offset printing.

Shrink wrap
A method of packing printed stationery by surrounding it with plastic and then shrinking with heat.

Silk Paper
A coated paper with a smooth surface and low shine.

Solid Print
Any area of the sheet printed with 100% ink coverage of one colour.

Spiral Bind
A spiral of continuous wire or plastic fed through holes to bind a booklet.

Spot Colours
Pantone spot colour inks are used when a specific colour match is required that cannot be achieved from four colour process.  They are also used when only one or two colours are required which is usually more economical than printing full colour.  Spot colours can also be used in addition to CMYK on the same print job.  A large number of Pantone spot colours do not have a suitable CMYK equivalent. 

Spot UV Varnish
Spot UV varnish is a high gloss finish that can be applied to specific areas of a printed sheet.

SRA
Standard sizes for untrimmed paper which are slightly larger than the corresponding A series sizes.  Printers purchase untrimmed paper, bind it and trim it down to standard A sizes.

return to top

Ties
The area between the cuts in a perforation that hold the paper together.

Ties Per Inch
The number of ties in an inch of a perforation.

Tiff (Tagged Image File Format)
A file format ideal for large bitmaps like scanned images.

Tyvek
A very strong synthetic material used for products like envelopes and wristbands.  It is difficult to tear but can easily be cut with scissors.

return to top

Uncoated Paper
Paper which has not been coated with clay.

return to top

Vector Art
Vector art consists of lines, curves and fills instead of pixels in bitmap images.  It can be scaled without loss of quality.  

Vignette
A term used for a graduated screen where a colour fades from dark to light or vice versa in a smooth graduation.

return to top

Wallet
An envelope with the opening on the long edge.

Wash Up
To clean ink from rollers, fountains and other press components after printing.

Watermark
Translucent logo created in paper during the manufacturing process by slight embossing from a dandy roll.  

Web Offset
Reel-fed offset lithographic printing using a continuous roll of paper.

Wet Proof
This is a proof printed on the same press and on the same material that is to be used for the finished product.  Used for colour checking purposes but can be relatively expensive.

Wove Paper
A type of paper with a smooth finish used for stationery.

Writeshield
Used in carbonless books and pads, a writeshield can be supplied loose or attached to the boardback for inserting between the sets to prevent image transfer to the next set.

return to top

© Copyright 2017 Site Design - EC Plus Ltd.