Resources & Support

Glossary Of Terms

Glossary Of Terms

We take great pride in making our clients feel confident about their 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 terms that we commonly use in our industry.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T V W
  • Abrasion Resistance

    The resistance to scratching of a surface of paper by other paper surfaces or other materials.

  • Accordion Fold

    A type of paper folding in which each fold runs in the opposite direction to the previous fold creating a pleated or accordion effect.

  • Acid Resist

    An acid-proof protective coating applied to metal plates prior to etching designs thereon. Bichromated solutions employed in photoengraving as sensitizers provide acid resist through the action of light on sensitized surface.

  • American Paper Institute

    An organization that correlates all paper related information.

  • Antigua

    An eleventh century Italian script typeface.

  • Antique Finish

    Paper with a rough, sized surface used for book and cover stock.

  • Art Work

    Any materials or images that are prepared for graphic reproduction.

  • Author's Alterations (AA's)

    Changes made after composition stage where customer is responsible for additional charges.

  • Back To Back

    Print applied to both sides of a sheet of paper.

  • Banker's Flap Envelope

    Also called wallet flap; the wallet flap has more rounded flap edges.

  • Basic Size

    This term refers to a standard size of paper stock; even though the required size may be smaller or larger.

  • Basis Weight

    Basis or basic weight refers to the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that particular paper grade.

  • Bauhaus

    A design school in Germany where the Sans Serif font was originated.

  • Binding

    Various methods of securing folded sections together and or fastening them to a cover, to form single copies of a book.

  • Blanket

    On offset presses a fabric-reinforced sheet of rubber to transfer the impression from the plate onto the paper.

  • Bleed

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

  • Blind Emboss

    A design or bas relief impression that is made without using inks or metal foils.

  • Blind Embossing

    Embossed forms that are not inked, or gold leafed.

  • Book

    A general classification to describe papers used to print books; its standard size is 25x38 inches. A printed work which contains more than 64 pages.

  • Bristol Board

    A board paper of various thickness; having a smooth finish and used for printing and drawing.

  • Brochure

    A pamphlet that is bound in booklet form.

  • Caliper

    The measurement of thickness of paper expressed in thousandths of an inch or mils.

  • Cast Coated

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

  • Chain Lines

    Lines that appear on laid paper as a result of the wires of the papermaking machine.

  • Chalking

    A term used to describe the quality of print on paper where the absorption of the paper is so great that it breaks up the ink image creating loose pigment dust.

  • Coarse Screen

    Halftone screens commonly used in newsprint; up to 85 lines per inch.

  • Coated (Paper)

    Paper coated with clay, white pigments and a binder. Better for printing because there is less picking.

  • Collate

    To gather sheets or signatures together in their correct order. (see Gather)

  • Collating Marks

    Black step-marks printed on the back of folded sheets, to facilitate collating and checking of the sequence of book signatures.

  • Color Bars

    This term refers to a color test strip, which is printed on the waste portion of a press sheet. It is a standardized (GATF-Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) process which allows a pressman to determine the quality of the printed material relative to ink density, registration, and dot gain. It also includes the Star Target, which is a similar system designed to detect inking problems.

  • 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 type of papers used for the covers of books, pamphlets etc.

  • 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.

  • Curl

    Not lying flat and tending to form into cylindrical or wavy shapes. A term to describe the differences of either side of a sheet relative to coatings, absorbency etc.; the concave side is the curl side.

  • Cutter

    Machine for accurately cutting stacks of paper to desired dimensions...can also be used to crease. Also trims out final bound books' top size (soft cover).

  • Cutting Die

    Sharp edged device, usually made of steel, to cut paper, cardboard, etc., on a printing press.

  • Cyan

    A shade of blue used in the four-color process; it reflects blue and green and absorbs red.

  • Dampening

    An essential part of the printing process whereby cloth covered rubber rollers distributes the dampening solution to the plate.

  • Dandy Roll

    During the paper making process while the paper is still 90% water, it passes over a wire mesh cylinder (dandy roll), which imparts surface textures on the paper such as wove or laid. This is also the stage where the watermark is put onto the paper.

  • Deckle Edge

    The rough or feathered edge of paper when left untrimmed.

  • Densitometer

    An optical device used by printers and photographers to measure and control the density of color.

  • Density

    The degree of tone, weight of darkness or color within a photo or reproduction; measurable by the densitometer. Reference, densitometer.

  • Density

    The lay of paper fibers relative to tightness or looseness which affects the bulk, the absorbency and the finish of the paper.

  • Die

    Design, letters or shapes, cut into metal (mostly brass) for stamping book covers or embossing. An engraved stamp used for impressing an image or design.

  • Die Cutting

    A method of using sharp steel ruled stamps or rollers to cut various shapes i.e. labels, boxes, 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.

  • Die Stamping

    An intaglio process for printing from images engraved into copper or steel plates.

  • Digital Proof

    Color separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to color photographic paper creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed.

  • Dot

    The smallest individual element of a halftone.

  • Drier

    A term that describes any additives to ink which encourages the drying process.

  • Drill

    The actual drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding.

  • Drop Shadow

    A shadow image placed strategically behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page.

  • Ductor Roller

    The roller between the inking and the dampening rollers.

  • Dull Finish

    Any matte finished paper.

  • Dummy Model

    Resembling finished piece in every respect except that the pages and cover are blank, used by the designer as a final check on the appearance and +feel+ of the book as a guide for the size and position of elements on the jacket.

  • Duotone

    Color reproduction from monochrome original. Keyplate usually printed in dark color for detail, second plate printed in light flat tints. A two-color halftone reproduction generated from a one-color photo.

  • Duplex Paper

    Paper which has a different color or finish on each side.

  • Eggshell Finish

    The finish of paper surface that resembles an eggshell achieved by omitting the calendar process. Reference, calendar rolls.

  • Electronic Composition

    The assembly of characters into words, lines and paragraphs of text or body matter with graphic elements in page layout form in digital format for reproduction by printing.

  • 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.

  • Elliptical Dot

    Halftone screens in which the dots are actually elongated to produce improved middle tones.

  • Embossed

    A method of paper finishing whereby a pattern is pressed into the paper when it is dry.

  • Enamel

    A term that describes a glossy coating on paper.

  • Engraving

    A printing process whereby images such as copy or art are etched onto a plate. When ink is applied, these etched areas act as small wells to hold the ink; paper is forced against this die and the ink is lifted out of the etched areas creating raised images on the paper.

  • Estimate

    The form used by the printer to calculate the project for the print buyer. This form contains the basic parameters of the project including size, quantity, colors, bleeds, photos etc.

  • Etch

    The process of producing an image on a plate by the use of acid.

  • Felt Finish

    The smoother side of paper, usually a soft weave pattern used for book papers.

  • Foils

    Papers that have a surface resembling metal.

  • Folder

    Machine used to fold signatures down into sections.

  • Font

    The characters which make up a complete typeface and size.

  • Forwarding

    In Binding, the process between folding sheets and casing in, such as rounding and backing, putting on headbands, reinforcing backs, etc.

  • Gathering

    Assembling sheets of paper and signatures into their proper sequence; collating.

  • Graduated Screen

    An area of image where halftone dots range continuously from one density to another.

  • Grain

    Direction of fibers in a sheet of paper governing paper properties such as increased size changes with relative humidity, across the grain, and better folding properties along the grain.

  • Gripper

    A series of metal fingers that hold each sheet of paper as it passes through the various stages of the printing process.

  • Gripper Edge

    The grippers of the printing press move the paper through the press by holding onto the leading edge of the sheet; this edge is the gripper edge.

  • Groundwood

    Low cost papers such as newsprint made by the mechanical pulping process as opposed to chemical pulping and refining.

  • Halftone

    Tone graduated image composed of varying sized dots or lines, with equidistant centers.

  • Hickies

    Imperfections in presswork due to dirt on press, trapping errors, etc.

  • Highlights

    The lightest tones of a photo, printed halftone or illustration. In the finished halftone, these highlights are represented by the finest dots.

  • House Sheet

    This is a term that refers to a paper that a printer keeps on hand in his shop.

  • IBC

    Inside back cover.

  • IFC

    Inside front cover.

  • Indicia

    Markings pre-printed on mailing envelopes to replace the stamp.

  • Inkometer

    A device used to measure the tack of ink.

  • Iridescent Paper

    A coated stock finished in mother-of-pearl.

  • Job Number

    A number assigned to a printing project used for record keeping and job tracking. Also used to retrieve old jobs for reprints or reworking by customer.

  • Jog

    To vibrate a stack of finished pages so that they are tightly aligned for final trimming.

  • Kraft

    A coarse unbleached paper used for printing and industrial products.

  • Laid Finish

    A parallel lined paper that has a handmade look.

  • Letterpress

    Printing that utilizes inked raised surfaces to create the image.

  • Linen

    A paper that emulates the look and texture of linen cloth.

  • Lithography

    The process of printing that utilizes flat inked surfaces to create the printed images.

  • M weight

    The actual weight of 1000 sheets of any given size of paper.

  • Make Rready

    Process of adjusting final plate on the press to fine tune or modify plate surface.

  • Matte Finish

    A coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring. Reference, calendaring.

  • Midtone Dot

    Commonly taken as the area between highlight and shadow area of a subject's face in halftone image.

  • Moire

    An undesirable halftone pattern produced by the incorrect angles of overprinting halftone screens.

  • Mottle

    A term used to describe spotty or uneven ink absorption.

  • Natural

    A term to describe papers that have a color similar to that of wood; also called cream, off-white or ivory.

  • OBC

    Outside back cover.

  • OFC

    Outside front cover.

  • Off-shore Paper

    Any papers made outside the US and Canada.

  • 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.

  • Offset Lithography

    Indirect printing method in which the inked image on the press-plate is first printed onto a rubber blanket, then in turn offsets the inked impression on to the sheet of paper.

  • Offset Paper

    A term for uncoated book paper.

  • Onionskin

    A light bond paper used for typing and used with carbon paper because of its thinness.

  • Opacity

    Quality of papers that defines its opaqueness or ability to prevent two-sided printing from showing through.

  • Opaque

    A quality of paper that allows relatively little light to pass through.

  • Opaque Ink

    Ink that completely covers any ink under itself.

  • Over Run

    Surplus of copies printed.

  • Overprinting

    Any printing that is done on an area that has already been printed.

  • Page

    One side of a leaf.

  • Page Proofs

    Proofs made up from pages.

  • Parchment

    A hard finished paper that emulates animal skin; used for documents, such as awards, that require writing by hand.

  • Paste Drier

    Any of a variety of compounds used in enhancing the drying properties of printing inks.

  • Perfect Binding

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

  • Perfecting

    Printing both sides of the paper (or other material) on the same pass through the printing machine.

  • Perfecting Press

    A printing press that prints on both sides of the page in a single pass.

  • Perforating

    Punching small holes or slits in a sheet of paper or cardboard to facilitate tearing along a desired line.

  • Picking (2)

    An occurrence in printing whereby the tack of ink pulls fibers or coating off the paper surface, leaving spots on the printed surface.

  • Plastic Comb

    A method of binding books whereby holes are drilled on the side closest the spine, and a plastic grasping device is inserted to hold the pages together.

  • Plate Finish

    Any bond, cover or bristol stock with an extremely smooth finish achieved by calendaring.

  • Ppi

    Pixels per inch.

  • Premium

    Any paper that is considered better than #1 by its manufacturer.

  • Press-Proof

    Actual press sheet to show image, tone values and colors as well as imposition of frame or press-plate.

  • Printability

    The quality of papers to show reproduced printed images.

  • Process Inks

    Printing inks, usually in sets of four colors. The most frequent combination is yellow, magenta, cyan, and black, which are printed, one over another in that order, to obtain a colored print with the desired hues, whites, blacks, and grays.

  • Process Printing

    Printing from two or more half tones to produce intermediate colors and shades.

  • Proof

    Impression from composed type or blocks, taken for checking and correction, from a lithographic plate to check accuracy of layout, type matter, tone and color reproduction.

  • Rag paper

    Papers with a complete or partial content of cotton fibers.

  • Railroad Board

    A thick, coated paper used for signs; usually waterproof.

  • Ream

    500 sheets of paper.

  • Register Marks

    Any crossmarks or other symbols used on layout to assure proper registration.

  • Right Angle Fold

    A term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other.

  • Rubine

    A pigment somewhat redder than true magenta.

  • Saddle Stitching

    Stitching where the 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 inset to form a single section.

  • Safety Paper

    A paper that shows sign of erasure so that it cannot be altered or tampered with easily.

  • Satin Finish

    A smooth delicately embossed finished paper with sheen.

  • Scaling

    The enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area.

  • Score

    Impressions or cuts in flat material to facilitate bending or tearing.

  • Screen Angles

    The placement of halftone screens to avoid unwanted moire patterns. Frequently used angles are black 45deg, magenta 75deg, yellow 90deg, and cyan 105deg.

  • Scum

    Unwanted ink marks in the non-image area.

  • Self Cover

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

  • Sheetwise

    The printing of two different images on two different sides of a sheet of paper by turning the page over after the first side is printed and using the same gripper and side guides.

  • Show Through

    A problem that occurs when the printing on one side of a sheet is seen from the other side.

  • Side Stitching

    Stitching where the wire staples pass through the pile of sections or leaves gathered upon each other and are clinched on the underside.

  • Silhouette halftone

    A halftone with the background screen removed.

  • Slitting

    A term to describe the process of cutting of printed sheets by the cutting wheels of a printing press.

  • Smoothness

    That quality of paper defined by its levelness which allows for pressure consistency in printing, assuring uniformity of print.

  • Spine

    Back edge of a book.

  • Spiral Bind

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

  • Spot Color

    Small area printed in a second color.

  • Stabbing

    To bind a series of pages with wire staples such that staples enter from the front and back simultaneously, neither side being long enough to exit the opposite side.

  • Stet

    A proofreader's symbol that is usually written in the copy margin, that indicates that the copy, which was marked for correction, should be left as it was.

  • Stock

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

  • Super Calendaring

    A machine procedure that produces a high finished paper surface that is extremely smooth and exceptional for printing.

  • Synthetic Papers

    Any petroleum based waterproof papers with a high tensile strength.

  • Tag

    A dense, strong paper stock.

  • Text

    A high quality printing paper.

  • Thermography

    A printing process whereby slow drying ink is applied to paper and while the ink is still wet, it 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.

  • Ticket Envelope

    Envelopes used mostly for theater tickets, with no other particular usage.

  • Tint

    A halftone screen that contains all the same sized dots.

  • Trapping

    The process of printing wet ink over printed ink which may be wet or dry.

  • Varnish

    A clear shiny ink used to add gloss to printed pieces. The primary component of the ink vehicle. Reference, vehicle.

  • Vellum

    A finish of paper that is rough, bulky and has a degree of tooth.

  • Vignette

    Fade to white or small decorative design or illustration. A photo or illustration etc., in which the tones fade gradually away until they blend with the surface they are printed on.

  • W&T

    An abbreviation for work and turn.

  • Washup

    The procedure of cleaning a particular ink from all of the printing elements (rollers, plate, ink fountain etc.) of a press.

  • Watermark

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

  • Wedding Paper

    A soft paper that is thick and holds up well under embossing.

  • Wire Side

    That side of the paper which lies on the wire screen side of the papermaking machine.

  • Wire Stitching Or Stapling

    To fasten together sheets, signatures, or sections with wire staples. 3 methods... saddle stitching, side stitching, and stabbing.

  • Wove

    A smooth paper made on finely textured wire that gives the paper a gentle patterned finish.