GLOSSARY OF PRINT TERMS
A-sizes: main series of finished printing trimmed sizes in the ISO international
paper size range.
A0 - 841 x 1189mm
A1 - 594 x 841mm
A2 - 420 x 594mm
A3 - 297 x 420mm
A4 - 210 x 297mm
A5 - 148 x 210mm
A6 - 105 x 148mm
Acetates : clear overlay with black and/or colour type. Used for presenting covers
and concepts to client.
Additive Primaries: in reproduction, red, green and blue; at an equal share of
value they produce the sensation of white light.
Adhesive binding: (see also Perfect Binding) Type of threadless binding in
which the leaves of a book are held together at the binding edge by glue or synthetic
adhesive (see also P.U.R. Binding).
Against the Grain: Folding paper at right angles to the grain direction of the
Artwork : text, graphic and illustrations arranged individually or in any combination
for subsequent printing. Ver y rare these days. Artwork is a bit of a misnomer as they
are computer-originated, and supplied as digitised data on a disk or other means of
electronic data. It then goes to the Repro stage or reprographic colour separation to
use its full title. This enables the separation to be printed in the four basic printing
process colours (cyan, magenta, yellow and black).
Ascender: In typesetting, the part of a lower case letter which rises above the
main body, as in the letter "d".
ASCII: American Standard Code for Information Interchange. This is a standard
coding system within the computer industr y to convert keyboard input into digital
information. It covers all of the printable characters in normal use and control
characters such as carriage return and line feed. The full table contains 127 elements.
Author ’s Corrections: Corrections made by the author on proofs, that alter
the original copy. The cost of making such alterations is charged for, in contrast to
printer ’s errors or house corrections.
B sizes: ISO international sizes intended primarily for posters, wall charts and
similar items where difference in size of the larger sheets in the A series represents
too large a gap.
B0 – 1000 x 1414mm
B1 – 707 x 1000mm
B2 – 500 x 707mm
B3 – 353 x 500mm
B4 – 250 x 353mm
B5 – 176 x 250mm
Backing Up: Printing the reverse side of a sheet already printed on one side.
Binding Editions: detailed documents, supplied by client, which include
binding directions, cover information, ink-jet keys, postage or address information,
inserts and wrap information, quantity and mailing dates.
Bimetallic: Plate in lithography, a plate used for long runs. The printing image
base is usually copper and the non-printing area is aluminium or stainless steel.
Bind-in Order Forms: (a.k.a. mail order blanks or MOB'S) binds into the
centre of the book or is part of the wrap cover.
Bit: In computers, the basic unit of digital information. It is a contraction of. BInar y
Bit Map: In computer imaging, the electronic representation of a page, indicating
the position of ever y possible spot from 0 to 100 and rest from other document.
Black and White: Originals or reproductions in single colour.
Blade coated mechanical: The base uncoated stock is covered in a wet
coating and the excess is removed by a thin flexible metal blade leaving a uniform thin
gloss coating on both sides of the paper. Generally off-white in colour.
Blanket: In offset printing, a rubber surfaced fabric that is clamped around a plate
Bleed: When the printed image extends beyond the trimmed area of a page.
Blind Embossing: A design, which gives a bas-relief effect, without ink.
Block: In binding, to impress or stamp a design upon the cover. The design can be
blocked in coloured inks, or metal foil.
Blowup: A photographic enlargement.
Blueprint/Blue-line: in web-offset lithography, a photoprint made from strippedup
negatives or positives used to proof check the position of an image on the page
and imposition generally. I'm not sure what it means either.
Bond Paper: A grade in writing or printing paper; usually used for letterheads or
BPOP: Bulk Packed on Pallets - A method of packing finished printed products in
which they are not wrapped in parcels but stacked onto pallets, usually turned in equal
quantities. Finished pallets are then wrapped in plastic film.
Broadsheet: Any sheet in its basic size (not folded or cut); also denotes a
Bromide: A photographic paper used in graphic reproduction, phototypesetting on
which a photographic image is created.
Bulk: Relative thickness of a sheet or sheets, for example, a bulky paper and a thin
paper both of the same weight display different "bulk" or ''thickness''.
Bump Exposure: in the plateroom, an exposure in halftone especially with
contact screens, in which the screen is removed for a short time; this increases
highlight contrast and drops out the dots in the whites.
Camera Ready: art or copy ready for reproduction.
Case: in bookbinding, the covers of a hardbound book.
CD-ROM: an acronym used for Compact Disc Read-Only-Memor y. A CD-ROM
drive uses the CD format as a computer storage medium.
Cheating-the-Plate: Usually a fall back position when you’re not getting
anywhere on press. By either under exposing a new plate (making more dot and
therefore colour be there) or over exposing the plate (lessening the dot and therefore
colour a press) tr ying to get an acceptable result. Not ideal but has saved many on
occasion. More difficult with CTP.
CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key(black) subtractive primar y colours - used as
the basic colours in the printing industr y.
Coated Stock: paper having a surface coating which produces a smooth finish.
Cold colour: in printing, a colour with, a bluish cast.
Colour Correction: any method, such as masking, dot-etching or scanning,
used to improve colour rendition.
Colour Proofing: this term describes a wide range of techniques which have
been developed to reproduce full colour images from film or digital data available,
prior to the actual print run; thus allowing the client, colour separation house and
printer to view the “proofed” result, prior to the actual print run.
Colour Separation: in photography, the process of separating colour originals
into the primar y printing colour components, in negative or positive form.
Concertina fold: a method of alternate folding, so that when opened out the
finished product is folded in a zigzag fashion. Rather like a, er, concertina.
Contact Print: a photographic print made from a negative or positive in contact
with sensitised paper, film or printing plate.
Continuous Tone: a photographic image which contains gradient tones from
black to white
Contract Proof: a coloured, hard copy representation of the printed image,
made from the films, which will be used to make the final printing plates. The word
“contract ” comes from the fact that, when signed by the client, a contract is formed,
which states that the final printed job should be a close match to the contract proof.
Contrast: The tonal gradation between the highlights, middle tone and shadows in
an original or reproduction.
Cromalin: an off-press electrostatic colour proof. DuPont trademark used as a
generic term, rather like Hoover for electrostatic proofs generally.
Crop: to eliminate portions of copy or art indicated on an original by cropmarks.
Crossover: when a photograph crosses gutter from one page to another.
CTP: Computer on to Plate. A fully digital way of producing Plates where digital files
are manipulated in to the dot formation needed to print from and then a Plate is
produced from this.
Curl: in paper, the distortion of a sheet due to differences in structure or coatings
from one side to the other or absorption of moisture on an offset press.
Cut-Off: in web offset printing, the cut or print length.
Daylight Studio: studio shot which uses outdoor light or natural light.
Deckle Edge: The untrimmed feather y edges of paper formed where the pulp
flows against the edge.
Demographic binding: a way of using client data to ink-jet variable data onto
a brochure/catalogue/magazine on the binding line.
Densitometer: a device for measuring the colour density at a specific location on
film or printed product, either by reflected or transmitted light.
Density: the degree of darkness of an image.
Descender: that part of a lower case letter which extends below the main body as
in the letter q
Desktop publishing: A generic title given to the introduction of personal
computers (PC) to typesetting, page composition and image handling. Apple Mac and
Quark Express are to preferred hardware/software in the industr y.
Die-Cutting: the process of using sharp steel rules to cut special shapes.
Diestamping: An intaglio process of printing in which the resultant impression
stands out in relief above the surface of the stamped material, either coloured (using
inks) or blind (that is, without colour): relief stamping.
Digital Colour Proofs: an off-press colour proof produced from digital data
without the need for separated films.
Direct Imaging: A term used with presses that need no plates, as the image to
be printed is in fact created within the press, usually by laser onto a sasitised
roller. Dithering: a technique of filling the gap between two pixels with another
Pixel having an average value of the two to minimise the difference or add detail to
smooth the result.
Dot: the individual element in both halftones and four colour process printing.
Dot Etching: In separations, chemically reducing halftone dots to var y the
amount of colour to be printed; dot etching on negatives increases colour, dot etching
on positives reduces colour.
Dot Gain: In printing, a defect in which dots print larger than they should, causing
darker tones and stronger colours.
Doubling: The appearance on a printed product of the non-coincidental images
obtained at one impression.
Dots Per Inch (dpi): a measure of resolution on the printed page.
Drawn-on Cover: a paper book cover which is attached to the sewn book by
gluing the spine.
Duotone: a two-colour halftone reproduction from a one-colour photograph.
Dummy: a sample of a proposed job made up with the actual materials and cut to
the correct size to show bulk, style of binding etc. Also a complete layout of a job
showing position of type matter and illustrations, margins etc. Pain in the backside to
ever y printer known to mankind, and therefore getting them has a similar timescale to
that of a Humpback whale gestation period. Unless you use WebMart®. Next day to
Duplex Paper: a paper with a different colour or finish on each side
Electrostatic Proofs: Off press colour proofs produced from film and coloured
Elliptical Dot: in halftone photography, elongated dots which give improved
gradation of tones particularly in middle tones and vignettes.
Embossing: impressing an image in relief to attain a raised surface.
Emulsion Side: the side of film coated with silver halide emulsion.
First Proof: Refers to type proofs which are submitted to the client for approval.
Fit: A colloquial way of referring to the accurate position of one colour on top of
another on a printed sheet.
Flash Exposure: in photography, the supplementar y exposure given to
strengthen the dots in the shadow areas of negatives.
Flexography: A relief process in which printing is done from rubber or plastic on
a web-fed press using liquid inks.
Flying Imprinter: a press furnished with a special unit which allows for one
plate to be changed on a press without stopping the machine. It saves time/waste and
Fog: in photography, silver density in the non-image areas
Folio: the page number.
Form: in offset lithography, the assembly of pages and other images for printing.
Four-colour Process: Colour printing by means of three subtractive primar y
colours (yellows, magenta, cyan) and black superimposed; the colours of the original
having been separated by a photographic or electronic process.
FOB: an acronym (Freight On Board) used to detail the location where an item is to
FPO: an acronym (For Position Only) used in mechanical presentation to identify the
crop specifications on a specific piece of composition.
Gathering : in binding, the assembling of folded signatures in proper sequence.
Ghosting: lightening of film area; taking down of colour value by a percentage so
that type can be surprinted.
Grain: in papermaking, the direction in which most fibre’s lie. Tear any piece of
paper and it will have one direction where it tears in a straight line (the grain direction)
and one where it doesn't (across the grain).
Gravure: process in which recesses on a printing cylinder are filled with ink and
the surplus removed by a blade. The paper contacts the cylinder and ‘lifts’ the ink from
the recesses before depositing it on the paper. Generally used for long-run printing,
e.g. magazines and catalogues, because of the high cost of the cylinders.
Grey Balance: the dot values of CMYK that produce a neutral grey.
GSM: abbreviation of grams per square metre. A method of indicating the
substance of paper or board (whatever the size of the paper/board or number of
sheets in the package) on the basis of weight. If unsure about the weight, use a set of
paper (or Demi to use the paper name) scales to accurately ascertain it.
Gut-feel: essential management tool for indepth analysis of a particular situation to
come up with a rational solution, usually confirmed in its efficiency by the passage of
time. In particular demand when it comes to press buying decisions in the UK.
Gutter: the blank space or inner margin from printing area to binding.
Halftone: the reproduction of continuous-tone artwork.
Hickeys: in offset lithography, spots or imperfection in the printing due to such
things as dirt on the press, dried ink skin, paper particles, etc.
Honda-Interface: Bedraggled individuals which make the pragmatic link the
client-side and supply-side demands. Deathdefying in their commitment to move fag
packet tranny from one side of London to the other for 32p per mile! Use FTP - it's
easier, cheaper and less likely to get damaged!
Impression: in printing, the pressure of a type plate or blanket as it comes in
contact with paper.
Imposition: Arrangement of pages in a sequence which will read consecutively
when printed sheet is folded.
In-house: internally handles the functions of an agency or service.
ISDN: Basically a telephone line which can transmit digital data. Slowly and with
Jog: to align sheets of paper into a compact pile.
Kerning: in typesetting, the space between two characters.
Keyline: in artwork, an outline drawing of finished art to indicate the exact shape,
position and size for such elements as halftones, line sketches, etc.
Kiss Impression: in printing, a ver y light impression, just enough to produce an
image on paper.
Lamination: a plastic film bonded by heat and pressure to a printed sheet for
Landscape: oblong loose or folded printed sheet, or book, having its long sides at
head and foot.
Laser: light implification by Simulated Emission of Radiation – a fine beam of light,
sometimes with considerable energy, used in imagesetting, colour scanning, copy
scanning, platemaking, engraving and cutting and creasing form-making.
Layout: a rendering done in ink of the position and size of the art and type;
completed by Art Director upon the instructions of the client.
Leaders: in composition, rows of dashes or dots to guide the eye across the page;
used in tabular work, programs, tables of contents, etc.
Leading: in composition, the distance between lines of type, measured in points.
Limp Cover: a flexible book cover, as distinct from a stiff board cover.
Line Copy: copy suitable for reproduction without using a halftone screen.
Lithographic printing: A process in which the printing and non-printing
surfaces are on the same plane and the substrate makes contact with the whole
surface. The printing part of the surface is treated to receive and transmit ink to the
paper, usually via a blanket, the non-printing surface is treating to attract water and
thus rejects ink from the ink roller, which touches the surface.
Long grain press: a press where the longest side of the finished product runs
parallel to the grain of the paper.
Loose Insert: A piece of paper or card laid between the leaves of a
brochure/magazine and not secured in anyway.
M: abbreviation for a quantity of 1,000 sheets of paper.
Makeready: in printing, all work done to set up a press for printing.
Manifest: a record of all outgoing merchandise.
Mask: in colour separation photography, an intermediate photographic negative or
positive used in colour correction.
Matt Finish: dull paper finish, without gloss or luster.
Mechanical: a term for a camera-ready paste-up of artwork. It includes type,
photos, line art, etc., all on one piece of artboard.
Media code: letter designated to identify each book and each version; client
supplies them and lists them in the binding edition.
Machine finished (MF): any finish obtained on a papermaking machine. It
can refer to either the finish on the sheet as it leaves the last dr ying cylinder of the
machine, or the finish given to a sheet by calendering, but on machine.
Middle Tones: the tonal range between highlights and shadows of a photograph
Moire: in colour process printing, the undesirable screen pattern caused by
incorrect screen angles overprinting halftones.
Mortise: white panel or box where 4 colours have been removed from film to hold
Mottle: the spotty or uneven appearance of printing, mostly in solid areas.
Mylar: in offset preparation, a polyester film specially suited for stripping positives.
Offset: in printing, the process of using an intermediate blanket cylinder to transfer
an image from the image carrier to the substrate.
Original: the term applied to copy which is to be reproduced.
Overprinting: double printing, printing over an area the already has been
Overs: The quantity of unit production, for example, books and sheets, delivered to
the customer above the net amount ordered, usually charged at a run-on rate; also an
allowance to cover wastage.
Pagination: The amount of pages to be produced. In computerised typesetting,
the process of performing page makeup automatically. In printing, the amount of
pages within the finished printed piece.
Pantone: Pantone, Pantone Matching System and PMS + are Pantone Inc’s
check-standard trademarks for colour standards, colour data, colour reproduction and
colour reproduction materials, and other colour related products and services, meeting
its specifications, control and quality requirements.
Part Mechanical: A paper containing up to 50% mechanical pulp, the
remainder being chemical pulp.
PDF: Portable Document Format - The industr y standard for saving files in an
acceptable format. Quick cheap and increasingly stable. Good news when combined
Perfect Bound: A way of adhesive binding multi-section jobs. Individual
sections are collected together and the spine is ground off (typically 3mm). Glue is
then applied to the spine and a cover pulled on before the product is trimmed to size.
Perfecting Press: a printing press that prints both sides of the paper in one
pass through the press.
Pica: printer's unit of measurement used in typesetting; one pica equals
approximately 1/6 of an inch.
Pick-up Page: an exact pickup page is a page that is picked up intact from a
previous book, with no additional devices, no change in photos, crop marks, etc.
Piling: in printing, the building up or caking of ink on rollers, plate or blanket; not
also, the accumulation of paper dust or coating on the blanket of offset press.
Pin Register: the use of accurately positioned holes and special pins on copy,
film, plates and presses to insure proper register or fit of colours.
Pixel: in electronic imaging, a basic unit of digital imaging.
Plate Cylinder: the cylinder of a press on which the plate is mounted.
Portrait: an upright, oblong artwork or photograph where vertical dimension is
greater than the horizontal.
PostScript: a page description language (PDL) developed by Adobe, which
describes the contents and layout of a page. PostScript also serves as a programming
language whereby the PostScript code is executed by a PostScript RIP in the output
device in order to produce a printout or film containing the page.
Pre-Press: all procedures (and costs) associated with bringing a job to press,
without actually producing a copy.
Press Proofs: in colour reproduction, a proof of a colour subject made on a
printing press, in advance of the production run.
Primary Colours: see Additive Primaries.
Process Printing: the printing from a series of two or more halftone plates to
produce intermediate colours and shades.
Progressive Proofs (Progs): proofs made from the separate plates in
colour process work, showing the sequence of printing and the result after each
additional colour has been applied.
Proof: a version of a document or colour illustration produced specifically for the
purpose of review prior to reproduction.
PUR Binding: same process as perfect binding, but use a synthetic adhesive
(PolyUrethane React) rather than conventional glue. Offers greater flexibility and
longevity of the finished product.
Quality: the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear
on its ability to satisfy a given need or requirement; also describes as “ fitness for
purpose” or value for money as perceived by the customer.
Ragged Left: in typesetting, type that is justified on the right margin and ragged
on the left
Ragged Right: in typesetting, type that is justified on the left margin and ragged
on the right.
Ram Bundled: a way of presenting finished printed products comprising copies
strapped together ver y tightly with end-boards to make them more suitable for
Ream: five hundred sheets of paper.
Reel: term used for continuous roll of printing paper
Reel Width: side to side dimension for a reel of paper
Register: in printing, fitting of two or more printing images in exact alignment.
Register Marks: crosses or other targets applied to original copy prior to
photography; used for positioning films in register, or to register two or more colours in
RGB: red, green, blue additive primar y colours. Have to be converted to CMYK at
the pre-press stage prior to printing 4 colour process.
Rotary Trimmed: a way of trimming on-press without the copy being stationar y
of the time.
Right-Angle Fold/Quarter fold: in binding, two or more folds at 90
degrees to each other.
Rub off code: see media code
Run-Around: in composition, type set to fit around a picture or other design
element. Also what a customers feels when the supplier they use is in a production
meeting. Use WebMart®. Someone will always be able to help!
Saddle stitch: in binding, to fasten a booklet by wiring it through the middle fold
of the sheets.
Safelight: in photography, the special darkroom lamp used for illumination without
fogging sensitised materials.
Scaling: determining the proper size of an image to fit an area.
Scanner: an electronic devise used in the making of colour and tone-corrected
separations of images.
Score: to impress or indent a mark with a string or rule in the paper, to make folding
Screened Print: in photography, a print with a halftone screen made from a
halftone negative or by diffusion transfer.
Sealer Varnish: A transparent coating that is applied on top of the printed
paper to ''seal'' the ink (to tr y and stop it rubbing). It makes the end product rubresistant.
Section: see Signature
Selective Binding: by demographically binding a printed product this data
triggers the appropriate sections from a range of available sections automatically to
produce a product unique to that data input (and therefore more relevant to the end
Serif: the short cross-lines at the ends of the main strokes of letters in some type
Short grain press: a press where the shortest side of the finished product runs
parallel to the grain of the paper.
Shrink wrap: method of packing printed products by surrounding them with
plastic, then shrinking by heat.
Signature: in printing and binding, the name given to a printed sheet after it has
been folded. Also called a section.
Slurring: Image distortion caused by dragging on the printing machine.
Alternatively an alcohol induced client after the press pass has gone back over eight
Soft Dot: in separations, a dot is called "soft" when the halation or fringe around
the dot is excessive; conversely, when the fringe is so slight as to be barely noticeable
and the dot is ver y sharp, it is called hard.
Spine glued: A method of putting a thin line of glue into the spine of a section,
allowing it to be finished on press.
Spiral Binding: a book bound with wires in spiral form inserted through holes
punched along the binding.
Spot varnish: A way of highlighting an area of a page by selectively applying a
varnish to it.
SRA0 – 900 x 1280mm
SRA1 – 640 x 900mm
SRA2 – 450 x 640mm
SRA3 – 320 x 450mm
SRA4 – 225 x 320mm
Step-and-Repeat: in photomechanical, the procedure of multiple exposure of
an image by stepping it in position according to a predetermined layout or program.
Stock: paper or other material to be printed.
Stochastic screening: also known as FM (Frequency Modulated) screening.
With conventional halftone screening, the variable dot size formed, creates the optical
illusion of various tonal values; however, the dot centre pitch distance is constant. In
the case of FM screening systems, the dots are randomly distributed to create this
tonal change illusion. The greater the number of dots located within a specific area,
the darker the resultant tone. The dots produced in this way are usually smaller than
conventional halftone dots, resulting in improved definition, although greater care and
attention to detail is required in platemaking stage.
Stripping: in offset lithography, the positioning of negatives (or positives) on a flat
to compose a page or layout for platemaking.
Substrate: the piece of material printed.
Subtractive Primaries: yellow, magenta and cyan, the colours used for
process colour printing inks. See CMYK.
Surprint : in photomechanics, exposure from a second negative or flat
superimposed on an exposed image of a previous negative or flat.
Swatching/Swatchbook: a swatch is a small piece of material provided by
the client (or taken from the actual merchandise), used to match the transparency to
the actual colour of the merchandise.
Tack: in printing inks, the property of cohesion between particles; the separation
ink needed for proper transfer and trapping on a multicolour press.
Text: the copy of a page or book, as distinguished from the headings.
Tints: mechanical shading in line areas, normally available in 5% steps from 5% to
Tolerances: the specification of acceptable variations in register, density, dot
size, plate or paper thickness, concentration of chemicals and other printing
Tranny: abbreviation of transparency for people who cannot spell the correct word
or who are linguistically lazy.
Transparency: a photographic film that has been developed. 30+ year olds will
remember them best as the things ever, your Mum and Dad hold their entire record of
your childhood on and possibly never to be seen again as the AGFA slide projector
bulb went in 1981 and they don’t make them any more. I’m rambling now.
Trapping: in printing, the ability to print a wet ink film over previously printed ink.
Dr y trapping is printing wet ink over dr y ink. Wet trapping is printing wet ink over
previously printed wet ink.
Trim Marks: in printing, marks placed on the copy to indicate the trimmed edge of
Undercut: in printing presses, the difference between the radius of the cylinder
bearers and the cylinder body, to allow for plate (or blanket) and packing thickness.
-Up: in printing, two-up, three-up, etc., refer to material to be printed on a larger size
sheet to take advantage of full press capacity.
UV Varnish: a thin coating applied to a printed sheet for protection and
appearance dried immediately by UV light.
Varnishing: To apply oil, synthetic, spirit, cellulose or water varnish to printed
matter by hand or machine to enhance its appearance or increase its durability.
Vellum Finish: in papermaking, a toothy finish which is relatively absorbent for
fast ink penetration.
Vignette: an illustration in which the background fades gradually away until it
blends into the unprinted paper.
Viscosity: in printing inks, a broad term encompassing the properties of tack and
Warm Colour: in printing, a colour with a yellowish or reddish cast.
Web: a roll of paper used in web or rotar y printing.
Web Offset: Same description as offset using a continuous web of paper.
Web Press: a press which prints on roll or web-fed paper. The fun side of
printing. And quite noisy (the presses opposed to us. Well both thinking about it)
Web proofs: See press proof
WebMart: The place where dreams come true (okay maybe not the dreams but
certainly the Best print at the Best Price) we also happen to be the UK's leading
WebOffset print management specialist so give us a call.
Widow: in composition, a single word in a line by itself, ending a paragraph or
starting a page.
Wire-0 Binding: a continuous double series of wire loops run through punched
slots along the binding side of a booklet.
With the Grain: folding or feeding paper into a press parallel to the grain of
Wood free: paper free of mechanical wood pulp.
Work and Tumble: to print one side of a sheet of paper, then turn it over from
gripper to back using the same side guide and plate to print the second side. Also, a
WebMart®employee after passing in East Kilbride all night, but has to be in London by
9.30am the next day. It has been done.
Work and Turn: to print one side of a sheet of paper, then turn it over from left
to right and print the second side using the same gripper and plate but opposite side
guide. Term only used in sheetfed litho, as web always Perfects. And is more fun.