Glossary

Design Basics

Print Basics

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Print Glossary

This is a glossary of all the terms you might come across in the Print Academy.

A

A4 Paper

ISO paper size 210 x 297mm used for Letterhead.

Artwork

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

B

Bleed

Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming.

Boiler Plate

Blocks of repetitive type used and copied over and over again.

C

CMYK

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

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.

Collate

To organize printed matter in a specific order as requested.

Collating Marks

Mostly in the book arena, specific marks on the back of signatures indicating exact position in the collating stage.

Colour Balance

Refers to amounts of process colours that simulate the colours of the original scene or photograph.

Colour Control Bar

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

Colour Correct

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

Colour Curves

Instructions in computer software that allow users to change or correct colours. Also called HLS and HVS tables.

Colour Gamut

The entire range of hues possible to reproduce using a specific device, such as a computer screen, or system, such as four-colour process printing.

Colour Key

Brand name for an overlay colour proof. Sometimes used as a generic term for any overlay colour proof.

Colour Model

Way of categorizing and describing the infinite array of colours found in nature.

Colour Shift

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

Composition

(1) In typography, the assembly of typographic elements, such as words and paragraphs, into pages ready for printing. (2) In graphic design, the arrangement of type, graphics and other elements on the page.

Condition

To keep paper in the pressroom for a few hours or days before printing so that its moisture level and temperature equal that in the pressroom. Also called cure, mature and season.

Crop Marks

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

Cut Sizes

Paper sizes used with office machines and small presses.

Cyan

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

D

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 Independent Colours

Hules identified by wavelength or by their place in systems such as developed by CIE. 'Device independent' means a colour can be described and specified without regard to whether it is reproduced using ink, projected light, photographic chemistry or any other method.

Die

Device for cutting, scoring, stamping, embossing and debossing.

Die Cut

To cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard using a die.

Dots-per-inch

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.

DPI

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

Drill

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

Duplex Paper

Thick paper made by pasting highlights together two thinner sheets, usually of different colours. Also called double-faced paper and two-tone paper.

E

Encapsulated PostScript file

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

EPS

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

F

Fifth Colour

Ink colour used in addition to the four needed by four-colour process.

Fold Marks

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

Folio (page number)

The actual page number in a publication.

Format

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

Four-colour Process Printing

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

G

Gang

(1) To halftone or separate more than one image in only one exposure. (2) To reproduce two or more different printed products simultaneously on one sheet of paper during one press run. Also called combination run.

Gate Fold

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

Gloss

Consider the light reflecting on various objects in the printing industry (e.g., paper, ink, laminates, UV coating, varnish).

Grammage

Basis weight of paper in grams per square meter (gsm).

Graphic Arts

The crafts, industries and professions related to designing and printing on paper and other substrates.

Graphic Design

Arrangement of type and visual elements along with specifications for paper, ink colours and printing processes that, when combined, convey a visual message.

Graphics

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

Gray Scale

Strip of gray values ranging from white to black. Used by process camera and scanner operators to calibrate exposure times for film and plates. Also called step wedge.

GSM

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

Gutter

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

H

Head-to-tail

Imposition with heads (tops) of pages facing tails (bottoms) of other pages.

HLS

Abbreviation for hue, lightness, saturation, one of the colour-control options often found in software, for design and page assembly. Also called HVS.

Hue

A specific colour such as yellow or green.

I

Image Area

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

Imposition

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

Impression

(1) Referring to an ink colour, 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.

Ink Jet Printing

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

Inserts

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

ISBN

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.

J

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.

Jogger

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

K

K

Abbreviation for black in four-colour process printing. Hence the 'K' in CMYK.

L

Laminate

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 colour, providing a glossy (or lens) effect.

Landscape

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

Layout

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

Leading

Amount of space between lines of type.

Leaf

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

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.

Letter Paper

In North America, 8 1/2' x 11' sheets. In Europe, A4 sheets.

Legend

Directions about a specific matter (illustrations) and how to use. In regard to maps and tables, an explanation of signs (symbols) used.

Lithography

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.

Logo (Logotype)

A company, partnership or corporate creation (design) that denotes a unique entity. A possible combination of letters and art work to create a "sole" entity symbol of that specific unit.

Loose leaf

Binding method allowing insertion and removal of pages in a publication (e.g., trim-4-drill-3).

M

Magenta

One of the four process colours.

Margin

Imprinted space around the edge of the printed material.

Mark-Up

Instructions written usually on a "dummy."

Matte Finish

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

Metallic Ink

Ink containing powdered metal or pigments that simulate metal.

Mock Up

A reproduction of the original printed matter and possibly containing instructions or direction.

Monarch

Paper size (7' x 10') and envelope shape often used for personal stationery.

M Weight

Weight of 1,000 sheets of paper in any specific size.

N

Nonimpact Printing

Printing using lasers, ions, ink jets or heat to transfer images to paper.

O

Offset Printing

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

Opacity

(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.

Opaque

(1) Not transparent. (2) To cover flaws in negative with tape or opaquing paint. Also called block out and spot.

Overprint

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.

P

Page

One side of a leaf in a publication.

Page Count

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

Pagination

In the book arena, the numbering of pages.

Parallel Fold

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

Paste-up

To paste copy to mounting boards and, if necessary, to overlays so it is assembled into a camera-ready mechanical. The mechanical produced is often called a paste-up.

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.

Perf Marks

On a "dummy" marking where the perforation is to occur.

Perforating

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).

Pica

A unit of measure in the printing industry. A pica is approximately 0.166 in. There are 12 points to a pica.

Pixel

Short for picture element, a dot made by a computer, scanner or other digital device. Also called pel.

Plate

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

PMS

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

PMT

Abbreviation for photomechanical transfer.

Point

(1) Regarding paper, a unit of thickness equating 1/1000 inch. (2) Regarding type, a unit of measure equalling 1/12 pica and .013875 inch (.351mm).

Portrait

An art design in which the height is greater than the width. (Opposite of Landscape.)

Prepress

Camera work, colour 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 colour 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.

Preprint

To print portions of sheets that will be used for later imprinting.

Printing

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.

Process Colour (Inks)

The colours used for four-colour process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.

Production Run

Press run intended to manufacture products as specified, as compared to makeready.

Proof

Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.

Proportion Scale

Round device used to calculate percent that an original image must by reduced or enlarged to yield a specific reproduction size. Also called percentage wheel, proportion dial, proportion wheel and scaling wheel.

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 colour. Also called colour station, deck, ink station, printer, station and tower.

Process Camera

Camera used to photograph mechanicals and other camera-ready copy. Also called copy, camera and graphic arts camera. A small, simple process camera may be called a stat camera.

Q

Quality

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

Quarto

(1) Sheet folded twice, making pages one-fourth the size of the original sheet. A quarto makes an 8-page signature. (2) Book made from quarto sheets, traditionally measuring about 9' x 12'.

R

Raster Image Processor

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

Ream

500 sheets of paper.

Recycled Paper

New paper made entirely or in part from old paper.

Register

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.

Reprographics

General term for xerography, diazo and other methods of copying used by designers, engineers, architects or for general office use.

Resolution

Sharpness of an image on film, paper, computer screen, disc, tape or other medium.

Reverse

Type, graphic or illustration reproduced by printing ink around its outline, thus allowing the underlying colour or paper to show through and form the image. The image 'reverses out' of the ink colour. Also called knockout and liftout.

RGB

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

S

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.

Scale

To identify the percent by which photographs or art should be enlarged or reduced to achieve, the correct size for printing.

Scanner

Electronic device used to scan an image.

Score

To compress paper along a straight line so it folds more easily and accurately. Also called crease.

Separations

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

Setoff

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.

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.

Spectrophotometer

Instrument used to measure the index of refraction of colour.

Spine

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.

Spot Colour or Varnish

One ink or varnish applied to portions of a sheet, as compared to flood or painted sheet.

Spread

(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.

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.

Substrate

Any surface or material on which printing is done.

Swash Book

A book in a variety of forms, indicating specific stock in specific colours in a specific thickness.

T

Tagged Image File Format

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

Thumbnails

Initial ideas jotted on virtually anything in regard to initial concept of a future project.

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).

U

Uncoated Paper

Paper that has not been coated with clay. Also called offset paper.

Universal Copyright Convention (UCC)

A system to protect unique work from reproducing without knowledge from the originator. To qualify, one must register their work and publish a (c) indicating registration.

Up

Term to indicate multiple copies of one image printed in one impression on a single sheet. "Two up" or "three up" means printing the identical piece twice or three times on each sheet.

UV Coating

Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

W

Watermark

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).