FAQs - Glossary of Printing Terms

Back Up:
Printing the second side of a sheet already printed on one side.

Banding:
A method of packaging printed pieces of paper using rubber, plastic, or paper bands. This term can also be applied to a gradation that "breaks" or does not transition smoothly.

Basis Weight:
Weight in pounds of a ream of paper cut to the basic size for its grade.

Bind:
To fasten sheets or signatures with wire, thread, glue, or by other means.

Bindery: 
A department of a print shop or firm specializing in finishing printed products.

Blanket: 
The thick rubber mat on a printing press that transfers ink from the plate to paper.

Bleed: 
Printing that goes to the edge of the sheet after trimming.

Bond Paper: 
Strong durable paper grade used for letterheads.

Break For Color: 
Also known as a color break. To separate mechanically or by software the parts to be printed in different colors.

Brightness: 
The brilliance or reflectance of paper.

Bulk: 
Thickness of paper stock in thousandths of an inch or number of pages per inch.

Bulk Pack: 
Boxing printed product without wrapping or banding.

Butt: 
Joining images without overlapping.

Caliper: 
Paper thickness in thousandths of an inch.

Cast Coated: 
Coated paper with a high gloss reflective finishing.

CMYK:

Color value system.  CMYK stands for Cyan (Blue); Magenta (Red); Yellow (Yellow); and BlacK (Black).  48HourPrint.com uses these color values in printing customer orders.  

Coated Paper: 
Clay coated printing paper with a smooth finish.

Collate: 
A finishing term for gathering paper in a precise order.

Color Bar: 
A quality control term regarding the spots of ink color on the lead edge of a sheet.

Color Correction: 
Methods of improving color separations.

Color Matching System: 
A system of formulated ink colors used for communicating color also know as pantone matching system.

Color Separations: 
The process of preparing artwork, photographs, transparencies, or computer generated art for printing by separating into the four primary printing colors.

Continuous-Tone Copy: 
Illustrations, photographs or computer files that contain gradient tones from black to white or light to dark.

Contrast: 
The tonal change in color from light to dark.

Copy: 
All furnished material or disc used in the production of a printed product.

Cover Paper: 
A heavy printing paper used to cover books, make presentation folders, etc.

Crop: 
To cut off parts of a picture or image.

Crop Marks: 
Printed lines showing where to trim a printed sheet.

Cyan: 
One of four standard process colors (Blue).

Densitometer: 
A quality control devise to measure the density of printing ink.  Also measures Dot Gain; Trap; Hue; and Grayness dot size.

Density: 
The degree of an ink color or darkness of an image or photograph.

Die: 
Metal rule or imaged block used to cut or place an image on paper in the finishing process.

Die Cutting: 
Cutting shapes in or out of paper.

Dot: 
An element of halftones. Using a loupe you will see that printed pictures are made up of many dots. 

Dot Gain or Spread:
A term used to explain the difference in size between the dot on plate to paper.

DPI:

Dots per inch.  48HourPrint.com requires images to be at least 300DPI to create a print ready file.


Draw Down: 
A sample of ink and paper used to evaluate ink colors.

Dummy: 
A rough layout of a printed piece showing position and finished size.

Duotone: 
A halftone picture made up of two printed colors.

Emulsion: 
Light sensitive coating found on printing plates. 

Facsimile Transmission: 
The process of converting graphic images into electronic signals.

Flood: 
To cover a printed page with ink, varnish, or plastic coating. 

Flop: 
The reverse side of an image.

Four-Color-Process: 
The process of combining the four primary colors to create a printed color picture or colors composed from the basic four colors.

French Fold: 
Two folds at right angles to each other.

Gang: 
Getting the most out of a printing press by using the maximum sheet size to print multiple images or jobs on the same sheet.

Generation: 
Stages of reproduction from original copy. A first generation reproduction yields the best quality.

Ghosting: 
A faint printed image that appears on a printed sheet where it was not intended. Chemical ghosting occurs when the gasses emitted from the drying ink migrate through the substrate and show as a light image in the opposite side printing. Mechanical ghosting occurs when there is a white shape on the press sheet followed by an heavy solid. This transfers ink to the trailing image creating a ghost effect of the lead image.

Gloss: 
A shiny look reflecting light.

Grain: 
The direction in which the paper fibers lie.

Grippers: 
The metal fingers on a printing press that holds the paper as it passes through the press.

Hairline: 
A very thin line or gap about the width of a hair or 1/100-inch.

Halftone: 
Converting a continuous tone to dots for printing. 

Hard Copy Proof: 
A photographic proof used to check position of all image elements.

Hickey: 
Reoccurring unplanned spots that appear in the printed image from dust, lint, dried ink.

High-Bulk Paper: 
A paper made thicker than its standard basis weight.

Highlight: 
The lightest areas in a picture or halftone. 

Image Area: 
Portion of paper on which ink can appear.

Imaged: 
Exposing a printing plate to high intensity light or placing an image on a printing plate by light.

Imposing: 
The positioning of jobs on a flat prior to plate making.

Imposition: 
Positioning printed pages so they will fold in the proper order.

Impression: 
Putting an image on paper.

Indicia: 
Postal stamp information place on a printed product for mailing purposes.

Ink Fountain: 
The reservoir on a printing press that holds the ink.

Kiss Die Cut: 
To cut the top layer of a pressure sensitive sheet and not the backing.

Knock Out: 
To mask out an image.

Laid Finish: 
Simulating the surface of handmade paper.

Laminate: 
To cover with film, to bond or glue one surface to another.

Line Copy: 
High contrast copy not requiring a halftone.

Lines Per Inch: 
The number of rows of dots per inch in a halftone.

Loupe: 
A magnifying glass used to review a printed image and plate.

Magenta: 
One of the four basic primary colors (Red).

Makeready: 
All the activities required to prepare a press for printing.

Matte Finish: 
Dull paper or ink finish.

Micrometer: 
Instrument used to measure the thickness of different papers.

Middle Tones: 
The tones in a photograph that are approximately half as dark as the shadow area.

Moiré: 
Occurs when screen angles are wrong causing odd patterns in photographs.

Negative: 
The image on film that makes the white areas of originals black and black areas white.

Offsetting: 
An intermediate surface used to transfer ink. Also, an unpleasant happening when the images of freshly printed sheets transfer images to each other.

Offset Paper: 
Term for uncoated book paper.

OK Sheet: 
Final approved color-inking sheet before production begins. 

Opacity: 
The amount of show-through on a printed sheet. The more opacity or the thicker the paper the less show-through. The thicker/heavier the paper the higher the cost.

Outline Halftone: 
Removing the background of a picture or silhouetting an image in a picture.

Overrun or Overs: 
Copies printed in excess of the specified quantity. Printing trade terms allow for + - 10 % to represent a completed order.

Page Count: 
Total number of pages in a book including blanks.

Perfect Bind: 
A type of binding that glues the edge of sheets to a cover like a telephone book, software manual, or magazine.

Perfecting Press: 
A sheet fed printing press that prints both sides of a sheet in one pass. 

Picking: 
Occurs as the surface of a sheet lifts off during printing. 

Plate Gap: 
Gripper space. The area where the grippers hold the sheet as it passes through the press.

PMS: 
The abbreviated name of the Pantone Color Matching System.

Point: 
For paper, a unit of thickness equaling 1/1000 inch. For typesetting, a unit of height equaling 1/72 inch.

PostScript: 
The computer language most recognized by printing devices.

Pressure-Sensitive Paper: 
Paper material with self sticking adhesive covered by a backing sheet.

Process Blue: 
The blue or cyan color in process printing.

Process Colors: 
Cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow (yellow), and black (black).

Ragged Left: 
Type that is justified to the right margin and the line lengths vary on the left.

Rasterize:

Flattens the layers of an image in a print file.


Ream: 
Five hundred sheets of paper.

Reflective Copy: 
Copy that is not transparent.

Register: 
To position print in the proper position in relation to the edge of the sheet and to other printing on the same sheet.

Register Marks: 
Cross-hair lines or marks on plates and paper that guide strippers, platemakers, pressmen, and bindery personnel in processing a print order from start to finish.

RGB:

A color value system.  RGB stands for Red; Green; and Blue.  48HourPrint.com converts all submitted RGB files into CMYK. 


Rip Film: 
A method of making printing negatives from PostScript files created by desktop publishing. RIP equals Raster Image Processing of files to print.

Saddle Stitch: 
Binding a booklet or magazine with stitches in the seam where it folds.

Scanner: 
Device used to make color separations, halftones, duo tones and tri tones. Also a device used to scan art, pictures or drawings in desktop publishing.

Score: 
A crease put on paper to help it fold better.

Screen Angles: 
The angles at which halftone, duo tones, tri tones, and color separation printing films are placed to make them look right.

Self-Cover: 
Using the same paper as the text for the cover.

Shadow: 
The darkest areas of a photograph.

Show-Through: 
Printing on one side of a sheet that can be seen on the other side of the sheet.

Side Guide: 
The mechanical register unit on a printing press that positions a sheet from the side.

Side Stitch: 
Binding by stitching along one side of a sheet.

Signature: 
A sheet of printed pages which when folded become a part of a book or publication.

Silhouette Halftone: 
A term used for an outline halftone.

Skid: 
A pallet used for a pile of cut sheets.

Specifications: 
A precise description of a print order.

Spine: 
The binding edge of a book or publication.

Spoilage: 
Planned paper waste for all printing operations.

Spot Varnish: 
Varnish used to highlight a specific part of the printed sheet.

Step Sheets:

Paper sheets that are all different sizes and when placed together they diminish in size by an inch per sheet to make the appearance of “stepped sheets.”

Stock: 
The material to be printed.

Substrate: 
Any surface on which printing is done.

Text Paper: 
Grades of uncoated paper with textured surfaces.

Tints: 
A shade of a single color or combined colors.

Transparency: 
A positive photographic slide allowing light to pass through.

Transparent Copy: 
A film that light must pass through for it to be seen or reproduced.

Transparent Ink: 
A printing ink that does not conceal the color under it.

Trapping: 
The ability to print one ink over the other.

Trim Marks: 
Similar to crop or register marks. These marks show where to trim the printed sheet.

Trim Size: 
The final size of one printed image after the last trim is made.

Under-Run: 
Production of fewer copies than ordered. 

U.V. Coating: 
Liquid laminate bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

Varnish: 
A clear liquid applied to printed surfaces for looks and protection. 

Vector:

Two-dimensional artwork such as Illustrator; Free Hand; & Corel Draw. More editable, it can resize shapes.


Vignette Halftone: 
A halftone whose background gradually fades to white or black.

Wash-Up: 
Removing printing ink from a press, washing the rollers and blanket. Certain ink colors require multiple wash-ups to avoid ink and chemical contamination.

Waste: 
A term for planned spoilage.

Watermark: 
A distinctive design created in paper at the time of manufacture that can be easily seen by holding the paper up to a light.

With The Grain:
Folding or feeding paper into the press or folder parallel to the grain of the paper.

Work and Tumble:
Printing one side of a sheet and turning it over from the gripper to the tail to print the second side using the same side guide and plate for the second side.

Work and Turn:
Printing one side of a sheet and turning it over from left to right using the same side guides and plate for the second side.

Wove Paper:
A paper having a uniform unlined surface with a smooth finish.