Glossary of Printing Terms
In order to make your print experience as simple and easy to
understand as it can be, we have put together a useful series of
definitions relating to the main printing terms and phrases.
If you come across any others that you think ought to be included we
would be pleased to hear from you.
A - C | D - F | G - I | J - O | P - Z
A - C
A thin flexible sheet of transparent plastic used to make overlays.
against the grain:
At right angles to the grain direction to the paper.
A common term used to describe a range of smooth papers with a filled surface.
'A' sized paper:
Paper sizes are based on dimensions of a large A0 sheet. Letterheads are commonly produced on A4 sized paper.
A computer program designed for a particular use, such as a word processor or page layout application, i.e. Microsoft Word or QuarkXpress.
A process which follows the initial design stage which makes rough ideas into a print-ready form.
Abbreviation for artwork.
Process of printing on the second side of a printed sheet.
Process of fastening papers together.
Fast friendly print service offering superb quality at the best prices - always available on 023 9233 4900.
A grid of pixels or printed dots generated by computer to represent type and images.
Thick rubber sheet that transfers ink from plate to paper on the press.
Impression of an un-inked image onto the back of a sheet which produces a raised 'embossed' image on the front of the sheet.
The printed image extends beyond the trim edge of a sheet or page. A bleed may occur at the head, front, foot and/or gutter of a page.
A smooth transition between two colours, also known as a graduated tint.
A grade of paper suited for letterheads, business forms etc.
carbonless paper (NCR):
Paper coated with chemicals that enable transfer of images from one sheet to another with pressure from writing or typing.
A hardback book made with stiff outer covers. Cases are usually covered with cloth, vinyl or leather.
Coated paper with a very high gloss enamel finish
A method of altering the thickness of a shape by over exposure in processing or by means of a built-in option in some computer applications.
A fast proofing system which uses powder as opposed to ink.
Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the 4 process colours, which combined together in varying proportions can be made to produce the full colour spectrum.
Gathering together sheets of paper from a book, magazine or brochure and placing them into the correct order.
Process by which a continuous tone colour image is separated into the four process colours (CMYK) for print production.
A method of folding in which each fold opens in the opposite direction to its neighbour, giving a concertina or pleated effect.
Forms which are produced from reels of paper and then fan folded. these can be either single or multi-part forms.
Numbering paper by pressing an image on the first sheet which is transferred to all parts of the printed set.
To mechanically press a rule into heavy paper or board to enable it to be folded without cracking.
Phenomenon when middle pages of a folded section extend slightly beyond the outside pages.
Lines near the margins of artwork or photos indicating where to trim, perforate or fold.
Graphics saved in ready-to-use computer files. these are normally vector illustrations and not photographic images.
An outline, embedded into the file, that tells an application which areas of a picture should be considered transparent.
Abbreviation of computer-to-plate; a process of printing directly from a computer onto the plate used by a printing press.
To trim the edges of a picture or page to make it fit or remove unwanted portions.
One of the four process colours.
D - F
Image pressed into paper so it lies below the surface.
The degree of darkness of light absorption or opacity of printed images.
Process of using sharp metal rules on a wooden block to cut out specialised shapes such as pocket folders or unusual shaped flyers etc - A BISHOPS SPECIALITY!
Benefits are for very short runs or for personalised print. Some feel that the quality is not yet to the standard of offset litho, however, some feel that it is.
A printing defect in which dots print larger than intended, causing darker colours or tones; due to the spreading of ink on stock. the more absorbent the stock, the more dot gain. It can vary by type of ink also.
A measure of the quality of an image from a scanner or output resolution of a printer. The more dots per inch, the higher the quality will be but the larger the file size the slower it will process.
A method of enhancing a mono image using two colours.
Drilling of holes in product which will allow insertion over rings or posts in a binder of some sort.
A mock-up made to resemble the final printed product which uses the proposed grade, weight, finish and colour of paper.
Implies the inclusion of elements and data into a computer file necessary to maintain or change the elements when used remotely.
A process performed after printing to stamp a raised (or depressed) image into the surface of paper, using engraved metal embossing dies, extreme pressure, and heat. embossing styles include blind, deboss and foil-embossed.
An acronym for Encapsulated PostScript, a computer file format widely used by the printing and graphics industries.
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Bishops' presses are turning.
The system by which data is held in a particular type of computer file.
To align, to be even with. (flush right to a margin for example).
A metallic finish, or other embossed finishes applied by specialist equipment.
One of a range of styles/typefaces in which lettering can be produced during the type setting stage, e.g. Times New Roman, 10pt.
Reproduction of full-colour photographs or art with the four basic colours of ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, black).
A sometimes undesirable process used when a chosen font is not available, the closest possible match is made, sometimes causing reflow of the text or other errors.
Size, shape and overall style of layout or printed project.
To your address in the south-east of England.
Two folds at right angles to each other.
A simple internet-based method of uploading your artwork files so they can be transferred easily by our Repro department.
Or 'four colour process' using the four basic printing colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
G - I
Line or fold at which facing pages meet.
Paper weight is measured in grams per square metre.
General term used for a computer file containing a picture: photographic image, illustration etc.
Shades of grey ranging from black to white; in printing, greyscale uses only a black halftone plate.
Metal fingers which hold paper and carry it through printing impression to the delivery end of the press.
Expandable portion of a pocketed folder or envelope.
Picture with varying shades of tone created by varying size dots.
The white space above the first line on a page.
Spot or imperfection in printing.
General use paper ordered in large quantities and kept in stock by a printer - at Bishops our chosen brand is CORE - call us if you would like to see samples.
The main attribute of a colour which distinguishes it from other colours.
Every one of our presses is a Heidelberg - check out our plant list.
Portion of paper where ink appears.
To bring a picture or text file into and application ready for editing or design work.
Positioning pages in a press-ready form so that they will be in the correct numerical sequence after folding.
A device that plots high-resolution bitmaps which have been processed by a RIP. may include type, graphics and photographic images.
Postal information place on a printed product.
A smooth high white board used for business cards etc.
J - O
To shake a stack of papers, either on a machine or by hand, so that the edges line up. Also referred to as knocking-up.
Joint Photographic Electronic Group. A common standard for compressing image data.
job ticket / job sheet:
Alternate names for a works order.
Text which is flush to both the left and right margins.
The adjustment of spacing between certain letter pairs, A and V for example, to obtain a more pleasing appearance.
To die-cut but not all the way through the paper - commonly used for peel off stickers.
A shape or object printed by eliminating (knocking out) all background colours.
A tough brown paper used for packing.
A thin film coating which is applied to the paper or board to give a more glossy or matt appearance.
The file created by computer application software which contains all the imported elements and where all the design and layout of a document are performed.
A printing process based on the principle of the natural aversion of water to grease. The areas to be printed receive and transfer ink to the paper, the non-printing areas are treated with water to repel the ink.
A method of binding which allows the insertion and removal of pages for continuous updating.
Lines per inch - refers to the quality of a halftone screen. it is important to distinguish it from dpi which refers to the resolution of a device or image. commonly lpi is used at exactly half of the dpi of the device or image, i.e. 300dpi would equal 150lpi.
Copy which can be reproduced without using halftones.
One of the four process colours, also known as red.
The work associated with the set-up of printing equipment before running a job.
A metal sheet with a specially coated 'emulsion' on its surface which when exposed through a film mask or by CTP process will produce an image. when the plate is loaded onto printing press it then reproduces this image using inks onto the paper.
Instrument used for measuring the thickness of paper.
An undesirable grid-like pattern caused by the misalignment of dots on a printed document. this can occur when printing or sometimes when scanning from pre-printed material.
A non glossy finish.
A term used to describe all of the processes which prepare a job for the printing stage.
A term used when converting a font or graphic into a mathematical vector format. can also be called 'curves'.
A method in which the plate or cylinder transfers an ink image to an offset or transfer roller, which then transfers the image to stock.
Copies printed in excess of the quantity specified in the order.
P - Z
Premixed ink colours that are often specified for printing as a spot colour. can be matched using CMYK but will not be exactly the same colour as its Pantone colour counterpart.
Total number of pages, including blanks and printed pages without numbers.
Process of printing both sides of one sheet during a single pass through the press.
A bookbinding method in which pages are glued rather than sewn to the cover. Used primarily for paperback books.
A measurement for the size of type, distance between lines and thickness of rules. one point equals one seventy-second of an inch (0.3515mm).
Colour specified in percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. when superimposed during printing the four colour printing process, their separate plates can recreate millions of different colours.
process blue / process red / process yellow / process black:
Alternate names for the CMYK colours
A representation of the finished print produced for customer inspection for errors to be corrected prior to mass printing.
Colour proofs taken at each stage of printing showing each colour printed alone and then superimposed on the preceding colour.
The industry standard typesetting and page layout program.
Our offer to produce a job for a specific price calculated on from specifications provided by the customer. Call now on 023 9233 4900.
Right hand page of an open publication.
Crosses or other marks placed on artwork which ensure perfect alignment ('registration').
Type appearing white on a black or colour background, either a solid or a tint.
The number of dots per inch (dpi) in a computer-processed document. The level of detail retained by a printed document increases with higher resolution. ppi (pixels per inch) for an image.
RIP (raster image processor):
Computer used to create an electronic bitmap for actual output. this may be built into an imagesetter or may be separate.
Reference marks on the page used to align overlaying colours. Also known as trim marks or crop marks.
An acronym for red, green and blue. RGB is a colour model used for computer monitors and colour video output systems. colour separations for litho printing can not be made directly from RGB files and need to be converted to CMYK first.
The formation created by the dots that make up four-color images. The dots, in magenta (red), cyan (blue), yellow, and black, overlap each other in a cluster. because the dots are not perfectly round, and because they are turned at angles to each other, this cluster resembles the arrangement of petals in a rose.
A binding process in which a pamphlet or booklet is stapled through the middle fold of its sheets using metal wires.
The process of converting a hard copy into digital data ready for editing and design. The quality of the scan is dependent on the quality of the original, the scanning equipment and software as well as the experience of the operator!
A pressed mark in a sheet of paper or card to make folding cleaner and easier.
The paper used inside a booklet is the same as that used for the cover and is generally printed on the same press run.
A term used to describe the positioning of documents several times onto the same sheet of paper to avoid paper wastage. It's also known as imposition.
A term for the material any project is printed onto.
Spot colour is not made using the process colours. instead the colour is printed using an ink made exclusively. each spot colour therefore requires its own separate printing plate. spot colours do not apply to digital printing as the printing devices can only reproduce from the four process colours; cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
Two or more adjoining pages that would appear in view on sheet.
An area on the page which is completely covered by the ink.
Acronym for Tagged Image File Format. TIFF (.TIF) pictures can be black-and-white line art, greyscale or colour. this is a widely used format for image/photographic files but is unsuitable for text unless it is created at a very hi-resolution.
An area of tone made by a pattern of dots, which lightens the apparent colour of the ink with which it is printed.
A slight overlapping between two touching colours that prevents gaps from appearing along the edges of an object because of misalignment or movement on the printing press.
Amount of time needed to complete a project.
A liquid laminate that is bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.
The application of a varnish/sealant to a surface to offer protection against marking and improve its overall appearance.
Left handed page of an open publication.
To clean ink from rollers, fountains and other components of a press.
A method of wire binding books along the binding edge that will allow the book to lay flat.
work and tumble:
To print one side of a sheet of paper then turn the sheet over from gripper to back using the opposite gripper edge but the same side guide to print the second side.
work and turn:
To print one side of a sheet of paper then turn the sheet over from left to right and print the second side using the same gripper edge to print the second side.
The height of lower case letters without their ascenders or descenders, which is the height of the letter x.
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