Printwest Support - Glossary of Terms
A Glossary of terms to aid your understanding of printing.
In paper, the property that causes it to take up liquids or vapors in contact with it. In optics, the partial suppression of light through a transparent or translucent material.

Against the Grain
Folding or feeding paper at right angles to the grain direction of the paper.

Text, graphic and illustrations arranged individually or in any combination for subsequent printing.
Place where final trimming, stitching/stapling, order-form insertion, and any necessary off-press folding is done.

Originals or reproductions in single Colour, as distinguished from multiColour.

In offset printing, a rubber-surfaced fabric that is clamped around a cylinder, to which the image is transferred from the plate and from which it is transferred to the paper.

Printed image which runs off the edge of the page. (usually 3mm)

In binding, to impress or stamp a design upon the cover. The design can be blocked in coloured inks, gold leaf or metal foil.

Bond Paper
A grade of writing or printing paper where strength, durability and permanence are essential requirements; used for letterheads, business forms, etc.

Thickness of paper.
The thickness of paper, usually expressed in microns.

Artwork or copy which is ready for photography.

CD-ROM (Compact Disc Read Only Memory)
In digital pre-press, a laser enclosed optical storage disc that can store 650 Megabytes to over 1 Gigabyte of data on a disc about the size of a traditional 5-inch floppy disk.

One method of proofing a colour separation. Four separate, extremely thin plastic sheets (one of each Colour) are overlaid, producing a colour reproduction of the film separations. This method of proofing is rarely used now due to more cost effective digital colour proofing systems.

Clipping Path
A clipping path is a vector path which allows part of an image to show while hiding the rest of the image.

The primary printing colour components; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

Colour Separation
The process of separating colour originals into the primary printing colour components.

Continuous Tone
A photographic image that contains gradient tones from black to white.

The tonal gradation between the highlights, middle tones, and shadows in an original or reproduction.

Cross direction
In paper the direction across the grain. Paper is weaker and more sensitive to changes in relative humidity in the cross direction than the grain direction.

'Computer to plate' The process of producing printer's plates directly from the computer with no films involved.

In paper, the distortion of a sheet due to differences in structure or coatings from one side to the other, or to absorption of moisture on an offset press.

Cutter Guide
A cutter guide is a drawing that is used to make a unique cutting tool that is used for cutting out specific shapes, curves or folds. Mainly used for cutting the finished shape for folders.

Hue of a subtractive primary and a 4-Colour process ink. It reflects or transmits blue and green light and absorbs red light.

In photography, a photoelectric instrument which measures the density of photographic images, or of Colours. In printing, a reflection desitometer is used to measure and control the density of colour inks on the substrate.

The degree of darkness (light absorption or opacity) of a photographic image.

Die stamping
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 blink (that is, without colour): relief stamping.

Stamping out print with a custom made cutter to produce a folder or another individual shape.

Digital printing
Whereby information is transferred direct from the computer to the printing press, and direct to paper. The technique is quite similar to a standard printer, and the image can be altered before every new run.

Digital proof
A proof output direct from the computer without first going to film, therefore colours are not 100% accurate.

Direct Mail
Includes all direct response advertising communications through mail or other delivery services including: catalogs, cards, card decks, letters, brochures, pamphlets, flyers, video tapes, audio tapes, diskettes, and promotional items.

Direct Marketing
Any direct communication to a consumer or business recipient that is designed to generate a response in the form of an order (direct order), a request for further information (lead generation), and/or a visit to a store or other place of business for purchase of specific product(s) or service(s) (traffic generation).

Dot Gain
The enlargement of halftone dots on the press resulting in a loss of detail in the image.

Dots Per Inch (dpi)
A linear unit of measurement used to give the resolution of non-impact page printers. Dots per inch is the equivalent to 'spots per inch' (spi).

Holes made in pieces of print, normally for allowing print to be placed in a binder.

A sample of a proposed job made up with the actual material and cut to the correct size to show bulk, style of binding etc.

An image printed in two colours rather than one (greyscale). Normally, black is used together with a further colour. Duotone is used as an alternative to standard greyscale images, as the technique offers a softer, more detailed result.

Duplex Paper
Paper with a different colour or finish on each side.

Embossed Finish
Paper with a raised or depressed surface resembling wood, cloth, leather or other pattern.

Pressing a pattern into a paper using a raised or etched relief.
Final Proof
The last proof before sending material to the printer, showing all corrections.

This covers all operations after printing; also the hand operations of lettering and ornamenting the covers of a book.

Flush (left or right)
Flush left means the left ends of lines of type line up vertically; flush right means to line up the right ends of type.

A set of characters of one specific character set, typeface, size, and style.

Four colour Process Printing
Colour printing by means of the three subtractive primary colours (cyan, magenta, yellow) and black superimposed; the colours of the original having been separated by a photographic or electronic process.

Four-up, Three-up, Two-up
Number of similar items printed on one sheet of paper. Also called four-to-view, three-to-view, etc.
Grain of the Paper
Machine made paper is made up of many fibers, which in general, tend to line up in one direction due to the nature of the process. This produces a preferred direction or grain, along which it is easier to fold, bend, or tear the paper. Cut sheet laser printers generally use long grain paper in which the grain runs parallel to the long side of the paper.

The depiction of grey tones between black and white. A greyscale monitor is able to display grey pixels as well as black and white, but not colour pixels.

In sheetfed printing presses, metal fingers that clamp on paper and control its flow as it passes through.

The binding margin of a book or the spine of a folder which allows for paper to be stored inside.

The reproduction of continuous-tone-images, through a screening process, which converts the image into dots of various sizes and equal spacing between centers or dots of equal size with variable spacing between them.

Impact Printer
A printer that forms characters on a page by pressing raised type on the surface of the paper with a 'hammer', usually with an inked ribbon between the actual hammer and the paper; a dot matrix or daisy wheel printer, as opposed to a laser or ink jet printer.

The order in which the pages of a printed product are placed so that they appear in the right order after folding.

Computer-generated ink droplets that apply ink through a small orifice to form characters; often used for purposes of personalization.

Ink-jet printing
In digital printing, a plateless printing system that produces images directly on paper from digital data using streams of very fine drops of dyes which are controlled by digital signals to produce images on paper.

Leaflet or other printed material inserted loose in a publication or mailing package.

Mailing equipment that inserts letters into envelopes.

Leaflet or other printed material bound in with the pages of a publication rather than inserted loose.

Integrated Services Digital Networking. ISDN is used for high-speed communications with the Internet online services or between corporate networks.
Laid Paper
Paper with a pattern of parallel lines at equal distances, giving a ribbed effect.

The application of transparent plastic film, either with a high-gloss or matt finish, to the surface of printed matter to enhance its appearance and to increase it durability.

Oblong paper, having its long sides at head and foot.

Laser Printer
A printer that works on the same principle as a photocopy machine, but instead of reflective light uses a laser beam to create the latent image on the photo-electrostatic media.

The drawing or sketch of a proposed printed piece. In platemaking, a sheet indicating the settings for a step-and-repeat machine.

Lithographic printing
A process in which the printing and non-printing surface 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 treated to attract water and thus rejects inks from the ink roller, which touches the whole surface.

Logotype (or logo)
The name of a company or product in a special design used as a trademark in advertising.
Hue of a subtractive primary and a 4-Colour process ink. It reflects or transmits blue and red light and absorbs green light.

In printing, all work done to set up a press for printing.

Middle Tones
The tonal range between highlights and shadows of a photograph or reproduction.

In photography, film containing an image in which the values of the original are reversed so that the dark areas in the subject appear light on the film and vice versa.

Nonimpact Printer
A class of printers that form images without striking the page, such as thermal, ink jet, or electrostatic.
Offset printing
A lithographic method of printing in which the ink is first transferred from the image to an offset blanket and then to the stock.

On Demand
Usually refers to printing output only when it is needed instead of having it stored on the shelf.

The property of the paper that blocks the transmission of light and the amount of ink showing through the sheet.

Optical Character Reader (OCR)
Electronic scanning device that can read characters, either typed with a special OCR font or computer created, and convert these characters to magnetic form.
Pantone Matching System (PMS)
A colour guide to help visualize, communicate and control applied process Colours for type, logos, borders, backgrounds and other graphics treatments.

Program development facility or portable document format [Adobe].

Perfect Binding, glue setting
A threadless form of binding, whereby the printed product is bound using dispersion adhesive or thermoplastic.

Perfecting Press
A printing press that prints both sides of the paper in one pass through the press.

Running a dotted score into paper to allow the paper to be pulled apart.

A number used for expressing the acidity or alkalinity of solutions. A value of 7 is neutral in a scale ranging from 0 to 14. Solutions with values below 7 are acid, above 7 are alkaline.

Short for "picture element". A pixel is the smallest resolvable point of a raster image. It is the basic unit of digital imaging.

A metal or paper light-sensitive sheet. It holds the image to be printed. The image gets on the plate by a photographic process. During printing, the image on the plate picks up ink, which is then indirectly transferred to paper.

see Pantone Matching System

Typographic unit of measurement equal to 1/12 pica or 1/72 inch. The point size of a font is measured from the bottom of the descenders to the top of the ascenders. Points are always used to express type size and leading.

Oblong paper, having its short sides at head and foot.

In photography, film containing an image in which the dark and light values are the same as the original. The reverse of negative.

In digital prepress, the test used to evaluate or analyze every component needed to produce a printing job. Preflight confirms the type of disk being submitted, the colour gamut, colour breaks, and any art required (illustrations, transparencies, reflective photos, etc.) plus layout files, screen fonts, printer fonts, EPS or TIFF files, laser proofs, page sizes, print driver, crop marks, etc.

Those steps needed to transform the finished original copy into the printing plates or other forms needed for reproduction.

Preprinted Form
A cutsheet, fanfolded or continuous-roll form that has been offset printed with constant copy or design onto which variable data can be imaged.

Process Colours
Black and three primary Colours-magenta (red), cyan (blue), and yellow- into which full-Colour artwork is separated before printing.

Working copy used for review and approval.

Five hundred sheets of paper.

In printing, fitting of two or more printing images in exact alignment with each other.

In electronic imaging, the qualification of printout quality using the number of spots per inch.
Score or Crease
To partially cut/crease with a rule into heavy paper or board to break the grain and so enable easier folding.

Screen Angles
In colour reproduction, angles at which the halftone screens are placed with relation to one another, to avoid undesirable moiré patterns. A set of angles often used is: black 45 degrees, magenta 75 degrees, yellow 90 degrees, cyan 105 degrees.

Screen printing
Often called silk screen printing from the material formerly used for the screen. A stencil process with the printing and non-printing areas on one surface. The printing (image) area is open and produced by various forms of stencil. the substrate is placed under the screen and ink is passed across the top of the screen and forced through the open (printing) areas on to the substrate below.

Colour separations either prepared by an artist using separate overlays or computer generated artwork for each colour or achieved photographically by use of filters.

Sheet Fed
Relating to a printing technique whereby paper is fed into the printing press in single sheets, as opposed to paper on a roll.

Printing done on only one side of each sheet. Opposite of duplex.

Spot colour
Any lithographic printing which does not use the CMYK process set; Speciific coloured ink mixes are used from the Pantone Matching System selection available.

Paper or other material to be printed.
In printing inks, the property of cohesion between particles- the separation force of ink needed for proper transfer and trapping on multiColour presses. A tacky ink has high separation forces and can cause surface picking or splitting of weak papers.

Thermal Printer
A nonimpact printer that uses special heat sensitive paper. The paper passes over a matrix of heating elements to change the colour of paper to produce characters.

Various even tone areas (strengths) of a solid Colour.

The specification of acceptable variations in register, density, dot size, plate or paper thickness, concentration of chemicals, and other printing parameters.

In printing, the ability to print a wet ink film over previously printed ink. Dry trapping is printing wet ink over dry ink. Wet trapping is printing wet ink over previously wet ink. In prepress, refers to how much overprinting Colours overlap to eliminate white lines between Colours and printing.

A printing type of a specific design.

Assembly of reading matter by the use of handpicked metal type, and/or by casting or phototypesetting, more usually these days by keyboarding!
UV inks
In printing, solventless inks that are cured by UV radiation. They are used extensively in screen printing, narrow web letterpress and flexographic printing.
To apply oil, synthetic, spirit, cellulose or water varnish to printed matter by hand or machine to enhance its appearance or to increase its durability.

In printing links, a broad term encompassing the properties of tack and flow.
Web Press
A press which prints on roll or web-fed paper.
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