Useful Terminology

All original type, photographs, illustrations, and digital files intended for publication.

Pictures or text that extends to the edge of the page without leaving a margin. To get a "bleed," you have to print the image on a larger paper and then trim the paper down to size.

A proof where all colors, perforations and scorings show as blue images on white paper. Used to evaluate image and page layout inexpensively.

A writing or printing paper that weighs 50 grams or more and is treated with a glue-like substance to make it stiffer and shinier.

Refers to the basic printing process colors - cyan, magenta, yellow, black - with K standing for black.

Coated paper
A paper treated with clay to give it a smooth and 'coated' look and feel for quality printing. Finishes can be gloss, matte and silk, amongst others (Designated by C1S for coated one side or C2S for coated two sides).

The written text to be printed.

Cover stock
A term used by paper manufacturers for a heavy paper that is suitable for catalogs and other folders. Cover stock can come in "coated" which has a smooth surface, or "uncoated" in its original rough surface.

Crop marks
Crop marks are printed cutting lines on a printed sheet of artwork or completed print job. They indicate where the publication should be trimmed.

The process of taking out parts or edges of an image so you can enlarge or better frame the rest of the image for printing.

Debossing involves pressing an image into the sheet of paper to create an impression (also known as tooling).

Die cut
Die cutting is the process whereby shapes are cut out of paper, or other substrates. Designers will generally have to specify a cutting grid, in their page layout or vector drawing program, which the printer will use as a guide for making the die cut.

Digital Printing
A newer kind of printing process particularly good for short-run jobs that need fast turnaround times. Digital printing does not use film but digital imaging technology instead.

Dots per inch (dpi)
The measurement of resolution for page printers, photo type setting machines and graphics screens.

Using a special printing process to make a physical impression into thick, cover stock over printed type or a design. Blind embossing is pressing the design in an unprinted surface.

Emulsion is light sensitive chemicals used on films and printing plates.

A type of printing process that produces the sharpest images of all. The image feels indented if you run your fingers over the back of the sheet.

The final steps of the printing process after the actual printing is complete. This can include folding, collating, hole punching, scoring, and binding.

Foil blocking
Foil stamping, or foil blocking, is a printing process whereby metallic foil is applied to the printing substrate.

Four-color process
Printing in full color using four color separation negatives in the basic printing colors of yellow, magenta, cyan and black. Separating and screening the primary colors red, yellow, blue and black from full-color originals, and printing magenta (for red), cyan (for blue), yellow and black to create the illusion of full-color.

When a printer runs a variety of different jobs together for more efficient production.

The inside margins or blank space between two facing pages of a magazine or book is called the gutter.

The gutter space is allowed due to the space lost during the binding process, especially during perfect binding. In saddled-stitched publications the gutter is adjusted to allow for a process called 'creep', in which the outer pages of a section appear to bunch up and the inner pages protrude more.

Half tone
There are two common definitions for the term halftone, as far as prepress and printing is concerned;

1. Traditionally, a halftone screen is a piece of film with a grid of lines (line screen). It is used to break down continuous tone images, such as photographs, into half-tone images for printing. The halftone screen breaks down the image into a symmetrically aligned series of dots - known as halftone dots. Nowadays, this process is generally done digitally, via an image setter.

2. A continuous tone image that has been commercially printed, using the halftone process, is also referred to as a halftone image.

The total number of printed pages produced by the printer.

A printed piece designed to be placed into an already printed magazine or newspaper.

A type of compression format for photographs that use full color, although some detail can be lost in the process. (short for Joint Photographic Experts Group).

The 'K' out of CMYK printing inks refers to the black printing ink. 'K' stands for 'Key' color.

Large Format Printing 
A printer that prints on large paper, which can range from two to more than 15 feet in width. Such printers typically use ink jet technology to print on a variety of output, including premium glossy-coated paper for signs and posters.

Shows how text and illustrations will be printed in relation to each other on the page.

A method of printing that utilizes oil and water to enable the ink to produce a printed image. Image areas are covered with oily ink and non-image areas use water to repel the ink.

In combination with the offset printing technique (offset-litho) this is by far the most popular method of printing.

A specially designed company name that's considered part of a corporate image.

The combination of activities that comprise the preparation of a printing press to print a job.

One of the reasons that a conventional printing job can be so expensive to keep repeating is that the make-ready process is very time consuming and, therefore expensive. Obviously the shorter the print run, the larger the percentage of the price is attributable to the make-ready process.

The non-printing areas of the page.

Matte finish
A dull surface that you are able to write on if necessary.

Offset Lithography
A popular printing method offered by almost every printer. Used to print any variety of different textured materials, this process uses ink economically and requires little time to set up the press.

Pantone Matching System (PMS)
A color matching system used to print spot colors (colors that can be reproduced with only their own ink) but not for process colors, which need a combination of the four inks, CMYK. Each PMS color has its own name or number that helps you make sure that your colors are the same each time you print, even if your monitor displays a different color or if you change printing services.

Perfect Binding
Perfect binding is the process of binding sheets of a document by roughing the edges at the spine and bonding them with glue to an external cover.

Paperback books and thick documents, such as brochures and larger news-stand magazines are generally perfect bound; thinner publications, such as trade magazines and journals, are generally saddle stitched.

Creating a line of punched dots on a printed sheet so that a part of a sheet can be detached by a user at a later date.

The basic square unit of screen images. Screen images usually have 72 pixels per inch.

Printing plates are molds or cylinders used by the printing press to imprint materials with ink. They can be made in a variety of substances, ranging from metal to rubber or paper.

A type of high quality language developed by Adobe Systems to describe pages independent of their resolution. This is the current standard in the industry; it is widely supported by both hardware and software vendors.

Primary colors
Cyan (blue), magenta (red) and yellow. These three colors when mixed together with black will produce a reasonable reproduction of all other colors.

Artwork or type that is fully ready to be printed

A copy of the printed piece to check for corrections.

Measured in dots per inch (dpi), resolution measures the quality of output in typesetting. The greater the number of dots per inch, the smoother and less jagged the appearance of the typeface or the image.

Saddle stitching
A printed document is saddle stitched by stapling its sheets at the fold of the spine, over a mechanical 'saddle'. Saddled stitching is used for thin magazines, brochures and journals.

Thicker documents often have to be perfect bound.

The ability to reduce or enlarge an image.

This process involves partially cutting through paper so it will fold neat and crisp.

Screen Printing
A printing method often used for non-flat goods. This method is best equipped to print on items such as mugs and clothing (also known as silk screening, this process forces ink through a screen, like a stencil pattern).

Spot color
A spot color is an 'extra', or 'special' color that is used in addition to the CMYK four color process. The extra ink is added to its own roller on the printing press, so as to more accurately print certain colors that are hard to reproduce with CMYK inks. There are a number of companies that manufacture and specify spot colors, most common of these is the Pantone color matching system.

Any material or surface that is to be printed on. For example, paper is a printing substrate. Other printing substrates can include plastics, card and even metals.

Tagged Image File Format (TIFF)
A common format for interchanging digital information, generally associated with grayscale or bitmap data.

Uncoated paper
Paper that has not been coated with a shiny finish.

UV coating
A UV varnish is a shiny coating that is applied to the printed sheet and fixed with an ultraviolet light. It can be used to cover the complete sheet of paper, or just applied to areas of the printed sheet, such as photographs.

The degree of boldness or thickness of a letter, font or paper. For paper, it's usually given in terms of grams per square meter.