Glossary of printing terms
As you are probably aware, buying print can be a complicated business.
There are many aspects to consider and a lot of obscure sounding jargon. In this section of the website, we have listed a few topics which will help make your print buying easier: We think we have covered everything, but just in case you can visit www.wikipedia.org
This section details the A to Z of print jargon.
Most common paper size used for general printing, stationery and publications.
Finished layout of typesetting, drawings and photographs, made up in a form which is ready for the printer to print from.
Abbreviation for artwork
Customers corrections/changes made at the proofing stage.
Less common paper sizes which are used mainly for bigger jobs. eg Posters, wall charts etc
To print on the reverse side of a printed sheet.
A grid of pixels or printed dots generated by computer to represent type and images.
‘Bitmapping’ is a term often used to describe the effect where edges of a picture take on a blocky/jagged shape due to errors in image processing
Printing where the colour continues right up to the edge of the paper.
What happens when you have a cut!
In offset litho printing, a rubber surfaced fabric that is clamped around a cylinder on a litho press, to which the image is transferred from the plate and from which it is transferred to the paper.
Something to keep you nice and warm at night!
Process of raising letters or designs on card or tough paper onto which no printed image has been added.
To impress or stamp a design upon a cover. The design can be blocked in colour inks, gold leaf or metal foil.
While there is no internationally agreed rule, paper exceeding 170gsm is usually referred to as board.
Thickness of paper
paper sizes used for envelopes, designed to take A size paper.
A hardback book made with a stiff outer covers. Case bound books are usually covered with cloth, vinyl or leather.
Camera ready artwork:
Finished artwork that is ready, without further preparation, to be artwork photographed.
Letters which stand for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (K).
K is used for black to eliminate confusion with blue. Full colour printed images are made up of these component colours.
Part of a litho printing press which applies coatings to printed literature.
A special water based coating which is applied to printed matter to protect literature from ink smudging or finger marking or to enhance appearance. The main types are sealer, gloss, matt and silk. Coatings are commonly used on matt or silk coated paper as these types are more prone to smudging than gloss coated paper. The main difference between a varnish and a coating is that coatings are faster drying and therefore jobs can be turned around quicker. They tend to be more scuff resistant than varnishes and there is also less risk of yellowing paper. However, oil based varnishes are better if specific areas of a document need to be coated. (spot varnish)
Arranging of printed sheets into the desired sequence.
Colour mark up:
Specifications on a piece of artwork to a printer, showing the required up colours for the item to be printed.
Process by which an image is separated into the four colours for print production.
Computer to plate:
The process of producing printer’s plates directly from the computer (CTP) with no films involved
When the middle pages of a folded section extend slightly beyond the outside pages.
A bloke who gets on your nerves!
Printed lines on the edge of paper indicating where the paper should be cut to produce the correct page size.
Image pressed into paper so it lies below the surface.
Die – cut:
A shaped cut out leaflet or brochure.
Printing straight from electronic artwork (no plates used as with litho print). Typically printed out of four colour process. It’s ideal for short runs up to about the 1,000 mark
Proofing direct from digital files instead of using film.
The creation of artwork and print from your computer using a PC or publishing MAC.
A standard envelope size measuring 110mm x 220mm. They take A4 sheets, folded into three.
Dots per inch which indicate the resolution of images. The more dots per inch, the higher the resolution and the better quality the image.
Printing on both sides of a sheet of paper. Term applies to digital printing presses.
An image printed in two colours rather than one.
Drilling of holes in literature which will allow insertion over rings in a binder
A sample of a proposed job made up with the actual materials and cut to size to show bulk etc
Also found in shop windows and an idiotic person!
Where the printed matter is sealed in a plastic coating providing a rigid, watertight covering.
We minimise harm to the environment by recycling plates, chemicals and paper. Inks are vegetable/mineral based and paper used in our processes is from sustained forests and chlorine free. We are working toward Green Dragon, FSC and ISO 14001 Accreditation
The process of raising letters or designs on card or tough paper already printed.
Final fold after a job has been stitched.
Encapsulated Postscript File. This is a file format which can be read across different programs on MAC or PC computers.
All operations after printing.
This is specific software (Marksware Flightcheck) which test files to make sure fonts, images, colours and page size are correct.
It is nothing to do with holiday arrangements!
Even with (often used in reference to margins).
Someone with a lot of money!
A set of letters, numbers and symbols that share a unified design.
The design is called a typeface.
Four colour process:
Full colour printing using four constituent colours:
Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Black.
Four-up, three-up, two-up:
No of similar items printed on one sheet of paper.
Four back nothing:
Printed four colours on one side only. (4/0)
Four back one:
Printed four colours on one side and one colour on the reverse. (4/1)
Four back two:
Printed four colours on one side and two colours on the reverse. (4/2)
Four back four:
Printed 4 colours on both sides. (4/4)
Free expert advice:
Having information overload? Members of the Harcourt sales team are happy to provide support and advice on any technical issues. Give us a ring on 01792 588 292
Grammes per square metre. Standard measure of paper weight.
A coating applied to printed matter which is quick drying and protects literature from ink smudging and finger marking and gives a gloss finish. Please refer to coating to see the difference between varnishes and coatings.
Grain of the paper:
Machine made paper is made up of many fibres, 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 paper.
A varnish applied to printed matter to protect against smudging and finger marking and gives a gloss finish. Please refer to coating to see the difference between varnishes and coatings.
A device on a printing machine for holding the sheet during the printing or finishing process.
The margin of paper along the gripper edge of the sheet which is held by the gripper and cannot be printed on.
The inside margins or blank space between 2 facing pages is the gutter. The gutter space is that extra space allowance use to accommodate the binding in books and magazines.
As Tina Turner sang “Simply the Best”
Spots or imperfections in printed items due to dirt on press, dried ink, paper particles etc
Paper bought in bulk by a printer for general use.
These are the guys when it comes to manufacturing printing presses. Known in the industry to be the best – Harcourt Litho only use Heidelberg kit
The inked areas on a printing plate.
Plans for the arrangement of the pages of a job so that they will follow in the correct sequence when folded.
Leaflet or other printed material inserted loose in a publication or mailing package.
International paper sizes:
The standard range of metric paper sizes as per the definition of the paper International Standards Organisation (ISO) and British Standards Institute.
The use of infra-red radiation to quickly dry a water based emulsion coating on a sheet of paper.
Integrated Services Digital Networking. A method of sending artwork. It is a telephone network service which carries data and voice transmissions by digital means. Harcourt Colourprint no longer uses this facility but artwork can be uploaded here
Job Definition Format. This is a type of computer language which automates workflows from desk top to final print production. It is the latest buzz word in printing.
Joint Photographic Experts Group. A type of file format for image files.
A shaped cut out from two layered stock – mostly used for peel off stickers.
A thin plastic film used on the covers of printed literature to give protection. This can be gloss or matt.
Lithographic (litho) printing:
See offset litho.
The work associated with the set-up of printing equipment before running a job.
A coating applied to printed matter which is quick drying and protects literature from ink smudging and finger marking and gives a matt finish. Please refer to coating to see the key differences between varnishes and coatings.
A varnish applied to printed literature to protect against smudging and finger marking and gives a matt finish. Please refer to coating to see the key differences between varnishes and coatings.
The process of mechanically folding printed paper.
A general varnish applied to printed literature to protect or seal against smudging or finger marking.
Instrument for measuring thickness of paper.
All the items needed to put together and print the job.eg Artwork, photography, typesetting etc
A printing process by which the inked image to be printed is transferred (offset) first to a rubber layer before coming into contact with the paper which takes up the inked areas. Harcourt Litho specialises in this type of printing – give us a call and find out how we can help you on 01792 588 292
Printing literature when it is needed instead of having it stored on the shelf. Digital printing facilitates the ‘on demand’ concept.
The extra printed products delivered to a customer over and above the net amount ordered.
International system of designating colours for printing reference
Pantone Matching System. See Pantone Reference definition.
Portable Document Format. A PDF is a special file type that combines, images, drawings, layouts and text into one file for easy delivery to or from the printer. This file is created in software called Adobe Distiller and opened in Acrobat Reader. PDF’s provide a very useful tool for proofing purposes as what you see is what you get.
Pages of a book which are glued together to give a square spine.
A printing press which prints on both sides of a sheet of paper in one operation.
Running a dotted score into paper to allow the paper to be pulled apart.
A general term for software which tests files to make sure that fonts, image, colours and page size are correct.
Where data elements are unique to an individual print piece. Concept facilitated by digital printing.
A metal plate which has the inked images involved in the offset plate lithography printing process. It is important to realise that each colour in a printing job requires a separate plate. In order to keep costs down, it is advisable not to have too many special colours.
The colours which make up full colour printing. Cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
A printed sample of work to be checked for errors in text, positioning or quality of colour reproduction.
Polyurethane reactive extremely strong method of spine glue binding.
500 sheets of paper
Accurate positioning of images on a sheet relative to one another.
Refers to the degree of detail of an image. It is usually measured in dots per inch (dpi) or lines per inch (lpi). A high resolution gives a high quality image and vice versa.
Also made at New Year and broken about half way through January!
Type appearing white on a black or colour background which is either a solid or a tint.
3 colour split (Red, Green, Blue)
Raster Image Processor. A processor which converts files into a format ready for printing.
When the pages of a printed document eg leaflet, are bound together using metal staples.
The equipment which converts colour transparencies or hard copy colour artwork into images on a Mac or PC.
The name given to colour transparencies or colour artwork which have been converted to images on an MAC or PC.
This is an alternative name for a coater.
A coating applied to printed matter which is quick drying and protects literature from ink smudging and finger marking and gives a neutral finish. Please refer to coating to see the difference between varnishes and coatings.
A varnish applied to printed matter to protect against finger marking and gives a neutral finish. Please refer to coating to see the difference between varnishes and coatings.
The paper used inside a booklet is the same as that used for the cover.
During the printing process, this is the unintentional transfer of wet ink to another sheet.
Sheet fed press:
Printing presses which are fed by separate sheets of paper. As opposed to paper on a roll. They are suitable for all types of commercial printing, particularly high quality work.
The degree to which printing is visible through paper.
Method of packing printed products etc, by surrounding them by plastic, then shrinking by heat.
A coating applied to printed matter which is quick drying and protects literature from ink smudging and finger marking and gives a silk finish. Please refer to coating to see the difference between varnishes and coatings.
A varnish applied to printed literature to protect against finger marking and smudging and gives a silk finish. Please refer to coating to see the difference between varnishes and coatings.
Printing on one side of a sheet of paper. Term usually applied to digital printing presses.
An even colour which is not shaded. Areas on a page with solid colours are known as solids.
A colour which cannot be made up of the four component colours – CMYK. They are listed in a pantone colour swatch book. For example, if a corporate logo contains a special blue & is included in a brochure with photographs and text; this is termed a five colour job. (CMYK (pictures+text) + special blue = 5 colours)
Two or more adjoining pages that would appear in view on a sheet.
Same as special colour.
Paper or card to be printed on
Percentage shade of a colour
Tagged Image File Format. A type of file which stores an image.
Pages in a book excluding covers.
When preparing digital artwork – it is the process of overlapping adjacent colours to eliminate the white lines that could appear between them during the print process.
The assembly of text and pictures on a MAC or PC by keyboard or other digital means.
Short for ‘typographical error’ – a mistake in the copy.
A special varnish which has undergone an accelerated varnish drying process using ultra violet is applied to printed matter to enhance its appearance. A gloss UV Varnish is commonly used and this gives a very shiny effect.
Special varnishes applied to printed matter to protect literature from ink smudging or finger marking or to enhance appearance. There are five main types – machine, gloss, matt and silk and UV. Varnishes are commonly used on matt or silk coated paper as these types are more prone to smudging than gloss coated paper. Varnish applied to a specific area of a document is known as Spot varnish and when it is applied to the whole document it is termed as an Overall varnish (or less commonly as a Flood varnish).
This is the technique used in digital printing systems to create a number of different versions of a basic document, such as different language versions or tailored information for different readers.
A preliminary layout, indicating the general design, and the position of the various elements.
Web fed press:
Presses which are fed by paper from a reel as distinct from separate sheets. They are normally used for low quality high run work.