Glossary of terms
  • Aqueous Coating

    A clear, fast-drying water-based coating that is used to protect printed pieces. It provides a high-gloss or matte surface that deters dirt and fingerprints.

  • Binding

    The process of fastening loose sheets of paper together. Common bindings include spiral, saddle, perfect, staple, screw-post, and edge.

  • Bleed

    An image or printed color that runs off the edge of the paper. The bleed is trimmed from the page after the printing is completed; this results in a finished piece at final size with no margin.

  • Camera Ready

    The stage in printing when the document is ready to be photographed to make plates for the press. All elements of the document are in their final position and the document has received its final proofing.

  • CMYK

    When printing four color process work, printers use CMYK, representing the colors cyan (light blue), magenta (pinkish purple), yellow, and black inks. These are called subtractive colors, as combining them all gives the color black. Subtracting one or more of these colors will yield any other color. When combined in various percentages these four inks will create an entire spectrum of colors, including those used in color photographs.

  • Coated Paper

    Paper with a layer of coating applied to one or both sides, such as gloss, dull, and matte finish. Due to decreased dot gain, coated papers provide sharper images and are used frequently in four color process work as well as with black and white halftones.

  • Color Matching

    A color sample book is used to match colors with standard inks used by most printers. The printer will then prepare separate printing plates for each color. The colors are chosen from those provided by a color matching system, such as Pantone.

  • Color Separation

    The separation of full-color artwork or transparencies into the four primary printing ink colors (CMYK).

  • Cropping

    To reduce in size and remove unwanted elements or imagery.

  • Die-Cutting

    The use of a sharp, formed piece of metal to cut out specific shapes in a piece of paper.

  • Digital Die-Cutting and Routing

    New cutting technology that permits the linking of digital die-lines or cut files to programmable cutters. Benefits include faster turnaround times, lowered production costs, and the ability to personalize documents. This is frequently used for on-demand or short-run digital printing and is used in large format and small format color printing.

  • Digital Printing

    A method of printing that uses dots of cyan, light cyan, magenta, light magenta, yellow and black to recreate the continuous tones and variety of colors in a color image.

  • Dots Per Inch (DPI)

    A measure of computer screen and printer resolution that is referred to as the number of dots that a device can print or display per inch. The more dots per inch, the sharper the image.

  • Emboss

    The creation of a raised (embossed) image by pressing a shape into a sheet of paper with a metal or plastic die.

  • Engraved Printing

    A printing process using recessed plates. Ink sits in the recessed wells of the plate; when pressure is applied, raised letters and images appear on the front of the page.

  • Encapsulated PostScript (EPS)

    A computer graphics file format developed by Adobe Systems that usually contains object-oriented files.

  • Foil Stamping

    The application of foil to paper. This may be combined with embossing for added interest (foil embossing).

  • Four Color Process (Traditional offset)

    A method of printing that uses dots of cyan, magenta, yellow and black to recreate the continuous tones and variety of colors in a color image.

  • GIF

    A graphic file format commonly used by computer bulletin boards. This is generally not appropriate for printing.

  • JPEG

    A computer graphics file format that is not typically used in printing due to lower resolution.

  • Loupe

    A magnifying lens used by printers to examine the details of printed materials. Use of a loupe permits an individual to see the individual color halftone dots used in process color printing.

  • Offset Printing

    An indirect printing process whereby ink is transferred to paper by a blanket that carries an impression from the printing plate, rather than directly from the plate itself. This is a currently a common method of commercial printing.

  • Pantone Matching System (PMS)

    A color matching system created by Pantone.

  • Pre-Press

    The processes performed on a printing order prior to sending to the press to be printed. Examples are typesetting, layout, scanning, etc.

  • Printing Plate

    A thin object (plate) made of either metal or paper which is light-sensitive and causes an image to be transferred to paper while on a printing press. The image is burned onto the plate by the use of high intensity light. The surface of the plate is treated or configured so that only the printing image is receptive to the ink that transfers to the printed object.

  • Proof

    A method of checking for errors prior to printing an order; normally the last pre-press operation. A press proof is used by the printing press operator to ensure the correctness of the finished product during the production of the order.

  • Process Color

    One of the four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) that is used in producing full-color images, such as color photographs.

  • Registration

    Putting two or more images together so that they are exactly aligned, creating a final image that is well-defined.

  • Resolution

    The number of picture elements (pixels) per unit of linear measurement (normally an inch) on a computer monitor, or the number of dots per inch (DPI) in printed form.

  • RGB

    RGB (red, green, and blue) are called additive colors because when combined together, they may create all colors. Typically, RGB is used for slide presentations, computer software and games, and anything that is viewed on a video monitor.

  • Saddle Stitch

    The binding of sheets of paper to form a book by using staples or stitching through the spine.

  • Score

    To press a channel into paper to facilitate folding.

  • Spot Color

    A single color ink or varnish applied to printed material; this is primarily used when process colors are not appropriate. Effective use of spot color can add heightened interest to printed materials without incurring the cost of process colors.

  • Thermography

    A finishing technique applied that raises the ink and gives the effect of engraved printing.

  • TIFF

    A graphics file that is commonly used in printing photographs and illustrations which need high resolution.

  • UV Coating

    Liquid laminate bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

  • Varnish

    A coating added on top of paper to serve as protection. Varnishes are very effective in adding emphasis and eye-appeal to printed material.