glossary of terms.


View our print glossary of terms – great for quick-hit information or light bedtime reading material.

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Accordion Fold: Folding paper by bending each fold in the opposite direction of the previous fold creating a pleated or accordion effect.

Additive Color Mixing: Digital color system where red, green and blue light are mixed to form other colors. Used with TVs, computer screens, etc.

Acid-free Paper: A paper without acidity or acid producing chemicals. This paper degrades less over time than acidic papers.

Against the Grain: AKA Cross grain, running a sheet of paper through a printing press at right angles to the grain direction of the paper, as opposed to with the grain.

Aqueous Coating: Clear coating used to protect printed pieces. Provides a high-gloss surface that hides dirt and fingerprints and improves the durability of print materials.

Artwork: The original materials needed to produce a print piece, such as photos, fonts, and graphic images. When sending artwork to press, artwork should be packaged and zipped.

Bitmap: A digital image that uses a grid of picture elements (pixels). Every pixel uses a number of bits to determine its color.

Binding: The method of attaching pages together. Achieved through stitching or perfect binding.

Blanket: The rubberized surface material secured onto a cylinder that transfers the ink from the plate onto the paper.

Bleed: Where the artwork extends past the final paper trim area so there are no white edges of paper. A 1/8″ bleed or more is necessary to achieve this look.

Bond: A grade of paper that is somewhat rigid.

Bounce: Inconsistent positioning of the printed image on the sheets of paper as they travel through the printing press.

C1S: Short for Coated One Side paper stock. A cover stock with a glossy finish on one side and uncoated on the other. Great for greeting cards.

C2S: Short for Coated Two Sides paper stock. A cover stock with a glossy finish on both sides.

C-fold: A fold where a three-panel piece has both side sections folded inward, one on top of the other. Also known as letter-fold or tri-fold.

Calendering: A series of hard pressure rollers used to form or smooth a sheet of material such as paper.

Choke: A type of trap in which the thickness of an object is reduced. Also see trapping.

Center Spread: The two pages that face each other in the center of a book or publication.

Clipping Path: Computer-generated outlining of a graphic that only shows the area that is outlined, not the graphic itself. This allows the image to be placed on any color background with the background trapping to the image.

CMYK:  CMYK stands for the 4 ink colors – cyan, magenta, yellow, and black – that are layered to produce a final printed image of pigments. Used in both digital and offset printing.

Coated Paper: AKA coated stock, this is any paper that has a glossy surface for a sharp-looking finish because it keeps the ink from soaking in too much. Not recommended for paper that is intended to be written on.

Collate: Gathering sheets or printed sections together in their correct order.

Color Separation: The process of separating CMYK color components for printing.

Color Sequence: The order in which process inks are printed on a press. AKA color rotation or laydown sequence.

Cracking: Delamination of the paper, usually where it has been folded.

Creative Cloud: Adobe’s latest software. This hosts programs like Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop.

Crop Marks: Small printed lines around the edges of a printed piece used as a guide to indicate where the cuts are to be made.

CTP: Short for Computer to Plate, this modern printing process allows artwork to be converted in the computer – thus bypassing the film stage – directly to a printing press plate. This process saves time, produces a cleaner image, and eliminate expensive film charges.

Cyan: Stands for “C” in a CMYK color model. See also CMYK.

Density: The degree of tone, weight of darkness or color within a photo or reproduction measured by a densitometer.

Densitometer: An instrument used for measuring densities of a substrate (like paper).

Die: The pattern guide used to cut paper into it’s desired shape or design.

Die Cutting: The process of cutting paper in a shape or design of the desired pattern.

Digital Proof: Color separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to color photographic paper creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed with ink. Also can be referred to as an electronic proof.

Dot: The smallest individual element of a halftone.

Dot Gain: An increase in the size of halftone dots.

DPI: Short for Dots Per Inch, this screen measurement counts the number of dots the device can produce per linear inch. The higher the DPI, the higher the resolution.

Dull Finish: A semi-gloss paper finish that’s in between gloss and matte.

Dummy: The preliminary assembly of copy and art elements intended to be reproduced into a finished product.

Duplex: Printing two sides of a sheet simultaneously.

Duotone: A two-color halftone reproduction of art work generated from a one color photo.

Electronic Proof: Color separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to color photographic paper creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed with ink. Also can be referred to as an digital proof.

Embedding: A prepress term for including data such as fonts or graphics in a file.

Enamel: Glossy coating on paper.

EPS: Short for Encapsulated Post Script, this is a standard file format used to transfer postscript formatting information between applications. An ideal file format to send vector graphics through, such as logos.

Estimate: A form and process used to calculate the project for the print buyer.

Facing Pages: The two adjacent pages that appear as a spread when a publication is opened. The page on the right side is called the recto and the left page is reffered to as the verso.

Finish: The surface quality of a paper.

Finishing: A collective term for all activities performed on printed material after printing, such as binding, fastening, die-cutting and laminating.

Flats: Sheets of printed paper in unfinished form (AKA before any trimming or folding).

Flooding: Excessive ink from the printing plate or blanket.

FTP Site: Short for File Transfer Protocol, this is a method of sending files via computer modem using individualized accounts.

FPO: AKA For Placement/Position Only. This is a mockup using stock images and the Lorem Ipsum text used to indicate placement and size in a design, but isn’t intended for final production.

Gate Fold: A three or four-panel fold where the two outside panels fold inward to meet the center.

Ghosting: A condition that can occur during the printing process when vapors from drying ink can contact with the reverse side of the same sheet, creating unintended faint images.

GIF: Short for Graphics Interchange Format, this is a popular file format using compressed rater graphics data.

Gradiation: The compression of tone between the highlight and shadow of a reproduction.

Grain: The direction that paper fibers laying together on a sheet of paper. Printing is usually done so that if folding is required, the fold is done parallel to the grain.

Grayscale: A graphic representation using standard gray tones ranging from white to black.

GSM: Grams per square meter.

Gutter: In design, this is the space between columns of text. In bindery, this is the space between pages of a book that allows for folding and binding. The type of binding will determine the gutter space.

Halftone: Reproduction of art made up of multiple, small dots of various sizes and number of dots per in (see DPI) relating to the original. Newspapers are a good example of halftones.

Hard Proof: A color proof made on a substrate directly from the stored pixel data.

Hexadecimal Codes: A system of numbering used widely by computer system designers based on 16 digits including numbers 0-9 and letters A-F. For example, Delzer’s Orange hexadecimal is #f7941d and grey is #414042.

Hickey: The effect that occurs when a spec of dust or debris (frequently dried ink) adheres to the printing plate and creates a spot or imperfection in the printing.

High-resolution File: Necessary to produce an accurately printed reproduction. Also called a high res file.

Hue: The attribute of color that designates its dominant wave-length and distinguishes it from other colors. For example, green and red are different hues. But a dark green and bright green may have different brightness/lightness, they may still have the same hue.

Image Area: The portion of a printing plate that carries inks to be printed on paper.

In-line Finishing: The ability for a printing press to fold, saddle-stitch, bind, punch, etc. simultaneously as it prints.

Indicia: An image and/or text pre-printed on mailing envelopes in place of a stamp. There are specific indicias necessary for each mailing classification.

Insert: A piece of printed material that is inserted into another piece of printed material, such as a folder or magazine.

Jacket: The paper cover of a hardbound book.

Jog: To vibrate a stack of finished pages so that they are tightly aligned for final trimming or binding.

JPEG: Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group. This file format uses a compression algorithm best suited for photos.

Justification: Adjusting the spacing or hyphenation of words and characters to fill a given line of text from end to end.

Key: Stands for black, or “K”, in a CMYK color model. See also CMYK.

Kerning: The reduction or addition of space between pairs of letters in typesetting, so they print aesthetically.

Kiss Cutting: A light surface cutting technique used to allow stickers to peel off without cutting the back of the material.

Layout: A rendition that shows the placement of all elements, images, thumbnails and more representing a final printed piece.

Leader: The line of dots between items in separate columns that lead you visually across the page

Leading: The space between lines of type measured from baseline to baseline.

Letterspacing: The addition of space between typeset letters.

Line Screen: The measurement of ink dots in terms of lines per inch. The higher the number, the more detail an image can have but the more difficult it is to print.

Lithography: The process of printing that utilizes flat or curved inked surfaces to create the printed images. Where the “Lithograph” in “Delzer Lithograph Company” comes from.

Magenta: Stands for “M” in a CMYK color model. See also CMYK.

Make Ready Time: The time it takes to bind an unfinished print piece.

Margin: The blank space bordering the printed area on a page.

Matte Finish: A coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring. See also calendaring.

Moiré: The occurrence of an undesirable dot pattern produced by the incorrect angles of overprinting halftone screens.

Native File: The file that was originally used to create a document.

Offset: The most commonly used printing method, where the printed material does not receive ink directly from a printing plate but from an intermediary blanket that receives the ink from the plate and then transfers it to the paper.

Opacity: Quality of papers that defines its opaqueness or ability to prevent two-sided printing from showing through.

Overlay Proof: A process of proof-making whereby the color separations are individually exposed to light sensitive film. This film is then set in registration with a piece of white paper in the background.

Packaged File: In relation to design, a file should be packaged and zipped prior to sending to prepress.

Page: A single side of a sheet. Two pages make up one sheet.

Pantone: Referring to a specific color set by the Pantone Matching System created without using any of the four CMYK color process color screens. Also referred to as spot colors.

Paperweight: Refers to the thickness and sturdiness of the paper, not the actual weight of the sheet.

PDF: Short for Portable Document Format, this is a digital file format that was designed to make it possible for viewers to open and view on many computer platforms without cross-platform problems. In prepress, PDFs are commonly used to exchange data. It is also used in softproofing electronically or digitally.

Perf: Short for Perforation or Perforating. This is a process that places tiny holes on paper to make it easier to tear.

Perf Marks: Markings – usually dotted lines – at edges showing where perforations should occur.

Perfect Binding: A binding method that glues paper into the spine.

Perfecting: A printing press that prints on both sides of a sheet in a single pass through the press.

Pica: A unit of measurement equalling 12 points.

Pigment: The particles that give ink its specific color by absorbing and reflecting certain light frequencies.

Pixel: Short for Picture Element, these are tiny dots of light that make up images on a computer monitor.

Pixelation: A special image effect created by averaging and reducing the number of pixels in an image. The result is that much of the detail of the original object is lost. When something is referred to as pixelated that means the resolution is lower, and won’t look as good on screen or on print as something with a higher PPI.

Plate: The part of a printing press that transfers the ink onto the paper.

Plate Cylinder: The cylinder on a printing press where the plate is mounted.

PMS: Short for Pantone Matching System. An extensive color-matching system consisting of approximately 732 colors.

Point: A unit of measurement. 12 points to a pica, 72 points to an inch.

PPI: Pages Per Inch or Pixels Per Inch, a measurement of resolution. The higher the PPI, the better resolution.

PPM: Short for Pages Per Minute, this is the number of pages output by a printing press in a minute to illustrate its speed capacity.

Press Check: When a client visits a printing company to view actual printed sheets of their project before a full production press run is started.

Raster: A digital image made up of lines of information.

Ream: 500 sheets of paper.

Register Marks: Any crossmarks or other symbols used on a press sheet to assure proper registration.

Registration: The exact positioning of images with reference to each other or to margins, folds, etc., by the use of register marks on the copy but beyond the trimmed area.

Reticulate: To assume a form or shape, as when the water forms beads on the hood of your car.

Reticulating Varnish: Applying a flood gloss UV coating over spot reticulating varnish in a single pass to get a finely textured surface.

RGB: The color model using Red, Green, and Blue color space using additive colors. These are the primary colors of light displayed on computers. An RGB file must be translated into CMYK in order to be printed on press.

Resolution: Known also as Display Resolution, this is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed.

Rich Black: Using multiple ink colors in addition to black to produce a deep, dark black color great for graphics. Common CMYK values used are 30% Cyan, 20% Magenta, 20% Yellow and 100% Black.

RIP: Short for Raster Image Processor, this is a device that interprets instructions from a page layout program or language and tells the print output device what to put on the paper/plate.

Saddle Stitching: The binding of booklets using wire staples through the spine from the outside, clinched in the center. Often used in magazines.

Scoring: To crease paper with a metal rule for the purpose of making folding easier.

Sheet: The front and back of paper. One sheet is made of two pages (one page on front and one on back).

Sheetfed Press: A printing press that feeds sheets of paper, rather than a continuous paper roll or web. Sheets of different sizes can be printed on the same press. Also known as offset

Shingling: A technique used to prevent push-out in a saddle stitched book made up of a large amount of pages.

Simplex: Printing one side of a sheet at a time.

Spot Color: A separate ink, in addition to or in place of CMYK, like Pantone ink.

Spot Varnish: A varnish that is used to highlight a specific part of the printed sheet.

Spread: An image that extends across two adjacent pages in a book or brochure.

Stroke: A line around a letter or shape that is colored the same color as the letter or shape and then set to overprint to create a trap.

Substrate: Any material that can be printed on, such as paper, acrylic, cardboard, or plastic.

SVG: Abbreviation for Scalable Vector Graphics, this is a newer file format that can be used to publish vector-based drawings and animations online.

Tint: A percentage of a solid ink or halftone screen, or a variation of a color that is created by mixing a defined amount of white with basic color. Spot colors are often called tints.

TIFF: Abbreviation for Tagged Image File Format, this file format is used for bitmap images. To print wide-format, files must be saved in this format.

Toner: Powder or liquid ink used to print. Toner is used in laser printers as well as a lot of digital presses.

Trapping: The slight overlapping of one color over a different, adjacent color to ensure that no white space is visible where the two colors meet (mis-registration).

Tri-fold: A fold where a three-panel piece has both side sections folded inward, one on top of the other. Also known as a c-fold or letter-fold.

Trim Marks: Marks placed on the printed sheet to indicate where cuts should be made.

Trim Size: The final size of a printed piece after being cut from the sheet of paper that it was printed on.

Uncoated Paper: AKA uncoated stock, this is a fully recyclable paper that doesn’t have a shiny coating, thus allowing the ink to soak in more.

Up: A term used to describe how many similar pieces can be printed on a larger sheet; two up, four up, etc. A general term used to indicate that multiple pages are printed in one impression on a single press sheet. ‘Two up’ or ‘four up’ means printing two or four pages on each sheet. The term is also used when the same file is printed multiple times on a sheet.

UV Coating: A glossy coating that is applied to a printed sheet or part of a page, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light. It hides fingerprints and increases durability.

UV Ink: Abbreviation for UltraViolet Ink, this ink dries quickly using ultraviolet on the press. This allows for more productivity because ink doesn’t need to dry before printing on the other side.

Variable Data: Highly customized elements – such as text, graphics or images – with a specific message targeted to a specific individual or group.

Variable Data Printing: A form of on-demand digital printing where select content can be changed from one printed piece to the next without stopping or slowing down the press.

Varnish: A transparent liquid coating applied to a printed product to protect it or make it more visually appealing. Varnish comes in matte or gloss and can be applied as a spot varnish.

Vector: An image that is made up of a series of curved mathematical terms rather than dots. Vector images never pixelate in native form.

Vignette: The gradual blending or fading of color to make up a tint panel or background.

Widow: A word or groups of words on the last line of a paragraph that does not fill the line adequately.

Yellow: Stands for “Y” in a CMYK color model. See also CMYK.

Zip File: Zipping a file compresses one or more files into a smaller archive, making it take less drive space and time to transfer across a network or the internet. Packaged design files should be zipped to ensure all elements are accessible.

4/0: Read as four over zero – CMYK (full color) on the front of a document and no printing on the back.

4/1: Read as four over one – CMYK (full color) on the front of a document and 1 color on the back. 4/K is sometimes used to specifically indicate that the back will be printed with black ink.

4/4: Read as four over four – CMYK (full color) on the front and back of a document.

4-color Printing: Printing in CMYK or full color.

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