accordion fold: bindery term, two or more parallel folds which open like an accordion. all panels are the same size.
against the grain: at right angles to direction of paper grain.
back up: printing the second side of a sheet already printed on one side.
basis weight: weight in pounds of 500 sheets of paper cut to the basic size for its grade.
bind: to fasten sheets or signatures with wire, thread, glue or by other means.
bindery: the finishing department of a print shop or firm specializing in finishing printed products.
blanket: the thick rubber mat on a printing press that transfers ink from the plate to paper.
bleed: printing that goes to the edge of the sheet after trimming.
blind embossing: an image pressed into a sheet without ink or foil.
bond paper: strong durable paper grade used for letterheads and business forms.
booklet-maker: automated binding machine that makes saddlestitched booklets out of flat printed signatures.
brightness: the brilliance or reflectance of paper. how white a particular sheet appears. gauged on a scale of tiny little numbers.
bulk: thickness of paper stock in thousandths of an inch or number of pages per inch.
bulk mail: a discounted postal rate for large mailings. see the direct mail guide for regulations.
case bind: a type of binding used in making hard cover books using glue.
cast coated: coated paper with a very high gloss reflective finish.
coated paper: clay coated printing paper with a smooth finish. generally used when image quality is of utmost importance. available in matte or gloss varieties.
collate: finishing term for gathering paper in a somewhat precise order.
color bar: quality control term regarding the spots of ink color on the tail of a sheet, used to check ink density.
color break: to separate mechanically or by software the graphic elements to be printed in different colors.
color correction: term applied to methods of improving color.
comb bind: binding by inserting a plastic comb into punched holes.
continuous-tone: illustrations, photographs or computer files that contain gradient tones.
contrast: the tonal change in color from light to dark. more contrast yields a stark image, while less contrast results in more gray and neutral tones.
cover stock: a heavy printing paper used for business cards, pocket folders, etc. also known as card stock.
crop: to cut off parts of a picture or image.
crop marks: printed lines showing where to trim a printed sheet.
crossover: an image which crosses the gutter from one page to the facing page of a publication.
cyan: one of four standard process colors. the blue color.
densitometer: a quality control device used to measure the density of ink on paper.
density: the degree of color or darkness of an image or photograph.
diazo: a light sensitive coating used on printing plates.
die: metal rule or imaged block used to cut or place an image on paper in the finishing process.
die cutting: cutting images in or out of paper using a die.
dot: tiny round element of which halftones are comprised.
dot gain or spread: a term used to explain the difference in size between the dots on the plate versus the dot on paper. caused by absorption of ink into paper fibers, dot gain can result in dark or muddy print quality.
double-parallel fold: a 4-panel fold that is created by folding a sheet in half and then in half again in parallel. all 4 panels are the same size.
draw-down: a sample of ink on paper used to evaluate ink colors.
dummy: a rough layout of a printed piece showing position and finished size may also be referred to as a mock-up.
duotone: a halftone picture made up of two printed colors.
emboss: pressing an image into paper so that it will create a raised relief.
flood: to cover a printed page with ink, varnish, or coating.
foil: a metallic or pigmented coating on plastic sheets or rolls used in foil stamping and foil embossing.
foil emboss/stamping: foil stamping and embossing an image on paper with a die.
4-color-process: the process of combining four basic colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) to create a printed color picture or colors composed from the basic four colors.
french fold: two folds at right angles to each other.
gang: getting the most out of a printing press by using the maximum sheet size to print multiple images or jobs on the same sheet.
ghosting: a faint printed image that appears on a printed sheet where it was not intended.
gloss: paper or ink finish that results in a shiny look.
grain: the direction in which the paper fiber lie.
gripper margin: area where the grippers hold the sheet as it passes through the press, within which no printed image can occur.
grippers: the metal fingers on a printing press that hold the paper as it passes through the press.
hairline: very thin line or gap about the width of a hair or 1/100 inch.
halftone: continuous tone converted to tiny dots for printing.
hard copy: output from printer sent for reference.
hickey: recurring, unplanned spots that appear in the printed image from dust, lint or dried ink.
highlight: the lightest areas in a picture or halftone.
image area: portion of paper on which ink can be printed.
imposition: positioning printed pages so they will fold in the proper order.
impression: a printed image on paper, also refers to a single sheet of a print run.
imprint: adding copy to a previously printed page.
indicia: postal permit information on a printed product. see direct mail guide.
ink film thickness: the microscopic thickness of the layer of ink on a printed page. measured using a densitometer.
ink fountain: the reservoir on a printing press that hold the ink.
kiss-cut: to cut the top layer of a pressure sensitive sheet and not the backing.
knockout: to mask out an image. an area where ink has been removed to allow another color to appear.
laid finish: simulates the surface of handmade paper.
laminate: to cover with plastic film, to bond or glue one surface to another.
layflat: a method of perfect binding that allows the covers to be opened all the way without cracking.
leaf: two back-to-back pages in a book.
letter fold: the most common type of 3-panel brochure fold. the inside panel must be slightly smaller than the outside 2 panels.
letterpress: an old-style of printing press that prints directly from a raised relief plate onto the paper. now most commonly used for die-cutting.
line art: high contrast, solid color art not requiring a halftone.
linen finish: a surface that makes paper look kind of like fabric.
lines per inch: the number of rows of dots per inch in a halftone, also known as linescreen.
loupe: magnifying glass used to review a printed image and registration.
magenta: one of the basic colors in process color, the one that looks the most red.
makeready: all the activities required to prepare a press for printing.
matte finish: dull coated paper or ink finish. provides the print quality of a coated sheet, but the look of an uncoated one.
micrometer: instrument used to measure the thickness of different papers.
middle tones: the tones in a photograph which are approximately half as dark as the shadow area.
moiré: odd patterns in printed artwork, caused when screen angles are out of registration.
offset printing: technique whereby ink is spread on a metal plate with etched images, then transferred to an intermediary surface such as a rubber blanket, and finally applied to paper by pressing the paper against said intermediary surface.
offset: when the images of freshly printed sheets transfer images to each other.
opacity: amount of show-through on a printed sheet. the more opacity or the thicker the paper the less show-through.
overrun or overs: copies printed in excess of the specified quantity. printing trade terms allow for +/–10% to represent a completed order.
page: one side of one leaf of a book.
page count: total number of pages in a book including blanks.
perfect bind: type of binding that glues the edge of sheets to a cover like a book.
perfecting press: a sheet-fed printing press that prints both sides of a sheet in one pass.
pica: unit of measure in typesetting. one pica = 1/6 inch.
picking: printing problem that occurs as the surface of a sheet lifts off during printing.
plate gap: area where the grippers hold the sheet as it passes through the press.
pms: the abbreviated name of the pantone color matching system. referring to the range of custom mixed colors contained within said system.
point: for paper, a unit of thickness equaling 1/1000 inch. for typesetting, a unit of height equaling 1/72 inch.
postscript: the computer language most recognized by printing devices, released by Adobe in the early 80’s as an interpretive interface platform between printers and computers.
pressure-sensitive paper: paper material with self sticking adhesive covered by a backing sheet. think stickers.
proof: if you miss a mistake on your proof, don’t expect your printer to reprint the job for free. see proofing section for a description of various types of proofs.
ream: five hundred sheets of paper.
register: to position print in the proper relation to the edges of the sheet and to other printing on the same sheet.
registration marks: cross-hair lines or marks on film, plates, and paper that guide strippers, platemakers, pressmen, and bindery personnel in processing a print order from start to finish.
right angle fold: any fold that involves making a parallel fold and then re-folding the sheet at a right angle to the original fold.
saddle stitch: binding a booklet or magazine with staples (stitches) in the seam where it folds.
scanner: device used to bring art, pictures or drawings into your computer.
score: a crease put on paper to help it fold better.
screen angles: angles at which screened images are overlaid on a printed sheet.
self-cover: using the same paper for the cover as used for the pages.
shadow: the darkest areas of a photograph.
show-through: printing on one side of a sheet that can be seen on the other side of the sheet.
side guide: the mechanical register unit on a printing press that positions a sheet from the side.
side stitch: binding by stapling along one side of a sheet.
signature: a sheet of printed pages which, when folded, become a part of a book or publication.
skid: a pallet used for a pile of cut sheets.
specifications: a precise description of a print order, includes quantity, paper, ink colors, due date, etc.
spine: the binding edge of a book or publication.
spoilage: unavoidable paper waste in printing and binding operations.
spot varnish: varnish used to highlight a specific part of the printed sheet.
substrate: any surface on which printing is done.
text paper: lightweight paper, as opposed to cover stock.
tint: shade of a single color or combined colors.
translucent ink: a printing ink that does not totally conceal the color under it. most offset printing inks are translucent.
trapping: overlapping colors so that minor problems with registration are not noticed.
trim marks: similar to crop marks or register marks. these marks show where to trim the printed sheet.
trim size: the final size of printed piece after the last trim is made.
uv coating: liquid laminate bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.
varnish: clear liquid applied to printed surfaces for appearance and protection. available in gloss or dull finish.
wash-up: removing printing ink from a press. washing the rollers and blanket. certain ink colors require multiple wash-ups to avoid ink and chemical contamination.
watermark: distinctive design created in paper at the time of manufacture that can be seen by holding the paper up to a light.
web: special roll of printing paper.
web press: type of press that uses big rolls of paper.
wire-o binding: a method of wire binding books along the binding edge that will allow the book to lay flat using double loops.
with the grain: folding or feeding paper into the press or folder parallel to the grain of the paper.
work and tumble: printing one side of a sheet and turning it over from the gripper to the tail to print the second side using the same side guide and plate for the second side, could save time and money.
work and turn: printing one side of a sheet and turning it over from left to right using the same gripper and plate for the second side, again.
z-fold: 3 panel accordion fold.