Printing Terminology

Here are some of the terms that are used in design and printing. This will help in communicating your needs, when using the proper terms.

AQUEOUS COATING: is a clear, protective coat applied while printing. It is for flood coating and comes in dull or gloss.

BENEFIT: in marketing the reason the buyer is interested in a feature in a product (ie. can see glowing digital display from across the room).

BINDERY: the processes like folding, trimming, saddle stitching, that are done after printing.

BLEED: extending an image beyond the finished trim size so that the image runs right to the edge of the printed sheet after trimming.

CALL TO ACTION: in advertising, the last thing you tell your clients at the end of your pitch, call, fax buy, email, etc.

CLIP ART: illustrations, usually found in collections. Quality varies, often simple designs and inexpensive.

BRAND: a trademark or distinctive name identifying a product or a manufacturer, often indicating ownership. The value of a brand is in its promise to the consumer or buyer. For example, the brand promise consumers associate with Volvo is safety. When the brand promise is clear and compelling, consumers will often pay a premium price for the product over “generic” like products.

CMYK: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Printing colors for 4 color process reproduction. Used in full color printing and digital printing.

COATED PAPER: paper with a smooth finish, comes in a variety surfaces including dull, matte, and gloss.

COLLATERAL: a collection of sales literature promoting your product or company.

CONTOUR CUTTING: contour cutting uses a computer-guided cutting process to cut around the outer edge of a printed image following the contour of the design.

COPYRIGHT: legal right granting exclusive publication of your work.

COPYWRITER: a writer of advertising copy

COROPLAST: corrugated plastic rigid material used for signage, most commonly in yard signs, political signs, and Sandwich board/A-Frame inserts. It is a lightweight (hollow structure), non-toxic, waterproof, shockproof, long-lasting material that resists corrosion. Compared with cardboard, Coroplast has the advantages of being waterproof and colorfast.

CROP MARKS: lines that indicate the outer dimensions of a printed piece.

DEBOSSING: impressing an image in paper to achieve a depressed area in the paper.

DIE-CUTTING: process of using sharp steel rules to cut special shapes from printed sheets

DOMAIN: A domain is made up of two parts: the TLD or Top Level Domain, is the suffix. For example, .com, .net, .org, or .ca. The second part is the mid-level domain, which is where your site goes.

DUMMY: a preliminary layout showing the position of content as they will appear in the final reproduction. A set of blank pages made up to show the size, shape, paper color/weight, of a printing project.

DUO-TONE: a two color halftone made from a one color photograph.

EMBOSSING: impressing an image in relief to achieve a raised surface; this can be done alone or in combination with printing. Embossing is the use of two dies to press a raised image into a piece of paper. It leaves a 3-D effect that is both visually interesting and tactile(ly) interesting.

EPS: encapsulated postscript file.

FEATURE: in marketing, the parts or aspects of a product that make it better than the competition (ie. glowing digital display)

FINISHING: a variety of processes that are done after printing like: varnish, laminating, inserting, die-cutting, etc.

FINISH SIZE: document size after folding and trimming. Also referred to as trim size.

FOIL-STAMPING: using colored foil to imprint a design onto paper.

FOAM CORE: a commonly used rigid substrate for indoor signage. It is not waterproof, and consists of 2 pieces of coated paper with a piece of styrofoam sandwiched in between..

FONT: a complete assortment of numbers, letters, and punctuation markets of a given size and design.

FULL COLOR: the use of magenta, yellow, cyan, and black (process colors), printed in halftones, or dots, that trick the eye into seeing a full range of colors.

FTP: file transfer protocol, used to post documents and images to your website.

GANG: in printing, group projects on the same press sheet

GIF: Graphic Interchange Format.

HICKEYS: in printing, spots or imperfections in the printing process due to dirt or paper particles on the press.

HOST: the server that holds your website so that it can be accessed through the internet.

HTML: Hyper Text Markup Language

INDICIA: in bulk mailing, the postal stamp you pre-print on your piece with the mailing permit number

IMAGE: in marketing, the opinion or concept of something that is held by the public. Or the character projected to the public as by a person or institution, especially as interpreted by the mass media. The image that your company or product projects can be a competitive differentiator in the market place.

JPEG: an image compression format used to transfer color photographs and images over computer networks.

LOGO: a name, symbol, or trademark designed for easy and definite recognition of a company or product. If text only, may be referred to as “logotype”. Sometimes referred to as “logo mark”

MARK: an inscription, name, stamp, label or seal placed on an article to signify ownership, quality, manufacture, or origin. See “Logo”.

OPACITY: in paper, show-though. This is important when you are printing on both sides or stacking sheets. If the image below shows through it might make reading difficult.

PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM (PMS): Specific colors used in printing that is a universal matching system.

PERF: in printing, small cuts or holes put in a line of paper to make it easy to rip off later. It is short for perforation.

PDF: portable document format, allows everyone to view documents created in different applications without those applications. It is a soft proof.

PROMO ITEMS: promotional give-away items, usually with your name, logo, website, phone and sales message imprinted on them.

PREPRESS: the process of checking files and sending them to press or digital output.

PROOF: in printing, a way of seeing what the final piece will look like before printing, proofs come in a variety of formats from printed proofs to digital proofs.

REGISTRATION: in printing, the fitting of two or more images in exact alignment of each other

RGB: red, green, blue. Colors used in website design to be displayed on a color monitor.

S.A.L.T.: Same As Last Time. A common phrase used when a customer is re-ordering.

SWATCH BOOK: color samples of paper or ink.

SCORE: in printing, a line pressed into paper to make it fold more easily and cleanly.

SHOW-THROUGH: When the printing on the back of a page shows through to the front under normal lighting. Make sure to use heavy enough paper to avoid this problem.

SLOGAN: a phrase used repeatedly, as in advertising or promotion. It is most effective when memorable.

SPOT COLOR: a color assigned to a graphic or text, can be a PMS color or a standard color.

STOCK: paper used for a project. Comes in different weights and coatings (matte, gloss, uncoated). Can be cover weight or text weight.

SUBSTRATE: type of rigid material used in a large/wide format project, for example, foam core or Coroplast are substrates.

TARGET AUDIENCE: the group who you are sending your message to.

TIFF: Tagged Image File Format, a file format used for saving photo images. Originally created by Apple.

UNCOATED: in paper a rough surface finish of the paper. Usually an offset paper.

VARNISH: is a clear coating applied in the printing process like ink. It protects a printed piece from scuffing and fingerprints. You can spot varnish to add emphasis to areas like photos. Varnish in dull and gloss.

WEIGHT: in paper, is described in pounds (#) or pts. and can be book/text or cover weight. Thickness varies within these categories so always check a paper sample book to be sure you get the right weight.

WIDE/LARGE FORMAT: a large signage, banner or poster project, or any job that is too large for press or digital copier.

ZIP: a format for compressed files.