Popular Printing Terminology

We understand that confusion can occur when championing an area of newness- like placing an order with a printing press for the first time! And though we are happy to explain, popular printing terminology, below is a list of terms for your learning and understanding. As always, please call and if you have any questions!

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 (eg. can see glowing digital display from across the room).

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

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

BLUE-LINE: in printing, a one color proof, usually blue, to show the layout of a printed piece before going to press.

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 process color reproduction.

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.

COPYRIGHT: legal right granting exclusive publication of your work.

COPYWRITER: a writer of advertising copy

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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”.

MATCH-PRINT: a full color proof that comes very close to the actual finished printed piece.

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.

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

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

PROOF: in printing, a way of seeing what the final piece will look like before printing, proofs come in a variety of formats from b/w laser prints to blue-lines to color match prints.

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.

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.

SWATCH BOOK: color samples of paper or ink.

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

SPOT COLOR: a PMS color assigned to a graphic or text.

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.

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 (#) and book, text or cover. Thickness varies within these categories so always check a paper sample book to be sure you get the right weight.

ZIP: a file format used for compressed files. Best used when sending a folder of items.