Glossary of Print Terms

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Information for Print Buyers

This section is designed to help our customers understand some of the technical terms used in the printing industry.



Affixing: Attachment of at least one separate piece to another with an adhesive.

Alterations: Changes (AA's) made by a customer or author to a typeset manuscript. These are not due to typographer's error, and thus are chargeable to the customer.

Bangtail Envelope: An envelope that serves a promotional purpose via an extra flap that holds product information and/or an order form. Often used in credit cart statements, premium notices, and the like. It is also referred to as a wallet flap envelope.

Bindery: The facility that binds together books, magazines, or pamphlets. "Binding" means wiring with staples; sewing or plasticizing depending on thickness and appearance desired.

Bind-In: A promotional piece that includes a business reply card or order form. Typically on postcard stock, (usually with a caliper of .007"), this piece is bound into a magazine with the response portion perforated for easy removal.

Bleed: When the printing on a piece goes all the way to the edge of the paper. This is accomplished by printing beyond the margins of the piece, then trimming to the margin.

Blow-In: A promotional piece inserted between the pages of a magazine and held in place by the pressure of the pages. Because this piece is not bound in the book, it gets the reader's immediate attention by falling out as soon as the publication is opened.

Blueline: A print made from stripped-up negatives on special light-sensitive paper, used as a proof to check position of image elements.

Bowe Cutter: Receives continuous forms in either roll or boxed form and cuts them into single forms for processing in the folder. This cutter has the ability to communicate with the Laser Printer to detect web movement. The Bowe Cutter can accommodate web widths up to 18 inches.

Bristols: Solid or laminated heavyweight printing papers made to a thickness of .006" or higher. Often used for posters, folders, business and social announcements, etc., requiring repeated handling.

Burster: Bursts the perforation apart so as to allow for finishing operation such as slitting and folding. The Burster can slit the web in half to deliver two-up forms as well as trim off the pin feeds.

Bursting: Process of mechanically separating continuous forms at the perforation. Pinfeeds are often removed during this bursting process.

C1S: Paper coated on one side.

C2S: Paper coated on both sides.

Cast Coated: Coated paper with a surface similar to that of a glossy photograph.

Center Spread: The exact middle spread of a bound catalog, magazine, or book.

Chad: Waste that remains when line hole (pinfeed) punches do not cut completely through the paper. CHAD, sometimes called hanging punches, can cause both impact and laser printers to malfunction.

Cheshire Labels: Mailing labels prepared for use with automatic labeling machines. The machine affixes the labels individually to the mailing envelope, letter, or order form.

Chop-And-Nest: A technique for manufacturing two or more components of a direct mail package by folding and cutting a single sheet of paper.

Coated Paper: Paper to which a coating of clay or other material has been applied, causing ink to rest on the surface of the paper. Printed images appear more brilliant on coated paper; these papers offer a good choice for reproducing halftones and are ideal for four-color process printing.

Coated Dull Paper: Emboss-finished coated paper that has also gone through a super calendering process; exhibits low gloss and high ink holdout. Used for jobs that require high-quality color reproduction with minimal paper gloss.

Coated Gloss Paper: Coated paper that has been supercalendered to enhance surface gloss and ink holdout. Provides excellent reproductions of halftone and colors.

Coated Matte Paper: Paper that is prime coated in the size press of the paper machine, but not supercalendered. Lithographic reproduction is superior to that of uncoated papers, yet paper is glare-free and handles like uncoated paper on the press.

Color Separation: The translation of an original photograph or other artwork into separate plates for four-color printing.

Color Transparency: A positive photographic image protected by a transparent cover.

Comprehensive Layout: Also called a "comp," this is a layout for a prospective printed piece that is complete enough to order finished illustrations and photography and to set type by.

Cover Papers: Paper used for catalog, brochure, or booklet covers, or as a vehicle for such items as menus, folders, and posters. Used when substantial bulk is required for printed material. Special characteristics include dimensional stability, uniform printing surface, good folding qualities, and durability. Well-suited for scoring, die-cutting, embossing, and stamping. Standard basis weights for cover paper are based on the weight of 500 sheets in the basic 20" x 26" size. Standard cover weights are 50, 65, 80, 100, and 130lbs.

Corner Card: The imprint of the sender; return address on an outer envelope or catalog, which may include the logo and/or slogan of the firm.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM): Total cost of mailing or ad divided by the number of thousands mailed.

Cyan: One of the four process colors; also known as process blue.

Dandy Roll: A hollow wire-covered roll that rides on the paper machine wire and compacts the newly-formed web to improve its formation and impart a watermark or special finish to the paper.

Debossing: Same as embossing, but a recessed image is produced.

Deckle Edge: The untrimmed, feather edge created at the outer edge of a moving web of paper during manufacture.

Die-Cutting: Process of cutting special shapes from printed sheets by pressure and with thin steel blades so that part of the sheet is excised. Used to achieve visual and functional special effects in printed material. Usually done on a relatively strong, heavy paper stock, though die-cutting is sometimes done on lighter weight papers.

Direct Halftone: A halftone reproduction made by actually photographing the actual object rather than a picture of the object. This type of halftone produces the highest quality reproduction.

Dot Gain Or Spread: Phenomenon of dots printing larger on paper than they are on negatives or plates.

Dropout Halftone: A halftone in which the fine screen for the white areas has been removed for greater contrast. It is also called a highlight halftone.

Dummy: Any "mock-up" of a printed piece used to test its appearance, weight, readability, etc.

Duotone: Two plates are combined to create a piece of art with a darker and lighter shade of ink.

Duplex Paper: Paper or board with a different color or finish on each side. Usually produced by pasting two sheets of paper together.

Dylux: Dupont trade name for photographic paper used to make blueline proofs.

Embossing: A process performed after printing that uses a metal die, heat, pressure, and a counter die to reshape a printing surface, creating a raised image (artwork or typography) in relief. Done either as overprinting or on blank paper (called blind embossing). An especially effective technique when used with textured and embossed paper finishes.

Enamel Paper: Alternate term for coated paper with gloss finish.

Felt Finish: A finish created at the wet end of the paper machine using woven wool and synthetic felts with distinctive patterns to create a similar texture on the finished sheets. These papers exhibit excellent opacity and are strong enough for use with special procedures such as stamping and embossing. They are well-suited for jobs with large nonprinted areas that display their interesting texture. Care should be taken when specifying halftones on felt-finished papers; they tend to absorb ink, and tonal areas may be lost.

Four-Color Process: Also full-color process. Indicates the four color plates commonly used in color printing.

Gang Run: Running some related or similar print jobs together to save money and time.

Ghosting: Phenomenon of a faint image on a printed sheet where it was not intended to appear.

Gutter: The inside margins of facing pages.

Halftone: A plate, printed piece, or process involving the shooting of artwork through a lined screen which breaks up the art into a dot pattern.

Half Web: Web press whose width and cutoff allow printing eight 8.5" x 11" pages on one press sheet.

Heat-Set Web: Web press equipped with an oven to make ink dry faster, thus able to print coated paper.

Hickies: Marks on printed material caused by dirt or foreign material during the printing process. May appear on all pieces, or just on a few samples.

House Sheet: General-use paper ordered in large quantities and kept in stock by a printer.

Ink Absorption: Extent and rate of penetration by printing ink through the surface of a paper. Influences ink drying time and degree of ink holdout. Inks printed on uncoated text papers dry by ink absorption.

Ink Holdout: Degree to which a paper surface resists penetration of ink. An inked image printed on paper with a high degree of ink holdout will dry by oxidation rather than by absorption. Coated papers tend to exhibit a high degree of ink holdout.

Keyline: This is the guide used in making plates and printing a piece--a diagram of copy and art for reproduction. (See mechanical)

Key Plate: In process color printing, it is the plate with the most detail. The other plates must be registered to the key plate.

Kromekote: A trade name of Champion Paper Company for a very glossy, coated paper stock.

Label: A piece of paper (may be pressure-sensitive or not) that carries the name and address (and possibly a code) of a prospect or previous buyer. It is affixed to an order form, letter, or outer envelope for mailing purposes.

Laid Finish: Paper finish exhibiting a ribbed appearance produced by the use of side-by-side wires on the dandy roll. These papers should be printed with copy parallel to the laid lines to facilitate printing. Laid-finished papers are well-suited to the reproduction of line art, or when an old-fashioned effect is desired.

Layout: A rendering of a proposed printed piece, indicating positions for headings, copy, art, and borders. May also indicate color treatments.

Linen Finish: Embossed pattern on a paper surface resembling the look and feel of linen cloth. Usually manufactured with engraved embossing rolls.

Lithography: A printing process using plates made from photographs. Offset lithography is simply called "offset" in most cases.

Live Area: Portion of a computer printed form designated for the message being given (such as sales promotion information). Alternate term for image area.

Lockup: The space required to mount the printing plate on a rotary press. This is a non-print area and is typically 3/8" to 1/2". Check with your vendor to determine the lockup for a specific press.

Magenta: One of the four process colors; also known as process red.

Match: Personalized items which must go together in a mailing package. A typical match mailing refers to a personalized closed-face envelope containing a personalized letter.

Matchprint: 3M trade name for integral color proof.

Matte Finish: Slightly dull finish on coated lightly calendered paper.

Moire: Undesirable pattern in halftones and screen tints made with improperly aligned screens.

Mottle: Spotty, uneven ink coverage especially noticeable in large solids.

Offset: A commercial form of lithographic printing which transfers ink from a plate onto a rubber surface and then to the paper.

Offset Paper: A type of paper suited to offset lithography. Usually refers to a lower grade of off-set lithography paper, as opposed to more expensive coated stock.

Out of Register: When colors which are to be printed right over one another are not in alignment. This results in "hanging" dot patterns.

Page Proof: A proof of the printed product as it will finally appear. Page proofs are usually created after galley proofs have been corrected.

Perfecting Press: Press capable of printing both sides of the paper during a single pass.

Picking: Undesirable phenomenon of bits of fiber or coating coming loose from paper during printing.

PMS Colors: Standard, numbered shades and colors which are available to printers pre-mixed. May be selected when a specific background or accent color is desired.

PMT: Abbreviation for photomechanical transfer, a Kodak trade name for a process used to make positive paper prints of line copy and halftones.

Press Check: Event at which test sheets are examined before production run is authorized to begin.

Press Proof: A proof made on a regular press after color separations are complete to check color before full run is made.

Pressure-Sensitive Labels: Also called peel-off labels. These are addressed labels often used where one label needs to serve both the addressing and return function. May be removed from the outside of a catalog or envelope, and placed on the ordering device.

Process Colors: The colors needed for four-color process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan, and black.

Self-Mailer: A one-piece direct mail item (not a catalog), that is not mailed in an envelope.

Sheet Fed: A press that prints on sheets of paper fed into the press one at a time. Usually used for smaller quantity or higher quality printing.

Smith Format: A form design that allows for two computer personalized pages in a six page letter. Accomplished by collating two continuous sheets of different widths. Example: Part 1 = 9.5" x 11" printing 3/2 on 60lb. white offset and Part 2 = 18" x 11" printing 2/2 on 60lb. ivory offset with both parts glued in the left margin.

Spot Varnish: Varnish applied to portions of a sheet.

Text Papers: General term used to describe papers with fine or specialty textures used for printing. Usually made from chemical wood pulp, sometimes with cotton fiber content. Used to give dimension and texture to printed jobs. Care should be taken to match the texture of the paper with printing requirements; many uncoated text papers tend to absorb ink, affecting the reproduction of halftones. Finishes include felt, laid, linen, vellum, embossed, and antique. Standard basis weights for text paper are based on 500 sheets cut to a basis size of 25" x 38". Standard text weights are 60, 70, 80, and 100lb.

Thumbnails: Miniature layout sketches used to give a general idea of what a direct-mail piece would look like.

Two-Up Form: Same printed image side by side stepped in even spacing left to right. Example: an 8.5" x 11" letter stepped 2-up would measure 17" x 11".

Vellum Finish: Glare-free paper finish with a high degree of "tooth"--the ability to take pencil or crayon marks. An absorbent and fast-drying paper, ideal for jobs requiring no pattern background and little surface texture. Well-suited for halftone reproductions.

Velox: A reproduction of an original piece of art or a photo. May be line, halftone, or a combination.

Web Press: A printing press that has a rotary action, and uses large rolls of paper. Used for larger quantity printing.

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