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    Glossary of Printing & Graphic Terms

    Glossary of Printing & Graphic Terms



    Accordion fold
    A bindery term for two or more parallel folds that result in a sheet that opens like an accordion

    Against the grain
    Perpendicular to the direction of the paper grain

    A defect which occurs when a graphic file does not have enough resolution to reproduce image detail and causes visible jagged lines along the edges

    Technique of filling the edges of an object with pixels to eliminate jagged lines and make it appear smoother

    Aqueous Coating
    A fast-drying, water-based coating that is applied after printing that gives a glossy finish and protects the print’s surface

    In printing, this is the original copy which includes all text, graphics, photos and illustrations

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    Back up
    To print the reverse side of a sheet already printed on one side

    To fasten sheets or sections into brochures or booklets with the use of wire, thread, glue, staples, etc

    The process by which sheets are fastened together which include cutting, trimming, collating, perforating, and folding to form the finished product

    The department in a printing company where finishing work is done such as collating, folding and trimming of printed products

    An image file format that refers to the rows and columns (map) of dots or pixels that form an image

    Bitmap Images
    Computerized image made up of a collection of dots or pixels; these images appear blocky when you zoom in; also known as raster images

    The thick rubber coated pad of a printing press that transfers ink from the plate to the sheet

    Printing that goes beyond the edge of the final trim size

    Blind embossing
    A technique in which a design is pressed into a sheet without ink or foil, creating a raised image

    Bond paper
    Durable and lightweight paper commonly used for letterheads and business stationery

    Margin or line between the image area and the edge of the paper

    The brilliance or reflective quality of paper affecting contrast in printing

    The thickness of paper relative to its weight

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    Short for coating on one side of paper

    Short for coating on both sides of paper

    Measurement of paper thickness expressed in thousandths of an inch

    Camera-ready copy
    Print ready layout of graphic and text

    Cast coated
    A type of coated paper with a high gloss enamel finish

    Color transparency

    Coated paper
    Paper with a thin surface coating of clay that produces a smooth finish

    A finishing term for arranging pages or sheets in correct order before binding

    Color Balance
    Refers to the proper ratio of cyan, magenta, and yellow ink during printing to keep color consistency and produce the desired color of an image

    Color bar
    Strips of color used as a tool to check color accuracy and density

    Color correction
    Methods of adjusting and improving color qualities such as color balance, contrast, etc

    Color filter
    Filters used in color separation

    Color key
    A printer’s proof made from 4 acetate or transparent films of various colors, one sheet per process color, which when combined simulates the finished product

    Color matching system
    Color chart in an electronic system used to compare, measure or mix colors

    Color separations
    Preparing a full-color image for printing by separating it into the four basic process colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black

    Color Sequence
    The order in which the four-color process inks are printed on the press

    A light sensitive device used for measuring color with an exact response similar to the human eye

    Comb bind
    A method of binding by inserting a plastic comb through holes along the side or edge of a stack of pages

    Composite film
    Combination of two or more images on one or more films

    Computer-to-Plate (CTP)
    A technology that enables transfer of digital data directly to a metal plate for printing, eliminating the use of conventional films

    Continuous-tone copy
    Illustrations and photographs that have a range of shades

    The range of difference between the darkest and lightest areas in an image

    Any material (text or artwork) to be used in printing a piece

    Cover paper
    A heavyweight paper commonly used for covers of books, brochures, catalogs and folders

    Creep is the shifting position of the page in a saddle-stitched bind. Creep moves the inside pages away from the spine.

    To cut off sides or portions of an image

    Crop marks
    Lines at the edges of a sheet that show where the page will be trimmed

    Printing across the gutter or from one page to the facing page of a publication

    The process of drying inks or coatings through chemical processes to develop strong adhesion

    Shade of blue; One of four basic ink colors used in 4 color printing process

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    To press an image below the surface of paper

    An instrument used to measure the density of colored ink to determine consistency

    The degree of darkness of an image

    A light-sensitive coating used on plates in offset printing

    Metal plate cut for impressing a design or image on paper

    Die cutting
    A process of cutting paper in a shape or design using metal dies

    Direct Imaging
    A technology that eliminates the use of film plates by directly transferring the image from digital files to the press plates using a laser

    Direct Imaging Press (DI)
    An offset press where the plate is imaged directly on the press with laser

    The individual element of a halftones; also referred to as a “pixel”

    Dot gain or spread
    The spread of ink on paper; occurrence when dots print larger than they were on the film

    Dots Per Inch (DPI)
    A measurement of resolution of a screen image or printed image defined by the number of dots that fit horizontally and vertically into one inch; The higher the DPI, the sharper the image

    Double burn
    Exposing a printing plate to multiple images

    A method of applying a thin coating or ink on paper to roughly determine color

    Parts of artwork that are not reproduced

    A preliminary layout of a copy showing the position and general style made to resemble the finished product

    A halftone image made up of two colors

    The ability of a press to print on both sides of a sheet of paper

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    Encapsulated Postscript File (EPS)
    An Adobe graphic file format for high resolution images; it translates graphic and text into code that tells a printer to print in the highest resolution possible and also has low resolution view files for quick screen viewing.

    Technique of pressing an image into paper so that creating a raised image

    Photosensitive sensitive coating on printing plates and film

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    Section of a printing press that separates the sheets and feeds them into position for printing

    To cover a page completely with ink or varnish

    The backside of an image

    A thin metal applied to paper used in foil stamping and foil embossing

    Foil emboss
    To foil stamp or emboss an image on paper using a die

    Foil stamping
    Pressing a design or image on paper without ink using a foil and heated metal die

    Four color process
    The process of printing using the combination of four basic color inks (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) to produce a range of colors and create a color image

    Four over Four (4/4)
    A print job with four color printing on both sides of the paper

    Four over One (4/1)
    A print job with four color printing on the front side and one color (usually black) on the back side

    Four over Zero (4/0)
    A print job with four color printing on the front side and no printing on the back side

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    Economical way of printing by printing multiple images on the same sheet using the maximum sheet size

    A printing defect where a faint unwanted image appears on a page

    Shiny coating applied to paper

    The direction in which the fibers of a paper lie

    Graphic Design
    The use of visual elements to express a message

    An image made up of a range of shades of black and white

    The metal fingers on printing presses that hold the paper and controls it as it passes through the press

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    Pattern of dots within a fixed grid to reproduce a continuous-tone image

    Hard copy
    A document or data printed on paper

    A spot or imperfection on a printed page caused by dust, lint or dried ink

    The lightest part in an image

    House Sheet
    Paper kept in stock by a printer

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    Image area
    Portion of a page or paper that can be printed on

    Arranging printed pages correctly so they will fold in the proper sequence

    The pressure of a printing press on paper; image caused by pressure of a press plate on paper

    Postal information preprinted on a mailing envelope or a piece in place of a stamp

    Ink fountain
    The container on a printing press that hold the ink

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    An outline drawing to show the exact size and position of an artwork

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    Laid finish
    A pattern of parallel lines running across the grain, creating a ribbed and handmade effect

    Line copy
    High contrast copy made up of solids or lines which do not require a halftone screen; also called line art or line work

    Lines per inch (LPI)
    The number of lines of dots per inch in a halftone screen; the higher the LPI., the sharper the image

    A method of printing where plates are chemically treated so that the image area accepts ink and non-image areas repel ink.

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    Also known as process red; one of the 4 basic ink colors in process color printing; M in abbreviation CMYK

    Blocking light from reaching parts of a printing plate, also called knockout

    Dull non-glossy finish

    Devise used to measure the thickness (caliper) of paper

    Middle tones
    The tones in a photograph between highlights and shadows; must be balanced for accurate reproduction

    An undesirable screen pattern caused by incorrect screen angles

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    A film in which the white areas of the original image appear black and the black areas appear white

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    Offset Lithography or Offset Printing
    A common printing process in which the image to be printed is transferred from a metal plate to a rubber blanket onto paper

    Transfer of ink or impression from one page to the opposite page

    The property of paper that minimizes the show-through on a printed sheet

    Outline halftone
    A halftone image with the background removed to outline the main image

    Production of larger quantities than ordered

    Scanning at more than the ideal sampling rate

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    Page count
    Total number of pages in a book or publication

    Pantone Matching Systems (PMS)
    The standard color-matching system used by printers and graphic designers

    Perfect Bind
    A binding technique in which pages are collated into a single sheet and then glued together and attached to the cover with an adhesive

    Perfecting press
    A printing press that prints both sides of a sheet at the same time

    Process of making holes or a series of cuts to make tearing or folding easy

    A printer’s measure of type; One pica is 1/6 of an inch

    A flat sheet of metal on which an image is reproduced using a printing press

    A page description language developed by Adobe Systems that tells a printer how an image is to be printed

    Press Layout
    See Ruleup

    Pressure-sensitive paper
    Paper material with a self sticking adhesive protected by a backing sheet, usually used for labels and stickers

    Paper Type
    The paper or material to be printed on

    Process colors
    The four basic colors used in printing to simulate full spectrum color – Cyan (blue), magenta (process red), yellow (process yellow), black (process black)

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    To render an image, pixel by pixel, vertically and horizontally

    Raster image
    See bitmap image

    Raster Image Processor (RIP)
    A device that translates data into dots or pixels

    A quantity of paper equivalent to 500 sheets

    Refers to the number of pixels an image expressed in pixels per inch (ppi) or dots per inch (dpi); the higher the number, the sharper the image

    Refers to red, green, blue – the additive primary colors used for color video display as on a computer screen

    Rich Black
    A darker and deeper black color created by combining other ink colors with black ink. The values to create Rich Black is usually 40% Cyan, 30% Magenta, 30% Yellow, 100% Black

    A map or drawing showing how a printing job must be imposed with a specific press and sheet size; also called Press Layout

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    Saddle stitch
    A method of binding using staples in the seam or spine of a book or booklet where it folds

    An instrument used to make color separations; also an instrument to scan images or photos in desktop publishing

    A mark or crease pressed on paper to make folding easier

    The process of pressing a sheet of paper to create a groove or line for folding

    Screen angles
    The angles at which halftone screens are positioned to avoid unwanted patterns

    The paper used as cover is the same as that used in the inside pages

    The darkest areas of a photograph or image

    Side stitch
    To bind by stapling sheets along one side of a sheet

    Term for a printed sheet after folding

    A precise description of features of a print order such as paper type and quantity

    The back edge of a bound book or publication that connects the 2 covers

    Split Run
    Printing of a book or booklet that has copies bound in different ways

    Planned paper waste

    Spot varnish
    Varnishing a specific part of a sheet

    Pressing a design or image onto paper with a metal die

    Technique of repeatedly exposing the same image on the plate in different places

    The process of positioning film negatives for plate making

    Any surface or material on which printing is done

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    Tagged Image File Format (.TIFF)
    A standard graphic image file format often used for storing high resolution images that can easily handle up to 24 bits of photographic image color

    A mixture of a hue with white

    Tissue overlay
    A thin transparent paper placed over artwork for protection and may be used for marking printer instructions

    Printing of one ink over the other to prevent gaps from appearing

    Refers to pulp or paper made without cutting down trees; paper made from cotton, or hemp or other resources

    Trim marks
    Marks on a printed sheet that show where to cut or trim the page

    Trim size
    The final size of a printed image after trimming

    To arrange or layout artwork and text for printing

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    Paper with no treatment or coating on the surface

    Production of fewer copies than ordered by customer

    Printing multiple copies of the same on the same sheet

    UV coating
    Liquid glossy coating applied to paper’s surface and cured with ultraviolet light

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    A clear liquid coating applied to printed sheet for protection and shine

    A halftone or image with whose background gradually fades to white

    Vector Images
    Images made up of solids, lines and curves that can be scaled or edited without affecting image resolution

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    Process of cleaning the parts of a printing press (rollers, plate, blanket, etc) so that a different ink can be applied

    Planned spoilage

    A distinctive design created in paper during manufacturing that is visible when the paper is held up to the light

    The roll of printing paper used in web or rotary printing

    Web press
    A high speed printing press that print on a continuous roll of paper or web rather than on individual sheets

    Wire O
    A method of binding using double loops of wire through a hole

    With the grain
    Folding or feeding paper into the press parallel to the paper’s grain or fiber

    Work and tumble
    Printing the second side of a sheet by turning the sheet over from the gripper to the tail utilizing the same side guides and plate

    Wove paper
    A paper having a uniform unlined surface and a smooth finish

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