What do all these terms mean?

  • Against the Grain

    At right angles to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to with the grain.

  • Aqueous Coating

    Coating in a water base and applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the printing underneath.

  • Artwork

    All original copy, including type, photographs and illustrations intended for printing.

  • Back Up

    To adjust an image on one side of a sheet so that it aligns back-to-back with an image on the other side.

  • Bind

    The joining of leafs or signatures together with either wire, glue or other means.

  • Bindery

    Usually a department within a printing company responsible for folding, collating, stitching, trimming etc. of various printing projects.

  • Blanket

    A rubber coated pad, mounted on a cylinder of an offset press that receives the inked image from the plate and transfers it to the surface to be printed.

  • Bleed

    Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming.

  • Blind Image

    Image debossed or embossed but not printed with ink or foil.

  • Bond paper

    A type of paper commonly used for writing, printing and photocopying.

  • Carbonless Paper

    Paper coated with chemicals that enable transfer of images from one sheet to another with pressure from typing and writing.

  • CMYK

    Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four process colors, if combined together can be made to produce the full colour gamut.

  • Coated Paper

    Paper with a coating of clay and other materials that improves reflectivity and ink holdout. This paper is produced in four major categories cast, gloss, dull and matte.

  • Collate

    To organise printed substances in a specific order.

  • Color Separation

    Method by which a continuous tone colour image is separated into the four process colours for print.

  • Contrast

    The degree of tones in an image ranging from highlight to shadow.

  • Crease

    To mechanically press a rule into a heavy paper or board to enable it to fold without cracking.

  • Creep

    When middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages. Also called feathering, push out and thrust.

  • Crop

    To trim edges of a picture or page to make it fit or remove unwanted portions.

  • Crop Marks

    Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks and tick marks.

  • Cutting Die

    Usually a custom ordered item to trim specific and unusual sized printing projects.

  • CTP

    An abbreviation of Computer-to-plate; a process of printing directly from a computer to plate used by a printing press.

  • Deboss

    To press an image into paper so it lies below the surface.

  • Desktop Publishing

    Technique of using a computer to design images and pages, and assemble type and graphics, then using a laser printer or imagesetter to output the assembled pages onto paper, film or printing plate. Abbreviated DTP.

  • Die Cut

    To cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard using a die.

  • Dot Gain

    Phenomenon of halftone dots printing larger on paper than they are on films or plates, reducing detail and lowering contrast. Also called dot growth, dot spread and press gain.

  • DPI

    Considered as “dots per square inch,” a measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters and monitors.

  • Dummy

    Simulation of the final product. Also called mock-up.

  • Emboss

    To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface.

  • Engraving

    A printing method using a plate with an image cut into its surface.

  • Finish

    General term for trimming, folding, binding and all other post press operations.

  • Foil Emboss

    To foil stamp and emboss an image.

  • Foil Stamp

    A method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die.

  • Format

    Size, style, shape or layout of a layout or printed product.

  • Four-color Process Printing

    A technique of printing that uses cyan, magenta, yellow and black to simulate full colour images.

  • Grain Direction

    A predominant direction in which fibres in paper become aligned during manufacturing. Also called machine direction.

  • Grammage

    Weight of paper in grams per square meter (gsm).

  • Graphic Design

    Arrangement of type and visual elements along with specifications for paper, ink colours and printing processes that, when combined, convey a visual message.

  • Graphics

    Visual elements that supplement type to make printed messages more clear or interesting.

  • Gray Scale

    Shades of grey ranging from black to white.

  • GSM

    Paper weight is measured in grams per square metre.

  • Gusset

    An expandable portion of a pocketed folder or envelope.

  • Hairline (Rule)

    Subjective term referring to a thin line or close register.

  • Halftone

    Picture with a different range of shades of tones created by varying dots.

  • Hickey

    Spot or imperfection in printing, most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage.

  • Imagesetter

    Laser output device using photosensitive paper or film.

  • Imposition

    An arrangement of pages on mechanicals or flats so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.

  • Impression

    Referring to an ink color, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through a printing unit.

  • Keylines

    Lines on a negative showing the exact size, shape and location of photographs or other graphic elements. Also called holding lines.

  • Kiss Die Cut

    To die cut the top layer, but not the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper.

  • Laminate

    A thin transparent plastic sheet applied to usually a thick stock providing protection against liquid and heavy use, and usually accents existing colour, providing a glossy effect.

  • Lithography

    Method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose non image areas repel ink. Non image areas may be coated with water to repel the oily ink or may have a surface, such as silicon, that repels ink.

  • Makeready

    All activities required to prepare a press or other machine to function for a specific printing or bindery job, as compared to production run.

  • Moire

    An undesirable pattern resulting when halftones and screen tints are made with improperly aligned screens, or when a pattern in a photo, such as a plaid, interfaces with a halftone dot pattern.

  • Offset Printing

    A printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.

  • Overprint

    To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint.

  • Pantone Colours

    Premixed ink colours that are often used for printing as a spot colour.

  • Perfecting Press

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

  • Perfect Bind

    To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue.

  • Proof

    Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.

  • Register Marks

    Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register.

  • Relief Printing

    Printing method whose image carriers are surfaces with two levels having inked areas higher than non-inked areas. Relief printing includes block printing, flexography and letter press.

  • RGB

    Abbreviation for red, green, blue, the additive colour primaries.

  • Saddle Stitch

    To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine, as compared to side stitch.

  • Score

    To compress paper along a straight line so it folds more easily and accurately. Also called crease.

  • Screen Printing

    A method of printing by using a squeegee to force ink through an assembly of mesh fabric and a stencil.

  • Self Cover

    Usually in the book arena, a publication not having a cover stock. A publication only using text stock throughout.

  • Solid

    Any area of the sheet receiving 100 percent ink coverage, as compared to a screen tint.

  • Trap

    To print one ink over another or to print a coating, such as varnish, over an ink. The first liquid traps the second liquid.

  • UV Coating

    Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

  • Varnish

    Liquid applied as a coating for protection and appearance.

  • Wire-o-Binding

    A method of wire binding books along the binding edge that will allow the book to lay flat.

  • Work and turn

    To print on one side of a sheet of paper then turn the sheet over from left to right and print the second side using the same gripper edge to print the second side.