Printing Terminology


Artwork: Elements on a page other than type, such as logos, line illustrations, photos, etc.

Author's Alterations (AA): Changes or additions made by the client that are different from the original instructions.

Backbone: The binding edge of a publication; also known as the spine.

Backing up: Printing the reverse side of a sheet already printed on one side.

Banding: Smooth gradations of halftone dots interrupted by strips that are greater (or less) than desired density.

Basis Weight: The weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a standard size for that type of paper.

Bind-in Card: An insert that is bound into a saddle-stitch or perfect-bind publication. The insert is loaded into bindery pockets as if they are signatures in the magazine; after binding, it is physically part of the publication.

Bitmapped: A series of individual dots or pixels that define graphics.

Blanket: A resilient, cotton-backed, laminated rubber covering for the impression cylinder of a printing press, which transfers the image from plate to paper.

Bleed: The portion of the page that runs off the page; exceeding the trim size. Printing standard, bleed should be 1/8".

Blow-in Card: Loose insert that does not bind in; instead, it is "blown" in at an approximate location in the book.

Blueline: A dylux proof of stripped negatives, created to check for the position of page elements and errors.

Breakdown: Instructions for dividing a print order into smaller groups for distribution.

Brick Stacking: Method for stacking inserts or printed signatures whereby lifts are arranged in a cross-hatch fashion to provide the fully loaded skid or pallet with increased stability.

Building a Page: Work done by a digital operator to add necessary items to the page files.

Business Reply Card (BRC): An insert that allows easy response by readers.

Caliper: A device on the saddle stitchers that measures the thickness of the book to make sure all parts of the magazine are present.

Camera-ready Artwork: Original copy that will be scanned and placed in the file.

Carrier Card: An outsert designed specifically to carry the mailing label on a polybagged magazine.

Centralized Account Procession System (CAPS): An account through the USPS that allows mailers to manage their postal funds and track postal expenses by location.

Cheshire Label: Mailing labels printed on the white side of standard computer paper, formatted to fit 44 labels on a page (four across and 11 down).

Chill Rolls/Rollers: An array of water-cooled cylinders through which the web passes when exiting the dryer. The chill rolls are where the ink is set.

CMYK: Acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key. A subtractive color system based on the primary colors cyan, magenta and yellow. Key color is the color black, which is not reproducible using the CMY model alone.

Coated Paper: Paper having a surface coating that produces a smooth finish.

Color Control Bar: A test strip printed or exposed onto paper to produce an assortment of measurable color and gray patches that are used to measure and control the printing process.

Color Correction: A modification of the tonal qualities of an image.

Color Separation: A process performed on an electronic scanner to break down a piece of color art into the three primary colors (cyan, magenta and yellow).

Coverwrap: A preprinted 4-page "wrap" that binds onto the publication over the actual cover, used to protect the magazine and/or carry subscription information.

Creep: An effect seen on larger saddle-stitch books whereby the center-most pages have progressively smaller image areas due to the thickness of the fold. Also referred to as "push out."

Cutoff: A unit of paper usage equal to one revolution of the printing cylinders, so named because the folder "cuts off" this amount of paper per revolution.

Densicontrol: A computer-controlled device capable of scanning printing plates for image area and presetting the press ink fountains.

Densitometer: An instrument that passes light through or bounces light off a surface in order to measure the returned or transmitted light; used to determine correct camera exposure and ensure consistency of ink strength.

Density: A measure of the relative blackening of photographic images.

Direct-to-Plate (DTP): Digital imaging technology that allows composed pages to be output directly to printing plates rather than to film.

Dot Gain: The amount by which a given dot in a screened or process area increases in size from plate to ink on paper due to ink absorption, light, scattering and exposure accuracy. Highest at the midtone dot; typically 22-26%.

Dots per Inch (DPI): The measurement of resolution of a screen image or printed page.

Dot Spread: A defect in which dots print larger than they should, causing darker tones of color.

Dryer: Large, gas-fired oven through which the web passes in order to drive off solvents from the ink.

Duotone: A two-color halftone reproduction from a one-color photograph.

Emulsion: The light-sensitive coating on photographic materials.

Encapsulated Postscript File (EPS): The file format used to transfer PostScript image information from one program to another.

The file includes PostScript code and a low-resolution (PICT) representation of the image.

Exposure: The step in photographic processes during which light produces the image on a light-sensitive coating.

Festoon: The reservoir of paper held between the dancer and finger rollers on the rollstand for the press.

Fit: Printer's slang for registration.

File Preparation: Preflight and file management.

Files are downloaded and checked for missing files, graphics, fonts and color usage.

Filling-in: A condition in which ink fills the area between the halftone dots or the inside of reversed type.

Flap: Extra paper to allow a single-page insert to be bound into a saddle-stitch publication. A minimum 4" flap is needed on saddle-stitch inserts.

Flush Left: Type that lines up vertically on the left.

Flush Right: Type that lines up vertically on the right.

Flying Paster: An automatic pasting device that splices a new roll of paper onto an expiring roll without stopping the press.

Folio: Page number.

Font: The characters that are available for a given typeface.

Foot: The base of a publication.

Foot Trim: The portion of the paper at the bottom of the magazine that is removed in the binding process.

Form: An assembly of pages and other images for printing.

Form Roller: Any of the ink or water rollers in the press, which are in contact with the plate.

For Position Only (FPO): Files meant to show placement, but not intended as reproducible copy.

Fountain Solution: Water-based solution used in offset printing to keep the non-image areas of the printing plate free of ink.

Free sheet: Higher grade of paper, free of any visible wood pulp.

Fuji Color Proof: Color proof using process-color substrate laminated to a paper carrier sheet.

Fulfillment Due Date: Four days from the CMD. All quantity and distribution information is due at this time. Supplied mail labels and postage are also due.

Full Revise: When 20% of the the magazine's pages have corrections.

Gang: To group several items to be exposed at the same time for printing, photography or color separation.

Ghost: A printing condition in which an image becomes fainter than intended because of its position relative to another image with conflicting ink demands.

Grain: The direction of the fibers that corresponds to the direction the paper was made.

Grater Roller: Metal roller above the press used to carry the printed web to the dryer, covered with thousands of small spikes to minimize contact between the roller and the still-wet web.

Gray Scale: A strip of standard gray tones, ranging from white to black, placed at the side of original copy during photography to measure tonal range and contrast.

Grind-off: The 1/8" portion along the spine of perfect-bind signatures that will be "ground off" during the binding process.

Gripper Edge (or lead edge): The leading edge of paper as it passes through a printing press.

Grippers: Equipment used to help feed the signatures from the pockets of the saddle stitcher.

Groundwood: Paper in which the fibers of groundwood pulp used in the manufacturing process are visible, providing a greater degree of opacity.

Gussetting: Wrinkles emanating from a common point, as when many sheets are folded at right angles.

Gutter: The blank space or inner margin from printing area to binding.

Hairline: The finest rule that can be reproduced in printing.

Halftone: The process or result of scanning a photograph, slide, transparency or other continuous-tone artwork on the scanner to reproduce the original tonal characteristics with a series of various-sized dots.

Halftone Screen: A deterministic pattern of dots of different sizes used to represent tonal densities in an image.

Handwork: Additional work needed to produce a desired effect.

Head: Top of the publication.

Head Trim: The portion of paper that is removed from the top of the magazine during the binding process.

Hickies: Small halos in the printed sheet .05" to .25" in diameter. These small rings are due to foreign material on the plate or blanket.

High Folio Lip: 1/4" extra material on the back of the page or pages of an insert or signature needed on the saddle stitcher to pull open the piece. "High folio" is a reference to higher page numbers in the back of the publication.

Hinged Cover: Perfect-bind option whereby the front and back covers are glued not only along the spine, but 1/8" on either side of the spine as well.

Holdout: A paper attribute that describes the paper's ability to hold the ink on the surface, as opposed to absorbing it excessively, which would result in muddied tones and extra dot gain.

HP (Hewlett Packard) Proof: The 4/C digital proof supplied by our printer; the HP proof replaced the dylux proof for checking your files before plates are output.

Image Manipulation: Any alteration or special effect performed on an original scan.

Imagesetter: A device that outputs type, line art and photos in position.

Imposition: The arrangment of pages in a press form to ensure the correct page order after the printed sheet is folded and trimmed.

Impression: A single revolution of the printing cylinder; the pressure of the type, plate or blanket as it comes in contact with the paper.

Indicia: Postal information that must be printed on presorted Standard publications.

Infeed: An ancillary device on a web press, located between the rollstand and the first unit, used to control the tension of the incoming web.

Ink Fountain: The device on a printing press that stores and supplies ink to the inking rollers.

Ink Jet Labels: The process of spraying the address information on the cover of a magazine without a paper or Cheshire label.

In Line: Two or more pages running one behind the other around the cylinder on the same form.

In-Line Conflict: Situation created when two pages running in line with one another have different inking requirements.

Insert: A piece to be bound or blown into a magazine.

Interleaf: Term applied to the use of two different basis weights of paper for each of the two webs printing as one signature (ex. 70#/50#).

Jaws: A part of the web folder, consisting of a stationary anvil and a moveable plate that creates the spine fold.

Jog: To align sheets of paper into a compact pile.

Knockout: Technique that prints overlapping objects without mixing inks (opposite of overprinting).

Lasers: Proofs to evaluate the positioning of all elements on a page before plates are made.

Late Copy: Editorial or ad material that does not arrive with the job on Day 1.

Lip: Extra paper on one end of an insert or signature for the grippers of the binder to grasp.

Live Copy: Art and type to be used in a publication (printing standard, live copy should be kept 3/16" from the trim).

Mail Drop Date: The date our printer expects to take labeled magazines to the post office.

Make Ready: All time and materials required at a machine prior to the time when savable materials are produced.

Markup: Marking specifications or instructions on copy.

Matchprint: Registered trademark of the 3M Corp. for its laminated color-proofing system.

Match Up: To align the two parts of a piece of artwork that run on two sequential pages.

Matte Finish: Flat or dull finish, without gloss or luster.

Midtone: Tonal values of a picture midway between the highlight and the shadow (40% to 60% dot).

Moire: The undesirable screen pattern caused by incorrect screen angles of overprinting halftones.

Negative: A sheet of photographic film that, after exposure and processing, is opaque where the original was clear and clear where the original was opaque.

Offset: The process of using an intermediate blanket cylinder to transfer an image from the plate to the paper. Short for offset lithography.

Opacity: The extent to which "see through" is prevented by blocking light from one side of a sheet of paper to the other.

Open Head: Press folding method in which the signatures are delivered with the pages unattached or loose at the heads.

Open Prepress Interface (OPI): A set of PostScript language comments developed by Aldus Corp. for defining and specifying the placement of high-resolution images.

Outsert: A printed piece that is included in a polybag, but not inside the magazine.

Outside Edge: The edge of a publication on the side that opens.

Oven: See dryer.

Overprint: To print one process color over another color, thus producing a third color.

Overprinting: Printing over an area that already has been printed.

Overrun: Extra copies of a portion of a publication requested by the client (i.e., to overrun copies of one or more signatures and bind separately from the magazine).

Pagination: The order of the page numbers in a signature or book. If all page numbers are in the correct order, the book is said to paginate.

Pantone Matching System (PMS): Color charts that contain preprinted color patches of specially blended inks; used to identify, display and/or communicate specific colors.

Perfect-Bind: Binding method whereby the binding edge (backbone) is ground off and a quick-setting glue applied to affix the cover.

Pica: Printer's unit of measurement, primarily in typesetting. One pica equals 1/6".

Picking: The pulling loose of paper surface fibers during printing; occurs when the pulling force of the ink is greater than the surface strength of the paper.

Pick-up Ad: An ad that must be picked up from a previous issue to run in a current issue.

Plate: The image carrier used for printing on the press.

Pocket: A unit on a bindery or mail machine that feeds inserts, signatures or the magazine.

Polybagging: The process of wrapping a magazine, along with any outserts, in a protective, mailable polybag.

Precollate or Pregather: The partial assembly of a publication, required when the total number of signatures and inserts exceeds the number of pockets on the bindery line or when the client requests a special prestitch for a pull-out section. (This can add time to your schedule.)

Preflight: Preliminary checking of the files for bleeds, trapping, color builds, trim size and font usage.

Presorted List: Labels that have been sorted to achieve the maximum allowable postal discount to reduce costs.

Press Observation: The presence of the client when his/her job runs on press.

Pressure-Sensitive Labels: Mail labels printed on a "peel off" stock that can be reaffixed to an order form by the subscriber.

Printer's Error (PE): Errors found that were caused by the printer.

Printing Plate: An intermediate image carrier used on a printing press to transfer the image from a digital file to the substrate.

Process Colors: The four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) that are combined to print a wide range of colors.

Processor: Any device for developing photographic images on plates or proofs.

Pushout: See Creep.

Quantity: The minimum number of magazines that should be printed.

Raster Image Processor (RIP): A software program or computer that determines what value each pixel of a final-output page bitmap should have, based on commands from the page description language.

Register: The precise positioning of two or more images to combine them into a single image in exact alignment.

Register Mark: Crosses or similar devices applied to original copy prior to photography; used for positioning negatives in register.

Rollstand: Device used to control unreeling of paper to the press. The rollstand controls position, tension and speed of the paper. Splices are made here.

Rotary Pocket: A pocket that feeds items onto the chain by rotary action.

Rotation: The order in which inks are applied to the paper.

Rule: A line used for a variety of effects, including boxes, borders, underlining, etc.

Running Foot: Text that repeats itself on the bottom of each page (i.e., issue and title).

Saddle-Stitch: Binding method whereby the middle fold of the publication or insert is opened up and stapled.

Scanner: An electronic device whereby photographs, slides, transparencies or other continuous-tone artwork are converted in a contone mode and stored for placement in an electronic file.

Score: To impress or indent a mark with a rule in the paper to make folding easier.

Screen: An area broken up into dots to print gradations of a solid.

Screen Angles: The position of the rows of halftone dots relative to degrees of a circle. When preparing plates for reproduction, the dots of each process color are placed at a distinct and different angle to one another to help avoid moiré patterns.

Second Pass: A second collation on the bindery line necessitated by having more signatures and inserts than the line has pockets.

Self-Cover: A publication that does not have a separate 4-page cover but uses the pages from an 8- or 16-page signature to form the cover.

Sheeter: A device on the front end of a web press for cutting the web into sheets.

Show-Through: The condition in which the printing on the reverse side of a sheet can be seen through the sheet under normal lighting conditions.

Shuttle Pocket: A pocket that places items on the chain through a reciprocating (back-and-forth) action.

Signature: A printed sheet after it has been folded (i.e., 4-page, 8-page, 16-page).

Specifications: Detailed description of desired measurements, materials, methods, etc.; range of acceptable measurements.

Spine: The back of a bound book connecting the two covers.

Spread: Two facing pages in a publication.

Stitcher Head: That part of the saddle stitcher that actually forms and inserts the stitch.

STET: A proofreader's mark, indicating copy marked for correction should stand as is.

Stock: Synonym for paper.

Stripping: The positioning of negatives on a flat surface to compose a page or layout for platemaking.

SWOP: Acronym for Specifications for Web Offset Publications; industry-adopted specifications to help ensure greater consistency in graphic reproduction.

Tack: In printing inks, the property of cohesion between particles; the pulling power (stickiness) or separation force of ink.

Tagged Image File Format (TIFF): A file format for exchanging bitmapped images (usually scans) between two applications.

Tear Sheet: A magazine with the binding edges trimmed off to provide loose pages.

Tick; Tick Marks: Small positioning indicators on the plate or printed sheet.

Tip-on: An insert designed to be glued to the signature. Saddle-stitch tip-ons glue to the front of a signature; perfect-bind tip-ons glue to the back of the signature.

Tipper: A machine for gluing inserts onto the front or back of a signature.

Tolerance: The total acceptable range of a set of specifications.

Trap: Minor area of overlap between two or more objects, colors or negatives where they meet.

Trim: The paper on the top, bottom and outside edges of a publication.

Trim Size: The finished or trimmed size of the publication.

Typeface: A specific design in which various sizes and weights of type are available.

Unit: One section of the press, consisting of two printing couples (two plates, two blankets).

UPC Code: A bar code printed on some magazine covers, usually for use on newsstand publications.

Varnish: A thin protective coating applied to a printed sheet for protection or appearance.

Wash-up: The process of cleaning the rollers, plates and, sometimes, the ink fountains of a press.

Web: A roll of paper used in web printing.

Web Guide: Ancillary device on the web presses used to continuously make minor corrections in web position.

Weight: The variation of a letter form (for example: light, regular, bold).

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