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Printing Terminology

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Accordion fold: A term for two or more parallel folds that result in the sheet opening like a fan. Accordion folds are used on products such as brochures and maps.

Acetate: A transparent type of plastic. The term is often used to refer to a sheet made of this plastic that can be used for overhead transparencies. It can also be used as an overlay and placed over artwork to add comments or instructions.

Achromatic: Having no color (black, white and gray).

Acid-free paper: Paper containing no acidity or acid producing chemicals. Acid free paper degrades less over time than acidic papers.

Additive color: Using the three primary colors of light (red, green and blue) and adding them in combinations to form colored images as viewed on computer and video monitors.

Adhesive binding: A method of holding the pages of a publication together by applying an adhesive to the spine of the gathered pages. Also called perfect binding.

Against the grain: Perpendicular to the grain direction of fibers in a sheet of paper.

Alias: A pointer file that actually represents another file. This word is only used on Macintosh computers. On Windows systems, the same pointer file is referred to as a ‘shortcut’.

Alignment: The condition of type and or art materials as they level up on a horizontal or vertical line. Also the way text is positioned within the page margins.

Antique finish: A finish that gives the paper a natural rough surface. This finish is created by pressures being reduced when running on the paper machines and with little or no calendaring being done.

Aqueous coating: A fast-drying, water-based, protective coating which is applied in-line on press to attain a selection of finishes, Dull, Satin and Gloss. Improves durability and gloss.

Aspect ratio: The ratio of the height to the width of a screen or an object like an image, a logo or a page.

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Backing up: Printing the reverse side of a printed sheet. Or making a duplicate of data as a precaution against losing the original files.

Banding: Halftones and screen tints, output by imagesetters or laser printers, sometimes get a defect in them where parallel streaks (a stair steps effect) appear in the dot pattern.

Bar code: A pattern of vertical lines of varying thickness that identify a product, conforming to the Universal Product Code (UPC).

Baseline: In typesetting, an imaginary line on which the bottom of letters rest. The descenders, such as the tail on y and g, fall below the baseline.

Basis weight: Weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to the basic size for its grade.

Bed: The steel flat table of a cylinder printing press upon which the type sits during the printing process.

Bellyband: A band or strip of paper that is wrapped around the cover of a magazine. The band is glued together at the back and carries advertising.

Bind: To fasten sheets or signatures with wire, thread, glue or by other means.

Bindery: The finishing department of a print shop or firm specializing in finishing printed products. The product is cut from the parent sheet. Any number of functions can be done at this stage such as folding, die-cutting, gluing, drilling, shrink wrapping, padding, stitching or round cornering.

Bit depth: The number of bits used to represent each element in an image. A bit depth of 8 means that 256 colors or gray levels are used for every pixel.

Bitmap: A digital image that uses a grid of picture elements (pixels). Every pixel uses a number of bits to determine its color. A 1 bit bitmap only contains black-and-white pixels, a 24 bit bitmap is a picture that can contain up to 16 million different colors.

Blanket: The thick rubber mat on a printing press that transfers ink from the plate to paper.

Blanket cylinder: The cylinder on a press that is used to transfer the image from the inked litho plate to the paper. This cylinder is covered with a rubber sheet, called the blanket. It prevents wear to the litho plate coming into contact with the paper.

Bleed: Printed colors that extend past the edge of a page.

Blueline (proof): A monochrome proof that is generated from film and used to check the layout and positioning of pages on a signature. The blue color was originally chosen to prevent reproduction or use for something besides a proof.

Brightness: Refers to the percent of light reflected back from a sheet of paper as measured by a light meter reading. Contrast is reduced and highlights are not as strong when paper with a lower brightness is used for a printed piece.

Bulk mail: A term that generally refers to large quantities of First Class or advertising mail that are given reduced rates of postage. The rates are usually discounted from the single-piece mail rates because the mailer is required to prepare the bulk mail to meet certain criteria, such as sorting the bulk mailings according to ZIP code.

Business Reply Mail (BRM): Reply mail pieces that meet all postal requirements for Business Reply Mail. The recipient can send the reply mail back to the sender without applying postage. Postage is paid by the sender when the mail piece is returned.

Business Return Envelope (BRE): A postage paid return envelope which is supplied to a customer so that forms or information can be mailed back to the company.

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C1S: Acronym for coated one sided paper.

Calibration: The process of adjusting a device or process to match certain criteria. This is usually done by measuring the devices’ deviation from standard values and then, during operation of the device, applying values to compensate the deviation. In prepress, in particular, calibration is the fine-tuning of scanners, monitors, printers and imagesetters in order to increase the accuracy of their output.

Calibration bar: A strip of tones used to check printing quality on proofs or printed sheets.

Caliper: The thickness of a single sheet of paper, expressed in units of thousandths of an inch.

Camera-ready art or camera-ready copy: Original matter from which reproduction is eventually made, complete with all necessary guide marks. Text and graphic assembled in position, ready to be photographed for film assembly.

Carbonless: Paper coated with chemicals and dye which will produce copies without carbon paper. Also called NCR (No Carbon Required).

C-fold: A fold where a three panel piece has both side sections folded inward, one on top of the other. Each section is approximately 1/3 the length of the piece. Also known as a letter-fold or tri-fold.

CMYK: Subtractive primary colors used for four-color process printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Coalescence: In inkjet printing coalescence is an image defect which causes images to appear blotchy or ‘puddled’, resulting in non-uniformity in solid fill areas.

Coated stock: Any paper that has a mineral coating applied after the paper is made, giving the paper a smoother finish.

Coating tower: A special unit at the end of the press used to apply Aqueous and UV coatings.

Collate: Assembling individual sheets together in a specific order to produce a complete set.

Color bar: A quality control term regarding the spots of ink color on the tail of a sheet.

Color gamut: The entire range of colors available on a particular device such as a monitor or printer. Each color space has its own limitations.

Color separation: The process by which original artwork is separated into individual CMYK color components for printing.

Color space: The use of a color space model to represent color as data. RGB or CMYK are the most commonly used color spaces.

Compression: Reducing the size of a file for faster transmission or more compact storage of data. It achieves this by the removal of redundant information.

Concertina fold: A method of folding in which each fold opens in the opposite direction to its neighbor, giving a concertina or pleated effect.

Contrast: The relation between the lightest and the darkest areas of an image.

Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM): A printed reply mail piece provided by the sender for the purpose of making it more convenient for the recipient to return the response. Postage is paid by the recipient.

Coverage: The amount of ink printed on a sheet. Generally indicated by percentage.

Cover stock or card stock: A stiff heavyweight paper used when durability is a concern.

Creep: Result of added thickness of folded sheets being behind one another in a folded signature. Outer edges of sheets creep away from back most fold as more folded sheets are inserted inside the middle. It is also called shingling.

Crop: To eliminate a portion of the art or copy as indicated by crop marks.

Crop mark: Markings (usually thin lines) that show where a page or image has to be trimmed. 

Crossover: An image that extends across two facing pages, crossing over the gutter or binding. Also referred to as bridge, gutter jump and gutter bleed.

Curl: Paper can curl because of difference in coatings on opposite sides of a sheet, or due to absorption of moisture. The concave side of a sheet is called the curl side.

Cutting die: Sharp edged device, usually made of steel, to cut paper, cardboard, etc., on a printing press.

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Dagger: A footnote reference that is used after the asterisk has been used.

Deboss: An impression made by impacting the front of the paper stock or substrate with excessive pressure, resulting in a sunken appearance of an image or character that moves away from view and into the stock.

Densitometer: A quality control device to measure the density of printing ink.

Density: The degree of color or darkness of an image or photograph. The ink film thickness of any given color.

Die cutting: The main method or standard means of die cutting involves the use of metal dies to give paper or substrate products specific shapes or designs.

Diffusion: The scattering of light by reflection or transmission.

Digital press: A printing press that receives its image directly from a computer file. The traditional method of using film and conventional plates is eliminated.

Direct mail: Used to advertise a product or service offered by a company. The objective is to make an offer to the recipient and encourage a response to the offer.

Dispersion: Transparent coating that is applied to print for protection and/or visual appeal. Dispersion lacquers can add a matt, semi-matt, glossy or even pearl luster effect.

Dot: An element of halftones. Using a loupe you will see that printed pictures are made of many dots.

Dot gain or spread: A term used to explain the difference in size between the dot on the printing plate vs the paper.

Dots per inch (DPI): The resolution of an imaging device. i.e. Number of dots of ink a desktop printer prints per line per inch.

Double bump or double hit: Printing the black twice to make that color more dense. This can be an alternative to using rich black.

Double parallel fold: A type of fold where the piece is folded in half and then folded in half again. The folds are parallel to each other. Also known as a quarter fold.

Draw down: A sample of ink and paper used to evaluate ink colors.

Driver: Software that aids the transfer of information between the computer and the peripheral controlled by the software program. In publishing, the most common are the printer drivers.

Drop cap: The large capital letter on the first letter of the first word of a paragraph that is aligned at the top with the rest of the type and is typeset at a size, at least, double the paragraph type size. A drop cap is set to drop down through two or more lines of text such that the remaining type must be set around it.

Drop shadow: A shadow image placed strategically behind an image or piece of text to create the effect of the object lifting off the page.

Drum scanner: A piece of equipment on which the original transparency is wrapped around a plastic cylinder, used in the making of color separations.

Dull finish: Any matte finished paper.

Duotone: An image that contains shades of two different colors. In most cases, these two colors are black and a spot color such as a Pantone color. Sometimes duotones are printed using two black inks to increase the detail and saturation of the image. Applications like Photoshop create a duotone by applying two different tone curves to a gray-scale image.

Duplex: A printer that prints both sides of a sheet simultaneously.

Dye: A substance used to color materials or liquids (such as ink).

Dylux proof: A special type of photosensitive paper, developed by DuPont, which is sensitized on two sides and used to make blueline proofs of press negatives.

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E-commerce (Electronic Commerce): Buying and selling goods and services and paying for them electronically over the Internet.

EDM (Electronic Document Management): The creation, storage, control and maintenance of documents is managed by EDM software. Some of the requirements include the following functions: check-in/check-out, version control, full text retrieval, multi-level security and management functions like archiving.

Eggshell finish: Generally refers to a book grade of paper that has a fairly rough finish that resembles the surface of an egg.

Emboss: Pressing an image into paper so that it will create a raised relief.

Em dash: A dash the width of one em, equal to two zeros or three dashes. They are used to separate parenthetical phrases within a sentence.

Em space: A space an "em" wide, equal to the width of two zeros.

Emulsion: Light sensitive coating found on printing plates. The emulsion that is imaged by the plate setter becomes permanent and will attract ink. The rest of the emulsion washes off in the plate processor.

En dash: A dash the width of one en, or equal to the size of a zero. They are used to represent ''to'' or ''through'' in numerical ranges such as 1-9.

En space: A space an "en" wide, equal to the width of one zero.

Estimate: A price that gives the customer the cost to produce a product according to the specifications that have been supplied.

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Face: The opening edge, which is opposite of the spine, of a bound publication.

Fanfold: A term used to describe the method of folding continuous sheets into a stack.

Feathering: When ink spreads as it soaks into the paper, causing the image to lose its sharpness.

Felt finish: A soft texture on uncoated paper that is created during the paper-making process with either a felt covered roller or with a rubber roller with a felt pattern that creates the finish.

Felt side: The top side of the paper as it is formed on the wire as it goes through the paper machine. It is the side recommended for the best printing results.

Fiber: Thread-like particles used in making wood pulps.

File server: A computer storage device that stores files which users on a network are linked to and have access.

File transfer protocol (FTP): A TCP/IP protocol that is commonly used for transferring files from computer to computer.

Final proof: The last proof showing that is reviewed, approved and signed and then sent to the printer.

Finish: The surface characteristics of paper stock, such as luster or texture which differs from grade to grade. Different finishes have varying degree of printability, smoothness and ink receptivity.

Finished size: The size of a printed product after all production operations have been completed.

First Class Mail: A mail class that includes written or typed matter, actual and personal correspondence, statements and bills and any other matter that is sealed or closed in some manner that does not allow inspection. Anything mailable can be sent First Class.

Flat mailer: An insertion machine which accommodate 9" x 12" and 10" x 13" envelopes only.

Flat size: The size of a printed product after printing and trimming but before any finishing operations that affect its size, such as folding.

Flooding: Printing an entire sheet with ink or varnish.

Fluorescent inks: Inks containing fluorescent pigments which makes them brighter and more opaque than the traditional inks.

Fluorescent papers: Papers that have had fluorescent dyes added when they were manufactured. The fluorescent dyes produce a brilliance that appears brighter in natural daylight.

Foil stamping: Using a die to place a metallic or pigmented image on paper.

Folding dummy: A sample mockup that shows page sequence, signature arrangement, orientation, binding edge and side edges.

Fold marks: Marks printed on a page to show where the folds are to be placed.

Folio: A sheet folded once to make two leaves or four pages or a page number.

Four-color-process: The process of combining four basic colors to create a printed color picture or colors composed from the basic four colors. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK).

Four-panel fold: A sheet folded in half, creating four panels (the front and back of the two halves). It is also referred to as a fly fold.

French fold: A sheet which has been printed on one side only and then folded twice in right angles to form a four page uncut section.

Fulfillment: The storing and releasing of customer materials. Items are stored and records are maintained on the inventory levels. Items are pulled from stock and release upon customer's request. Also referred to as "Pick and Pack".

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Gamut: The range of colors that a device can reproduce or capture. The human eye has the widest gamut, printing presses have a far narrower gamut.

Gatefold: When both sides of an oversize page fold into the gutter in overlapping layers.

Ghosting: An image which appears as a lighter area on a subsequent print due to local blanket depressions from previous image areas on a letterpress rotary machine as well as on an offset press.

Glassine: A strong transparent paper.

Global correction: A color correction technique that is applied to an entire image area. While global correction makes the same correction everywhere in the image, local color correction is only applied to a given area of the image that is localized through a mask.

Gloss finish: A coating on paper that provides a higher reflection of light which results in a shiny appearance. Gloss coatings reduce ink absorption, which allows excellent contrast and color definition.

Gloss ink: Quick drying oil based inks with low penetration qualities, used on coated stock.

Gloss paper: Paper with a gloss finish, gloss paper is usually fairly inexpensive.

Glyph: A character shape or a graphic symbol that provides the appearance or form for a character. A glyph is the visual representation of a character.

Gradient: A gradual changing of screen densities which creates a blending from light to dark or dark to light.

Grain: The direction in which the paper fiber lies.

Graphics Interchange Format (GIF): One of the two most popular file formats for graphics on the Internet, the other being JPEG. It is popular because it reduces the file size of the image. It supports black and white, color and transparency. It is best suited for images containing large areas of the same color.

Grippers: The metal fingers on a printing press that holds the paper as it passes through the press.

Grams per Square Meter (GSM): A unit of measurement for paper weight.

Gutter: The inside space between pages, usually the inside margin toward the back or binding edge of a book is meant but for impositioning programs any space between pages is a gutter.

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Hairline: The thinnest possible line or space that is visible.

Halftone: Converting a continuous tone to dots for printing. Where continuous tone imagery contains an infinite range of colors or greys, the halftone process reduces visual reproductions to a binary image that is printed with only one color of ink.

Halo: An undesirable outline around the edge of a printed image. Or an outline of adhesive around the outside edges of a label caused by oozing of the adhesive or label shrinkage.

Hard copy: The printed output of an image that is displayed on a monitor. It may be output on paper or film and is used as a double check to spot errors before processing.

Hard proof: A color proof made on a substrate directly from the stored pixel data. When made directly from stored data, the hard proof is usually referred to as DDCP, where as a video monitor proof is called a soft proof.

Hard return: Return codes in word processing or layout applications that are mandatory, such as returns at the end of paragraphs.

Hexachrome: A color model which uses six primary colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, orange, green and black) to simulate a full range of colors. Hexachrome has a much wider gamut than traditional CMYK. This makes it useful for jobs that require high color fidelity or that contain lots of Pantone spot colors that have to be matched as accurately as possible.

Hexadecimal (hex): A number system with a base of 16. 0-9 and A-F are used to represent the digits.

Hickey: A spot or imperfection in printing caused by dirt or hardened specks of ink. The problem is most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage. A hickey is also called a bulls eye or a fish eye.

Hot spot: A printing defect caused when a piece of dirt or an air bubble caused incomplete drawdown during platemaking, leaving an area of weak ink coverage or visible dot gain.

House sheet or stock: A type of paper that a printer keeps on hand in his shop.

Hue: The attribute of color that designates its dominant wave-length and distinguishes it from other colors.

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ICC profile: A set of data that characterizes a color input or output device according to standards published by the International Color Consortium (ICC). It allows for reproducible representations of color, in both analog and digital representations.

Illustrator: A vector graphics creation software developed by Adobe.

Imposition: One of the fundamental steps in the prepress printing process. It consists in the arrangement of the printed product’s pages on the printer’s sheet, in order to obtain faster printing, simplified binding and no waste of paper.

Impression: Putting an image on paper. The printing plate transfers the image to the printing blanket. When paper is pressed against the blanket, ink is transferred to the paper.

Imprint: Adding copy to a previously printed page.

InDesign: A desktop publishing software application produced by Adobe Systems. It can be used to create works such as posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers and books.

Indexed color: A color system in which a limited number of colors are used. These colors are defined in a lookup table of colors. Color specified from a 24-bit palette but displayed in an 8-bit system is indexed color.

Indicia: Postal information place on a printed product.

Ink fountain: The reservoir on a printing press that holds the ink. A series of ink keys allows the press operator to meter the proper amount of ink into the roller train.

Ink jet: A type of computer printer that reproduces a digital image by propelling variably sized droplets of ink onto a page. In our mailroom, Ink jet technology is used to print variable data fields onto a mail piece from a mail list. Name, address, city, state, zip code, barcode and indicia are different on each piece as it passes though the machine.

Inserter: Mailing equipment which is used for the insertion of letters and other mail pieces into envelopes.

Interlaced GIF: A graphic in GIF format that is gradually displayed in a Web browser, appearing blocky at first, then more and more detailed as it continues downloading.

Iridescent paper: A coated stock finished in mother-of-pearl.

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Jacket: The protective paper cover of a hardbound book. It is sometimes called a ‘dust cover’ or ‘dust jacket’.

Job jacket: An electronic file format created by Quark for use in their layout application QuarkXPress. A job jacket contains instructions needed to properly handle and print a file. This includes specs such as required fonts, document paper size and imposition.

Job number: A number assigned to a printing project used for record keeping and job tracking. Also used to retrieve old jobs for reprints or reworking by customer.

Job tracking: In print production, the act of recording the whereabouts of all components of each job and the production time used for each function.

Jogger: Vibrating, sloping platform that evens up the edges of stacks of paper.

JPEG (Joint Photograph Experts Group): An image file format most often used to store photographs in a digital format that is compressed to reduce the size of the file.

JPEG 2000: A new standard image file format (.JP2) that allows ultra-high image compression without sacrificing image quality. It uses state-of-the-art wavelet techniques that result in advanced system-level functionality and better compression capabilities.

Justification: The alignment of text to the right or left margins. Text is said to be left (right) justified if each line begins (ends) at the left (right) margin. Text can be aligned to both the right and left margins, but it is necessary to insert extra space between words and rarely between characters.

Justified type: Text or type that is in alignment with the right and left margins.

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Kerning: To increase or decrease the spacing between letters to improve the readability of the word.

Keyline: An outline drawing on tissue paper laid over the mechanical to show the placement, content and approximate size of an illustration on an art board.

Key: Another name for the black printer. When letterpress was the popular printing method, black was printed first. The other colors were then aligned visually to the black image, which was considered the key color. The “K” in CMYK stands for key.

Kilobyte: K, Kb or KB. A digital information unit of measure that equals 1024 bytes.

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

Knife folder: In finishing a machine that is used to fold press sheets.

Knockout: An opening, left in a printed area, in which a figure or photograph may be placed. Reversing type or art out of the background so that when the type or art is printed in that area it will not interfere with the color that is trying to be achieved.

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LAB: A color space, a system for describing, measuring and controlling color using hue, luminance and brightness as the 3 key parameters.

Lacquer: A clear gloss coating applied to printed material for strength, appearance and protection.

Laid finish: A laid finish has the appearance of translucent lines running horizontally and vertically in the paper. It is produced during the papermaking process with a special roller that creates the pattern in the wet paper.

Laid paper: A parallel lined paper that has a handmade look, usually used for high quality stationery.

Laminate: A thin transparent plastic coating applied to paper or board for protection and to give it a glossy finish.

Landscape: Describes a horizontal orientation of a page format, as opposed to portrait, which is a vertical orientation.

Laser printer: A printer that uses a laser beam to create an image on a drum by the use of electrostatic printing technology; the image is created from digital files.

Lay edge: Edge of a sheet of paper being fed into a printing press.

Leading: A typography term that refers to the space between lines of type. It is also known as “line spacing” and is generally measured as the distance from one baseline of type to the next.

Leaf: One sheet of paper in a publication such as a book or magazine. Each side of a leaf is one page.

Legal size: A paper size measuring 8-1/2 inches by 14 inches, which corresponds to the standard size of legal briefs.

Legibility: The quality of typeface affecting the speed of perception – not to be confused with readability.

Lenticular printing: A printing technique that creates animation by taking 2 or more images and then interlacing the images using vertical strips from each image. This image is printed and a lenticular sheet is placed on top, which is a clear plastic corrugated sheet. As you move left and right in front of the printed result, you can see the different images.

Letter-fold: A fold where a three panel piece has both side sections folded inward, one on top of the other. Each section is approximately 1/3 the length of the piece. Also known as a C-fold, tri-fold, barrel fold or wrap around fold.

Letterpress: A printing method in which the wrong reading image or type is raised above the surface of the printing plate. The plate is then inked and pressed directly onto the paper, resulting in a right reading image.

Letter size: A paper size measuring 8-1/2 inches by 11 inches, commonly used as home or office stationery.

Ligature: A single glyph (character shape) designed to be used in place of a particular sequence of two (or more) glyphs.

Light table: A glass topped table or surface which has a light underneath so that the user can see through layers of paper or a negative. It can also be used for tracing or mechanical page layout.

Line art: In traditional graphic arts, line art refers to pictures that use no halftones techniques and no midtones, just black and white.

Linen: A paper that emulates the look and texture of linen cloth.

Linen finish: A paper finish that resembles linen cloth which is usually produced after the papermaking process as an offline embossing process.

Line screen: A transparent screen which has been etched with fine lines. It is used to convert a picture or photograph into a halftone dot pattern so that it can be printed.

Lines per inch: The number of rows of dots per inch in a halftone.

List broker: An individual or company that specializes in handling the selection of an appropriate mailing list for the mailer to buy or rent.

List criteria: The specifications of a list that differentiates one from the other. The specifications are what categorize the names for the list.

Lithography: A term describing the printing process where the image area and the non-image area co-exist on the same plane. Most lithography is offset lithography in which the image is transferred from the plate to a rubber blanket and then printed (offset) from the blanket onto the paper.

Live area: The area on a page where you can safely place body copy or other important information.

Logo: A personalized graphic representation or symbol of a company, a product, a trademark, abbreviation, etc.. A logo is often uniquely designed for ready recognition.

Logotype: A text-only logo.

Lorem Ipsum: Greek copy or dummy text used as a placeholder for copy, it comes from a section of The Extremes of Good and Evil by Cicero.

Lossless compression: A method of compressing data that rearranges the data so that it is more compact and allows it to be decompressed without loosing any information. There is a distinct limit to the amount of compression that can be achieved.

Lossy compression: A method of compressing data by discarding repetitive and useless information to decrease the file size. The discarded data is lost and can not be brought back.

Low resolution: The computer screen, image, or printed page that lacks sharp focus or fine detail, is grainy or pixilated.

Loupe: A magnifying glass used to review a printed image, plate and position film.

Luminosity: A value corresponding to the brightness of color.

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Machinable mail: Any mail that can be placed through the U.S. Postal Service's automated mail processing system must meet certain requirements for size, weight and material before being classified as "machinable."

Makeready: All the activities required to prepare a press for printing. Loading paper, adjusting the press for the sheet size, mounting the plates on the press and filling the ink fountains.

Manifold: A term meaning "multiple parts" in the forms industry.

Margin: The non printed areas around the image area of a page.

Mask: Using an opaque material to block out an area of an image or negative to prevent light exposure in that area.

Matching: The process of assembling a unique piece with the mail package that contains a matching unique piece. Such as a personalized letter having to be matched with the appropriately addressed envelope.

Matte finish: A coated paper finish that is flat, not shiny like a gloss, but still keeps much of the ink from being absorbed by the paper and produces an excellent image.

Matte paper: Paper with a matte finish. A matte paper is good for copy with a lot of text because the low gloss makes it easier to read.

Megabyte (MB): One million bytes.

Megapixel: A reference to an image with more than one million pixels.

Merge: The process of combining several lists to make one list and then sorting, usually by ZIP Code.

Metallic ink: Printing inks which produce a gold, silver or bronze effect.

Metameric colors: Colors that are affected by different lighting conditions, resulting in their hue appearing different under one lighting condition and then looking similar under another.

Micrometer: Instrument used to measure the thickness of different papers.

Microprinting: Microprinting is a line of text that is so small that it appears as a solid or screened line. A low powered magnifying glass is needed to verify that it is text.

Midtone: The tonal values of an image that fall halfway between the highlight and shadow areas of the halftone, generally created by dots of 30% to 70% ink coverage. Also referred to as middle tones.

Mil: A unit of measure equal to one thousandth of an inch (0.001 inch).

Mock-up: A rough visual of how a finished document will appear.

Moiré: Occurs when screen angles are wrong causing odd patterns in photographs.

Monochrome: Used to describe an image printed in a single ink color.

Mottle: Spotty or uneven ink absorption.

Mullen testing: A specific test of tensile paper strength; an important factor if web presses are used for printing.

M weight: The actual weight of 1000 sheets of any given size of paper.

Mylar: A clear polyester film developed by DuPont. It is used for many purposes, such as film positives, for reinforcement purposes and as overlays.

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Native file: The file that was originally used to create a document.

NCOA (National Change of Address System): A system provided for a fee by the U.S. Postal Service that enable organizations sending mail to compare their addresses with those recorded on the NCOA system in order to identify incorrect addresses and make corrections prior to the mailing.

Negative space: The space between elements in a composition, sometimes referred to as white space. In page layout negative space refers to the parts of the page that are not occupied by type or graphics.

Nesting: Embedding one element inside another, for instance a nested table can consist of a table that is embedded in another table.

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Oblong: Books, catalogs, etc. that are bound on their shorter side; also referred to as album bound.

Offsetting: An unpleasant happening when the images of freshly printed sheets transfer images to each other.

Offset paper: Term for uncoated book paper.

Offset printing: The transfer of an inked image from a plate to a blanket cylinder, which in turn transfers the image to the printing material as it passes between the blanket and the impression cylinder and pressure is applied. Also referred to as offset lithography.

Ok sheet: Final approved sheet before production begins.

On-demand: The printing of single copies or low volumes of a publication only after an order for them has been received. Also called ‘print on demand’ or POD. On-demand printing is typically associated with a digital printing process.

Opacity: The amount of show-through on a printed sheet. The more opacity or the thicker the paper the less show-through.

Opaque ink: Ink that does not allow the paper or other ink lying below it to show through.

Open end envelope: An envelope with an opening along its short dimension.

Open side envelope: An envelope with an opening along its longest dimension.

OpenType: OpenType is a recent font format that is jointly developed by Adobe and Microsoft. It resembles TrueType but can contain both TrueType and PostScript Type 1 font data.

Orientation: The direction in which text is on a page with respect to the long and short sides of the page. Choices are printing portrait, where text is running parallel to the short side of the page, or landscape, where text is running parallel to the long side of the page.

Orphan: The first line of a paragraph that ends up as the last line of a column or the last line of a paragraph that ends up as the first line of a column.

Outline font: A typeface that has characters that are defined by an outline of the edges rather than a solid character. Also a font used by the printer in which each character is geometrically described, differing from bitmapped fonts that are viewed on a monitor and stored as patterns of dots. Outline fonts are scalable and can be output at any size.

Output: Sending information from a computer to a printing device to produce a printed page, to a monitor to display an image or a speaker to produce sound.

Output device: Any device that can output information from a computer, generally a printer of some type but could also be a device such as a display screen or speakers.

Overlay: A transparent sheet used on multi-color artwork to show the separations of the different colors.

Overprinting: Printing an image over an area that has already been printed. In printing color process colors, one process color is printed over another creating a secondary color, which is a combination of two primary colors.

Overruns: The quantity of items produced over the quantity that was originally ordered. Also referred to as any paper spoiled in the process of printing.

Overset: Type set in excess of available space.

Overstrike: Creating a character that is not available in a typeface by superimposing two separate characters, e.g. creating $ using s and l.

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PageMaker: A software program used for page makeup, originally published by Aldus corporation, later a part of Adobe’s product range. PageMaker is no longer available but used to ship for Macintosh and Windows.

Pagination: The numbering of pages in consecutive order.

Palette: In a graphics file, these are the colors that make up a picture or drawing. In a computer program, it is an on-screen display containing the set of colors or patterns that are available.

Pallet: A platform made of wood, plastic or various materials. Products are stacked and stored on them and they are used to transport items by the use of a forklift or pallet jack. Also called skids.

Panel: One side of one section of a folded brochure or mailer. Each folded section has a front and back panel.

Pantograph: Security background, technique used to create patterns that are difficult or impossible to reproduce.

Pantone Matching System (PMS): A system of formulated ink colors used for communicating color.

Paper grade: The quality of paper as determined by the ingredients of the stock such as wood or cotton fiber and the method of manufacturing. All papers fit into a group or type of paper which is its grade.

Parallel fold: A fold that runs parallel to another fold or a particular edge.

Parchment paper: Paper with a parchment finish. Parchment is used on documents such as diplomas and other certificates. It gives the document a look of importance.

Parent sheet: A sheet that is larger than the cut stock of the same paper.

Perfect: A term used to describe the binding process where the signatures of a book are held together by a flexible adhesive. Also to print the reverse of (a printed sheet).

Perfect binding: Method of binding of which pages are held together and fixed to the cover by means of a flexible adhesive. Widely used for paper back books.

Perfecting press: A printing press that prints both sides of a sheet or web in one operation.

Perf marks: Markings usually dotted lines at edges showing where perforations should occur.

Perforation: Lines of tiny holes cut into a sheet, either on or off press, so that the sheet may be easily torn at the perforation line.

Permit: Authorization required to mail without affixing postage. A postage imprint, also referred to as an indicia, is used instead. An advance payment is made to the post office and postage payment is deducted from that deposit.

Photoshop: An image editing software created by Adobe, which provides an array of tools to create, alter and add effects to a variety of digital or original images.

Pica or pica point: Unit of measurement, mainly used by designers.

Picking: An occurrence in printing whereby the tack of ink pulls fibers or coating off the paper surface, leaving spots on the printed surface.

Piling: A build up of pigment or paper coatings onto the plate, blankets or rollers.

Pigment: The particles that give ink its specific color by absorbing and reflecting certain light frequencies.

Pixel (Picture Element): The smallest discrete element of an image or picture on a computer screen; the smallest image-forming unit of a video display; a single element of a raster image.

Pixelation: A special image effect created by averaging and reducing the number of pixels in an image. The result is that much of the detail of the original object is lost.

Pixels per inch (PPI): The number of pixels per inch in a digital image. The higher the number, the higher the resolution and the better the image quality.

Plastic comb binding: A method of binding books whereby holes are drilled on the side closest the spine and a plastic grasping device is inserted to hold the pages together.

Platemaking: Making a printing plate from a film or flat. In the past this included preparation of the plate surface, sensitizing, exposing through the flat, developing or processing and finishing. Nowadays the term refers to the process of making sure that a computer-to-plate system (a platesetter) does all the hard work.

Platesetter: A device used to expose metal plates directly from digital files. Contains thermal lasers to write the image to the heat sensitive emulsion on a printing plate.

Plotter: A device that exposes photographic film or paper, printing plates or cylinder in a sequential manner, one line at-a-time.

Point: A unit of measure in page layout. There are 72 PostScript points in an inch. Type sizes and line thicknesses are usually measured in points.

Polybag: A polythene bag that is used to package a publication, such as a magazine, newspaper or catalog and possibly some additional stuff, such as inserts, booklet or a freebie. A polybag may have an address label and postage indicia (PPI) applied to it.

Portable Document Format (PDF): A file format used to present documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware and operating systems. Each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a fixed-layout flat document, including the text, fonts, graphics and other information needed to display it.

Portrait: An adjective describing a vertical orientation of a page format, as opposed to landscape, which is a horizontal orientation.

POS (Point of Sale): Used to refer to printing signage and information for use in retail stores. The name POS comes from the fact that most of the signage is displayed at the checkout lanes or cash registers. Also called POP (Point of Purchase).

Post-Consumer Waste: Waste paper that has passed through the end-user, such as newspapers, office papers, paper bags and cartons.

PostScript: A page description language, developed by Adobe Systems, consisting of a specific set of software commands and protocols that form images on output printers and film recorders when translated through an RIP. The key feature of PostScript is device independence which allows many different output devices from different manufacturers to print the same file in more or less the same way.

Pre-Consumer Waste: Waste paper that has been disposed of during converting process. This may consist of paper trim, die clippings from die cutting of envelopes and corrugated boxes or waste off the printing press. This is waste that has not passed through the end user.

Preflight: Describes the process of confirming that the digital files required for the printing process are all present, valid, correctly formatted and of the desired type.

Prepress: All of the activities required to prepare a job for the plate making process. The adjustment of images and text and the creation of a high quality print file. The form of delivery from the customer is usually electronic, either a PDF or native files created from such programs as Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress.

Presorting: The process of sorting the mail, by ZIP code, down to the finest extent necessary to meet the standard requirements for the mail rate being claimed.

Press check: A press check is when a client, designer, or production manager, visits the printing press and checks the printed sheets as they come off the machine. Usually, these sheets are signed off by the client and used as proofs to color match the rest of the printed job.

Press proof: An image printed before the production pressrun to verify that the desired effect can be achieved, using the production inks and production substrate. The pressrun may or may not be the one used for the production pressrun.

Press-ready PDF: This file contains all the necessary requirements to print a job successfully on press. Including fonts, images, colors, document specifications, etc. Many printers can supply a profile that is used to generate a press-ready pdf to their exact specifications.

Pressrun: The actual running of the press to print the job, immediately following the makeready.

Press sheet: The untrimmed, full-size sheet as it leaves the press.

Price break: The order quantity level at which the price of the paper or printed material goes down.

Primary colors: The colorants of a system that are used to print the colors for the entire reproduction. Cyan, magenta and yellow are subtractive primary colors while red, green and blue are additive primary colors.

Printable area: The area on a sheet of paper where the printer has the ability to print.

Printer fonts: Computer files containing the image outlines for type in PostScript format or in another page description language format. When type is created in a software program, the data in the printer font is called to supply the necessary typographic information to the file. Screen fonts supply the same type of information to the computer monitor.

Printers pairs: Two consecutive pages as they appear on a flat or signature.

Printing plate: A printing plate is the metal sheet that carries the image being printed on a printing press.

Printer spreads: Mechanicals that are set up the way the sheet is imposed for printing on the press. A four page brochure would have pages 1 and 4 on one and pages 2 and 3 on another.

Print on demand (POD): Printing documents electronically when needed, rather than printing stock in advance and keeping it in storage.

Priority mail: First Class Mail that weighs over 13 ounces. The mailer can also selects this option for mail that weighs 13 ounces or less. Priority Mail expedites delivery and can be used on any mailable matter.

Process color: The printing ink colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Proof: Two forms of proofs are usually shown. A dylux which has all of the finishing techniques done to it such as folding or stitching. It is an exact mock up of the finished product. Epson color proofs are left flat so the customer can view the color. Once the proofs are signed by the customer, it can proceed into print production.

Pulp: A cellulose fiber material from which paper is made. The cellulose fiber can come from wood, straw, cotton, hemp, bamboo, reeds and various other materials. It can be produced by mechanically or chemically means.

Purge: The process of removing the duplicate names from combined mailing lists.

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QR code: A machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone.

Quads: Refers to the four separated negatives, cyan, magenta, yellow and black, used for process color printing.

QuarkXPress: A computer application for creating and editing complex page layouts.

Quarter-fold: A type of fold where the piece is folded in half and then folded in half again. The folds are parallel to each other; also known as a double parallel fold.

Queue: A list of files that are stored on a computer, waiting to be printed or processed.

Quire: 1/20 of a ream of paper or 25 sheets.

Quote: A price, given by the printer or distributor, based on the specifications supplied for that product.

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Rasterization: The process of converting a vector image or other non-bitmap image into a bitmap image.

Reader spreads: Mechanicals that are set up the way the reader would read them. An eight page brochure would have pages 2 and 3 on one and pages 4 and 5 on another. This differs from printer spreads that would have pages 2 and 7 on one and pages 3 and 6 on another.

Ream: 500 sheets of paper.

Record: A group of fields, related data or words that are treated as a single unit.

Recto: The right-hand page of a bound publication such as a book or magazine. Page 1 is always a recto page and recto pages always bear the odd numbered folios. Recto can also be referred to as the front or obverse. The page on the left-hand side is called the reverse or verso.

Reel: The master roll of paper as it comes off the paper making machine. It is in its original width and is then cut into smaller rolls.

Register: To position print in the proper position in relation to the edge of the sheet and to other printing on the same sheet.

Register or registration marks: Cross-hair lines or marks on plates and paper that guide plate makers, pressmen and bindery personnel in processing a print order from start to finish.

Registration: The exact positioning of images with reference to each other or to margins, folds, etc., by the use of precision visual reference lines (register marks) on the copy but outside the trimmed area or by a mechanical system using pins and dies.

Relief printing: A printing method where the plate used to print has two levels to it. The higher level is the image area that carries the ink; flexography and letterpress are relief printing methods.

Rendering: The process of creating three-dimensional images on a computer system.

Reprint: A term used in the publishing and printing industry to indicate a new printing of a book or other type of publication.

Reset: To return a computer or other device to its default state and settings.

Resolution: The measurement of output quality expressed in pixels (dots) per inch on a computer monitor or dots per inch on printed media.

Response rate: The rate at which a direct mail program has been responded to, generally stated in percentage.

Retouching: Adjusting an image digitally to make changes or to correct faults in the original photograph or scan.

Reverse: The negative of an image, or the process of creating a negative of an image. Also the even-numbered left-hand page of a bound publication such as a book or magazine. It can also be referred to as the verso. The page on the right-hand side is called the front or recto.

Reversed type: A lighter typeface on a darker background, also referred to as knockout type.

Revise: Indication of the stages at which corrections have been incorporated, e.g. first revise, second revise.

RGB: Additive primary colors used for monitors and image capture by camera or scanning: red, green and blue.

Ribbon: In some types of printers as well as typewriters a ribbon is the strip or band that holds the ink that will be transferred to paper. Also on web presses the wide roll of paper may get cut into 2 or more strips after printing. Such a strip is called a ribbon.

Rich black: Black with a percentage of cyan, magenta and/or yellow added to it. This is often done to avoid that black text or rectangles which partially overprint other objects appear ‘more black’ where they do. The black bar in the example below shows the problem. Rich black can also be used to print a denser, less grayish black. Usually rich black consists of 40 C, 40 M, 40 Y and 100 K (sometimes yellow is left out). Experienced operators adapt the mixture of colors to the content of the page. On pages that have a lot of cool colors like blue in them, they use a cool rich black which mainly adds cyan to the black. On pages containing a lot of warm brown colors, a warm rich black is used which contains more magenta and yellow than cyan.

Rich text: The result of adding additional information to plain text. Examples of information that can be added include font data, color, formatting information, phonetic annotations, interlinear text and so on. The Microsoft RTF file format is probably the prevalent standard for exchanging rich text.

RIFF (Raster Image File Format): An expanded version of TIFF that was developed by Letraset and is used primarily in its software, such as ImageStudio and ColorStudio. RIFF was designed to handle CMYK and RGB make data at a time when TIFF could not.

Right reading: Reading from left to right, as opposed to wrong reading, reading from right to left.

Right-reading image: An image that is viewed as ‘normal,’ i.e., reading naturally from left to right. Films are made with the image right-reading on the emulsion side (wrong reading on the base side) for letterpress and flexographic platemaking.

Right angle fold: A term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other.

Rigidity: Ability to follow changes in motion without lag.

RIP (Raster Image Processor): A hardware device or program that calculates the printing instructions for the bitmapped image of text and graphics and then converts the instructions into dot patterns that can be understood by the output device.

River: An irregular ‘river’ of white space that runs through a column of text.

ROI (Return On Investment): The actual or anticipated profits derived from an investment after all costs are deducted. ROI is typically calculated as a percentage of the total cost to serve as a benchmark for the amount of money that is made on the total of invested dollars.

Roll fold: A type of fold where the piece is folded inward at one end and then folded inward again one or more times. It is as if you are rolling the piece up.

Rosette: The pattern created by the color halftone screens used in four color printing.

Rotary press: A printing press which passes the substrate between two rotating cylinders when making an impression.

Rotation: Turning an image by a specified number of degrees, to fit a preset frame or design.

Rough: A hasty preliminary drawing that is used to visualize a graphic design idea or layout.

Round cornering: Using a machine to die cut the corners of forms, cards and books to create a rounded corner.

Rule: A horizontal or vertical line.

Runability: A term used to describe how well a paper runs on a printing press.

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Saddle: The central part of the spine of the binding of a book.

Saddle stitch: Binding a booklet or magazine with staples in the seam where it folds.

Sans serif font: A typeface that has no serifs (small strokes at the end of the main stroke of the character).

Satin finish: A smooth delicately embossed finished paper with sheen.

Saturation: The attribute of color that describes its degree of strength and its departure from gray with the same lightness.

Scale: The capability of a program to reduce or enlarge an image.

Scanner: Device used to make color separations, halftones, duo tones and tri tones. Also a device used to scan art, pictures or drawings in desktop publishing.

Scatter proof: A proof of one single picture or a group of images made to check color and image quality.

Score: A crease put on paper for easier folding.

Scratch off printing: Scratch printing or scratch off printing is the process of applying a foil to specific areas of a document. The foil can be removed with the edge of a coin or a fingernail to reveal the information printed beneath it. The process is often used on giveaway and contest printed materials, such as lottery tickets.

Screen angles: The angles at which halftone, duo tones, tri tones and color separation printing films are placed to make them look right.

Screened print: A photo print made by using a halftone negative; also called a Velox.

Screen printing: A printing method where a squeegee is used to force ink through a mesh fabric that has a stenciled image area that allows the ink to pass through the mesh to create the image.

Screen fonts: Computer files containing the bitmap outlines of digitally rendered typefaces for display on a computer monitor. Screen fonts offer high fidelity to the printed output.

Script fonts: A typeface that resembles handwriting. Sometimes the characters are connected. The style can vary from classic to whimsical. Script typefaces are often used for invitations, greetings and ads.

Scuffing: Ink that smears or comes off a printed sheet; also known as rub-off.

Second class mail: Reclassified as Periodicals. A mail class that includes newspapers, magazines, newsletters or other printed publications that are sent out at specific intervals.

Security paper: Paper incorporating special security features such as a watermark, special dye, a thin wire, etc. The paper is used for documents such as checks or bank notes.

Security printing: The segment of the printing industry that handles printing banknotes, passports, identity documents, driver’s licenses, vouchers, lottery tickets but also packages for luxury or pharmaceutical products.

Self cover or self-cover: The cover of a book or booklet that is printed using the same paper grade and weight as the inside pages. This can be done to assure that a slim booklet can lay flat but is is also a good way of reducing cost.

Self-Mailer: A type of mailing device which does not require a standard business envelope or package as a means to send the item. The different mail components, such as the letter, response piece and reply envelope, are all part of the single piece. A self-mailer may be a postcard, a single-folded document, a tri-folded document or similarly produced items, commonly used for business purposes such as statements, checks and invoices. However, it is also used for informational and promotional mailing.

Separations: Refers to four single-color images generated by separating a color image into its cyan, magenta, yellow and black components. Separations are produced with the use of a process camera and the appropriate filters (red, green and blue; the primary colors of light). When a red filter is used, the red light is filtered out, leaving green and blue which combine to form the cyan image. The green filter produces a magenta image and so on. There are computer programs which will also accomplish this.

Serif: Thin lines added to the end of a letterform’s stem and stroke.

Set up: The process of setting up and adjusting a printing press for a particular ink, paper and specifications prior to printing. This includes adjusting the infeed, grippers and guides, adjusting ink for proper coverage, registering copy and matching the printed piece with the proof to be sure everything is correct. Also referred to as makeready.

Sheetfed press: A printing press that runs individual sheets of paper.

Shingling: A technique used to prevent creep or push-out in a saddle stitched (or to a far lesser degree in perfect bound) book made up of a great number of pages of thick paper.

Shrink wrapping: A method of wrapping packages or products with a plastic film and then applying heat so that the wrap fits tight to the product. Shrink wrapping is used to package a product in specific quantities and is also used for protection purposes. It also adds some stability to the product when storing. Also referred to as plastic wrapping.

Short-run: Four-color print runs of 1000 or fewer copies.

Side guide: The mechanical register unit on a printing press that positions a sheet from the side.

Side stitching: In finishing, the binding technique in which wire staples pass through the pile of sections or leaves gathered upon each other and are clinched on the underside.

Signature: A sheet of printed pages which, when folded, become a part of a book or publication.

Simplex: Refers to printing on one side of the sheet only.

Skew: Option found in many prepress applications to slant an object (text or image) by a prescribed degree.

Skid: A pallet of paper stock or folded signatures.

Slitting: A term to describe the process of cutting of printed sheets by the cutting wheels of a printing press.

Slug: In layout applications such as Adobe InDesign, the slug is an area outside of the trim and bleed area that can be used by the designer to add comments or other information related to the publication. It is not visible in the final printed pieces since it disappears when the document is trimmed to its final size.

Smooth finish: A finish that has been made smooth and level from the paper passing through sets of rollers during the papermaking process.

Soft copy proof: A proof that is viewed on a color monitor, most commonly in PDF form, rather than on paper as a hard proof.

Soy based ink: Inks whose pigment vehicles contain soybean oils instead of petroleum products. Soybean inks are a good alternative to petroleum base inks because of their ease of use and their environmental considerations.

Spine: The binding edge of a book or publication.

Spiral bind: In finishing, a binding technique whereby a wire or plastic is spiraled through holes punched along the binding side.

Split run: A job with one single frontside but two or more different backsides, such as a datasheet with a product picture on the front and the specifications in two different languages on the back.

Spoilage: Unusable printed product that must be discarded due to an error or accident occurring before it is delivered to the customer.

Spot coating: Coating paper only in specific areas opposed to all over coating.

Spot color: Printing with one or more solid colors, generally black ink is used with the addition of other colors. It is used to add highlight and color to a printed product without having to print with four color process.

Spot varnish: A varnish that is used to highlight a specific part of the printed sheet.

Spread: Two facing pages in a publication such as a magazine or newspaper.

Standard mail: Mail that would not be considered First Class or Periodical Mail. A mail classification formerly known as Bulk Mail or Third Class Mail.

Step and repeat: The repeated exposure of an image to form a specific pattern. Used to expose plates with the number of images up that will be printed on the press. Also used to develop a repeated pattern to be used as a background for different types of products.

Stippling: A paper converting process that produces an embossed surface.

Stitching: A binding process that uses a roll of wire on a machine that creates a staple to bind several sheets together. Stitching allows for a larger quantity of sheets to be bound than traditional stapling.

Stochastic: A halftone process based on the random distribution of halftone dots, using frequency modulation (FM) to change the density of dots according to the gray level desired.

Stock: Paper or other materials on hand in inventory waiting to be printed or converted.

Strike-through: The effect of ink soaking through a printed sheet and showing up on the back of the sheet.

Stylus: A pen sharped pointer that is connected to a computer and used on a digitizing tablet to position images and locate functions on a menu.

Subhead: A secondary phrase usually following a headline. It displays line(s) of lesser size and importance than the main headline.

Subscript: In typography, characters set in a smaller point size and positioned below the baseline. Subscript are typically used in chemical equations and sometimes called inferiors.

Substrate: Any surface on which printing is done.

Subtractive color primaries: The process ink colors, cyan, magenta and yellow. Each absorbs or subtracts its complimentary color, red, green or blue, from the light reflecting off the paper. Cyan, magenta and yellow produce a three-color black which is slightly brownish because of the unwanted hue error of the inks.

Subtractive color theory: The principle surrounding the printing of cyan, magenta and yellow inks on paper for the purpose of absorbing portions of the red, green and blue light that is illuminating the surface, to prevent it from reflecting back to the observer’s eye. Different combinations cyan, magenta and yellow are what create the appearance of the visible spectrum on the paper.

Superimpose: The process merging two or more images into one.

Superscript: Type that is slightly smaller than the rest of the font and set above the baseline. Superscript is used for footnote markers and sometimes as the numerator of fractions. Also called superior characters.

Surprint: Printing over a previously printed area of either text or graphics. Or the combining of two negatives on one printing plate. One negative super imposed over another.

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics): A fairly new file format that can be used to publish vector based drawings and animations on the world wide web. SVG has been defined by the W3C organization so it is a vendor independent standard, as opposed to the competing and popular Macromedia Flash file format. SVG is based on XML tags and is only supported by the latest generations of browsers.

Swash: A decorative glyph (character shape) that use elaborate ornamentation, making it look like calligraphy. OpenType fonts can include swash characters.

Swatch: A color sample.

Swatch book: A booklet containing paper samples and paper specifications for a line of paper.

Synthetic font: A typeface that is created by distorting another typeface. Some applications allow users to select type styles such as bold or italic even it no corresponding typeface exists. Such a ‘fake’ font is created by adding an outline to the regular typeface or by slightly slanting the characters.

Synthetic papers: Any petroleum based waterproof papers with a high tensile strength.

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Tabloid: A paper size that is used in the US and measures 279 x 432 millimeters or 11 x 17 inches. This is half the size of a broadsheet or twice the size of a ‘Letter’ sized page.

Tack: The ‘stickiness’ or adhesive quality of ink while printing.

Tagged image file format (TIFF): A graphic file format developed by Aldus, Adobe and Apple that is especially suited for representing large bitmaps, such as scanned black and white or color images.

Template: A preset model that acts as a structure for setting up a similar product.

Tensile strength: The ability of the paper to withstand the stress and strain applied to it before breaking down and pulling apart.

Tenting: When continuous glue lines used to glue the parts of a continuous form together causes it to bunch up at the folding perfs, pushing the perfs upward in the shape of a tent.

Tertiary colors: Colors that are made up with portions of all three process ink pigments.

Texturing: Impressing a pattern into the surface of a film or paper.

Text wrap: Text wrapping around an object on a page. Text lines are shortened to varied lengths to fit around the object.

Thermal binding: A binding process similar to hot adhesive perfect binding which applies hot liquid adhesive to bind the sheets. Instead of a liquid adhesive, thermal binding uses an adhesive strip which is attached to the binding edge of the sheets. As heat is applied, the adhesive on the strip bonds with the sheets.

Thermal labels: Thermal labels are pressure sensitive labels that use a heat process when imprinted. There are two different types of thermal labels, thermal transfer and direct thermal.

Thermography: A printing process that works along with another printing process by the use of a resin powder, the printed ink and heat. The powder is applied to the ink while it is still wet and then is sent through a heating process. The powder only sticks to the printed area. When it goes through the heat process, the powder swells and creates a raised image in the printed area.

Third class mail: Mail that would not be considered First Class or Periodical Mail. A mail classification formerly known as Bulk Mail and is now referred to as Standard Mail.

Three-color process: Color separation and reproduction using only process cyan, magenta and yellow inks, with no black ink.

Thumbnail: A miniature sketch or copy of a page.

Tile: When a page is too large to output all at one time, the page is divided into two sections that allow an overlap area so that the two can be assembled into one.

Tint: The addition of white to a color. Also when printing a color in any type of screening that causes the ink coverage to be less than 100%.

Tip in: The separate insertion of a single page into a book either during or after binding by pasting one edge.

Tone: The quality or lightness of a color when adding black and white to it.

Toner: The powder or liquid that forms the image in electrostatic printing. The toner sticks to the charged areas and is then transferred to the paper and fused by the use of heat. Toner is used in photocopiers, laser printers and some proofing systems.

Tooth: The degree of roughness of the paper's finish that permits better absorption of ink.

Topcoat: A coating or treatment added to the surface of a material to improve ink receptivity. It may also add some protection against moisture, chemicals, sunlight and abrasion.

Tracking: Adjusting the spacing between letters throughout a section of text. Generally, text is loosened or tightened to accommodate justification or to improve readability but still maintain the overall effect of uniformity.

Trapping: The ability to print one ink over the other.

Translucent: When a material transmits light in a diffuse manner so that objects behind it are not clearly distinguishable. Translucent material can be seen through but not as clearly as a transparent material such as acetate.

Tri-fold: A fold where a three panel piece has both side sections folded inward, one on top of the other Each section is approximately 1/3 the length of the piece. Also known as a C-fold or letter-fold.

Trim: The process of cutting the product to its finished size. The excess that is cut off is also referred to as the trim.

Trim marks: Similar to crop or register marks. These marks show where to trim the printed sheet.

Trim size: The final size that a printed page will be after excess has been trimmed. Also called finished size.

Tritones: Three halftone images, produced at different screen angles, which were made from the same image and then printed over each other in three different colors.

TruMatch: A digital 4-color matching system that is similar to Pantone.

TrueType fonts: A computer font format created by Apple Computer to use in place of Adobe PostScript fonts. This font format can be used for bitmapped screen display and vector based output. They were created to eliminate the need to have two different font formats for screen fonts and printer fonts.

Turnaround time: The accumulated time between receipt of an order and delivery of the finished product.

Type 1 fonts: PostScript fonts developed to include in its font description special hinting algorithms that make the fonts more appealing, compact in size and more quickly rendered.

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Unbleached: Paper or pulp that has not been through the bleaching process.

Uncoated paper: Paper that has been manufactured without the use of coating materials.

Undeliverables: Any mail that is declared undeliverable by the USPS due to incomplete delivery address information. Also referred to as nixies.

Underruns: The quantity of pieces that a printing run is short of the original order quantity.

Undertrapping: A color shows through an overprint that was added to hide it.

Unjustified: When the left, right or both margins of text or type are not aligned.

Up: A general term used to indicate that multiple pages are printed in one impression on a single press sheet. ‘Two up’ or ‘four up’ means printing two or four pages on each sheet. The term is also used when the same image (e.g. a greeting card) is printed multiple times on a sheet.

Upcharge: An extra charge that is added in addition to the standard price.

UV coating: Applied in a similar fashion to Aqueous coating but cured with ultraviolet light. Environmentally friendly. Extremely Glossy.

UV ink: A special ink that dries quickly through the use of ultraviolet light on the press. This allows for more productivity because there is not need to let the ink dry before printing the other side. The inks are aggressive and will shorten the lifespan of the plates used.

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Vacuum frame: A device used in the platemaking process to hold materials in tight contact during exposure. It is also called a contact frame.

Variable data: Highly customized (text, graphics and images), high-quality print pieces with a specific message targeted to a specific individual or group.

Varnish: Clear ink applied to printed surfaces for looks and protection. UV coating and aqueous coating looks better.

Vector graphics: Drawing software that processes drawings and illustrations as a series of points and connections, which are compact for a computer to store and manipulate. Most drawing and illustration software employ vector graphics.

Vellum: A fairly even uncoated and creamy paper finish. Also defined as the treated skin of a calf used as a writing material.

Velour paper: A term given to papers that are coated with an adhesive and then flock dusted.

Vendor: The provider of a product or service. Also referred to as supplier.

Versioning: The creation of more than one version of a document. Most often this procedure is employed in variable information processing when a direct marketing campaign involves the use of several different base designs of an informational booklet or folder.

Vignette: A gradation change of only one color that varies only in strength or lightness. A vignette can also refer to an illustration or image that gradually fades away, blending into the unprinted paper. It is sometimes referred to as a graduated background tone.

Vinyl: A film that is highly durable and resistant to chemicals and moisture. It is high in conformability and excellent for outdoor use.

Virgin fiber: Fiber that has been processed with trees harvested from the forests.

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Walk-off: A term given to the occurrence of plate deterioration of the image area during the printing process. It usually occurs on long runs.

Wash-up: Removing printing ink from a press, washing the rollers and blanket. Certain ink colors require multiple wash-ups to avoid ink and chemical contamination.

Waste: A term for planned spoilage. Each operation such as printing, cutting folding, and stitching requires waste sheets to set up the machine. Between 1% and 2%.

Watermark: A distinctive design created in paper at the time of manufacture that can be easily seen by holding the paper up to a light.

Web paper: Roll paper used for printing on a web press.

Web press: The name of a type of press that prints from rolls of paper.

White space or whitespace: In layout, white space is the blank area between characters or graphic regions.

Widow: The last line of a paragraph that appears at the top of a page all by itself.

Window envelopes: An envelope with a die cut opening that is intended to have information show through from the piece inside the envelope.

Wire O: A bindery name for binding books using double loops of wire through a hole.

Woodcut: An ancient relief printing technique, also called block printing or xylography.

Word wrap: The ability of a word processing program to automatically end a line and wrap the next words to the following line.

Work and tumble: A printing method where different pages are assembled so that they are on one plate. One side is printed and the sheet is turned from front to rear so that you are using the opposite edge as the gripper edge and then the second side is printed. The product is then cut apart to make two finished items.

Work and turn: A printing method where different pages are assembled so that they are on one plate. One side is printed and then the sheet is turned over so that you are using the same gripper edge and then the second side is printed. The product is then cut apart to make two finished items.

Workflow: In prepress, a workflow refers to the software that is used to handle all of the processes that are needed to make digital files ready for printing.

Wove finish: A standard smooth even finish.

Wove paper: A smooth paper made on finely textured wire that gives the paper a gentle patterned finish.

Wrap around cover: A heavy weight cover used on snap out forms, which starts at the back of the binding stub and wraps all the way around the length of the form and back up to the binding stub perforation in the front. The front part of the cover is used to insert in between forms in the book so that the when writing on a form, the image does not transfer through to the next forms.

Wrap around label: When a label is wrapped around a container and the tail end of the label overlaps and adheres to the lead edge.

Wrong reading image: A mirrored image, the image appears backwards.

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Xerography: A photocopying/printing process in which the image is formed using the electrostatic charge principle.

X-height: In typography the x-height equals the height of a lowercase letter ‘x’.

Xylography: An ancient relief printing technique, also called block printing or woodcut.

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Yellowing: The discoloration of white paper primarily due to aging, also called brightness reversion.

Yield: A measure of the square inches of paper per pound.

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Z-axis: In geometry the axis of a coordinate system drawn at right angles to both the horizontal (x-axis) and vertical (y-axis) axes. The z-axis adds depth to 3D-graphics.

Z-fold: A paper fold represented by back and forth folds into three panels.

Z-height: The height of a lowercase letter ‘z’.

Zip: A removable disk technology from Iomega that can store either 100, 250 or 750 megabytes of data on a disk that’s a little bigger than a three-and-a-half-inch floppy. Or a Compression algorithm that is used a lot on the Windows platform.

ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) Code: A system established in 1963 that uses 5-digit codes to identify the individual post offices or delivery stations in metropolitan areas associated with an address.

ZIP+4: A system established in 1981 that added a hyphen and 4 digits to the 5-digit ZIP Code. The first two digits of the four additional digits designate the sector or geographic area. The last two digits designate a specific delivery segment, such as a city block, a floor of a building or a group of post office boxes.

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2-up, 4-up, 8-up, 12-up, 16-up,…: In prepress and printing these terms refers to the number of A4 or Letter-sized pages that can be put on a single film, printing plate or press sheet. For example a 4-up platesetter can image plates on which 4 pages are imposed. An 8-up device handles plates that are roughly twice as big. The largest possibility is 48-up since that is the maximum number of pages that the biggest presses can currently handle.

4/0 (4 over 0): CMYK on the front of a document and no printing on the back .

4/1 (4 over 1): CMYK on the front of a document and 1 color on the back. 4/K is sometimes used to specifically indicate that the back will be printed with black ink.

4/4 (4 over 4): CMYK (full color) on the front and back of a document.


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Sources: mohawkconnects.com/askmohawkseries, prepressure.com, printingtips.com