Glossary of Printing Terms

Abbreviation for author’s alterations.

Adobe software the embodies the PDF format.

Basis Weight
The weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that grade; e.g., 500 sheets of 25” x 38”, 80-lb. coated book paper weigh 80 pounds.

When an illustration extends beyond the trim edge of the page. Not all web products can bleed (i.e. tabloid).

A newspaper with minimum dimensions of 13” x 21”, also called a journal of a standard.

A trade acronym for coated one side. C1S stock is typically card/cover weight. It is commonly used for postcards and flyers. The noncoated side makes writing easier.

Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. The subtractive primaries, or process colors, used in color printing. Black is usually applied only to color images to enhance color contrast in photos of to print a true black.

Color Separation
The division of an image into its component colors for printing.

The slight but cumulative extension of the edge of each inserted spread or signature beyond the edges of the one that encloses it in a saddle-stitched binding. Creep moves the inside pages or signatures away from the spine.

The eliminate portions of the copy, usually on a photograph or plate, indicated on the original by cropmarks.

A color reproduction that extends or spreads across two facing pages of a book or magazine.

(Computer-to-Plate) Completely electronic system that digitally transfers your art directly from the computer to the printing plate for direct mounting on the press, without the use of film. Plates can be metal or polyester.

In web printing, the cut or print length.

Regarding ink, the relative thickness of a layer of printed ink.
Regarding color, the relative ability of a color to absorb light reflected from it or block light passing through it.
Regarding paper, the relative tightness or looseness of fibers.

Dot Gain
Inherent effect in web printing in which halftones and color separations print darker than the original.

A term applied to a coated paper with a smoother, more uniform surface than machine finish.

Encapsulated PostScript: A file format used to transfer PostScript image information from one program to another.

Page number.

The depiction of gray tones between black and white.

The process that converts continuous tone (the real photo) into a picture by converting the contents into scaled dots. The larger the dot, the darker the image.

Half-Web Press
Web offset press that measures 17 3/4” by 26”.

Hard Copy
The permanent visual record of the output of a computer or printer on a substrate.

Hard Proof
A proof on paper or other substrate, as distinguished from a soft proof, which
is an image on a VDT screen.

In offset lithography, spots or imperfections in the printing due to such things as dirt on the press, dried ink skin, paper particles, etc.

In image assembly, the positioning of pages on a signature so that after printing, folding and cutting, all pages will appear in the proper sequence.

In printing, the pressure of type, plate or blanket as it comes in contact with the paper.

The drawing or sketch of a proposed printed piece.

Lead Time
Amount of time needed to complete a job.

In printing, all work done to set up a press for printing.

In color printing, the screen pattern caused by incorrect screen angles of overprinting half-tones.

Native File
The working copy of the file written in the native format. You must have the application to open and alter this file.

Paper made mostly from groundwood pulp and small amounts of chemical pulp; used for printing newspapers.

In printing, the process of using an intermediate blanket cylinder to transfer an image from the image carrier to the substrate. Short for offset lithography.

That property of paper which minimizes the show-through of printing from the back-side or the next sheet.

(Portable Document File) A proprietary format for the transfer of designs across multiple computer platforms. PDF is a universal electronic file format, modeled after PostScript language and is device-and-resolution independent. Documents in the PDF format can be viewed, navigated and printed from any computer, regardless of the fonts or software programs used to create the original.

Pantone Matching System: A commonly used system for identifying specific ink colors.

Perfect Binding
A book binding technique in which the pages are glued rather than sewn to the cover and used primarily for paperbacks, small manuals, phone books, etc.

Process Colors
Also called full color. Refers to the four-color process or CMYK.

Register Marks
A cross within a circle used for placing negative and color separations together so the images are lined up correctly.

The alignment of different printing plates to produce one printed image.

Saddle Stitch
In binding, to fasten a booklet by wiring it through the middle fold of the sheets.

One of the three dimensions of color, and the attribute of color that defines its degree of strength or difference from white. The higher the saturation, the brighter and lighter the image. The lower the saturation, the duller and grayer the image.

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

Self Cover
A cover of the same paper as inside text pages.

A printed and folded section of a publication, usually four to forty-eight pages, ready for binding or insertion.

Spot Color
An individual color applied to a document in the printing process, instead of or in addition to process color.

The process of cleaning the rollers, form or plate, and sometimes the ink fountain of a printing press.

A roll of paper used in web or rotary printing.

Web Press
A press that prints on roll or web-fed paper.