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Accordion fold

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

Against the grain

Perpendicular to the direction of the paper grain.


Orientation of type with regard to edges of the column or paper, such as aligned right (flush right), aligned left (flush left), and aligned on center (centered) – Also called range.

Aqueous Coating

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


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


Defect in halftone screens or screen tints output by laser printers or imagesetters in which parallel breaks (stair steps) or streaks appear in the dot pattern.


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


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

Bitmap Images

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


Printing that goes beyond the edge of the final trim size.

Blind embossing

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

Bond paper

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


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

Bulk mail

Alternate term for third-class mail.


Short for coating on one side of paper


Short for coating on both sides of paper.

Camera-ready copy

Print ready layout of graphic and text.

Cast coated

A type of coated paper with a high gloss enamel finish

Coated paper

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


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

Color Balance

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

Color bar

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

Color correction

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

Color matching system

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

Color separations

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

Comb bind

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

Computer-to-Plate (CTP)

A technology that enables transfer of digital data directly to a metal plate for printing, eliminating the use of conventional films.

Continuous-tone copy

Illustrations and photographs that have a range of shades


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


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

Cover paper

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


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


To cut off sides or portions of an image

Crop marks

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


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


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


To press an image below the surface of paper.


The degree of darkness of an image.


Metal plate cut for impressing a design or image on paper.

Die cutting

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


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

Dot gain or spread

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

Dots Per Inch (DPI)

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


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


A halftone image made up of two colors.


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


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


Photosensitive sensitive coating on printing plates and film

Encapsulated Postscript File (EPS)

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

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)

A direct mail service offered by USPS®. With EDDM, you select neighborhoods (carrier routes) in which you would like USPS to deliver a mailpiece to every address or delivery point within the selected routes.


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

Finished size

Size of product after production is complete, as compared to flat size. Also called trim size.

Flat size

Size of product after printing and trimming, but before folding, as compared to finished size.


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

Foil emboss

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

Foil stamping

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


A font is the specific style of text that's printed on a page or displayed on a computer screen. Many people use font and typeface interchangeably, but it's more accurate to distinguish the terms. Times New Roman is a typeface, but a specific version of it, like Times New Roman bold 12pt, is a font.

For position only

Refers to inexpensive copies of photos or art used on mechanicals to indicate placement and scaling, but not intended for reproduction. Abbreviated FPO.

Four color process

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

Four over Four (4/4)

A print job with four color printing on both sides of the paper

Four over One (4/1)

A print job with four color printing on the front side and one color (usually black) on the back side.

Four over Zero (4/0)

A print job with four color printing on the front side and no printing on the back side.


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


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


Shiny coating applied to paper.


The direction in which the fibers of a paper lie.


Appearance of a photograph or halftone that has been enlarged so much that the pattern of crystals in the emulsion can be seen in the photo or its reproduction.

Graphic Design

The use of visual elements to express a message.


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


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


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

Hard copy

A document or data printed on paper.

Image area

Portion of a page or paper that can be printed on.


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


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


To print new copy on a previously printed sheet, such as imprinting an employee’s name on business cards. Also called surprint.


Refers to an activity, such as graphic design or printing, performed within an organization, not purchased from outsiders.


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

Justified type

Type set flush right and left.


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

Laid finish

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

Letter fold

Two folds creating three panels that allow a sheet of letterhead to fit a business envelope. Also called barrel fold and wrap-around fold.

Lines per inch (LPI)

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


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


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

Matte Finish

Dull non-glossy finish

Middle tones

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


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

Offset Lithography or Offset Printing

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


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


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


Production of larger quantities than ordered.

Page count

Total number of pages in a book or publication

Pantone Matching Systems (PMS)

The standard color-matching system used by printers and graphic designers.

Paper Type

The paper or material to be printed on.

Perfect Bind

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


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


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


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


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


Camera work, color separating, stripping, platemaking and other prepress functions performed by the printer, separator or a service bureau prior to printing. Also called preparation.

Pressure-sensitive paper

Paper material with a self sticking adhesive protected by a backing sheet, usually used for labels and stickers.

Printer spreads

Mechanicals made so that they are imposed for printing, as compared to reader spreads. For example, an 11? x 17? mechanical for an eight-page newsletter would have pages 2 and 7 opposite each other. See also imposition.

Process colors

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


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


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

Raster image

See bitmap image.

Raster Image Processor (RIP)

A device that translates data into dots or pixels.

Reader spread

Mechanicals made in two-page spreads as readers would see the pages, as compared to printer spread. For example, an 11? x 17? mechanical for an eight-page newsletter could have pages 2 and 3 opposite each other.


A quantity of paper equivalent to 500 sheets.


To place printing properly with regard to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet. Such printing is said to be in register.


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


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

Rich Black

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

Rough layout

Sketch giving a general idea of size and placement of text and graphics in the final product. Also called esquisse and rough.


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

Saddle stitch

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

Sans-serif type

Type without serifs. Also called gothic type.


A mark or crease pressed on paper to make folding easier.


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

Screen angles

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


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


Printed piece designed to mail without an envelope.

Serif Type

Short line crossing the ending strokes of most characters in roman typefaces.


The darkest areas of a photograph or image.

Side stitch

To bind by stapling sheets along one side of a sheet.


Term for a printed sheet after folding.

Small caps

Capital letters approximately the x height of lowercase letters in the same font. Used for logos and nameplates and to soften the impact of normal caps.


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


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


Planned paper waste.

Spot varnish

Varnishing a specific part of a sheet.


Pressing a design or image onto paper with a metal die.


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


Newsletter with trim size 11? x 17? or A3.

Tagged Image File Format (.TIFF)

A standard graphic image file format often used for storing high resolution images that can easily handle up to 24 bits of photographic image color.


A mixture of a hue with white


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

Trim marks

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

Trim size

The final size of a printed image after trimming.


Set of characters with similar design features and weight. Garamond Light is a typeface. Also called face.


To arrange or layout artwork and text for printing.


Paper with no treatment or coating on the surface


Production of fewer copies than ordered by customer.


Printing multiple copies of the same on the same sheet

UV coating

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


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

Vector Images

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


A halftone or image with whose background gradually fades to white.

Washed out

Characteristic of printing or a photograph whose images appear faded.


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


Planned spoilage.


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

With the grain

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

Wove paper

A paper having a uniform unlined surface and a smooth finish

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