Printing Terminology

/Printing Terminology
Printing Terminology2019-01-14T18:41:08+00:00

Printing Terminology from A to Z


Acrylic varnish: A type of varnish applied over the surface of the printed item, giving it a glossy or matte look and providing it with protection against friction and scratching.

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Binding: The process of assembling the pages together, including the cover. The operation is performed via one of the following methods: stapling, sewing, spiral binding or the application of a high-temperature quick-dry glue.

Bleed: The area over which some graphic elements of a printed item extend beyond the edges intended for cutting and thus obtaining the final product.

Broadsheet: A british term used to define a large newspaper (A2).

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Carbonless copy paper: Paper used to create multiple copies without intermediate layers of carbon paper. Under pressure, the paper transfers the image on the copy through a color reaction. Carbonless copy paper is mainly used for receipts, invoices, payment orders, vouchers, etc.

Cardboard: A common term for paper with high consistency which, most often, is multilayered. Cardboard weights range grom 115 to 500 g/m2, sometimes higher. Cardboard is often used for printing, packaging and graphical applictions.

Character (Font): The shape and style of the letters used to create the text from the surface of the printed item.

CMYK: Cyan (turquoise), Magenta, Yellow, and Black – the four basic colors used in full color printing.

Coated paper: Foil covered paper, consisting of adhesive paste and binding agents which improve the paper’s surface properties.

Composite Black: The black color obtained by printing CMYK components, also known as Rich Black.

Copy: Any replica of an item obtained through a printing process.

Cover: A solid cover (most often of various types of cardboard) that covers the inner part of a book, its block of pages.

Crease: A line or ridge produced on paper that serves as a sign after which the material will be folded.

Creasing (scoring): A mechanical operation by which a line or ridge is produced on the surface of a paper. This line serves as a sign after which the material will be folded. Creasing is recommended for products that weight over 150 g/m2.

CTF (computer-to-film): A procedure involving printing a computer file straight to film. The film will be used to obtain the image on the printing plate that subsequently will be used inside the printing equipment.

CTP (Computer To Plate): A technology used in the printing process in which an image created with a Desktop Publishing (DTP) application is placed on a printing plate through a laser. Compared to the conventional plate exposure method, CTP (Computer To Plate) offers several advantages. In CTP, the image clarity and details are higher, due to the elimination of the CTF (computer-to-film) procedure from the printing process.

Cyan: A greenish-blue color and one of the basic colors used in printing. It reflects the blue and green colors and absorbs the red color.

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Densitometer: An instrument used for measuring the density of colored ink on a printed product. The densitometer is a quality control device.

Design: The assembly of texts, images, other graphical elements, including their collective layout, that as a whole, form the appearance of a print item.

Die cutting: This is the process of cutting the printed sheet to a specific shape. i.e. square corners will be cut to form round corners. Thus, obtaining an original and individualized form.

Die Cutting Knife: Custom shaped knife mounted on a board, used to cut the printed item according to the desired shape.

Digital Proof: A printed foil serving as a printing sample. The procedure is meant to simulate the final printed product. This will ensure the detection of possible defects before the actual print.

Double-coated paper: Matte or glossy paper with finishing on both sides. Most often, it is used in the production of covers, catalogs, calendars and advertising materials.

DTP (desktop publishing): The creation of documents for their future printing, by managing elements like layout pages, images, graphics and other visual elements via specialized designing software.

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Emboss: The process of pressing an image into paper or cardboard so that it will create a raised relief.

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Filling agents: Substances added as a supplement to paper and cardboard. For example, glue or chalk.

Film: A type of film that allows light to pass through it (transparent film).

Flexography: Printing method that uses a rotary printing press. The image is transferred on paper with the help of plates and fast-dry inks.

Foil: A colored or metallic coating used in printing and embossing procedures.

Foil embossing: A technique used in relief printing which includes the use of a colored hot-pressed foil, instead of ink.

Folding: The procedure of bending paper and other printed materials.

Format: Length and width of the print product (size). The main formats are: A0 (841 × 1189), B0 (1000 × 1414), A1 (594 × 841), B1 (707 × 1000), A2 (420 × 594), B2 (500 × 707) , A4 (210 × 297), B4 (250 × 353), A5 (148 × 210), B5 (176 × 250), B3 (353 × 500), B3 (353 × 500). Formats can also be produced according to customer requirements or printing equipment capabilities.

Full color printing: Printing in which the four basic colors and/or their variations are combined to obtain the final product.

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Grammage: The weight of paper and cardboard measured in grams per square meter (g/m2), also called basis weight.

Good for prinitng: Two-way term. 1: The approval given by the customer or the print house representative regarding the quality of a printed product. 2: A specimen/copy from the upcoming print batch that meets all of the established quality standards.

Guillotine: A device equipped with a knife, used for cutting, preparing and finishing print items.

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Holograms: Elements with visual three-dimensional effect printed on the surface of an item for the protection and the confirmation of its authenticity. Holograms may contain micro-texts, serial numbers and company logos. Most often, holograms serve as a tool for secure document printing.

Hot print: Applying a metallic film to the printing item by heating.

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Imposition: Positioning of the pages before the print to ensure that they will show in the correct order.

Insertion (Numbering): Providing each product from the printing batch with a unique number or series for differentiation and tracking.

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JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): Highly compressed graphic format. Created to reduce the sizes of graphical files with a large number of colors without affecting their image quality.

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Lamination: A finishing procedure, which consists in applying a hot-pressed transparent plastic film. Thus, the item will be endowed with protection and with a matte or glossy appearance.

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Magenta: One of the basic colors used in printing. Magenta has a range of properties, it reflects red and blue lights and absorbs green light.

Metallic ink: Specialized printing ink that produces gold, silver, bronze, or other metallic color effects.

Multi-layer cardboard: Cardboard composed of upper layer, middle layer and lower layer.

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Numbering (Insertion): Providing each product from the printing batch with a unique number or series for differentiation and tracking.

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Offset paper: Paper with uncoated surface and sometimes irregular, generally used for printing books.

Offset printing: A printing technique in which a specialized tool takes the negative of the image and reproduces it in positive on the surface of the print material.

Offset varnishing: A finishing procedure, which consists in adding a specialized varnish over the surface of the printed item, giving it a glossy or matte look and providing it with protection against friction and scratching.

Order specs: The list of all technical characteristics for the printing item. For example: number of pages, number of colors, paper type, finishing methods, etc. The order specs is passed between production departments during the print workflow.

Overprint: Printing on the surface of an already printed product to highlight or add information (text or image).

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Packaging paper: Industrial Kraft type paper used for packaging, wrapping, coating, bag production, etc. It is made of unbleached primary fiber and has a natural brown color. Also, it is resistant to tearing. Pantone code: A system of colors consisting from over 1200 shades, created by Pantone Inc. company.

Pad Printing: A printing process that consists of inscribing objects on the surface using a tampograph. The image is being transfered from the cliché via a silicone pad onto a substrate. The main advantages are that that pad printing can transfer a 2-D image onto a 3-D object (objects with curved or irregular surfaces).

Pagination: Assigning consecutive numbers for the pages of a book, newspaper, guide or any other item that needs to have numbered pages.

Perforation: A finishing method, which consists in applying close to one another perforations in a straight line to provide the product with the property of detaching a page from the base block.

Photocopying: The process of reproducing (copying) images and documents via a layer of photosensitive material.

Pick-off belt: A conveyor belt that cathes and evacuates the printed items from the printing equipment.

Plasticizing: Applying a plastic foil over a surface of paper or cardboard.

Polychromy: Print with the use of all basic colors (colored print).

Prepress: A term that defines the processes and procedures executed starting from the reception of the text up to the exposure of the plates to be mounted inside the printing equipment.

Pressing: The final step of the binding process. The sheets (after they have been coupled) are pressed to remove the air between them.

Primary colors: The colors blue, red and yellow, which when mixed in different proportions with the color black, can reproduce any other color.

Print Stock (Paper Stock): The material on the surface of which the print will be performed. For example: paper, cardboard, foil, metal, etc.

Printing process: All the operations and procedures that ensure the print of the image on the item.

Printing sheet: The printed stock defined by the length and width of the sheet (paper, cardboard).

Printing quantity: The number of copies of the item requested for printing. For newspapers and magazines, a more specific and professional term is often used, “circulation”.

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Resolution: An indicator of the quality of the image. The resolution is expressed in dpi (dots per inch), higher dpi, means a clearer image, better general quality.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue): These are primary colors used by monitors, also called additive colors. The combination and intensity level of these colors can reproduce the entire spectrum.

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Sample: A finite product that serves as a quality standard for the upcoming reprints.

Scanning: the scanning procedure of printed images / texts or real objects and their reproduction in a digital image in 2D (computerized format).

Scratch Printing: Applying a layer of scratch off ink over the information (text, code, series, etc.) located on the surface of an item. Scratch printing is used for various promotional products, for example: vouchers, contest coupons, account cards, etc.

Screen printing (silkscreen printing): This represents a printing technique to transfer ink into substrates and is used on a wide variety of materials such as: plastic, glass, cardboard, metals, fabrics, etc. Among the items that can be inscribed through screen printing are labels, decals, posters, all kinds of textiles and others.

Stapling: A binding method that consists in folding the sheets in the middle and perforating them from the outside with metal staples. Typically, this method is used for printed items that don’t exceed 96 pages.

Spine: The place where all of the inner sheets of the book are binned together via stitching, stapling or gluing.

Spot color: A term used in offset printing when the spot color is any color generated by an ink i.e. Pantone or mixed that is printed using a single run, in order to obtain a visual effect.

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Tabloid: A piece of paper used to designate a small-sized newspaper (A3). Also, a tabloid is half the size of a broadsheet.

Text block: The inside pages of a book, placed in the order of the page numbering.

Thermography: A technique of obtaining embossed elements on the surface of a printed item. The process involves covering the required areas on the surface of the item with thermoplastic powder. When heated, the powder melts and adheres to the ink, whereupon after the powder is cooled, the desired embossed effect will appear.

Tracing Paper: A type of paper (semi-transparent) that allows light to pass through it. Tracing paper is a cheaper replacement for the film.

Transparent ink: Type of printing ink that does not cover the color over which it is applied – used in attaining color shades.

Trim: Cutting off the excess edges of a printed item, thus bringing it to its final, intended size. The procedure also involves applying cutting marks for the subsequent trimming.

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UV spot varnishing: A finishing procedure, which involves the application of varnish (via ultraviolet light) over the selected (intended by the item’s design) spots on the printed item. The result will be a printed product with some of the graphical and text elements highlighted by a glossy visual effect.

UV varnishing: The process of applying varnish over a printed product via ultraviolet light.

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Varnish: Transparent liquid applied to the surface of the printed product. The use of varnish aims to protect and embellish the item over which it is applied.

Varnishing: A finishing procedure which involves the application of a transparent varnish on the printed item in order to obtain a glossy finish for the final product.

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