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Printing Jargon Explained

Press release August 31, 2012 PR

Everything Explained

What is against the grain?
All paper has a grain direction. To determine the grain direction, hold out your hand and lay on it a sheet of A4 paper, see how it holds itself flat whilst draping over your hand, now turn it 90 degrees and see if the drapes less or more, the angle which proves for it to be stronger shows the grain direction.

What is art paper?
A common term used to describe a range of smooth ‘coated’ paper material, the most common paper used in Litho printing. This is normally available as Gloss, which has a high shine and is the most popular and then Silk or Matt which has s lightly duller appearance. If a print job has a high colouration, Eg. its covered in colour without leaving much white space behind, then it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two material finishes. This is really only noticeable on non-printed and white areas.

What is’A’ sized paper?
The most commonly recognised paper size system from around the world, The dimensions are worked from the largest size being A0, then reducing down half A0 is A1, to Letterheads are normally A4 all the way to A7 which are pocket sized Flyers. A8 is also used but this is quite rare as its smaller than a business card.

What is Artwork?
This is when a computerised design is made ready for print Normally a design agreed between a creative designer and the client is purely a visual representation. An Artwork file is the method which a designer creates a different file than the one proofed the customer, this file is in a format needed by the printing company in order to be able to process the design and make it print.

What is A/W?
This is an abbreviation for Artwork.

What is Backing Up?
This refers to printing on the reverse side or second side of a print order..

What is Binding?
The method used to hold several sheets of paper or board together, within a booklet or brochure.

What is a Bitmap?
Any image which is digitised is more than likely a Bitmap, this is a grid of pixels or dots generated by computer graphics software in order to re-present an image. Take a magnifying glass and look very closely at an image printed in a newspaper or magazine, you can clearly see the pixels, these are varying in colour in order to make up the overall image.

What is a printing Blanket?
This is a very thick rubber sheet wrapped around one of the rollers on a printing press in order to transfer the ink from the plate to the paper.

What is blind embossing?
This is when a non-inked shape is pressed into the back of a sheet in order to create a raised or ‘embossed’ image viewable on the front of the sheet. Commonly used for logos on corporate brochures or even on business cards.

What is Bleed?
In order to print a document with colour from edge to edge, it has to be printed larger than the intended size so the design has to extend beyond the edge of the trim size. This bleed is usually required to be 3mm on all 4 edges of a document. Without bleed can mean that any slight movement on the press or guillotine will lea to an unsightly white slither being left behind after the sheets have been cut.

What is a Colour Blend?
This is when two colours smoothly merge into one another, or a colour ‘blends’ to nothing or white, its also referred to a graduated tint.

What is Bond paper?
A slightly pourus paper commonly used for printing letterheads and business stationery. If you purchase a ream of paper from your local stationery supplier and it will more than likely be a Bond.

What is NCR and Carbonless paper?
NCR refers to ‘No Carbon Required’. The paper has been coated with chemicals so that its able to transfer any impression hand written or typed onto it onto the sheet or sheets below. This saves having to duplicate the same information onto several sheets, commonly used for restaurant receipts and tradesmen who need to write quotes for customers and keep a copy for themselves.

What is Case Bound?
This refers to book binding where a hardback book is made with a rigid material. These are then covered in a cloth vinyl or leather or faux leather material historically.

What is Choke?
A technique to alter thickness of shape or a font in order to make it larger or bleed on the page, Not to be confused with ‘print bleed’.

What is a Chromolin?
A very quick way of accurately proofing a print job, this uses powdered ink rather than wet ink. By far still the best way of proofing to the customer without actually printing the order.

What is CMYK?
This is the abbreviation of printing colour process Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key colour (Black). A mixture of these 4 colours means that there are millions of colour available. This method is the most common the world over.
What is Collating?
When several sheets are printed in order to make up a document, sheets can be printed independently or all together. After they are printed they need to be gathered together in the correct order before they are bound.

What is Colour Separation?
The now computerised process which creates the ‘Four colour’ or ‘Full colour’ separation of design and artwork so it can be printed using the CMYK Process.

What is a Concertina Fold?
A term used for folding paper with a ‘Zig Zag’ style profile to the sheet. Each fold opens in the opposite direction to its adjacent page or panel. Widely used for creating a document appears to have 2 front covers.

What is Continuous Stationery?
Normally used for high volume invoices or business forms. The paper is on a continuous sheet and is printed and kept within its continuous format. This is common for large corporate companies who sent out huge volumes of over printed material such as telecommunications giant BT or British Gas. The continuous paper is overprinted at much higher speeds than sheet fed printers.

What is Cracking?
The cracking is when the material surface breaks, this is material usually a coated board or heavy paper cracks on the spin as it is it folded, this is very noticeable when a card has been printed with a heavy solid colours, particular darker colours such as dark blue or black.

What is Print Crease?
Usually done before folding, a line is pressed into a sheet in order to create a crease. This is to help avoid a sheet from cracking.

What is Creep?
This is when several sheets of paper are folded together, the centre sheets have further to travel around the spine, this make the outer sheets shorter which can cause complications with booklets using high page numbers. In some cases the design has to allow for this, in particular not having pages numbers too close to the edge which can result in them being trimmed off at the final guillotine stage.

What are Crop Marks?
These are added to artwork in order to indicate where a print design needs to be trimmed or ‘cropped’, folded or perforated.

What is a Clipping Path?
Usually used in order to ‘crop’ a photograph or illustration. This path allows an item to be imported in a more specified shape, rather than having to retain its original square or rectangular shape.

What is CTP?
This is an abbreviation of “Computer-to-Plate’, whereby a printing plate is generated directly from a computer as apposed to having to be created independently. CTP is a much quicker way of generating printing plate prior to printing.

What is Crop?
To reduce the unwanted portions of an image or page design, they are ‘Cropped’ to the desired size.

What is Cyan?
Cyan, is a bright blue colour, used within the four colour process CMYK.

What is Deboss?
An image, usually a logo is pressed into the paper so it dents just below the surface, like a depression in the paper.

What is Print Density?
A measure of the degree of dark / light absorption for images.

What is Die-Cutting?
This is a process where the sheet of paper or card is cut out, like a child making pastry shapes, a very sharp metal ‘die’ is using to impress the sheets so they are cut to a desired shape. Very common within printed folders which use a series of die cut shapes to produce the folds and tabs for creating a folder.

What is Digital Printing?
Digital printing is very much the same as any desktop printer you may have in your home or office, only much bigger and much, much better quality. Digital printing can cope more cost effectively with short quantity print runs, from a single copy up to 500 or in some cases 100 copies. Personalised printing is a massive benefit, which is not possible with traditional Litho printing.

What is Dot Gain?
This is normally noticed when a print job has gone wrong, it normally refers to a printing defect where the ‘dots’ used to make us a printed job are larger than should be. This causes darker colours and tones as the ink has spread. Some Dot Gain occurs with all printing but is usually controlled to keep under an acceptable tolerance. It is more prominent when using more ink absorbent material such as uncoated stock like offset.

What is DPi?
All full colour printing is done by using very small dots. Dpi referes tp the amount of ‘Dots per inch’ which are used in any full colour or process printing. The higher the amount of dots per inch, the higher the quality of the final printed result. At a minimum most full colour printers will print at 300dpi, and use 200 / 150dpi for large posters. Using anything less than 150dpi will only result in  a document being seen as blurred as you can see the pixelation.

What is Duotone?”
If you only have a black and white or ‘monotone’ image, a computerised method of adding another colour to the image can enhance the final image to be more interesting.

What is Drilled?
Holes can be drilled into any print job in order to allow them to be inserted into binders or other applications which required them to be drilled.

What is a Dummy?
This is a version of the final print job,  A mock-up made to resemble the final printed product which uses the proposed grade, weight, finish and colour of paper. A dummy is usually created using plain non-printed material.

What is Embossing?
An image, usually a logo is pressed into the paper so it dents just below the surface, like a depression in the paper. The same technique used for de-bossing.

What is an EPS?
An abbreviation of Encapsulated PostScript, a digital file created by computer graphics software prior to sending it to a printing house.

What is Foil Stamping?
A finishing technique used to apply a metallic area to a printed surface. The effect looks to be reflective mirrors type of effect.

What are Fonts?
These are typefaces or type styles used within the design process for creating text. The most common of all being ‘Helvetica’ and’ Times’

What is Four-Colour Process?
Often referred to as CMYK, this is a colour mixture process created using graphics software to split the colours of Photographs into four colour process (cyan, magenta, yellow, black).

What is Font Matching?
This usually occurs when a document is supplied from designer to printing house and has an unusual Font within the artwork document, which cannot be matched. Text often appears as a close match, but this often ends with text not flowing properly through a document causing unsightly errors and can result in text disappearing.

What is Print Format?
This refers to the overall size of your document – usually based on an A paper size, or close to it. Or the shape, whether or not it’s a landscape or portrait design

What is a French Fold?
A document is folded in half then in half again, both folds are at right angles.

What is an FTP site?
This is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol, a simple computer-based procedure for uploading or downloading artwork files through the internet rather than through email. This is a preferred method to used primarily for large files as they have a tendency to have problems through email systems.
What is full colour process?
This is the same as ‘four colour process’ the principal behind all colour printing using the colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

What is Print Gutter?
This is the area either side of the fold where two pages meet. Having sufficient ‘Gutter’ or keeping important information out of this area means it won’t become lost especially within a booklet or brochure with a large number of pages.

What is Paper GSM?
This is the reference to how all paper and card thickness is measured. It is an acronym for ‘Grams per Square Metre’. The most common being 130gsm to 400gsm. Large quantity catalogues can be printed onto a very thin 60gsm / 80gsm, but this means that the final result has almost transparent paper.

What is a Graphics File?
A general word used to describe a computer generated file used to display an illustration or photographic image.

What is a Greyscale image?
A black and white image which contains tones or shades. Newspapers use a lot of these types of images as they only use black ink so they are easily adapted to single or two colour printing.

What a Print Grippers?
These are metal grips which can look like fingers ans are used to hold onot a sheet of paper as it travels through a printing press.

What is Print Gusset?
This is usually used to describe a pocket within a folder or envelope, the amount of gusset is the gap to hold other material, the larger the gusset the bigger quantity of other sheets which can be held.

What is a Halftone?
A picture or blend of colour, which is made up dots. These dots are varying in size to help create the tone. An image, which has a blend from dark to light, uses larger dots in the dark area, and then they reduce in size to the light areas.

What is a Head Margin?
A design layout term used to describe the space usually found above the first line of text to appear in the page.

What is a printing Hickey?
A small spot or dot appearing on the printed sheet, usually created by a dust particle of a printing plate.

What is your House Sheet?
This is a term used to describe the standard paper any printing house may keep in stock. Usually printers will keep an amount of material with a standard thickness or finish in order to print jobs very quickly. Most printing material is purchased to order, which is normally delivered next day. If you are happy to print onto house stock, then it means that you don’t need to wait for a delivery from the paper supplier.

What is Colour Hue?
This is used to describe the differences between two similar colours.

What is Image Area?
This is the part of the paper where the printed matter appears. All paper has areas which are not printed, they are used to grip the paper as it travels through the printing press.

What is it to Import and Image?
To bring is an image or text file into a graphic design software in order for it to be used to create a design layout.

What is Print Imposition?
This is the technique used to position pages onto the press in order for them to be in the correct order or position for folding or collating afterwards.

What is an Imagesetter?
A device which outputs film for making printing plates prior to printing, many imagesetters have now bee replaced by CTP (Computer to Plate) systems which actually creates the plates and bypass the need for an imagesetter.

What is Indicia?
This is pre-printed postal information usually found on envelopes.

What is Ivory Board?
A smooth white material commonly used for Business Card printing.

What is Jog?
This is a method used to hand bounce a stack of paper in order for the edges to stack up neatly. This is sometimes also known as ‘knock-up’ or ‘knocking up’

What is a JPEG?
An acronym for Joint Photographic Electronic Group, a common file type used for compressing photographic images. Almost all digital camera’s used Jpeg as a standard for saving photos.

What is an Order Job Bag or Job Sheet?
Each print job usually has a job bag or Job Sheet created in order to process an order. This information is used throughout the printing process so that all members of staff know what is required of the order, it’s very much like ‘doctors notes’ which are located at the end of a hospital bed by hospital staff.

What is Justified Text?
This is a design layout term used for when a block of text is formatted so both the left and right hand is made to be the same width with a margin.

What is Kerning?
Certain letters need kerning to be applied, an ‘A’ for example sat next to a ‘V’ poses a re large gap between the two, reduced kerning allows them to sit closer together for a neater result.

What is Kiss-Cut?
This is when a sheet of paper is ‘Die-Cut’ but not all the way through, this is mots common with sticker sheets. The top ‘Sticker’ is cut from the bottom sheet so the bottom sheet is intact. Therefore the sticker peels away neatly.

What is Print Knockout?
A term used for when a design contains elements which are overlaying one another, the bottom image is ‘Knocked out’ or is eliminated as its not needed.

What is Kraft Paper?
Brown paper used for packing printing, without the need for boxes.

What is lamination?
Laminating is a technique where a think film is applied at the end of the print process to one or two sides to give a paper or card a matt or high gloss finish. Laminating can increase the lifespan of document as the laminate increases its sturdiness, in particular when used on business cards

What is a layout file?
A computer generated design file consisting of imported images and text.

What is Lithographic Printing?
The process in which almost all paper based printing is produced. The technique in which an inked image is transferred to the printing surface. The principle being that water is naturally separated from oil, so printing plates containing magnetised areas are produced to roll ink onto paper,  the ink adheres temporarily to the magnetised areas and then is transferred to the paper, the other non magnetised areas are washed off using water as they repel the ink
What is Loose Leaf?
This is where several pages or ‘leafs’ of paper are used to create a document, but they are not bound in a permanent manner. Normally used when information is required to be regularly updated.

What is Lpi?
This an acronym for ‘Lines per inch’ – this makes reference to the quality of the half-tone screen which makes up an image. How close these lines are together will determine the quality of the image. Newspapers work on a very low Lpi, such as 80. High quality printing normally runs at 150Lpi. Lpi is usually half of he Dpi measurement

What is Cyan?
Magenta, is a bright pink colour, used within the four colour process CMYK.

What is Make-Ready?
This is a word used to describe making a print job ready to print. The set-up associated with getting a job onto the press. Adding the plates, inking the machine, loading the paper and preparing the equipment before running the full quantity.

What is a Printing Plate?
This is a sheet made from metal with specially coated ‘emulsion’ on its surface when it’s exposed to light through a film mask. CTP is the newer technology now used to create plates directly from the computer, which avoids the need for film. The metal plates are loaded onto the printing press and ink adheres to the desired section of the plate before passing the ink onto the printed surface.

What is a Moiré Pattern?
This is a printing error where the coloured dots used to make up the printed document cause an irregular pattern which can sometimes look like a 3D image. This is more likely to occur when scanning a document which has already been printed in CMYK colours, the pattern is only really noticeable close up, the further away the pattern is the less likely it is to be seen.

What is Matt Material?
This is a type of coated paper or card, which has a Matt or Silk finish to it. It’s less shiny than Gloss, however this is only noticeable on non-printed areas. Solid areas of colour can look glossy.

What is Print Origination?
All of the different stages used to create and prepare a job before its ready to print.

What are Outline Paths?
A graphic design term used with graphic software whereby the text and images are converted into a series of dots and lines or ‘Vector’ format to make printing large size designs possible. It’s the opposite to bit-map which is an image / document made up solely of dots, this will not enlarge bigger than its original dpi size. But a vector or outline image retains its quality at any size and can be enlarged to the size of a house, if you need it that large of course.

What is Offset Printing?
The most common of all orienting methods, ink is transferred or ‘Offset’ from the ink roll to printing plate to the printing material. Also know as ‘Litho’ or ‘Lithographic’ printing.  A method in which the plate or cylinder transfers an ink image to an offset or transfer roller, which then transfers the image to stock.

What are Overs or Over Run?
Extra copies printed over and above the desired original quantity. Overs are usually produced to counteract against any quantity which maybe damaged in transit, these are usually the ones found at the top of a box.

What are Pantone® colours?
Pantone is a worldwide recognized colur matching system where you can give a pantone reference to a print supplier in the UK and it (should) be exactly the same colour when the order is reproduced in the United States or Singapore. Pantone was developed for multinational companies who need to retain colour consistency with their brands all across the world. Pantone inks can be supplied pre-mixed so there is no doubt to the exact colour required by a client. These pre-mixed colours are usually used with Spot Colour printing techniques, although a spot Pantone colour can be matched (almost) and used within the CMYK or process colour techniques.

What is Page Count?
This is the total number of paged contained in a document; these include printed and non printed pages. Take any booklet or brochure and count the number of pages from the front cover being page 1, inside left cover page 2 and all the way to the back civer and this gives you the total page count.

What is Print Perfecting?
This is reference to printing both sides of one sheet in single pass through the press. The alternative to this is to print one side and let it dry before turning it over and printing the other side, so perfecting is twice as fast.

What is Perfect Binding?
This is where multiple sheets are glued together rather than staple stitched. It is also known as magazine bound. Particularly useful for binding brochures which have more than 60+ pages.

What is Process colour?
Colour is applied in specific percentages of CYMK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key colour Black. When these colours are printed next to each other then an optical illusion is created and a full colour image or photograph can be printed. Any mixture of these four, you can recreate millions of colours .

What are Process Blue / Process Red / Process Yellow / Process Black?
These are alternative names given to the four CMYK colours

What is a Printed Proof?
This is usually printed digitally to give you a fairly accurate representation of the final print job. Customers request proofs normally for bespoke printing orders in order to check for any errors prior to giving the approval to print the larger quantity.

What are Progressive proofs?
These are colour samples of the actual print job taken from the pile by the print minder. This is to check that the colour is consistent throughout the production from the first sheet to the last.

What are Registration Marks?
These can be seen as small crosses found in each corner of a printed job prior to being trimmed. These are other ‘Printers marks’ are added in order to help print minders match the colours and align the registration of all the colour plates.

What is Reversed-Out text?
Text or type which is white onto either a solid or tinted background.

What is a Print RIP (raster image processor)?
A RIP is an acronym for ‘Raster Image Processor’ which is a computer based software used to create used to create an electronic file to be outputted ready for printing. Usually the PDF artwork supplied will need to be ‘ripped’ through this process to check its all ok to be printed.

What are RGB Colours?
This is an acronym for Red, Green Blue colours, usually found within all desktop computer monitors and televisions. RGB colours cannot be used for CMYK litho printing so have to be converted, some RGB colours can be lost in this conversion, especially very bright colours such a lime green and oranges. CMYK conversions tend to dull some colours, which is why designers prefer to create their original designs in CMYK then there is no need for a last minute panic conversion from RGB which can lead the customer disappointed with the outcome.

What is Saddle Stitch?
This is a binding technique of stapling or 2 wire stitching as it’s also know as. The term Saddle Stitch was only given to this process because the machines that produce this type of binding looks like a horse riding saddle.

What is it to Score Material?
This is a pressed indentation into a sheet of paper or card prior to it being folded, it enables to fold to be much neater. Its common to Score heavier weight material and supply it flat, rather than machine folding, which can lead to cracking on material which has been printed with heavy solid colours.

What is Self-Cover?
This is a term used within booklet and brochure printing, the material used throughout the document is the same on the inner pages and the cover, the whole document can be printed together so it cuts down on machine time and is usually more cost effective.

What is Print Step-Up?
This is used to describe the procedure to print several of the same job on a larger sheet, this avoids paper wastage, this is also referred to as ‘Imposition’.

What is Printing Stock?
The term used for all material which is printed

What is Spot Colour?
Spot colour is different from process colours colours. It refers ro printing using specific ink colours. For example a job which is printed red and blue, if printed Spot then the printer will actually add the blue and red ink to the machine, the artwork will have to have the two colours separated to do this. But whereas process colours print using a mixture of CMYK colours, spot colours print as solids or Spots of these actual ink colours. Spot colours are more accurate when an exact colour is required.

What is Spread, or Visual Spread?
These are when two pages are shown to view, together side by side. A common phrase is DPS, which refers to a Double Page Spread.

What is a Printing Solid?
This is an area on the sheet which completely covered in a particular colour, a solid area of ink.

What is a TIFF File?
This is an acronym of Tagged Image File Format. TIFF  or .TIF. It refers to images or photos or illustrations and is widely used for exporting large high quality photographic images.

What is a Tint?
This is an area of the page which is made up of a pattern of dots, to give the impression of a lighter colour or tint. Less dots and the smaller the dots are then  provides a lighter version of that colour.

What is Trapping?
This is a term used to describe an overlap of two colours which would normally tough each other. It’s done purposely to avoid any unsightly gaps appearing in-between the colours if there is any misalignment on the press. This is more common within Screen Printing than Litho Printing.

What us Print Turnaround time?
The amount of time it take to fulfill a print order, usually taken from the time the job is handed to the printer until the time its dry and ready to be packaged up.

What is UV Varnish?
This is a laminate which is applied as a liquid in a similar procedure to ink., it is then cured under a Ultraviolet light and sets, giving the impression of a high gloss area. This is usually used to highlight particular areas of a design, such as a logo or background effect.

What is Print Varnishing / Sealing?
This is a procedure for applying a protective cover to a print order. Usually used for very heavy solids or if a job has been printed onto a matt or silk coated material. The covering is almost invisible to the naked eye, but it helps to stop a job from smudging. It’s common to have the machine which handles this at the end fo the print line actually attached to the printing press so its applied as the last part of the print process.

What is Print Wash Up?
This is when a machine is cleaned in between printing jobs. Its to clean the rollers, ink ducts and water fountains and other parts of the printing press which have come into contact with ink.

What is Wire-O Binding?
This is when a document is bound using a wire coil which looks like a spring. This allows for multiple pages to be bound and also that the individual sheets used within the booklet can lay flat.

What is Printing Work and Tumble?
This is usually done on smaller printing presses which cannot print on both sides of the sheet in one pass. The sheet is first printed 1 side then when its finished that process its turned over in order for it to be run back through the machine to print the other side using the opposite ‘grip edge’.

What is Work and Turn?
This is when one side is printed then its turned from left to right and using the same ‘grip edge’ to print the second side.

What is X Height?
This is the height of the text or font without taking in account their ascenders and descenders, so it considers the height of the letter X, which has neither.