• 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
  • Aliasing A defect which occurs when a graphic file does not have enough resolution to reproduce image detail and causes visible jagged lines along the edges
  • Anti-aliasing Technique of filling the edges of an object with pixels to eliminate jagged lines and make it appear smoother
  • Aqueous coating This coating provides a subtle semi-gloss finish to your print product. It is resistant to smudges and fingerprints and does not yellow with age. Aqueous coating also improves durability to your product as it goes through mail or is inserted in pockets. NOTE: This coating is only available when you order Cover weight paper.
  • Artwork In printing, this is the original copy which includes all text, graphics, photos and illustrations


  • Back up To print the reverse side of an already printed sheet (print on both sides)
  • Bind To fasten sheets or sections into brochures or booklets with the use of wire, thread, glue, staples, etc.
  • Binding The process by which sheets are fastened together which includes cutting, trimming, collating, perforating, and folding to form the finished product
  • Bindery The department in a printing company where finishing work is done such as collating, folding and trimming of printed products
  • Bitmap An image file format that refers to the rows and columns (map) of dots or pixels that form an image
  • 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
  • Blanket The thick rubber coated pad of a printing press that transfers ink from the plate to the sheet
  • Bleed 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
  • Border Margin or line between the image area and the edge of the paper
  • Brightness The brilliance or reflective quality of paper affecting contrast in printing
  • Bulk The thickness of paper relative to its weight


  • C1S Abbreviation for coating on one side of paper
  • C2S Abbreviation for coating on both sides of paper
  • Caliper Measurement of paper thickness expressed in thousandths of an inch
  • Camera-ready copy Print ready layout of graphic and text
  • Cast coated A type of coated paper with a high gloss enamel finish
  • Chrome Color transparency
  • CMYK The color model used by printers which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black and from which an estimated 90% of colors in the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) model can be reproduced
  • Coated paper Paper with a thin surface coating of clay that produces a smooth finish
  • Collate 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 filter Filters used in color separation
  • Color key A printer’s proof made from 4 acetate or transparent films of various colors, one sheet per process color, which when combined simulates the finished product
  • 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
  • Color sequence The order in which the four-color process inks are printed on the press
  • 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
  • Contrast The range of difference between the darkest and lightest areas in an image
  • Copy 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 Creep is the shifting position of the page in a saddle-stitched bind. Creep moves the inside pages away from the spine with more pages added.
  • Crop 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
  • Crossover Printing across the gutter or from one page to the facing page of a publication
  • Cure The process of drying inks or coatings through chemical processes to develop strong adhesion
  • Cyan Shade of blue; One of four basic ink colors used in 4 color printing process


  • Deboss To press an image below the surface of paper
  • Densitometer An instrument used to measure the density of colored ink to determine consistency
  • Density The degree of darkness of an image
  • Die 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
  • Digital printing Printing directly from a computer file to effect lower costs and quicker turnaround
  • Direct Imaging A technology that eliminates the use of film plates by directly transferring the image from digital files to the press plates using a laser
  • Direct Imaging Press (DI) An offset press where the plate is imaged directly on the press with laser
  • Dot 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
  • Draw-down A method of applying a thin coating or ink on paper to roughly determine color
  • Drop-out Parts of artwork that are not reproduced
  • Dummy A preliminary layout of a copy showing the position and general style made to resemble the finished product
  • Duotone A halftone image made up of two colors
  • Duplexing The ability of a press to print on both sides of a sheet of paper


  • 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.
  • Emboss Technique of pressing an image into paper so that it creates a raised image


  • Feeder Section of a printing press that separates the sheets and feeds them into position for printing
  • Flood To cover a page completely with ink or varnish
  • Flop The backside of an image
  • Foil 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
  • 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


  • Gang Economical way of printing by printing multiple images on the same sheet using the maximum sheet size
  • Ghosting A printing defect where a faint unwanted image appears on a page
  • Gloss Shiny coating applied to paper
  • Grain The direction in which the fibers of a paper lie
  • Graphic design The use of visual elements to express a message
  • Grayscale An image made up of a range of shades of black and white
  • Grippers The metal fingers on printing presses that hold the paper and control it as it passes through the press


  • Halftone Pattern of dots within a fixed grid to reproduce a continuous-tone image
  • Hard copy A document or data printed on paper
  • Hickey A spot or imperfection on a printed page caused by dust, lint or dried ink
  • Highlight The lightest part in an image
  • House sheet Paper kept in stock by a printer


  • Image area Portion of a page or paper that can be printed on
  • Imposition Arranging printed pages correctly so they will fold in the proper sequence
  • Impression The pressure of a printing press on paper; image caused by pressure of a press plate on paper
  • InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Draw, Publisher Design programs for creating print materials
  • Indicia Postal information preprinted on a mailing envelope or a piece in place of a stamp
  • Ink fountain The container on a printing press that hold the ink



  • Keyline 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
  • Line copy High contrast copy made up of solids or lines which do not require a halftone screen; also called line art or line work
  • Lines per inch (LPI) The number of lines of dots per inch in a halftone screen; the higher the LPI, the sharper the image
  • Lithography A method of printing where plates are chemically treated so that the image area accepts ink and non-image areas repel ink


  • Magenta Also known as process red; one of the 4 basic ink colors in process color printing; M in abbreviation CMYK
  • Matte Dull non-glossy finish
  • Micrometer Device used to measure the thickness (caliper) of paper
  • Middle tones The tones in a photograph between highlights and shadows; must be balanced for accurate reproduction
  • Moire An undesirable screen pattern caused by incorrect screen angles


  • NCOA A United State Postal Service National Change of Address database which mail houses use for mailing list hygiene
  • Negative 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
  • Offsetting Transfer of ink or impression from one page to the opposite page
  • Opacity The property of paper that minimizes the show-through on a printed sheet
  • Outline halftone A halftone image with the background removed to outline the main image
  • Overrun Production of larger quantities than ordered
  • Oversampling Scanning at more than the ideal sampling rate


  • Page count Total number of pages in a book or publication
  • Pantone Matching Systems (PMS) A color reproduction standard covering all colors of the spectrum with each color given a unique identification number to ensure precise color matches and consistency
  • 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
  • Perfecting press A printing press that prints both sides of a sheet at the same time
  • Perforation Process of making holes or a series of cuts to make tearing or folding easy
  • Pica A printer’s measure of type; One pica is 1/6 of an inch
  • Plate A flat sheet of metal on which an image is reproduced using a printing press
  • PostScript A page description language developed by Adobe Systems that tells a printer how an image is to be printed
  • Press layout A map or drawing showing how a printing job must be imposed with a specific press and sheet size; also called a Ruleup
  • Pressure-sensitive paper Paper material with a self-sticking adhesive protected by a backing sheet, usually used for labels and stickers
  • Print resolution The strength of an image based on a dots per inch (DPI) number which renders the image a low or high resolution image
  • 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)
  • Proof The tool used to ensure that the text, image, color, and design of a printed project are accurate based on specifications before a full press run is executed



  • Raster To render an image, pixel by pixel, vertically and horizontally
  • Raster image An image file format that refers to the rows and columns (map) of dots or pixels that form an image (also referred to as a bitmap image)
  • Raster Image Processor (RIP) A device that translates data into dots or pixels
  • Ream A quantity of paper equivalent to 500 sheets
  • Resolution 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
  • RGB 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
  • Ruleup 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
  • Scanner An instrument used to make color separations; also an instrument to scan images or photos in desktop publishing
  • Score A mark or crease pressed on paper to make folding easier
  • Scoring 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
  • Self-cover The paper used as cover is the same as that used in the inside pages
  • Shadow The darkest areas of a photograph or image
  • Side stitch To bind by stapling sheets along one side of a sheet
  • Signature Term for a printed sheet after folding
  • Specifications A precise description of features of a print order such as paper type and quantity
  • Spine The back edge of a bound book or publication that connects the 2 covers
  • Split run Printing of a book or booklet that has copies bound in different ways
  • Spoilage Planned paper waste
  • Spot varnish Varnishing a specific part of a sheet
  • Stamping Pressing a design or image onto paper with a metal die
  • Step-and-repeat Technique of repeatedly exposing the same image on the plate in different places
  • Paper type The paper or material to be printed on
  • Stripping The process of positioning film negatives for plate making
  • Substrate Any surface or material on which printing is done


  • 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
  • Tint A mixture of a hue with white
  • Tissue overlay A thin transparent paper placed over artwork for protection and may be used for marking printer instructions
  • Trapping Printing of one ink over the other to prevent gaps from appearing
  • Tree-free Refers to pulp or paper made without cutting down trees; paper made from cotton, hemp or other resources
  • 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
  • Typesetting To arrange or layout artwork and text for printing


  • Uncoated Paper with no treatment or coating on the surface
  • Under-run Production of fewer copies than ordered by customer
  • Up 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


  • Variable Data Printing Printing documents with data that is personalized to each recipient to achieve better targeting and higher response rates
  • Varnish A clear liquid coating applied to printed sheet for protection and shine
  • Vignette A halftone or image whose background gradually fades to white
  • Vector images Images made up of solids, lines and curves that can be scaled or edited without affecting image resolution


  • Washup Process of cleaning the parts of a printing press (rollers, plate, blanket, etc.) so that a different ink can be applied
  • Waste Planned spoilage
  • Watermark A distinctive design created in paper during manufacturing that is visible when the paper is held up to the light
  • Web The roll of printing paper used in web or rotary printing
  • Web press A high speed printing press that prints on a continuous roll of paper or web rather than on individual sheets
  • Wire O A method of binding using double loops of wire through a hole
  • With the grain Folding or feeding paper into the press parallel to the paper’s grain or fiber
  • Work and tumble Printing the second side of a sheet by turning the sheet over from the gripper to the tail utilizing the same side guides and plate
  • Wove paper A paper having a uniform unlined surface and a smooth finish