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Printing Terms Glossary A-G
Mar 22, 2017
A4 PaperISO standard paper size 210 x 297mm or 8.3 x 11.7". The common paper size used outside the US in place of 8.5 x 11.
Accordion foldFolding paper by bending each fold in the opposite direction of the previous fold creating a pleated or accordion effect.
Acid-free paperA paper containing no acidity or acid producing chemicals that degrades less over time than acidic papers.
Against the GrainRunning a sheet of paper through a printing press at right angles to the grain direction of the paper, as opposed to with the grain. This is usually suboptimal for both press operation and registration of the 4 color process inks. Sometimes called cross grain.
AirbrushA compressed air tool that sprays a fine mist of paint or ink, used in illustration and photo retouching.
Anti-aliasingThe process of averaging between pixels of different colors. This results is a smoother, more blended transition between the edge of two areas rather than a distinctly jagged appearance.
Aqueous CoatingThis clear coating is used to protect your printed pieces. It provides a high-gloss surface that deters dirt and fingerprints. Aqueous coating improves the durability of postcards as they go through the mail, and protects business cards as they ride around in people's pockets. It also looks beautiful on brochures, catalog covers, and stand-alone flyers.
ArtworkThe original physical materials, including photos, graphic images, text and other components needed to produce a printed piece. Can also now refer to the electronic or digital components needed for preparing a printed piece for production on a press or copier.
AscenderAny part of a lower case letter which rises above the main body of the letter such as in "d", "b" and "h".

BackslantAny type that tilts to the left or backward direction; opposite of italic type.
Back UpHow an image on one side of a printed sheet aligns with the image on the other side.
BalloonIn an illustration, any line that encircles copy or dialogue.
Base lineThe imaginary horizontal line upon which stand capitals, lower case letters, punctuation points, etc.
Basis weightBasis or basic weight refers to the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that particular paper grade.
Bible paperA thin but strong paper (opaque), used for bibles and books.
BinderyA business or department within a printing company that does the cutting, folding, collating, drilling and other finishing operations used on printing projects.
BlanketThe rubberized surfaced material secured onto a cylinder onto which the ink is transferred from the plate and then to the paper.
BleedAny element that extends up to or past the edge of a printed page.
Blind embossA design or bas relief impression that is made without using inks or metal foils.
BlockingWhen ink or coating causes printed sheets of paper in a pile to stick together, causing damage when they are separated. This is normally caused by not enough anti-offset powder or too much ink, and usually ruins the printed job.
BodyIn typography, the main shank or portion of a letter character other than the ascenders and descenders.
BondA grade of durable writing, printing and typing paper that is erasable and somewhat rigid.
Book PaperTypes of paper usually used for printing books. Book paper text weight and is divided into uncoated or offset paper, and coated paper, which includes matte or gloss coating.
BounceInconsistent positioning of the printed image on the sheets of paper as they travel through a printing press.
BristolA board paper of various thicknesses having a smooth finish and used for printing or drawing.
BulkA term given to paper to describe its thickness relative to its weight.
BulletA boldface square or dot used before a sentence to emphasize its importance.

C1S and C2SAcronyms for Coated One Side and Coated Two Sides paper stock. A cover stock with a glossy finish on one side and uncoated on the other, usually between 8pt (.008") and 18pt (.018") in thickness.
CaliperThe measurement of the thickness of paper measured in thousandths of an inch or mils.
Case bindingBooks bound using hard board (case) covers.
Carbonless PaperPaper that is chemically treated to transfer the impression from the first page to the subsequent pages. See Carbonless NCR Form Printing for more detailed info.
Cast coatedA paper that is coated and then pressure dried using a polished roller that imparts an enamel like hard gloss finish.
Center spreadThe two pages that face each other in the center of a book or publication.
Chain linesLines that appear on laid paper as a result of the wires of the papermaking machine.
Clip artGraphic images, designs, and artwork in digital form that can be used in a digital document.
Coarse screenHalftone screens commonly used in newsprint; up to 85 lines per inch.
Coated stockAny paper that has a mineral coating applied after the paper is made, giving the paper a smoother finish.
Coil BindingWhere a metal or plastic wire is spiraled through holes punched along the side of a stack of paper. Commonly used for reports, proposals and manuals. Documents bound with coil have the ability to lay flat and can rotate 360 degrees. Also called spiral binding.
Cold colorAny color that is toward the blue side of the color spectrum.
CollateTo gather sheets or printed signatures together in their correct order.
ColophonA printers' or publishers' identifying symbol or emblem.
Color balanceThe relative amounts of process colors used to reproduce an image, either digitally or when printed on a press.
Color barsA color test strip that is printed on the waste portion of a press sheet. It helps a press operator to monitor and control the quality of the printed material relative to ink density, registration and dot gain. It can also include a Star Target, which is designed to detect inking and press problems.
Color castUnwanted color tone or overall color shading distorting the normal color balance of a photographic image.
Color correctionUsing a computer to adjust, change or manipulate a color image, such as retouching, adjusting color balance, color saturation, contrast, etc.
Color gamutThe entire range of hues possible to reproduce on a specific system, such as a computer screen, or four-color printing press.
Color separatingThe processes of separating the primary color components (CMYK) for printing.
Color sequenceThe order in which process inks are printed on a printing press. Also called the color rotation or laydown sequence.
Color shiftChange in the perceived color of elements on a printed piece caused by changes or irregularities in ink densities, dot gain, or color register during a four-color printing press run.
Color transparencyTransparent film containing a positive photographic color image.
Comb BindingBinding a stack of paper together by inserting the teeth of a flexible plastic comb into holes punched along one of the edges. Commonly used for catalogs, reports and manuals.
Condensed typeA narrow, elongated typeface.
ContrastThe degree of tonal separation or gradation in the range from black to white.
CoverA term describing a general type of paper used for the covers of books, pamphlets, etc., also used for business cards and postcards.
CoverageThe extent to which printing ink covers the surface of a printed sheet. Ink coverage is frequently expressed as light, medium or heavy.
CropTo reduce the size of an image.
Crop marksSmall printed lines around the edges of a printed piece indicating where it is to be cut out of the sheet. Sometimes referred to as cut marks.
CrossoverAn image, rule or line art on one printed page that carries over to an adjacent page of a bound or folded work.
CyanA shade of blue used in four-color process printing. The C in CMYK. Also referred to as process blue.

DampeningAn essential part of the offset printing process whereby rollers distribute a solution to the plate that covers the non-printing area of the plate, repelling ink in those areas. Some newer presses use a waterless ink technology that does not use dampening.
DebossTo press an image into paper with a die so it extends below the surface. The opposite of emboss where the image is raised above the paper surface.
Deckle edgeThe rough or feathered edge of paper when left untrimmed.
DensitometerAn optical device used by printers and photographers to measure and control the density of ink or color.
DensityThe degree of tone, weight of darkness or color within a photo or reproduction measured by a densitometer.
DescenderA term that describes that portion of lower case letters that extends below the main body of the letter, as in "p".
Desktop PublishingCreating materials to be printed using a personal computer, as opposed to taking non-electronic documents to a commercial printing company to be prepared for printing.
Die CuttingThe process of cutting paper in a shape or design by the use of a wooden die or block in which are positioned steel rules in the shape of the desired pattern.
Digital ProofColor separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to color photographic paper creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed with ink.
DitheringThe process of averaging between pixels of different colors. This results in a smoother, blended transition between the edge of two areas rather than a jagged or 'stair-step' appearance. Also a method used on ink jet printers where colors are produced by mixing colored dots in a randomized pattern.
DotThe smallest individual element of a halftone.
Dot gainA term used to describe when dots are printing larger than they should.
DrillThe drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding.
Drop shadowA shadow image placed offset behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page.
Dull finishA semi-gloss finish on paper that is less glossy than gloss and more than matte paper.
DummyThe preliminary assemblage of copy and art elements to be reproduced in the desired finished product, also called a comp.
DuotoneA two-color halftone reproduction generated from a one color photo.
Dye sublimationA photographic looking color print created by heating dyes on a substrate instead of using inks. Often used for proofing.

Electronic ProofA process of generating a prepress proof in which paper is electronically exposed to the color separation negatives and passed through electrically charged pigmented toners, which adhere electrostatically, resulting in the finished proof.
EmbossingThe molding and reshaping of paper by the use of special metal dies and heat, counter dies and pressure, to produce a raised image on the paper surface.
EnamelAnother term for gloss coated paper.
EPSEncapsulated Post Script. A standard file format used to transfer postscript formatting information between applications.

Felt sideThe smoother side of a sheet in the paper. The wire side is the rougher side of the paper. The difference happens in the papermaking process. The differences are eliminated when papers are gloss or matte coated.
FinishThe surface quality of a paper.
FitThe registration of the different colors on a printed sheet.
FlexographyA printing method using flexible plates where the image to be printed is higher than the non-printing areas. The inked areas are then contact the material to be printed, transferring the ink from the raised areas to the material. Fast drying inks are usually used in this process. Common uses are the printing of cans and bottles and other non-flat items.
FoilThen metal sheet that is applied to paper using the foil stamping process. Frequently gold colored, but available in many colors.
Foil EmbossingStamping a thin sheet of metallic foil onto a sheet of paper and then embossing a pattern under it, creating a three dimensional raised area, usually text or an image. See a sample of foil embossing.
Foil StampingImpressing metallic foil onto paper with a heated die.
FontThe characters which make up a complete typeface and size.
FPO - For Position OnlyLow resolution or mockup images used to indicate placement and size in a design, but not intended for final production.
Free sheetAny paper that is free from wood pulp impurities.

GangingThe combining of two or more different printing projects on the same sheet of paper.
Gate foldA three or four panel fold where the two outside panels fold inward to meet in the center. In an open gate fold, there are three panels, the bottom of which is twice the size of the folded panels. In a closed gatefold, there are four panels of roughly equal size where the outer panels are folded inward together.
GatheringAssembling sheets of paper and signatures into their proper sequence. See also collate.
GhostingAlso known as gloss ghosting. A condition occurring during the printing process when vapors from drying ink on one side of a press sheet interact chemically with dry ink or blank paper on sheets in contact with or on the reverse side of the same sheet creating unintended faint images.
GrainPaper fibers lie in a similar direction in a sheet of paper. This direction is called the grain. Printing is usually done so that if folding is required, the fold is done parallel to the grain.
GravureA printing process using recessed areas on a metal cylinder that hold the ink.
GripperA series of metal fingers that hold each sheet of paper as it passes through a printing press.
Gripper edgeThe side of a piece of paper held by the gripper fingers as it passes through a printing press. Nothing can be printed in this area.
GutterA blank space or margin between components on a printed piece or press sheet.