Printing Terms - Your Handy Guide to Print Terminology
Do you know your aqueous from your UV coatings? Or your creep from your flood?
Don't worry - help is now at hand!
We have collated some of the key printing terminology for you to use as a handy glossary to printing terms.
If there are more printing terms you would like to see added to this list, please do let us know - we are constantly updating this list to keep it as useful and relevant to everyone.
Please scroll down to view our handy guide to printing terms, listed in alphabetical order.
Your Handy Printing Terminology Glossary
Coating in a water base and applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the printing underneath.
To print on the second side of a sheet already printed on one side.
A method of attaching pages together into a publication. These methods include: stitching, perfect binding, and coil binding.
Trimming machines are not as precise as printing presses. When the magazine is cut down (trimmed) to its final size, it is almost impossible to cut along the page edge exactly. Having art go well off the page (bleed off) will ensure no possibility of a white hairline around the edge of page. During the setup of your magazine any art going to the edge of the page will need to go off (bleed off) the page by at least 3mm, not stop at page edge in order to print correctly.
Coated 2 Sides refers to paper that is shiny on both sides. C2S is the paper used by most magazines. C1S is the kind of paper typically used on some nice postcards.
To bind using glue to hold signatures to a case made of binder board covered with fabric, plastic or leather. Also called cloth bind, edition bind, hard bind and hard cover.
Most magazines are printed using only 4 ink colours; Cyan (blueish), Magenta (pinkish), Yellow & Black. Layering these colours can produce most colours…but not all.
Coated paper is paper that has a smooth surface which is produced by calendering at production stage. Types of coated paper are referred to as Gloss Coated, Matt Coated or Silk/Satin Coated
Cold set printing is printing that does not use heat to dry freshly printed ink. Because ink takes a certain amount of time to dry, uncoated papers are used.
Colour Control Bar
Strip of small blocks of colour on a proof or press sheet to help evaluate features such as density and dot gain. Also called colour bar, colour guide and standard offset colour bar.
The phenomenon of middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages. Also called feathering, outpush, push out and thrust.
Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks and tic marks.
To press an image into paper so it lies below the surface. Also called tool.
The concept that ink soaks into paper by different amounts on different types of paper. The more the dot gain, the darker, less crisp the photo will appear. Usually expressed in %’s. Ink on newsprint soaks in approximately 10% more than coated paper.
Considered as “dots per square inch,” a measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters and monitors
DTP or D2P
Short for Direct to Plate. A modern printing process that allows the artwork to be converted in the computer to a form that bypasses the film stage and goes directly to the printing press (plate).
To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface.
(Reader’s Spreads) Facing pages are pages built in the computer the way the reader will view the magazine: cover, then pages 2 and 3 together facing each other, 4 and 5 facing each other, etc.
4/1 (four over one)
A job that is printed using 4 colour on front and one colour (usually black) on the back.
(same as four colour, full colour or process colour) Photos in most magazines are printed using just 4 ink colours; Cyan (blueish), Magenta (pinkish), Yellow & Black. Layering these colours can produce most colours…but not all.
To print a sheet completely with an ink or varnish. flooding with ink is also called painting the sheet.
Method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die. Also called block print, hot foil stamp and stamp.
The actual page number in a publication.
Edge of a sheet held by grippers on a sheetfed press, thus going first through the press. Also called feeding edge and leading edge.
The center, folded area of a magazine.
No, it’s not one of the lesser-known time zones; GSM is actually “grams per square metre” and refers to the weight of paper. Note that heavier sheets (i.e .higher gsm) are not necessarily thicker. You will often find that coated (eg silk or gloss) sheets feel thinner than uncoated sheets of the same weight. If you’re interested in bulk rather than weight (i.e. how thick it feels, rather than how heavy it is) you’ll need to know the thickness of the sheet, which is usually measured in microns (thousandths of a millimetre). Ideally, you need to test the thickness of a sheet with your own hands, so request samples whenever possible and when time allows – request samples.
Perfect bound cover scored 1/8 inch (5mm) from the spine so it folds at the hinge instead of, along the edge of the spine.
Arrangement of pages on mechanicals or flats so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.
Two folds creating three panels that allow a sheet of letterhead to fit a business envelope. Also called barrel fold, roll fold and wrap around fold.
A type of printing press or printing method. The printing press uses paper in sheets of a standard size (offset paper).
Each face of a sheet of paper. The cover (of a “self-cover” magazine) is page 1, inside the cover is page 2, and so on. See Plus Cover.
The cover of a “self-cover” magazine is page 1, inside the cover is page 2, and so on. The cover of a “plus-cover” magazine is not numbered, page 1 is the first interior page. See Plus Cover.
PMS or Pantone
Obsolete reference to Pantone Matching System. The correct trade name of the colours in the Pantone Matching System is Pantone colours, not PMS Colours.
Method of folding. Two parallel folds to a sheet will produce 6 panels.
Short for Portable Document Format. PDF is a digital file format that was designed to make it possible for viewers to open and view on many computer platforms (Macintosh, Windows or UNIX) without cross-platform problems.
Short for Perforation or Perforating. A process that places tiny holes in paper making it easier to tear out of a magazine. An example would be around a Business Reply card.
Perfect / PUR Bound / Square back
To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue. Also called adhesive bind, cut-back bind, glue bind, paper bind, patent bind, perfecting bind, soft bind and soft cover.
The part of a printing press that transfers the ink onto the printing blanket which in turn transfers the ink onto the paper.
Plus Cover/Self Cover
Plus Cover doesn’t include the cover in the page count (number of pages plus the cover). Self Cover refers to a job that the cover is included in the page count. Example: 16 pages self cover has 16 total
Reader’s Spreads/Printer’s Spreads
Reader’s spreads are pages built in the computer the way the reader will view the magazine: cover, then pages 2 and 3 together facing each other, 4 and 5 facing each other, etc. Most software refers to reader’s spreads as "facing pages". Our imposition software automatically converts reader’s spreads to printer’s speads.
Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.
Images on a computer monitor are made by tiny dots of light (pixels). These dots fool your eye into thinking there is photo on the screen. Resolution refers to the number of the dots in terms of pixels per inch (ppi). The higher the number, the more detail an image can have. Your computer monitor shows images at 72 ppi. Printing standards are 300 ppi and above.
Computer monitors make all their colours using three (light) colours; Red, Green, and Blue. Use these colours can produce most all the colours your eye can see. This “colour space” is used when producing anything that is viewed through your monitor, NOT printed.
To compress paper along a straight line so it folds more easily and accurately. Also called crease.
To bind using a spiral of continuous wire or plastic looped through holes. Also called coil bind.
Stitching or Saddle Stitch
A binding method. The industry term for stapling along the fold.
Self Cover/Plus Cover
Self Cover refers to a job that the cover is included in the page count. Plus Cover doesn’t include the cover in the page count (number of pages plus the cover). Example: 16 pages self cover has 16 total pages. 16 pages plus cover has 20 total pages (16 interior pages + 4 cover pages). Reason for Plus Cover: a magazine cover that requires a process that the interior doesn’t (heaver paper or UV coating). It must be printed at a different time and possibly another location. The term tells us that there is an added step to the process.
The size of the printed material in its finished stage (e.g., the finished trim size is 297 x 210mm).
The paper doesn’t have a coating to make it shiny or keep the ink from soaking in. Copier paper and newspapers use uncoated paper.
Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light. Gives a very high-end finish to a publication.
Shiny coating put on some high-image magazines. Although not as heavy or shiny as UV, Varnish is a cheaper alternative as it is “printed on” as another ink colour
A type of printing press or printing method. The printing press uses papers that come supplied on a large roll (resembling a paper towel roll). Used for large runs of printing.
With the Grain
Parallel to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to against the grain.
We hope you found our article useful. If you would like to receive more articles from us, or if you have a packaging print project to discuss, please click below:
Keep up with the Latest Articles:
Want to receive the latest articles with trends, tips, offers and print news?
Do you have a packaging print project to discuss? We’d love to help.