printing terms glossaryglossary
You may be unfamiliar with some of the terms or options that apply to each product. Listed below are basic definitions and examples to help you better understand the process and terminology.

  • Aqueous Coating:
    A smooth high-gloss finish used to protect and enhance the printed piece.


  • Bindery/Finishing:
    The bindery operations are as follows: Folding, Binding, Stitching, Scoring, Perforation, Die Cutting, & Envelope Converting. Finishing is operations to a document after it has been printed.


  • Binding:
    Different methods used to secure loose pages in a book is called binding. Saddle stitch is an example of binding.


  • Bleed:
    Printed colors that extend past the edge of a page. To cut the job to its actual size the processor has to make sure the job gets printed with at least an 1/8 of an inch bleed. A full bleed is printing that goes to the edge of all four sides of the page.


  • CMYK (process color):
    The primary colors used in 4-color printing. CMYK are used to reproduce full color on the printed sheet. CMYK is based on mixing pigments of the following colors in order to make other colors:
    C: Cyan (Blue)
    M: Magenta (Red)
    Y: Yellow
    K: Key (Black)


  • Color Types:
    4/4 - 2 sided, full color on front and on back
    4/1 - 2 sided, full color on front, black on back
    4/0 - 1 sided, full color on front


  • Die Cutting:
    A specific shape like circle, star, etc (any design that cannot be done by a straight cut) which is cut by a metal blade. Door hangers are a popular product which requires die cutting.


  • Direct Mail:
    Another name for advertising mail sent to targeted markets. It can be any mail class, but it is usually Standard Mail.


  • Dots Per Inch (dpi):
    A measurement of resolution of input, output and display devices. 300 dpi means that when printed, each square inch of your image will contain 90,000 pixels (dots), the higher the dpi (the more pixels per inch) the more crisp the printed image will be.


  • Finished Size / Trim Size:
    The size of a printed product after all production is complete.


  • Flat Size:
    The size of a printed product after printing and trimming but before any finishing operations that affect its size, such as folding.


  • Gloss Finish:
    A coating on paper that provides a higher reflection of light, which results in a shiny appearance. Gloss coatings reduce ink absorption, which allows excellent contrast and color definition.


  • Gloss Paper:
    Paper with a gloss finish, usually used for higher quality printing.


  • Gray Scale:
    Gray scale refers to black and white printed material.


  • Head to Head:
    Printing on the front and back of a sheet is setup so that the top of both sides is printed at the same end of the sheet. You would turn the sheet like the page of a book to read the reverse side.


  • Matte Finish:
    A coated paper finish that is flat, not shiny like a gloss, but still keeps much of the ink from being absorbed by the paper and produces an excellent image.


  • Offset Printing:
    The transfer of an inked image from a plate to a blanket cylinder, which in turn transfers the image to the printing material as it passes between the blanket and the impression cylinder and pressure is applied. In four color printing, this process happens four times (once for each color) before the printing is complete and the job is ready for finishing.


  • Out of Register/Off Register:
    When an image is not printing in the exact location that it is suppose to. When printing more than one color, if the colors do not line up properly, they are out of register.


  • Perforation:
    Creating a series of holes so that the paper can be torn more easily along the line that is formed.


  • Preflighting:
    The process of reviewing your file to make sure it is printable. Preflighting usually means checking the resolution, fonts, bleeds, size, crop marks and if applicable, mail piece design/setup, for the files to be printed.


  • Press:
    Two types: Sheet fed and Web. Sheet fed printing manually feeds individual sheets of paper through the presses. Web presses use large rolls of paper which are then cut later. Sheet fed presses are ideal for short-runs, while web presses are ideal for very large printing jobs.


  • Punching:
    Drilling of holes through a stack of paper.


  • Resolution:
    The measurement of output quality expressed in pixels (dots) per inch on a computer monitor or dots per inch on printed media. For example, a monitor displaying a resolution of 800 by 600 refers to a screen capable of displaying 800 pixels in each of 600 lines, which translates into a total of 480,000 pixels displayed on the screen. When referring to printed media, a 300 dpi (dots per inch) printer for example, is capable of outputting 300 dots in a one-inch line, which means that it has the ability of printing 90,000 distinct dots per square inch (300 x 300).


  • RGB:
    Stands for the red, green and blue, used to display color in video monitors. Printing with a file in RGB color mode will produce a washed out appearance. RGB files should be converted to CMYK prior to uploading. Colors may need to be adjusted after the conversion and may not appear correct on your monitor.


  • Round Cornering:
    Using a machine to die cut the corners of forms, cards and books to create a rounded corner.


  • Saddle Stitching:
    The method of binding the pages of a section where the folded pages are stitched through the fold from the outside, using a wire staple (stapling).


  • Scoring:
    A crease applied, in a straight line, to a sheet of paper to allow it to fold easier and more accurately.


  • Spot Coating/Spot UV:
    In a Spot UV job the job gets a UV coating in only specific areas and does not get any coating in any other places. Spot UV is also referred to as spot varnish.


  • Template:
    A preset model that acts as a structure for setting up a similar product. Here at PrintHoouse(45), we have lot of templates. You may download the templates for free online... and we highly recommend that you do so.


  • Trim:
    The process of cutting the product to its finished size. The excess that is cut off is also referred to as the trim.


  • Window Envelopes:
    An envelope with a die cut opening that is intended to have information show through from the piece inside the envelope.


  • Zip:
    Zipping is a way to compress electronic files. A compressed file is considered "zipped."


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