ACETATE:- A thin flexible sheet of transparent plastic used to make overlays.

ART PAPER:- A common term used to describe a range of smooth gloss papers, see coated stock.

'A' SIZED PAPER:- Paper sizes are based on dimensions of a large A0 sheet. Letterheads are commonly produced on A4 sized paper.

APPLICATION:- A computer program designed for a particular use, such as a word processor or page layout application, i.e. Microsoft Word or QuarkXpress, or Indesign.


BACKING UP - Printing the reverse side of a sheet already printed on one side.

BLACK AND WHITE - Originals or reproductions in single colour (black).

BLEED - Printed area which extends off the trimmed area. It is not possible to print all the way to the edge of the paper sheet.

To achieve this effect it is necessary to print a larger area than is required and then trim the paper down.

Typically a designer would allow an extra 4mm-5mm of bleed to colour and image areas to allow for a little leeway when trimming. A minimum of at least 3mm is needed

BOARD - Thick paper over 170gsm in weight, commonly used for folders, brochure covers etc.

BOND PAPER- A basic uncoated paper, often used for copying or laser printers. The better quality bond papers, with higher rag content, can be used for letterheads

BITMAP- A grid of pixels or printed dots generated by computer to represent type and images.

BLIND EMBOSSING- No ink is used for this type of embossing; instead, the design or text is only visible as a raised area on the paper or card.

BLANKET:- Thick rubber sheet that transfers ink from plate to paper on the press.


CMYK - Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow and Black - used as the basic colours in the printing industry. See ‘Four Colour Process'.

CONTRAST - The degree of tones in an image ranging from highlight to shadow.

COATED STOCK - Paper which has a coating usually of china clay. It can be gloss, silk or matt and is suitable for jobs requiring a fine finish such as colour brochures and annual reports.

COLLATE - To bring together and organise printed matter in a specific order.

CROP MARKS - In printing, marks placed on the copy to indicate the edge of the paper. Used as a guide when cutting (or trimming) documents to finished size.

CARBONLESS PAPER (NCR):- Paper coated with chemicals that enable transfer of images from one sheet to another with pressure from writing or typing.

CASE BOUND:- A hardback book made with stiff outer covers. Cases are usually covered with cloth, vinyl or leather.

CAST COATED:- Coated paper with a very high gloss enamel finish

CONTINUOUS STATIONERY:- Forms which are produced from reels of paper and then fan folded. these can be either single or multi-part forms. Often called NCR.

CREEP:- Phenomenon when middle pages of a folded section extend slightly beyond the outside pages, when finished saddle stitched.


DIE-CUTTING - The process of using sharp steel rules to cut special shapes, such as the pockets of a folder.

DIGITAL PRINTING - Printing processes in which information is transferred from a computer directly onto paper, without the need for film and printing plates. Digital printing is faster and more cost-effective for small/medium print runs and allows special techniques such as personalisation and printing-on-demand. Has difficulty with overall solids. Max. gsm is 350gsm usually.

DOTS PER INCH (DPI) - Measure of the resolution of input devices such as scanners, display devices such as monitors, and output devices such as laser printers, digital printing presses and monitors.

DRILLING - Making the holes in paper for use in a ring binder.

DUPLEX - A printing press equipped to print both sides of a piece of paper in one pass.

DOT GAIN-The amount the ink spreads or bleeds on the page or when making films or plates. This percentage is the amount you have to allow to obtain the optimum reproduction to match the original.

DEBOSS:- Image pressed into paper so it lies below the surface.

DENSITY:- The degree of darkness of light absorption or opacity of printed images.

DUOTONE:- A method of enhancing a mono image using two colours.

DUMMY:- A mock-up made to resemble the final printed product which uses the proposed grade, weight, finish and colour of paper.


ENCAPSULATION - A form of protective enclosure for papers and other flat objects; involves placing the item between two sheets of transparent polyester film (available in various thicknesses) that are subsequently sealed around all edges.

EMBOSSING:- A process performed after printing to stamp a raised (or depressed) image into the surface of paper, using engraved metal embossing dies, extreme pressure, and heat. embossing styles include blind, deboss and foil-embossed.

EPS:- An acronym for Encapsulated PostScript, a computer file format widely used by the printing and graphics industries.


FINISHING - Any process that follows the actual printing. Can include folding, creasing, stitching, binding and the like.

FOUR-COLOUR PROCESS - The most common system for producing full colour print. The four ink colours are Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow and Black - often referred to as CMYK. The inks can be overprinted and combined in a variety of different proportions to produce a wide range of colours.

FSC®: FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL® -Is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.

FTP site:- A simple internet-based method of uploading your artwork files so they can be transferred easily to me.

FOLIO:-The page number that appears at the foot of the page.

FOOT MARGIN:-looking at the front of a saddle stitched or perfect bound brochure, the foot margin is at the bottom of the page.

FOREDGE MARGIN:-looking at the front of a saddle stitched or perfect bound brochure, the foredge margin is on the right hand side of the page.


GSM - Abbreviation for ‘grams per square metre’; this indicates the weight of paper or other stock. For example a typical photocopier paper is 80gsm, a good letterhead paper might be 120 gsm, a postcard would be about 300gsm. Not to be confused with micron, which measures thickness.

GRAVURE PRINTING- Process in which recesses on a printing cylinder are filled with ink and the surplus removed by a blade. The paper contacts the cylinder and ' lifts' the ink from the recesses before depositing it on the paper. Generally used for long-run printing such as magazines and catalogues.

GUTTER:- Line or fold at which facing pages meet.

GRAPHICS FILE:- General term used for a computer file containing a picture: photographic image, illustration etc.

GREYSCALE:- Shades of grey ranging from black to white; in printing, greyscale uses only a black halftone plate.

GRIPPERS:- Metal fingers which hold paper and carry it through printing impression to the delivery end of the press.

GUSSET:- Expandable portion of a pocketed folder or envelope.


HALFTONE- Picture with shades of tone created by varying size.

HEAD MARGIN:-looking at the front of a saddle stitched or perfect bound brochure, the head margin is at the top of the page.

HICKEY:- Spot or imperfection in printing, caused by perhaps a dust particle.

HUE:- The main attribute of a colour which distinguishes it from other colours.


IMAGE AREA:- Portion of paper where ink appears, should be at least 3mm within the trim area.

IMPORT:- To bring a picture or text file into and application ready for editing or design work.

IMPOSITION:- Positioning pages in a press-ready form so that they will be in the correct numerical sequence after folding. See Folio.

IMAGESETTER:- A device that plots high-resolution bitmaps which have been processed by a RIP. may include type, graphics and photographic images.

INDICIA:- Postal information place on a printed product.

IVORY BOARD:- A smooth high white board used for business cards etc.


JOG:- To shake a stack of papers, either on a machine or by hand, so that the edges line up. Also referred to as knocking-up.

JPEG:- Joint Photographic Electronic Group. A common standard for compressing image data.

JOB TICKET / JOB SHEET- Alternate names for a works order.

JUSTIFIED:- Text which is flush to both the left and right margins.


KERNING:- The adjustment of spacing between certain letter pairs, A and V for example, to obtain a more pleasing appearance.

KISS-CUT:- To die-cut but not all the way through the paper - commonly used for peel off stickers.

KNOCKOUT:- A shape or object printed by eliminating (knocking out) all background colours.

KRAFT PAPER:- A tough brown paper used for packing.


LAID PAPER - Uncoated paper often used for business stationery which has a textured pattern of parallel lines similar to hand made paper. Compare to Wove Paper.

LAMINATION - A plastic film bonded by heat and pressure to a printed sheet for protection; available in matt or gloss finish.

LANDSCAPE - An oblong artwork or photograph where horizontal dimension is greater than the vertical. A4 landscape would be called 210x297mm

LITHOGRAPHIC PRINTING (LITHO) -A conventional (non-digital) print process. The process works by first transferring an image to thin metal, paper, or plastic printing plates. Rollers apply oil-based ink and water to the plates. Only the inked image portion is transferred to a rubber blanket that then transfers the image onto the paper as it passes between it and another cylinder beneath the paper.

LOOSE LEAF:- A method of binding which allows the insertion and removal of pages for continuous updating.

LEAF- A single leave of paper, is made up of two sides or two pages


MICRON - Although paper weight is usually measured in gsm (grams per square metre) thickness is measured in microns (thickness). A micron is unit of measure equal to one millionth of a metre or .00004".

MAGENTA:- One of the four process colours, also known as red.

MAKE-READY:- The work associated with the set-up of printing equipment before running a job.

METAL PLATE:- A metal sheet with a specially coated 'emulsion' on its surface which when exposed through a film mask or by CTP process will produce an image. when the plate is loaded onto printing press it then reproduces this image using inks onto the paper.

MICROMETER:- Instrument used for measuring the thickness or micron of paper.

MOIRÉ PATTERN:- An undesirable grid-like pattern caused by the misalignment of dots on a printed document. this can occur when printing or sometimes when scanning from pre-printed material.

MATT:- A common term used to describe a range of smooth non-gloss papers, see coated stock.



ORIGINATION:- A term used to describe all of the processes which prepare a job for the printing stage.

OUTLINE PATHS:- A term used when converting a font or graphic into a mathematical vector format. can also be called 'curves'.

OFFSET 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.

OVER-RUN:- Copies printed in excess of the quantity specified in the order also called overs.


PAGE- A single page is one side of a leave of paper, 2 pages = 1 leave

PANTONE COLOUR - Pantone Matching System and PMS + are Pantone Inc’s industry-standard trademarks for colour standards, colour data, colour reproduction and colour reproduction materials, and other colour related products and services, meeting its specifications, control and quality requirements.

PDF - Portable Document Format - The industry standard for saving files in an acceptable format. Quick, cheap and increasingly stable, often used for viewing proofs and for supply of final artwork.

Not normal to be able to change or amend a pdf.

PEFC:- Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes Is a framework for the mutual recognition of credible national or regional forest certification schemes which have been developed to meet internationally recognised requirements for sustainable forest management.

PERFECT BOUND - A way of adhesive binding multi-section jobs. Individual sections are collected together and the spine is ground off (typically 3mm). Glue is then applied to the spine and a cover pulled on before the product is trimmed to size.

PORTRAIT - An upright, oblong artwork or photograph where vertical dimension is greater than the horizontal. A4 Portrait would be : 297x210mm

PRE-PRESS -All procedures (and costs) associated with bringing a job to press, such as design, artwork, proofs, set-up etc.

PROOF - A version of a document produced for the purpose of review before it is printed. Can be a hard page colour proof on paper or a softproof which is a pdf proof.

PAGE COUNT:- Total number of pages, including blanks and printed pages without numbers.

PERFECTING:- Process of printing both sides of one sheet during a single pass through the press.

PROGRESSIVES:- Colour proofs taken at each stage of printing showing each colour printed alone and then superimposed on the preceding colour.



REAM - Paper sold and wrapped often either 250 or 500 sheets per ream.

RGB - Red, Green, Blue additive primary colours. All printed files should be supplied as CMYK

REGISTRATION MARKS:- Crosses or other marks placed on artwork which ensure perfect alignment ('registration').

REVERSED-OUT:- Type appearing white on a black or colour background, either a solid or a tint.

RESOLUTION:- The number of dots per inch (dpi) in a computer-processed document. The level of detail retained by a printed document increases with higher resolution. ppi (pixels per inch) for an image.

RIP(raster image processor):- Computer used to create an electronic bitmap for actual output. this may be built into an imagesetter or may be separate.

REGISTRATION MARKS:- Reference marks on the page used to align overlaying colours. Also known as trim marks or crop marks. Can indicate where to trim the page


SADDLE STITCH - In binding, to fasten a booklet by wiring it (stapling) through the middle fold of the sheets.

SCORE - To impress or indent a mark in the paper, to make folding easier. Also called Crease.

SPIRAL BINDING - A binding, as used in notebooks, in which the pages are fastened together by a spiral of wire or plastic that coils through a series of holes punched along the edge of the document.

SPOT VARNISH - A way of highlighting an area of a page by selectively applying a gloss varnish to it.

STOCK - Paper or other material to be printed.

SELF-COVER:- The paper used inside a booklet is the same as that used for the cover and is generally printed on the same press run.

STEP-UP:- A term used to describe the positioning of documents several times onto the same sheet of paper to avoid paper wastage. It's also known as imposition.

SPOT COLOUR:- Spot colour is not made using the process colours. instead the colour is printed using an ink made exclusively. each spot colour therefore requires its own separate printing plate. spot colours do not apply to digital printing as the printing devices can only reproduce from the four process colours; cyan, magenta, yellow and black only.

SPREAD:- Two or more adjoining pages that would appear in view on sheet.

SOLID:- An area on the page which is completely covered by the ink.

SILK:-A common term used to describe a range of smooth papers, somewhere between a matt and a gloss paper, in terms of shine. see coated stock.

SHEETFED:-To print one side of a sheet of paper, leave to dry then print the reverse side with another set of plates.

SPINE MARGIN:-looking at the front of a saddle stitched or perfect bound brochure, the spine is on the left and is where the pages are held or bound together. Allowance should be made so that type matter does not disappear into the spine.


TRIM MARKS - In printing, marks placed on the copy to indicate the edge of the paper. Used as a guide when cutting (or trimming) documents to finished size. See ‘Crop Marks’.

TCF -Totally Chlorine free means the pulp has been bleached without the use of any chlorine chemicals whatsoever.

TIFF:- Acronym for Tagged Image File Format. TIFF (.TIF) pictures can be black-and-white line art, greyscale or colour. this is a widely used format for image/photographic files but is unsuitable for text unless it is created at a very hi-resolution.

TINT:- An area of tone made by a pattern of dots, which lightens the apparent colour of the ink with which it is printed.

TRAPPING:- A slight overlapping between two touching colours that prevents gaps from appearing along the edges of an object because of misalignment or movement on the printing press.

TURNAROUND TIME:- Amount of time needed to complete a project.

TAC:-TOTAL AREA COVERAGE OR TAC. A maximum ink coverage of 300% for colour images, under colour removal should be carried out to ensure that the maximum TA figure is achieved. On solid blacks, a cyan can be put behind of no more than 40%.


UV VARNISH- A varnish applied after printing, either as an overall finish to give a high gloss finish, or applied as a "spot" varnish to certain previously printed images, then cured using ultra violet light.

UNCOATED:-A common term used to describe a range of non coated papers, where the surface is rougher than a coated stock.


VARNISH- A clear solution applied over the printed surface. Used mainly to reduce marking, but sometimes used to produce a slightly more shiny finish. Can be applied to select areas with a plate.

VEGETABLE INKS- do not use any harmful chemicals and pigments that harm the environment.


WOVE PAPER - Uncoated paper often used for business stationery which has no obvious surface texture or pattern. Compared to Laid Paper.

WEB OFFSET-a method of printing which uses a continuous roll of paper. They are very fast presses and are only suitable for large print runs. Used for long run high quality work which is not suitable for gravure and also for continuous forms for the IT industry.

WASH UP:- To clean ink from rollers, fountains and other components of a press.

WIRE-O BINDING:- A method of wire binding books along the binding edge that will allow the book to lay flat.

WORK AND TUMBLE:- To print one side of a sheet of paper then turn the sheet over from gripper to back using the opposite gripper edge but the same side guide to print the second side.

WORK AND TURN:- To print one side of a sheet of paper then turn the sheet over from left to right and print the second side using the same gripper edge to print the second side.




I believe in sharing the knowledge and expertise with you for long-lasting relationships that raise efficiency while lowering costs and save time,

I hope you find it useful?