• Alteration: Change in copy of specifications after production has begun.
  • Author's corrections: Also know as "AC's". Changed and additions in copy after it has been typeset.


  • Back up: Printing the second side of a sheet already printed on one side.
  • Banding: Method of packaging printed pieces of paper using rubber or paper bands.
  • Bind: To fasten sheets or signatures with wire, thread, glue. or by other means.
  • Bindery: The finishing department of a print shop or firm specializing in finishing printed products.
  • Blanket: The thick rubber mat on a printing press that transfers ink from the plate to paper.
  • Bleed: Printing that goes to the edge of the sheet after trimming.
  • Bond paper: Strong durable paper grade used for letterheads and business forms.
  • Bulk: A term given to paper to describe its thickness relative to its weight.


  • Cast coated: Coated paper with a high gloss reflective finish.
  • Coated paper: A clay coated printing paper with a smooth finish.
  • Collate: A finishing term for gathering paper in a precise order.
  • Colour bar: A quality control term regarding the spots of ink colour on the tail of a sheet.
  • Colour correction: Methods of improving colour separations.
  • Colour filter: Filters uses in making colour separations, red, blue, green.
  • Colour matching system: A system of formulated ink colours used for communicating colour.
  • Colour separations: The process of preparing artwork, photographs, transparencies, or computer generated art for printing by separating into the four primary printing colours.
  • Contrast: The tonal change in colour from light to dark.
  • Copy: All furnished material or disc used in the production of a printed product.
  • Crop: To cut off parts of a picture or image.
  • Crop marks: Printed lines showing where to trim a printed sheet.
  • Crossover: Printing across the gutter or from one page to the facing page of a publication.
  • Cyan: One of four standard process colours. The blue colour.


  • Densitometer: A quality control devise to measure the density of printing ink.
  • Density: The degree of colour or darkness of an image or photograph.
  • Die: Metal rule or imaged block used to cut or place an image on paper in the finishing process.
  • Die cutting: Curing images in or out of paper.
  • Digital printing: is a method of printing using digital techniques in which the data and images are printed directly from a computer onto paper, including those developed for computer printers such as inkjet or laser printers. Every print can be different, because printing plates are not required, as in traditional methods. Because there is less initial setup, it is useful for personalized printing, or variable data printing, and cost effective for small print runs.
  • Dot: An element of halftones. Using a loupe you will see that printed pictures are made by many dots.
  • Dot gain or spread: A term used to explain the difference in size between the dot on film v paper.
  • Dummy: A rough layout of a printed piece showing position and finished size.
  • Duotone: A halftone picture made up of two printed colours.

E - F

  • Emboss: Pressing an image into paper so that it will create a raised relief.
  • Foil: A metallic or pigmented coating on plastic sheets or rolls used in foil stamping and foil embossing.
  • Foil emboss: Foil stamping and embossing a image on paper with a die.
  • 4-colour-process: The process of combining four basic colours to create a printed colour picture or colours composed from the basic four colours.


  • Gang: Getting the most out of a printing press by using the maximum sheet size to print multiple images or jobs on the same sheet. A way to save money.
  • Gloss: A shiny look reflecting light.
  • Grain: The direction in which the paper fibre lie.
  • Grammage: Basis weight of paper in grams per square meter (gsm).
  • Grippers: The metal fingers on a printing press that hold the paper as it passes through the press.


  • Hairline: A very thin line or gap about the width of a hair or 1/100 inch.
  • Hard copy: The output of a computer printer, or typed text sent for typesetting.
  • Hickey: Reoccurring unplanned spots that appear in the printed image from dust, lint, dried ink.


  • Image area: Portion of paper on which ink can appear.
  • Imposition: Positioning printed pages so they will fold in the proper order.
  • Impression: Putting an image on paper.

J - L

  • Keyline's: Lines on mechanical art that show position of photographs or illustrations.
  • Knock out: To mask out an image.
  • Laminate: To cover with film, to bond or glue one surface to another.
  • Loupe: A magnifying glass used to review a printed image, plate and position film.

M - N

  • Magenta: Process red, one of the basic colours in process colour.
  • Makeready: All the activities required to prepare a press for printing.
  • Matte finish: Dull paper or ink finish.
  • Micrometer: Instrument used to measure the thickness of different papers.


  • Offset Printing: Traditional printing method where the inked image is transferred (or “offset”) from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the paper.
  • Opacity: The amount of show-through on a printed sheet. The more opacity or the thicker the paper the less show-through. (The thicker/heavier the paper the higher the cost.)
  • Overlay: The transparent cover sheet on artwork often used for instructions.
  • Overrun or overs: Copies printed in excess of the specified quantity. (Printing trade terms allow for + - 10 % to represent a completed order.)


  • Page count: Total number of pages in a book including blanks.
  • Perfect bind: A type of binding that glues the edge of sheets to a cover like a telephone book, Microsoft software manual, or Country Living Magazine.
  • Perfecting press: A sheet fed printing press that prints both sides of a sheet in one pass.
  • PMS: The abbreviated name of the Pantone Colour Matching System.
  • PostScript: The computer language most recognized by printing devices.
  • Press Time: (1) Amount of time that one printing job spends on press, including time required for makeready. (2) Time of day at which a printing job goes on press.
  • Process blue: The blue or cyan colour in process printing.
  • Process colours: Cyan (blue), magenta (process red), yellow (process yellow), black (process black).
  • Proof: Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.

Q - R

  • Ream: Five hundred sheets of paper.
  • Recto: Right-hand page of an open book.
  • Register: To position print in the proper position in relation to the edge of the sheet and to other printing on the same sheet.
  • Register marks: Cross-hair lines or marks on film, plates, and paper that guide strippers, platemakers, pressmen, and bindery personnel in processing a print order from start to finish.
  • Reverse: The opposite of what you see. Printing the background of an image. For example; type your name on a piece of paper. The reverse of this would be a black piece of paper with a white name.
  • Rip film: A method of making printing negatives from PostScript files created by desktop publishing.


  • Saddle stitch: Binding a booklet or magazine with staples in the seam where it folds.
  • Scanner: Device used to make colour separations, halftones, duo tones and tri tones. Also a device used to scan art, pictures or drawings in desktop publishing.
  • Score: A crease put on paper to help it fold better.
  • Self-cover: Using the same paper as the text for the cover.
  • Set Off: An unpleasant happening when the images of freshly printed sheets transfer images to the sheets stacked above.
  • Shadow: The darkest areas of a photograph.
  • Show-through: Printing on one side of a sheet that can be seen on the other side of the sheet.
  • Skid: A pallet used for a pile of cut sheets.
  • Specifications: A precise description of a print order.
  • Spine: The binding edge of a book or publication.
  • Spot varnish: Varnish used to highlight a specific part of the printed sheet.
  • Step-and-repeat: A procedure for placing the same image on plates in multiple places.
  • Stet: A proof mark meaning let the original copy stand.
  • Stock: The material to be printed.
  • Substrate: Any surface on which printing is done.


  • Tints: A shade of a single colour or combined colours.
  • Transparency: A positive photographic slide on film allowing light to pass through.
  • Trapping: The ability to print one ink over the other.
  • Trim marks: Similar to crop or register marks. These marks show where to trim the printed sheet.
  • Trim size: The final size of one printed image after the last trim is made.


  • Up: Printing two or three up means printing multiple copies of the same image on the same sheet.
  • UV coating: Liquid laminate bonded and cured with ultraviolet light. Environmentally friendly.


  • Varnish: A clear liquid applied to printed surfaces for looks and protection. (UV coating looks better.)
  • Verso: The left hand page of an open book.
  • Vignette halftone: A halftone whose background gradually fades to white.

W - Z

  • Washup: Removing printing ink from a press, washing the rollers and blanket. Certain ink colours require multiple washups to avoid ink and chemical contamination.
  • Waste: A term for planned spoilage.
  • Watermark: A distinctive design created in paper at the time of manufacture that can be easily seen by holding the paper up to a light.
  • Web: A roll of printing paper.
  • Web press: The name of a type of presses that print from rolls of paper.
  • Work and tumble: Printing one side of a sheet and turning it over from the gripper to the tail to print the second side using the same side guide and plate for the second side.
  • Work and turn: Printing one side of a sheet and turning it over from left to right using the same side guides and plate for the second side.
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