Print Glossary

Please see our print glossary below containing all you need to know about ‘print terms’. With all out experience in print we have come across various terms that describe the exact same process. If you have any questions or need to discuss anything please contact the sales team on 020 88 555 444.

Art Paper
See ‘Coated paper’.

Backing Up
Printing the reverse side of a sheet already printed on one side.

Black and White
Originals or reproductions in single colour (black).

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 3mm of bleed to colour and image areas to avoid having a white border after trimming.

Thick paper over 200gsm in weight, most commonly used for business cards, folders, brochure covers.

Bond Paper
A basic uncoated paper, often used for laser printers. This type of paper can be used for letterheads.

Business Card
Business cards are cards bearing business information about a company or individual. A business card typically includes the giver’s name, company affiliation and contact information.

Cyan (Blue), Magenta (Red), Yellow and Black – used as the basic colours in the printing industry. This is also known as ‘Four colour process’. This process replaces the RGB system to give you a wider range of colours.

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.

To organise printed matter in a specific order.

Crop Marks/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.

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. The exception to this is the HP Indigo presses, which use a plate and blanket very similar to lithographic presses.

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.

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

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

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/gauges) that are subsequently sealed around all edges. This is ideal for ID cards and waterproof marketing material.

Any process that follows the actual printing. Can include folding, creasing, stitching, binding etc.

A folder is used to hold loose papers together for organisation, protection and/or presentation. Folders usually consist of a sheet of board/paper which is folded in half. One or more pockets may be affixed inside to contain loose paper documents.

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.

Abbreviation for ‘grams per square metre’. This indicates the weight of paper or other stock. For example a standard ream of paper for your household paper is 80gsm, a good letterhead paper would be 120 gsm, a postcard would be about 300gsm and businees cards range from 340gsm to 400gsm.

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.

A plastic film bonded by heat and pressure to a printed sheet for protection. Available in matt, silk or gloss finish. This also helps preserve the quality of the print against fading if displayed. Matt lamination will also take the glare away when reading printed material under light.

An oblong artwork or photograph where horizontal dimension is greater than the vertical.

A piece of paper used by a company or organisation for official correspondence. Letterheads usually feature the name, logo and contact details of an organisation.

Lithographic Printing (litho)
A conventional 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.

Although paper is usually measured in grams per square metre (weight), it is sometimes measured in microns (thickness). A micron is a unit of measure equal to one millionth of a metre or .00004″.

Pantone, 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.

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.

Perfect Bound
A way of adhesive binding multi-section jobs. Individual sections are collected together and then attached in the spine using various techniques. Glue is usually then applied to the spine and a cover pulled on before the product is trimmed to size.

An upright, oblong artwork or photograph where vertical dimension is greater than the horizontal.

A poster is any large piece of printed paper designed to be attached to a wall or vertical surface. Posters are often used as a form of advertising or by campaigners and protesters to communicate a message.

All procedures associated with bringing a job to press, such as design, artwork, proofs, and set-up.

A version of a document produced for the purpose of review before it is printed.

Five hundred sheets of paper.

Red, green, blue additive primary colours.

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

To impress or indent a mark in the paper, to make folding easier.

Spiral Binding/Wiro 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/UV Varnish
A way of highlighting an area of a page by selectively applying a gloss varnish to it.

Paper or other material to be printed.

Trim Marks
See ‘Crop Marks’.

Wove Paper
Uncoated paper often used for business stationery which has no obvious surface texture or pattern. Compare to Laid Paper.

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