Printers Terminology Guide

4/0 - Full color (CMYK) printing on one side with a blank back side.

4/4 - Full color (CMYK) printing on both the front and back side.

Accordion Fold - A bindery term for two or more parallel folds that result in a sheet that opens like an accordion.

Against the Grain - Perpendicular to the direction of the grain in the paper . When a product gets printed against the grain, the flexibility of the paper can be thicker or thinner. Also called across the grain and cross grain. See also Grain Direction.

Anti-aliasing - Technique of filling the edges of an object with pixels to eliminate jagged lines and make it appear smoother.

Aqueous Coating (AQ) - This is available in gloss or dull. A clear, non-toxic, water-based coating applied like ink by a printing press to protect the printed surface.

Bindery - The processes that takes place after the printing has been complete. This may include cutting, scoring, folding, drilling, collating, stitching, and gluing.

Bitmap Images - Computerized image composed of a collection of dots or pixels; these images appear blotchy when you zoom in; also known as raster images.

Blanket - In offset printing, a blanket is a rubber-surfaced fabric that is clamped around a cylinder. The image is transferred from the plate to the blanket, and once the sheet is fed through the press, the blanket is what transfers the image to the sheet.

Bleed - A bleed is when an image extends beyond the trim edge of the printed product. If your image is not white on all four margins, your file will need to be setup properly. Designers should add 1/8" (.125") to EVERY side of the file, done thru the Document Settings tab in Illustrator. Set your bleed to extend as noted above. For example, for a 4" x 6" postcard with full bleed, the image size should be 4.25" x 6.25"

Bleed-through Numbering - A check printing security feature where the continuous numbering of a check actually 'bleeds' or seeps through slightly onto the backside of the document. VERY difficult to reproduce on copiers and scanners. One of our standard security features in computer checks.

Blind Embossing - A technique in which a design is pressed into a sheet without ink or foil, creating a raised image.

Bulk Mail - Simply put, a coordinated mailing campaign to either current or targeted customers. Think postcards, fliers, magnets though the mail - we can handle every aspect from initial design to delivery to the USPS system. Click on our Mailing Services tab for more information.

C1S (Coated One Side) - A type of paper that is 'coated' on one side only, common with notecards and postcards

C2S (Coated Two Sides) - Coated on both the front and back surface of the sheet, common to business cards and brochures.

CMYK - Abbreviation for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black). This is the industry standard process colors used in full-color offset printing. The combination of these four colors can produce a wide array of colors.

Coated Paper - Paper with a ultra-thin surface coating of clay during the mill process, produces a very smooth finish.

Collate - Sorting printing in numerical or alphabetical order.

Color Gamut - The entire range of hues possible to reproduce using a specific device, such as a computer screen, or system, such as four-color process printing. Being 'Out Of Gamut' is not a good thing... (but fixable!)

Color Shift - Change in image color resulting from changes in register, ink densities or dot gain during four-color process printing. A MAJOR hazard when using the big online printers who cannot achieve accuracy due to the limitations of their equipment.

Comb Binding - A method of binding by inserting a plastic comb through holes along the side or edge of a stack of pages.

Crop - To cut off sides or portions of an image. Nothing to do with soybeans or corn, or riding horses.

Crop Marks - A thin pair of lines on each corner to show where the final cut will take place..

Crossover - Design term for when printing goes across the 'gutter' or from one page to the facing page of a publication.

Custom Windows - Special size and/or placement of an envelopes plastic window - ONE OF OUR SPECIALTIES!

Deboss - The process of stamping an image into paper so it sets below the surface

Die - This is a device made out of sharp steel that is used to cut, score, stamp, emboss, or deboss irregular shapes.

Die-Cutting - A process by which a template is made out of sharp steel and used to cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard sheets. Usually die-cutting corresponds to printed design elements.

Dot Gain - Phenomenon of halftone dots printing larger on paper than they are on films or plates, reducing detail and lowering contrast. Also called dot growth, dot spread and press gain.

Dots Per Inch (DPI) - A measurement of resolution of a printed image determined by the number of dots that fit into one inch. For optimal results, your image must be at least 300 DPI at the final output size. Please do not attempt to alter a low resolution image to a higher one by changing the DPI in your image software -its doesn't work that way.

Dull Finish - Not boring but simply any paper with a matte or flat surface.

Envelope construction - Diagonal or side seam, affects how the back of the envelope looks if its printed. Also poorly made envelopes are known to fall apart in the mail (there goes your checks and money!)

Emboss - An impression made into the paper by a die, resulting in a 3D effect - can be combined with ink and foils for maximum impressiveness on business cards, brochures, pocket folders, etc...

Embroidery - Stitched thread we apply to all kinds of apparel and hats.

Encapsulated Postscript File (EPS) - An Adobe graphic file format for high resolution images; it translates graphic and text into code that tells a printer to print in the highest resolution possible and also has low resolution view files for quick screen viewing.

Foil Stamping - The process of stamping a heated die onto a sheet of foil which releases the foil from its backing and adhering to the paper, creating a foil design on a printed piece.

Four over Four (4/4) - Full color (CMYK) printing on both sides.

Four over Zero (4/0) - Full color (CMYK) printing done on just one side.

Gate Fold - A three panel fold where the two outside panels fold inward to meet in the center. A four panel version of this fold, that folds in half again is called a Double Gate Fold.

Grain - The direction in which the fibers of a paper lie. Important when using textured papers like Linens, Felts, or Laid Patterns.

Grayscale - A software term where an image is made up of a range of densities of black ink, things appears in shades of gray.

Hologram - A VERY HIGH grade security feature in check-printing. A 3-D image applied most commonly to checks. Almost impossible to reproduce by counterfeiters. Yes we offer this feature!

Indicia (aka Permit) - Postal information pre-printed on a mailing envelope or a piece in place of a stamp. We can help you obtain your own or you can use ours and save money. There are three flavors: 1st Class, Presort Standard, and Non-Profit, all different in cost and how long the mail takes to travel.

Ink-Jetting - A mailing term where we apply the customer address information.

Integrated Forms - Where a form is combined with a card, commonly used for employee ID card distribution, membership cards, frequent buyer/customer programs. Available with barcoding too!

MICR - Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, or simply special ink used in financial institutions for processing of checks. Your bank account and routing numbers use this ink.

Marginal Words - Department or routing information usually printed in the margins of a form (i.e. Accounting, Sales, File, Customer, etc... These are determined by the customer, included at no extra charge.

Matte - a dull, non-glossy finish. Most common on envelopes and forms but also popular in marketing materials.

NCR (National Cash Register) - Another term for multipart forms such as receipts and service/work orders. AKA 'Carbonless Forms', where the chemicals normally found in carbon sheets are instead processed into the paper at the mill.

Offset Printing - Printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a rubber blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.

Offsetting - Unintended transfer of ink or impression from one page to the opposite page. Offsetting can be the cause of flawed or rushed processes. Not good!

Overrun - Necessary 'extra' quantity in printing to avoid 'shorting' the order, done since there are usually a certain amount consumer in the setup process. Generally, we provide at least 5% overs, but reserve the right to be 10% either direction.

Panel - One page of a brochure, such as one panel of a rack brochure. One panel is on one side of the paper. A tri-fold brochure has six panels, not three.

Pantograph - The colored/patterned background area on a check, usually containing a VOID copy protection feature. A long standing, common security feature on checks. We also offer pantographs on the backside endorsement area for added protection.

Pantone (PMS) (aka Spot Color) - The most popular color matching system used in the printing industry. A true PMS color is defined by a mixture of inks that will provide a specific color. PMS colors are often associated with a color code and can be used to produce colors outside the CMYK gamut.

Parallel Fold - Method of folding. Two parallel folds to a sheet will produce 6 panels; this is called a "Double Parallel Fold".

Perfect Binding - A bindery method where all pages are trimmed to a single sheet, clamped together, and the cover is wrapped around the spine. The pages are attached to the cover using adhesive.

Perforation - This is created using a die cutting machine or binding machine which stamps a line of small dotted holes for the purpose of tearing off a portion of a printed piece. (Usually straight lines, vertical or horizontal).

Pixel - Short for picture element, a dot made by a computer, scanner or other digital device, the smallest element possible on a computer screen. Not enough pixels will result in jagged graphics.

PostScript - A page description language developed by Adobe Systems that tells a printer how an image is to be printed.

Preflight - A procedure used to ensure all customer submitted artwork is properly prepared for prepress to our standard file requirements. Also used in Mailing Services where it refers to the process of ensuring addresses are both valid and not duplicated.

Prepress - Our crackerjack staff that handles all artwork development. Proofs come from Prepress!

Press Proof - A proofing extra step done when utmost assurance is needed with regard to layout, color accuracy and image quality of a project - think of this as added insurance.

Process Color (Inks) - The colors used for four-color process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.

Proof - Preproduction 'preview' providing the opportunity to review and approve the artwork prior to production. Proofs are offered in the form of a PDF or sometimes Hard Copy which must be viewed and approved prior to the production of the order product.

Raster Image - An image/photo like JPEGS made up of entirely pixels, subject to distortion if not created at a high resolution.

Resolution - The number of pixels of an image. The higher the better and the more detailed the image will be. 300 DPI or higher is what you want your graphics to be when sending to us.

Resolution - Amount of detail of an image on film, paper, computer screen, or disc. In digital prepress resolution is usually measured in Dots-Per-Inch (DPI).

RGB (Red, Green, & Blue) - TVs and computer monitors display in RGB mode, which is different and potentially misleading when determining color accuracy. RGB files should always be converted to CMYK or created to begin with.

Rich Black - This is made by mixing colors of ink with black in order to produce a deep, dark black on press. To create rich black for full-color process printing, your CMYK values should be Cyan: 60%, Magenta: 40%, Yellow: 40%, Black (Y): 100%

Saddle Stitch - To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine, as compared to side stitch. Example of some jobs that may utilize this type of binding are: booklets, catalogs, and calendars.

Score - A crease where a sheet of a paper will be folded. This is important to prevent cracking on the edge of the fold, and/or improve precision of the final fold. Scoring is especially recommended with thicker paper stocks.

Screen Printing - Think of T-Shirt printing - a process where inks are pressed through a system of masks, creating an imprint - most commonly found in shirt printing but also in some trade show materials like tablecloths.

Self-cover - A bindery term when the paper used for the outside cover is also the same as that used in the inside pages.

Spot Gloss - One ink or varnish applied to portions of a sheet, as compared to overall. Can make a subtle but impactful piece!

Stock - The paper or material to be printed on.

Tabloid - A standard paper size of 11" x 17" paper dimensions.

Tagged Image File Format (.TIFF) - A standard graphic image file format often used for storing high resolution images that can easily handle up to 24 bits of photographic image color. Abbreviated "TIF" or "TIFF".

Targeted Mail - A mailing campaign designed to deliver your advertisement to qualified persons and industries. Capable of sifting through many parameters including: net growth, net income, # of employees, years in business, type of business, participation in certain types of business and governmental issues, types of purchases, types of equipment used/owned/leased... plus many other 'qualifiers'. This is then combined with your preferred ZIP code to mail to to complete your campaign. Can be much more effective than 'shotgunning' to every business or resident in a ZIP code.

Thermochromic Ink - A standard check printing security feature! Special ink that disappears when a heat source is applied. Only available to select printers like Printing Services II.

Thermography ( Raised Ink ) - Special method of printing where the surface of the imprint is slightly raised, very classy effect on business cards, stationery, etc...

Uncoated - Paper with no treatment or coating on the surface. Common bond paper is uncoated. This refers to both a uncoated blank sheet before printing, and a printed sheet with no sealant applied after printing.

Under-run - the opposite of Overrun, possible on certain custom projects.

UV Coating - A protective glossy finish which enhances colors and provides limited protection against UV and water damage.

Vector Images - Our preferred file format, since it not susceptible to size distortion. Artwork is designed using lines and curves that can be scaled or edited without affecting image resolution. Another way to put it is vector images are made up mathematical shapes, and raster images are made up individual dots.

Watermark - A translucent logo built into a paper at the mill, showing the name of the paper and/or the company logo.