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Printing Term Dictionary


We realize there is a great deal to know when it comes to ordering printing. So to help you out, we’ve created a Printing Term Dictionary!

Against the Grain

At right angles to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to with the grain. Also called across the grain and cross grain.

Alteration

Any change made by the customer after copy or artwork has been given to the printer. The change could be in copy, specifications or both. Also called AA, author alteration and customer alteration.

Aqueous Coating  

Coating in a water base and applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the printing underneath.

Back up

(1) To print on the second side of a sheet already printed on one side. (2) To adjust animage on one side of a sheet so that it aligns back-to-back with an image on the other side.

Binding or Bindery

A method of attaching pages together into a publication. These methods include: stitching, perfect binding, and coil binding.

BiPad Number

Bipad numbers are unique numbers assigned to magazines and displayed in the magazine as UPC or barcodes. When a magazine is purchased at a retail store the barcode is scanned by clerk. The computer looks up the number in the database telling the cash register such information as magazine name, issue number, retail price, inventory available, and date magazine should be removed from their racks. A Bipad number is required to have a magazine barcode.

Bleed

Trimming machines are not as precise as printing presses. When the magazine is cut down (trimmed) to its final size, it is almost impossible to cut along the page edge exactly. Having art go well off the page (bleed off) will ensure no possibility of a white hairline around the edge of page.
During the setup of your magazine any art going to the edge of the page will need to go off (bleed off) the page by at least 1/8″, not stop at page edge in order to print correctly.

Blueline Prepress

Photographic proof made from stripped negatives where all colors show as blue images on white paper. Because ‘blueline’ is a generic term for proofs made from a variety of materials having identical purposes and similar appearances, it may also be called a blackprint, blue, blueprint, brownline, brownprint, diazo, dyeline, ozalid, position proof, silverprint, Dylux and VanDyke.

C2S/C1S

Coated 2 Sides refers to paper that is shiny on both sides. C2S is the paper used by most magazines. C1S is the kind of paper typically used on some nice postcards.

Caliper

(1) Thickness of paper or other substrate expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils or points), pages per inch (ppi), thousandths of a millimeter (microns) or pages per centimeter (ppc). (2) Device on a sheetfed press that detects double sheets or on a binding machine that detects missing signatures or inserts.

Case Bind

To bind using glue to hold signatures to a case made of binder board covered with fabric, plastic or leather. Also called cloth bind, edition bind, hard bind and hard cover.

Cheshire Labeling

The industry term for “Peal & Stick” style labels used in the mailing process.
CMYK: Most magazines are printed using only 4 ink colors; Cyan (blueish), Magenta (pinkish), Yellow & Black. Layering these colors can produce most colors…but not all.

Coated Paper

Coated paper is paper that has a shiny surface (has an enamel coating). When printing on coated paper the ink sits on top of the paper and doesn’t soak in much. This produces a cleaner, sharper image, however the coating process makes paper more expensive to make and might make it unrecyclable.

Cold Set

Cold set printing is printing that does not use heat to dry freshly printed ink. Because ink takes a certain amount of time to dry, uncoated papers are often used to speed the drying process.

Color Control Bar

Strip of small blocks of color on a proof or press sheet to help evaluate features such as density and dot gain. Also called color bar, color guide and standard offset color bar.

Creep

The phenomenon of middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages. Also called feathering, outpush, push out and thrust. See also Shingling.

Crop Marks

Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks and tic marks.

Crossover Type

Art that continues from one page of a book or magazine across the gutter to the opposite page. Also called bridge, gutter bleed and gutter jump.

CSR

Short for Customer Service Representative. Once your magazine is directed to a specific press you will be assigned a CSR to follow your job and will be the person that always knows its status.

Cure

To dry inks, varnishes or other coatings after printing to ensure good adhesion and prevent setoff.

Deboss

To press an image into paper so it lies below the surface. Also called tool.

Dot Gain

The concept that ink soaks into paper by different amounts on different types of paper. The more the dot gain, the darker, less crisp the photo will appear. Usually expressed in %’s. Ink on newsprint soaks in approximately 10% more than coated paper.

Double Bump

To print a single image twice so it has two layers of ink.

DPI

Considered as “dots per square inch,” a measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters and monitors.

DTP or D2P

Short for Direct to Plate. A modern printing process that allows the artwork to be converted in the computer to a form that bypasses the film stage and goes directly to the printing press (plate). This process saves time, produces a cleaner image and eliminates expensive film charges.

Emboss

To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface. Also called cameo and tool.

Encapsulated PostScript File (EPS)

Encapsulated Post Script, a known file format usually used to transfer post script information from one program to another.

Facing Pages

(Reader’s Spreads) Facing pages are pages built in the computer the way the reader will view the magazine: cover, then pages 2 and 3 together facing each other, 4 and 5 facing each other, etc.

Film

After artwork has been completed, a photograph is taken of it. The resulting film negative is used to transfer the art into a format (plate) that is used by a printing press. A modern printing breakthrough allows artwork to be converted in the computer to a format that bypasses the film stage and goes “direct to plate”. This process saves time and film costs.

4/1 (four over one)

A job that is printed using 4 color on front and one color (usually black) on the back.

4 Color

(same as four color, full color or process color) Photos in most magazines are printed using just 4 ink colors; Cyan (blueish), Magenta (pinkish), Yellow & Black. Layering these colors can produce most colors…but not all.

Flood

To print a sheet completely with an ink or varnish. flooding with ink is also called painting the sheet.

Flyleaf 

Page at the front and back of a casebound book that is the one side of the end paper not glued to the case.

Foil Stamp

Method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die. Also called block print, hot foil stamp and stamp.

Foldout Gatefold

Sheet bound into a publication, often used for a map or chart. Also called gatefold and pullout.

Folio

The actual page number in a publication.

FTP

Stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is a method of sending files via computer modem. If you send your magazine using this method we will give you the specific login information. Modern Litho/Brown Printing use an FTP called Insite.

Fugitive Glue

Fugitive glue, also called credit card glue, E-z-release glue, or (colloquially) booger glue, snot glue, or gooey glue, is a low-tack adhesive that produces a removable, non-permanent joint. There is only a minimal residue of the other material remaining on the glue, and a minimal amount of damage caused to the separated surfaces. Fugitive glues are frequently used in marketing, where some object – product sample or a return envelope – is glued to another, usually paper, object – a mailing envelope, or a magazine. They tend to perform best on smooth, non-porous surfaces.

Gate Fold

A sheet that folds where both sides fold toward the gutter in overlapping layers.

Gravure

Method of printing using metal cylinders etched with millions of tiny wells that hold ink.

Grind Off

Approximately 1/8 inch (3 mm) along the spine that is ground off gathered signatures before perfect binding.

Gripper

Edge of a sheet held by grippers on a sheetfed press, thus going first through the press. Also called feeding edge and leading edge.

Gutter

The center, folded area of a magazine.

Heat Set

Heat set printing is printing what uses a heater to dry freshly printed ink. Drying the ink means very finely detailed images can be printed at higher printing speeds.

Hickey

Spot or imperfection in printing, most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage, caused by dirt on the plate or blanket. Also called bulls eye and fish eye.

Hinged Cover

Perfect bound cover scored 1/8 inch (3mm) from the spine so it folds at the hinge instead of, along the edge of the spine.

House Stock

Paper kept in stock by a printer and suitable for a variety of printing jobs. Also called floor sheet. Learn more about selecting a paper for your printing project here.

Imagesetter

A computer device that converts digital information to a form that printing presses can use.

Imposition

Arrangement of pages on mechanicals or flats so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound. 

Impression

(1) Referring to an ink color, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through a printing unit. (2) Referring to speed of a press, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through the press.

Indicia

The indicia is a special “postage stamp” that tells the Post office the method that your magazine is being mailed and who to bill for that mailing. It is printed either right on the magazine, on its mailing label or to the outside of the package the magazine rides in. There are very strict requirements about indicia content, placement locations, size and design.

Letter Fold

Two folds creating three panels that allow a sheet of letterhead to fit a business envelope. Also called barrel fold and wrap around fold.

Linescreen

Images on paper are made by printing tiny dots of ink. These dots fool the eye into thinking there is a photo. Line screen is the measurement of these dots in terms of lines per inch. 150 line has 150 lines (or rows of dots) every inch. The higher the number, the more detail an image can have but the more difficult it is to print. Printing standards are 150 line for coated paper, 100 for uncoated and 85 for newspaper. A real world example: use a magnifying glass to look at a newspaper photo or any printed image.

Loupe

Lens built into a small stand. Used to inspect copy, film, proofs, plates and printing. Also called glass and linen tester.

Make-ready

(1) All activities required to prepare a press or other machine to function for a specific printing or bindery job, as compared to the production run. Also called setup. (2) Paper used in the makeready process at any stage in production. Makeready paper is part of waste or spoilage.

Offset

A type of printing press or printing method. The printing press uses paper in sheets of a standard size (offset paper). Typically most economical only for short (under 15K) printing runs.

Opacity

(1) Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents printing on one side from showing through the other side. (2) Characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.

Over Run

Additional printed matter beyond order. Overage policy varies in the printing industry.

Pages

Each face of a sheet of paper. The cover (of a “self-cover” magazine) is page 1, inside the cover is page 2, and so on. See Plus Cover.

Page Numbering

The cover of a “self-cover” magazine is page 1, inside the cover is page 2, and so on. The cover of a “plus-cover” magazine is not numbered, page 1 is the first interior page. See Plus Cover.

Pagination

In the book arena, the numbering of pages.

PMS or Pantone

Obsolete reference to Pantone Matching System. The correct trade name of the colors in the Pantone Matching System is Pantone colors, not PMS Colors.

Parallel Fold

Method of folding. Two parallel folds to a sheet will produce 6 panels.

PDF

Short for Portable Document Format. PDF is a digital file format that was designed to make it possible for viewers to open and view on many computer platforms (Macintosh, Windows or UNIX) without cross-platform problems.

Perf

Short for Perforation or Perforating. A process that places tiny holes in paper making it easier to tear out of a magazine. An example would be around a Business Reply card.

Perfect Bound

To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue. Also called adhesive bind, cut-back bind, glue bind, paper bind, patent bind, perfecting bind, soft bind and soft cover.

Plate

The part of a printing press that transfers the ink onto the paper.

Plus Cover/Self Cover

Plus Cover doesn’t include the cover in the page count (number of pages plus the cover). Self Cover refers to a job that the cover is included in the page count. Example: 16 pages self cover has 16 total pages. 16 pages plus cover has 20 total pages (16 interior pages + 4 cover pages).
Reason for Plus Cover: a magazine cover that requires a process that the interior doesn’t (heaver paper or UV coating). It must be printed at a different time and possibly another location. The term tells us that there is an added step to the process.

Poly Bagging

A clear, sealed plastic bag that the magazine is placed into. This protects the magazine in the mail and allows other items, such as catalogs or CDs, to be included with the mailing.

Postscripting

The term for saving magazine pages in a format that is optimal for imagesetters.

Pounds (lbs.)/ Paper Weight

A very old and confusing system of measuring paper thickness. The higher the number the thicker the paper. Newspapers are usually 45-50 lb. and business cards are roughly 80-100 lb. Magazine are usually in between… 60-80 lb. The measurement is based on the weight of a ream of 25″ x 38″ (a standard size) paper. Paper weight needs to be a consideration: heavier/thicker paper feels richer and is more durable but is more expensive and can increase mailing/shipping costs. To make things confusing there is text and cover weights of paper. When talking about interior pages of a magazine, it is assumed to be text weight unless otherwise stated. In an attempt to end all the confusion, another measuring system has been devised that measures the actual paper thickness (in points) but it has been slow to catch on.

Reader’s Spreads/Printer’s Spreads

Reader’s spreads are pages built in the computer the way the reader will view the magazine: cover, then pages 2 and 3 together facing each other, 4 and 5 facing each other, etc. Most softwares refer to reader’s spreads as “facing pages.” In the “old days” magazines had to be built in printer’s spreads (page one next to page 32, page 31 next to page 2, page 3 next to 30, etc.). The process was confusing especially when building pages where art crossed the gutter. Modern imposition software automatically converts reader’s spreads to printer’s speads.

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.

Resolution

Images on a computer monitor are made by tiny dots of light (pixels). These dots fool your eye into thinking there is photo on the screen. Resolution refers to the number of the dots in terms of pixels per inch (ppi). The higher the number, the more detail an image can have. Your computer monitor shows images at 72 ppi. Printing standards are 300 ppi for coated paper, 200 for uncoated and 170 for newspaper.

RGB

Computer monitors make all their colors using three (light) colors; Red, Green, and Blue. Use these colors can produce most all the colors your eye can see. This “color space” is used when producing anything that is viewed through your monitor, NOT printed. Printing inks cannot come close to printing this range (see CMYK).

Score

To compress paper along a straight line so it folds more easily and accurately. Also called crease.

Sheet-feed or Sheet-fed Press

A printing method in which the printing press uses large, pre-cut paper. Compared to web printing it is a much slower process and is much more expensive for larger runs like magazines.

Signature

Printed sheet folded at least once, possibly many times, to become part of a book, magazine or other publication.

Spiral/Coil Bind

To bind using a spiral of continuous wire or plastic looped through holes. Also called coil bind.

Stitching or Saddle Stitch

A binding method. The industry term for stapling along the fold. Click here to see our templates for saddlestitch layouts!

Self Cover/Plus Cover

Self Cover refers to a job that the cover is included in the page count. Plus Cover doesn’t include the cover in the page count (number of pages plus the cover). Example: 16 pages self cover has 16 total pages. 16 pages plus cover has 20 total pages (16 interior pages + 4 cover pages).
Reason for Plus Cover: a magazine cover that requires a process that the interior doesn’t (heaver paper or UV coating). It must be printed at a different time and possibly another location. The term tells us that there is an added step to the process.

Signature

Sheet of printed paper that is folded one or more times to become a single unit of several pages in multiples of 4, such as an 8-page, 12-page, 16-page signature. Signatures are collected in their proper sequence (called ‘gathering’), bound or sewn, and trimmed to produce the finished publication.

Tip-on or Tip-in

The process of inserting something into a magazine (such as a subscription card, booklet, CD, decal, etc.) by gluing, stapling or blowing-in (not attached).

Trim Size

The size of the printed material in its finished stage (e.g., the finished trim size is 5 1\2 x 8 1\2).

Uncoated Paper

The paper doesn’t have a coating to make it shiny or keep the ink from soaking in. Copier paper and newspapers use uncoated paper. Fully recyclable.

UV Coating  

Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light. Used only on plus cover magazines and gives a very high-end finish to a publication.

Varnish

A shiny coating put on some high-image magazines. Although not as heavy or shiny as UV, Varnish is a cheaper alternative as it is “printed on” as another ink color, not a separate process like UV.

Web Printing

A type of printing press or printing method. The printing press uses papers that come supplied on a large roll (resembling a paper towel roll). Used for large runs of printing.

With the Grain

Parallel to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to against the grain.

If there is a term you don’t see listed, but would like us to include, visit our Contact Us page and let us know! To learn more about Modern Litho’s services visit our magazine printing page.

Sources: www.printingindustry.comwww.magazinepublisher.com; en.wikipedia.org

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