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112 E. Rose
Pittsburg, KS 66762

Glossary of Terms

Having trouble understanding "our" industry language, we're here to help. Below we've compiled a glossary of terms (vocabulary) that we commonly use to help explain what is happening with your project. This should help clear up confusion and help you gain a better understanding of what's happening to your project as it goes through our facility. If you have further questions on your project, feel free to contact one of our Account Managers or Sales Representatives to find out more of the specific details for your project. 

Accordion Fold

A type of paper folding in which each fold runs in the opposite direction to the previous fold creating a pleated or accordion effect.


A transparent or translucent plastic sheet material of a variety of colors, used as a basis for artwork and overlays.

Additive Colors

In photographic reproduction, the primary colors of red, green and blue which are mixed to form all other colors.

Aqueous Plate

Water soluble plate coatings, which are less toxic and less polluting.


All illustrated material, ornamentation, photos and charts etc., that is prepared for reproduction.


Extra ink area that crosses trim line, used to allow for variations that occur when the reproduction is trimmed or die-cut.

Blind Emboss

A design or bas relief impression that is made without using inks or metal foils.

Book Block

A term given the unfinished stage of bookmaking when the pages are folded, gathered and stitched-in but not yet cover bound.


A pamphlet that is bound in booklet form.


The measurement of thickness of paper expressed in thousandths of an inch or mils.

Camera Ready

A term given to any copy, artwork etc., that is prepared for photographic reproduction.

Case Binding

Books bound using hard board (case) covers.

Cast Coated

A paper that is coated and then pressure dried using a polished roller which imparts an enamel like hard gloss finish.


To gather sheets or signatures together in their correct order. (see Gather)

Color Bars

This term refers to a color test strip, which is printed on the waste portion of a press sheet. It is a standardized (GATF-Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) process which allows a pressman to determine the quality of the printed material relative to ink density, registration, and dot gain. It also includes the Star Target, which is a similar system designed to detect inking problems.

Color Separating

The processes of separating the primary color components for printing.

Color Strength

A term referring to the relative amount of pigmentation in an ink.

Continuous Tone

Image made of non-discernable picture elements which give appearance of continuous spectrum of grey values or tones.


The degree of tonal separation or gradation in the range from black to white.


Refers to any typewritten material, art, photos etc., to be used for the printing process.

Corner Marks

Marks on a final printed sheet that indicate the trim lines. Also, known as Crop Marks. Always offset marks by 1/8" to ensure they don't accidentally appear on the finished piece. This is generally found in the settings or output menu before making a PDF of the final project.


A term describing a general type of papers used for the covers of books, pamphlets etc.




Result of added thickness of folded sheets being behind one another in a folded signature. Outer edges of sheets creep away from back most fold as more folded sheets are inserted inside the middle.


To eliminate a portion of the art or copy as indicated by crop marks.

Crop Mark

Marks on a final printed sheet that indicate the trim lines. Also, known as Corner Marks. Always offset marks by 1/8" to ensure they don't accidentally appear on the finished piece. This is generally found in the settings or output menu before making a PDF of the final project.


Elements that cross page boundaries and land on two consecutive pages (usually rules).


A term used to describe the effect of ink from an image, rule or line art on one printed page, which carries over to another page of a bound work.


Not lying flat and tending to form into cylindrical or wavy shapes. A term to describe the differences of either side of a sheet relative to coatings, absorbency etc.; the concave side is the curl side.


Machine for accurately cutting stacks of paper to desired dimensions...can also be used to crease. Also trims out final bound books' top size (soft cover).


An optical device used by printers and photographers to measure and control the density of color.


The degree of tone, weight of darkness or color within a photo or reproduction; measurable by the densitometer. Reference, densitometer.


Design, letters or shapes, cut into metal (mostly brass) for stamping book covers or embossing. An engraved stamp used for impressing an image or design.

Die Cutting

A method of using sharp steel ruled stamps or rollers to cut various shapes i.e. labels, boxes, image shapes, either post press or in line. The process of cutting paper in a shape or design by the use of a wooden die or block in which are positioned steel rules in the shape of the desired pattern.

Die Stamping

An intaglio process for printing from images engraved into copper or steel plates.

Digital Proof

Electronic color proof that is used to speed proof approval process on a project. Typically a PDF that is emailed to the customer for approval prior to printing.

Dog Ear

Occurs when you fold into a fold (such as a letter fold). At the side of one of the creases you get an indentation. It may look like a small inverted triangle.

Dot Gain

Darkening of halftone image due to ink absorption in paper causing halftone dots to enlarge. Terms to describe the occurrence whereby dots are printing larger than they should.


The actual drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding.

Drop Shadow

A shadow image placed strategically behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page.

Dull Finish

Any matte finished paper.


A term used to describe the preliminary assemblage of copy and art elements to be reproduced in the desired finished product; also called a comp.


Color reproduction from monochrome original. Keyplate usually printed in dark color for detail, second plate printed in light flat tints. A two-color halftone reproduction generated from a one-color photo.


To raise in relief a design or letters already printed on card stock or heavy paper by an un-inked block or die. In rubber and plastic plate making the process is usually done by heat. Also see Blind Emboss.


The form used by the printer to calculate the project for the print buyer. This form contains the basic parameters of the project including size, quantity, colors, bleeds, photos etc.


One who computes or approximates the cost of work to be done on which quotation may be based.

Fan Fold

Paper folding that emulates an accordion or fan, the folds being alternating and parallel.


The surface quality of paper.

Fold Marks

Markings at top edges that show where folds should occur.


Machine used to fold signatures down into sections.


The characters which make up a complete typeface and size.

French Fold(er)

Folder with printing on one side so that when folded once in each direction, the printing on outside of the folds.

Gang Run

The bundling of two or more different printing projects on the same sheet of paper. This generally saves time and cost on projects that have low quantities and require the same paper specifications.


Assembling sheets of paper and signatures into their proper sequence; collating.


An image which appears as a lighter reversed image on a subsequent page or sheet due to offsetting of ink from previous image areas. In someway during the drying process the paper has not received the proper air space between the sheets or has not been allowed the enough drying time to properly dry the ink before handling. Handling of wet ink can also create a smudging or smearing affect on adjacent sheets that are handled before they are dry.

Graduated Screen

An area of image where halftone dots range continuously from one density to another.


Direction of fibers in a sheet of paper governing paper properties such as increased size changes with relative humidity, across the grain, and better folding properties along the grain.

Gripper Edge

The grippers of the printing press move the paper through the press by holding onto the leading edge of the sheet; this edge is the gripper edge. No printed ink can be printed in this leading edge as it goes through the press. See also Press Image Area.


Tone graduated image composed of varying sized dots or lines, with equidistant centers.


Imperfections in presswork due to dirt on press, trapping errors, etc. Generally appear as small white hollow circles on finished piece.


The lightest tones of a photo, printed halftone or illustration. In the finished halftone, these highlights are represented by the finest dots.

House Sheet

This is a term that refers to a paper that a printer keeps on hand in his shop.


Inside back cover.


Inside front cover.

Image Setter

High resolution, large format device for producing film from electronically generated page layouts. More modern Image Setters output the layouts directly onto a plate, thus skipping the film stage. This means better quality plates and end product.


Arrangement of pages so that they print correctly on a press sheet, and the pages are in proper order when the sheets are folded. This is done in-house at the printer using the specific software for their specific process of manufacturing. See also Printer Spreads, Reader Spreads and Individual Pages.


Product resulting from one cycle of printing machine.


Markings pre-printed on mailing envelopes to replace the stamp. Generally this mark is a square approximately 1 inch square and referencing a permit number assigned to the mail house that will handling the mailing.


Extra printed pages either inserted loosely or stitched into printed pieces. Sometimes this can be things like a poster in the center of a magazine or an order form with an envelope.

Job Number

A number assigned to a printing project used for record keeping and job tracking at the printer. Also used to retrieve old jobs for exact reorders and alterations. This number is useful for referencing a new job to an old job for either size or paper etc.


To vibrate or rearrange a loose stack of finished pages so that they are tightly aligned for final trimming or binding.


Can reference either manually airing and collecting paper into an orderly stack of lined up paper or a vibrating, sloping platform that evens up the edges of stacks of paper.


A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, roughs, thumbnails etc., of the final printed piece before it goes to print. Also reference Native File.


Printing that utilizes inked raised surfaces to create the image.

Machine Direction

An alternate term for grain direction.

Make Ready

Generally referred to as the material used during the process of adjusting final plate location on the press. This material is then used to setup the next machines in the job process.


White space around edge of page or in-between elements.


To write up instructions, as on a dummy or proof.

Matte Finish

A coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring. Reference, calendaring.


A term used to describe finished artwork that is camera ready for reproduction, including all type, photos, illustrations etc.


An undesirable halftone pattern produced by the incorrect angles of overprinting halftone screens.


A term used to describe spotty or uneven ink absorption.


A term to describe papers that have a color similar to that of wood; also called cream, off-white or ivory.


Film that contains the same images as the original print, except that all colors and shades are reversed. Reference, positive.


Outside front cover.


The most commonly used printing method, whereby the printed material does not receive the ink directly from the printing plate but from an intermediary cylinder called a blanket which receives the ink from the plate and transfers it to the paper.

Offset Paper

A term for uncoated book paper.


Quality of papers that defines its opaqueness or ability to prevent two-sided printing from showing through.

Opaque Ink

Ink that completely covers any ink under itself.

Over Run

Surplus of copies printed.

Overhang Cover

A cover of a book that extends over the trimmed signatures it contains.


Any printing that is done on an area that has already been printed.


Type that is set in excess of the allotted space.


One side of a leaf.

Parent Sheet

A sheet that is larger than the cut stock of the same paper. Used in sheet-fed applications and can range in size from 8.5" x 11" up to 28" x 40".

Perf Marks

Markings usually dotted lines at edges showing where perforations should occur.

Perfect Binding

Binding process where backs of sections are cut off, roughened and glued together, and rung in a cover. The cover wraps around the pages to form a square edged spine on finished book.


Printing both sides of the paper (or other material) on the same pass through the printing machine.


Punching small holes or slits in a sheet of paper or cardboard to facilitate tearing along a desired line.


An occurrence in printing whereby the tack of ink pulls fibers or coating off the paper surface, leaving spots on the printed surface.


Failure of printed ink to form a completely continuous film, visible in the form of small holes in the printed areas.


Reproduction of type or cuts in metal, plastic, rubber, or other material, to form a plate bearing a relief, planographic or intaglio printing surface.


Film that contains an image with the same tonal values as the original; opposite of a negative.


Pixels per inch. Usually used to reference images on screen. Once they are reproduced on press using dots the term changes to dots per inch. See also DPI.

Press Image Area

That portion of the printing plate that carries the ink and prints on paper. This is limited by the guides and grippers on an individual press. Each machine is different. Also see Gripper Edge.


Actual press sheet to show image, tone values and colors as well as imposition of frame or press-plate.

Process Inks

Printing inks, usually in sets of four colors. The most frequent combination is yellow, magenta, cyan, and black, which are printed, one over another in that order, to obtain a colored print with the desired hues, whites, blacks, and grays.


A finished project used for correction and to check accuracy of layout, type matter, tone and color reproduction. See also, Press Proof and Digital Proof


The arrangement of two or more images in exact alignment with each other.

Register Marks

Any crossmarks or other symbols used on layout to assure proper registration.

Right Angle Fold

A term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other.


A term given to copy that accommodates the lines of a picture or other image or copy.

Saddle Stitching

Stitching where the wire staples pass through the spine from the outside and are clinched in the center. Only used with folded sections, either single sections or two or more sections inset to form a single section.

Satin Finish

A smooth delicately embossed finished paper with sheen.


The enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area.


Impressions or cuts in flat material to facilitate bending or tearing.

Self Cover

A cover made out of the same paper stock as the internal sheets.


The printing of two different images on two different sides of a sheet of paper by turning the page over after the first side is printed and using the same gripper and side guides.

Show Through

A problem that occurs when the printing on one side of a sheet is seen from the other side.

Side Stitching

Stitching where the wire staples pass through the pile of sections or leaves gathered upon each other and are clinched on the underside.


A term to describe the process of cutting of printed sheets by the cutting wheels of a printing press.


Back edge of a book.

Spiral Bind

A binding whereby a wire or plastic is spiraled through holes punched along the binding side.

Spot Color

Referencing a specific ink color to be used on an entire job or as an additional color. Referencing a Pantone number in which to keep the ink standard.

Step And Repeat

A process of generating multiples by taking an image and stepping it according to a predetermined layout.


A term for unprinted paper or other material kept on hand to be printed. A common size or weight material kept in-house. Also known as house stock.


A dense, thick, strong paper stock.


A high quality printing paper used as a lighter alternative to heavier cover paper. Easier to fold and bind.


A printing process whereby slow drying ink is applied to paper and while the ink is still wet, it is lightly dusted with a resinous powder. The paper then passes through a heat chamber where the powder melts and fuses with the ink to produce a raised surface.

Transparent Ink

Inks that do not block out the colored inks that they print over, but instead blend with them to create intermediate colors.


The process of slightly overprinting inks to decrease the possibility of white showing between the colors of a piece. In most cases, the small overlap is not noticeable with the naked eye.

Trim Marks

Marks placed on the sheet to indicate where to cut the page.


A clear shiny ink used to add gloss or dull to printed pieces.


An abbreviation for work and back. Reference, sheetwise.


An abbreviation for work and turn. A process in which to save a set of plates and work time on press. Must have an equal number up per sheet to achieve this style of printing.


The procedure of cleaning a particular ink from all of the printing elements (rollers, plate, ink fountain etc.) of a press.


A translucent logo that is embossed during the papermaking process while the paper slurry is on the dandy roll.

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