Print Production Terminology

Print Production Terminology

Knowledge of the print production process, and the terminology that accompanies it, will make working with Copy Services or UW Creative + Communications easier and ensures successful communication on the specific requirements of your job. Following are some common print production terms:

ACCORDION FOLD
Two or more parallel folds that open like an accordion.

BACK UP
Printing the reverse side of a sheet already printed on one side.

BAD BREAK
Starting a page with a hyphenated line or “widow” (very short line); also incorrect hyphenation.

BINDERY
A location where multiple-piece publications are assembled and bound (saddle stitch, perfect bound, etc.). UW Creative + Communications has an in-house bindery that handles all types of binding needs.

BITMAP
An image file in which each bit of memory represents a pixel on the screen. Bitmaps define the width, height and colors of images by literally mapping the colors and number of bits (pixels). Because a bit map uses a fixed method of defining an image, the image cannot be easily re-scaled by a user without losing definition.

BLACK/WHITE
Printing only with black ink.

BLEED
When printed images extend beyond the trimmed edge of a page, usually 1/8 inch, to prevent white spaces from appearing at the edges of the page.

CAMERA-READY ART
This is a term meaning finished layout with page materials in position, ready to be photographed and printed. The term stems from the days when a photo was taken of the page and used to print. Today it refers to the final art that is sent to the printer.

CMYK
The four process ink colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. These colors are used to create the full spectrum of colors.

COATED PAPER
Paper coated on one or both sides to prevent ink from bleeding and improve surface characteristics. Coated paper can have a glossy, dull, or matte finish.

COLLATE
To organize the pages of a document in a specified order prior to binding.

COLOR SEPARATIONS
The process of separating full-color photographic transparencies or prints into the four process ink colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK). Most color separations are now done by computerized scanning of the original image.

COMP/COMPREHENSIVE
The complete mock-up of a designer’s idea or concept for a printed piece.

COVER STOCK
A stiff paper usually used for postcards, book covers, etc. Also known as card stock.

CROP MARKS
Lines near the edges of an image showing portions to be “cropped” or deleted.

CROSSOVER
A graphic image on a page that continues across onto the opposite page.

DIE CUT
A specific shape cut out of paper (e.g., a “window” in the paper).

DOUBLE BUMP
To print an image area twice with the same ink color to ensure smooth, even coverage of large solid areas.

DRAWDOWNS
A sample provided by the ink manufacturer that shows how an ink color will look when printed on the paper selected for the job.

DUMMY
A mock-up of the finished piece made with the paper selected for the job.

DUOTONE
Photograph reproduced from two halftone negatives and usually printed in two ink colors.

EMBOSS
A raised image created by stamping a paper sheet with a metal die.

EPS
An abbreviation for Encapsulated PostScript. EPS files contain both the page elements and the page description language for the printer; however, they cannot be edited or modified in this format.

FLAT SIZE VS. FINISHED SIZE
“Flat size” is the dimensions of the paper if the entire piece were unfolded; “finished size” is the dimensions of the printed, folded piece.

FOLIO
Another term for page number.

FONT
All of the characters and associated spacing of one size of one typeface.

FORM
One side of a press sheet.

FOUR-COLOR PRINTING
The use of the CMYK inks to create the full spectrum of colors.

FTP
An abbreviation for File Transfer Protocol. A way of transferring files over the Internet from one computer to another. This method is useful when transferring large files.

GATE FOLD
Two parallel folds that do not overlap, but open like a book.

GHOSTING
When the image on the side of a printed sheet makes a light, ghost-like image on the opposite side.

GIF
An abbreviation for Graphic Interchange Format. GIF is a common format for image files, and is especially suitable for images that contain large areas of the same color. GIF files of simple images are often smaller than the same file would be if stored in JPEG format, but GIF format does not store photographic images as well as JPEG.

GUTTER
The space between columns of type where pages meet at the binding.

HICKIES
Donut-shaped spot or imperfection in printing, most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage. Occurs most frequently with recycled papers.

INDICIA
Postal permit information printed on objects to be mailed and accepted by the United States Postal Service in lieu of stamps.

JPEG OR JPG
An abbreviation for Joint Photographic Experts Group. JPEG is a compression technique for color images and photographs that balances compression against loss of detail in the image. The greater the compression, the more information is lost (this is called Lossy compression).

KERNING
A typesetting term that refers to the reduction of spacing between two characters, making them closer together.

MAKEREADY
All the activities required to set up a piece of printing or binder equipment, including running test sheets of paper.

MOIRE
Undesirable pattern in printed halftones and screen tints, usually caused by incorrectly aligned screen angles.

NEGATIVE
A piece of photographic film showing an image with black and white tones reversed.

OFFSET PRINTING
A printing process using metal plates and ink. It is characterized by the use of a blanket cylinder, a rubber plate that picks up the image from the metal plate and then transfers that image onto the sheet of paper. In offset printing, the actual plate never directly touches the paper.

ONE-COLOR PRINTING
Printing with varied shades of the same ink color.

PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM, PMS, PANTONE COLORS
A commercial system for specifying colors by means of numbered color samples provided in swatch books.

PDF FILE
An abbreviation for Portable Document Format. PDF is a file format created by Adobe, initially to provide a standard form for storing and editing printed publishable documents. Because documents in PDF format can easily be seen and printed by users on a variety of computer and platform types, they are very common on the World Wide Web.

PERFECT BOUND
A binding process in which the left edge of the bound publication is ground off and glued together with a cover (e.g., a paperback book).

PERFECTING
Printing both sides of the paper during a single pass through the printing press.

PERFORATE
A process in which “dotted lines” are created by a machine so that paper can be cleanly torn from a publication.

PICA
A unit of measurement. 1 pica = 1/6 of an inch or 12 points.

POSITION ONLY, OR FPO
Typically a low-resolution image positioned in a document to show position of a photo or artwork. The image is later replaced with a higher resolution version of the same image.

PRESS SHEET
The sheet of paper that is run through the printing press. During the early phase of your press run, these printed sheets can be used to make final minimal ink adjustments.

PRESS TEST
A test printing prior to the final production run. Press sheets are generally printed on the paper stock, and use the exact ink colors that will be used for the finished project. A few sheets are run as a final check before printing the entire job. This type of proof is helpful when running complicated color build, including metallic inks.

PRINT
A printed picture produced from a photographic negative. Prints may have a glossy or matte finish.

PROCESS COLOR (CMYK)
The four standard ink colors used in full-color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

PSD
An abbreviation for a Photoshop Document. PSD is the native bitmap file format of the Adobe Photoshop digital imaging application. PSD files have the extension .psd in MS Windows and the file type code 8PBS on Macintosh. This format is usually used to edit files before converting them into a more accessible format.

REGISTER
To position printing in proper relation to the edges of the paper and other printed images on the same sheet.

RESOLUTION (HIGH/LOW)
High-resolution digital photography with at least 300 dpi (dots per inch) is required for high-quality printing. Low-resolution digital photography, at 72 to 300 dpi, is adequate for on-screen Website use.

REVERSE OUT, KNOCK OUT
Type or other image defined by printing the background rather than the image itself, allowing the underlying color of paper of previously printed ink to show in the shape of the image.

SADDLE STITCH
A binding process in which the page spreads are lined up and stapled up the middle, like a magazine.

SCALE
The percentage by which images should be enlarged or reduced.

SCANNING
The process of transferring a hard copy into a digital image. After images have been digitized, they can be added to Web pages or placed in graphic files.

SCORE
To mechanically crease paper along a line so it will fold more easily.

SCREEN
To reproduce a shaded area in a printed piece. Also, a photographic tool for making halftone images from a continuous tone photo or illustration.

SELF COVER/PLUS COVER
Self cover refers to a publication made entirely from the same paper so that the cover is printed simultaneously with the inside pages. Plus cover is a publication where the cover paper stock is different from the interior paper.

SHEETFED
A press that uses pre-cut sheets of paper, rather than rolls.

SHOWTHROUGH
Printing on one side of the paper that can be seen when looking at the opposite side.

SIGNATURE
A press sheet folded into a series of pages to be bound. Standard signatures are 8, 16, and 32 pages.

SLIDE
A photographic transparency (positive) mounted for projection.

SPECIFICATIONS (SPECS)
The complete and precise descriptions of paper, ink, binding, quantity, and other features of a printing job.

SPOT COLOR
Colors specified in PMS (Pantone Matching System) inks other than the four standard process colors.

STET
Proofreaders mark signifying that copy marked with corrections should remain as it was.

TEXT PAPER
Paper grade characterized by textured surfaces, such as laid, cockle, wove, etc. May also be used to describe paper used for the text portion of a publication, as opposed to cover stock.

TIF
An abbreviation for Tagged Image File. TIF files are used for most scanner and page layout applications. TIF files can store multiple images in a single file and provide color, gray-scale and black and white capabilities.

TRANSPARENCY
A positive photographic image on film that is viewed or projected by light shining through the film.

TRAP
The tiny amount of overlap between two printed areas that eliminates white space between colors. Usually set by the printer.

TRIM SIZE
Size of the printed product after the last trim is made.

TWO-COLOR PRINTING
The use of no more than two different inks (Pantone) in a publication.

VARNISH
Clear finish applied on press that provides additional protection and sheen to a printed piece. A varnish may have a dull or glossy appearance, and may be tinted with colored ink. A flood varnish is applied to the entire page; a spot varnish is applied only to selected image areas and requires a printing plate to apply.

VECTOR IMAGE
Vector graphics produce images using mathematically generated points, lines and shapes that are rendered on a computer. The result is a file much smaller than a bitmap which is easier to send and download over tight bandwidth connections. In addition, a vector file can be resized and manipulated without distorting the image. Images such as line art, fonts, and shapes are examples of vector graphics (programs that specialize in the use of vector graphics are Illustrator, Freehand, Flash, InDesign, and standard layout programs).

VELLUM
A translucent paper.

WATERMARK
Distinctive design created in paper fibers during paper manufacture.

WEB PRESS
Press that uses paper in rolls, rather than cut sheets.