Dictionary of Terms


Terms of the Industry:

4 color - use of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black to build colors for printing.

4/0 - 4 color process on one side / no color on the back, 4/4 would be 4 color process on one side and 4 color process on the other side of the sheet.

6 color - also known as Hexachrome, the use of additional colors to CMYK which can include green, orange and violet. This allows for more reproduction of pantone colors than CMYK by itself. This can also stand for CMYK and 2 spot colors.

Adobe Photoshop - software program that allows the operator to manipulate black – and – white and color images, changing such things as color, tone, contrast, size , scale and content.

AM (Amplitude Modulation) Screening - Halftone screening, as opposed to FM Screening (stochastic), has dots of variable size with equal spacing between dot centers.

AQ (Aqueous) coating - a water based varnished applied in-line after printing CMYK that provides protection and faster processing in the bindery.

Barrel Fold - in binding, two or more simple folds in which the outer edges of the pages are folded in toward each other.

Binding - the use of thread, staples, wire, glue or other agents to collect sections or signatures into books, brochures and pamphlets.

Bleed - an extra amount of printed image which extends beyond the trim edge of the sheet or page.

Blind Embossing - a raised impression made without using ink or foil on the embossed image.

Calibrate (color calibrate) - to fix, check or correct the gradation of color on a color monitor, a digital proffing system, a laser imaged plate, with a measuring instrument.

Chokes and Spreads - Overlap of overprinting images to avoid color or white fringes or borders around image detail. Called trapping in digital imaging systems.

CMYK - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (see 4 color process).

Coated Stock - paper stock having a surface coating wit-h produces a smooth finish. Surfaces vary from eggshell to glossy.

Color Bar - a printed series of patches of known values on a proof or printed sheet used for process color control.

Color Correct - to adjust the relationship among the process colors to achieve desirable colors.

Color Management - program that takes scanners, monitors, printers, proofs and the color characteristics of the print into consideration.

Color Separation - in photography, the process of separating color originals into the primary printing color components in negative or positive form using RGB filters.

Color Workflow - the production workflow in a color managed environment.

Cost per piece - the traditional measure of the price, gained by dividing the number of pieces printed by the total cost of printing it.

Cost per response - he true measure of success of a direct mail marketing campaign, gained by dividing the total cost of the project by the number of sales, leads or contacts that the campaign generates.

Cromalin - a DuPont color prepress proofing system which is widely used to create proofs of four-color images. Using process colored powder instead of ink, separated film is exposed to approximate an image before printing.

Crossover - an image that straddles two pages or runs across a spread. Critical for bindery work, particularly when the crossover image is created from two separate pages. Not all bindery methods are good candidates when crossovers need to match up exactly.

Deboss - lowering type or an image below the surface level of the paper.

Densitometer - instrument used to measure color density and tone value on color bars.

Die - a device used to cut or form material in a press or stamping machine.

Die-Cutting - the process of using sharp steel rules to cut special shapes into paper. Die-cuts can be done on either flatbed or rotary presses. Rotary die-cuts are usually done inline with the printing.

Digital Printing - the process of choice for small numbers of copies or variable data marketing and promotional projects. There are some limitations in size and materials that can be printed.

Direct Mail - marketing goods or services to the consumer through the mall. Direct mail is one tool that can be used as part of a marketing strategy. It can also be personalized using digital printers to help increase ROI.

Dot Gain - in printing, the result of halftone dot spreading and printing larger than they should, reducing the crispness of detail and lowering contrast. Also called Tone Value Increase

DPI/LPI - Dots or Lines per inch, the measure of the size of the dots used in conventional halftone screens, with higher numbers representing finer screens. Most commercial printing today relies on 150- or 175 line screens. When files are submitted for Offset, they should be at least 300 DPI.

Duotone - a two-color halftone reproduced from a black-and-white photograph; two halftones are shot at different screen angles and tonal values, and then registered together in two different colors to create a two-tone look.

Elliptical Dot - in halftone photography, elongated dots which give improved gradation of tones particularly in middle tones and vignettes. Also called chain dots.

Embossing - raised type or an image above the surface level of the paper.

Engraving - printing method using a plate with an image (also called a die) cut into its surface that produces a relief or raised image, like thermography.

Film Laminates - a thin sheet of plastic film or bonded to a printed product for protection or to increase gloss.

Finish - surface texture of a paper stock, or the finishing process in the bindery.

Flexography - a direct printing technique. The printing areas are elevated compared to the non-printing ones. Primarily used in the packaging industry. The printing form is made of rubber or plastic material similar to a rubber stamp.

FM (Frequency Modulated) Screening - a means of digital screening the opposite of amplitude modulated screening (AM). See stochastic screening.

Foil - a general term for hot stamping materials, typically made of a film carrier that is coated with a release agent, a color or lacquer coat or tinted metalized aluminum, and an adhesive coat. Under heat and pressure the release agent separates the color or lacquer coat from the film carrier so it can be transferred to the surface to be stamped.

Foil Embossing - a form of Foil Stamping and Embossing

Foil Stamping - the application of a Mylar-backed material to paper. A heated die is stamped onto the foil, transferring the coating to the paper.

Folding - to bend or crease a sheet of paper to create a printed or bound document.

Folding Dummies - a mock-up of the job using the actual paper trimmed and folded to the exact specifications. A good idea for estimating folded panel sizes and complicated folds and die cuts.

FPO (For Position Only) - in digital imaging, typically a low-resolution image positioned in a document to be replaced later with a higher resolution version of the same image.

Fugitive Color - a color that has a tendency to change or fade under different lighting, heat, or other environmental or time changes also knows as an unstable color. When colors need to be more permanent, like for fine art or ourdoor signage, fade resistant inks can be used.

G7 Master Printer - the Master Printer uses modern technology based on colorimetry, and employs G7 process controls to ensure that the proof matches the printed piece and that all color corrections can be altered before going to press.

Gas ghosting - caused by applying a varnish before the ink has enough time to dry, the image comes though on the back side of the piece being printed .

Gravure - method of printing using metal cylinders etched with millions of tiny wells that hold a liquid ink. Gravure is ideal for very long runs.

Gray Scale - the spectrum, or range, of shades of black that an image has. Scanners' and terminals' gray scale are determined by the number of gray shades, or steps, they can recognize and reproduce. A scanner that can see a gray scale of only 16 will not produce as detail filled accurate an image as one that distinguishes a gray scale of 256.

Gripper Edge - the leading edge of paper as it passes through a printing press. Also, the front edge of a lithographic or wrap-around plate secured to the front clamp of a plate cylinder.

Gripper Margin - unprinted blank edge of paper on which grippers bear, usually ½” or less.

Gutter - the blank space or inner margin from printing area to binding.

Halftone - the production of continuous-tone images, through a screening process, which converts the image into dots of various sizes and equal spacing between centers (AM screening) or dots of equal size with variable spacing between them (FM screening).

Heidelberg - with a global market share for sheetfed offset printing machines of more than 40 percent, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) is the world’s leading solution provider for commercial and industrial customers in the print media industry. Headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, the company focuses on the entire process and value chain for popular format classes in the sheetfed offset and flexographic printing sectors.

Hexachrome - A version of hi-fi (high fidelity) printing involving six color separation.

Hi-fi Color - subtractive color model that lets you add two to four colors in addition to CMYK in order to obtain a wider color range in print.

High-res (high resolution) - an image that has sufficient sharpness (measured by the number of pixels per inch) that is suitable for print reproduction.

Histogram - in digital prepress, a graph that displays the tonal range of a given image.

HP Indigo - a fully digital liquid-toner printing system that enables every element to be varied as required, maximum sheet size of 12" x 18".

Imposition - in range assembly, the positioning of pages on a signature so that after printing, folding and cutting, all pages will appear in the proper sequence.

Ink Coverage - the amount of ink added in the printing process with the maximum amout of four colors being 400%. Also describes the maximum allowed amount of each component color on a certain paper in a certain printing process. Expressed as a percent.

Ink Drawdown - a special ink formulation prepared on the paper upon which the job will be printed. A way to look at special mixed colors on a given paper or given ink colors on different paper.

In-line - to print or coat on the same press or coater.

Knockouts - type or images that reverse out of a solid or tint, allowing the paper to show through. Also called a reverse.

Lamination - the process of combining lamination film material and core material using time, heat and pressure.

Lithographic Offset Printing (litho) - printing method using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose non-image areas repel ink. Non-image areas may be coated with water or a coating, such as silicon, to repel ink.

Loupe - a magnifying lens held close to the eye to examine printing. The most common is an eight-power, which enlarges an image by a factor of eight.

Match Color - a custom-mixed ink color that exactly matches a specified color. Typically chosen from numbered color matching systems. Also called spot color.

Metallic Inks - inks containing metal powder that have a shiny reflective appearance.

Misregistration - a print phenomenon in which the component colors don’t print directly on top of each other (i.e., in register).

Midtones - the tonal range between highlights and shadows of a photograph or reproduction. Technically the 50% dot on the color bar.

Mil - a unit of length equal to one-thousandth of an inch, used to measure the thickness of film laminates, paper and board.

Moiré - in color process printing, the undesirable screen pattern caused by incorrect screen angles of overprinting halftones.

Off-line - to print or coat at a separate time on a different press or coater. Often used in reference to varnishing. Same as separate pass.

Offset - in printing, the process of using an intermediate blanket cylinder to transfer an image from the image carrier to the substrate. Short for “offset lithography.”

One-to-one Marketing - a process through which a business identifies individual customers, differentiates among those individuals, interacts with customers and records responses, and customizes communications for individual customers. Also connected to variable data printing.

Overprinting - double printing; printing over an area that already has been printed. Often used in relation to a varnish or a special double hit of a color plate.

PDF (portable document format) - a file format created by Adobe that allows users to view and print documents independent of the applications used to create the files.

Perfect Binding - a method of binding which uses adhesive to hold signatures or pages together. The pages in perfect binding are collated and not imposed.

PMS - Pantone Matching System – a well known reference for selecting, specifying, matching and controlling ink colors, from designing to press.

POP (point of purchase) - the location of a product on the shelf or on display in a store. Also refer to merchandising material, as in Point of Purchase material.

POS (point of sale) - the place of contact between product and consumer, where the purchase is made. Can also include the material that calls out the attention of the material to be purchased.

Preflighting - in digital prepress, the term used to evaluate or analyze every component needed to produce a printing job. Preflight confirms the type of disk being submitted, the color gamut, color breaks, and any art required (illustrations, transparencies, reflective photos, etc.) plus layout files, screen fonts, printer fonts, EPS or TIFF files, laser proofs, page sizes, bleeds, print drives, crop marks, etc.

Quarter Tones - tones between shadows and midtones and between highlights and midtones.

Register - the correct positioning of an image with regards to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet, especially when printing one color on another, as with CMYK.

Resolution - in electronic imaging, the quantification of print out quality using the number of dots per inch. For example, the resolution of a digital printing output device is always less than the resolution of an offset plate setter and offset printer. The resolution of a color monitor is always less than a digital printer.

Reverse - images reproduced b printing ink around their outline, thus allowing the underlying color of paper to show through and form the images. Also called knockout.

RGB - Red, Green, Blue – used to create colors on computer screens, televisions and other electronic viewing devices, combining all three = white, the absence of all three = black.

Saddlestitching - in binding, to fasten a booklet by wiring it through the middle fold of the sheets.

Scanner - an electronic device used in the making of color and tone-corrected separations of images. These have been almost replaced by digital cameras.

Scatter Proofs or Loose Color Proofs - prepress proof of a halftone, duotone or color separation that is not assembled with other elements from a page. Also called random proofs.

Score - to impress or indent a mark in the paper to make folding easier. Usually necessare with cover stock.

Screen - a method of printing that breaks up continuous-tone images into printable dots.

Screen Angles - a halftone screen is placed so that lines formed by the dots are at a certain angle. When printing four-color process, the screens of the four colors are placed in certain predetermined angles.

Screen Ruling - the number of lines or dots per inch in a halftone screen.

Screen Tints - color generated by dots instead of solid ink coverage.

Sheetfed - printing form stacks of sheets that feed one at a time though the press.

Sidestitching - a method of common binding where the folded signatures or pages are stitched along the side near the gutter margin. The pages will not lie flat.

Spot - a specific area where a varnish or other liquid coating is to be applied, usually for protection or for a desired effect.

Spot Color - printing inks of special colors, for example from the color matching systems and swatch books. Generally used as a complement to black or to achieve an exact color that four-color inks cannot provide. Mixed according to a recipe. Also called match color.

Spot Varnish - varnish applied to specific areas of a sheet, as compared to flood varnish.

Spreads - a technique of slightly enlarging the size of an image to accomplish a trap with another image element. Also, a tow-page arrangement of copy.

Stochastic Screening - a digital screening process that converts images into very small dots (14-40 microns) of equal size and variable spacing. Also called Frequency Modulated (FM) screening.

Thermography - printing method using colorless resin powder that takes on the color of the underlying ink to create a raised printed surface. Applied after printing when the ink is still wet.

Tints - various even tone areas (strengths) of solid color created by dots rather than solid ink coverage. Also called screen tints.

Trapping - in prepress, refers to how much overprinting colors overlap to eliminate white lines between colors in printing. See also chokes and spreads.

Uncoated Stock - paper that has not been coated. There are varying degrees of quality with the highest being Writing, Text and Cover papers.

Unsharp Masking - technique of adjusting dot size to make a halftone or separation appear in better focus. Also called edge enhancement and peaking.

UV coating - a solventless ink that is cured by ultraviolet (UV).

Variable Data Printing (VDP) - digital printing that allows for text and images to be changed based on information about the recipient stored in a data base.

Varnishing - a thin, protective coating applied to a printed sheet for protection or appearance. Also, in inkmaking, it can be all or part of the ink vehicle.

Versioning - a type of variable data printing that prepares different versions of promotion for different audiences, different market areas or other segments of the overall market.

Vignette - an illustration in which an image fades gradually away until it blends into the unprinted paper or background.

VOC’s - Volatile Organic Compounds, such as solvents in the inks, coatings, or foutain solution.

Web Press - a press which prints on a roll of paper at high speeds and delivers folded signatures. Typically used for magazines and catalogs.

White Space - the areas in print publications that do not carry any type or images – the unprinted surface of the paper.