Useful words and phrases for the print world


A Aqueous Coating Water-based coating that is applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the print.
B Basis Weight The weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to basic size. Also called ream weight and substance weight (sub weight).
Bleed Printed content that goes beyond the edge of the final trim size to be removed after printing. Allows for movement of the paper during printing and finishing, as well as design inconsistencies. Any artwork that goes to the edge of the page should extend into the bleed area to ensure that no unprinted edges occur in the final trimmed piece.
Blow In A card inserted between inside pages.
Bind Join together pages or signatures with wire, glue or other means.
C C1S & C2S Abbreviations for “Coated One Side” and “Coated Two Sides.”
Caliper Thickness of paper or other substrate typically measured in thousandths of an inch (mils or points), or thousandths of a millimeter (microns).
CMYK Abbreviation for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (K), the four standard process colors.
Coated Paper Paper with a coating of clay and other substances. Coated paper finishes include gloss, dull and matte. Uncoated paper is also called offset paper.
Collate To organize printed matter in a specific order.
Color Gamut The entire range of colors possible to reproduce using a specific device or system, such as a computer screen or printing press.
Cover Thicker paper that protects a publication.
Coverage Extent to which ink covers a printed surface.
Creep When middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages.
Crop Marks Lines near the edges of an image indicating where the final cuts will be. Also called cut marks.
D DPI Abbreviation for “Dots Per Inch,” a measure of resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters and monitors.
Dull Finish Flat (not glossy) finish on coated paper; slightly smoother than matte.
F Finished Size Size of product after production is completed, as compared to flat size. Also called trimmed size.
Flat Size Size of product after printing and trimming, but before folding, as compared to finished size.
Flood To cover a sheet completely with an ink or varnish.
Four-Color Process Printing Method of printing that uses black, magenta, cyan and yellow to simulate full-color images. Also called color process printing, full color printing and process printing.
G GSM Unit of measurement for paper weight (Grams per Square Meter).
Gutter The inside margins at the back/binding edge of the book or magazine.
I Imposition Arrangement of pages (typically multiple per press sheet) so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.
Insert An additional item (other than internal pages) positioned in a publication.
L Live Area Area within which text and images remains safe, taking into account mechanical tolerances in print. Also called Safe Area.
M Matte Finish Flat (not glossy) finish on coated printing paper.
Moire Undesirable pattern resulting when halftones and screen tins are made with improperly aligned screens, or when a pattern in a photo, such as a plaid, interfaces with a halftone dot pattern.
O Offset Paper Paper not treated with a coating, also called uncoated paper.
Offset Printing Printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket and then to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.
P Pagination The order and numbering of pages.
Perfect Bind To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue.
Prepress File processing and verification, color separations, platemaking and other functions performed prior to printing.
Press Check Event at which make-ready sheets from the press are examined before authorizing full production to begin.
Proof Test print or digital file made to confirm layout, content, and color, and convey intended finished results on press.
R Resolution Sharpness of an image on paper or computer screen. See also DPI.
RGB Abbreviation for Red, Green, Blue, the color space of computer monitors.
S Saddle Stitch To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine.
Self Cover Not having a cover stock separate from the interior page stock.
Sheetfed Press Press that prints separate sheets of paper, in contrast with a web press.
Spine Back or binding edge of a publication.
Spot Color (or Varnish) Color applied to portions of a sheet, as compared to flood color.
Spread Two pages that face each other in a publication.
T Tip On An additional page or wrap attached to the cover or inside page of the publication, often with removable glue.
U UV Coating Liquid applied to a printed sheet, which is bonded and cured with ultraviolet light to form a protective coating.
V Varnish Liquid applied to a printed sheet for protection and appearance.
W Web Press Press that prints from rolls of paper, typically cutting it into sheets after printing, in contrast with a sheetfed press.