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download pdfGlossary

An alphabetical list of words relating to a specific subject, text, or dialect, with explanations; a brief dictionary.

4:0 or 4:1 or 4:4 etc
Refers to the number of colours used per side. Can be referred to as four back zero / four back one / four back four.

A-Sizes
The most common paper sizes used for stationery, leaflets and other publications.

Artwork
The images/text that are to be printed (usually supplied digitally as a PDF). As a general rule, artwork should be supplied as a high resolution PDF at 300 dpi, with crop marks and 3mm bleed.

Authors Amendments
Changes made by the customer, usually at the proofing stage.

B-Sizes
Larger than A-sizes, most sheet-fed print presses take these paper sizes. It then allows for trimming to A-sizes.

Back Up
To print on the reverse of a sheet which has already been printed on one side.

Bleed
Where the image to be printed extends (usually by 3mm) over the crop marks. This makes trimming easier and means the finished documents will run to the edges.

Embossing
The design or text is only visible as a raised area on the paper/card, without printing.

Block Foiling
Where a design is stamped into the cover, usually in a metallic foil.

Bond Paper
Uncoated paper often used for stationery.

Bulk
Thickness of paper measured in Microns, as opposed to the weight.

Burst Binding
A method similar to perfect binding where the text pages are glued in to the cover. In burst binding, slots are cut in to the sections to help the adhesive.

C-Sizes
Sizes used for envelopes. These correspond to A-sizes (e.g. C4 envelope will hold A4 sheets)
C3 - 324 x 458 mm
C4 - 229 x 324 mm
C5 - 162 x 229 mm
C6 - 114 x 162 mm
DL - 110 x 220 mm (holds A4 folded twice).

CMYK
Abbreviation of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. These make up the standard 4 colour process used for printing in full colour.

Coated Paper
Paper which has a coating on one or both sides. This can have a gloss or silk (matt) finish. Coated papers are used for the majority of printed products, but not for stationery where an uncoated (or bond) paper is used.

Crease
Where a line is creased to allow for easier and tidier folding. Any board over 170gsm in weight will need to be creased before folding.

Crop Marks
Lines marking where the paper is to be trimmed after printing. These should be part of the artwork.

Cutting Forme (or Die)
The custom made cutter used when die-cutting, shapes, folders, euro-scots etc.

Debossing
Where an image is pressed or stamped into the paper creating a depression as opposed to an embossed, raised impression.

Die-cut
Where an irregular shape is cut from the paper instead of trimming square edges. This can be any shape but requires a die or cutting forme to be made up specially.

Digital Printing
Low cost method of printing best suited for short run jobs. It works directly from electronic data without the need for printing plates. This makes the process very quick but the print quality, although a good alternative is not on par with lithography. Also, you cannot use specific spot colours or metallic inks.

Digital Printed Proofs
Proofs printed digitally (not lithographically). These are suitable for checking layout and pagination but not for colour. The reason being they will be printed on different paper and/or using a different machine to the finished product.

DL
Envelope sized 220x110mm to hold an A4 sheet folded twice (or a compliment slip). See C-sizes.

DPI
Dots per inch, or the image resolution. For print, all images in a document should always be a minimum of 300dpi.

Drawn On Covers
A paper back cover with the text pages glued in (see perfect binding & burst binding).

Drilling
Where holes are drilled. This is essentially hole punching but on a larger scale.

Dummy
A mock up of the finished product. This can be printed or unprinted, depending on the purpose. See proofs.

Embossing
Where designs are pressed in to the paper to leave a raised effect.

Encapsulation
Where printed material is fully enclosed and sealed in plastic. This leaves a small, clear plastic border around the sheet where it is sealed. Encapsulation is durable and water resistant.

Finished Size
The size once trimmed and folded.

Flat Size
The size before finishing. Can also be used if a product is to be supplied creased but unfolded.

Folding
There are a large number of different folding options. Some common folds are:

Concertina or Z fold
Gate fold – where left and right edges fold to the centre
Roll fold – like a takeaway menu

FSC
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC.org) is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organisation established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. Certain paper brands are accredited by the FSC.

Full Colour
Printing in CMYK, as opposed to using spot colours. Although you can print full colour with additional spot colours.

Grain
The direction of the fibres of paper. It is easier to fold with the grain.

Gloss coated paper
These papers have a smooth surface and a high shine, perfect for producing printed promotional items e.g brochures, flyers and leaflets.

GSM
Grams per square metre. This is the standard measurement of weight for paper.

Imposition
The pages of the artwork are arranged such that after printing, cutting and folding, the pages will be in the correct order. Sometimes seen when an imposition proof is supplied electronically, the pages will not be in chronological order.

Kiss Cut
To die-cut the top layer but not the backing of a two layered sticker/label.

Laminating
Where a thin plastic film is fixed to one or both sides of the paper. This can create a silky matt or a high gloss finish, depending on the intended purpose and personal preference. It also acts as a protective barrier if the print needs to be more durable or is likely to encounter a demanding environment.

Landscape
Where a document is oriented so the long edges are at the top and bottom. As opposed to portrait.

Lithography / Lithographic (or litho)
The most popular print process, a metal plate is treated so that the image area attracts the oil-based inks, while the wet non-image areas resist them.

Make-ready
All work associated with setting up the print press before production.

Mock Up
See dummy.

Origination
The files to be printed which make up the artwork. Usually a print ready PDF.

Page
One side of a sheet of paper. For example, an A4 sheet has 2 pages. An A4 sheet folded in half to A5 has 4 pages.

Pantone®
See spot colours.

PDF
Portable Document Format. Universal file format which combines images and text.

Perfect Binding
Where the text pages are glued in to the cover. See also burst binding and drawn on covers.

PMS
Pantone Matching System. Followed by 3 or 4 digits to make up a code e.g. PMS 072. See spot colours.

Portrait
Where a document is oriented so the long edges are on either side. As opposed to landscape.

PP
Printed pages. Refers to the number of pages in a document e.g. 12pp (12 pages).

Proof
Proofs are an example of what is to be printed so both parties are in agreement. Any errors or amendments should be picked up at this stage. This can take the form of a digital proof, usually supplied as a PDF, or a printed proof. See digital proofs and wet proofs for more details.

Ream
500 sheets of paper.

Saddle-Stitch
Where a document is wire stitched on the spine, better known as stapled.

Seal or Sealer
A coating applied over the print to prevent set off and smudging.

Self-Cover
Where the cover and text pages are on the same paper stock.

Set Off
This is where the ink from one sheet is transferred on to the reverse of the sheet above. Leaving ample time for the ink to dry and applying a sealer helps to prevent this.

Silk Coated Paper
Silk papers have a low surface shine, a smooth finish, but not glossy.

Sheet-fed
A sheet-fed printing press uses individual sheets, instead of continuous rolls of paper used on web offset presses.

Spot Colours
Refers to solid colours which are found in commercially obtainable colour ranges such as Pantone®, these are mostly used in addition to CMYK where CMYK is not available to achieve a perfect colour match e.g. Printing gold or silver as an example.

Spot Gloss UV Varnish
A high gloss finish applied to specific areas of print. This differs from gloss laminating which has to cover the whole sheet.

Uncoated Paper
Paper which has not been coated, not gloss or silk.

Web Offset
A method of printing which uses a continuous roll of paper. They are very fast presses and are only suitable for large print runs on relatively thin paper stocks

Wet Proof
The same machine and materials that will be used for the finished product. Whilst this is quite expensive, it does leave you with an exact mock up of what is to be printed. This is suitable for colour checking. Only recommended for large runs and specialist items.

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