Printing Glossary

The lexicon of printing can be a little intimidating, so we’ve done the hard work to help you understand the jargon. Anything missing? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list.

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A SIZES

One of the series of standard paper sizes, usually used to define the finished size of printed items. For example, the majority of letterheads are termed A4 (297 x210mm). Click here for a full list of paper sizes

ART PAPER

Paper which has received a coating to give it a smooth finish - either gloss, matt or silk. A generic classification to differentiate from uncoated papers.

BINDING EDGE OR SPINE

The side of a printed document on which any binding is applied - or the folded edge on an unbound item - opposite and parallel to the foredge. Please see our binding page for more information on the various binding options we offer.

BLEED

A requirement where images are intended to print right up to, or extending over,the edge of a page - the image has to be extended beyond the page margin on artwork to ensure there is no white paper visible when the job is trimmed out.

CMYK

Letters which stand for Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y) and Black (K) when producing full colour printing (four colour process). (K is used for black to avoid confusion with Cyan which is the commonly used printing term for blue).

CROP MARKS

Crop marks, also known as trim marks, are lines printed in the corners of your documents to show us where to trim the paper.

COATED PAPER

Paper which has received a coating to give it a smooth finish - either gloss or matte. A generic classification to differentiate from uncoated papers.

DIE CUTING

A finishing process whereby apertures or shaped edges can be cut in to single leaves of printed literature.

DIMENSIONS

Where possible, the dimensions of a printed document should be given with the height shown first, followed by the width, this may sound trivial, but misunderstandings over the dimensions of a job can have serious cost implications.

DL ENVELOPE

A standard envelope size measuring 110mm x 220mm which take A4 sheets,folded twice to 99 x 210mm.

EMBOSSING

A process which raises letters or designs on paper or board using engraved metal metal dies.

FINISHING

All operations after printing ie. cutting, folding, stitching etc., to produce the finished item.

FOIL BLOCKING

A process whereby coloured foil - often metallic - is selectively applied to a printed sheet. Can only be used to reproduce line images, which do not incorporate very fine detail.

FONT

A set of letters, numbers and symbols that share a unified design. The design is called a typeface.

FOUR COLOUR PROCESS

Full colour printing using four constituent colours: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

GLOSS COATED PAPER

An art paper which has a polished surface coating to give an even, shiny finish.Gloss papers are in essence exactly the same as matt, or silk papers, but have more pressure applied during the 'polishing' aspect of manufacture (known as calendaring) to give the smoother, more shiny finished surface.

GLOSS VARNISH

A varnish applied to printed sheet to protect against scuffing and marking, giving a gloss finish.

GSM

Grammes per square metre. Standard measurement of paper weight.

IMPOSITION

Plans for the arrangement of the pages on the printed sheet so that they will follow in the correct sequence when folded.

LAMINATING

A thin plastic film adhered to printed sheets to give protection and/or a specialfinish for design purposes. Laminating is available in gloss, matte or silk finishes.

LANDSCAPE

A term for any job where the width of the item is greater than the height.

MATT (OR SILK) COATED PAPER

An art paper which has received a surface coating to give a smooth, matte finish.Matt papers are in essence exactly the same as gloss papers, but have less pressure applied during the 'polishing' aspect of manufacture (known as calendaring) to give the slightly rougher, less shiny finished surface.

MATT VARNISHES

A varnish applied to printed literature to protect against scuffing and marking,giving a matte finish.

PERFECT BINDING

A binding method where gathered text sections are held together with glue worked in to the gaps between the different sections at the spine. The bound edge is usually concealed by a drawn-on cover.

PORTRAIT

A term for any job where the height of the item is greater than the width.

PROCESS COLOURS

The colours which make up full colour printing: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

RESOLUTION

Refers to the degree of detail in an image. It is usually measured in dots per inch (dpi) or lines per inch (lpi). The higher the resolution the greater the detail.

SADDLE STITCHING

A method of binding where the folded sections of a brochure are held together using metal wire to form staples punched through the fold of the spine.

SPECIAL COLOUR

This is a colour that is specially mixed rather than printed from CMYK and is listed in a Pantone colour swatch book. For example, if a corporate logo contains a special blue and is included in a brochure with photographs and text, this is termed a five-colour job. (CMYK for pictures and text + special blue = five colours).

SPINE OR BINDING EDGE

The side of a printed document on which any binding is applied - or the folded edge on an unbound item - opposite the foredge.

SPIRAL BINDING

Method of binding loose leaves (most commonly used for notepads) where a single strand of wire is passed through holes punched on the binding edge of the leaves in a spiral. Should not be confused with wire-o binding.

TINT/TINT VALUE

The percentage of a solid used to achieve a visual shade of colour.

TRIM MARKS

Please see crop marks

TYPO

Short for 'typographical error' - a mistake in the copy.

UNCOATED PAPER

Plain paper which has no coating.

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