Glossary of Terms

The Printing Industry

Author’s Alterations: author or client’s changes during proofing process – these are not due to the error of the typesetter and are applicable to charges. As opposed to Printer’s error.

Basic Sheet Size: the size used to determine the paper substance weight – for most bond papers the basic sheet size measures – 17 by 22 inches. (also called parent size).

Basis Weight: the weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that grade.

Bindery: manufacturing operations performed after the printing process. Bindery operations can include fastening, punching, folding, perforating, trimming, numbering, slitting, counting, and collating.

Bleed: an image is said to bleed when the image prints beyond the edge of the page.

Blind Embossing: a technique in which an image is stamped in bas-relief without ink or foil. *see embossing

Blind Stamp: an image that is stamped without foil or ink causing a bas-relief effect.

Break: an uncorrected (unspliced) and unintentional separation of continuous forms.

Brightness: in paper – the light reflecting property of paper when examined under specially calibrated lights.

Bug: the manufacturer’s identification mark that is usually placed in the stub or margin of a form.

Business Form: a form that has been printed for the primary purpose of expediting the entry of a variety of written or typed information according to a preset format and exact specs.

Business System: a group of related records that contain common data with areas where additional are data to be entered.

Butt Roll: a roll of paper, of which, most is gone. Use of butt rolls is a factor in waste reduction.

Caliper: the thickness of a sheet of paper – usually measured in thousands of an inch and under specific conditions.

Carbon Dummy: sample sheets pulled, collated and tested to determine the quality of the transferred impression for use on manufactured forms.

Carbon Pattern: a layout of carbon on a sheet – that will allow only certain areas of carbon pattern to transfer image from one copy to the next.

Carbonless Paper: paper that has been treated with carbon derivatives and/or chemicals as to transfer (through pressure of a typewriter or pen) an impression from one form to another. These come in two types chemical transfer and physical transfer.

CB (Coated Back): is a carbonless sheet of paper (with the coating on the back) – that incorporates the 2 coat – transfer method.

CF (Coated Front): is a carbonless sheet of paper (with the coating on the front) – that incorporates the 2 coat – transfer method.

CFB (Coated Front and Back): is a carbonless sheet of paper (with the coating on the front and the back) – that incorporates the 2 coat – transfer method.

Check Paper: paper printed with a fine pattern or chemical alteration – that will reveal tampering if erased or altered. Also called "safety paper".
Clip Art: non copyrighted graphics, illustrations, figures, lettering and other artwork that may be used in any medium for a low one time cost.

Coated Paper: paper that is coated with a white clay base or some other acrylic substance to create a smooth printing surface. Is usually, glossy but can be dull. * see uncoated paper

C1S (Coated One Side): text or cover paper coated on only one side.

C2S (Coated Two Sides): text or cover paper that is coated on both sides.

Cockle Finish: paper finished with a hard, rough surface – usually bond papers.

Collate: assembling pages or sections into a pre-determined order.

Color Proofs: the first full color print off the press.

Color Separation: dividing a full color image into primary colors – standards are CYMK (cyan, yellow, magenta, and black) or RGB (red, green, and blue) and printing from the separate plates to recreate the original image.

Combination Run: combining the production of two of more printing jobs to save money.

Composition: the assembling of characters, words, lines and boxes for reproduction in printing.

Continuous Form: a form produced on a continuous web press that does not cut the forms into individual units.

Copy: the artwork, photo, Photocopy that is used to reproduce the job – also called the original.

Copy Fitting: adjusting the provided copy to fit in a different space (by changing line width, kerning, leading, type size, etc.).

Cotton Content Paper: the "rag content" paper made form reused cotton linters and fabrics (25, 50, 75, or 100 percent).

Crash Numbering: the consecutive numbering that is usually added on the collator using the carbon or carbonless to carry the number through the set. (i.e. – the number is only printed on the top-most copy and just "copies" through the rest).

Cross-perforation: perforations made at right angles to the direction of the web to help jaw fold to release the air trapped in the signature during folding.

Curl: in the making of the paper – the distortion that occurs on unrestrained paper because of differences in the structure or coatings of the different sides – the concave side of the sheet is the curl side.

Die: a pattern (letters or a graphic) cut into metal for embossing, stamping or die-cutting.

Die-cutting: the use of sharp steel rules to cut shapes (like envelopes and folders) for printed and unprinted materials – can be down on both a flat bed as well as a rotary press.

Downtime: the length of unscheduled time that equipment (presses, collators, numbering machines, pre-press system) are not running – usually due to a malfunction.

Dummy: a preliminary mockup of the text and pictures arranged as they will appear on the final product – or a set of blank pages showing the shape, size, and general form of a piece of printing.

Embossing: a process using metal embossing dies, heat and extreme pressure to produce a raised or depressed image onto the printed product – styles include deboss, blind emboss and foil emboss.

Emulsification: the contamination of ink by fountain solution on an offset press.

Engrave: to cut or etch a surface such as an intaglio printing plate – or to use such plate to produce a raised printed surface.

Engraving: the raised image left on a printing plate when the non-printing areas are etched way.

Estimate: a price supplied to the customer based on specifications of the customer – usually sent prior to beginning an order (sometimes the prices change when the order specifications are not the same as the estimate specs given by the customer).

Finish: general surface properties of paper. This describes patterns and textures created by using calenders, felts, embossing rolls and dandy rolls – or the smooth and rough characteristics of a paper. These finishes are commonly called – antique, vellum, luster, and wove. – also used to describe after press operations in a printing plant.

Flat Color: printing two or more colors without over-lapping the colors – this differs from process color which blends four colors to produce a very broad range of colors.

Format: a term for style, size and appearance of a printed piece – or many layouts repeated the same.

Four-color Process: the four basic colors of ink (CYMK – Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, and Black) overlayed to make a wide variety of colors.

Grain Direction: the direction that the majority of fibers run in a finished piece of paper. This determines the direction at which the paper moves through a press. When the paper is cut to finished size it will either be long grained (grain running the longest side of the paper) or short grained (the opposite). Paper folds better along the grain and resists tearing against the grain.

Halftone Screen: an engraved glass that is applied to convert pictures, tone photos, etc. to a series of dots for half tone printing.

Head-to-head Imposition: the imposition that requires top of the page to be on the same end on both sides of the paper.

Head-to-tail Imposition: the imposition that requires the top of a page be positioned across the bottom of the form on the other side.

Hickey: an imperfection in offset printing caused by dust, dirt, hard ink, etc. settling on the ink, the plate or the offset blanket.

Index Bristol: a lightweight cardboard treated to receive ink and handle erasures – comes in white and other colors.

Laminated: covered with a sheet of plastic (for protection) or when two sheets are applied together – for strength or to have varied colors on each side.

Layout: the designers concept of how the final job will look like – or the positioning and order of papers in the final product.

Ledger Paper: the grade of business paper generally used for keeping records – is sturdy and durable.

Letterpress: this is a relief printing method. The letters are metal cast – were the surface of the letters are raised above the background. When the ink is applied it only coats the letters and the inked image is then transferred to the paper.

Line Copy: copy that is solid black with no graduation or screening so that a halftone screen is not required.

Lithography: a term for any printing process in which the image and the non-image areas are on the same plane (level) and is differentiated by chemical repulsion.

Logo: a mark or symbols that represents a company.

Makeready: at the printing press – this is the preparation process that goes on before the actual printing. It includes adjusting grippers, feeders, side guide, adding ink… Also in Letterpress – the building of the press form so that the heavy and light areas print correctly.

Moisture Content: the measure of relative humidity in paper – this affects the stability of the paper.

Negative: the reversal of all values of a film or image.

Offset Paper: Uncoated stock – suitable for offset printing – one of its abilities is to ward off water absorption.

Opacity: the degree that an image "shows through" to the other side of the paper.

Open End Envelope: an envelope that opens on the short side.

Open Side Envelope: an envelope that opens along the long side.

Overrun: the excess products above the amount required for the job.

PMS (Pantone Matching System): the ink color system commonly used in the printing industry. There are over 500 colors – for both coated and uncoated stock – they are available to look at in a swatch book that shows both the PMS number as well as the formula mixture.

PMT (Photomechanical Transfer Prints): positive prints acquired from the camera – used in paste-up.

Perforate: slits in the paper made during the folding process – prevents wrinkles and allows air to escape.

Pick: the lifting of small clumps of fibers and flakes from the paper while printing (more bothersome in offset printing than letterpress.

Piling: the building up and caking of ink on rollers, plate and/or blanket – rendering them harder to transfer.

Press Proof: press sheets showing the image (practice sheets) made before the final printing process.

Printer’s Errors (P.E.s): changes made to the copy due to printer’s error – also mistakes in film, plates and final product that are not due to author error – printer absorbs these costs.

Process Color (CMYK): in printing the subtractive colors – cyan, yellow, magenta, and black – used in the four color process.

Process Printing: printing from a series of two or more plates to produce secondary colors and shades.

Proof: a representation of the final product – also to check the pre-press output for errors.

Recycled Paper: paper made from old paper that has been de-inked and processed chemically.

Register Paper: thin bond paper used in multiple-copy form process.

Reverse: type appearing white on black or white over a photo or some other dark color.

Safety Paper: paper that has been previously treated chemically to show erasures and alterations usually used for check safety. * see check paper.

Score: marking an impression on paper (usually card or cover stock) to aid in folding – usually used when folding against the grain – also known as creasing.

Sheet-fed Press: a press that uses sheet previously cut as opposed to web feed presses.

Tag: a very strong stock that comes in a variety of categories such as jute, rope and sulphate tags.

Text Paper: fine quality paper – comes in white and a variety of colors – usually has a matching cover stock – comes in the weights 60, 70, 80, and 100 lb.

Thermography: a process that imitates raised printing by sprinkling a fine resin powder onto wet ink and then fusing it with heat – this is a low cost imitation of engraving).

Typography: the art and skill of designing letters and words.

Uncoated Papers: paper where the printing surface is the paper – no special chemicals or other coating materials are used.* see coated papers

Vellum Paper: an uncoated, very strong, high quality paper – the term also refers to the coating of the paper – is often the name for the tracing paper used by architects and artists.

Watermark: a pattern formed on paper on the "wet-end" of the paper making process – appears lighter or darker than the rest of the paper when held up to light.

Web Offset: the offset press through which continuous paper is run and can be printed on both sides – as opposed to sheet fed

Xerography: the electrostatic process in which dry material is used to reproduce pictures, forms and print on almost any surface.

Contact Us

Address and Phone Number:
3125 South 1030 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84119

• Salt Lake: 801-972-2225
• Salt Lake Fax: 801-972-2395
• Toll Free: 800-283-1988
• St. George: 435-673-0800
• Las Vegas: 702-387-1735

Sales Staff:
Jim Kanak:
Paul Bartlett:
Craig Jensen:
Courtney Sorensen: