Alphabetical list

The printing industry is filled with jargon. Here is an alphabetical list of some of the most common terms we use. The more familiar you are with these terms, the easier it will be for you to communicate your needs to us.

A| B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Against the grain: At right angles to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to with the grain.

Artwork: A digital copy of a file intended for printing, including type, photos and illustrations.

Basic size: The standard size of sheets of paper used to calculate basis weight in the United States and Canada.

Binding: Refers to how your document is completed: i.e. collating, stapling, spiral binding, shrinkwrapping, etc.

Bleed: Refers to ink extending (“bleeding”) off the trimmed edge of a printed page.

Bond: Standard grade of writing or printing paper; used for letterhead, class handouts etc. Is often referred to as 20#.

Book paper: The general term for coated and uncoated offset papers. Heavier than 20# bond; available in 60#, 70#, and 80# weights.

Brochure: A pamphlet in a folded or booklet form.

Broken carton: Carton of paper from which some of the sheets have been sold. Also called less carton.

C1S and C2S: Abbreviations for coated one side and coated two sides.

Carbonless paper: Carbon-coated paper used primarily for forms requiring several duplicate copies, without separate sheets of carbon paper.

Caliper: Thickness of paper or other substrate expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils or points).

Card stock: Also known as cover stock, used for manual and report covers, tickets, business cards, etc.

Carton: Selling unit of paper weighing approximately 150 pounds (60 kilos). A carton can contain anywhere from 500 to 5,000 sheets, depending on the size of sheets and their basis weight.

CMYK: Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four process colors.

Coated paper: Book paper with a slick surface coating.

Collating: In binding, the sequential assembling of pages.

Contrast: Referrs to the highlights and shadows in an image.

Colour separations: Originals which have been separated to identify spot colour differences within the specifications.

Corner-staple: A single staple in the top left corner of the pages.

Cover: Thick paper that protects a publication and advertises its title.

Crack n’ peel: Sticky stock with a removable protective backing, used for labels.

Crop marks: Cut marks on the edges of an original to indicate final job dimensions.

Cutting die: Usually a custom ordered item to trim specific and unusual sized printing projects.

Cyan: One of the four process colors. Also known as process blue.

D/S: Double sided printing.

Data compression: Technique of reducing the amount of storage required to hold a digital file.

Density: Regarding ink, the amount of printed ink coverage. Regarding color, how much light can pass through the ink. Regarding paper, the relative tightness or looseness of fibers.

Desktop publishing: Technique of using a personal computer to design images and pages, and assemble type and graphics.

Die: A template used for cutting, scoring, stamping or embossing.

Die-cut: A custom cut-out window or slot in a cover.

Dots per inch (dpi): A measure of the resolution of a screen or halftone image.

Drill: The process of drilling a stack of paper to achieve a hole in the printed material.

Duotone: A two-colour halftone reproduction from a one-colour photograph.

Dummy: Simulation of the final product. Also called mockup or printed proof.

Duplex: Printing on both sides of a piece of paper during the same press run.

Encapsulated postscript file (EPS): Computer file containing both images and PostScript commands.

Embossing: Impressing an image in relief to achieve a raised surface.

Fine papers: Papers made specifically for writing or commercial printing, as compared to coarse papers and industrial papers. Also called cultural papers and graphic papers.

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.

Foil stamp: Custom method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die.

Footprint: Refers to the largest size of the copying glass on a photocopier.

Gloss paper: Coated stock with a manufactured smooth shiny finish.

Grade: General term used to distinguish between different printing papers.

Graphics: Visual elements that supplement type to make printed messages more clear or interesting.

Graphic arts: The crafts, industries and professions related to designing and printing on paper and other substrates.

Grain direction: Predominant direction in which fibers in paper become aligned during manufacturing.

Grain long paper: Paper whose fibers run parallel to the long dimension of the sheet.

Grain short paper: Paper whose fibers run parallel to the short dimension of the sheet.

Gripper edge: Edge of a sheet held by grippers on a sheetfed press, thus going first through the press.

Gutter: Refers to the blank space or inner margin from the printing area to the binding edge.

Halftone: To photograph or scan a continuous tone image to convert the image into halftone dots. Can also be created using vector programs.

Hard copy: Physical copy of the work you need produced.

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Impression: Equals one press sheet passing once through the press.

Imposition: Arrangement of pages on mechanicals or flats so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.

Imprint: To print new copy on a previously printed sheet, such as imprinting an employee's name on business cards.

Ink jet printing: Method of printing by spraying droplets of ink through computer-controlled nozzles.

Kraft paper: Strong recycled paper used for wrapping and to make small, medium and large envelopes.

Laminate: A thin layer of clear material that is applied overtop of existing graphics to resist scratching and water damage. Spray laminate is also available for textured surfaces like canvas.

Landscape: Artist style in which width is greater than height. (Portrait is opposite)

Layout: A sample of the original providing (showing) position of printed work (direction, instructions) needed and desired.

Leaf: One sheet of paper in a publication. Each side of a leaf is one page.

Magenta: One of the four process colors.

Matte: Coated paper with a manufactured smooth dull finish.

Originals: Refers to the number of pages submitted for printing. A back to back page is counted as two originals.

Over run: Additional printed matter beyond order. Overage policy varies in the printing industry.

Padding: A stack of sheets (usually 100) painted with glue on one side to form memo pads, routing slips, scratch pads, etc.

Pantone matching system (PMS): Ink colour system used extensively in the graphic design and printing industries; Pantone colours are carefully graded so that exact colours can be matched throughout the design and print process. Inks are referred to by a specific number, which corresponds to the ink colour.

Perfect bind: Method of binding in which the pages are held together and fixed to the cover by means of flexible adhesive as in paperback books.

Perforate: A regular series of punched holes in a sheet which makes for easy tearing.

Pixel: Short for picture element, a dot made by a computer, scanner or other digital device.

Plate: Piece of paper, metal, plastic or rubber carrying an image to be reproduced using a printing press.

Platemaker: A process camera that makes plates automatically from mechanicals.

Post-commercial recycled: Refers to paper including post-commercial waste, such as bindery or trimming offcuts.

Post-consumer recycled: Paper including post-consumer waste such as newspapers and old magazines etc.

Pound (#): Symbol with used to identify the weight of the stock;  as in 20# bond or 80# text.

Pre-press: All working steps leading up to the actual printing of the job.

Press run: The length of the copy run or the number of sheets to be printed.

Printing ink: Material that is transferred from the printing plate to the paper or other surface, resulting in an impression. Printing inks may be hand-mixed to create almost any colour; see Pantone Matching System. At UVic Printing Services, we use soy-based ink products.

Printing plate: Surface, usually made of plastic, that has been treated to carry an image; the plate is inked and the ink is transferred to the paper or other surface by a printing press.

Printing press: Machine that transfers lettering or images through contact with various types of inked surfaces onto paper or other material fed into the machine.

Process colour: The printing primary colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK), used in full-colour process printing.

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RGB: Abbreviation for red, green, blue. Usually referrs to web graphics.

Ream: A package of five hundred sheets of paper.

Register: In printing, the fitting together of two or more colour-separated printing originals in exact alignment with each other.

Register marks: Crosses or other targets applied to original copy for register of two or more colours in printing.

Resolution: The quantification of printout quality using the number of dots per inch (dpi).

S/S: Single-sided originals or copies.

Saddle stitch: An option for binding booklets; folded pages are bound together by wire staples inserted through the backbone or folding line, and into the centre spread where they are clinched.

The folding sheets or pages are placed over a “saddle” to ensure proper positioning.

Score: To indent a line in the paper to make folding easier.

Screen printing: Method of printing by using a squeegee to force ink through an assembly of mesh fabric and a stencil.

Self cover: Cover produced on the same stock as the inside text pages.

Set-up time: The time required to ready a job to go to print.

Shrink wrap: Inexpensive binding option in which finished documents are packaged in a tear-off plastic wrapping.

Side stitch: Bindery option; two staples along the binding edge of a document.

Soft copy: Electronic originals on a disk or CD.

Spiral binding: Bindery option in which a document is bound with a continuous plastic coil that is inserted through a series of holes punched along the binding side.

Spot colour: Mixing CMYK to create a specific pantone spot colour.

Stock: The term we use for paper or other material to be printed upon. Available in a vast array of weights, textures and colours.

Text: The body matter of a page or book.

Text paper: General term applied to linen, laid, or woven papers stocks; used for booklets, brochures, posters, etc.

Three hole punch: Drilling 8 1/2 x 11 paper for insertion into three-ring binders.

Toner: Used in photocopiers; the ink powder heated and fused to the paper to make the copies.

Transparency: Term for a clear durable plastic sheet; used both for overhead copies and as clear plastic covers when spiral binding materials.

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