Skip to main content
Glossary Of Terms

We take great pride in making our clients feel confident about their jobs during the production process. To help you gain a better understanding of what’s happening to your project, we’ve compiled a glossary of terms that we commonly use in our industry.



  • A4

    ISO standard paper size that is 210 x 297mm or 8.3 x 11.7".

  • Accordion Fold

    A type of paper folding in which each fold runs in the opposite direction to the previous fold, creating a pleated or accordion effect.

  • Airbrush

    A compressed air tool that dispenses a fine mist of paint or ink; used in illustration and photo retouching.

  • Alignment

    Arrangement in a straight line or in correct / appropriate relative positions.

  • Anti-aliasing

    A technique used to add greater realism to a digital image by smoothing jagged edges on curved lines and diagonals.

  • Assembled view

    In illustration, a term used to describe a view of a drawing in its assembled or whole format.

  • Background

    The portion of a photograph or line art drawing that appears furthest from the eye; the surface upon which the main image is superimposed.

  • Banner

    1. A long strip of cloth bearing a slogan, design, or message, hung in a public place or carried in a demonstration or procession.
    2. A heading or advertisement appearing on a web page in the form of a bar, column, or box.

  • Basic Size

    This term refers to a standard size of paper stock; even though the required size may be smaller or larger.

  • Bindery

    The department of a printing company that does the cutting, folding, collating, drilling, and other finishing operations used on printing projects. Also referred to as finishing.

  • Binding

    Various methods of securing folded sections together and or fastening them to a cover, to form single copies of a book.

  • Bleed

    Extra ink area that crosses trim line, allowing for the print to run to the edge of the page.

  • Blow-up

    Any enlargement of photos, copies or line art. 

  • Book

    A written or printed work consisted of pages bound together inside of a cover.

  • Broad Fold

    A term given to the fold where the paper is folded with the short side running with the grain.

  • Brochure

    A small book or magazine containing pictures and information about a product or service.

  • Bulk

    Large in quantity or amount.

  • Bullet

    A boldface square or dot used before a sentence to emphasize its importance.

  • Caliper

    The measurement of thickness of paper expressed in thousandths of an inch or mils.

  • Camera Ready

    A term given to any copy, artwork etc., that is prepared for photographic reproduction.

  • Case Binding

    Books bound using hard board (case) covers.

  • Clip Art

    Graphic images, designs, and artwork in digital form that can be used in a digital document.

  • Coated Stock

    Any paper that has a mineral coating applied after the paper is made, giving the paper a smoother finish.

  • Collate

    To gather sheets or signatures together in their correct order. 

  • Comb Binding

    Binding a stack of paper together by inserting the teeth of a flexible plastic comb into holes punched along one of the edges. Commonly used for catalogs, reports, and manuals.

  • Composition

    The arrangement of type, graphics, and colors.

  • Contrast

    Enhancement of the apparent brightness or clarity of a design provided by the juxtaposition of different colors or textures.

  • Copy

    Refers to any typewritten material, art, photos etc., to be used for the printing process.

  • Corner Marks

    Marks on a final printed sheet that indicate the trim lines or register indicators.

  • Cover

    A term describing a general type of paper used for the covers of books, pamphlets etc.

  • Creep

    Phenomenon of middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages. Also referred to as feathering, out-push, push out, and thrust.

  • Crop

    To eliminate a portion of the art or copy as indicated by crop marks.

  • Crop Mark

    Markings at edges of original or on guide sheet to indicate the area desired for trimming.

  • Cutter

    A machine for accurately cutting stacks of paper to desired dimensions. Can also be used to crease. 

  • Die

    Design, letters or shapes, cut into metal. An engraved stamp used for impressing an image or design.

  • Die Cutting

    The process of cutting paper in a shape or design by the use of a wooden die or block in which are positioned steel rules in the shape of the desired pattern.

  • Dog Ear

    A folded down corner of a page which forms the shape of a small triangle.

  • Drill

    The actual drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding. Also referred to as hole punching.

  • Drop Shadow

    A shadow image placed strategically behind an image to create the effect of the image lifting off the page.

  • Dry Mount

    Pasting with heat sensitive adhesives.

  • Dull Finish

    Any matte finished paper.

  • Duplex

    The printing of a sheet of paper on both sides automatically. Also referred to as double-sided printing.

  • Enamel

    A term that describes a glossy coating on paper.

  • Engraving

    A printing process whereby images such as copy or art are etched onto a plate. When ink is applied, these etched areas act as small wells to hold the ink; paper is forced against this die and the ink is lifted out of the etched areas creating raised images on the paper.

  • Estimate

    A statement of cost for the work requested. This form contains the basic parameters of the project including size, quantity, colors, bleeds, photos etc.

  • Etch

    The process of producing an image on a plate by the use of acid.

  • Finish

    1. The surface quality of paper.
    2. General term for trimming, folding, binding and all other post press operations.

  • Flat

    The dimensions of a document after it has been printed and has received all necessary trimming, but before it has been subjected to any other operations that further affect its size, such as folding. Also referred to as trim size.

  • Flush

    The alignment of the document with regard to edges of the column or paper. Also referred to as range.

  • Foils

    Papers that have a surface resembling metal.

  • Fold Marks

    Markings at top edges that show where folds should occur.

  • Folder

    A machine used to fold signatures down into sections.

  • Folio or Page Number

    Number of page at top or bottom either centered, flushed left or flushed right often with running headline.

  • Font

    The characters which make up a complete typeface and size.

  • Fringe

    A halo that appears around halftone dots.

  • Gathering

    Assembling sheets of paper and signatures into their proper sequence; collating.

  • Ghosting

    The spacing between the copies of artwork on the press sheet which allows for bleeds and trimming.

  • Gloss UV

    A clear gloss coating applied to printed material for strength, appearance and protection.

  • Grain

    The direction of fibers in a sheet or web of paper, generated during paper formation.

  • Grayscale

    A range of gray shades from white to black, as used in a monochrome printout.

  • Gutter

    Space between pages in the printing frame of a book, or inside margin towards the back or binding edge. The blank space or margin between the type page and the binding of a book.

  • Impression

    When a page or publication passes through the printing process to receive the image.

  • Indicia

    Markings pre-printed on mailing envelopes to replace the stamp.

  • Inserts

    Extra printed pages inserted loosely into printed pieces.

  • Italic

    Text that is used to denote emphasis by slanting the type body forward.

  • Jacket

    The paper cover sometimes called the "dust cover" of a hardbound book.

  • Job Number

    A number assigned to a printing project used for record keeping and job tracking. Also used to retrieve old jobs for reprints or reworking by customer.

  • Jog

    To vibrate a stack of finished pages so that they are tightly aligned for final trimming.

  • Kerning

    The narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page.

  • Lamination

    Applying thin transparent plastic sheets to both sides of a sheet of paper, providing scuff resistance, extended use, and possibly waterproofing.

  • Landscape

    A document layout where the width is greater than the height (the opposite of Portrait).

  • Layout

    A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, roughs, thumbnails etc., of the final printed piece before it goes to print.

  • Leading

    Space between lines of type. The distance in points between one baseline and the next.

  • Margin

    Imprinted space around edge of page.

  • Matte Finish

    A coated paper finish that does not have a shine or reflect light. Typically silky and smooth to the touch.

  • Mottle

    A term used to describe spotty or uneven ink absorption.

  • Natural

    A term to describe papers that have a color similar to that of wood; also called cream, off-white or ivory.

  • Offset

    A commonly used printing technique in which the inked image is transferred, or offset, from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface.

  • Opacity

    Quality of papers that defines its opaqueness or ability to prevent two-sided printing from showing through.

  • Opaque

    A quality of paper that allows relatively little light to pass through.

  • Overlay

    A transparent sheet placed over artwork to mark additional information or detail.

  • Page

    One side of a leaf.

  • Parent Sheet

    A sheet that is larger than the cut stock of the same paper.

  • Perfect Binding

    Binding process where backs of sections are cut off, roughened and glued together, and rung in a cover.

  • Perforating

    Punching small holes or slits in a sheet of paper or cardboard to facilitate tearing along a desired line.

  • Point

    A measurement unit equal to 1/72 of an inch. 12 points to a pica, 72 points to an inch.

  • Portrait

    A document layout in which the height is greater than the width (the opposite of Landscape).

  • PPI / DPI

    Pixels per inch / Dots per inch

  • Primary Colors

    In printing the four primary colors are cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black.

  • Proof

    A trial print used for making corrections before final printing.

  • Ream

    500 sheets of paper.

  • Running Head

    A title at the top of a page that appears on all pages of a book or chapter of a book.

  • Saddle Stitching

    A popular book binding method in which folded sheets are gathered together one inside the other and then stapled through the fold line with wire staples between the center most pages.

  • Satin Finish

    A smooth, delicately embossed finished paper with sheen.

  • Scaling

    The enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area.

  • Score

    Impressions or cuts in flat material to facilitate bending or tearing.

  • Sharpen

    A technique for increasing the edge contrast of an image.

  • Smoothness

    An indirect measure of the texture or structural perfection of the paper surface.

  • Spine

    Back edge of a book.

  • Spiral Bind

    A binding whereby a wire or plastic is spiraled through holes punched along the binding side.

  • Spot Color

    Small area printed in a second color.

  • Spread

    A pair of facing pages, typically the left- and right- hand pages, in a publication such as a book, magazine, or newspaper.

  • Stock

    A term for unprinted paper or the fibers and other materials of which the paper is made.

  • Text

    A type of stock that is lighter than cover stock, making it best suited for the inside pages of a bound book.

  • Tint

    A screened or lighter version of a color.

  • Transparent

    1. Inks that do not block out the colored inks that they print over, but instead blend with them to create intermediate colors.
    2. Allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen.

  • Tri-Fold

    Any sheet of paper or cardboard, folded into three sections along two parallel creases and used to present information, typically as a brochure or display board.

  • Trim Marks

    Marks placed on the sheet to indicate where to cut the page.

  • Two-sided

    A document that is printed on both the front and back sides of the page; bilateral.

  • Typo

    A spelling mistake in printed material resulting from a mistake in typesetting.

  • Up

    A term used to describe how many similar pieces can be printed on a larger sheet; 2-up, 4-up, etc.

  • Upright

    A term given to books bound on the longer edge.

  • UV Coating

    A very shiny and durable high gloss coating applied to printed material. It is applied as a liquid then cured with ultraviolet light.

  • Variable Printing

    A form of on-demand printing in which elements (such as text, graphics, etc.) can be changed from one printed piece to the next without stopping or slowing down the press.

  • Varnish

    A coating applied to your printed piece during or after printing. A varnish is typically added to a piece to enhance the look or to protect the piece from scuffing or scratching.

  • Vignette

    A design wherein the artwork fades into its background without a definite border.

  • Watermark

    A faint design made in some paper during manufacture that is visible when held against the light and typically identifies the maker.

  • Zip File

    Zipping a file compresses one or more files into a smaller archive. It takes up less hard drive space and less time to transfer across a network connection.

Powered by PrinterPresence