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Industry jargon

Print jargon – common printing terms explained

A – C | D – K L – S | T – Z

A sizes
Most common paper sizes used for general printing, stationery and publications
Finished layout of typesetting, drawings and photographs, made up in a form that is ready for the printer to print from
Abbreviation for artwork
author’s corrections
Customer’s corrections or changes made at the proofing stage
B sizes
Less common paper sizes used mainly for larger jobs such as posters and wall charts
back up
To print on the reverse side of a printed sheet
Computer-generated grid of pixels or printed dots to represent type and images. The term ‘Bitmapping’ is often used when edges of a picture take on a blocky/jagged shape due to errors in image processing
Printing where the colour continues right up to the edge of the paper
In offset litho printing, a rubber surfaced fabric that is clamped around a cylinder on a litho press, to which the image is transferred from the plate and from which it is transferred to the paper
blind emboss
Process of raising letters or designs on card or tough paper onto which no printed image has been added
To impress or stamp a design upon a cover. The design can be blocked in colour inks, gold leaf or metal foil
While there is no internationally agreed rule, paper exceeding 170 gsm is usually referred to
as board.
Thickness of paper
C sizes
Paper sizes used for envelopes, designed to take A-sized paper
Case bound
Hardback book made with a stiff outer covers. Case bound books are usually covered with cloth, vinyl or leather
Camera-ready artwork
Finished artwork that is ready to be artwork photographed
Cyan, magenta, yellow and black (K). K is used for black to eliminate confusion with blue. Full-colour printed images are made up of these component colours
The part of a litho printing press that applies coatings to printed literature
Special water-based coating applied to printed matter to protect literature from ink smudging or finger marking or to enhance appearance. The main types are sealer, gloss, matt and silk. Coatings are commonly used on matt or silk-coated paper as these are more prone to smudging than gloss-coated paper. The main difference between a varnish and a coating is that coatings are faster drying and therefore jobs can be turned around quicker. They tend to be more scuff resistant than varnishes and there is also less risk of yellowing paper. However, oil-based varnishes are better if specific areas of a document need to be coated (spot varnish)
Arranging of printed sheets into the desired sequence
colour mark up
Specifications on a piece of artwork to a printer, showing the required colours for the item to be printed
colour separation
Process by which an image is separated into the four colours for print production
computer to plate (CTP)
Process of producing printers’ plates directly from the computer with no films involved
When the middle pages of a folded section extend slightly beyond the outside pages
crop marks
Printed lines on the edge of paper indicating where the paper should be cut to produce the correct page size


Checking the quality