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Industry jargon

Print jargon – common printing terms explained

A – C | D – K L – S | T – Z

laminating
Thin plastic film used on the covers of printed literature to give protection. This can be gloss or matt
lithographic (litho) printing
See offset litho
make-ready
Work associated with the set-up of printing equipment before running a job
matt coating
Coating applied to printed matter which is quick drying and protects literature from ink smudging and finger marking and gives a matt finish. See also ‘coating’
matt varnish
Varnish applied to printed literature to protect against smudging and finger marking and to give a matt finish. See also ‘coating’
machine fold
Process of mechanically folding printed paper
machine varnish
General varnish applied to printed literature to protect or seal against smudging or finger marking
micrometer
Instrument for measuring the thickness of paper
origination
All the items needed to put together and print the job, for example artwork, photography, typesetting, etc.
offset litho(graphy)
Printing process by which the inked image to be printed is transferred (offset) first to a rubber layer before coming into contact with the paper which takes up the inked areas
on demand
Printing literature when it is needed instead of having it stored on the shelf. Digital printing facilitates the ‘on demand’ concept
overs
The extra printed products delivered to a customer over and above the net amount ordered
PANTONE® reference
International system of designating colours for printing reference
PMS
PANTONE® Matching System. See ‘PANTONE® Reference’
PDF
Portable Document Format – a special file type that combines, images, drawings, layouts and text into one file for easy delivery to or from the printer. This file is created in software called Adobe Distiller and opened in Acrobat Reader. PDFs provide a very useful tool for proofing purposes as what you see is what you get
perfect binding
Pages of a book that are glued together to give a square spine
perfecting
A printing press that prints on both sides of a sheet of paper in one operation
perforation
Running a dotted score into paper to allow the paper to be pulled apart
pre-flight
General term for software that tests files to make sure that fonts, image, colours and page size are correct
personalisation
Where data elements are unique to an individual print piece. Concept facilitated by digital printing
printing plate
Metal plate that has the inked images involved in the offset plate lithography printing process. As each colour in a printing job requires a separate plate, in order to keep costs down it is advisable not to have too many special colours
process colours
The colours that make up full colour printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and black
proof
A printed sample of work to be checked for errors in text, positioning or quality of colour reproduction. Please click here for details about the different types
ream
500 sheets of paper
register
Accurate positioning of images on a sheet relative to one another
resolution
Refers to the degree of detail of an image. It is usually measured in dots per inch (dpi) or lines per inch (lpi). A high resolution gives a high quality image and vice versa
reversed out
Type appearing white on a black or colour background that is either a solid or a tint
RGB
Three-colour split (red, green, blue)
RIP
Raster Image Processor – converts files into a format ready for printing
saddle-stitch
When the pages of a printed document are bound together using metal staples
scanner
Equipment that converts colour transparencies or hard copy colour artwork into images on a Mac
or PC
scans
Colour transparencies or colour artwork that have been converted to images on an MAC or PC
sealer
Alternative name for a coater
sealer coating
Coating applied to printed matter – quick drying and protects literature from ink smudging and finger marking and gives a neutral finish. See also ‘coating’
sealer varnish
Varnish applied to printed matter to protect against finger marking and to give a neutral finish. See also ‘coating’
self-cover
The paper used inside a booklet is the same as that used for the cover
set off
During the printing process, this is the unintentional transfer of wet ink to another sheet
Sheet-fed press
Printing presses that are fed by separate sheets of paper rather than paper on a roll. They are suitable for all types of commercial printing, particularly high quality work
show through
Degree to which printing is visible through paper
shrink wrapping
Method of packing printed products, etc., by surrounding them by plastic, then shrinking by heat
silk coating
Coating applied to printed matter which is quick drying and protects literature from ink smudging and finger marking and gives a silk finish. See also ‘coating’
silk varnish
Varnish applied to printed literature to protect against finger marking and smudging and to give a silk finish. See also ‘coating’
simplex
Printing on one side of a sheet of paper. Term usually applied to digital printing presses
solid colour
Even colour that is not shaded – areas on a page with solid colours are known as solids
special colour
Colour that cannot be made up of the four component colours (CMYK). They are listed in a PANTONE® colour swatch book. For example, if a corporate logo contains a special red and is included in a brochure with photographs and text; this is termed a five-colour job. (CMYK (pictures+text) + special red = 5 colours)
spread
Two or more adjoining pages that would appear in view on a sheet
spot colour
Same as special colour
stock
Paper or card to be printed on

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