Author: keir


General & Magazine Print Terms

General Print Terms

Against the Grain: Folding at right angles to the grain direction of the paper being used, as opposed to with the grain. Also called across the grain and cross-grain. This can cause cracking on heavier papers unless the paper is scored or creased.

Back Up: Printing on the reverse side of a sheet already printed on one side. Back up position is critical and must be accurate to ensure consistent position throughout a folded product.

Bit: In computers, the basic unit of digital information. It is a contraction of BInary digiT (BIT).

Blanket: In offset printing, a rubber surfaced fabric that is clamped around a plate cylinder to transfer the image from the impression cylinder to the substrate.

Blind Embossing: The process of stamping an image into the paper to produce a depressed effect on the paper surface, without the use of inks.

Blind Blocked: In binding, to impress or stamp a design upon the cover. The design can be blocked in coloured inks, or metal foil, including special effects such as holographic.

Bond Paper: A grade of writing or printing paper, usually used for letterheads or business forms.

BPOP: Abbreviation for “Bulk packed onto pallets”.

Broadsheet: Any sheet in its basic size (not folded or cut).

Bulk: Thickness of a sheet of paper or board. Also used to indicate the relative thickness of a sheet in relation to its weight. Usually measured in microns (1,000th of a millimetre) or 1,000 of an inch.

Case: In bookbinding, the hard covers of a case bound book

CMYK:  Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (black), being the primary colours used as the basis for 4-colour process printing. Also known as 4 colour process.

Coated Stock: Material coated on one or both sides with a mixture china clay, latex and other loadings to fill up surface pits and improve the printing surface. The process can be accomplished either on-line on the papermaking machine (machine coated) or as a separate operation (off-machine coated).

Colour Proofing: This term describes a wide range of techniques which have been developed allowing the client to view the “proofed” result, prior to the actual print run.

Concertina Fold: Folding each panel of a leaflet in alternate directions, so that when opened out the finished product is folded in a zigzag fashion.

Continuous Tone: A photographic image with gradient tones from black to white.

Contrast: The tonal gradation between the highlights, middle tone and shadows in an original or reproduction.

Crease: An indented line pressed into the substrate to reduce resistance and allow folding without cracking or splitting.

Cromalin: A DuPont electrostatic colour proof.

Crop: To cut a piece of copy or artwork to the size indicated on an original by cropmarks.

Crossover: When an image runs across two pages, requiring the image to be split where it crosses the spine.

CTP: Acronym for Computer to Plate, the process by which digital data is converted via a RIP device to drive a plate setter, which generates the finished printing plate.

Die-Cutting: The process of using sharp steel blades known as rules to cut a shape into paper or board.

Die-stamping: A process of printing in which the resultant impression stands out in relief above the surface of the stamped material, either coloured (using inks or foil) or blind (no inks or foils).

Digital Colour Proofs:  A colour proof produced from digital data. Digital proofs may be Pre-RIP (before rendering pixels), or Post-RIP. Low resolution proofs are generally used to check content only and High resolution to check colour matching.

Dot: The individual element in both halftones and four colour process printing.

Dot Gain: In printing, a defect in which dots print larger than they should, causing darker tones and stronger colours.

Dots Per Inch: (dpi) A measure of resolution on the printed page.

Drawn-on Cover: A paper book cover, which is attached to the sewn book by gluing the spine.

Drop-Out: Fine halftone dots or fine lines which are eliminated from the high light areas of the plate during the plate making process.

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

Dummy: A sample of a proposed job made up with the actual materials and cut to the correct size to show bulk, style of binding etc. Also a complete layout of a job showing position of type matter and illustrations, margins etc.

Embossing: The process of impressing an image in relief into the paper to produce a raised effect on the paper surface, without the use of inks.

EPS: Encapsulated Post Script, a computer file format usually used to transfer post script information from one program to another.

Fit: Printers’ terminology for the accurate positioning of all of the elements of one colour with all of the elements of another colour on a printed sheet. Sheets  may “register” but not fit.

Flexography: A relief process in which printing is done from a rubber or plastic stereo (plate). Flexo presses can print on a wide variety of substrates including metal and plastic, but print quality is inferior to litho or gravure.

Folio: The page number.

Forme:  In die-cutting, the wooden board in which the cutting, creasing and perforating rules are mounted.

Ganging-up: Imposing different images on a sheet to save make readies. Different ratios of images can be used to create different quantities; for instance a sheet 8 images can be printed 4: 3: 1, so each 1,000 printed sheets would contain 4,000 of image one, 3,000 of image two and 1,000 of image three.

Gilding: In book printing, the application of gold leaf to the edges of a book.

Grain:  In papermaking, the direction in which most of the fibres run. Tear any piece of paper and it will have one direction where it tears in a straight line (the grain direction) and one where the tear is more ragged (across the grain). Wetting a strip paper will cause it to curl in the opposite direction to the grain.

Gravure: Printing process in which recesses on a printing cylinder are filled with ink and the surplus removed by a doctor blade. The paper contacts the cylinder and ‘lifts’ the ink from the recesses, creating a much heavier ink film than lithography. High quality results can be achieved on low-grade papers due to the heavy inking creating a high gloss surface. Generally used for long-run printing because of the high cost of the cylinders.
GSM: Abbreviation of grams per square metre. Denotes the substance of paper or board – the higher the gsm, the heavier the substrate.

Gutter: The blank space or inner margin from printing area to binding.

Hickeys: In offset lithography, spots or imperfection in the printing due to contamination on the press, such as paper particles, dried ink spots etc.

Impression: In printing, the pressure of the plate or blanket as it comes in contact with paper.

Imposition: Arrangement of pages in a sequence, which will read consecutively when the printed sheet is folded.

Kiss-Cut: Light cut into the peelable surface of a self adhesive sheet, leaving the backing sheet intact.

Laid: Finish on bond or text paper on which grids of parallel lines simulate the surface of handmade paper. Laid lines are close together and run against the grain; chain lines are farther apart and run with the grain.

Landscape: Orientation of the sheet or end-product where the horizontal dimension is greater than the vertical.

Limp Cover: A flexible book cover, as distinct from a cased-in board cover.

Lithographic printing:  Method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose non-image areas repel ink. Non-image areas may be coated with water to repel the oily ink or may have a surface, such as silicon, that repels ink. The printing and non printing surfaces are on the same plane on the plate and the substrate makes contact with the whole surface.

Loose Insert: Any item inserted into a printed product without being affixed in any way. Can be either placed (in a specific position in the product) or random (anywhere in the product).

Make-Ready: In printing, all work done to set up a press for printing, before impression count is activated and good copies are produced.

Moiré: Screen pattern caused by a clash of screen angles in litho reproduction.

Offset: In printing, the process of using an intermediate blanket cylinder to transfer an image from the impression cylinder to the substrate.

Outsert: A printed element which is usually stitched to the outside of a magazine cover.

Overprinting: Printing onto a sheet which has been previously printed. Typically used to add dealer addresses to generic brochures.

Pantone: The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a colour standard which defines a wide range of colour solids and the combination of process colours required to achieve the closest match to the solid Pantone colour.

Part Mechanical: A paper containing up to 50% mechanical pulp, with the remainder being made up of chemical pulp.

Perfecting Press:  A printing press that prints both sides of the sheet in one pass through the press.

Pixel: In electronic imaging, the basic unit of digital imaging.

Plate Cylinder: The cylinder of a press onto which the printing  plate is mounted.

Platesetter: An output device which produces a finished printing plate directly from Ripped data. Also known as a CTP device.

Portrait: Orientation of a sheet or end-product where the vertical dimension is greater than the horizontal.

PostScript: A page description language (PDL) developed by
Adobe, which defines the contents and layout of a page in electronic form. PostScript is also programming language which is interpreted by a PostScript RIP in output devices such as filmsetters or platesetters (CTP) in order to reproduce the original page.

Pre-Press: The stage of the print production process which takes place after design and before printing.

Primary Colours: Additive and subtractive primary colours can be mixed to form all other colours. The additive primary colours are red, green and blue (RGB) and can be added together to make all other colours, as is done when light is emitted from the screen of a television set or computer monitor. The subtractive primary colours (cyan, magenta and yellow) are those that, when mixed, subtract light from white to make all the other colours. This is what happens when pigments are mixed to create printing inks.

Process Printing:  Printing using the process colour set (CMYK).

Progressive Proofs:  Proofs which show the sequence of printing and the result after each additional colour has been applied.

Proof: A representation of the printed product which is checked prior to print production.

Ram Bundled: A method of packing printed products by strapping a bundle very tightly with end-boards to compress the product and keep it flat for subsequent machine insertion.

Ream: Five hundred sheets of paper.

Reel: Term used for continuous roll or web of printing paper.

Register: Adjustment of colour plates to obtain perfect super imposition of colours.

Register Marks: Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and plates used for positioning pages or images to enable accurate register on press.

RGB: Red, green, blue additive primary colours. RGB files must be converted to CMYK at the pre-press stage prior to printing 4 colour process.

RIP: Acronym for Raster Image Processor, which generates a bitmap to send to the printing device (filmsetter, platesetter or digital press). The input data is either a file written in a page description language such as PDF or another bitmap. In the latter case, the RIP applies either smoothing or interpolation algorithms to the input bitmap to generate the output bitmap.

Run-Around: In composition, type set to fit around a picture or other design element.

Scanner: An electronic device used to convert a continuous tone original into a series of halftone dots for printing.

Score: To impress or indent a mark with a string or rule in the paper, to make folding easier.

Scum: Traces of printing ink which temporarily adhere, during litho printing, to the non-image area of the plate due to its inability to repel ink.

Set Off:  Transfer of ink from one printed sheet to another.

Show through: The degree to which a printed image is visible through the paper due to the lack of opacity of the paper.

Sidelay: The datum point on the press, at 90 degrees to the grip edge, which controls the lateral position of the sheet. The same sidelay must then be used when trimming the sheet to ensure that the image position remains constant. Sidelay is the term used both for the edge of the printed sheet and the mechanical device on the press which determines the position.

Section: In printing and binding, a printed sheet after it has been folded.

Substrate: The piece of material printed (e.g. paper, board, plastic, tin).
Tint:  In lithography, the tint is achieved by creating dots to reduce the strength of the solid colour.

Tolerances: The specification of acceptable variations in a range of printing parameters to take account of the imperfections in each process.

Undercolour Removal:  Technique of making colour separations such that the amount of cyan, magenta and yellow ink is reduced in shadow areas while the amount of black is increased. Abbreviated UCR.

Up: In printing, the number-“Up” is the number of unique images on the printed sheet e.g. an A4 image fits 4- up on an SRA2 sheet

Vignette: A design or illustration in which the background fades gradually away to white.

Viscosity: The amount of tack and flow of a printing ink or varnish.

Web: The roll of paper used in web or rotary printing.

Web Press: A press which prints on a roll or web of paper.

With the Grain: Parallel to the grain direction of the fibres of the paper or board, as opposed to against the grain.

Woodfree: Paper with no mechanical wood pulp. Woodfree papers actually contain wood pulp which has been chemically treated to enhance the whiteness of the paper.

Magazine Print Terms

Magazines: A publication made up of printed and folded sections.  Part editorial for reader interest, part advertising to pay for the cost of production.

Pagination:  Magazines are made up of folded sections. How many pages?  16 pages are most cost effective, then 8 then 4. For A5 it’s 32 pages.

Saddle Stitch: Sections are gathered, inserted inside each other and stitched with Staples.

Loop Stitch: As Saddle Stitch but there is a loop in the stitch for placing in a binder.

Perfect  Bound: Sections are gathered, ground off at the bound (closed ) edge, Hot melt  glued at the spine and the Cover attached.

PUR Bound:  As Perfect Bound  but  a stronger Glue (Polyurethane React)  is used for increased life.

Wiro -O Binding:  A continuous double series of wire loops run through punched slots along the binding side of a booklet.

Barn Door Cover: Two sheets of paper are folded and trimmed to meet in the centre of a Magazine Cover. They will then open left and right from the middle.

6 Page Cover:  A normal 4 page cover plus extra 2 pages either folding from the front or back of the Magazine.

False Cover: 4 pages which wrap around in front of the original cover for Saddle stitched Magazines. For Perfect Bound magazines the original main cover becomes the outer false cover with 2 single pages bound in underneath at the front and back of the magazine to create the impression of a Main cover.

Text 6 Page Gatefold: A normal 4 page text section with 2 extra pages either folding from the left or right.

Text 8 Page Double Gatefold:  A normal 4 page text section with 4 extra pages. 2 pages folding from the left and 2 pages folding from the right.

UV Varnish: A liquid coating applied to a printed sheet for protection and enhancement, which is dried immediately by exposure to UV light.

Spot UV Varnish: As UV varnish but can be added to specified  areas rather than the whole page.

Lamination: A plastic film bonded by heat and pressure to a printed sheet. The laminate can be either gloss or matt to enhance the appearance of the print and provide moisture-resistant protection to the paper surface.

Spine: The thin area between the Front and Back Cover of a Perfect Bound and PUR Bound magazine.

Grind Off: The area which runs along the spine of each section of a perfect bound Magazine which is removed after being   gathered to allow the glue to penetrate every leaf. 3mm is normally ground off.

Trim Marks: 2 lines at right angles to each other, one in each corner to indicate where the page should be trimmed.

Bleed: If an image goes to the edge of the page it should be extended past the trim marks by 3mm. Failure to do this could leave a small gap at the edge when trimming to size.

Belly Bands: A band of paper which wraps around a magazine joining at the back cover, overlapping slightly and fixed  with tape.

Book Mark Belly Bands: A band of paper which wraps around a magazine and fixes with peelable glue dots to specific pages.

Tip On: An object fixed, usually by peelable  glue dots, to the Cover or a specific page.

Perfing: A series of indentations made vertically or horizontally on a page which allows a section of the page to be removed.

Shrink Wrap: A material made up of polymer plastic film. When heat is applied it shrinks tightly over whatever it is covering. The product and film pass through a heat tunnel on a Conveyer.

Bound In Inserts:  A single sheet bound into a perfect bound magazine. If it is smaller in height than the magazine it can be knocked to the Head which leaves a gap at bottom or knocked to the Foot which leaves a gap at the top.

Glue Dot: A double sided adhesive disk which allows a paper item to be fixed to a page and removed without damage.

Magnastrip: It is a method of ensuring that inserts do not get lost while also being a retainable item for the reader. A strip is glued to the spine of the insert using peelable glue. The insert can then be bound into perfect bound publications. It simply becomes another section of the magazine to be bound in between whichever sections the advertiser chooses and remains fixed in place until it is peeled from the magazine by the reader.

Four Colour Process:  Only 4 colours are used to create any colour of the rainbow. They are black, cyan, magenta and yellow. Images are created by a series of dots made up of percentages of the four colours and laid at different  angles. Black 45o, Cyan 105o, Magenta 75o, Yellow 90o.

Mono: Printing in Black only.

A Sizes:

A1= 594mm x 840mm

A2= 420mm x 594mm (Half A1)

A3= 297mm x 420mm (Half A2)

A4= 210mm x 297mm (Half A3)

A5= 148mm x210mm (Half A4)

A6= 105mm x 148mm (Half A5)


Print Basics – Part 2

The second part of our Print Basics article. It covers Resolutions, Bleed, Fonts and much more.


The Basics Of Print – Part 1

One of the most important assets you can have as a designer doing print work, whether you are new or old is an understanding of how to correctly set your files up for printing.


Popular Print Terms

We’ve put together a short list of popular print terms used on a regular basis by digital and lithographic printers. Knowing your print terms will help with communication between you and your print provider as well as showing them that know what you’re talking about when it comes to the industry. Hopefully, this short list will give you a taste of common terminology used in the print industry, so that the next time you’re consulting a print job you and your print consultant will be on the same page. To learn more about setting work up for print read our previous blog post.


– a term that refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming. The bleed is the part on the side of your document that gives the printer that small amount of space to move around paper and design inconsistencies.


– the final size of a product after its unnecessary parts have been cut off or removed.

Live Area

Live Area – is the area where your art and type should be safely tucked into so they are not trimmed or cut-off.


– Common file type for printing. The purpose of PDF/X is to facilitate graphics exchange, and it therefore has a series of printing related requirements, which do not apply to standard PDF files. For example, in PDF/X-1a all fonts need to be embedded and all images need to be CMYK or spot colours.


– (Portable Document Format) is a file format created by Adobe Systems in 1993 for document exchange. PDF is used for representing two-dimensional documents in a manner independent of the application software, hardware, and operating system


– (Tagged Image File Format) is a high-resolution lossless file format that is ideal for saving images for print.


– Dots per inch (DPI) is a measure of spatial printing or video dot density, in particular, the number of individual dots that can be placed within the span of one linear inch (2.54 cm). The DPI value tends to correlate with image resolution but is related only indirectly.


– Pixels per inch or pixel density is a measurement of the resolution of devices in various contexts; typically computer displays, image scanners or digital camera image sensors.

Image Resolution

– describes the detail an image holds. The term applies equally to digital images, film images, and other types of images. Higher resolution means more image detail.


– Encapsulated PostScript is a DSC-conforming PostScript document with additional restrictions intended to make EPS files usable as a graphics file format. In other words, EPS files are more-or-less self-contained, reasonably predictable PostScript documents that describe an image or drawing, that can be placed within another PostScript document.

Process Color

– referred to as process colour or four colour, is a subtractive colour model, used in colour printing, also used to describe the printing process itself. CMYK refers to the four inks used in most colour printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key black.


-The PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM is the definitive international reference for selecting, specifying, matching and controlling ink colours


7 Beginner Mistakes to Avoid When Designing for Print

Designing for print can be a minefield for beginners. There’s so many easy mistakes to make that can have a serious impact on the quality of your final prints. With print runs also being very expensive, these mistakes can prove very costly.


Designing for Print – Setting Up Crops and Bleed

A design destined for print requires setting up to certain specifications to ensure that the work is printed correctly by industrial lithographic or digital print firms. This often starts wit


The Ultimate Guide to Designing with Black

Whether you’re a graduate designer learning the tricks of the trade, a web designer delving into print or an accomplished graphics designer looking to broaden their knowledge, there’s always something new to be learnt


About Image Resolution

The higher resolution, the sharper the image will be. A resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch) is recommended for crisp, clear results. Lower resolution images appear fuzzy, jagged and blurry.


7 Tips for Effective Flyer Design

Effective flyer design will grab the eye, compel the recipient to read, and most importantly, give an effective call to action. These goals sound simple enough


15 printing terms every designer needs to know – Part 2

The second part of ‘When Mick mentions saddle stitching what does he mean?’. Contains lots of terminology useful for everyone in the Print Industry.


15 printing terms every designer needs to know – Part 1

The first part in our ‘When Mick mentions saddle stitching what does he mean?’ article. You’ll find some information on the terminology used in the Print Industry.



The bleed helps the printer accurately prepare the file for printing, so that the correct area is printed, the paper is cut to the proper size and so that the color is reproduced accurately.


Pantone Color

Pantone is known as the worldwide standard of color. The company has been around since 1963 and has a universal system for understanding and matching color.



Overprint is exactly what you would think from the name. It is the process of printing one thing over another. In the printing process, it happens specifically when inks are printed on top of each other.


Large Format

Large format refers to anything that has to be printed using a specialty printer, commonly larger than 16 by 20 inches. Large format printing is used for banners, posters and even billboards.



Dots per inch is a measure of printing quality. Many printers work by producing tiny dots per square inch to create an image, more dots equal greater accuracy and detail.

Stack of white papers isolated on white

Paper types

There are various types of printer paper available, but not all of them are created for the same purpose. With the right paper, colors can become brighter, black text can stand out more, and a document is able to have quite an impact on the individual reading it.


Converting colours in supplied artwork

How to avoid problems with spot colours cropping up in print documents.


Using & Converting Spot Colours in Illustrator

Sometimes a client will request you use a Pantone spot colour in their artwork. This can cause problems when setting up a print document in CMYK. You can select a Pantone swatch and convert it to a process CMYK swatch very easily. Simply double click the colour in the swatch menu and change the settings to CMYK & Process.

The next step is the important

Uncheck the Global tick box.

Until you do this, the swatch will still register as a spot colour when you put it through a pre-flight report.

* A way to notice you have pantones in a document, they will appear with a small triangle within the swatch.