The Print Mule Printing Jargon Buster!

Jargon Buster

We understand that the print industry is full of jargon and specific keywords you may not find anywhere else. Not sure what we’re on about? No worries! Just use our handy glossary to help out.

Adobe – This is a collection of software tools, which are usually used to design the piece that will be printed, and can also get it ready to go to the printer.

Alterations / Amendments – Authors corrections or additions made by the customer to the artwork at proof stage

Artwork – the file that is being or has been designed, to be printed. Usually, a file made up of text, images or illustrations.

Backup – a second copy of the file, just in case one gets lost.

Binding – The process of fastening sheets of paper or other material together, usually using wire, thread or glue.

Bleed – A safety blanket for printing! Bleed is when the printed area extends beyond the trim edge of a page or sheet and leaves a neat edge once trimmed.

Bold – A thicker version of a typeface

Calibration – Using a fixed measurement to ensure accurate performance in a machine or process.

CMYK  – An abbreviation for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Keyline (black), the 4 colours which can be combined together to produce the full colour spectrum in printing.

Collating – Arranging a series of printed sheets into a desired sequence.

Colour Control Bar – A coloured strip on the margin of a sheet which enables the printer to check the printing characteristics.

Compression – The reduction in the size of a digital file, so that unnecessary information is removed, and the overall size of the file is reduced.

Crop – To cut off parts of a picture or image, using a digital trimming tool.

Crop Marks – Marks at the edges of an illustration, image or photograph, to indicate the portion to be produced. Printed lines showing where to trim a printed sheet once its completed.

Die – Metal rule or imaged block used to cut or place an image on paper in the finishing process.

Die Cutting – Cutting images or shapes into or out of paper. For example, instead of cutting a square around the image, the cut follows the shape of the outline or contour of the image.

DPI – Dots Per Inch. This measurement indicates the quality or resolution of a file. The higher the number, the better the resolution / the more high quality the file is.

Emboss – Pressing an image onto paper/card so that it will raise on the other side.

EPS – An EPS file is a graphics file saved in the Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) file format. It may contain 2D vector graphics, bitmap images, and text. EPS files also include an embedded preview image in bitmap format.

Finishing – The term used to refer to all operations after printing. For example, a gloss or matt coating on a business card.

Font – a typeface, or the visual style of text.

Four Colour Process – Colour printing using CMYK. Read our blog post on the four colour process for more information.

GIF – Graphical Interchange Format. Usually, an animated image used on the internet.

Gloss – A shiny look that reflects light.

Grain – The direction in which the paper fibres sit.

Hairline – A very thin line or gap about the width of a hair

Inkjet – A non-impact printing process in which droplets of ink are projected onto paper or other material.

Insert – A piece of paper or card laid between the leaves of a book, which is not secured in.

JPEG – Another type of graphic file format, widely used on the internet.

Kerning – Adjusting the spaces between particular letters

Keylines – Lines that show the position of photographs or illustrations in artwork

Laminating – The application of transparent plastic film, usually with a high gloss or matt finish, to the surface of a printed matter to enhance its appearance and to increase its durability.

Leading – Space between lines of text

Lithographic printing – A method using flush printing and non-printing surface which is in contact with paper or a rubber blanket.

Matte – A coated product with a dull finish.

Pantone – A trademarked colour standard, data and reproduction system.

PDF – A Portable Document Format, which was created by Adobe, which is cross-platform independent. The file itself contains all the fonts, graphics and page layout information necessary for printing.

Perfect-binding – A style of threadless binding in which the leaves of a book are held together at the binding edge by glue or synthetic adhesive and a suitable lining.

Proof – A copy of the file to check over before printing

Resolution – The level of detail retained by a printed document increases, the higher the resolution.

RGB – Red, Green, Blue. These colours make up a full-colour image on a monitor, TV screen or other digital display.

Saddle-Stitch – A binding process in which a pamphlet or booklet is stapled through the middle fold of its sheets using saddle wire.

Score – To partially cut or crease into heavy paper.

Software – The programs that enable a computer to perform its tasks.

Spine – the binding edge of a book or magazine.

Spot Colour / Spot Varnish / Spot UV – Any area that is highlighted using a certain colour, varnish or UV enhancement.

Stock – The material to be printed on.

TIFF – Tagged Image File Format. Images are saved in this format for exchange between different applications.

Trim – The final size of one image after the last trim is made after unnecessary parts have been removed.

UV Coating – Liquid laminate bonded and cured with ultraviolet light

Varnish – A clear liquid applied to printed surfaces to enhance the presentation and add protection

Watermark – A distinctive mark on the paper that can help prevent copying, or prove that a document belongs to you. Can also be used to distinguish drafts or versions of prints.

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