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La Crosse, Holmen, Onalaska, Print, Copy, Wedding
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.

  • 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.

  • Acetate

    A transparent or translucent plastic sheet material of a variety of colors, used as a basis for artwork and overlays.

  • Aerate

    This refers to a manual process whereby an air stream is blown onto paper sheets to create a riffling effect that separates the sheets as they are fed to the printing press.

  • Alignment

    The condition of type and or art materials as they level up on a horizontal or vertical line.

  • Alphabet Length

    The measured length (in points) of the lowercase alphabet of a certain size and series of type.

  • Antique Finish

    Paper with a rough, sized surface used for book and cover stock.

  • Arms

    Those elements of letters that branch out from the stem of a letter, such as: "K" and "Y".

  • Art Work

    Any materials or images that are prepared for graphic reproduction.

  • Artwork

    All illustrated material, ornamentation, photos and charts etc., that is prepared for reproduction.

  • Back To Back

    Print applied to both sides of a sheet of paper.

  • Backbone

    That portion of the binding, which connects the front of the book with the back of the book; also called "back".

  • Background

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

  • Balance

    A term used to describe the aesthetic or harmony of elements, whether they are photos, art or copy, within a layout or design.

  • Balloon

    In an illustration, any line which encircles copy, or dialogue.

  • Banner

    The primary headline usually spanning the entire width of a page.

  • Basic Size

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

  • Basis Weight

    Basis or basic weight refers to the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that particular paper grade.

  • Binding

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

  • Blanket

    On offset presses a fabric-reinforced sheet of rubber to transfer the impression from the plate onto the paper.

  • Bleed

    Extra ink area that crosses trim line, used to allow for variations that occur when the reproduction is trimmed or die-cut.

  • Blind Emboss

    A design or bas relief impression that is made without using inks or metal foils.

  • Blow-up

    Any enlargement of photos, copies or line art.

  • Boldface

    Any type that has a heavier black stroke that makes it more conspicuous.

  • Bristol Board

    A board paper of various thickness; having a smooth finish and used for printing and drawing.

  • Brochure

    A pamphlet that is bound in booklet form.

  • Bulk

    A term given to paper to describe its thickness relative to its weight.

  • 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.

  • Caps & Lower Case

    Instructions in the typesetting process that indicate the use of a capital letter to start a sentence and the rest of the letters in lower case.

  • Caps & Small Caps

    Two sizes of capital letters made in one size of type.

  • Coated (Paper)

    Paper coated with clay, white pigments and a binder. Better for printing because there is less picking.

  • 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. (see Gather)

  • Color Transparency

    Transparent film containing a positive photographic color image.

  • Column Gutter

    Space between two or more columns of type on one page.

  • Condensed Type

    A narrow, elongated type face.

  • Contrast

    The degree of tonal separation or gradation in the range from black to white.

  • 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 papers used for the covers of books, pamphlets etc.

  • Creep

    When the rubber blanket on a cylinder moves forward due to contact with the plate or paper. Result of added thickness of folded sheets being behind one another in a folded signature. Outer edges of sheets creep away from back most fold as more folded sheets are inserted inside the middle.

  • 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 in reproduction with negative or plate trimmed (cropped) at the markings.

  • Cutter

    Machine for accurately cutting stacks of paper to desired dimensions...can also be used to crease. Also trims out final bound books' top size (soft cover).

  • Cutting Die

    Sharp edged device, usually made of steel, to cut paper, cardboard, etc., on a printing press.

  • Cyan

    A shade of blue used in the four-color process; it reflects blue and green and absorbs red.

  • Delete

    An instruction given to remove an element from a layout.

  • Density

    The lay of paper fibers relative to tightness or looseness which affects the bulk, the absorbency and the finish of the paper.

  • Density

    The degree of tone, weight of darkness or color within a photo or reproduction; measurable by the densitometer. Reference, densitometer.

  • Die

    Design, letters or shapes, cut into metal (mostly brass) for stamping book covers or embossing. An engraved stamp used for impressing an image or design.

  • Die Cutting

    A method of using sharp steel ruled stamps or rollers to cut various shapes i.e. labels, boxes, image shapes, either post press or in line. 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.

  • Digital Proof

    Color separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to color photographic paper creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed.

  • Dog Ear

    Occurs when you fold into a fold (such as a letter fold). At the side of one of the creases you get an indentation. It may look like a small inverted triangle.

  • Dot

    The smallest individual element of a halftone.

  • Dot Gain

    Darkening of halftone image due to ink absorption in paper causing halftone dots to enlarge. Terms to describe the occurrence whereby dots are printing larger than they should.

  • Drill

    The actual drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding.

  • Dull Finish

    Any matte finished paper.

  • Duotone

    Color reproduction from monochrome original. Keyplate usually printed in dark color for detail, second plate printed in light flat tints. A two-color halftone reproduction generated from a one-color photo.

  • Electronic Proof

    A process of generating a prepress proof in which paper is electronically exposed to the color separation negatives; the paper is passed through the electrically charged pigmented toners, which adhere electrostatically, resulting in the finished proof.

  • Embossed

    A method of paper finishing whereby a pattern is pressed into the paper when it is dry.

  • 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

    The form used by the printer to calculate the project for the print buyer. This form contains the basic parameters of the project including size, quantity, colors, bleeds, photos etc.

  • Estimator

    One who computes or approximates the cost of work to be done on which quotation may be based.

  • Fan Fold

    Paper folding that emulates an accordion or fan, the folds being alternating and parallel.

  • Finish

    The surface quality of paper.

  • Fold Marks

    Markings at top edges that show where folds should occur.

  • Folder

    Machine used to fold signatures down into sections.

  • Font

    The characters which make up a complete typeface and size.

  • Ghosting

    Image which appears as a lighter area on a subsequent print due to local blanket depressions from previous image areas on a letterpress rotary machine as well as on an offset press.

  • Goldenrod

    An orange colored paper with gridlines, used to assemble materials for exposure for platemaking.

  • Graduated Screen

    An area of image where halftone dots range continuously from one density to another.

  • Grain

    Direction of fibers in a sheet of paper governing paper properties such as increased size changes with relative humidity, across the grain, and better folding properties along the grain.

  • Gripper Edge

    The grippers of the printing press move the paper through the press by holding onto the leading edge of the sheet; this edge is the gripper edge.

  • 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.

  • Hairline register

    Printing registration that lies within the range of plus or minus one half row of dots. It is the thinnest of the standard printers' rules.

  • Halftone

    Tone graduated image composed of varying sized dots or lines, with equidistant centers.

  • Halftone Screen

    A sheet of film or glass containing ruled right-angled lines, used to translate the full tone of a photo to the halftone dot image required for printing.

  • Image Area

    That portion of the printing plate that carries the ink and prints on paper.

  • Image Setter

    High resolution, large format device for producing film from electronically generated page layouts.

  • Impression

    Product resulting from one cycle of printing machine. The pressure of the image carrier, whether it be the type, plate or blanket, when it contacts the paper.

  • 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.

  • Jogger

    Vibrating, sloping platform that evens up the edges of stacks of paper.

  • Kerning

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

  • Laid Finish

    A parallel lined paper that has a handmade look.

  • Layout

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

  • Linen

    A paper that emulates the look and texture of linen cloth.

  • Lithography

    The process of printing that utilizes flat inked surfaces to create the printed images.

  • Margin

    Imprinted space around edge of page.

  • Matte Finish

    A coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring. Reference, calendaring.

  • Natural

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

  • Negative

    Film that contains the same images as the original print, except that all colors and shades are reversed. Reference, positive.

  • Offset

    The most commonly used printing method, whereby the printed material does not receive the ink directly from the printing plate but from an intermediary cylinder called a blanket which receives the ink from the plate and transfers it to the paper.

  • Opaque

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

  • Over Run

    Surplus of copies printed.

  • Page

    One side of a leaf.

  • Parchment

    A hard finished paper that emulates animal skin; used for documents, such as awards, that require writing by hand.

  • Paste-up

    Preparation of positive materials into a layout for photographing to film negatives.

  • Perf Marks

    Markings usually dotted lines at edges showing where perforations should occur.

  • 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.

  • Photoengraving

    Making printing plates by exposure of line and halftone negatives on sensitized metal, converting the image into an acid resist, and etching the print to the relief required for letterpress printing.

  • Pica

    Standard of measurement, 1/6 inch. 1 pica = 12 points 72 points = 1 inch

  • Plastic Comb

    A method of binding books whereby holes are drilled on the side closest the spine, and a plastic grasping device is inserted to hold the pages together.

  • Positive

    Film that contains an image with the same tonal values as the original; opposite of a negative.

  • Ppi

    Pixels per inch.

  • Premium

    Any paper that is considered better than #1 by its manufacturer.

  • Press-Proof

    Actual press sheet to show image, tone values and colors as well as imposition of frame or press-plate.

  • Primary Colors

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

  • Process Inks

    Printing inks, usually in sets of four colors. The most frequent combination is yellow, magenta, cyan, and black, which are printed, one over another in that order, to obtain a colored print with the desired hues, whites, blacks, and grays.

  • Process Printing

    Printing from two or more half tones to produce intermediate colors and shades.

  • Proof

    Impression from composed type or blocks, taken for checking and correction, from a lithographic plate to check accuracy of layout, type matter, tone and color reproduction.

  • Ream

    500 sheets of paper.

  • Register

    The arrangement of two or more images in exact alignment with each other.

  • Register Marks

    Any crossmarks or other symbols used on layout to assure proper registration.

  • Saddle Stitching

    Stitching where the wire staples pass through the spine from the outside and are clinched in the center. Only used with folded sections, either single sections or two or more sections inset to form a single section.

  • Safety Paper

    A paper that shows sign of erasure so that it cannot be altered or tampered with easily.

  • Score

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

  • Sharpen

    To decrease the dot size of the halftone which in turn decreases the color strength.

  • Side Stitching

    Stitching where the wire staples pass through the pile of sections or leaves gathered upon each other and are clinched on the underside.

  • Smoothness

    That quality of paper defined by its levelness which allows for pressure consistency in printing, assuring uniformity of print.

  • 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.

  • Stabbing

    To bind a series of pages with wire staples such that staples enter from the front and back simultaneously, neither side being long enough to exit the opposite side.

  • Step And Repeat

    A process of generating multiple exposures by taking an image and stepping it according to a predetermined layout.

  • Stock

    A term for unprinted paper or other material to be printed.

  • Text

    A high quality printing paper.

  • Thermography

    A printing process whereby slow drying ink is applied to paper and while the ink is still wet, it is lightly dusted with a resinous powder. The paper then passes through a heat chamber where the powder melts and fuses with the ink to produce a raised surface.

  • Trapping

    The process of printing wet ink over printed ink which may be wet or dry.

  • Trim Marks

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

  • Vellum

    A finish of paper that is rough, bulky and has a degree of tooth.

  • Watermark

    A translucent logo that is embossed during the papermaking process while the paper slurry is on the dandy roll. Reference, dandy roll

  • Wire Stitching Or Stapling

    To fasten together sheets, signatures, or sections with wire staples. 3 methods... saddle stitching, side stitching, and stabbing.

  • Writing Paper

    Another name for bond paper.