Glossary of Printing Terms
A glossary of terms we frequently use for jobs we process.
When a sheet of paper is folded in alternating directions almost like steps.
A heavy, durable coating that can be applied to paper; much like a laminate.
Folding a sheet two or more times in the same direction.
A printed image that extends beyond the edge of the paper.
A strong letterpress impression of an uninked image on the front surface of a piece of paper. The image is recessed.
A strong letterpress impression of an uninked image on the back of a sheet of paper. The image is raised.
Negatives are combined with light sensitized paper and exposed to an arc light. The result is a positive proof of the image in a blue tone to indicate color separation, register and position.
Refers to a process in which a multi-colored or continuous tone artwork is divided by photographic filtration or electronic scanners into the four process colors for reproduction.
In a commercial print job, steel cutting rules are bent to the desired shape of the cut and the press then cuts out that image.
A medium that creates a velvety surface which scatters and diffuses light to reduce glare. Images have a softer look than those printed on paper without varnish or overprinted with gloss varnish. Also makes the colors in an image more subtle.
A method of impressing an image or text onto paper with custom dies; a ‘Blind Emboss’ is the image or text only–no ink or foil. ‘Foil Embossing’ combines foil with the embossing to create an extremely classy look.
A Foil is applied with a die to paper for many effects–hundreds of different foils are available. Foiling can be combined with embossing for very eye-catching effects.
Gloss and Dull Varnishes:
Both Gloss and Dull Varnishes are applied during a separate pass through the press, like ink, but are usually clear of coloring pigments. A Varnish provides protection from scuffing and scratches for pieces printed on coated stock with heavy ink coverage.
A Gloss Varnish creates a surface that appears smoother than the surface of the ink/paper combination that it overprints. Gloss varnished images appear sharper because the light reflected through the clear varnish film reaches the eye with little diffusion.
A Dull Varnish creates a velvety surface which scatters and diffuses light to reduce glare. Images have a softer look than those printed on paper without varnish or overprinted with gloss varnish. Also makes the colors in an image more subtle.
UV Coating and Aqueous Coating*: Thicker coatings with more gloss and durability; often seen on book and magazine covers.
A thin sheet of plastic applied and heat-set on either one side or both (“encapsulate”) sides of a printed piece. Provides strong protection against tearing, scratching. Available in gloss and dull finishes. Used for pieces that will require repeated handling or exposure to elements.
Saddle Stitching and Perfect Binding:
Booklets and magazines with fewer pages can be saddle-stitched (stapled at the spine). For thicker journals and books, perfect binding is a process we provide in-house which glues the inside edges of the stacked pages of the publication to a wrap-around cover, similar to paperback books or instruction manuals.
A toner-based ink is applied and baked so it expands and creates a tactile ‘raised’ surface–often used on business cards. Does not allow details to remain sharp–should not be used for photo reproduction.