Glossary of Printing Terms

The Printing Industry is full of unique terms that mean something completely different outside of the print shop. We wanted to take some of the mystery out of the terms that we use every day to help empower our clients. If you can't find what you're looking for below, reach out to us or submit a term you'd like to for us to add.

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  • Ammonia

    Ammonia is a chemical used in the printing industry to clean off aqueous coating from the printing blanket.
  • Artwork

    Artwork in Printing refers to the original digital files, frequently PDF files, including text and photographs that will be used for printing.
  • Author's Alterations (AA's)

    Client requested changes made to artwork after it was submitted for proofs, which typically result in an additional fee to the client.
  • Backlit Substrate

    Material that when printed and lighting is placed behind, the print is translucent enough to allow light to pass through, enhancing the depth of the image.
  • Backup

    Backup is when the second side of the substrate is printed. Different ways to Backup include work and turn/work and tumble/sheet wise.
  • Black in CMYK

    One of the colors that make up 4-color process or CMYK, Black is the darkest of the inks.
  • Bleed

    Bleed is the area printed beyond the intended crop line to allow printing to the edge of the finished piece. Bleed aides cropping in that it accommodates production discrepencies such as minor shifts during the production process.
  • Blind Shipment

    When we are the shipper sending out a package on your behalf, you have the option to request a “blind shipment” which allows the package to appear as if its coming from you or another party. It will be void of any SunDance logos, addresses or any identifying material.
  • C1S & C2S

    These abbreviations are used to indicate whether a paper stock is coated on one (C1S) or both (C2S) sides prior to additional finishing processes being applied.
  • Caliper

    Caliper is the measurement of the thickness of paper measured in points, or thousands of an inch, measured by using a Micrometer on different parts of the paper at various times throughout productions.
  • CASS Certification

    CASS certification from USPS, or Coding Accuracy Support System is used to evaluate the quality of address-matching software and improve accuracy of ZIP+4 codes, carrier routes, and standard five-digit coding. CASS adds missing USPS information on each address such as correcting ZIP codes, cities names, and states to ensure your list is deliverable.
  • Circa Disk Binding

    Circa Disk Binding is a binding technique along the edge of a catalog using circular disks from half an inch to two inches in diameter with a raised edge holding the paper, providing a unique high quality look and ease of removing and adding pages.
  • CMYK

    CMYK is the abbreviation for Four-Color Process Printing, a printing process that uses four different colors of inks: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK). These colors combine in various amounts to create every other color in the spectrum.
  • Coating

    Coating is a finishing process in which a layer is added on top of a printed piece to provide protection. It's sometimes used during back up of print to eliminate drying time.
  • Color

    Color is the result of light penetrating objects (filters) and reflecting only some of the wavelengths back, which are then perceived by the cone cells in the human eye.
  • Color Contract Proof

    A Color Contact Proof is a printed proof of the art file displaying an accurate representation of color which is used to match the piece when it runs on the press. While only accurate with CMYK built files, they are not accurate for PMS colors unless a CMYK conversion has been agreed upon.
  • Cover stock

    Cover stock is heavier and thicker than regular printing paper and is used for book covers and folder.
  • Crop Marks

    Used in finishing, crop marks are lines printed around printed pieces that are used as guides indicating where the final cut lines are within the bleed to produce the finished size.
  • Cyan in CMYK

    One of the colors that make up 4-color process or CMYK, Cyan is a shade of blue that resembles the sky.
  • Deboss

    Deboss is used to press an image from the front so that a depressed image appears on the front.
  • Die Lines

    Die Lines are marks indicating where an unusual cutting path should line up.
  • Digital Reader Proof

    A Digital Reader Proof is a fully composed proof used to verify content and binding methods prior to production.
  • DPI

    DPI stands for "dots per inch" which is a measurement for the resolution/quality of an image in printing. The greater number of dots, the greater the resolution. While images for the internet average 72 dpi, the standard for printing purposes is 300dpi or more.
  • Dummy

    Usually a dylux print, a Dummy is a rough layout of a printed piece showing position and finished size.
  • Duplex Paper

    Duplex Paper is paper that has two different finishes or colors on either side.
  • Emboss

    Embossing impresses an image from the back of a piece so that a raised image appears on the front side.
  • Estimator

    In printing, and Estimator takes pricing, labor, overhead, historical numbers and puts together quotes for clients on jobs.
  • Finished Size

    The Finished Size is the final size of the product once all finishing processes are completed including cutting and folding. For instance, a flat 8.5x11 sheet of paper that is being folded in half horizontally will result in a finished size of 5.5x8.5.
  • Flat Size

    The Flat Size refers to the size of the piece that is printed which includes the bleed/crop areas prior to cutting.
  • Foil Die

    A Foil Die is a sculpted die used for hot foil stamping. Most often manufactured using state-of-the-art CNC machines using vector art which is permanently engraved into a sheet of brass or other thick metal. Die’s can be simple or complex in nature depending on the pattern. Die’s are often produced with duplicate patterns on the same sheet (such as a company’s logo) so that the same pattern can be stamped on various print pieces at one time, increasing efficiency and registration.
  • Foil Sleeking

    Sleeking is a foil application process for digital substrate applications. The sheet is printed digitally with black ink on the HP Indigo to identify the areas in which the foil will be applied. A foil roll is then loaded onto the laminator, and the foil roll is heated/adhered to each sheet. When the sheet makes contact with the foil roll, it sticks ONLY to the inked black areas which were digitally printed on the Indigo. The unique quality of the HP Indigo liquid inks allows the foil to stick. The HP Indigo also allows for variable data printing, which means sleeking can be applied to variable areas, creating a unique foil effect that is different on every finished print piece.
  • Foil Stamping

    Foil Stamping is a process where hot foil is stamped onto the surface of printed material, creating a foil finish and uniquely imprinted texture. A foil die is created based on the dieline art file. The foil die is set-up on the foil press, heated up and pressed between a roll of foil and the printed piece to imprint only at the desired location.
  • FPO

    The print terms “For position only” or FPO is used to show placement of images that do not print. Example: die cut, emboss, deboss, spot UV in the proofing process.
  • Fugitive Glue

    An adhesive formulated to firmly attach two materials together while remaining pliable in order to facilitate separating the two items at a later time without damage to the materials. This glue remains sticky and has become commonly known as “booger glue.”
  • Full-Color Printing

    Full-color printing or 4-color process is the full color spectrum offset printing method using Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black plates, otherwise known as CMYK.
  • Ganging

    Gang Runs or Ganging is when 2 or more printing projects are run together on the same sheet to print at the same time.
  • Gatefold & Double Gatefold

    A Gatefold Brochure is divided into four panels that fold onto each other size. The left side panel and the right side panel fold in toward the center of the sheet creating a large center panel twice as wide as the two end panels, known as a gatefold. If folded over again in the middle, this is known as a Double Gatefold.
  • Geo-Fencing

    Geo-Fencing allows marketers to communicate their message to people in specific locations by targeting phones and other IP devices in a specific “fenced” area.
  • Geo-Framing

    Geo-Framing allows marketers to go back in time and capture device IDs at an event that happened in the past and map those device id’s back to their business or homes so that they can display relevant ads in real time.
  • Geo-Targeting

    Geo-Targeting allows marketers to go further than Geo-Framing and target only specific people in that area who meet certain criteria.
  • Gigabyte

    Gigabyte is a measurement of digital storage. Over a billion bytes.
  • Grippers

    Grippers are metal fingers that clamp onto paper to help guide it through the press.
  • Hard Proof

    A Hard Proof is a proof on paper for clients and printers to agree upon and sign off before production.
  • Head Band

    Headbands are decorative fabric end piece applied to the top and bottom of a book block (text block) to conceal the binding edge between the cover and text of a hard cover book.
  • Hickeys

    In printing, Hickeys are imperfections due to dirt, ink issues, or flecks of paper on the plate or rollers.
  • Ink

    Printing ink are pigments used in the printing process to transfer the image to paper.
  • Keder Sewn Around Edge (SEG)

    Keder Sewn Around Edge (or SEG) is a system that allows a flexible banner to be applied to a velcro edge, applying the sign tightly to a frame. This system allow for easy installation of tradeshow booths with double sided or backlit signs.
  • Kilobyte

    Kilobyte is a measurement of digital storage. 1024 bytes.
  • Large Format

    Refers to any printed piece larger than that which can be printed on a standard printer or uses specialty material to print on such as for banners, poster, signs, and billboards.
  • Loop

    A Loop is a small hand held magnifying glass similar to what a Jeweler uses to inspect diamonds. Loops are used to check the quality and to line up registration of the printed image.
  • Loop Saddle Stitching

    Loop Saddle Stitching have an open loop on the staples outside of the spine on a booklet which allows them to be installed and replaced easily in other containers such as 3-Ring Binders.
  • Magenta in CMYK

    One of the colors that make up 4-color process or CMYK, Magenta is a pinkish shade of red.
  • Mail.dat

    Mail.dat files are generated by postal approved software to transfer information regarding presorted mail into the postal one database for electronic processing of mail.
  • Makeready

    A Makeready is created in the process of preparing the press to print a job. Makereadies are compared to proofs prior to starting.
  • Matte

    Matte is a dull finish with no gloss.
  • Megabyte

    Megabyte is a measurement of digital storage. One million bytes.
  • Montage

    Montages are where several photographs are combined to create one image.
  • NCOA

    The National Change of Address, now called Postal Pro, consists of a database that hosts new addresses of individuals, households and companies that have moved in the last 48 months and who filled out a change of address form.
  • Notch Binding

    Notch Binding is a method in binding books where notches are cut out of each signature for adhesive along the spine.
  • Orphan

    is the term in typography used to describe a word or short line left by itself at the beginning of a paragraph. It’s best to avoid orphans in page layout. For example, the word orphan at the beginning of this paragraph is and orphan.

  • Overhang Cover

    An Overhang Cover is a book cover larger than the pages (text).
  • Page count

    The page count is the total number of pages in a magazine or book.
  • Pagination

    The number of each individual page in a multi-page document is called the pagination.
  • Pantone - PMS

    Pantone Color Matching System is a system used to match printing ink colors.
  • Perfecting

    Perfecting is the process of printing both sides of a sheet of paper running thru a printing press in only one pass, or one time through the machine.
  • Pixel

    Pixels are units of measurement used in digital screen resolutions.
  • PMS Color

    Pantone Color Matching System standard ink mix values used to achieve specific colors for offset printing.
  • PMS Swatch Book

    The Pantone Color Matching System booklets are a common tool used by all types of printers and designers as a common guide to select a certain colors for printing colors including spot colors, Fluorescents, Pastels, Metallics and a CMYK match system to match Pantone spot colors.
  • Point

    Points are units of measurement for type sizes.
  • PPI

    Pixels per inch, or PPI, is a measurement of screen resolution.
  • PreFlight

    PreFlighting is a process of evaluating if a print job is ready to print, using software to check color, crop marks, fonts, etc. before scheduling a job.
  • Printing Plate

    A PIP (Printing imaging plate) is used to transfer an image onto the substrate in the printing press.
  • PUR Perfect Binding

    A type of perfect binding, PUR uses highly durable Polyurethane glue which is applied to the pages and cover of a book, as well as glued at the spine. The remaining 3 sides of the Sheet are trimmed which create a clean and crisp finish to the book. PUR glue is durable enough to keep the spine from cracking, so even with extended pulling/wear-and-tear, the pages remain securely adhered to the spine. PUR Perfect Binding is great for larger page counts and books that need long-term durability such as novels, brand books, or catalogs.
  • PVC Bending

    PVC Bending is a process that cuts a channel on one side of a flat piece of PVC. The cut is then heated and the pvc piece bent to a 90-degree corner allowing the flat piece to stand on its own.
  • Quality

    Qualtiy is a standard or objective, obtained and sustained through competition and comparison.
  • Quote (Quotation)

    A price estimate or quote determined for a specific printed product or job.
  • Raised “3D” UV

    Raised UV layering adds 3-dimensional form to flat print designs. Highlighting specific areas by using Raised UV generates a visually stunning effect while appealing to touch through the built up tactile textures. Sensory print designs such as a silky smooth raised layers over a water droplet, or bumpy scales of various heights on a lizard’s skin are made possible with this emerging UV technique.
  • Raster Image Processor - RIP

    RIP or Raster Image Processor is a process creates a rasterized version of all the files prior to printing, creating plates, etc.
  • Ream

    A standard ream of paper has 500 sheets of paper.
  • Recto

    Recto is the right page of a book. Verso is the left page.
  • RGB

    RGB or Red, Green, Blue, are the primary colors used in display devices such as TV’s and computer screens.
  • Rule Out Sheet

    Rule Out Sheets are a registration quality press check sheet, used primarily when printing a publication. The press sheet is printed on 1 side first then when making ready the second side the press operator will place a press sheet on a Light Table so they can see through the sheet to make sure the pages are lining up from 1 side to the other. The operator will use a straight Edge ruler to and mark the sheet from crop mark to crop mark in order to get a perfect alignment with the opposite side of the sheet.
  • Scaling

    Scaling has to deal with the enlargement or reduction of an image or print size.
  • Score

    Score marks are made on printed pieces for easy folding, tearing, or bending.
  • Scum

    Scum is a term for rogue ink marks on non-image areas of printed pieces.
  • Self Cover

    A Self Cover, typically a booklet or book, has the same stock throughout, and consequently doesn’t use a separate stock for the cover.
  • Soft Touch Laminate

    An ultra-soft matte laminate that can be applied to many types of coated or uncoated paper. The laminate protects ink, and keeps the integrity of the color beneath it, and is commonly used on book covers, brochures and invites. Soft laminates are often preferred to soft Aqueous Coating because of their longevity. Various finishing techniques can be applied on top of the laminate such as Flat or 3D Spot UV, or Foil Stamping.
  • Source Files

    The files used to create the artwork, may include image files such as jpg/png/tiff as well as those used to lay out the artwork such as Adobe Illustrator/Indesign with embedded fonts.
  • Spine

    The spine is the back edge of a book where it is bound.
  • Spot color

    Spot colors are usually pre-mixed inks in specific PMS (Pantone Matching System) colors.
  • Staggered Cut Inserts

    Staggered Cut Inserts are created by cutting the top or sides of Presentation Folder Pocket Inserts in staggered sizes to allow 1 side of each insert to be seen when collated into sets.
  • Step and Repeat

    Repeating a logo or image across the full surface area of the product chosen, typically used in reference to banners or displays. Also a print procedure for placing the same image on plates in multiple places.
  • Stock

    Stock can refer to available or unused paper for printing.
  • Substrate

    Substrate describes the type of material to be printed on such as paper, PVC, vinyl, cloth, glass, wood or any other surface on which printing is done.
  • Tack

    Tack is the adhesive or sticky quality of inks.
  • Terabyte

    Terabyte is a measurement of digital storage. One Terabyte is one trillion bytes.
  • Text Paper

    Text Papers are lightweight printing paper such as those used for newspapers.
  • TIFF

    Tagged Image File Format, a file format for storing images, usually high resolution.
  • Turned Edge

    A product created by wrapping a cloth or paper material around a heavy board stock in order to yield an attractive and durable finished piece. This process is commonly used in making book covers, binders and check presenters as well as high-end packaging.
  • Uncoated

    Uncoated papers have no gloss or matte coatings and feel the most natural.
  • Variable Printing

    Variable Imaging refers to the ability to print different content from one record to the next within one production print run. The process is achieved by using a digital press driven by a database and a library of multiple graphic images that are uniquely key coded to each other.
  • Varnish

    Varnish is a clear, shiny ink used to add gloss to printed piece.
  • Verso

    Verso is the left page of a book. Recto is the right page.
  • Wash Up

    Wash Up refers to the process of cleaning rollers and the ink fountain of a printing press.
  • Wide Format Printing

    Wide Format is a term used for large flexible Large Format printing used for banners, wall wraps, wallpapers, fabrics, canvas and films.
  • Widow

    In typography, a widow is a word or short line left by itself at the end of a paragraph. It’s best to avoid widows in page layout. For example, this sentence is part of a paragraph that will leave the last word a

  • Yellow in CMYK

    One of the colors that make up 4-color process or CMYK, Yellow is the lightest of the inks.
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SunDance is located in south Orlando, near the interesections of The Beachline (SR528), Orange Blossom Trail (US17-92), and Florida's Turnpike (SR91). Just minutes from The Orange County Convention Center, International Drive, the attractions and Downtown Orlando, we service most of the Central Florida Area.

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