Glossary of Terms

A list of the terms you need to know


Accordion fold – two or more parallel folds that open like an accordion
Aqueous coating – a water-based coating applied to protect printed piece – gloss or matte
Artwork – photographs, drawings, paintings, hand lettering to illustrate printed matter
Alteration – change in copy or specifications made after production has begun
Author’s alterations – corrections and/or changes made after submission of original copy


Banding – method of packaging printed pieces using paper, rubber or fiberglass bands
Bar code – a pattern of vertical bars and spaces representing characters that is readable with a scanner
Barrel fold – folding a sheet two or more times in same direction
Base color – a first color used as a background on which other colors are printed
Basic size – a standard, predetermined size for a particular type of paper
Basic weight – the weight in pounds of a predetermined number of sheets of paper having a specific size for a specific type of paper
Binding – various methods of securing sections together and/or fastening them to a cover, to form singles copies
Bleed – printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming
Blind embossing – a raised impression made without using ink of foil
Blueline – a proof made directly from the press negative onto photo-sensitive paper showing the printed piece exactly as it will appear
Bond paper – strong durable paper grade used of letterheads and forms
Brightness – characteristic of paper referring to how much light it reflects
Bristol – type of board paper used for post cards, business cards, and other heavy-use products


C – Roman numeral for 100
CF – coated front
CB – coated back
CFB – coated front and back
Caliper – thickness of paper, expressed in thousandths of an inch
Camera ready – the state in printing when the document is ready to be photographed to make plates for the press
Camera-ready copy – artwork or pasted up material that is ready for reproduction. Camera copy should be clean, free of glue or trash, flat, and printed in dark ink
C1S – paper stock coated on one side
C2S – paper stock coated on both sides
Carbonless – paper that is coated with chemicals to produce copies without carbon in-between the sheets. (also referred to as NCR paper)
Card Stock – a stiff rigid paper used for postcards, manual covers or table tents
Carload – usually 40,000 pounds of paper
Case bind – a type of binding used in making hard cover books using glue
Cast coated – coated paper with a surface similar to that of a glossy photograph
Chipboard – inexpensive, single-ply cardboard, usually brown or gray
Coated paper – paper with a layer of coating applied to one or both sides, such as gloss, dull and matte finish
Collate – a finishing term for gathering paper in a precise order
Color separations – the separation of color artwork or transparencies on to separate sheet for each color. The division of a multi-color original into the primary process colors of yellow, magenta, cyan, and black
Cotton fiber paper (rag content or cotton content)– paper that contains 25% or more cellulose fibers derived from lint cotton, cotton linters and cotton or line cloth cuttings
Copy – all furnished material or disc used in the production of a printed product
Copyright – an exclusive right that has been granted by law to a particular creative product. The right of copyright gives protection to the originator of material to prevent use without express permission or acknowledgement of the originator
Composition – the process of setting type and arranging it on the page
Cover stock – a heavy printing paper used to cover books
Crash printing – letterpress printing on carbon or carbonless forms so image prints simultaneously on all sheets in the set
Crash numbering – numbering paper by pressing an image on the first sheet which is transferred to all parts of a printed set
Crimping – puncture marks holding business forms together
Cut sheet – paper cut into standard sizes ready for use with a copier or press
Cutting die – sharp edged devise usually made of steel rule, to cut paper, cardboard, etc. on printing press
CWT – paper distributor abbreviation for 100 pounds


Density – a measure of the relative difference between a white area and a toned or black area. Or the ability of a material to absorb light
Die – a metal rule or imaged block used to cut or place an image on paper in the finishing process
Diecut – the use of a sharp, formed piece of metal to cut out specific shapes in a piece of paper
Drill – to bore holes in paper so sheets fit over posts of loose-leaf binders
Dry gum paper – label paper with glue that can be activated by water
Duetones – 2 colors combined to reproduce pictures with greater depth
Dull finish – characteristic of paper that reflects relatively little light


Embossing – a process performed after printing to stamp a raised or depressed image into the surface of paper using engraved metal embossing dies, extreme pressure and heat
Embossed paper – a paper surface textured in one of a variety of patterns by passing the paper through engraved steel rolls
Engraving – method of printing using a plate, with an image carved into it
Enamel paper – a coated sheet or the coating on a sheet
Estimate – a price provided to a customer, based on the specifications outlined on the estimate form; it is normally set prior to the entry of an order and prices may change if the order specifications are not the same as the estimate specifications


Finish – surface characteristic of paper
Finishing – the bindery process performed after the document has been copied or printed
Finish size – size of printed product after production is complete
Flyer – an inexpensively produced circular used for promotional distribution
Foil emboss – to foil stamp and emboss an image on paper with a die
Foil stamp – a letterpress process using foil and dies. Foil is transferred from its backing to the paper when stamped with a heated die
Format – size, shape and overall style of layout or printed piece
Four-color process – printing in full color using four color separations negatives and ink (yellow, magenta, cyan and black) which reproduce full-color photographs of art (color pictures)


GBC binding – plastic comb binding
Galley proof – a proof of text copy before it is formatted for the page
Galleys – the printing term for long metal trays used to hold type after it has been set but before the press run
Gather – to assemble or collect sections into the proper sequence for binding
Gloss – characteristic of paper, ink or varnish that reflects relatively large amounts of light
Glossy – photographic print made on glossy paper
Glue-on-fold – a binding method where a strip of glue is placed along the fold of a page or signature
Gothic – typefaces with no serifs and broad, even strokes
Graphic design – the use of graphic elements and text to communicate an idea or concept
Gusset – expandable portion of bag, file folder or envelope


Halftone – an illustration reproduced by breaking down the original tone into a pattern of dots of varying size. Light areas have small dots and darker areas or shadows have larger dots
Head-to-head – printing on both sides of a sheet where the top of each page is placed at the same end
Head-to-foot – printing on both sides of a sheet where the top of each page is placed at the opposite ends
Hard copy – a printed paper copy of output in readable form
Hot stamping – a letterpress process using foil and dies. Foil is transferred from its backing to the paper when stamped with a heated die


Imposition – the process of arranging the pages of copy so that when the sheets are printed and folded for binding the pages will be in the proper order
Impression – the image produced in a single operation on a printer, copier or press
Imprinting – the printing of additional information on an already printed piece
Inserts – extra printed pages inserted loosely into printed pieces
Index paper – light weight board paper for writing and easy erasure


Kraft paper – strong paper, usually brown
Kromekote – high-gloss, cast-coated paper


Laminate – a thin transparent plastic coating applied to paper or board to provide protection and give it a glossy finish
Layout – sketch or drawing of a design for a proposed printed piece showing position, size and color of copy
Ledger paper – strong, smooth bond paper used for keeping business records
Letterpress – method of printing from raised surfaces. A letter press is the kind of press used
Leaf – a sheet in a book. Two pages. The front and back together of a page is called a “leaf”
Light weight paper – book grade paper of basis weight 40# or less with high opacity for its weight
Line negative – high contrast negative usually made from line copy
Lithography – method of printing using a chemically-coated plate whose image areas attract ink and whose non-image areas repel ink


M – Roman numeral for 1,000
Make ready – all activities required to set up the press for a pressrun, including running test sheets of paper
Manilla paper – strong, buff-colored paper used to make envelopes and file folders
Matchprint – integral color proof
Magnetic ink – a magnetized ink that can be read by electronic machines – used in check printing
Marginal words – call outs for directions on various parts of a business form
Matte finish – dull finish paper
Matte ink – ink that appears dull when dry
Mechanical binding – a method of binding which secures pre-trimmed leaves or signatures by the insertion of wire or plastic through holes drilled or punched in the binding edge
Micrometer – instrument used to measure thickness of paper
Mike – to measure the thickness of a sheet of paper using a micrometer
Mock-up – a rough visual of a publication or design
Mylar – polyester film


Negative – characteristic of image on film or paper in which blacks in the original subject are white or clear and whites in the original are black or opaque. Also, piece of film on which negative image appears
Numbering – putting a sequential number on each copy


Offset – a method in which the plate or cylinder transfers an ink image to an offset or transfer roller, which then transfers the image to stock
Offset paper – uncoated book paper
Offset printing – method of lithographic printing that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket, then from the blanket to paper
Opaque – relates to the show-through of the printed image from the opposite side of the sheet or the sheet under it
Opacity – characteristic of paper that helps prevent printing on one side from showing on the other
Overlay – a transparent sheet used in the preparation of multi-color artwork showing the color breakdown and designer instructions
Over run – the number of pieces that were printed in excess of the quantity specified


PMS color – pantone matching system – an international system used to mix inks to standard colors used by printers
Pad – to bind by applying glue along one edge of a stack of sheets
Page count – total number of pages, including blanks and printed pages without numbers
Page proofs – a proof output to plain paper before the entire job is printed
Pagination – the numbering of pages in a book
Parchment – paper that simulates writing surfaces made from animal skins
Parallel fold – folds that are parallel to each other – a letter is parallel fold
Paste-up – the positioning of artwork and type to make camera ready copy
Pattern carbon – special carbon paper used in business forms that only transfers in certain areas
Perfect binding – a binding process whereby single sheets are stacked together, the binding edge is ground to create a rough surface and adhesive is applied. A cover is then wrapped around the pages
Perforating – punching small holes or slits in a sheet of paper or cardboard to facilitate tearing along a desired line
Plastic combs – a binding that allows the publication to lay flat when open. Often called GBC
Press numbering – method of numbering manufactured business forms or tickets
Prepress – the processes performed on a printing order prior to its going to the press to be printed. (examples: typesetting, layout, scanning, etc.)
Pressure-sensitive paper – paper material with self sticking adhesive covered by a backing sheet
Proof (blue-line) – a method of checking for errors prior to printing an order
Proof (galley) – typeset material before it has been arranged into final page
Proof (press) – actual press sheets to show image, tone values and colors as well as imposition of frame or press-plate


Rag bond – high quality paper, a percentage of which is made from cotton fibers
Ream – five hundred sheets of paper
Reverse – type or other image defined by printing the background rather than the image itself, allowing the underlying color of paper or previously printed ink to show in the shape of the image


Saddle stitch – the binding of sheets of paper to form a book which works by stapling in seam where sheets are folded
Score – to mechanically crease or press a channel into paper along a line so it will fold more easily
Self-cover – using same paper as the text for the cover
Self-mailer – printed piece designed to be mailed without an envelope
Shrink wrap – a tight fitting plastic wrap used to protect a publication from handling or storage problems
Side stitch – to bind by stapling through sheets along one edge
Signature – a section of a book made by folding a printed sheet so that the pages follow in correct order. (standard signatures are 8, 16 & 32)
Slip sheet – blank sheet placed between newly-made printed products to prevent setoff or scuffing during handling and shipping
Slit – to cut paper using a disk or wheel
Specifications – complete and precise descriptions of paper, ink, binding, quantity and other features of a printing job
Spine – the binding edge of a book
Spiral bind – a binding method using a continuous coil of wire extending from the top to the bottom of the spine
Stock – paper used for a printing job


Tag – board grade paper used for products such as tags and file folders
Text – the written or printed material which forms the main body of a publication
Text paper – lighter that cover stock but heavier than writing grade
Thermography – a finishing technique applied after printing that raises the ink and gives the effect of engraved printing
Trim – the cutting of the finished product to the correct size
Transparency – a color or black and white photographically produced image on transparent film
Turnaround time – amount of time needed to complete a job
Two-up – printing two up or three up means printing the same image twice or three times on the same sheet of paper in one impression
Transfer tape – a peel and stick tape used in business forms
Trim size – the final size of one printed image after the last trim is made


Uncoated paper – paper that is not clay coated
Underrun – production run of fewer copies that the amount specified
UV coating – liquid laminate bonded and cured with ultraviolet light


Varnishing – a finishing process whereby a transparent varnish is applied over the printed sheet to serve as protection , produce a glossy finish or color
Vellum finish – relatively rough finish on uncoated paper
Velox – a black and white print of a screened image, line art and/or copy


Watermark – distinctive design created in paper during manufacture
Web – a roll of printing paper
Wove paper – a paper having a uniform unlined surface with a smooth finish


Xerography – alternate term for photocopying

Information courtesy of the State of Lousiana Division of Administration.


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