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Printing ABCs Except For Z

Printing terms, key terms, print lingo, AJ Printing & Graphics, Wine Country Signs, abcs, printing materials

Knowing Key Printing Terms

When it comes to printing, there are many things that can make the process go more smoothly for both you as the customer and us as the printer. Knowing printing materials and lingo can help complete your project faster and with better quality. Knowing if you want a foil stamped product or an embossed finish can make all the difference. Before long you’ll be a pro. Here are the ABC’s of printing to get you started. Comment with any questions!





Below are just a few of the common terms we use every day from our Glossary of Printing Terms that you may not be familiar with:

A - Accordion Fold - In binding, a term used for two or more parallel folds that open like an accordion.

B - Bleed - An extra amount of printed image that extends beyond the trim edge of the sheet or page.

C - CMYK - (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) The subtractive process colors used in color printing. Black (K) is added to enhance color and contrast.

D - Dots Per Inch(dpi) A measure of the resolution of a screen image or printed page.

E - Embossed Finish - Paper with a raised or depressed surface resembling wood, cloth, leather, or some other textured pattern.

F - Foil Stamping - In this process a piece of colored foil is placed between a piece of paper and a die. The die is then heated and it is pressed against the foil and paper. Through the uses of heat and pressure the color layer from the foil is transferred onto the paper.

G - Gutter - The blank space between page columns or the inner or outer margin space from printing area to left and right page edges. More space is usually required in the binding fold area.

H - Hard Copy - The permanent visual record of the output of a computer or printer on a substrate. "Soft" copy refers to images displayed on screens.

I - Imposition - In image assembly, the positioning of pages on a signature so that after printing, folding, and cutting, all pages will appear in the proper sequence.

J - JDF - (Job Definition Format) A data exchange standard that will act as a universal electronic job ticket that contains control data from print buying through estimating, customer service, pre-press, press, finishing, and dispatch. JDF contains production information rather than content data.

K - Kiss Impression - In printing, a very light impression, just enough to produce an image on the paper.

L - Laser Die-Cut - From Sappi's Standard #5: Instead of a using a metal die to cut a substrate such as paper, this process uses a laser beam to precisely burn or vaporize the sheet to create highly detailed images that are too complex to do with traditional dies.

M - Mottle - The spotty or uneven appearance of printing, mostly in solid areas.

N - Non-Impact Printer - An electronic device such as a copier, laser, or ink-jet printer that creates images on a surface without contacting it.

O - Offset - In printing, the process of using an intermediate blanket cylinder to transfer an image from the image carrier to the substrate. Also, short for offset lithography.

P - PDF - (Portable Document File) Adobe's PDF is a universal electronic file format, modeled after the PostScript language and is device- and resolution-independent. Documents in the PDF format can be viewed, navigated, and printed from any computer to almost any printer regardless of the fonts or software programs used to create the original. Printing industry workflows are now primarily PDF-based.

Q - QR Code - From Sappi's Standard #5: A quick response code is a 2D barcode that may be decoded using a smart phone with a camera and Internet connectivity. Snapping a picture of the QR code will lead viewers to the poster's website, where they can access additional information and images.

R - RGB - (red, green, and blue) The primary additive colors used in display devices and scanners. Commonly used to refer to the color space, mixing system, or monitor in color computer graphics.

S - Saddle Stitch - In binding, to fasten a booklet by wiring it through the middle fold or spine of folded sheets. Also called saddle wire.

T - TIFF - (Tagged image file format) A file format for graphics -suited for representing scanned images and other large bitmaps. TIFF is a neutral format designed for compatibility with all applications. TIFF was created specifically for storing gray-scale images, and it is the standard format for scanned images such as photographs.

U - UV Coating - A protective coating usually applied in-line on press using a coating unit that dries virtually instantaneously when exposed to the correct level of ultraviolet light. Usually more expensive than aqueous coatings, but have higher gloss/satin/matte properties and allow for immediate use in bindery since there is no drying time needed.

V - Variable Data Printing - The buzzword used by the printing industry to describe the way digital presses handle new information for each page. Each page can contain different names, places, colors - anything you program into the database can be changed. Also known as personalized printing or 1:1 printing.

W - Wire O-Binding - A continuous double series of wire loops run through punched slots along the binding side of a booklet.

X - XML - (eXtensible Mark-up Language) A more powerful markup language than the previously popular HTML. XML allows designers and programmers to create tags that can do almost anything they want, hence the term "extensible." XML was created so that richly structured documents could be used over the Web.

Y - Yield - Number of final size pieces you can get from a parent size sheet.