Buzzword Buster

A glossary for professional printers

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AcrobatAdobe's Portable Document Format, usually shortened to PDF.Additive Colour SystemModel for colours produced by light emitted from a source, as opposed to the subtractive colour system from reflected light. The additive primary colours are red, green and blue (RGB), which can produce any other colour.Adhesive BindingType of thread-less binding in which the pages of a book are held together at the binding edge by glue - also referred to as perfect binding.Against the GrainAt right angles to the grain - direction of the paper being used, as compared to with the grain. Also called across the grain and cross grain.AirbrushTool that delivers a fine spray of ink or paint to retouch photos and create continuous-tone illustrations.AlterationAny change made by the customer after copy or artwork has been given to the printer. AM screeningAmplitude Modulation screening - traditional screening method that turns a continuous tone image into a series of different sized dots. In AM screening the dots are spaced in a uniform pattern. See Stochastic Screening.Aqueous CoatingWater-based coating to protect the printed image.ArtworkAll original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, for printing.A-sizesFinished printing trimmed sizes in the ISO international paper size range. A0 - 841 x 1189mm A1 - 594 x 841mm A2 - 420 x 594mm A3 - 297 x 420mm A4 - 210 x 297mm A5 - 148 x 210mm A6 - 105 x 148mm


B SizesISO international sizes intended primarily for posters and wall charts. B0 - 1000 x 1414mm B1 - 707 x 1000m B2 - 500 x 707mm B3 - 353 x 500mm B4 - 250 x 353mm B5 - 176 x 250mmBeta SiteA test site for printing hardware and software - usually a company that has a strong relationship with the manufacturer.BindTo join the pages of a document together with either wire, glue or other means. BinderyA department within a printing company responsible for creating finished, saleable products. BitThe basic unit of digital information used in computing.BitmapA grid of pixels or printed dots generated by computer to represent type and images.Bitmap ImageA graphic image file comprising a fixed number of dots.BleedPrinting that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming. BodyThe main text of work not including the headlines. Book BlockFolded signatures / book sections gathered, sewn and trimmed, but not yet covered. BrightnessPaper brightness is measured by a light metre reading of the percentage of light reflected back from a sheet of paper.Build a colourTo overlap two or more screen tints to create a new colour. Such an overlap is called a build, colour build, stacked screen build or tint build. Butt RegisterRegister where ink colours meet precisely without overlapping or allow space in between.ByteA unit of digital information used in computing that's equivalent to eight bits.


C1S and C2SCoated one side and coated two sides. CADComputer aided design. The production of drawings and plans for architecture and engineering systems using high-performance computers. Plans are often produced on a large-format printer.CalibrationThe process of checking and adjusting digital colour output in order to match industry standards.CalliperThickness of paper or other substrate expressed in microns - thousandths of a millimetre.ChromaThe degree of colour purity according to The Munsell System.CIP 4The Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress Organization (CIP4) is a not-for-profit association that develops the Job Definition Format (JDF), the data standard for electronic 'Job Bags'.CMYKCyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four process colours. ColdsetWeb press without a drying oven.CollateTo organise printed matter in a specific order so that when it's bound, for example, the pages are in the correct order.Colour BalanceRefers to amounts of process colours needed to simulate the colours of the original scene or photograph. Colour BlanksPress sheets printed with photos or illustrations, but without type. These are also called shells. Colour Control BarSmall blocks of colour on a proof sheet to help the machine minder measure density and dot gain. Also referred to as a colour bar. Colour CorrectTo adjust the relationship among the process colours (CMYK) to achieve desirable colours. Colour CurvesInstructions in computer software that allow users to change or correct colours. Colour FilterFilters used in making colour separations.Colour GamutThe entire range of colours that can be reproduced using a specific device, such as a digital press. Colour ManagementThe process of matching colours across a set of devices - scanner, monitor and digital printer.Colour Management SystemSoftware that controls colour across a number of devices e.g. so that the colour displayed on a monitor matches the output from the press. Colour MatchingSoftware within the colour management system that uses ICC device profiles to perform colour conversion calculations between devices.Colour ProofsA test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished. Produced on a proofing device.Commercial PrinterPrinter producing a wide range of products such as announcements, brochures, posters, booklets, stationery, business forms, books and magazines.CompressionReducing the size of computer files using special data encoding techniques. Some file formats have compression built-in, such as TIFF, JPEG and PDF.Contract ProofA coloured, hard copy representation of the printed image, made from the films, which will be used to make the final printing plates. When signed off by the client, a contract is formed.ContrastThe degree of tones in an image ranging from highlight to shadow. CopyfitTo calculate the space that a given amount of text requires in a specific typeface and point size. Can also mean to edit writing and adjust typography for the purpose of making text fit a layout.CoverThick paper that protects a publication and advertises its title. Parts of covers can be described as follows: Cover 1 = outside front; Cover 2 = inside front; Cover 3 = inside back, Cover 4=outside back. CreasingWhere an indent is made in paper to try and stop it cracking when folded.CreepPhenomenon of middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages. CRMAbbrieviation for customer relationship management. Processes used by companies to manage their relationships with customers, including the capture, storage and analysis of customer, vendor, partner, and internal process information.CromalinTrade name for DuPont colour proofs.Crop MarksLines on the page that show where the job needs to be cut to finished size. Cut SizesPaper sizes used with office machines and small presses. Cutting DieA cutting tool used to finish unusual sized print jobs.Cutting MachineA machine that cuts stacks of paper to desired sizes. The machine can also be used in scoring or creasing. CyanOne of the four process colours. Also known as process blue.


DAMDigital asset management - storing, retrieving and managing specific items of content (e.g. text, pictures and templates) within a workflow, for use and re-use across diverse media.Data CompressionTechnique of reducing the amount of storage required to hold a digital file to reduce the disk space the file requires and allow it to be processed or transmitted more quickly. DensitometerA device that measures the density of printed inks / toner. Densitometers are used to measure printed output and ensure quality, as well as to calibrate printing presses.DensityRegarding ink, the relative thickness of a layer of printed ink. Or, secondly, regarding colour, the relative ability of a colour to absorb light reflected from it or block light passing through it. (3) Regarding paper, the relative tightness or looseness of fibres. Density RangeDifference between the darkest and lightest areas of copy. Also called contrast ratio, copy range and tonal range. Desktop PublishingTechnique of using a personal computer to design images and pages, and assemble type and graphics, then using a laser printer or imagesetter to output the assembled pages onto paper, film or printing plate. DieDevice for cutting, scoring, stamping, embossing and debossing. Die CutTo cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard using a die. Digital AssetDigital media files e.g. images, graphics, audio, video, web designs, page layouts and text documents.Digital Colour ProofA colour proof produced from digital data, usually on a digital proofer, without the need for separation films.Digital PrinterPrinting device capable of creating hard copy output from digital data. Digital technologies include inkjet, electrostatic, thermal transfer and laser printing. Every impression made onto the paper can be different, which makes personalised printing possible.DitheringA technique of filling the gap between two pixels with another pixel having an average value of two to minimise the difference or add detail to smooth the result.DotAn element of halftones. Printed pictures are made of many dots, which you can see if you use a loupe.Dot GainPhenomenon of halftone dots printing larger on paper than they are on films or plates, reducing detail and lowering contrast. Also called dot growth, dot spread and press gain. DPIDots per inch - a measure of resolution. The higher the number, the sharper the image will appear.DTPAcronym for desktop publishing.DummyA mock up of the final product.DuplexWhen a document is imaged on both sides of the page, as opposed to a single-sided document.


EDG (Electronic Dot Generation)In digital imaging, a method of producing halftones electronically on scanners and prepress systems.Effective resolutionPrint resolution of a digital image after it has been enlarged or reduced. Enlarging reduces the image's effective resolution, while shrinking increases it.Electrostatic PrintingThe process uses a photoconductor that is charged, exposed by lasers, and imaged with dry powder or liquid toners. It is used extensively for on-demand printing. Colour electro photographic printing systems are used for short-run variable and on-demand printing.EmbossTo press an image into paper so it lies above the surface.EPSEncapsulated PostScript - a standard file format for importing and exporting PostScript language files.EstimatePrice quoted by the printer of how much a job is expected to cost.


FaceEdge of a bound publication opposite the spine. Also called foredge.FinishGeneral term for trimming, folding, binding and all other post press operations. The final stage in the printing process.Finished SizeSize of product once completed.FitRefers to ability of film to be registered during stripping and assembly. Good fit means that all images register to other film for the same job.Flat PlanDiagram of a publication showing how each section is arranged.Flat SizeSize of product after printing and trimming, but before folding.FlexographyMethod of printing on a web press using rubber or plastic plates with raised / relief images.FloodTo cover the entire sheet with toner, ink or varnish. FlopThe reverse side of an image.Flush CoverA cover that has been trimmed to the same size as the inside text pages.Fold MarksMarks indicating where the fold should be.FolderA bindery machine dedicated to folding printed materials.FolioPage number.Form (Forme)Each side of a signature. Also spelled forme.FormatSize, style, shape, layout or organisation of a layout or printed product.French FoldA printed sheet, printed one side only, folded with two right angle folds to form a four page uncut section.Front End SystemComputers and software for preparing pages of type and graphics.


Gigabyte (GB)Gigabyte - one billion bytes.Grain DirectionIn paper production, direction in which fibres lie, usually aligned with the paper machine.GrammageBasis weight of paper, usually expressed in grams per square meter (gsm).Graphic ArtsThe applied skills relating to designing and printing on paper and other substrates as used by graphic designers and print technicians.GravureA method of printing with etched metal cylinders or plates.Grey ScaleAn image that is not composed of colours, but of different shades of grey only. Also a strip of grey tones ranging from black to white. GutterIn typography, space between two columns of text. Or, in book layout, the blank space formed by the inner margins of two facing pages.


HalftoneTechnique that represents a continuous tone through the use of equally spaced dots of various sizes. The technique relies on an optical illusion, namely that the dots are blended into smooth tones by the human eye. Hard ProofA printed version of the image to be produced (in contrast to soft proof).HighlightsIn a photograph or halftone image, lightest area (in contrast to midtones and shadows).HSB or HSLHue, saturation and brightness (or luminance), three-dimensional representation of colours.HTMLHypertext mark-up language - the coding, or document format used on the internet. It is text-based and defines page layout, fonts and graphic elements and in addition provides links to other texts on the internet.Hybrid workflowSoftware that can output print-ready files to different devices e.g. digital and litho presses. This allows the printer to output a particular job on the correct device based on economies of scale.HypertextOn the internet, links to other documents. When selected, the hyperlink will lead the user to related information.


ICCThe International Colour Consortium is an organisation established in 1993 to create a universal colour management system that could be used across all operating systems and software packages.ICC ProfileA file that describes how a specific device (digital press, monitor etc.) reproduces colour.Image AreaOn printed material, the space that is covered by the image, irrespective of ink coverage.ImpositionProcess of arranging individual pages into sections so that the pages will appear in the correct sequence after printing, folding and binding.Ink-jet PrintingPrinting method, which sprays droplets in various sizes onto a wide range of materials.InsertsA separate item, which is placed in publication. It is loose rather than bound in.ISO Paper SizesInternational standard paper sizes. The 'A' series is the most common.


JDF (Job Definition Format)Job Definition Format - technical standard in the graphics arts industry, based on XML, developed by members of the CIP4 organisation.Job NumberWithin a printing company, a number given to a specific printing project. Used to track the assignment and for record keeping. Job TicketForm used by printers to denominate production schedules of a job and the materials needed. Can be called docket, production order and work order.JoggerMachine with a sloping platform, using vibration to even-up stacks of printed materials.JPEGWidely used computer image file developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group.


K or KBKilobyte - 1024 bytes.Key (pre-press)To relate loose pieces of copy to their positions on a layout or mechanical using a system of number or letters. Key (Print)The screw that controls ink flow from the ink fountain of a printing press Kiss Die CutTo die cut the top layer, but not the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper. Also called face cut. KnockoutA knockout is a portion of an image that has been removed. When two colours overlap, they don’t normally print on top of each other. The bottom colour is knocked out – not printed – in the area where the other colour overlaps.


LaminateCovering paper or other material with a thin transparent plastic sheet (coating) to protect it from wear and tear.LANLocal Area Network - communications network in a small area, such as an office, a building or even a complex of buildings.LandscapePaper format, in which width is greater than height (opposite: portrait).LaserIntense light beam used in digital-imaging devices.Laser bondA smooth bond paper that's particularly suited to laser printers.Laser printerPrinter producing images by directly scanning a laser beam onto a photosensitive drum to create a charged area, which attracts toner. The image is transferred to the paper and fused using heat.Laser-imprintable InkInk used in laser printers.Lay EdgeEdge of paper feeding into a press.LayoutArrangement of elements of content on a page.LEDLight emitting diodes - semiconductor diodes emitting a narrow-spectrum light.LetterpressMethod of printing from raised type.LithographyMethod of printing using plates. Some image areas of the plates are treated to attract ink and nonimage areas are treated to repel ink.LoupeMagnification device used to inspect copy, film, proofs, plate and printing. Also called glass and linen tester.LPILines per inch - resolution of a halftone screen.


Machine MinderPerson running the press.MagentaOne of the four process colours in printing.MakereadyPreparation of a press prior to production run. MarginSpace around the edge of the printed material.MbMegabyte - 1,024 kilobytes, or 1,048,576 bytes.MetadataInformation about a digital file, can be attached to or embedded within the file. Metadata can include how the file was created and when, by which machine and other information such as size, format, copyright restrictions, usage history, version, etc.MicrometerInstrument used to measure the thickness of different papers.MidtonesIn a photograph or illustration, tones that are approdximately half as dark as highlights and shadows.MISManagement Information System - software and procedures to help the printing company run efficiently. Such systems are used to analyse operational activities in the organisation. The term is commonly used to refer to the group of information management methods tied to the automation or support of human decision making.Mock-UpA layout of printed matter, possibly containing instructions or direction.MoiréUndesirable pattern occuring for various reasons on the printed material.


NestedSignatures assembled inside one another in the proper sequence for binding, as compared to gathered. Also called inset.NetworkGroup of computers that are connected to share information and resources.Neutral GrayGray with no hue or cast.Non-heatset WebWeb press without a drying oven, thus not able to print on coated paper. Also called cold-set web and open web.Non-impact PrintingPrinting using lasers, ions, ink-jets or heat to transfer images to paper.Novelty PrintingPrinting on products such as coasters, pencils, balloons, golf balls and ashtrays, known as advertising specialties or premiums.


OCROptical Character Recognition - an electronic means of scanning (reading) copy, and converting the scanned image to an electronic equivalent.Offset PrintingPrinting technique that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.Over runAdditional printed copies beyond order.OverprintTo print over a previously printed image.


PaginationThe number of pages in a document.PaletteThe collection of colours / shades available on a device.PantoneThe brand name of a colour matching system produced by Pantone that identifies colours by numbers and enables standard results across the industry.PDFPortable Document Format - cross-platform, self-contained document file format based on PostScript technology.PDLPage Description Language - a computer language designed to describe how images / text should be produced by output devices. PostScript is the most commonly used in printing.Perfect BindBook binding process whereby sections are ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue.Perfecting PressPress capable of printing both sides of the paper during a single pass.PhotoconductorIn digital imaging, special materials used in electrophotography that are light sensitive when charged.PicaA unit of measure in the printing industry. A pica is approximately 0.166 in. There are 12 points to a pica.PixelA dot made by a computer, scanner or other digital device.Planographic PrintingPrinting method with level plates whose inked areas separated from non-inked areas by chemical means - includes lithography.PostScriptA page description language developed by Adobe Systems.PreflightingThe checking of electronic files needed to produce a printing job: layout files, fonts, image files, proofs, page sizes, print drivers, crop marks, etc.Press CheckTo check makeready sheets from the press before starting the print run.Print on demandTo run off a small number, or even single copies, from a digital press when required.Process ColourThe colours used in four-colour process printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK)Production RunPress run intended to manufacture products.ProfileUsed to refer to a colour profile, especially of a specific piece of equipment (monitor, printer, scanner, etc.) that enables the user to correlate colour consistently on various devices.ProofA test sheet that shows how a printing job should look when finished.


Quarto1) Sheet folded twice, making pages one-fourth the size of the original sheet. A quarto makes an 8-page signature. 2) Book made from quarto sheets, traditionally measuring about 9’ x 12’.Quick PrintingPrinting using small sheetfed presses.Quire25 sheets.QuotationPrice offered by a printer to produce a specific job.


Ream500 sheets of paper.Relative Humidity (RH)The amount of water vapor present in the atmosphere expressed as a percentage of the maximum that could be present at the same temperature.Relief PrintingPrinting method whose plates have surfaces with two levels having inked areas higher than noninked areas. Relief printing includes block printing, flexography and letter press.ResolutionMeasure of image sharpness - usually expressed as dots per inch (dpi). The higher the value the sharper the image will appear.RGBRed, green, blue, the additive colour primaries.RIPRaster image processor - hardware and software that translates data from PostScript and other languages into dots and pixels.


Saddle StitchTo bind by stapling sheets together through where they fold at the spine.SchedulingPlanning module that lets the production department see what jobs are booked in and which machines are needed.Screen PrintingMethod of printing by using a squeegee to force ink through an assembly of mesh fabric and a stencil.Screen RulingNumber of rows or lines of dots per inch or centimetre in a screen for making a screen tint or halftone. Also called line count, ruling, screen frequency, screen size and screen value.Screen TintColour created by dots instead of solid ink coverage. Also benday, fill pattern, screen tone, tint and tone.Secondary ColoursColours produced by mixing pairs of the primary colours.ServerA file server provides file data interchange between compatible devices on a local area network.ShadeHue made darker by the addition of black, as compared to tint.ShadowsDarkest areas of a photograph or illustration, as compared to midtones and highlights.Sheetfed PressPress that prints sheets of paper, as compared to a web press.Show ThroughImaging on one side of a sheet that can be seen on the other side.Side StitchTo bind by stapling sheets along, on edge, as compared to saddle stitch. Also called cleat stitch and side wire.SignaturePrinted sheet folded at least once, possibly many times, to become part of a book, magazine or publication.Soft ProofTo view a proof from a monitor instead of a physical proof. Can be done from a remote location via the Internet.SolidArea of the sheet receiving 100 percent ink / toner coverage, as compared to a screen tint.SolutionA buzzword used widely in today's print industry. To Canon it means the right blend of hardware, software and business support services that deliver a performance that's greater then the sum of the constituent parts. The term can also refer to a liquid.SpectrophotometerA devise that measures the bandwidths of visible light. Can be used with software to create ICC profiles for monitors and digital presses.SpectrumThe complete range of colours in the rainbow, from short wavelengths (blue) to long wavelengths (red).SpineBack or binding edge of a publication.Spot Colour or VarnishOn ink or varnish applied to portions of a sheet, as compared to flood or painted sheet.Stochastic ScreeningA method to create halftoned images using a pseudo-random dot size. Such images don't have the regular dot patterns associated with traditional screening. Also known as Frequency Modulation (FM). StockPaper or other material to be printed.SubstrateAny surface or material on which printing is done.Subtractive ColourColour produced by light reflected from a surface, as compared to additive colour. The printing process uses subtractive colours.


Terabyte (TB)One trillion bytes.Thermal printingProduces a printed image by selectively heating coated thermochromic paper, or thermal paper, when the paper passes over the thermal print head. The coating turns black in the areas where it is heated, producing an image.TintScreening or adding white to a solid colour to lighten it.Total Area CoverageTotal dot percentages of the process colours in the final film. Also called density of tone, maximum density, shadow saturation, total dot density and total ink coverage.TrapTo create an overlap between abutting colours.Trim MarksMarks printed on the page indicating where it should be trimmed to final size.Trim SizeThe size of the printed material in its finished stage (e.g. A4).TypesettingArranging the text, graphics and images to achieve the best result in terms of clarity.


Undercolour RemovalTechnique of making colour separations such that the amount of cyan, magenta and yellow ink is reduced in midtone and shadow areas while the amount of black is increased. Abbreviated UCR.Unsharp MaskingTechnique of adjusting dot size to make a halftone or separation appear sharper (in better focus) than the original photo or the first proof. Also called edge enhancement and peaking.UpTerm to indicate multiple copies of one image printed in one impression on a single sheet. “Two up” or “three up” means printing the identical piece twice or three times on each sheet.UV CoatingLiquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.


Variable data printingPrinting in which elements such as text, graphics and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next using information from a database or external file. For example, a direct marketing leaflet could be personalised, each with the same basic layout, but printed with a different name and address on each leaflet. Variable data printing is ideal for direct marketing, customer relationship management and advertising and increases response rates.VarnishLiquid applied as a coating for protection and appearance. Can be applied to cover a selected image as a "spot varnish".VignetteDecorative design or illustration fade to white.Virgin PaperPaper made exclusively of pulp from trees or cotton, as compared to recycled paper.


WANWide area network - any intranet or network that covers an area larger than a single building. Usually refers to a number number of connected networks.WatermarkTranslucent logo in paper created during manufacturing by slight embossing from a "dandy roller".WebA roll of printing paper, as opposed to cut sheets.Web GainUnacceptable stretching of paper as it passes through the press.Web PressPress that prints from roll of paper.Web-to-PrintA web portal that allows the printer's clients to create, edit, order, and approve computer-based online templates, which are then sent to press. This process calls for a Portable Document Format (PDF) workflow environment with output provided by digital printing.Wet TrapTo print of varnish over wet-ink, as compared to dry trap.With the GrainParallel to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to against the grain.WorkflowIn addition to input and output information, the tasks, procedural steps, organisations, people and tools needed for each step in a business process.WWWWorld wide web - the network of hypertext servers (HTTP servers) that allow text, graphics, sound, and video files to be linked and displayed.WYSIWYGAcronym for "what you see is what you get". It means that what you see on the computer monitor is the same as what appears on the hard copy. Pronounced “wizzywig.”


XerographyElectrophotographic copying process that uses a charged photoconductor surface, electrostatic forces, and toner to create an image.XMLeXtensible 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.


YellowingA slow process that changes the colour of white paper as a result of exposure to heat, light, moisture and other elements.


Z-foldA product finished in a concertina manner tin the manner of a Z

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  • Buzzword Buster - Glossary for Professional Printing Terms