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 Print Terminology Dictionary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


 

Binding - The process of fastening loose sheets of paper.
Bleed - An image or printed color that runs off the edge of the paper. Bleeding increases the amount of paper needed, which usually will increase the production costs. Bleeds are created by trimming the page to size after the printing is completed.
Blueline - Use Dylux Definition
Burn - Exposing photosensitive media to light, as in burning a plate in offset printing or making a dylux.

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Camera Ready - The point in the printing process when the document is ready to be photographed or scanned to make plates for the press. Elements of the document are in their final position, and the proof has been approved.
Choke (Choking) - When a publication is printed with several interacting spot colors, gaps or color shifts may appear between objects. Choking closes this gap by slightly overlapping a dark color over the boundary of a light color.
CMYK - Printers use CMYK - representing the colors cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks - when printing 4-color process work. These are called subtractive colors, as combining them all gives the color black. Subtracting one or more of these colors will yield another color. When combined in various percentages, these four inks will create an entire spectrum of colors, including those used in color photographs.
Coated Paper - Paper with a layer of coating applied to one or both sides, such as gloss, dull or  matte finishes. Dot gain is significantly less on coated papers providing sharper images and they are used frequently in 4 color process work as well as in black and white halftones.
Color Key - A printer's proof that consists of four sheets of colored acetate that represents the color separation process for a particular job.
Color Matching - A color sample book is used to match colors with standard inks used by most printers. The printer will then prepare separate printing plates for each color. The colors are chosen from those provided by a color matching system, such as Pantone. Use of a color matching system permits consistency of the color over time and among different jobs.
Color Separation - The separation of full-color artwork or transparencies into the four primary printing ink colors (CMYK).
Composite Image - A photograph or other image that is created using a combination of multiple images on a single sheet.
Copy - The text used in printed material.
Copyright - An exclusive right that has been granted by law to a particular creative product.
Copywriter - Someone who writes copy for advertisements or other promotional material
Cropping - To reduce in size, thereby removing undesirable elements

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Desktop Publishing - The use of a computer to create documents that can be printed. Specialized software is used to add copy and graphics to the document, which is then outputted to a printer or typesetting equipment.
Die-Cutting - The use of a sharp, formed piece of metal to cut out specific shapes in a piece of paper.
Digital - Data processed using the numbers 0 and 1 through on/off impulses.
Digital Camera - A type of camera that stores the photographed images electronically rather than on film. The images are then downloaded into a computer where they can be manipulated in a manner similar to scanned images using special software.
Digital Printing - New printing technology in which electronic files are used to create images on press. Typically used for on-demand printing and to personalize documents. Generally used for short runs.
Dot Gain - The spread of ink on paper, causing the dots which make up the image to print larger than they were on the film or plate. The images may become distorted, appearing darker with less clarity.
Dots per Inch (DPI) - A measure of computer screen and printer resolution that is referred to as the number of dots that a device can print or display per inch. The more dots per inch, the sharper the image.
Duotone - A two-color halftone of the same image created by using two screens, two plates, and two colors.
Dylux - A printer's proof made by exposing light sensitive paper to the film that will be used to produce printing plates. Also known as a Blueline.

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Emboss - The creation of a raised (embossed) image by pressing a shape into a sheet of paper with a metal or plastic die.
Emulsion - The chemically treated side of photographic film.
Engraved Printing - A printing process using recessed plates. Ink sits in the recessed wells of the plate, and when pressure is applied, raised letters and images appear on the front of the page.
EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) - A computer graphics file format developed by Adobe Systems that usually contains object-oriented files.

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File Transfer Protocol (FTP) - Computer software that permits the exchange of information between computers.
Foil Stamping - The application of foil to paper. May also be combined with embossing for added interest.
Four Color Process - A method of printing that uses dots of cyan, magenta, yellow and black to recreate the continuous tones and variety of colors in a color image.

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Graphic - An item to be printed that is not copy; includes photographs and illustrations
Graphic Design - The use of graphic elements and text to communicate an idea or concept.
Graphic Designer - The person who develops graphic designs.

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Halftone - The method by which photographs and other images are printed by using cells of dots to simulate the tones between light and dark. A printing press is not able to change the tone of ink, therefore dots of color are used to trick the eye into seeing a continuous tone image. To accomplish this, the photo is processed with a screen that breaks the image into tiny dots. The closer the lines of the screen, the smaller the dots and the more dots per inch (dpi), leading to a crisper image.

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Illustrator - Someone who develops original artwork for use in commercial applications.
Imagesetter - A high resolution output device for producing film used to create plates for a printing press.
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.

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JPEG - A computer graphics file format that is not typically used in printing due to low resolution.

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Leading - The space between lines of type, measured from the baseline of one line to the baseline of the next. The quantity is measured in points, such as 6 point type, 8 point, etc. Each point equals approximately 1/72th of an inch.
Lines Per Inch (LPI) - The number of lines or rows of dots there are per inch in a screen and therefore in a screen tint, halftone, or separation.
Lupe - A magnifying lens used by printers to examine the details of printed materials. Use of a lupe permits an individual to see the individual color halftone dots used in process color printing.

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Moiré - A blurry pattern created by printing several repetitive designs on top of each other. In 4-color process printing, this pattern is created when the halftone screen of each color is not properly aligned or a screen is applied to an already screened image.

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Offset Printing - An indirect printing process whereby ink is transferred to the paper by a blanket that carries an impression from the printing plate, rather than directly from the plate itself. This is the most common method of commercial printing at this time.
OCR (Optical Character Recognition) - Software that translates images of scanned text characters into characters that can be manipulated in a computer as text but not as images.

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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.
PDF - Stands for Portable Document Format. This is the next generation of files for the prepress workflow. PDF files are made by taking postscript files through Adobe Acrobat Distiller which embeds all fonts and graphics and can still be edited by a prepress department.
Photocopy - A reproduction process that uses a light sensitive printing element, toner, and heat to fuse the toner to the paper to produce the copy.
Photo Illustration - An image produced by the use of one or more photographs.
Pixel - Short for picture element. These are the dots that form the picture on a monitor. The smaller the pixel, the more detailed the picture.
Pixel Depth - The amount of data used to describe the colored dots on a computer monitor.
PMS (Pantone Matching System) - An ink color matching system created by Pantone.
Point - Equivalent to 1/72th of an inch, points are the units of measurement of type, such as 6 point, 10 point, etc.
Postscript - Postscript fonts have very smooth edges and are used in most printing applications. Writing Postscript is similar to sending files to an office printer, but the information is collected in an electronic file that can be read by prepress computers which RIP files prior to output. Postscript files can be converted into PDF format.
PrePress - The processes performed on a printing order prior to its going to the press to be printed. Examples are file preparation, file modification, preparing film, stripping, creating proofs and making plates. Most up to date prepress operations have or are converting to all digital processes and work with customer provided electronic files.
Printing Plate - A thin object (plate) made of either metal or paper which is light sensitive and causes an image to be transferred to paper while on a printing press. The image is burned onto the plate by the use of high intensity light. The surface of the plate is treated or configured so that only the printing image is receptive to the ink which transfers to the printed object.
Proof - A method of checking for errors prior to printing an order. A press proof is used by the printing press operator to ensure the correctness of the finished product during the production of the order.
Process Color - One of the four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) that is used in producing full-color images, such as color photographs.

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Raster Image Processor (RIP) - Hardware and software which translates data into a series of dots for output.
Registration - Putting two or more images together so that they are exactly aligned, and the resulting image is well defined.
Resolution - The number of picture elements (pixels) per unit of linear measurement (normally an inch) on a computer monitor, or the number of dots per inch (dpi) in printed form.
RGB - RGB (red, green, and blue) are called additive colors because added together they may create all colors. Typically, RGB is used for slide presentations, computer software and games, and anything that is viewed on a video monitor.

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Saddle Stitch - The binding of sheets of paper to form a book by use of staples or stitching through the spine.
Score - To press a channel into paper to facilitate folding.
Sheet-fed Press - A press that prints single sheets of paper, as opposed to a web press.
Spot Color - A single color ink or varnish applied to printed material. Primarily used when process colors are not appropriate. The effective use of spot color can add heightened interest to printed materials without incurring the cost of process colors.
Spread - When a publication is printed with several interacting spot colors, gaps or color shifts may appear between objects. A spread closes the gap by overlapping a light foreground object to a dark background.

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Thermography - A finishing technique applied after printing that raises the ink and gives the effect of engraved printing.
TIFF - A high-resolution graphics file that is commonly used in printing for photographs and illustrations.
Trapping - The deliberate overlap of adjacent colors, using chokes and spreads, to eliminate gaps between adjacent colors. Trapping is done through computer software and the overlap is minute, not normally visible to the naked eye.

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Varnish - A coating added on top of paper to serve as protection, or enhance appearance. Varnishes are very effective in adding emphasis or eye-appeal to printed material. Gloss and dull varnishes are available.

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Web Press - A high run, fast speed printing press that uses rolls of paper rather than individual sheets.

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