Glossary - Printing Terms

Below are some definitions you may need when filling out a printing services order form or developing your printing specifications. Always feel free to call Printing Services customer service at 910-962-3289 if you are unsure how to describe the elements of your job.

accordion fold:
The paper is folded two or more times in a parallel direction. Each fold reverses the direction, similar to the bellows of an accordion. Also called a "Z" fold. Often used for items printed on one side only. Do not use an accordion fold when the item is to be inserted into an envelope by machine.
acid free paper:
A paper having no acidity and no residual acid-producing chemicals. Best for archival purposes.
backing up:
Printing the opposite side of a sheet, after the first side has already been printed.
bleed:
When the printed image extends beyond the trim edge of a sheet of paper.
carbonless paper:
Papers that have been treated with chemicals and carbon derivatives that are activated by pressure. Writing or typing on the top sheet of a set of carbonless sheets results in a transfer of the image to the sheets below.
chipboard:
A single-ply cardboard, usually gray or brown. Used as the bottom sheet in a pad of paper.
CMYK:
Colors used in printing to reproduce color photos. The colors are cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (or key color).
coated paper:
A paper broadly used for all types of printing, including multicolor work. Coated papers provide improved affinity for printing inks. Coated paper may have a glossy or dull finish.
coil binding:
A binding method using a continuous spiral coil of plastic. Coil binding allows the publication to lay flat when open.
collating:
Gathering or arranging printed sheets or signatures into a desired sequence.
color separation:
The division of an image into its component colors for printing.
continuous tone:
A photograph, rendering, or other similar image that is made of blended gray tones or values that flow into each other gradually and without hard edges.
cotton fiber paper:
Sometimes called "rag" paper and made wholly or in part of cotton fibers. The cotton content is usually 24, 50 or 100 percent. UNCW white letterhead is printed on 25% cotton paper, and student theses are printed on 100% cotton paper.
cover:
A heavy paper used for business cards, postcards and for the covers of brochures, booklets, etc. The most common weights are 65 and 80 lb.
deckle:
A finish given to the edge of a sheet of paper, irregular in outline and with decreased thickness. The edge appears torn. Used for invitations and announcement. Available in cover and text weights.
drill:
Drilling holes to accommodate a loose-leaf binder. It doesn't have to be three holes; we will do one to as many as you need.
Duotone:
A printing technique in which a halftone is printed in two ink colors to provide richer tones.
duplex paper:
Two sheets of text paper or cover stock that have been pasted together. Usually has a different texture or color on each side.
enamel paper:
A high-gloss coated paper also called "gloss coated paper".
gutter:
The blank space, or inner margin, from printed area to binding.
halftone:
A pattern of dots of different sizes used to simulate a continuous tone photograph.
hard copy:
Printed copy of the contents of a computer file.
imposition:
The arrangement by which a number of pages are printed together in such a way they will be in their correct order when folded or cut.
index:
A paper similar in weight to cover but smoother and stiffer. Most frequently used for index cards, post cards, and posters.
inside:
Refers to the pages between the cover of a publication. When counting the pages, be sure to include the pages that are not numbered or are blank. Count each side of the sheet as one page.
knockout:
An area of a printed piece in which the first color ink does not print, and a second ink then prints into the same area.
letterfold:
The paper is folded twice, in the same direction, into 3 panels with 1 outside panel tucked under the other outside panel. Frequently used for brochures.
line art:
Black and white illustration, with no continuous tones (or greys).
offset:
(1) A printing process also known as lithography. Ink is applied to plates made from metal, plastic or paper. The ink in transferred to a blanket and then offset to paper.
(2) set-off, where wet ink is transferred to the back of the sheet above in a stock of just printed sheets.
opacity:
The nontransparent property of paper that prevents or reduces light transmission and show-through of printing.
overprinting:
Printing over areas already printed.
over-run:
Quantity printed in excess of the specified quantity.
perfect binding:
A binding method used to put together a large number of pages into a book form usually with a wraparound cover. The UNCW telephone directory is an example of perfect binding.
perforate:
Small holes put in the paper to make one area easy to tear from another.
PMS:
Abbreviation for the "Pantone Matching System". A system of color standardization generally accepted throughout the printing and graphic arts industries.
pictures:
Halftone - One color reproduction.
Duotones - Two colors combined to reproduce pictures with greater depth.
Four-Color - color pictures.
plastic comb:
A binding that allows the publication to lay flat when open. Often called GBC binding.
process colors:
The four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) that are combined to print color photographs and a wide range of colors. See CYMK.
proof:
A sample of how a finished piece is intended to look and used to check for errors.
ream:
Usually 500 sheets of paper regardless of size, weight, or grade. Cover and index are usually packaged 250 sheets to the ream.
reverse:
Type or graphics appearing in white (or the color of the paper) on a color background or in a dark area of a photograph.
saddlestitch:
Multiple page book held together with two staples in the spine. We can staple up to 96 pages (24 signatures).
scoring:
Making an indentation, generally in the heavier weights of paper, to facilitate a cleaner and easier fold.
screen:
Lightening the ink in an area through a dot pattern for design effect or emphasis.
self-cover:
When the inside stock of a booklet is the same as the cover.
set-off:
Wet ink transferred to the back of the sheet above in stock of just-printed sheets.
sheet:
Usually represent two pages, one each side of a sheet of paper.
show-through:
When the printing on one side of a sheet of paper can be seen when looking at the opposite side. (See opacity)
shrink wrap:
A tight fitting plastic wrap used to protect a publication during handling and storage.
signature:
A folded, printed sheet of paper forming a section of a printed book or booklet. The number of pages in a signature is a multiple of four, eight or sixteen. Presses at UNCW's print shop print signatures in multiples of four and eight.
spot color:
Printing using black and one or two additional colors of ink.
text paper:
A fine quality paper, frequently with a texture. Used for announcements, brochures, booklets, and similar items. Most texts are 70 or 80 lb.
varnish:
A clear coating put on by the press to prevent marking or to add shine. Varnishing counts as another color when estimating the cost of a job.

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