Printing Services

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.
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.
A single-ply cardboard, usually gray or brown. Used as the bottom sheet in a pad of paper.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
The blank space, or inner margin, from printed area to binding.
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.
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.
A paper similar in weight to cover but smoother and stiffer. Most frequently used for index cards, post cards, and posters.
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.
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.
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).
(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.
The nontransparent property of paper that prevents or reduces light transmission and show-through of printing.
Printing over areas already printed.
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.
Small holes put in the paper to make one area easy to tear from another.
Abbreviation for the "Pantone Matching System". A system of color standardization generally accepted throughout the printing and graphic arts industries.
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.
A sample of how a finished piece is intended to look and used to check for errors.
Usually 500 sheets of paper regardless of size, weight, or grade. Cover and index are usually packaged 250 sheets to the ream.
Type or graphics appearing in white (or the color of the paper) on a color background or in a dark area of a photograph.
Multiple page book held together with two staples in the spine. We can staple up to 96 pages (24 signatures).
Making an indentation, generally in the heavier weights of paper, to facilitate a cleaner and easier fold.
Lightening the ink in an area through a dot pattern for design effect or emphasis.
When the inside stock of a booklet is the same as the cover.
Wet ink transferred to the back of the sheet above in stock of just-printed sheets.
Usually represent two pages, one each side of a sheet of paper.
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.
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.
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.