The printing world, like other industries, is full of jargon that may not be familiar. Here are some commonly used terms and definitions

Aqueous coating
Fast-drying water-based protective coating applied in offset printing to create several finishes (matte, satin, gloss, soft-touch)

Print beyond the trim size of the page; required to allow accurate trimming of the job; standard bleed size is 1/8” (0.125”)

Bindery (or finishing)
A variety of procedures a printed job can go through once printed; includes cutting, folding, stapling, and other binding methods

Thickness of paper measured in thousandths of an inch or points

Case binding
Binding a book by sewing folded signatures into a cover

Strip of quality control elements printed on a press sheet to monitor ink colour and consistency

Short lines placed at the corners of a page to indicate where it should be cut; should be positioned beyond the page’s bleed

Devices used to measure a colourbar to ensure print quality

Cutting of a shape or design into a press sheet using a wooden die with steel cutting rules on a letterpress

Digital printing
Printing directly from a computer to paper using a printer or digital press; requires no intermediate steps such as metal plates

Digital and offset printing consists of an array of dots to create images (use a loupe to see this); some paper choices are more porous than others, which will lead to enlargement of these dots (called dotgain); greater dotgain results in more distortion of colour and print quality

Pressing an image into paper so that it creates a raised (or sunken) relief; blind embossing means there is no ink in the embossed area

Foil stamping (or simply foiling)
Using an engraved metal die to apply a metallic or pigmented image onto paper under pressure

Full colour (or process colour)
Combining the four additive colours (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) to create colour images or tints

The direction in which the fibers in paper align; folding against the grain of the paper will result in cracking along the fold

Arranging printed pages on a press sheet to allow minimum waste, and to enable folding of the press sheet to create “signatures” that can be bound into a book

Canada Post “stamp” printed directly onto a mailer

A document layout for which the width is greater than the height (opposite of portrait)

Offset printing
Process of applying ink on paper by using metal plates that attract ink to image areas and repel ink by applying water to non-image areas

Pantone colour
A spot colour selected from a swatch of possible colours mixed from standard inks

Perfect binding
Binding a booklet by gluing the sheets into a cover

Printing both sides of a press sheet in a single pass; also known as duplexing

Laser device that exposes images onto metal plates used in offset printing

All procedures necessary to prepare a job for printing; includes design, receiving and adjusting client files, imposition, trapping, and transferring the job to a press (either directly, or via a platesetter for offset jobs)

Plasticoil binding
Binding a booklet with a plastic spiral coil

A document layout for which the height is greater than the width (opposite of portrait)

Press sheet
The sheet run through a printing press that contains one or more pages or copies of the job; normally larger than the size of the job to improve economics and productivity

A preliminary representation of the job before it is printed; a digital proof is generally a PDF file emailed to client; a physical or hardcopy proof is a one-off near-accurate rendition of the job produced on the actual paper to be used, and bound as the final product will be

Proper alignment of colours to each other, usually achieved with the aid of register marks

Number of pixels or dots per inch that an image is made of; in most cases a minimum of 300dpi (at final size) is required for quality printing

Saddle stitching
Binding a booklet with staples along the spine

Creasing paper to aid in folding, often to prevent cracking of the paper along the fold

Method of positioning dots for reproduction of an image on a press or printer; either conventional (in which dots of varying sizes are arranged in an evenly spaced pattern) or stochastic (in which microscopic equally sized dots are placed in a random pattern)

A sheet of printed pages that can be folded to form a sequential section of pages for binding into a publication

A cover that uses the same paper as the remainder of a publication

The binding edge of a book

Spot colour
A separate ink colour not created from CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black); used to more accurately reflect corporate colours or to allow separate control over photos from their background

Minute overlap of abutting images to ensure that no white gaps appear between them when printed

Clear matte or gloss ink applied to enhance parts (spot varnish) or all (flood varnish) of a press sheet; aqueous coating is more economical and environmentally friendly

Wiro binding
Binding a booklet using double-loop metal coils