Printing Terms Defined

Accordion Fold: When a sheet of paper is folded in alternating directions almost like steps.

Aqueous Coat: A heavy, durable coating that can be applied to paper; much like a laminate.

Barrel Fold: Folding a sheet two or more times in the same direction.

Bleed: Printing that extends beyond the edge of the final trimmed page to ensure that the ink covers the entire area when trimmed.

CMYK: An acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black), the four primary colors used in most color printing processes.

Collate: The process of arranging printed pages in a specific order, such as numerical or alphabetical sequence.

Crop Marks: Printed lines or indicators placed on the corners of a printed piece to show where it should be trimmed.

DPI: Stands for Dots Per Inch, a measure of print resolution indicating the number of ink dots per linear inch that a printer can produce.

Dull Varnish: A medium that creates a velvety surface which scatters and diffuses light to reduce glare. Images have a softer look than those printed on paper without varnish or overprinted with gloss varnish. Also makes the colors in an image more subtle.

Embossing: A technique used to create a raised or three-dimensional effect on paper by pressing it with a die or plate.

Finish: The final treatment applied to printed material, such as gloss, matte, or satin, to enhance its appearance and durability.

Foil Stamping: A Foil is applied with a die to paper for many effects–hundreds of different foils are available. Foiling can be combined with embossing for very eye-catching effects.

Grayscale: An image or printing mode that uses shades of gray instead of color or black-and-white.

Halftone: A reproduction of an image where continuous tones are represented by a series of dots of varying sizes to create the illusion of shades and gradients.

Imposition: The arrangement of pages on a printing sheet in the correct order and orientation for efficient printing and folding.

JPEG: Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, it is a widely used file format for storing compressed digital images.

Lamination: A thin sheet of plastic applied and heat-set on either one side or both (“encapsulate”) sides of a printed piece. Provides strong protection against tearing, scratching. Available in gloss and dull finishes. Used for pieces that will require repeated handling or exposure to elements.

Lithography: A printing method in which a design is transferred onto a smooth surface, typically a metal plate, and then transferred onto paper using ink.

Offset Printing: A common printing technique where ink is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket and then onto the printing surface.

Pica: A unit of measurement in printing equal to one-sixth of an inch, commonly used to specify font size and line spacing.

Registration: The alignment of different colors or printing plates in a multi-color printing process to ensure proper image reproduction.

Saddle Stitching and Perfect Binding: Booklets and magazines with fewer pages can be saddle-stitched (stapled at the spine). For thicker journals and books, perfect binding is a process we provide in-house which glues the inside edges of the stacked pages of the publication to a wrap-around cover, similar to paperback books or instruction manuals.

Typeface: A set of characters with a consistent design and style, such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica.

UV Coating: A clear liquid applied to printed material and cured with ultraviolet light, providing a glossy or matte finish and added protection.

Vignette: An image or design that gradually fades into the background without a definite border or edge.

Watermark: A translucent design or image embedded into paper during the manufacturing process, often used to indicate authenticity or add subtle branding.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, but it covers a variety of essential printing terms and their definitions.

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