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Cindy Courtmanch Cindy Courtmanch

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Key Printint Terms & Glossary
By: Cindy Courtmanch ~ 3/1/2015

By educating our customers about the printing industry we can be sure we are speaking the same language and achieving the same expectations. Over the years we have found that if our customers are familiar with the terms of the industry, they can better convey to us how they would like their printed products to look. If you have a question about printing and it's not explained in our glossary, please feel free to e-mail us with your questions so we can add it to the list.

Bleed:  An image or ink that runs off the trimmed edge of the page. The way this is done is by printing on an oversized sheet and trimming the stock to the specified size. Bleeding one or more edges of your piece may increase the amount of paper needed and the cost of your project. Bleeds may give your piece a more dramatic look.

Coated Paper: Paper that has an outer coating. Coated stock comes in a variety of finishes, such as gloss, matte (dull) or cast coated. This coating prevents the ink from being absorbed into the paper and is used mainly when the focal points of your printed piece are photographs.

Die Cutting:  Cutting shapes and or holes in the paper with a steel die (similar to a cookie cutter).

Duotone:  A halftone printed in two colors.

Embossing:  To make a raised image in the paper by using pressure and a metal die. Blind embossing is the raised image on the paper with no printing over it.

Foil Stamping:  To stamp an image onto the paper using a foil material (i.e. gold, silver or a metallic color). A die is also required for foil stamping and is used in conjunction with heat to make the foil adhere to the stock. Foil stamping lays flat on the paper, although it can be raised by also embossing it.

Gripper:  The gripper is the part of the press that grabs the sheet of paper and pulls it through the press to be printed. Nothing will print in the area needed to grip the sheet. The size varies with each type of press usually ¼ to 5/16. In every case, if you are designing artwork, you should consult your printer as to how much gripper they need.

Halftones:  In "printer's talk" it's a photo. You may have noticed that a photo in the newspaper has "dots" in it. In order to print a photo, it must be turned into a "bunch of dots" or a halftone. In the dark areas, there is a high concentration of dots that are very close together. In the lighter areas there are fewer dots and they are spread farther apart. If there are no dots the dark areas will print solid and the light areas will disappear. Try photocopying a photograph on a black & white copier and you'll see what we mean.

NCR Paper: No Carbon Required. For those of us who remember Carbon Paper to make multiple copies of a form….this was a major breakthrough! NCR forms are a way of life now. They are available in 2 part up to 6 part and can be printed on 1 or 2 sides.

Offset Printing: One of the most common commercial printing methods, in which ink is offset from the printing plate to a rubber cylinder ("blanket") then to paper.

PMS Colors:  In the printing world, PMS stands for Pantone Matching System. This allows designers and printers to keep spot colors consistent. A PMS Book is an essential tool in any print shop and contains formulas to mix just about any color of ink you can imagine.

Process Color:  A process color job is printed using only 4 colors. Cyan (blue) Magenta (red) Yellow, and Black….also referred to as CMYK. By using these colors in different combinations and densities, an entire spectrum of color can be created.

Registration:  The alignment of 2 or more different colors of ink to each other as they are applied to paper. (i.e. If the inks overlap improperly, the printing is said to be "out of registration".)

Screens:  A screen is usually a percentage of a color. For example, a 10% screen of red is seen on paper as pink.

Signature:  Printed sheet folded once, to become part of a book, magazine or other publication.

Uncoated Paper:  Paper that doesn't have a coating. Uncoated papers are made in a wide variety of finishes, weights and colors and offers the versatility needed to meet the creative demands of the majority of print jobs.