Print Definitions

Accordion Fold

In binding, a term used for two or more parallel folds that open like an accordion.

Against the Grain

Folding or feeding paper at right angles to the grain direction of the paper, also called crossgrain.


The back of a bound book connecting the two covers; also called spine.


In computer imaging, the electronic representation of a page, indicating the position of every possible spot (zero or one).

Black and White

Originals or reproductions in single color, as distinguished from multicolor.

Abbreviation: B/W.


An extra amount of printed image that extends beyond the trim edge of the sheet or page.


In photography, light reflected by copy. In paper, the reflection or brilliance of the paper.


A pamphlet bound in booklet form.


The thickness of paper, usually expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils). In board, however, it is expressed as points.


In bookbinding, the covers of a hardbound book.


(Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) The subtractive process colors used in color printing. Black (K) is added to enhance color and contrast.

Coated 1 Side (C1S)/Coated 2 Sides (C2S)

Paper stock coated on one side or two sides.

Coated Paper

Paper having a surface coating which produces a smooth finish. Substrates vary from eggshell to glossy.


In binding, the gathering of sheets and signatures.


The tonal gradation between the highlights, middle tones, and shadows in an original or reproduction.


Any finished material (typewritten manuscript, pictures, artwork, etc.) to be used in the production of printing.

Cover Paper

A term applied to a variety of papers used for the covers of catalogs, brochures, booklets, and similar pieces.


To eliminate portions of the copy, usually on a photograph or plate, indicated on the original by crop marks.

Digital Color Proof

A color proof produced from digital data without the need for separation films.

Digital Printing

Printing by plateless imaging systems that are imaged by digital data from prepress systems.

(dpi) Dots Per Inch

A measure of the resolution of a screen image or printed page.


In photomechanics, a term for two-color halftone reproduction from a one-color photograph.

Electronic Printing

In digital printing, any technology that reproduces pages without the use of traditional ink, water, chemistry, or plates, also known as plateless printing.

EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)

In digital prepress, a file format used to transfer graphic images within compatible applications. A file containing structured PostScript code, comments and a screen display image.

Flush Cover

A cover that has been trimmed to the same size as the inside text pages of the book.

Flush Left (or Right)

In composition, type set to line up at the left (or right).


The page numbers.


In composition, a complete assortment of letters, numbers, punctuations, etc., of a given size and design.


The size, style, type page, margins, printing requirements, etc., of a printed piece.

Galley Proof

A proof of text copy before being made into pages.


A measure of contrast in photographic images.


In papermaking, the direction most fibers lie in, corresponding with the direction the paper is made in on a paper machine.

Gray Scale

A strip of standard gray tones, ranging from white to black, placed at the side of original copy during photography to measure tonal range and contrast (gamma) obtained.


The blank space or inner margin from printing area to binding.


The reproduction of continuous-tone images through a screening process, which converts the image into dots of various sizes and equal spacing between centers (AM screening), or dots of equal size with variable spacing between them (FM screening).

Hard Copy

The permanent visual record of the output of a computer or printer on a substrate.

Hard Proof

A proof on paper or other substrate distinguished from a soft proof (an image on a video display terminal screen).


In image assembly, the positioning of pages on a signature so that after printing, folding, and cutting, all pages will appear in the proper sequence.

Ink-jet Printing

In digital printing, a plateless printing system that produces images directly on paper from digital data using streams of very fine drops of dyes which are controlled by digital signals to produce images on paper.


A printed piece prepared for insertion into a publication or another printed piece.

JPEG (The Joint Photographic Experts Group)

Was formed to create a standard for color and gray scale image compression. JPEG describes a variety of algorithms (rules), each of which is targeted for a type of image application. JPEG is the default format for most digital cameras.


A plastic film bonded by heat and pressure to a printed sheet for protection or appearance.


The drawing or sketch of a proposed printed piece.

Make ready

In printing, all work done to set up a press for printing.


In color separation photography, an intermediate photographic negative or positive used in color correction. In offset lithography, opaque material used to protect open or selected areas of a printing plate during exposure.

Matte Finish

Dull paper finish without gloss or luster.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

An electronic means of scanning (reading) copy and converting the scanned image to an electronic equivalent. The ability to read printed text (characters) and convert it to digitized files that can be saved on disk and edited as a text file.


In printing, the process of using an intermediate blanket cylinder to transfer an image from the image carrier to the substrate. Short for offset lithography.


The property of paper which minimizes the show-through of printing from the back side or the next sheet.


In artwork, a transparent covering over the copy where color break, instructions, or corrections are marked. Also, transparent or translucent prints which, when placed one on the other, form a composite picture.


Double printing; printing over an area that already has been printed.


In printing, copies printed in excess of the specified quantity.


In computerized typesetting, the process of performing page makeup automatically.

PDF (Portable Document File)

PDF is a universal electronic file format, modeled after the PostScript language and is device and resolution independent. Documents in PDF format can be viewed, navigated, and printed from any computer regardless of fonts or software programs used to create the original.


Printer’s unit of measurement used principally in typesetting. One pica equals approximately 1/6 of an inch.


Short for picture element. A pixel is the smallest resolvable point of a raster image. It is the basic unit of digital imaging.

PMS (Pantone Matching System)

Color charts that have over 700 preprinted color patches of blended inks, used to identify, display, or define special colors.


A page description language developed by Adobe Systems, Inc., to describe an image for printing. It handles both text and graphics. A PostScript file is a purely text-based description of a page.


In digital prepress, the test used to evaluate or analyze every component needed to produce a printing job. Preflight confirms the type of disk being submitted, the color gamut, color breaks, and any art required (illustrations, transparencies, reflective photos, etc.) plus layout files, screen fonts, printer fonts, EPS or TIFF files, laser proofs, page sizes, print driver, cropmarks, etc.

Press Proofs

In color reproduction, a proof of a color subject made on a printing press in advance of the production run.

Print Quality

A term describing the visual impression of a printed piece. In paper, the properties of the paper that affect its appearance and the quality of reproduction.

Process Color

In printing, the subtractive primaries: yellow, magenta, cyan, and black in four-color process printing.

Quality Control

A program of activities including customer service, process control, and sampling with the objective of eliminating causes of process variability now called Statistical Process Control.

(RIP) Raster Image Processor

In digital imaging, a combination of computer software and hardware that controls the printing process by calculating the bitmaps of images and instructing a printing device to create the images. Most PostScript systems use a hardware RIP built into the printer.


Five hundred sheets of paper.


In printing, fitting of two or more printing images in exact alignment with each other.

Registration Marks

Crosses or other targets applied to original copy prior to photography. Used for positioning films in register, or for register of two or more colors in process printing.


Ability of an input device to record or an output device to reproduce the fine detail of an image. There is a difference between resolution and addressability or sampling rate. Resolution concerns how closely spots can be placed, and also whether grey levels can be distinguished. Resolution for output devices depends on addressability, bit-depth, mark size, and color.

RGB (Red, Green and Blue)

The primary additive colors used in display devices and scanners. Commonly used to refer to the color space, mixing system, or monitor in color computer graphics.

Saddle Stitch

In binding, to fasten a booklet by wiring it through the middle fold of the sheets, also called saddle wire.


Determining the proper size of an image to be reduced or enlarged to fit an area.


To impress or indent a mark in the paper to make folding easier.


In printing and binding, the name given to a printed sheet after it has been folded.

Spiral Binding

A book bound with wires in spiral form inserted through holes punched along the binding side.

Spool (simultaneous peripheral operations online)

Refers to an output data set that is waiting for a print device.


Paper or other material to be printed.

Stock Photography

Used widely by creative professionals in need ready-made images that illustrate a specific lifestyle, scene, mood or process. Some stock images are royalty-free, but most carry a fee based on usage.


Any material that can be printed on, such as paper, plastic, and fabric.

Tagged Image File Format (TIFF)

A file format for graphics suited for representing scanned images and other large bitmaps. TIFF is a neutral format designed for compatibility with all applications. TIFF was created specifically for storing grayscale images and is the standard format for scanned images such as photographs, now called TIFF/IT.


The body matter of a page or book, as distinguished from the headings.


In prepress, refers to how much overprinting colors overlap to eliminate white lines between colors in printing.

Trim Marks

In printing, marks placed on the copy to indicate the edge of the paper.

Web Press

A press which prints on a roll of paper.

Wire-o Binding

A continuous double series of wire loops run through punched slots along the binding side of a booklet.

With the Grain

Folding or feeding paper into a press with the grain of the paper parallel to the blade of the folder or the axis of the impression cylinder.