Printing Terms and other useful terminology about our design and print services

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Printing Terms A-D

A Sizes Main series of finished printing trimmed sizes in the ISO international paper size range. See also B sizes and C sizes.
Width x Height (mm)
A0   –      841 x   1189
A1   –      594 x    841
A2   –      420 x    594
A3   –      297 x    420
A4   –      210 x    297
A5   –      148 x    210
A6   –      105 x    148
NB: Most printing is done on paper larger than these sizes to allow for registration marks, bleed and trims. For example RA2= 430 x 610mm and SRA2 =450 x 640mm.
Adhesive binding Style of threadless binding in which the leaves of a book are held together at the binding edge by glue or synthetic adhesive and suitable lining.
Artwork Text, graphics and illustrations arranged individually or in any combination for subsequent printing.
ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange. This is a standard coding system within the computer industry to convert keyboard input into digital information. It covers all of the printable characters in normal use and control characters such as carriage return and line feed. The full table contains 127 elements.
Author’s corrections Corrections made by the author on proofs, that alter the original copy. The cost of making such alterations is charged for, in contrast to printer’s errors or house corrections.
B sizes ISO International sizes intended primarily for posters, wall charts and similar items where the difference in size of the larger sheets in the A series represents too large a gap.
         Width x Height (mm)
B0   –    1000   x 1414
B1   –     707    x 1000
B2   –     500    x   707
B3   –     353    x   500
B4   –     250    x   353
B5   –     176    x   176
Back The back of a book is the binding edge. To back a book is to shape the back of a previously rounded book, so as to make a shoulder on either side against which the front and back covers fit closely.
Bitmap A raster graphic image made up of pixels that are either completely black or completely white, with no colour or shades of grey. Sometimes called a “line shot.” Often used for scanned logos or type that are not in colour and do not contain shades of grey.
Bleed Extra image that extends beyond the edge of the page. Any time an image or a colour is printed to the edge of a page, the image or colour should extend a few millimetres off the edge so when the page is trimmed by a guillotine or cutter, small variations in the trim will not result in a white line down the edge of the page.
Blind Term applied to a litho plate which has lost its image; also to book covers which are blocked or stamped without the use of ink or metallic effect.
Blister packaging Method of packaging in which an object is placed in a pre-formed, clear plastic tray and backed (sealed onto) a printed card.
Block In binding, to impress or stamp a design upon the cover. The design can be blocked in coloured inks, gold leaf or metal foil (see blind). In printing, a letterpress block is the etched copper or zinc plate, mounted on wood or metal from which an illustration is printed.
Bound Book A book in which the boards of the cover have first been attached to it, the covering of leather, cloth, or other materials being then affixed to the boards. Bound books are more expensive to produce and much stronger than cased books.
Broadsheet Any sheet in its basic size (not folded or cut); also denotes a newspaper size.
Bromide A photographic paper used in graphic reproduction, phototypesetting on which a photographic image is created.
Bugger Term used by a printer who has made a mistake.
Bulk Relative thickness of a sheet or sheets, for example, a bulky paper and a thin paper both of the same weight display different “bulk”.
Burst binding A type of adhesive binding in which the back of the book block is not sawn off, but is slit in place to allow glue to penetrate.
C Sizes The C series within the ISO International paper sizes range which is mainly used for envelopes or folders suitable for enclosing stationery in the A series. There are other variations of the sizes below for use with automatic mailing systems.
Width x Height (mm)
C4   –     229   x    324
C5   –     162   x    229
C6   –     114   x    162
DL   –     110   x    220
Camera-ready artwork Finished artwork that is ready, without further preparation, to be photographed.
Case binding The binding of printing books, which include leather, cloth and other forms of covering.
Cheque paper   CBS1 Paper made to exacting standards and chemically treated in order to betray any tampering with the writing on the cheques.
Choke A trap formed when the background colour is lighter than the foreground object, so the background colour is pushed under the edge of the foreground object.
Clipping path A path usually made with Photoshop’s Pen tool, which is used to make part of an image transparent and create a cut-out. When a clipping path is created, everything inside the path is retained, and everything outside the path is transparent.
CMYK In printing the CMYK colour model simulates a full range of colour by mixing varying percentages of four primary colours: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. Almost all colour printing is done by using these four colours and is called “four-colour” or “four colour process” printing.
Colour Bar A series of coloured squares printed off the edge of a page. Used to verify the accuracy of the film used to make printing plates, and by a press operator to help calibrate the printing press. Progressive colour bars are colour bars that run along the entire edge of an imposed flat, and are used to verify correct colour on press.
Colour correction The process of adjusting the colour in a scanned image so that it more closely matches the original image, or to compensate for flaws (such as overexposure, underexposure, or colour casts) in the original image. Almost all scanned images go through some level of colour correction.
Colour Management System (CMS) Any system that is used to ensure that an image produced by a scanner looks the same on screen and when printed on a printer.
Colour proofing This term describes a wide range of techniques which have been developed to reproduce full colour images from film or digital data available, prior to the actual print run; thus allowing the client, colour separation house and printer to view the “proofed” result, prior to the actual print run.
Computer-to-plate (CTP) A system where printing plates are generated directly from a computer file. In a CTP workflow, proofs must be generated digitally. In traditional workflows, the proofs are made from the film before the film is used to create the plates.
Continuous tone An image made of continuous shades of grey or continuous ranges of colour. Images such as photographs are continuous tone; so are scans which are made in colour or greyscale.
Contract proof A coloured, hard copy representation of the printed image, made from the films, or digital data, which will be used to make the final printing plates. The word “contract” comes from the fact that, when signed by the client, a contract is formed, which states that the final printed job should be a close match to the contract proof.
Cut-in index Style of index in which the divisions are cut into the edge of the book in steps: step index.
Densitometer A device used to verify the accuracy of a sheet of film or a printed piece. A densitometer works by shining a light through a sheet of film (in the case of a transmission densitometer) or reflecting light off an object (in the case of a reflection densitometer) and measuring how opaque or dense the object is. Densitometers are used to verify that ink is being laid down properly on a sheet of paper, or that the film used for making printing plates is properly exposed and properly developed.
Desktop Publishing (DTP) Production of printed materials, assembling of pages, and creation or manipulation of images on a desktop computer.
Diestamping An intaglio process of printing in which the resultant impression stands out in relief above the surface of the stamped material, either coloured (using inks) or blind (that is, without colour): relief stamping.
Digital page composition DPC, also known as EPCS (electronic page composition system) or CEPS (colour electronic page system). A system designed to take a range of page elements (text, linework and images) and integrate them into a user-specified format.
Digitial proof A proof produced by means of a special printer that is designed to simulate, as closely as possible, the behaviour and colour of a printing press. A digital proof is produced without using film; e.g. Digital Cromalin.
Dot gain Darkening of an image when it is printed on a printing press, caused when the ink hits the paper and spreads out. Dot gain is greater on uncoated paper than it is on glossy paper, because the ink soaks in to uncoated paper.
Drawn-on cover A paper book cover which is attached to the sewn book by gluing the spine.
Drum scanner  A type of scanner in which the original to be scanned is wrapped around a clear perspex cylinder and spun at high speed, while a light-sensing device called a photo multiplier scans across the cylinder. Drum scanners offer much higher resolution, greater tonal reproduction, higher dynamic range, and greater control over the scanned image than flatbed scanners do, and allow the image to be colour corrected as the scan is being made. Most drum scanners also allow scanning of very large originals. However, drum scanners are very expensive (ranging in price from tens of thousands of pounds up) and require a high degree of technical and colour expertise to operate.
Dummy Not anyone who works here, but a sample of a proposed job made up with the actual materials and cut to the correct size to show bulk, style of binding, etc. Also a complete layout of a job showing position of type matter and illustrations, margins etc.
Duotone An image produced by taking a black-and-white picture and printing it on top of itself in two different colours of ink (usually black and another colour). The result is an image with a subtle range of tone.
DVD A storage format that uses optical disks similar to CD ROMs to store information. Although it stores much greater quantities of information: an entire movie, several hours of audio, or 5 gigabytes or more of data. DVD stands for Digital Video Disc. Or Digital Versatile Disc !
Dye sublimation A printing process used in some computer printers, whereby ink on sheets of ribbon material is heated and fused with the surface of a sheet of special dye-sublimation paper.
Dynamic range A measure of the total range of tones in an image, from lightest to darkest. The greater the dynamic range of an image, the more visible detail it has in highlights and shadows.

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