It seems like printers are speaking a different language. Below is a quick guide to learn more about common lingo you may hear from us.


Bleed – Printing that goes to the edge of the sheet after trimming. Learn More

PMS color – pantone-matching system – an international system used to mix inks to standard colors used by printers.

Pagination – The numbering of individual pages in a multi-page document

Vector – A vector graphics file is an image that can be made infinitely large or small without losing quality.

2Up – This term refers to the number of prints on a piece of paper. Utilizing as much space on a piece of paper as possible saves money and reduces waste. 2UP is particularly useful for producing post cards, packaging, and business cards.

4/0 – Four Colors, (Full Color) printing on the front side, no printing on the backside.

4/1 – Four Colors (Full Color) printing on the front side, one color printing on the backside.

4/4 – Four colors (Full Color) on the front side, four colors (full color) printing on the backside.


Artwork – The original physical materials, including photos, graphic images, text and other components needed to produce a printed piece. Can also now refer to the electronic or digital components needed for preparing a printed piece for production on a press.


Bindery – Finishing department of a print shop or firm specializing in finishing printed products.

Bleed – Printing that goes to the edge of the sheet after trimming.


Card Stock – a stiff rigid paper used for postcards, manual covers or table tents.

Center Spread – The two pages that face each other in the center of a book or publication.

CMYK – Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black), the process colors.

Coated Paper – A clay coated printing paper with a smooth finish.

Coil Binding – Where a metal or plastic wire is spiraled through holes punched along the side of a stack of paper. Commonly used for reports, proposals and manuals. Documents bound with coil have the ability to lay flat and can rotate 360 degrees. Also called spiral binding.

Cover Paper/Stock – A heavy printing paper used to cover books, make presentation folders, etc.


Deboss – To press an image into paper with a die so it extends below the surface. The opposite of emboss where the image is raised above the paper surface.

Die Cutting – Cutting images in or out of paper.

Digital Printing – In the past, printers relied on screens and plates to produce materials. Today, however, printers can print items from digital files. Digital is highly efficient but there are still instances where traditional print methods are necessary. 


EDDM – Every Door Direct Mail

Emboss – Pressing an image into paper so that it will create a raised relief.

EPS – Encapsulated Post Script. A standard file format used to transfer postscript-formatting information between applications.


Foil – Then metal sheet that is applied to paper using the foil stamping process. Frequently gold colored, available in many colors.

Foil emboss – Foil stamping and embossing an image on paper with a die.

Foil Stamping – Impressing metallic foil onto paper with a heated die.

Font – The characters which make up a complete typeface and size.

Format – size, shape and overall style of layout or printed piece.

Four-color-process – The process of combining four basic colors to create a printed color picture or colors composed from the basic four colors.


Glossy – photographic print made on glossy paper.


Head–to–Head – printing on both sides of a sheet where the top of each page is placed at the same end.


Imposition – Positioning printed pages so they will fold in the proper order.


Justification – Adjusting the spacing or hyphenation of words and characters to fill a given line of text from end to end. Sometimes referred to as word spacing.


Kerning – The narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page.


Laminate – a thin transparent plastic coating applied to paper or board to provide protection and give it a glossy finish.

Leading – Space between lines of type. The distance in points between one baseline and the next.

Light Weight Paper – book grade paper of basis weight 40# or less with high opacity for its weight.


Matte Finish: Dull paper or ink finish.

Metallic Ink – Ink that looks metallic when printed. Made with powdered metal or pigments that look metallic and print opaque.

Mock-up – a rough visual of a publication or design.


Numbering – putting a sequential number on each copy.


Offset – a method in which the plate or cylinder transfers an ink image to an offset or transfer roller, which then transfers the image to stock.

Offset Printing – The most commonly used printing method, where the printed material does not receive ink directly from a printing plate but from an intermediary blanket that receives the ink from the plate and then transfers it to the paper.

Overprinting – Any printing that is done on an area that has already been printed.

Overrun – Quantities of sheets printed over the requested number of copies.


PMS color – pantone-matching system – an international system used to mix inks to standard colors used by printers.

Page count – total number of pages, including blanks and printed pages without numbers

Page proofs – a proof output to plain paper before the entire job is printed.

Pagination – The numbering of individual pages in a multi-page document

Perfect Bind – A type of binding that glues the edge of sheets to a cover like a telephone book, Microsoft software manual, or Country Living Magazine

Perforating – punching small holes or slits in a sheet of paper or cardboard to facilitate tearing along a desired line.

Point – For paper, a unit of thickness equaling 1/1000 inch. for typesetting, a unit of height equaling 1/72 inch

Process Colors: Cyan (blue), magenta (process red), yellow (process yellow), black (process black).

Process Printing: A system where a color image is separated into different color values (cyan, magenta, yellow and black or CMYK) by the use of filters and screens or digitally with a software program and then transferred to printing plates and printed on a printing press,
reproducing the original color image.

Proof (press) – Actual press sheets to show image, tone values and colors as well as imposition of frame or press-plate




Ream – 500 sheets of paper.

Register – To position print in the proper position in relation to the edge of the sheet and to other printing on the same sheet.

Register Marks – Cross-hair lines or marks on film, plates, and paper that guide strippers, plate makers, pressmen, and bindery personnel in processing a print order from start to finish.

Resolution: Ability of a device to record or reproduce a sharp image.

RGB – The color space of Red, Green and Blue. These are the primary colors of light, which computers use to display images on your screen. An RGB computer file must be translated into the CMYK (the primary colors of pigment) color space in order to be printed on a printing press.


Saddle Stitch – Binding a booklet or magazine with staples in the seam where it folds.

Score – A crease put on paper to help it fold better.

Self-Mailer – printed piece designed to be mailed without an envelope.

Side Stitch – Binding by stapling along one side of a sheet.

Spiral Bind – A type of binding where a metal or plastic wire is spiraled through holes drilled along the binding side of a document.

Spot Color – Any color created by printing only one ink. Also called flat color.

Spot Varnish – Varnish used to highlight a specific part of the printed sheet.

Step-and-Repeat – procedure for placing the same image on plates in multiple places.

Stock – unprinted paper.

Substance weight –basis weight when referring to bond papers.

Substrate –Any surface on which printing is done.


Trim – the cutting of the finished product to the correct size.

Typeface: Font identified by a name such as Helvetica or Times.

Type Style – Characteristic such as bold, italic or roman.

Trim Marks – Similar to crop or register marks. These marks show where to trim the printed sheet.

Trim size –The final size of one printed image after the last trim is made.

Turnaround Time – amount of time needed to complete a job


Uncoated Paper – paper that is not clay coated

Up – A term used to describe how many similar pieces can be printed on a larger sheet; two up, four up, etc.

UV Coating – A very shiny and durable high gloss coating applied to printed material. Applied as a liquid then cured with ultraviolet light.


Variable Data Printing – Is a form of on-demand printing in which elements (such as text, graphics, photographs, etc.) can be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the press, using information from a database. For example, a set of personalized letters, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with a different name and address on each letter.

Varnish – A clear coating added to printed material as a protective layer for improved scuff resistance and usually higher gloss.

Vector – A vector graphics file is an image that can be made infinitely large or small without losing quality.

Vellum – A finish of paper, somewhat bulky and slightly rough.


Weight In the print world, “weight” refers to the thickness of the paper you’re using. Thicker paper is more substantial, making it ideal for business cards and brochures. Lower weight is ideal for corporate letterheads. 






Zip file –Zipping a file compresses one or more files into a smaller archive. It takes up less hard drive space and less time to transfer across a network or the Internet.