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Printing Resource - Glossary

We understand that our website may contain several printing terms you may not understand or be unclear about. We have put together some of these termonologies to help explain what and how they are used in our printing process. 

Amplitude Modulated (AM)
Print screening in which images have dots of varying sizes with equal spaces between centers which has limitations on image orientation. Orientation angles of 30 degrees between superimposed color separations produce minimum interference patterns called moire. In 4-color printing, two of the colors must be at the same angle or separated by other than 30 degrees. An error as small as 0.1 degree between angles can cause serious moire.
Aqueous Coating
A water base coating that is applied like ink on the printing press to enhance, as well, protect the printing underneath. With Java Jitter you can expect this to come with a semi-gloss finish on your product. Aqueous coating would fall in between our UV Gloss and the Matte Coating, as it leaves a semi-gloss look to your print..
A general term for binding folders, booklets, magazines, and etc. There are generally five steps in pamphlet binding; scoring, folding, collecting, stitching, cutting and trimming.
It is a grid of dots made from tiny black and white or color tiles, known as bits. The tiles may also be called pixels.
A process done on pulp to obtain a higher brightness in paper. Bleaching traditional has been done using chemical chlorine, but a more environmentally friendly alternative called elemental chlorine free (ECF) method is preferred using chlorine dioxide, hydrogen peroxide, oxygen and ozone.
 Printing that extends pass the edge of the page or sheet after being trimmed.
An outline or frame along the edge of your print.
Measure of light reflected from paper. The higher the brightness the more white the paper appears to be compared to a cream or beige colour.
C1S and C2S Coating
Abbreviations for coated one side (C1S) and coated two side (C2S) for paper stock.
An abbreviation for the 4 common colours used in print, cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. These 4 colours are what we call the process colours.
A combination of the physical sensation of light and the psychological interpretation of it. Physically, the combination of all wavelengths of visible light from 400-700 nm with equal energy distribution produces the visual effect of white light.
Color Correction
A compensation for the spectral errors in inks and are made manually by dot etching, photographically by masking, and electronically through scanning and image processing software.
Color Proofing
The main purpose of proofing is to see (1) if all the image elements are present, if the orientations are correct, and are in the right colors, and (2) how the job will look when it is printed. The first is done on computer monitors and are called soft proofs while the second is done on proofing systems and are referred to as hard proofs.
Crop Marks
Lines or crosshairs near the edges of an image indicating where trimming will be done.
Pressing an image, shape, or text into paper so that it below the original surface. The opposite of embossing. This creates a different feel and texture to your product sparking curiosity.
There are two methods: high or hollow die-cutting and steel-rule die-cutting. Hollow die-cutting is a process used almost exclusively for labels and envelopes. A steel die, which is hollow like a cookie cutter, is positioned on a jogged pile of printed sheets. Pressure forces the die through the pile. Steel-rule die-cutting is used for larger size dies or where close registration is required. The dies are hardened steel rules bent to a desired shape and inserted into jig-sawed gaps.
Digital plates
These are produced by computer-to-plate (CTP) technologies using lasers in platesetters driven by digital data from prepress, desktops publishing systems or digital data files.
Digital Presses
These are short-runs and quick using two electro-photographic printing presses. One is a converted sheetfed single color small offset press with facilities for priting up to 6-colors on one or both sides of the paper. The other is a web design with facilities for printing up to 4-colors on both sides of the web.
Digital Presses
These are short-runs and quick using two electro-photographic printing presses. One is a converted sheetfed single color small offset press with facilities for priting up to 6-colors on one or both sides of the paper. The other is a web design with facilities for printing up to 4-colors on both sides of the web.
DPI or Dots Per Inch
Is the measure of resolution or how much detail (dots) can be fit in a square inch. The higher the DPI, the more sharp and quality of the image output is.
The design is molded in embossing so that it is raised. Molding is achieved by pressing the material to be embossed between a brass female die and a male bed or counter mounted in a register on press.
EPS or Encapsulated Postscript
A file format that contains both images and vector artwork.
Foil Stamping
A special method of printing metallic foil onto paper. Foil stamping is NOT metallic ink, it involves actual foil that is pressed onto print. This type of finish enables text or shapes to show in highly reflective metal.
Frequency Modulated (FM)
Also called stochastic, have very small dots of the same or varying sizes and varying distances between dots, corresponding to the tone values that are independent of screen angles and screen rulings. This prevents the moire effect and is common in screens from 300 to 600 lpi to produce high resolution imaging.
Full Colour (4/4, 4/0)
Full colour indicates which side will be printed with CMYK ink. Don’t misunderstand that you can only use CMYK colours. CMYK colours are actually combined and laid out in a special microscopic pattern to produce the illusion of thousands of colours!
  • 4/4 – Means full colour front and full colour back
  • 4/0 – Means full colour front and blank back
  • 4/1 – Means full colour front and ONLY black on the back.
High Gloss Ink
This is a special resin or varnish that produces a glossy appearance. For best results, stocks specially coated for gloss inks should be used.
The Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) was formed to create a standard for color and gray scale image compression. It is effective for continuous-tone color spaces. JPEG describes many algorithms in two types: Lossy or Lossless. Lossy refers to the compression method, which when compressed discards data that cannot be retrieved. Lossy compressed files are very small and are good for web graphics. Lossless is the compression method that does not lose any data when compressed, but the files are larger.
The arrangement of the individual pages on a press sheet, so that when the sheet is folded and trimmed, the pages are in correct orientation and order.
Matte Coating
Flat or non-glossy finish on coated paper (C1S or C2S). Our matte coating is only available in 16pt currently.
Metallic Inks
The use of metallic powders, such as aluminum and bronze powders, mixed with proper varnish base, and produce flakes which deposit in reflective layers.
Offset Presses
Offset presses have three printing cylinders (plate, blanket and impression) as well as inking and dampening systems. On most offset presses, as the plate cylinder rotates, the plate comes in contact with the dampening rollers first, and then the inking rollers. The dampeners wet the plate so the non-printing area repels ink. The inked image is then transferred to the rubber blanket, and paper or other substrate is printed as it passes between the blanket and impression cylinders.
Portable Document Format is a document converted to a special coded file that can be displayed and/or printed on almost any personal computer without the original application program.
You most likely have seen perforation before but never knew it was called! Perforation is when there is a series of small holes lines up to make tearing paper easier. Some examples would be stamps or forms or documents from brochures that you tear off separately.
Raster Image
Raster images are the most common type of images you will find on the internet. These images based on tiny small blocks of colour (pixels) with a designated colour that form the whole image. With printing, sometimes odd events happen with vector images after creating the PDF. A way to solve this is rasterizing your design so that everything is flattened, and nothing will change once the PDF is made.
In preparing art where two or more colors are to be printed, register of the different color images is important. Jobs where color areas are independent of each other are considered no-register jobs. In 4-color printing, register must be precise (± ½ row of dots or less).
Is the abbreviation for red, green and blue, these three colours are used to display colours on monitors or colour displays. RGB colours are only viewable on a monitor, so be sure when designing your project in CMYK. If you design in RGB, when we print your project in CMYK the colours will shift. So remember to design in CMYK to avoid any problems!
Saddle Stitch
A binding method where the centre of the booklet is scored folded and then stapled. A very common and economic way of creating a booklet project. Minimum pages required is 4, and we do not limit the dimensions to 8.5” x 11”. If you would like a quote for saddle stitching please email us at .
Scaling and Cropping
Scaling has to do with changing the size of the reproduction without changing the ratio of the dimensions. In addition to the diagonal line method of scaling, a printer’s proportion scale can easily determine a reproduction size. Cropping is the term used to describe the process of trimming or cutting off parts of a picture or other copy element.
A crease is applied in a straight line along where a fold is needed, this allows the print to fold more easily and accurately.
There are three basic types of arrangements of pages for sheetfed printing (1) sheetwise (2) work-and-turn and (3) work-and-tumble. In sheetwise layouts, different pages are printed on each side of the sheet. It is used when the number of printed pages is large enough to fill both sides of the sheet as in signatures for books, magazines and catalogues.
Silk Lamination
Just as the name says, this is a lamination that is applied to your prints. Silk lamination is quickly growing popular as it provides a new unique look to your prints. This lamination process gives your prints a smooth, matte, and truly a silky look and feel. Another benefit to this lamination is that it protects the surface underneath, sometimes preventing scratches.
Thermal Imaging
Uses lasers and new thermal polymers with threshold binary imaging, thermal ablation transfer and new thermal crosslinking technologies.
Thermal Imaging
Uses lasers and new thermal polymers with threshold binary imaging, thermal ablation transfer and new thermal crosslinking technologies.
This is the process in which we trim the product to it’s final size.
UV Gloss Coating
A liquid applied to a printed press sheet, and then cured under ultraviolet light. UV coating is a Ultra Gloss coating applied that is very reflective and shiny. Great for protecting the surface underneath, but unfortunately you can’t write on this surface.
Vector Images
Vectors graphics are typically produced by drawing programs. The images are composed of mathematically described objects and paths, called vectors. Vector applications store your strokes as a list of drawing instructions compiled from menu choices and mouse actions. Vector graphics are resolution-independent.