Tips and Support

Glossary of Printing Terms

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Phone: 718-654-1200


Roger Denhoff

Peter Kirkel


Hours: Monday-Friday 7am-4pm


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In business since 1928, Beehive Press is a commercial printing company offering a wide array of services. All projects and customer service are overseen by one of the two owners. That kind of personal attention to each project contributes to our reputation as a customer service driven business.

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ARTWORK: Illustrations, photographs, logos, camera ready artwork is known as artwork.


AUTHOR CHANGES: These are customer (author) changes or alterations made to the job and are subject to extra charges.


BLEEDS: A bleed occurs when your design allows the ink to print to the very edge of the paper. Actually in this case, your design elements need to extend past the trim by an extra 1/8 inch. Your job could bleed on one side or up to 4 sides.


BLIND EMBOSS: A technique in which a design is embossed or debossed without foil or ink.


COMB BINDING: Plastic comb binding inserted through holes punched in bindery edge of pages.


COVERAGE %: The amount of ink on the page. Always let your printer know if there are large solid areas of 100% ink on a job and the overall ink coverage. It better allows the printer to place your job on the appropriate press.


COVER INK: Same as TEXT INK but may be different colors and needs to be specified that the cover uses different inks. (See TEXT INKS.)


COVER STOCK: This is the paper used for the outside 4 pages of your piece, providing that it is different from the inside pages. It is usually a heavier weight stock than the inside pages. If it is not, then your piece has a "self cover".


COMPUTER TO PLATE (CTP): A digial Computer file is imaged directly To Plate. No Film, stripping, or traditional plates are burned.


CMYK: A color process using cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks to create other colors.


DIE-CUTTING: The process of using sharp metal rules or dies to cut shapes and designs into paper.


DIGITAL PREPRESS: The digital prepress technician works from the computer files and strips the job electronically eliminating the need for traditional stripping. Final, composed film is generated and just needs to be burned to a plate. This saves time, money, and makes the registration of the final plates very accurate.


DESCRIPTION OF JOB: Describe the item you need a quote on.

Example: Brochure, Flyer, Poster, Postcard.


DESIGN: Creating the elements and style to a piece that will be printed.

Example: A designer might create a brochure that needs the following designed: logo, page layout, font styles and sizes, graphic elements, scans and special effects to photographs.


DIGITAL PRINTING: An electronic file that is output directly, with no intermediate film stage. In the case of Computer to Plate (CTP) it is imaged to a final plate. But Digital Printing also refers to the process of using electrophotography and inkjet processes and print with toners or special inks and uses no plates. The quality is not as good as offset lithography and is economical on short runs and get very expensive on larger runs.


DIE: A design, letters or a pattern cut into metal for cutting, stamping, foil stamping, or embossing.


DOUBLE-BUMP: This term means that a press sheet is sent through the press two times so that the same color prints twice. Sometimes it is a percentage of the color on the first hit and 100% of the same color on the 2nd hit. This may be needed when extremely dense solid areas are required.


EMBOSS: To create a die and stamp the paper from the back in order to create a raised effect on the front. If the embossing or de-bossing does not touch ink or a foil, then it is referred to as "blind" embossing. Should it touch ink, or have a foil on top of it, this is referred to as "registered" embossing or debossing.


DEBOSS: Debossing stamps paper from the front in order to create a sunken effect. If the embossing or de-bossing does not touch ink or a foil, then it is referred to as "blind" embossing. Should it touch ink, or have a foil on top of it, this is referred to as "registered" embossing or debossing.


FINISHING: Finishing includes folding, stitching, binding, scoring, trimming, diecutting, coating, laminating, punching, and gluing.


FLAT SIZE: This is the flat, trimmed size before folding.

Example: a 4-page newsletter which is folded to 8-1/2 x 11" has a flat size of 17 x 11 before folding.

NOTE: In printing the width is always the first dimension given.


FLEXOGRAPHY: A process that uses molded rubber or polymer plates that carry the image on a raised surface that prints directly onto the paper.


FOIL: Application of a metallic foil which is stamped onto the piece. A die must be ordered to enable the stamping of this material onto paper. The material comes in different shades of metallic gold or silver, but can also be enamel colors as well. If the foil touches nearby ink on the piece or is raised by embossing, it is referred to as "registering".


FOLDS: The fold that finishes your piece. The type of fold needs to be specified. Click here to see different types of folds and what they are called.


FONT: The style and family of lettering used, i.e., a font family such as Times Roman has varying styles within the font family such as roman, roman italic, bold, bold italic. Some of the different weights within other families might be light, light italic, medium, medium italic, bold, bold italic, heavy, heavy italic, condensed, etc. Note, the term italic or oblique means to make italic. The difference is that italic is a different cut of the font and oblique is approx. a 12 degree tilt of the roman font making it look italic.


GRAVURE: The image is screened by tiny cells etched into cylinders. These cells vary in depth and area and are below the nonprinting areas. The cylinder rotates through a bath of ink and the nonprinting areas are wiped clean by a doctor blade before the image is directly applied to the substrate. Gravure is used for long runs including publications and packaging.


HALFTONE: A photograph that has been scanned and printed with a dot pattern. In a black and white photograph the pattern is called a halftone and in a color photograph it is known as a rosette pattern because it will have different angles for each color.

Example: A 300 dpi file printed at 150 LPI (Lines Per Inch halftone screen).


HOLES (Drilling): Punching or die scoring holes in the piece to allow for binder or other use.




LETTER PRESS: Raised words and images are inked and pressed directly into paper, resulting in a debossed (depressed) effect. Dating back to the 1400s, letterpress is often used with papers with exceptional textual qualities, as this technique highlights the paper on which it is printed. Used for specialty work such as numbering, scoring, imprinting.


LOGO: Art, illustration or a symbol that reflects a business or corporation's identity.


MATCHPRINT: Multiple pieces of contact proofing material is laminated together as a single proof that is made from final film. This is the most accurate proofing method; especially where color is a critical factor, such as in skin tones for a cosmetics brochure. Matchprints are no longer used at companies that have converted to an all digital press calibrated proofing system.


NUMBER OF PAGES: State the amount of pages in your printed piece.

Example: 4 page newsletter


OFFSET PRINTING (Lithography): Offset lithography is the most common printing method. Generally, film is imaged, burned to a plate, and the plate is wrapped around a cylinder on the press. The ink adheres to the image areas of the plate which then transfers the image from the plate to a blanket which subsequently prints onto the paper.


OUTPUT READY DISK: Files that are submitted complete and do not require any further editing or manipulation other than to load fonts and send to the imagesetter. This is also known as “click print”. The files should also contain all images and fonts (both screen and printer) used in the job.


PADDNG: This is the process of gluing multiple pages together on one side.

Example: Notepads that may have 50 to 100 sheets per pad, or NCR forms may be padded so the 2-5 parts are together.


PANTONE SPOT COLOR: Pantone Matching Systems (PMS) for spot color inks. PMS color provides very accurate and true matches for a particular spot color. It is the best way to assure consistant color matching on repeated jobs. (Note, there can be a slight variation of color when different white papers are used and a wide variation if colored papers are used.)


PANTONE PROCESS COLOR EQUIVALENTS: Pantone Matching Systems (PMS) process color equivalent chart that is made so that using percentages of CMYK will closely resemble the spot color ink. Sometimes the matches are very good and sometimes not. If you are going to use a CMYK equivalent, see the color swatches so that you will see what color you are really going to get.


PERFECT BINDING: Individual pages are glued at the spine to form a book.


PERFORATE: To perforate or die score in holes or dotted rules that allow being able to tear off a coupon or page from the piece with ease and not destroy the piece. If the perforation goes from top to bottom, that is a vertical perforation. If from side to side, it is a horizontal perforation.


POINT SIZE: This term describes the size of lettering. Points, picas, and leading are typography terms. There are 12 points to a pica and 6 picas to an inch or 72 points to an inch. Type might be specified as 12/14 which means 12 point type size over 14 point line space (leading).


PROOFS: Provided by printer to show customer how the job will looked backed up (fronts and backs glued together) and trimmed out at the correct size. Customer is responsible for marking up any additional changes or alterations on this proof. Printer is not responsible for any changes or errors that are not marked up on this proof by customer. Printers will not print the job until a proof has been signed off by customer as OK to Print.


QUANTITY: How many pieces you need printed.

Example: 500, 1M, 5M


REFLECTIVE ART: A photograph or hard copy print that is not in film or transparency form. When scanning the piece, the scanner settings will change dramatically if it is film or transparency versus a print.


REGISTRATION AND REGISTRATION MARKS: When another color must register to the first color. Registration marks are used so that when the second color mark hits the first color mark exactly, it is registering or in registration.


RICH BLACK: 100% black is one color of black. To richen it up and make it look darker and more robust, percentages of CMY can be added. For example 100% black, 40% magenta, 30% cyan, 30% yellow.


SADDLE STITCH: Signatures inserted into each other and stitched (stapled) through the spine.


SCORE: To score a piece is to make an impression into the paper that does not cut through the paper. This would allow a fold line in a heavy weight cover stock to fold cleanly without cracking.


SIDE STITCH: Stapled through stack, parallel to spine.


SHEET WISE: The fronts are one one side and the backs are on the other side of an imposed press sheet.


SPIRAL BINDING: Wire or plastic spiral inserted through holes punched in bindery edge of leaves.


STAY AWAY (aka KEEP AWAY): A term that is usually used when there is a white knock out or a spot color that will knock-out of a rich black. A rich black uses percentages of CMY in addition to 100% K (black) that make it a richer, darker black. The trap or keep away (stay away) means that there is more trap on the CMY than on the K so the closest color to the knockout is 100% black without CMY present.


STEEL DIE ENGRAVING: Used for securities, currency, and fine stationery. The image is carried below the surface of the plate (called a die) and applied directly to the paper. A handmade counter die pushes the substrate somewhat into the die, giving a tell-tale impression on the back of the sheet and a raised image on the front.


TEXT INK: The ink you require for the inside pages. This is described by the number of inks you require on the front and back pages. The front/back color names are separated by a slash sign /.

Example: 4/1 would indicate 4 color process on one side and 1 color on the back side. But it is also important to know the colors. It may be written 5/2: 4C+pms185/PMS185+Blk. (4C always means 4-color process inks.)

There are 2 main kinds of inks, CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) for process printing (4C), such as color photos and Pantone inks also known as spot color, such as PMS # 187. PMS stands for Pantone Matching System. This is a universal system to pick the same color every time. (Note: always count on a slight variation of color from paper to paper and press to press.)


TEXT STOCK: The paper used on the inside pages of your piece. If the cover is the same stock as the inside pages, it is called a "self cover". If the cover is a heavier weight it is referred to as “cover weight”.


THERMOGRAPHY: This process deposits a resin on the wet ink and heats it up resulting in a raised image.


TRANSPARENCIES: Photos submitted in 35mm, 1-1/4", 4x5" or up to 8-1/2 x 11" positive film that need to be scanned. These files will be saved as RGB or CMYK files to jpg, tif, or eps format.


TRIM SIZE: Indicates the size of the final, folded piece.

Example: A 4-page newsletter with a flat size of 17 x 11 is 8-1/2 x 11 inches final, folded trim size.


TRIM or CUT: Most jobs are printed on oversized stock and then "trimmed" or "cut" to the final size.


TYPESETTING: Typing copy into a program and applying all the formats needed to layout the job correctly, i.e., applying the correct fonts, size, line space, width, etc.


WATERMARK: A translucent design in paper that can be seen when the paper is held to the light. Many checks feature watermarks to prove authenticity. There are certain papers that come from the mill with a watermark in the paper. Sometimes a tinted varnish or very light screen of an ink is used on paper to simulate the effect of a watermark.


WORK & TURN: The front and back of a job are imposed on one side of the press sheet. The sheet is then turned over and using the same plate the sheet is “backed up” with the correct images being printed front and back giving you 2 finished pieces.