Please click on the links below for definitions of commonly used printing terms.





Accordion Fold (Z fold)

A term for two or more parallel folds that result in the sheet opening like a fan. Accordion folds are used on products such as brochures and maps.





Aqueous Coating

Aqueous coating is a water-based coating that is applied like ink to protect and enhance the printing underneath. It is used on a wide variety of printed materials.





A-Style (Announcement) Envelope

This style of envelope has a square flap and is most used for announcements, small booklets, brochures and promotional pieces, and it has a large area for flap design.





Baronial Envelope

An elegant and more formal envelope that has a pointed flap suitable for announcements, greeting cards, and invitations.






The part of the artwork that is extended outside the trim edges of a printed piece. Bleed gives the printer a small amount of extra space to compensate for paper and design inconsistencies. Bleeds in the USA and UK are generally 1/8" wide.





Blind Emboss

A raised impression made without using ink or foil.





Bond Paper

A high quality durable writing paper. It is characterized by erasability, good absorption, and rigidity.





Booklet Envelope

An "open side" envelope (long edge opening) that is suitable for insertion of annual reports, booklets, calendars and sales materials.





C1S and C2S

Abbreviations for "coated one side" and "coated two sides".





Catalog Envelope

An "open end" envelope (short edge opening) that is suitable for insertion of catalogs, annual reports, booklets, calendars and sales materials.





Cast Coated Paper

A paper with an exceptionally glossy coated finish, usually on one side only. It is coated and then pressure dried using a polished roller that imparts an enamel like hard gloss finish. Cast coated papers are the glossiest of all coated papers.






CMYK is a so-called "secondary" color space that is also a printing method using Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black inks. CMYK is derived from the "primary" RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) color space—that is, Red = Yellow + Magenta; Green = Cyan + Yellow; Blue = Magenta + Cyan. Most commercial printing presses and digital color printing devices use CMYK inks. In theory, C, M, and Y inks can print all colors, but dark areas tend to lack contrast when printed using only these three colors. Black ink (K) is added to compensate for this, thereby achieving a more accurate rendition of color and detail.






Refers to paper or paperboard that has been coated to improve printability or appearance. Clay (kaolin) is predominantly used and may be applied during the manufacturing process, or on an off-machine coater. Paper may be coated one side (C1S) or two sides (C2S).





Combination Emboss

Combination embossing is the process of embossing and foil stamping the same image. It involves imprinting and aligning foil over an embossed image to create a foil emboss.





Commercial Envelope

The standard envelope used for business and personal mailings. This envelope is used for checks, statements, invoices, stationery and direct marketing.











A rough layout of a printed piece (or blank paper) showing paper stock, position and finished size.





Felt Paper

A felt finish has no obvious texture or pattern and is a highly absorbent paper. Expect dot gain when printing on a felt finish sheet. A 20% screen tint on a felt finish will print like a 35% screen tint on a smoother sheet.





Foil Stamping

The process of applying a thin film of colored foil to paper for decorative purposes.





Gate Fold

A three or four panel fold where the two outer panels fold inward to meet in the center. An open gate fold has three panels, and the center panel is twice the size of the two outer panels. With a closed gate fold the center panel folds in half again, which closes the brochure and conceals the two outer panels.





Gripper Edge

The space required for a printing press to grab and hold the paper.






The central area at the spine of a book between the left and right pages.






Imprinted designation on mail that denotes postage payment (e.g., permit imprint).










Laid Paper

A paper that is manufactured with textured lines on its surface. This finish is used mostly for business stationery, like letterhead, envelopes and business cards.






A film applied to one or both sides of a printed document to provide protection and give it a glossy or matte finish.





Linen Paper

Similar to a laid finish, this paper has textured lines on the surface of the sheet, but they are finer and more regular than those that appear on a laid finish stock. This paper is also used frequently for business stationery.





Opaque Ink

Ink that does not allow the paper or other ink lying below it to show through. Metallic ink is one example of an opaque ink.





Open End

Envelopes that have the opening and seal flap on the short side.





Open Side

Envelopes that have the opening and seal flap on the long side.










Perfect Binding

A bookbinding technique in which the pages are glued rather than sewn to the cover and used primarily for paperbacks, small manuals, phone books, etc.





Perforation (Perf)

A line of small dashed or dotted holes that are punched through paper for the purpose of tearing off part of a printed piece (such as a form that must be separated from the main printed material). Perfs are most commonly a straight vertical or horizontal line.





Plus Cover

A bound printed piece (such as a booklet) with a cover that is a different weight and/or type of paper stock than the text pages, as opposed to the cover being the same weight and type of paper stock (which is called a self cover).






A type of image file that is made up of pixels, like a photograph or an image scan. These types of images are typically made and/or edited using Adobe Photoshop (or similar) image editing application.





Register Emboss

Registered embossing is a process that creates an embossed image that aligns to other visible elements made with ink, foil, punching, or another embossed image.





Remittance Envelope

A pre-printed envelope that is used by donors to enclose a donation and to provide contact information to an organization. A wallet-style flap covers the donor's information.





Saddle Stitch

A binding method in which folded printed matter (such as a booklet, catalog, brochure, or manual) rides through a stitching machine on a "saddle" to be bound into a finished piece using staples.






A clean trough-like groove or indentation that is pressed into paper with a metal rule for the purpose of making folding easier or for preventing cracking along a fold.





Self Cover

A bound printed piece (such as a booklet) with a cover that is the same weight and type of paper stock as the text pages, as opposed to the cover being a different weight and/or type of paper stock (which is called a plus cover).






A printing process whereby slow-drying ink is applied to paper and lightly dusted with a resinous powder while the ink is still wet. The paper then passes through a heat chamber where the powder melts and fuses with the ink to produce a raised surface.






Cutting a printed piece to the next size needed for finishing, or to its final size. Trim marks are incorporated on the printed sheet to show where the cuts are to be made.





Varnish Coating

Varnish is essentially ink without pigment. It requires its own printing unit on press. It can be wet-trapped (printed in-line at the same time as the inks), or dry-trapped (run as an additional pass through the press after the initial ink coating has dried). The latter often provides a glossier finish. Varnish comes in gloss, dull, and satin (in between dull and gloss), and can be tinted by adding pigment to the varnish.






A type of graphic file that is made up of line drawings and shapes, like logos, icons, and clip art. These types of graphics are typically made and/or edited using the Adobe Illustrator (or similar) vector drawing application.





Vellum Paper

A vellum finish has an eggshell appearance and is consistent and even but not as much as a smooth finish. Vellum is one of the most popular uncoated finishes and paper with this finish has a high ink absorbency rate. This crisp, translucent paper has a subtle textured surface and comes in both solid colors and embossed designs. Vellum paper may be marbled, metallic, flecked with gold and silver, or embedded with leaves. It is used for invitations, greeting cards, and anywhere a translucent paper enhances a printed piece.





Wove Paper

An even finish in uncoated paper with a slight texture made by a felt roller covered in woven wire. Wove is a popular sheet for stationery and book publishing. This paper is bulky with only a slightly rough surface. Because of its bulk, the paper is ideal for laser printer projects and suggests quality and strength.

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