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Printing Help & FAQ | Printing Industry Terms

Glossary of Common Printing Terms


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Accordian fold – two or more parallel folds that open like an accordian.
Aquous Coating – a water-based coating applied to protect printed piece – gloss or matte
Artwork – photographs, drawings, paintings, hand lettering to illustrate printed matter.
Alteration – change in copy or specifications made after production has begun.
Author’s Alterations (AA)– corrections and/or changes made after submission of original copy.


Banding – method of packaging printed pieces using paper, rubber or fiberglass bands.
Banding – Unintended streaks or patterns in solid areas of color on a printed page,
Bar code – a pattern of vertical bars and spaces representing characters that is readable with a
Barrel fold – folding a sheet two or more times in same direction
Base color – a first color used as a background on which other colors are printed.
Basic size – a standard, predetermined size for a particular type of paper
Basic weight – the weight in pounds of a predetermined number of sheets of paper having a specific size for a specific type of paper
Binding – various methods of securing sections together and/or fastening them to a cover, to form singles copies.
Bleed – printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming.
Blind Embossing – a raised impression made without using ink of foil
Blueline – a proof made directly from the press negative onto photo-sensitive paper showing the printed piece exactly as it will appear.
Bond paper – strong durable paper grade used of letterheads and forms
Brightness – characteristic of paper referring to how much light it reflects.
Bristol – type of board paper used for post cards, business cards, and other heavy-use products.


C – Roman numeral for 100
CF – coated front
CB – coated back
CFB – coated front and back
Caliper – thickness of paper, expressed in thousandths of an inch.
Camera ready – the state in printing when the document is ready to be photographed to make plates for the press.
Camera-ready Copy – artwork or pasted up material that is ready for reproduction. Camera copy should be clean, free of glue or trash, flat, and printed in dark ink.
C1S – paper stock coated on one side.
C2S – paper stock coated on both sides.
Carbonless – paper that is coated with chemicals to produce copies without carbon in-between the sheets. (also referred to as NCR paper)
Card Stock – a stiff rigid paper used for postcards, manual covers or table tents.
Carload – usually 40,000 pounds of paper
Case bind – a type of binding used in making hard cover books using glue
Cast coated – coated paper with a surface similar to that of a glossy photograph.
Chipboard – inexpensive, single-ply cardboard, usually brown or gray.
Coated Paper – paper with a layer of coating applied to one or both sides, such as gloss, dull and matte finish.
Collate – a finishing term for gathering paper in a precise order
Color separations – the separation of color artwork or transparencies on to separate sheet for each color. The division of a multi-color original into the primary process colors of yellow, magenta, cyan, and black.
Cotton fiber paper (rag content or cotton content) – paper that contains 25% or more cellulose fibers derived from lint cotton, cotton linters and cotton or line cloth cuttings.
Copy – all furnished material or disc used in the production of a printed product
Copyright – An exclusive right that has been granted by law to a particular creative product. The right of copyright gives protection to the originator of material to prevent use without express permission or acknowledgement of the originator.
Composition – the process of setting type and arranging it on the page
Cover stock – a heavy printing paper used to cover books
Crash printing – letterpress printing on carbon or carbonless forms so image prints simultaneously on all sheets in the set.
Crash numbering – numbering paper by pressing an image on the first sheet which is transferred to all parts of a printed set.
Crimping – puncture marks holding business forms together
Cut Sheet – paper cut into standard sizes ready for use with a copier or press.
Cutting Die – sharp edged devise usually made of steel rule, to cut paper, cardboard, etc. on printing press.
CWT – paper distributor abbreviation for 100 pounds.

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