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Printing & Mailing Glossary

AAs: Author’s Alterations. Refers to changes made after a job has been submitted (such as changes in design, layout, copy, graphics or photographs). Printers charge for AAs.

Absorbency: the capacity a paper has to absorb liquids, like the inks or water used to run offset lithographic presses.

Acid-free paper (also Archival): paper that has an alkaline pH and resists deteriorating over time. Archival paper must be acid-free and alkaline with a pH of 7.5 to 8.5. 

Accordion fold: a type of parallel fold consisting of two parallel folds in opposite directions. Each panel of an accordion fold is approximately the same size. When viewed on end, the fold forms a Z or W. Also known as Z-fold or concertina fold.

Alkaline paper: paper made using additives to create an alkaline pH. Alkaline paper is used where aging resistance is desired.

Archival paper (also Acid-Free): paper that has an alkaline pH and resists deteriorating over time. Archival paper must be acid-free and alkaline with a pH of 7.5 to 8.5.  

Banner: the area on the front of a newsletter that identifies the publication.

Binding:  fastening papers together for ease of reading, transportation and protection. Papers may be bound using a variety of materials—like wire, thread, glue or plastic combs.  

Bleed: an image, text or printed color that runs off the edge of a page. Bleeding one or more edges of a printed page increases both the amount of paper needed and the overall production cost of a printed job. When formatting a document to bleed, provide a minimum of 1/8” of text or color beyond the printed page.  Bleeds are created by trimming the excess paper after printing.

Blind embossing: stamping raised letters or images into paper using pressure and a die but without adding foil or ink to the raised areas.

Blueline: a printer’s proof.  All AA’s and corrections should be made prior to seeing a blueline.  Changes to a blueline increase the overall cost of a job.

Brightness:  the brilliance of a paper.

BRC/BRE: abbreviation for Business Reply Card and Business Reply Envelope.

Buckslip:  one or more small inserts about the size of a dollar bill, enclosed in a letter or brochure.  Used to emphasize a special offer or summarize the letter or brochure.

C1S:  paper that is coated on one side only (coated one side).

C2S: paper that is coated on both sides (coated two sides).

C-fold: a type of parallel fold that creates six panels from a sheet of paper. Commonly used for bi-fold, tri-panel brochures, the C-fold is also known as letter fold, trifold or brochure fold.

Carrier envelope (also OME and OSE): the Outer Mailing Envelope or Outside Envelope in which the mailing is sent.

Characters per inch: the average number of a specific type face and size that fit into one horizontal inch or pica of type.

CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

Coated paper: paper with a coating applied to one (C1S) or both side (C2S). Coated papers are available in a variety of finishes including gloss, dull and matte. Coated papers tend to accept ink with minimal dot gain, which is important for creating sharp, bright images.

Compiled list: names gathered from public sources, often containing additional demographic information. A compiled list does not represent any sort of past buying activity.

Continuation line: a line of type that indicates where an article continues to or from. Also called jump line.

Crop: to cut off part or parts of an image or graphic.

Cut-size:  paper sizes of 8 1/2″x11″, 8 1/2″x14″, or 11″x17″.

Debossing: pressing letters or illustrations into a sheet of paper using a metal or plastic die to create an impressed (debossed) image.

Design template: a framework for page design that includes the grid structure of the page (number and width of columns; width of margins; location of fixed elements) as well as font selection and type specifications and color scheme. Used to promote design consistency and efficient production.

Desktop Publishing:  the process of creating plate-ready artwork on a personal computer.

Die-cutting: using a molded, metal-edged die to precision cut shapes into or out of a piece of paper. If a printing project requires a custom-made die, the total cost of the job will increase.

Direct-to-Plate:  The process by which plates are created using information sent to a direct-to-plate device from a computer, bypassing film.

Dot gain:  when wet ink coming in contact with paper, spreading as it transfers. Paper weight, type of paper (coated or uncoated) and press type effect the amount of dot gain.

Dummy: A folded sample used to show finished size, shape and binding requirements. 

Duotone:  a two-color halftone of the same image created with two screens, two plates, and two colors.

Electronic Publishing: the process of distributing printed information in electronic formats. 

Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF): a bleaching process that does not use chlorine gas. See our Paper page to view the variety of ECF papers we offer.

Em Space: a lateral space equal to the width of the lower case letter “m”.

Emboss: A process by which a metal die is used for raising an area of paper to create letterforms, shapes and textures.

En space: a lateral space equal to the width of the lower case “n”. Used in typography and typesetting.

End sign: a dingbat or printer’s ornament used to mark the end of a story. It signals the reader that they have reached the end of the article.

EPS: Encapsulated Postscript. A vector based, computer graphics file format developed by Adobe Systems. EPS is the preferred format for many computer illustrations because of its file size and color control.

Felt finish: a soft texture that affects the look of an uncoated paper.

Foil stamping: impressing a thin, flexible sheet of metal or pigment on paper. Clear or opaque foil is carried on a plastic sheet. Stamping separates the foil from the plastic and makes it adhere to the paper.

Four-color Process: combining dots of cyan (C), magenta (M), yellow (Y) and black (K) to simulate the continuous tones and variety of colors in a color image.
French fold: two folds at right angles to each other to create an 8-panel brochure.

Galley Proof: preliminary print of typeset material submitted by the typesetter for correction or approval by a proofreader prior to blueline and printing. Also called a galley.

Gatefold: two or more parallel folds on a sheet of paper with the end flaps folding inward.

GIF: acronym for Graphic Interchange Format. GIF is one of the two most common file formats for graphic images on the World Wide Web. (The other is JPEG.) GIF files can be various resolutions and in color. Because GIF files are limited to 256 colors, they are more effective for scanned images such as illustrations rather than color photos. GIF files end with a .gif extension.

Gripper: A clamp-like device which grabs the front of the press sheet and pulls it through the press. Also refers to the edge of the press sheet which leaves the press first.

Guillotine: a machine with a cutting blade that moves between two upright guides, and trims stacks of paper uniformly as it moves downward.

Guts: the inside pages of a booklet, magazine, book, or other multi-page publication that has a separate cover.

Gutter: the inside margins or blank space between two facing panels.

Halftone:  the use of dots to simulate the tones between light and dark.

Hard copy: A printed copy of text or a page layout.

House list: a mailing list compiled by the business.

Indicia: postal information placed on a printed product.

JPEG: acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group, an ISO/IEC group of experts that develops and maintains standards for a suite of compression algorithms for computer file images. Also a term for any graphic image file produced by using a JPEG standard. JPEG files end with a .jpg extension.

Jump line: a line of type that indicates where an article continues to or from. Also called continuation line.

Justified type: columns of type in which each line length is identical and type is aligned (i.e., justified) on both the right and left margins. Type is justified by changing the spacing between individual words in each line. 

Kicker: a short phrase set above the headline. A kicker introduces a section heading or identifies a regular column.

Left-justified: columns of type are aligned (i.e. justified) with the left margin.  Also ragged right.

Linen finish: a paper finish that appears similar to the texture of linen fabric.

Mailing panel: the portion of a mail piece containing the return address, mailing address of the recipient and postage.

Masthead: the section of a newsletter that lists the publisher and other pertinent data such as staff names, contributors, subscription information, addresses, logo. Typically located on page 2.

Merge/Purge: a data process that merges two or more lists or files, then purges the file of duplicates.

Nameplate: the area on the front of a newsletter that identifies the publication. Usually contains the name of the newsletter, possibly graphics or a logo, and perhaps a subtitle, motto, and publication information including volume and issue number or date. Also called banner.

NCR forms: multiple-part, “No Carbon Required,” carbonless form papers available in up to 6 parts which can be padded or loose.  The back of the NCR paper is coated with a thin layer of microcapsules that contain a colorless dye in a hydrocarbon solvent; writing or printing pressure breaks the capsules and releases the dye, which reacts with a clay or resin coating on top of a second paper sheet, located directly below the first, to produce visible color.

Opacity:  how opaque a paper is. The more fibers or fillers a paper has, the more opaque it is and the less it allows printing on the reverse to show through. 

Pantone Matching System (PMS): a solid color communication system based on the visual matching of individual, pre-mixed colors. Colors are represented in a series of books with thousands of precisely printed colors alongside printers’ formulas for mixing those colors. The original Pantone Matching System included 504 colors and has since been expanded to include 1,012 colors along with their printing ink formulations. (Definition courtesy of Pantone.)

Parallel fold: one of two basic types of folds; the folds run parallel to each of the preceding folds.

PDF: an acronym for Portable Document Format, a universal file format that preserves the fonts, images, graphics, and layout of any source document, regardless of the application and platform used to create it.

Perfect binding: a book binding process where pages are glued together and then adhered directly to the cover of the book to create a flat spine.  A telephone directory is one example of a perfect binding.

pH: the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a material.  Paper with a pH below 7.0 is considered acidic; paper with a pH above 7.0 is considered acid-free, or alkaline.

Pica: a unit of measurement commonly used for lines of type. Six picas = one inch. Also used to describe a typewriter type that prints 10 characters per inch.

: an object, onto which an image is burned using light, which is placed onto a press for the use of printing ink onto paper.

a standard unit of measurement for type; used for measuring depth of printing. One point is equal to .013836 of an inch; six points = one pica; 72 points = one inch. Points are used not only to measure the type itself, but the space around it. Points and picas may also be used to set margins, specify column widths, and spaces between columns.

Pre-consumer Recovered Paper: paper material recovered after the papermaking process but before consumer use.

Post-consumer Recovered Paper: paper material recovered after consumer use.

Pull quote: a small selection of text pulled out from the main body of the article and quoted in a larger typeface.

Ragged right type: columns of type in which the length of each line is different and word spacing is consistent. Ragged right type aligns type along the left margin but not along the right margin, leading to a more casual look.

Raster fonts: bit-mapped fonts. Unlike scalable fonts, bit-mapped fonts must be designed for a specific device and at a specific size and resolution.

Raster graphics file: a file containing a grid of x and y coordinates. The coordinates identify which are illuminated in monochrome or color values. Also called a bit map because it maps information directly to the display grid.

Raster image processing (RIP): the process of converting files into raster graphic images or bit maps. Laser printers use RIP to convert vector images (such as the letters in a font) into raster graphics images.

Raster: a row-oriented representation of images such as the horizontal lines on a television or computer monitor.

Ream a package typically containing 500 sheets of text weight paper or 250 sheets of index or card stock.

Recycled Content Paper (RCP): product containing less than 100% recovered fiber.

Recycled Paper: a paper product consisting of 100% recovered fiber.

Right angle fold: one of two basic types of fold; the fold runs perpendicular to each of the preceding folds.

Right justified:  columns of type are aligned (i.e., justified) with the right page margin creating a ragged left margin with irregular line lengths.

Roll fold: a type of parallel type fold consisting of two or more folds that turn in on each other.

Saddle stitch: a book binding where pages are stapled together through the spine of the book.

Sans serif:  a type face that has no tails or curled points (serifs) at the ends.

Scalable font: a font represented with vector graphics. The best-known vector font system is PostScript. Also known as outline fonts or vector fonts.

Score: creasing paper to help it fold better.

Self cover: a booklet having a cover made of the same paper as the inside pages.

Sheet-fed press: a press that prints single sheets of paper, rather than a continuous roll or “web” of paper.

Side stitch
: binding by stapling along one side of a sheet.

:   a sheet of printed pages which, when folded, become a part of a book or publication.

the surface property of paper that describes its degree of uniform evenness and flatness; typically, the smoother the paper, the better the ink dot formation and the sharper the image.

customer-defined listing of exactly what is required to produce a printed piece—paper, ink, sides to be printed, number of pages, bindery requirements, finished size.

Spot color: single colors applied when process color is not necessary or when process colors need to be augmented (i.e. a fluorescent pink headline or a metallic tint).

Style sheet: in a document, the rules for using typography, color, punctuation and grammar.

Subhead: a few words that appear within the body of an article that divides it into smaller sections.

Swatchbook: a booklet containing paper samples and paper specifications.

Swipe file: a collection of noteworthy examples of various items of interest that can be used by a writer or editor to promote creativity or to assist in developing copy for publication.

: the edge of the press sheet that leaves the press last.

Tear strength: a measure of how likely a paper will continue to tear once started.

Tensile strength: a measure of how likely a paper is to break when pulled at opposite ends, in opposite directions.

Teaser copy: words printed on the outside of a mail piece that interest the reader in opening the mail piece.

TIFF: acronym for Tagged Image File Format, a widely used file format for storing bit-mapped images. TIFF graphics can be any resolution; can be black and white, gray scale or color. Files in TIFF format end with a .tif extension.

Toner adhesion: the extent to which toner is “melted” and bonded to the paper.

Toner: a fine, negatively charged, plastic-based powder.

Trim size: the final size of a printed piece once it’s been cut to specification.

UV Ink: ink specially formulated to dry quickly with ultraviolet (UV) light while still on press.

Varnish: a coating printed on top of a printed sheet to protect it, add a finish, and/or add a tinge of color. An entire sheet may be varnished, or certain areas, like halftones, may be spot varnished to add emphasis and appeal.

Vegetable-based ink:  ink using vegetable oil as the vehicle for carrying pigment. Vegetable ink colors tend to be more vibrant than petroleum-based inks but may take longer to dry.
Vector graphics: a method of representing images as mathematical formulates to define the shapes in the image. Vector graphics are more flexible than bit-mapped graphics because they look the same when scaled (i.e., when the size is changed). Also known as object-oriented graphics.

Whiteness: the measure of light reflected from a sheet of paper. How white a paper is depends on how evenly it reflects all colors in the visible spectrum.

Work and tumble
: printing one side of a sheet and turning it over from the gripper to the tail to print the second side using the same side guide and plate for the second side.

Work and turn
: printing one side of a sheet and turning it over from left to right, using the same side guides and plate for the second side.

Our thanks to the Society for Service Professionals in Printing for use of these vocabulary words.

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