Glossary of printing terms

A

A sizes
The industry standard for paper sizes. The most common is A4, and the largest is A0.

B

Barcodes
A code made up of black lines and white spaces. Can be read by a scanner, and contains product information, including price.
Bindings
The techniques used to assemble individual pages into a finished book, booklet, magazine or catalogue.
Black and white
A print option using only black ink. Printing in black and white is cheaper than printing in colour.
Bleed
The area of print design beyond the trim line. Used to hide cutting variances. Bleed size is usually 3mm, with a few exceptions.
Book sizes
Books can be printed in various sizes, ranging from Novel (127mm x 203mm) to Square (210mm x 210mm).

C

Casebound
Also known as 'hardcover', case bound is a binding method used for books with a high page count. The cover is non-flexible and durable.
CMYK
An acronym for the four colour values used in offset printing: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK.
CMYK values
Print colours are created by blending the CMYK colours, and the density of each colour is represented by a value between 1 and 100.
Colour conversion
The best practice of converting artwork from RGB to CMYK before sending a file to print.
Colour matching
The challenge of matching the colours of an on-screen design to those on the printed page.
Colour printing
A print option using the CMYK colour values.
Colour variance
The issue of colours appearing slightly different between print runs. Paper types, laminations, and digital and litho printing can also result in colour variations.
Cover pages
The pages on the front and back of a print product. Can be supplied as individual pages or as a single page with an integrated spine, depending on the product.
Cover papers
The four pages added as a cover to a booklet. Available in various paper types, weights, and finishes.
Custom quote
A quote for a print job with a bespoke size.
Custom size
A size that falls outside the standard A sizes.

D

Delivery
Refers to the delivery of a print order. Costs and times depend on the size of the order and its destination.
Digital printing
A print technique used for small print runs. Offers a fast turnaround time.
Double spreads
A print option where the design stretches across the full width of two pages. Ideal for magazines, brochures and photobooks.

E

Electronic proofs
A way to review your artwork as a PDF, ebook, or individual thumbnails before the file is sent to print.
End papers
The paper at the beginning and end of a book, fixed to the inside of the cover. Also known as end sheets or end leaves.

F

Finishes
Refers to activities performed on print material after the actual printing is finished, such as lamination.
Foil stamping
A printing method where foil is transferred at a high temperature onto the surface of a print product. Offers a high-end, luxurious look and feel.
FSC papers
FSC' stands for Forest Stewardship Council. The FSC label guarantees that the trees used to make the paper have been replaced, or allowed to regrow naturally.

G

Gloss lamination
A type of print finish. Offers a bright and shiny look, perfect for magazines and brochures.
Gloss paper
A coated paper with a high shine. Printed colours look bright and vivid, making it perfect for striking photographs and daring design.
GSM (grams per square)
A measurement of paper weight. The higher the GSM number, the heavier the paper.

I

Image resolution
Refers to the number of pixels in an image. The higher the resolution of the image, the better the quality of the print.
Industry standard sizes
Common paper sizes used in the industry for different printed products.
Ink density
Also known as ink saturation. The quantity of ink used to acheive dark or light colours through CMYK values. Too much ink can cause issues.
Interior pages
The pages inside a book or brochure. Requires careful consideration when setting up print files.
International shipping
Refers to shipping outside of the UK. We ship to the US, Europe, and most countries worldwide.
ISBN
Stands for 'International Standard Book Number'. A number unique to your book or magazine. Required for selling online or in stores.

L

Lamination
Plastic film coating applied to a printed sheet. Helps protect the design from damage. Available in two styles: gloss or matt.
Litho printing
A print technique used for large print runs. The design is inked and transferred from a metal printing plate to a rubber blanket, and from the rubber to paper, resulting in a sharp, clean print.
Loop bound
A binding method using metal loops designed to fit into a ring binder or lever arch file.

M

Manufacturing variance
Refers to the smallest of variations during the printing, trimming and binding of a print product.
Matt lamination
A type of print finish. Offers a muted and classy look, perfect for flyers, posters and business cards.

N

Natural paper
Uncoated and untreated paper. Appears off-white. Perfect for a rustic/vintage look.

O

Out of gamut
A warning that appears in the Photoshop colour picker tool. It lets you know that the chosen colour may not print accurately with CMYK.

P

Page count
The method of accurately counting pages for printing. Pages within a booklet are printed in multiples of 4 sides.
Pagination
The process of arranging pages in the correct order for a book.
Pantone colour
Pantone® colours (commonly referred to as Spot Colours) are pre-mixed solid inks. Pantone® is the name of the company that makes the ink.
Paper
Material manufactured from the pulp of wood. Used for printing.
Paper sizes
Refers to the range of available paper sizes, including the industry standard A sizes, and the most common and popular special sizes.
Paper type
Refers to the range of available paper types, including silk, gloss, uncoated, natural, and recycled.
Paper weight
The thickness of the paper type.
Perfect bound
A binding method widely used for soft cover books and magazines of a certain page count. The pages and cover are glued together at the spine.
Pricing fluctuations
The changes in price due to increased labour costs, material costs, or shipping rates.
Print file
The file containing your artwork, which is uploaded to our print ordering system.
Print ready PDF
A PDF file that is ready for print. This means everything is sized correctly, images are of 300 dpi quality with CMYK colours, and a bleed has been added.
Printing variance
Refers to the smallest of variations during the printing, trimming and binding of a print product.
Production
The steps taken to turnaround your print product. Timeframes can vary due to print techniques, product types, finishes, and binding.
Proof
The preview of your print product.
Proofing
The act of carefully reviewing and confirming that everything is correct before going to print.

Q

Quiet area
Helps keep important design elements, such as text and graphics, away from the edge of the paper.

R

Recycled paper
Consists of 100% recycled used paper. It has a natural look with a high whiteness.
RGB
A system for representing colours on a computer display. Red, green, and blue are combined in various proportions to create any colour in the visible spectrum.
RGB to CMYK
The conversion of RGB colours to the print-ready CMYK format.
Rich black
A black ink which also contains Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow to produce a deeper and more saturated tone.

S

Saddle stitched
A binding method where the folded sheets of a booklet or magazine are gathered together, one inside the other, and fixed through the fold line with wire staples.
Safe zone
Another name for the 'quiet area', the safe zone keeps important design elements, such as text and graphics, away from the edge of the paper.
Saturation
Often the cause for the difference in colour between what's on the screen and what's printed on the page.
Shipping
Refers to the shipping of a print order. Costs and times depend on the size of the order and its destination.
Silk paper
A coated paper with a satin finish and a slight sheen. Suitable for items containing text and pictures. Printed colours appear bright and well-defined.
Sketch covers
Special edition comic book covers which are left blank to allow the artist the option of drawing their own artwork on the cover.
Soft touch lamination
A type of print finish. Soft to the touch, it's a great option for business cards, and also adds a premium look to hardback and paperback books.
Special options
A range of specialist printing features and finishes designed to elevate the final product. Includes Spot UV, Foil Stamping, and several optional features for casebound books.
Special sizes
A range of special and custom paper sizes.
Spine width
The width of a book's spine. This will depend on the number of pages, paper stock, and cover type.
Split shipping
A shipping option where part of an order can be sent to one location, and the rest to another.
Spot colour
Spot colour is just another name for Pantone® colours which are pre-mixed solid inks. Pantone® is the name of the company that makes the ink.
Spot UV
A specialist print finish. UV coating is added to pre-defined areas of the artwork to add an extra sheen and draw attention to a design element.
Standard black
A colour of black used in printing containing only black ink (100% K) and nothing else.
Staple bound
A binding method where the folded sheets of a booklet or magazine are gathered together, one inside the other, and fixed through the fold line with wire staples.

T

Timeline
The length of time it takes to deliver a print job once your order has been submitted.
Trim line
A dotted line that indicates where we'll trim the paper.
Turnaround
The length of time it takes to deliver a print job once your order has been submitted.

U

Uncoated paper
Paper that has not been coated, resulting in a soft finish. Easy to write on, it's a great option for postcards or stationery.
UV varnish
A specialist print finish. Ink is applied to paper stock, giving the page a smooth finish. Offers a good alternative to lamination.

V

Variant covers
A comic book cover print option which allows various front cover designs, but the same internal pages. Ideal for special editions, collectables, or crowdfunding rewards.
VAT
Value Added Tax. VAT typically applies to a printed product if it's intended to be written on, i.e. letterheads, postcards, greeting cards, etc.

W

Wiro bound
A binding method which uses coated metal wires to bind the document together. Popular for business reports and academic papers, as the document can lay flat when open.
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