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Helpful Tips

The following print tips are for your benefit. You will find useful information that will help you with getting your print job done in an efficient and cost effective manner. Check back frequently for updates! The Glossary of Printing Terms below is a great resource.

  • Work with your print distributor at the inception of a project. Consulting a printer at the early part of a job will usually save you time, money & frustration.
  • JPEG's AND GIF's are too low in resolution for commercial printing. As a general rule scan at 2400dpi for printing and save it as a TIFF
  • Be aware of folding panels. Do your work at 100% the size of the printed piece and allow for proper margins where you want it to fold!
  • Resize ALL halftone and four color scans in PhotoShop or any other paint program. Resizing in the page programs or draw programs can lead to long imaging (RIP) time (and therefore cost more money). DO NOT compress the scans in PhotoShop! Export scans or graphics at the size they will print.
  • Want To Make A Photo Look Old Or More Interesting-try a vignette. It creates an old-fashioned look and can be helpful in cropping out unwanted parts of an image.
  • Save Time By Rotating Your Images Before Printing. This is because when the document is printed, images rotated in the page-layout application create additional work for the computer and printer and take a lot longer to image than ones placed un-rotated. It can be very time-consuming and memory-intensive.
  • Avoid missing images by getting a preflight utility program that collects images in addition to fonts while checking your files for other problems.
  • Get a deep, rich black on your printing. Use the following CMYK values for black (do not use for small text)

    Cyan - 40%,
    Magenta - 40%,
    Yellow - 20%,
    Black - 100%

    For small text:
    Cyan - 0%,
    Magenta - 0%,
    Yellow - 0%,
    Black - 100%

This technique will give you a deep black where you have heavy black ink coverage on your printing.


Glossary of
Printing Terms


  • Alignment - Orientation of type with regard to edges of the column or paper, such as aligned right (flush right), aligned left (flush left), and aligned on center (centered) - Also called range. Justified is aligned right and left.
  • Alley - Space between images or columns of type on a page, as compared to gutter.
  • Aqueous Coating - This finish is shinier and smoother than varnish, and is done in line usually flood coated on the press. It provides a high-gloss surface that deters dirt and fingerprints. 
  • Artwork - All original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, intended for printing. Also called art.
  • Ascender - Part of lowercase letters, such as h and b, that rises above its x height.
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  • Basis weight - In the United States and Canada, the weight, in pounds, of a ream (five hundred sheets) of paper cut to the basic size. Also called ream weight and substance weight (sub weight). When writing basis weight, the word "pound" is abbreviated with the symbol "#." Fifty-pound coated is written 50# coated.
  • Bindery - Place where printed products are collated, trimmed, folded and/or bound. A bindery may be a department within a printing company or a separate business.
  • Bleed - Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming.
  • Blueline - "Blueline" is a generic term for proofs made from a variety of materials having similar appearances. It may also be called a blackprint, blue, blueprint, brownline, brownprint, diazo, dyeline, ozalid, position proof, silverprint, Dylux or VanDyke.
  • Book paper - Category of paper suitable for publications and general printing needs. Book paper is divided into uncoated paper (also called offset paper), coated paper (also called art paper, enamel paper, gloss paper and slick paper), and text paper.
  • Brightness - Characteristic of paper or ink referring to how much light it reflects.
  • Build a color - To overlap two or more screen tints to create a new color. Such an overlap is called a build, color build, stacked screen build or tint build.
  • Bulk mail - Alternate term for third-class mail.
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  • CMYK - Acronym for Cyan (process Blue), Magenta (process Red), Yellow and Black, the primary colors of ink used in professional printing process to which Black is added for enhancement or for true Black. Not to be confused with the primary colors of light which are Red, Green and Blue (RGB).
  • Coated paper - Paper with a coating of clay and other substances that improves reflectivity and ink holdout. Mills produce coated paper appropriate for publications in three major categories of surface shine - gloss, dull and matte.
  • Color separation - The conversion of a color photograph or drawing into its component spectral colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK), with one screened negative produced per color.
  • Commercial printer - Printer producing a wide range of products such as announcement, publications and poster. Commercial printer typically use metal plates made from negatives. Also called job printer because each job is different.
  • Composition - 1) In photography, the manner in which an image is arranged and framed  to give an overall effect.  2) In typography, the assembly of typographic elements, such as words and paragraphs, into pages ready for printing.  3)In graphic design, the arrangement of type, graphics, and other elements on the page.
  • Copy - 1) For an editor or typesetter, all written material.  2) For a graphic designer or printer, everything to be printed - art, photographs and graphics, as well as words.
  • Copyfit - 1) To calculate the space that a given amount of text required in a specific typeface and point size. 2) To edit writing and adjust typography for the purpose of making text fit a layout.
  • Copyright - Ownership of creative work by the writer, photographer or artist who made it or, if work for hire, the organization that paid for it.
  • Copyright notice - Statement of copyright ownership that has the word "copyright" or symbol C, the year of publication, and the name of the copyright owner.
  • Corner marks - Lines on a proof, plate or press sheet showing locations of the corners of a page or finished piece.
  • Crop - To eliminate portions of an image so the remainder is more useful, pleasing, or able to fit the layout.
  • Crop marks - Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks and tick marks.
  • Crossover - Type or art that continues from one page across the gutter to the opposite page. Also called bridge, gutter bleed and gutter jump.
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  • Descender - Portion of a lowercase letter such as p or y falling below its baseline.
  • DPI - (dots per inch) used to measure the resolution of an image
  • Drop shadow - Screen tint or rule touching an illustration, box or type to give a three-dimensional shadow effect. Also called flat shadow.
  • Dull finish - Flat (not glossy) finish or coated paper, slightly smoother than matte. Also called suede finish, velour finish and velvet finish.
  • Dummy - Mock-up simulating the final product. Dummies range from very simple, showing only size or rough layout, to very complicated, showing position and color of type and art. Also called mock-up.
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  • Edition - One version of a publication, such as the western regional edition.
  • Estimate - Price that states what a job will probably cost. Also called bid, quotation and tender. Printers base estimates on specifications provided by customers.
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  • Fair use - Concept in copyright law allowing, without permission from copyright holder, short quotations from a copyrighted product for purposes of reviewing or teaching. Also called fair dealing.
  • Film Lamination - We offer both shiny and matte film lamination. For soft cover books we use lay-flat film. This is the best protection for any book cover but also the most expensive.
  • Finish - 1) Surface characteristics of paper. 2) General term for trimming, folding, binding, and all other postpress operations.
  • Finished size - Size of product after production is complete, as compared to flat size. Also called trim size.
  • Fixed costs - Costs that remain the same regardless of how many copies are printed, as compared to variable costs. The costs of copywriting, photography and design are examples of fixed costs.
  • Flat - U.S. Postal Service term for a piece of mail whose length is from 5 to 15 inches and height from 3 1/2 to 12 inches, as compared to letter mail, which has smaller dimensions. Flats include unfolded publications.
  • Flat size - Size of product after printing and trimming, but before folding, as compared to finished size.
  • Fold marks - Lines on proof, printing plate or press sheet indicating where to fold the final product.
  • Font - Complete assortment of upper- and lowercase characters, numerals, punctuation and other symbols of one typeface. A font is a concept, not a physical object. Fonts can be held in the storage or memory of a computer.
  • Footer - Information, such as page number or chapter title, that appears at the bottom of every page. Also called running foot.
  • Format - Size or layout, depending on context. "The format is 8 1/2 x 11." "Our publication has a one-column format."
  • FTP - (File Transfer Protocol) a standard protocol for transferring data over the Internet. To use FTP, FTP software must be set up on both sending and receiving ends of an FTP transmission, and the client (initiator) must have a username, password and a valid target address on the server. (Back to Top)


  • Gloss finish - Paper with a coating that reflects light well, as compared to dull- or matte-coated paper. Also called art paper, enamel paper and slick paper.
  • Glossy print - Photography term for black-and-white print made on glossy paper.
  • Grade - General term used to distinguish between or among printing papers, but whose specific meaning depends on context. Grade can refer to the category, class, rating, finish or brand of paper.
  • Grain direction - Predominant direction in which fibers in paper become aligned during manufacturing. Also called machine direction.
  • Grainy - Appearance of a photograph or halftone that has been enlarged so much that the pattern of crystals in the emulsion can be seen in the photo or its reproduction.
  • Graphics - Visual elements that supplement type to make printed messages clearer or more interesting.
  • Gutter - Line or fold at which facing pages meet.
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  • Hard Cover- We can produce case bound books with printed covers, or with cloth or vinyl coverings that usually also require a dust jacket. 
  • Hard proof - Proof on paper or other substrate, as compared to a soft proof.
  • Header - Information, such as page number or chapter title, that appears at the top of every page of a publication.
  • Hickey - Spot or imperfection in printing, most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage, caused by dirt on the plate or blanket. Also called bull's eye and fish eye.
  • House sheet - Paper kept in stock by a printer and suitable for a wide variety of printing jobs. Also called floor sheet.
  • House style - Guidelines for grammar, typography, color and other graphic features, as adopted by a specific organization.
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  • Indicia - Postal permit information printed on objects to be mailed and accepted by U.S. Postal Service in place of stamps.
  • In-house - Refers to an activity, such as graphic design or printing, performed within an organization, not purchased from outsiders.
  • ISBN # - The International Standard Book Number, or ISBN (sometimes pronounced "is-ben"), is a unique identifier for books, intended to be used commercially..
  • ISSN - Abbreviation for International Standard Serial Number issue. 1) All copies of a publication having content related to one theme, such as the 10th anniversary issue, or location, such as the western issue.  2) All copies of a publication on the same date, such as the September issue.
  • Issue date - Year, month or date on which a publication was mailed or released. (Back to Top)



  • Kern - To reduce space between two or three characters so those characters appear better fitted together.
  • Kicker - Small, secondary headline placed above a primary headline to lead into the primary headline.
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  • Layout - Sketch or plan of how a page or sheet will look when printed.
  • Lead - 1) Main story in a publication.  2) First paragraph in a news story. Pronounced "leed."
  • Legible - Referring to type having sufficient contrast with its background so readers can easily perceive the characters, as compared to readable.
  • Letter spacing - Amount of space between all characters. Also called character spacing.
  • Line copy - Any high-contrast image, including type, as compared to continuous-tone copy. Also called line art and line work.
  • Lines per inch - Linear measure of screen ruling expressing how many lines of dots there are per inch in a screen tint, halftone or separation. Abbreviated lpi.
  • Lines screen - The number of dot lines created per inch, or lines per inch (LPI).
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  • Maximum Printing Density - 300%
  • Mechanical Fastenings - We offer GBC, Plasticoil, Wire-O and others.
  • Mailing service - Business specializing in addressing and mailing large quantities of printed pieces. Also called Fulfillment.
  • Makeover - 1) New design replacing an old design.  2) Printing job done over again - made over without changes - because of unacceptable flaws in the previous production run.
  • Mark up - To write on a manuscript or proof instructions about matters such as typesetting, color correcting or printing.
  • Markup - Amount of money that one supplier adds to the price of goods or services secured for a customer from another supplier.
  • Matte finish - Flat (not glossy) finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper.
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  • Nameplate - Portion of front page of publication that graphically presents its name, subtitle and date line.
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  • Offset printing - Printing technique that transfer ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from a plate to paper.
  • Opacity - Characteristic of paper that prevents printing on one side from showing through to the other.
  • Overprint - To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint. Also called surprint.
  • Overrun - Number of pieces printed or paper made in excess of the quantity ordered.
  • Overs - Printed pieces in an overrun.
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  • Page - One side of a leaf in a publication. One sheet folded in half yields four pages. An eight-page signature has four pages printed on each side of the sheet.
  • Page count - Total number of pages that a publication has. Also called extent.
  • Page proof - Proof of type and graphics as they will look on the finished page complete with elements such as headings and rules.
  • PANTONE - Colors Brand name of colors in the PANTONE Matching System.
  • PDF- Portable Document Format. An electronic document that must be read with the Adobe Acrobat computer program.
  • Perfect Binding - We can take 22 signatures in one pass, giving you a 352pg publication with 16pg signatures or 704pg with 32pg sigs.  However larger page counts are possible with multiple passes. We also offer lay-flat binding.
  • Pica - Anglo-American unit of typographic measure equal to .166 inch (4.128mm). One pica has twelve points.
  • PMS - Obsolete reference to PANTONE Matching System. The correct trade name of the colors in the PANTONE Matching System is PANTONE Colors, not PMS Colors.
  • Point - Regarding type, a unit of measure used to express size (height) of type, distance between lines (leading) and thickness of rules. One point equals 1/12 pica and .013875 inch (.351mm).
  • PPI (Pages per Inch) - A measure assigned to paper stock by the manufacturer to be used in calculating book spines; i.e., total book pages (256) divided by paper PPI (512) = 1/2" spine. It also stands for pixels per inch, another way to measure the resolution of an image.
  • Prepress - Color separating, digital stripping, plate making and other prepress functions performed by the printer, or a separator prior to printing. Also called preparation.
  • Press check - Event at which make-ready sheets from the press are examined before authorizing full production to begin.
  • Printer - A company that produces printed material for an individual or for the industry.
  • Proof - Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press, and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.
  • Publication - Short, usually informal periodical presenting specialized information to a limited audience.
  • Publisher - 1) Person or organization that coordinates creation, design, production and distribution of publications.  2) Chief executive officer or owner of a publishing company.
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  • Quality - Subjective term relating to expectations by the customer, printer, and other professionals associated with a printing job and whether the job meets those expectations.
  • Quotation - Price offered by a printer to produce a specific job, thus alternate for estimate. The quoted price is the printer's side of the contract based on specifications from the customer.
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  • Resolution - Sharpness of an image on film, paper, computer screen, disk, tape or other medium.
  • RGB - Red, Green, Blue; the color language of computers. Computers´ monitors and digital cameras use these colors to create all the colors seen on the monitor and saved in files. Green gives the color green, but is also used for contrast control.
  • Rights - Conditions and terms of a licensing agreement between a copyright owner and a publisher.
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  • Saddle stitch - To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine, as compared to side stitch. Also called pamphlet stitch, saddle wire and stitch bind.
  • Sans-serif type - Type without serifs. Also called gothic type.
  • Satin finish - Alternate term for dull finish on coated paper.
  • Scan - To read an image using a pinpoint beam of light.
  • Screen density - Refers to the amount of ink that a screen tint allows to print. Also called screen percentage. Screen density is expressed as percent of ink coverage.
  • Screen ruling - Number of rows or lines of dots per inch or centimeter in a screen for making a screen tint or halftone. Also called line count, ruling, screen frequency, screen size and screen value.
  • Screen tint - Color created by dots instead of solid ink coverage. Also called Benday, fill pattern, screen tone, shading, tint and tone.
  • Second-class mail - U.S. Postal Service classification for newspapers, magazines and other periodicals that meet specific requirements.
  • Self-mailer - Printed piece designed to mail without an envelope.
  • Serial identification code - Alphanumeric set that may follow an ISSN to identify the issue date and number of a periodical. Abbreviated SIC.
  • Show through - Printing on one side of a sheet that is visible from the other side due to insufficient opacity of the paper, as compared to strike through.
  • Sidebar - Block of information related to and placed near an article, but set off by design and/or typography as a separate unit.
  • Smooth finish - The most level finish offered on offset paper.
  • Soft Proof - A low resolution PDF proof either emailed or FTP’d for monitor viewing.
  • Solid - 1) Any area of the sheet receiving 100 percent ink coverage, as compared to a screen tint. An area of an image on film or a plate that will print as 100 percent coverage is also called a solid. 2) Type set with no leading.
  • Soy-based inks - Inks using vegetable oils instead of petroleum products as pigment vehicles, thus being easier on the environment.
  • Specifications - Complete and precisely written description of features of a printing job, such as type size and leading, paper grade and quantity, printing quality or binding method. Abbreviated specs. Specifications can include the following:  type specs define typeface, size, line measure, indentations,  headlines, and other features of typography. Printing specs concentrate on press work, such as quantities, ink colors and dot gains, but often include prepress, paper and finishing. Finishing specs tell folding requirements and trim size.
  • Spine - The back of a bound book connecting the two covers; also called backbone.
  • Spiral Wire (Binding) - A type of mechanical binding using a continuous wire of corkscrew or spring-coil form run through round holes punched into the binding edge.
  • Spread - 1) Two pages that face each other and are designed as one visual or production unit. 2) Layout of several photos, especially on facing pages.
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  • Terms and conditions - Specifics of an order for printing that a printer and a customer make part of their contract.
  • Text - Main portion of type on a page, as opposed to such elements as headlines and captions.
  • Text paper - Designation for printing papers with textured surfaces, such as laid or linen.
  • Type - Letters, numerals, punctuation marks and other symbols produced by a machine and that will be reproduced by printing.
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  • Uncoated paper - Paper that has not been coated with clay. Also called offset paper.
  • Underrun - Quantity of printing delivered that is less than the quantity ordered.
  • Unit cost - The cost of one item in a print run. Unit cost is computed by dividing the total cost of the printing job - variable costs plus fixed costs - by the quantity of products delivered.
  • UV Coating - This is a very shiny finish, and all kinds of creative combinations can be done with this process. We can spot cover, use dyes and print with the UV coating, and create raised effects for embossing. We use a screen method that applies a very heavy coating for extra shine and protection. UV can also can be done in matte finish.
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  • Variable costs - Costs of a printing job that change depending on how many pieces are produced, as compared to fixed costs. Costs for paper, printing and binding are examples of variable costs.
  • Vellum finish - Somewhat rough, toothy finish; smoother than antique, rougher than English.
  • Varnish - This economical finish provides a mild shine and protection. It can be done inline as either spot varnish or flood coated. With spot varnish you have extra cost in prepress, setups and plates.
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  • Waste - Unusable paper or paper damaged during normal makeready, printing or bindery operations, as compared to spoilage.
  • White space - Area of a printed piece that does not contain images or type. Also called negative space.
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