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Advice centre

We are here to help - after all, print production can be a demanding and complex world. At The Lettershop Group we have the experience and expertise to help guide you through. This section of the site is designed to do just that - and we will continue to expand and add useful information.

Glossary of terms

To help navigate your way through the complexity of terms used in the print production industry, we have developed a truly comprehensive Glossary of terms that will help you tell your friction feeder from your form rollers and your IPH from your ink density. It's all here...

  • Paper
  • Printing
  • Finishing
  • Data Processing
  • Fulfilment & DM

Paper terms

A

ANTIQUE FINISH

Paper with a rough, sized surface used for book and cover stock.

ART

Paper which has been coated with china clay and size. It has a smooth surface, which may be matt OR dull but is usually shiny.

A SIZES

Range of metric finished paper sizes designated by the international Standards Organisation (ISO).

B

BLADE COATED PAPER

Paper coated by a process in which the freshly applied wet coating is smoothed and the excess removed by a thin, flexible metal blade.

BLEACHING

A chemical treatment used to whiten, brighten and improve paper pulp prior to papermaking.

BOARDS

Paper weight beyond a certain weight usually over 170gsm

BROADSHEET

Any sheet in its basic size – not folded or cut

BULK

1. A term given to paper to describe its thickness relative to its weight. 2. A term used to define the number of pages per inch of a book relative to its given basis weight.

B SIZES

Another ISO range of sizes, intended basically for posters, wall charts, etc. Where the gap between 'A' sizes represents too big a jump.

C

CALENDER

A steel rollered pressing machine used in the making of paper to give a smooth finish. A "Super Calender" produces an even smoother finish.

CALIPER

The thickness of a paper in thousandths of an inch.

CARTRIDGE

A tough opaque paper with a rough surface, often used for drawing or fine art printing. A Coated cartridge is not related, but is a matt-coated paper, normally woodfree, designed for offset printing. There is a specific type of cartridge used for the making of envelopes.

COATED PAPER

Paper which has received a coating of china clay or other mineral on one or both sides, producing a smooth sheet. There are several different types.

CONTINUOUS STATIONERY

A web of paper with sprockets down the side. This can be often fan folded and perforated after printing so that the finished sheets can be personalised on a tractor fed computer printer.

C SIZES

Another range within the ISO series. 'C' sizes are oversized and used for envelopes and folded to contain 'A' size sheets.

D

DANDY ROLL

During the paper making process while the paper is still 90% water, it passes over a wire mesh cylinder (dandy roll), which imparts surface textures on the paper such as wove or laid. This is also the stage where the watermark is put onto the paper.

DECKLE EDGE

The rough or feathered edge of paper when left untrimmed.

DENSITY

1. The lay of paper fibres relative to tightness or looseness that affects the bulk, the absorbency and the finish of the paper. 2. The degree of tone, weight of darkness or colour within a photo or reproduction; measurable by the densitometer.

DIMENSIONAL STABILITY

The qualities of paper to stabilize its original size when undergoing pressure or exposed to moisture.

DOUBLE COATED

A better quality coated paper which has two coatings on each side.

DULL FINISH

Any matte finished paper.

E

F

FINISH

The surface quality of paper.

G

GLASSINE

A strong transparent paper.

GLOSS

Gloss refers to the reflectivity of paper or of the printed matter on it.

GRAIN

The pattern of fibres in a manufactured sheet of paper. See Machine Direction.

GRAMMAGE

The weight of paper measured in grammes per square meter (gsm). Previously known as substance or base weight.

H

I

IMITATION ART

A printing paper heavily loaded with china clay and highly finished, but cheaper than art paper.

INTERNATIONAL PAPER SIZES

The standard metric series of paper sizes as defined by the International Standards Organisation see A, B and C sizes. See page 29.

J

K

KRAFT

A coarse unbleached paper used for printing and industrial products.

L

LAID

A fine quality paper in which the smooth wove surface is replaced by a series of translucent lines about 1mm apart crossed at 90 degrees by lines 25mm apart. These are created by a wire roller, called a Dandy Roll, on the papermaking machine.

LOADING

Clay or mineral fillers used in the finishing of a paper to produce an opaque, smooth sheet.

LONG GRAIN

Paper fibres tend to align themselves in the Machine Direction. Long grain follows the long edge of the sheet. Can be long grain or short grain and e.g. Gravure is 451mm wide x 630mm deep, 630mm wide x 451 deep.

M

MACHINE COATED

Paper coated on the papermaking machine.

MACHINE DIRECTION

The length of the paper web and the direction in which the cellulose fibres tend to lie due to the motion of the papermaking machine. The sheet is stronger in the machine direction.

MACHINE OR MILL FINISHED

Finished on the machine, but not super-calendered.

MACHINE OR MILL GLAZED

Term used for a large range of papers which are characteristically rough on one side, highly glazed on another - such as poster papers.

MATT ART

An art paper with a dull, eggshell finish.

MECHANICAL PAPER

Any paper made with mechanical woodpulp.

N

NCR

No Carbon Required. Common name for carbonless paper.

O

OPAQUE

A quality of paper that allows relatively little light to pass through.

P

PART MECHANICAL

A paper made using a proportion of mechanical wood pulp added to a chemical pulp mix.

PAPERBOARD

Any paper with a thickness (caliper) of 12 points (.3mm) or more.

Q

R

REAM

500 sheets of paper.

REFLECTIVITY

Ability of paper or board to reflect light, a measure of gloss.

S

SATIN FINISH

A smooth, delicately embossed finished paper with sheen.

SHORT GRAIN

The direction of the paper fibres along the short edge of the sheet.

SMOOTHNESS

That quality of paper defined by its levelness that allows for pressure consistency in printing, assuring uniformity of print.

SUBSTRATE

Paper, card, metal - any material onto which an image is to be printed.

SULPHITE

A wood free paper produced by processing wood chips in a solution of sulphurous acid and one of its base salts – calcium, sodium, magnesium or ammonia.

SUPER CALENDERED

Paper given a smooth glazed surfaced by passing through highly polished metal rollers under heavy pressure.

T

TENSILE STRENGTH

The paper's ability to withstand pressure.

TWO-SIDEDNESS

The difference in feel and appearance of either side of a sheet of paper due to the papermaking process having a felt and wire side.

U

UNCALENDERED

Papers that are not smoothed by going through the calendering process.

V

VIRGIN FIBRE

Paper or board pulp fibre which is being used for the first time and not recycled fibre.

W

WEB

The continuous ribbon in which paper is made by machine. This can be cut into sheets or wound onto a reel.

WOODFREE PAPER

Any paper made from chemical wood pulp, but containing no mechanical wood pulp.

WOVE

Paper with a fine woven texture.

X

Y

Z

Printing terms

A

ABRASION RESISTANCE

The resistance to scratching of a surface of paper by other paper surfaces or other materials.

ABSORBENCY

The ability of a material to take up moisture.

ABSORPTION

The first stage of drying of an ink when printed.

ACHROMATIC

The non-colours: - black, white and grey.

ACRYLIC

A water-soluble polymer added to paints to make it tough and flexible after drying.

AIR

Large white areas in a design layout

ALIGNMENT

The position of type and or art materials as they are aligned on a horizontal or vertical line.

ALKALI BLUE

Also called reflex blue. A pigment used in carbon black inks and varnishes to improve luster.

ANGLE BAR

In web-fed printing (printing on rolls of paper as opposed to single sheets), an angle bar is a metal bar that is used to turn paper between two components of the press.

ANILINE

An oil based solvent (quick drying) used in the preparation process of dyes and inks.

ANODIZED PLATE

In lithography, a plate manufactured with a barrier of aluminum oxide, which prevents chemical reactions from breaking down the plate; it provides optimum press performance.

ANTI-SKINNING AGENT

An antioxidant agent used to prevent inks from skinning over in the can.

APRON

The white area of text (or illustrations) at the margins, which form a foldout.

AQUEOUS PLATE

Water-soluble plate coatings, which are less toxic and less polluting.

ARTWORK

All illustrated material, ornamentation, photos and charts, etc. that is prepared for reproduction.

AUTHOR'S CORRECTIONS

Alterations made by client or agency to page proofs. These can be expensive, especially if they are made after the proofing or platemaking stage.

B

BACK MARGIN

A term referring to the margin that lies closest to the back of the book.

BACK STEP COLLATION

The collation of book signatures according to reference marks that are printed on the back fold of each section. Back to back Print applied to both sides of a sheet of paper.

BACK-UP

The process of printing the other side of a sheet previously printed on one side only. Also known as perfecting.

BAKING

A term given to the procedure of drying coatings onto papers.

BLANKET

A rubber roller which transfers or offsets the image from the plate to the paper.

BLANKET CYLINDER

The cylinder on the offset press which carries the rubber blanket.

BLANKET TO BLANKET PRESS

A printing method in which there are two blanket cylinders through which a sheet of paper is passed and printed on both sides.

BLEED

Printed matter which runs off the edge of the trim area.

BLIND IMAGE

A problem that arises in the lithography process when an image loses its ink receptivity and fails to print.

BLISTERING

Although seemingly dry, paper does contain approximately 5% moisture. In cases where there is excessive moisture, and the paper is passed through a high heat-drying chamber, the moisture within the paper actually boils and causes a bubble or blistering effect.

BLOCKING

The adhesion of one coated sheet to another, causing paper tears or particles of the coating to shed away from the paper surface.

BODY

1. The main shank or portion of the letter character other than the ascenders and descenders. 2. A term used to define the thickness or viscosity of printer's ink.

BODY SIZE

The point size of a particular type character.

BOLDFACE

Any type that has a heavier black stroke that makes it more conspicuous.

BROMIDE PROOF

A photographic print on bromide paper, also know as PMT Photo Mechanical Transfer. Proofs are black and white regardless of the number of colours.

BRONZING

A printing method whereby special ink is applied to sheets and then a powder is applied producing a metallic effect.

C

CAD

A computer aided design system used in the production of new formats.

CHALKING

A term used to describe the quality of print on paper where the absorption of the paper is so great that it breaks up the ink image creating loose pigment dust.

CLIPPING PATH

Selecting an area of image to be used from a transparency or other form of origination when using an AppleMac.

COLD-SET INKS

A variety of inks that are in solid form originally but are melted in a hot press and then solidified when they contact paper.

COLOUR CONTROL BAR

A coloured strip in various densities located on the back edge of the sheet, which enables printers and platemakers to check print quality, ink density, dot gain, slur trapping and grey balance.

COLOUR SEPARATION

A process of separating the various colours of a picture so that printing plates for each colour can be produced.

COLOUR STRENGTH

A term referring to the relative amount of pigmentation in an ink.

COMBINATION LINE & HALFTONE WORK

Line and tone (eg words and pictures) together on one printing plate.

CONTINUOUS STATIONERY

A web of paper with sprockets down the side. This is often fan folded and perforated after printing so that the finished sheets can be personalised on a tractor fed computer printer.

CONTRAST

The degree of tonal separation or gradation in the range from black to white.

CONVERTIBLE

A press which can print (perfect) either a single colour on both sides or two colours one side.

CORNER MARKS

Marks on a final printed sheet that indicate the trim lines or register indicators.

CREEP

When the rubber blanket on a cylinder moves forward due to contact with the plate or paper.

CROMALIN

A full colour image created by a photographic process from the 4 colour separations, which gives printer and client an accurate comparison against the printed work. Analogue or digital.

CROP

To eliminate a portion of the art or copy as indicated by crop marks.

CROP MARKS

Small lines that show the document edge essential for register and trim.

CTP

Computer to plate. Computer produced repro that bypasses film work.

CUT OFF

The maximum size of individually cut off items produced by a web press. The dimension is determined by the circumference of the printing cylinder.

CURL

A term used to describe the differences of either side of a sheet relative to coatings, absorbency etc.; the concave side is the curl side.

CYLINDER GAP

The gap or space in the cylinder of a press where the mechanism for plate clamps and grippers is housed.

D

DENSITOMETER

An optical device used by printers and photographers to measure and control the density of colour.

DENSITY

1. The lay of paper fibres relative to tightness or looseness that affects the bulk, the absorbency and the finish of the paper. 2. The degree of tone, weight of darkness or colour within a photo or reproduction; measurable by the densitometer.

DIGITAL ARTWORK

Supplied via ISDN or on Disc

DIGITAL PROOFING

Digital proofs take the form of colour run-outs

DISTRIBUTING ROLLERS

The rollers on a printing machine which transfer the ink evenly from a feed duct to the plate.

DOT GAIN

A defect in which screen dots print larger than they should, causing darker tones or colours.

DRAWDOWN

A method used by ink makers to determine the colour, quality and tone of ink. It entails the drawing of a spatula over a drop of ink, spreading it flat over the paper.

DRIER

A term that describes any additives to ink which accelerates the drying process.

DROP SHADOW

A shadow image placed strategically behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page.

DUCTOR ROLLER

The roller between the inking and the dampening rollers.

DUMMY

A sample of a proposed job made up with the actual materials and fully finished to the correct size.

DUOTONE

A two-colour halftone reproduction from a single colour photograph.

E

ELLIPTICAL DOT

Halftone screens in which the dots are actually elongated to produce improved middle tones.

EM

A unit of measurement equaling 12 points or 4.5mm.

EN

A measurement half the width of an Em.

F

FILE FORMATS

Artwork file formats can include EPS, JPEGS, DCS,DCS 1.0,DCS 2.0, TIFF, PICT and PDF.

FILLING IN

A fault in printing where the ink fills in the fine line or halftone dot areas.

FIT

The word used to describe how the four process colours (or special colours) are positioned together. For example a bad 'fit' will produce poor quality reproduction.

FLEXOGRAPHY

A letterpress-type printing process, which uses a rubber or plastic plate.

FONT

Another name for a typeface or a laser typeface.

FORM ROLLERS

The rollers that come into direct contact with the plate of a printing press.

FOUR COLOUR PRESS

A printing machine which prints one side of the sheet in four colours as it passes through.

FOUR COLOUR PROCESS

Colour printing using the three primary colours, yellow, magenta, cyan with black superimposed. Also known as CMYK.

FRICTION FEEDER

A paper 'feeding' method that is attached to a press or enclosing machine.

G

GHOSTING

An image which appears as a lighter area on a subsequent print due to local blanket depressions from previous image areas

GLOSS INK

Quick drying oil-based inks with low penetration qualities, used on coated stock.

GRADUATION

The smooth transition from one tone or colour to another, or the range of values between black and white.

GRAVURE

Full name Rotogravure, a printing process that uses a metal plate etched with a negative image in the form of diamond shaped pits. Ink is then carried in these pits to the paper surface, excess being wiped off the surface by a metal blade.

GRIP

The area at the front edge of the sheet, which must be left, unprinted to allow the machine to pull the sheet through.

GREY BALANCE

Area of the Colour Bar that reveals if print has the correct colour values and fit.

GUILLOTINE

Equipment used for cutting paper.

GUTTER

A gap between to printed sections on the same sheet.

H

HALFTONE

The use of screening devices to convert a continuous tone image (such as a photo), into a reproducible dot pattern, which can be more easily printed.

HICKEY

A term used to describe the effect that occurs when a spec of dust or debris (dried ink) adheres to the printing plate and creates a spot or imperfection in the printing.

HIGHLIGHTS

The lightest tones of a photo, printed halftone or illustration. In the finished halftone, these highlights are represented by the finest dots.

I

IPH

Impressions Per Hour

IMAGE

The ink carrying areas on a lithographic printing plate.

IMPACT PRINT

A personalisation method using a print head and ink ribbon, similar to an old fashioned typewriter. Now largely superseded by inkjet and laser.

IMPOSITION

The correct sequential arrangement of pages that are to be printed, along with all the margins in proper alignment, before producing the plates for printing.

IMPRESSION

The image which is transferred to the blanket and then onto the paper.

IMPRESSION CYLINDER

A cylinder of a printing press which supports one surface of the sheet or web while the other surface receives its printed image from the blanket cylinder.

INDICIA

Markings pre-printed on mailing envelopes to replace the stamp.

INDUSTRIAL PAPERS

A term used to denote papers such as janitorial, sanitary or heavy packing papers.

INK DENSITY

The strength of (solid) ink that is printed on to a sheet of paper.

INK DUCT

The fountain supplying the ink to the printing press.

INK FOUNTAIN

The device that stores and meters ink to the inking rollers.

INK HOLDOUT

A quality of paper to be resistant to ink absorption, allowing the ink to dry on the paper surface.

INK MIST

Any threads or filaments that protrude from the main printed letter body of long inks, as seen in newsprint.

INKJET PRINT

A printing process that uses a jet of ink droplets fired at a paper to form images. Mostly used for personalisation, where it is quicker and cheaper than laser, although not such high quality.

INKING ROLLER

A printing machine roller that carries ink from the fountain to the plate.

INK SETTING

The inertial resistance to flow that occurs to ink as soon as it is printed.

J

K

KEYLINE

Lines that are drawn on artwork that indicate the exact placement, shape and size of elements including halftones, illustrations, etc.

L

LACQUER

A pigmentless varnish applied on or off press to give a gloss finish to the work. Often dried or cured by infra-red or ultra-violet radiation.

LAMINATING

The application of a film over the printed surface of the paper or board, often by welding under heat. Used to give a durable shiny surface, or a smooth matt surface for effect.

LASER PRINTING

An electrostatic printing process similar to photocopying, except that the image is controlled by computer. Used for high quality personalisation of finished items. Each type of laser printer has different characteristics.

LAY

The position of the print on a sheet of paper.

LAY EDGES

The edges of a sheet which are placed flush with the side and marks on a printing press to ensure that the sheet will be held properly by the grippers and have uniform margins when printed.

LAYOUT

A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, roughs, thumbnails etc., of the final printed piece before it goes to print.

LEADING

The space between lines of type or lasered text.

LETTERPRESS

The original printing process where a raised image is used to transfer ink to the paper by direct contact under pressure.

LINEN PROOFER

A magnified eyeglass used by printers to examine the quality of repro, proofs or print.

LITHOGRAPHIC

A process in which the printing and non printing areas are not raised but made ink-receptive as opposed to ink-repellent.

M

MACHINE PROOF

A type of proof produced from the actual printing machine using correct inks and paper.

MAKE READY

The process, or time it takes, to set up the press, personalisation equipment and or the finishing line in order to run a job.

MOIRE

A clash of dot screens which results in an undesirable wavy pattern.

MOISTURE CONTENT

The amount of moisture in paper. It is expressed as a percentage of its weight. Typically, a moisture content of around 7-8% is recommended for printing on paper.

MONOCHROME

A black and white display with no grey tones.

MOTTLE

A term used to describe spotty or uneven ink absorption.

N

O

OFFLINE FINISHING

Any finishing process which takes place separately from the printing process.

OFFSET

A common method of lithographic printing where the ink is transferred from the plate to an offset blanket cylinder, then onto the substrate, which may be paper, card, metal or other material.

OFFSET GRAVURE

A complex offset process involving multiple transfers between the gravure plate, the plate cylinder and a solid rubber plate.

OPAQUE INK

Ink that completely covers any ink under itself.

ORIGINAL

Any matter or image intended for reproduction.

OVERPRINTING

Any printing that is done on an area that has already been printed.

OVERS

Industry practice that allows for a certain percentage over (or under) the specified required quantity to be considered acceptable.

P

PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM

A registered trade name, system of colour matching used in computer software, paper and inks.

PDF

Portable Document Format - a form of low-res artwork file that allows quick transfer by e-mail.

PLANNING

Imposing film prior to plate creation.

PLATE

A coated metallic sheet that holds the ink in the image areas before transferring on to the blanket before printing on to paper.

PRESS PASS

Approving print on the press.

PRINTING

Same plane, and the paper makes contact with the whole surface. The printing part is treated to receive and transmit ink to the paper; the non-printing surface is treated to attract water, thus rejecting ink from the ink roller.

PERFECTING

Printing both sides of a sheet of paper.

PICKING

1. When the tack of ink is stronger than the surface strength of the paper, some lifting of the paper surface occurs; this is referred to as picking. 2. An occurrence in printing whereby the tack of ink pulls fibres or coating off the paper surface, leaving spots on the printed surface.

PILING

A build up of pigment or paper coatings onto the plate, blankets or rollers.

PIN REGISTER

Using metal pins fitted into preset holes of copy sheets, films, plates and presses that will assure the proper registration.

PLATE (1)

The printing surface. Usually sensitised aluminium in the case of litho printing.

PMS (PANTONE)

The Pantone Matching System – an international colour specification system that is used as an industry standard to specify 'special' colours.

PLATE CYLINDER

The cylindrical surface on a rotary printing press which carries the plate.

POINT SIZE

The calibration used to specify typeface sizes.

POST-PRESS

The departments or processes that occur after printing, ie Personalisation, Folding & Finishing, Enclosing etc.

PRE-PRESS

The processes that occur prior to printing, ie Repro, Platemaking, Proofing etc.

PRESENSITISED PLATE

A plate that has been treated with light sensitive coatings by the manufacturer.

PRESS PASS

Approval of a print job on the machine prior to the full run.

PROCESS COLOURS

In printing the four primary colours are cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black. Also referred to as primary colours.

PROCESS PRINTING

Printing from two or more half tones to produce intermediate colours and shades.

PROGRESSIVE PROOFS

A set of colour proofs showing each plate printed in its appropriate colour and in registered combination with the proceeding colours. These act as a guide for the printer.

Q

R

REGISTER MARKS

Marks placed in the same relative position on sets of artwork, film and plates so when the marks are superimposed in printing the work falls in the correct position.

REPROGRAPHICS

Known as Repro, the process of producing 4 colour separations from artwork so that plates can be made.

RETOUCHING

Methods of altering the image on a computer or physical artwork, photography to change or alter an image.

REVERSED OUT PRINTING

White text (or coloured) reversed out of a background of solid colour.

RIBBON

Cutting sheets into streams off a web real - that can then be positioned on top of one another in a finishing line system.

RIP

Rasturised Image Processing.

ROLL OUT

A full mailing campaign which is undertaken after testing.

RUN-AROUND

A term given to copy that accommodates the lines of a picture or other image or copy.

S

SANS SERIF

A typeface character that doesn’t have a serif.

SCALING

The enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area.

SCANNING

Converting artwork into a digital image to output as plate, film or proof.

SCREEN

A screen is a thin transparent film onto which is printed a very fine matrix. A screen enables a continuous tone image such as a photograph or transparency, which cannot be reproduced by most printing process, to be broken down into tiny dots which can be printed and which from a normal viewing distance give the illusion of continuous tone. Screens are also used to print tints of solid colours by altering the size or spacing of the dots. Screens are referred to in terms of DPI (dots per inch) or dots per centimetre and the finer the screen, the better the quality of reproduction.

SCREEN ANGLES

The placement of halftone screens to avoid unwanted moiré patterns. Frequently used angles are black 45º, magenta 75º, yellow 90º, and cyan 105º.

SCREEN RULING

A measurement equaling the number of lines or dots per inch on a halftone screen.

SCUM

Unwanted ink marks in the non-image area.

SERIF

A small line at the extremities of a main stroke in a typeface character.

SET-OFF

Term for the unwanted transfer of printing ink from a printed sheet to a surface facing it.

SHARPEN

To decrease the dot size of the halftone, which in turn decreases the colour strength.

SHEETFED

Sheeted presses print and deliver flat cut sheets usually one to five colours one side only.

SHEETER

The name for the equipment that cuts the web real of paper.

SHEETWORK

The printing of two different images on two different sides of a sheet of paper by turning the page over after the first side is printed and using the same gripper and side guides.

SHOW THROUGH

A problem that occurs when the printing on one side of a sheet is seen from the other side.

SLUR

Printing deficiency that occurs when the screen dots are not transferred to the paper correctly.

SMALL OFFSET

Presses below A2 in size usually A3 or A4.

SPECIAL COLOURS

Any non-standard colour (for instance gold or silver) used on a 5 or 6 colour press in addition to the 4 process colours.

SPOT COLOUR

A colour that is printed not using four colour printing, but printed using self-coloured inks such as Pantone.

STATIC NEUTRALISER

A device on a printing press that minimizes the amount of static buildup on paper as it passes through the press.

STOCHASTIC PRINTING

A form of print that uses a system of random dots. The greater the number of dots within a specific area, the darker the tone. Definition is better than conventional screening as the dots are usually smaller.

SWATCH

A colour specimen.

T

TACK

The adhesive quality of inks.

THERMOGRAPHY

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

TICK MARKS

Small marks printed at the edge of the image area to enable accurate trimming of the finished sheet.

TINTS

Also known as half tones. Differing colour strengths definable between 2 - 100% reductions in dot size.

TRANSPARENT

Inks that do not block out the coloured inks that they print over, but instead blend with them to create intermediate colours.

TRAPPING

The process of printing wet ink over printed ink, which may be wet or dry.

U

V

VARNISHING

To apply oil, synthetic, spirit, cellulose or water based varnish to printed matter.

VEHICLE

A combination of varnish, waxes, dryers, etc., which contains the pigment of inks and controls the flow, the drying and the adhesion of the pigments to the printed surface.

VIGNETTE

An illustration in which the background fades gradually away until it blends into the unprinted paper.

W

WASHUP

The procedure of cleaning a particular ink from all of the printing elements (rollers, plate, ink fountain etc.) of a press.

WEB BREAK

A tear in a web roll during the printing process.

WEB FED

A printing press with paper supplied by a web rather than single sheets.

WEB OFFSET

Reel fed offset litho printing.

WEB PRESS

A printing press that prints on rolls of paper passed through the press in one continuous piece, as opposed to sheets of paper.

WEB TENSION

The term given to the tension or pull exerted by the web press on the web roll.

WET PROOFS

A colour programme produced on a separate ‘flat bed’ press using correct inks and paper.

WET TRAPPING

The ability of an ink film to accept subsequent ink films.

WIDOW

A typographic term which defines a word that is on a line of text on its own.

WORK AND TUMBLE

To print one side of a sheet and turn it from front to back to print the second side, keeping the same alignment of the side edges on the press.

WORK AND TURN

When both sides of a sheets is set on one plate. After one surface of the sheet has been printed it is turned over side to side and backed up from the same plate.

X

Y

Z

Finishing terms

A

AQUEOUS COATING

Water based, environmentally friendly, machine varnish that is largely rub-resistant.

B

BANKER'S FLAP ENVELOPE

Also called wallet flap; the wallet flap has more rounded flap edges.

BINDING METHODS

Methods of securing the leaves of a book or brochure.

BLIND EMBOSS

A design or bas relief impression that is made without using inks or metal foils.

BLIND FOLIO

A page that is counted in the overall counting of pages, but the number is not printed on the page.

BOLT EDGE

Sometimes referred to as a leading edge. This is the folded edge of paper that’s used to insert an item (ie letter, leaflet, flyer etc) into an envelope, when using suction fed methods of enclosing.

BROAD FOLD

A term given to the fold whereby paper is folded with the short side running with the grain.

BROADSHEET

Any sheet in its basic size - not folded or cut.

BUCKLE FOLD

Fold formed when the front edge of a moving sheet of paper is stopped by a plate, allowing it to buckle at a predetermined point.

BULK

1. A term given to paper to describe its thickness relative to its weight. 2. A term used to define the number of pages per inch of a book relative to its given basis weight.

C

CLOSED FACE

An envelope that doesn't have a window.

COIN REACTIVE INK

Ink that is visible only after having been rubbed with a metal object such as a coin.

COLLATE

To gather sheets or signatures together in their correct order.

CONCERTINA FOLD

Paper folded in consecutive opposite directions.

CONTOUR PRINTING

Cutting a shape in a product after it has been folded.

CREASE

A score in the printed piece to assist in folding and avoid spine cracking, e.g. birthday cards.

CROSS FOLD

Two folds at right angles to each other.

D

DEBOSSING

Printing or stamping in which dies are used to depress an image below the surface of paper or board.

DIE CUT

A shaped cut, such as the window in an envelope.

DRILL

The actual drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding.

DRY PEEL CARDS

A label construction in which two materials are bonded together with a 'dry' adhesive so that the top ply can be removed with no adhesive residue.

E

EMBOSSING

The molding and reshaping of paper by the use of special metal dies and heat, counter dies and pressure, to produce a raised image on the paper surface.

F

FAN FOLD

A fold giving the same effect as a fan – a left hand fold followed by a right hand fold and then repeated. Also known as a Concertina fold.

G

GATE FOLD

A fold which turns in on its self from both edges to the centre.

GATHERING

Assembling sheets of paper and signatures into their proper sequence; See also collate.

GLOSS

The shine on finished print produced by either printing on coated paper or with a gloss seal.

H

HIGH RES

High resolution scan

HORSESHOE GUM

Lines of re-moistenable glue that are generally positioned around the edges of application forms or reply devices, that once moistened can be sealed and returned without using a reply envelope.

HOT MELT GLUE

An adhesive system where the glue is a thermoplastic resin which becomes liquid when heated. It can then be applied via a nozzle to the substrate where it cools and tacks up.

I

IMPACT GLUE

Glue used to stick two pieces of paper together to form a double thickness, ie postcards.

INLINE FINISHING

Where the piece goes continuously from web, through the printing press and finishing line, finishing the completed product in one operation.

INSERT

A piece of printed material that is prepared for the purpose of being inserted into another piece of printed material, such as a magazine.

J

JOG

To vibrate a stack of finished pages so that they are tightly aligned for final trimming.

K

KNIFE FOLD

A fold created by a blunt straight edge plunging down into the middle of a flat sheet.

L

LINE GLUEING

A continuous strip of glue applied from a narrow nozzle.

LOW CONTACT ADHESIVE

Non-permanent glue that is used for tip-ons etc.

LOW RES

Low resolution scan. Generally used as a positional guide on artwork. Not suitable for reproduction.

M

MICRO ENCAPSULATION

Transferring, by printing method, scents that have been enclosed in gelatine which are released by rubbing (scratch and sniff).

N

NESTING

Placing one enclosure within the fold of another, prior to enclosing into an outer envelope.

O

OFFLINE FINISHING

Any finishing process which takes place separately from the printing process.

P

PATTERN GLUE

Glue laid down by a plate, so that the glue follows a given shape or is kept clear of certain areas.

PATTERN PERFORATING

A perforation in other than a simple straight line. Often produced in a similar way to a die cut, except no paper is removed.

PERFECT BOUND

Method of binding books without using wire stitching or sewing. Examples of perfect binding are telephone books and paperbacks.

PERFORATION

A line of cuts or punches which allows paper to be torn off easily – for instance, to remove a reply card.

PIGGY BACK LABEL

Label that is attached to another item in a mail pack, ie letter.

PLASTIC COMB

A method of binding books whereby holes are drilled on the side closest to the spine, and a plastic grasping device is inserted to hold the pages together.

PLOUGH FOLD

A fold created using a score, plough and series of turnover bars. A moving sheet is scored, as the score meets the plough (metal or plastic plate) a fold is gradually formed by the turnover bars and the sheet passes through ‘nip rollers’ to finish.

PRE MOIST GLUE

Strips of glue that are activated by moistening, ie on a reply device or on the flap of an envelope.

PUNCHING

Creating a shape by using a die-cutter.

Q

R

RAM BUNDLED

Inserts supplied on pallets interleaved at intervals with MDF paddles and strapped to pallets causing all trapped air to be pressed out and improving thru-put on enclosing machines.

REPOSITIONAL GLUE

Used on involvement devices, such as acceptance stamps, which are to be taken off of one mailing item ie a letter and attached a reply device.

RIBBONING

The splitting off of a strip of paper from the web, which is then brought back to join the original stream. Used to form separate pieces inside a one piece sealed outer.

RIBBON DIE CUTS

The lateral cutting of a strip of paper from the web to produce 'single' copies which can then be remerged with another strip of paper still in continuous web form.

ROLL FOLD

A method of folding where the paper is wrapped around itself at each fold.

ROTARY CUT

Method of cutting a finished product to size.

S

SADDLE STITCH

A method of binding sheets together by driving wire staples through them.

SCHEFFER

Incorporation of in-line finishing equipment.

SCORING

To impress paper with a rule for the purpose of making folding easier.

SEALER VARNISH

A machine applied coating that creates a seal on the ink and stops cracking on folds and scuffing. Advisable when folding across large areas of solid colour, or on heavy stocks.

SECTION

A sheet folded to create four or more book pages.

SELF COVER

A cover made out of the same paper stock as the internal sheets.

SHORT FOLD

A piece of paper that folds intentionally short of the width of the other pages in a booklet, brochure or leaflet.

SIDE STITCH

To staple sheets or signatures on the side closest to the spine.

SIGNATURE

A printed sheet with many pages on it that is folded so that the pages are in their proper numbered sequence, as in a book.

SPINE GLUEING

Pages held together by applying a strip of glue down a fold.

SPIRAL BIND

A binding whereby a wire or plastic is spiraled through holes punched along the binding side.

SPOT GLUEING

Applying a spot of glue to attach one piece of material lightly to another, so that the recipient can easily detach it. (See Tip-on).

SPOT VARNISHING

Varnish that is applied to specific areas as opposed to all over the sheet.

T

TIP-ON

Gluing a smaller item (which is intended to be removed by the recipient) on to larger item within a mail pack using low contact adhesive.

U

UV REACTIVE INKS

Inks that are visible only under UV light sources.

UV VARNISHING

A machine printed varnish, hardened by ultra-violet light.

V

W

WIRE-O BINDING

A mechanical binding which uses a series of double wire loops formed from a single continuous wire running along its length.

X

Y

Z

Data processing terms

A

AB SAMPLE

An example of a personalised document produced using dummy information.

ACORN

A system of classifying people by the type of area in which they live.

ADDRESS SCHROLLING

Removing blank lines from address data and eliminating un-occupied fields.

B

BAG LABEL FILE

Contains mailsort code, number of bags and bag number.

C

CASE CONVERSION

Converting data to upper and lower case that has been supplied in caps.

CBC

Royal Mail’s Customer Bar Code. A barcode lasered into the address window of a document, which allows the Royal Mail to process the mail electronically thereby providing greater discounts for the customer.

CHADD

Change of Address.

COLD LIST

A list of names & addresses of people who are not already customers of a specific client.

CPI

Characters Per Inch.

D

DATA

The raw information from which all processing begins, usually containing name & address details.

DATA DUMP

Data download and print out checked against file layout.

DATA PROTECTION ACT

UK Act of 1998 which offers directives for the collection, handling, storage and use of personal data.

DEDUPLICATION

The screening of data files and removing instances of duplicate records.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Data concerning customers or prospects, explicit or inferred, which can be used as selection criteria.

DEFAULT SALUTATION

Non-personalised addressing of a letter recipient eg. Dear Customer, usually used when the salutation cannot be generated.

DIGITAL SIGNATURE

A method of scanning a hand written signature and holding the information electronically so it can be lasered onto a document.

DOOR DROP

The street-by-street delivery of unaddressed promotional material by the Royal Mail.

DPI

Dots Per Inch

DUPLEX

Personalising both sides of a document at the same time.

DYNAMIC DUPLEXING

A job utilising a combination of simplex and duplex across several documents at the same time.

E

ENCLOSING SEQUENCE

Strict order and direction (facing the envelope window or flap), that the client requires items to be enclosed.

EPM

E-mail Permission Marketing. Asking recipients if they wish to be contacted via E-mail.

F

FORMATTING

The process of taking a client’s data and positioning all static text and variable data to be personalised.

FIELD

A block of information contained within a data file as defined by the record layout.

FILE LAYOUT

A guide regarding the data within each field and its specific location.

FIXED & PROPORTIONAL

Usually refers to fonts where the pitch or font width can be either ‘fixed’ in size or variable (proportional).

FLAG

An electronic ‘marker’ on a data file that allows a computer program to identify certain records on that file.

G

GAS

Gone Away Suppression file containing the name and address of circa 5 million people who no longer reside at the stated address.

GONE AWAY

The name and address of a particular person who no longer resides at that address.

GONE AWAYS

Term used by the Royal Mail to indicate that a person who once lived at an address not longer resides there.

H

HEALTHVIEW

A data-cleansing product unique to The Lettershop Group, which enables checks to be made regarding the quality of client data before mailing.

I

J

K

L

LASER BRIEF

A written instruction accompanying the data file detailing all the data processing requirements for that data file.

LASER PROOFS

An example of a personalised document produced for customer approval prior to commencement of a job.

LINE LISTING

List of Mailsorted data, detailing split between direct and residue mail packs per Mailsort code in Mailsort sequence.

LOOK-UP TABLE

A list of information from which a computer program can scan and use certain elements of that information according to a pre-defined instruction. Eg using a sort code to generate the branch address.

LPI

Lines Per Inch.

M

MAILSORT

The method of sorting data electronically into a standard format to allow for efficient delivery by the Royal Mail and provide various levels of postage discount for customers.

MAILSORT REPORT

A report detailing the results of the Mailsort process to illustrate the postage cost and discounts to the customer.

MATCHED CODE

A numerical or alphabetical reference code that is unique to each match.

MEDIA

The data transmission method to be used, ie magnetic tape, disc, ISDN, e-mail or cartridge.

MERGE & PURGE

Merging several data files together and removing instances of identical records according to pre-defined hierarchical sequence.

MPS

Mailing Preference Service. A list of names and addresses of people who have specifically requested not to receive unsolicited mail.

MORTALITY SCREENING

The removal of records of deceased people from data files by screening against industry standard deceased lists.

N

NCOA

The 11 million strong Royal Mail ‘National Change of Address’ register containing the old and new addresses of people who have moved house and requested the Royal Mail to redirect their mail to their new address.

NIXIE

Term used to describe returned undelivered mail.

O

OBA

Online Business Account. This is Royal mail’s electronic docketing system.

OCR

Optical Character Reading.

OMR

Optical Mark Reading.

P

PAF

The Royal Mail’s ‘Postcode Address File’ containing the full address and postcode of every private address in the UK.

PASSIVES

A file of customers who have brought in the past but have made no recent transactions.

PERSONALISATION

The way in which mail is addressed, salutated etc using various methods working from the client’s supplied data. Personalisation methods include Manhahattan, Ektajet, Inkjet, Electropress and VersaPress.

PPI

Pre-printed Postage Paid Impression on outer envelopes or post cards, showing Royal Mail HQ Number and Mailsort service.

PPS

Postal Preference Service.

PSYCHOGRAPHICS

Characteristics or qualities used to indicate life styles or behaviour of customers and prospects.

PRINT IMAGE FILE

Data that has been converted from ‘raw’ input data into a format recognised by specific personalisation equipment ie. Laser printers.

PROFILING

A process used to identify an ‘ideal’ customer based on various criteria such as age, gender, marital status, location etc.

Q

R

RECORD LAYOUT

Defines the structure of each record, including the contents and position of each field.

S

SALUTATION

Personalised addressing of a letter recipient, eg Dear Mr Smith. Usually generated using the surname and either the title or forename.

SIMPLEX

Personalising on one side of a document only.

SEED

A personal record that has been included in the mailing quantity that allows checking of the mailing date and pack sequence.

SEP

Sample Enclosing Pack.

SEQUENTIAL NUMBER

Number unique to each record.

SOURCE CODE

Identification for distinguishing one list source from another.

STOP LIST

A list of records that are to be removed from a mailing file to ensure they do not receive any mail. Also see suppression.

SUPPRESSION

The removing of specific records from data files according to pre-defined requirements. Also see Stop List.

T

TEXT

Supplied letter copy to be transferred onto the personalised document.

TEXT FLOW/LINE

Allows a section of letter document to wrap around.

U

URN

Unique Reference Number, generally applied by the client or at the client’s request.

V

VALEDICTION

'Yours sincerely,' etc.

VARIABLE DATA PRINTING

Is a form of on-demand printing in which elements (such as text, graphics, photographs, etc) can be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the press, using information from a database. For example, a set of personalised letters, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with a different name and address on each letter.

W

WATERFALLING

What happens when variant text in lasered copy causes subsequent text lines to fall unacceptably.

WHITE MAIL

Hand written responses.

WRAP

Is a feature of continuing a new line of text when the previous line is full such that each line ‘fits’ the available space so that the line break occurs between and not within words.

X

Y

Z

Fulfilment & DM

A

ABOVE THE LINE

Term applied to mainstream advertising.

AUDIT TRAIL

A written description detailing how each stage of production is controlled to ensure a mailing is produced as 100%.

B

BELOW THE LINE

Activity in support of, or as an alternative to mainstream advertising. Direct mail falls into the category.

BOUND INSERT

A promotional piece that is stitched or bound into the fabric of a magazine.

BRE

Business Reply Envelope.

BAG LABELS

Used to identify contents of any given bag of mail when cross referenced with mailing line listing. The label has routing information for the mailing agent printed on it. IT produce a file which has the Royal Mail selection code and the number of labels required for each selection. This file is then used to print the labels on a printer provided by the mailing company.

C

CONTROL

This is a term which is used to describe a standard mail pack which tests have been run against and improvements have been made.

D

DOC ID

Sequential number used to identify a particular record. This number is also used to help machine operators keep work in sequence.

E

ENCLOSING

The process of inserting finished documents into outer envelopes, either mechanically or by hand.

E PRO

Now obsolete, replaced with OBA or Online Business Account.

F

FINISHING

The process of cutting and folding a document ready for enclosing. See previous section on Finishing Terms.

FREEPOST

Similar to the Business Reply Service, but used mainly where a respondee provides their own reply envelope.

G

GAF

(Get a Friend). Similar to Member Get Member, but used when membership is not a requirement of the promotion. Name for an incentive given to a customer as a reward for introducing a friend.

H

I

INNER

Reply envelope.

J

K

L

LINE LISTING

A list produced with the Mailsort report detailing how the mail should be presented to the Royal Mail. Also see Mailsort Report in previous section – Data Processing Terms.

LIFT LETTER

A secondary letter within a mail pack, often from an authoritative individual who endorses the product or service on offer.

LOOSE INSERT

A promotional piece that is collated into a magazine but not bound in.

M

MACHINABLE ENVELOPES

Envelopes suitable to run on an automatic enclosing machine.

MGM

(Member Get Member). Encouraging members (or customers) to introduce a new member by offering an incentive.

MAILING DOCKET

A Royal Mail document detailing the description and number of items mailed on a particular day. This document is also used by the Royal Mail for invoicing purposes.

MAILSORT LIGHT

Special mailing formats that have been approved by the Royal Mail that qualify for postal discounts.

MATCHING

A method of combining personalised documents together by scanning lasered characters (OCR – Optical Character Reading), marks (OMR) or barcodes (BCR).

N

O

ONE PIECE MAILER

A personalised document produced from one sheet of paper which is folded and glued ready for posting without the need for an outer envelope.

OUTER

Paper envelope, polybag, jiffybag or wrapper.

P

PIGGY BACK MAILING

A mailing within another (often statutory) mailing.

POCKET ENVELOPE

Envelope with flap on the short edge.

PULL

Percentage response to an offer where the medium can be expressed in quantifiable terms.

PREMIUM

Often forms part of the offer as an incentive to purchase or trial.

PRIME DOCUMENT

Also known as a driver. The item in the mail pack, which bears the delivery address, which shows through a window (or otherwise) to ‘drive’ the mail pack to its destination.

Q

R

REPLY CARD

A return addressed card that enables easy response.

RESPONSE CURVE (OR TAIL)

By plotting the daily intake of responses from a mailing a graph can be produced to illustrate the levels of response. This will gradually fall away as the promotion gets older.

ROI

Return on Investment.

RTM

Ready To Mail pack. An example of the finished mail pack for customer approval before enclosing can commence.

S

SELECTIVE ENCLOSING

A method of enclosing a variable number of items into specific mail packs according to pre-defined criteria. This process is controlled through OCR, OMR or BCR technology.

SELF MAILER

A 'mailable' promotional leaflet that requires no additional reply vehicle, but can be used to return an order.

SPLIT TEST

Two or more samples from the same list – each considered to be representative of the entire list – used for mailing test or to test the effectiveness of the list.

STUFFER

A promotional piece that is normally supplementary to the rest of the mailing.

T

TAKE ONE

A leaflet that is displayed at point of sale for customer to pick up.

U

V

W

WALLET ENVELOPE

Envelope with flap on the long edge.

WEIGHT STEPS

Postal tariff charges that relate to mailing weights. The weights at which the tariffs change are referred to as 'steps'.

X

Y

Z

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Accreditations