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Printing Terms

Artwork: An image or graphic device used to enhance or illustrate a publication. It may also be the actual hardcopy from which printed or copied jobs are produced.

Accordion Fold: In binding, a term used for two or more parallel folds which open like an accordion.

Acrobat: Adobe software that embodies the PDF format.

Binding or Bindery: Processes using glue, wire staples, thread or mechanical clasps to hold pages together.

Bleed: An extra amount of printed image which extends beyond the trim edge of the sheet or page.

Blowup: An image enlargement.

Body Type: A type used for the main part or text of a printed piece, as distinguished from the heading.

Bold-Face Type: A name given to type that is heavier than the text type with which it is used.

Bond Paper: A strong, durable paper especially well suited for writing, duplicating, and office use.

Brightness: In photography, light reflected by the copy. In paper, the reflectance or brilliance of the paper.

Brochure: A pamphlet bound in booklet form.

Camera-Ready Art: A paste-up of all design elements and type proofs in position for photomechanical reproductions.

CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black are the four inks used in four color process printing, as opposed to RGB color schemes. A CMYK color is expressed as a set of four numbers, each representing a certain amount of each ink.

Coated Paper Stock: Paper has a chemical finish applied after sheet-formation, which produces a smooth finish. The finish may be glossy or matte.

Collating: A finishing option. The sheets and signatures of a complex document or large project are organized into the finished order.

Color Correction: Any method such as masking, dot-etching, re-etching and scanning, used to improve color.

Color Management: It is broadly defined as a system of hardware, software and procedures that are calibrated to best insure color accuracy and repeatability throughout the production process.

Color Separation: In printing, the process of separating an image into four separate files - once for each CMYK color.

Condensed Type: A narrow or slender typeface.

Contrast: The tonal gradation between the highlights, middle tones and shadows in an original or reproduction.

Copy: Any furnished material (typewritten manuscript, pictures, artwork, etc.) to be used in the production of printing.

Cover Stock: A heavy stock made for the covers of books or brochures, folders, pamphlets.

Crop: To eliminate portions of the copy, usually on a photograph or plate, indicated on the original by crop marks.

Crop Marks: Lines printed with an image to indicate where the print should be trimmed.

Curl: In paper, the distortion of a sheet due to differences in structure or coatings from one side to the other, or to absorption of moisture on an offset press.

Cutting: Finishing option which cuts your documents to the finished size.

Cyan: Hue of a subtractive primary and a 4-color process ink. It reflects or transmits blue and green light and absorbs red light.

Density: The degree of darkness (light absorption or opacity) of a photographic image.

Desktop Publishing: Process of composing pages using a standard computer, consumer software, a device independent page description language like PostScript and outputting them on a printer.

Die Cutting: The process of using sharp steel rules to cut special shapes for labels, boxes and containers, from printed sheets. Die cutting can be done on either flatbed or rotary presses. Rotary die cutting is usually done inline with the printing.

Digital Color Proof: A color proof produced from digital data without the need for separation films.

Digital Printing: Printing by plateless systems that are imaged by digital data from prepress systems.

DPI (Dots per inch): A measure of the resolution of a screen image or printed page. Assuming that the size of the print stays the same, a higher dpi produces a higher the quality since there is more detail.

Document Management: A system to store, catalog, search, retrieve and index digital document files.

Dot Gain: The amount that an ink halftone dot expands when applied to the surface of a paper. This is usually a factor of the type of press and the absorbency of the paper.

Drilling: A finishing option. Drill holes into stacks of paper for binding and storage purposes.

Duotone: An image that uses two different overlapping halftone screens in different spot colors to create a toned effect.

Embossed Finish: Paper with a raised or depressed surface resembling wood, cloth, leather or other pattern.

EPS (Encapsulated PostScript): In digital prepress, a file format used to transfer graphic images within compatible applications. A file containing structured PostScript code, comments and a screen display image.

Expanded Type: A type whose width is greater than normal.

File Format: The structure in which digital information is stored, including appropriate headers. Most programs have a proprietary file format. A program's proprietary file format is called its "native format".

Finish: A term referring to the appearance of the surface of a paper.

Finishing: Aspects of production performed on printed pieces to complete a production job. These services include binding, folding, trimming, mounting, laminating and more.

Flatbed Scanner: A device that scans images in a manner similar to a photocopy machine; the original art is positioned face down on a glass plate.

Flush Cover: A cover that has been trimmed to the same size as the inside text pages as in this book.

Flush Left(or right): In composition, type set to line up at the left (or right). This page is set flush left and right.

Folding: A finishing option. Use machine folds to give 2-sided projects a crisp presentation. Options include half-folds, tri-folds and Z-folds.

Font: A complete collection of letters, numbers and other characters in a particular typeface and size. For example, Arial and Helvetica are typeface families. Bold, Italic and narrow are possible typefaces.

Form: In offset, the assembly of pages and other images for printing.

Format: The size, style, type page, margins; printing requirements, etc., of a printed piece.

Four-Color Process: A system of printing colors by printing dots of magenta, cyan, yellow and black - CMYK.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol): Technically, FTP is a language used to move files, however the term commonly refers to the process of sending a file via FTP or to an FTP site.

Full Bleed: A term that describes a printing process where the ink is placed past the edge of where the document will be trimmed so that the image extends to the edge of the paper. Printers generally cannot print to the edge of a piece of paper, since some portion of the paper is gripped by rollers that move the paper through the printer. To print a full bleed letter size page, the image is printed on a larger sheet of paper and trimmed to final size.

Generation: Each succeeding stage in reproduction from the original copy.

GIF (File Format): An image format type generated specifically for computer use. Its resolution is usually very low (72 dpi, or that of your computer screen), making it undesirable for printing purposes.

GIGO: Garbage in, garbage out. A computer industry slang term that implies the quality of a copy is only as good as the quality of the original.

Grain: In papermaking, the direction in which most fibers lie which corresponds with the direction in which the paper is made on a paper machine.

Gray Balance: The dot values or densities of cyan, magenta and yellow that produces a neutral gray.

Gray Level: The number of gray values that can be distinguished by a color separation filter — usually 28 or 256.

Gray Scale: A strip of standard gray tones, ranging from white to black, placed at the side of original copy to measure tonal range and contrast (gamma) obtained.

Gutter: The blank space or inner margin from printing area to binding.

Hairline Register: Register within ±1/2 row of dots.

Halftone: The reproduction of continuous-tone images, through a screening process, which converts the image into dots of various sizes and equal spacing between centers, or dots of equal size with variable spacing between them. The finer the dot grid the higher the quality of the reproduction.

Hard Proof: A proof on paper or other substrate as distinguished from a soft proof which is an image on a VDT screen.

Hue: In color, the main attribute of a color which distinguishes it from other colors.

Imagesetter: In digital imaging, a generic term that applies to film-output devices for type and graphics.

Imposition: In image assembly, the positioning of pages on a signature so that after printing, folding and cutting, all pages will appear in the proper sequence.

Indexed Color: A color system that defines a palate of colors to be used in a specific image. Often this makes images small and manageable.

Inkjet Printer / Plotter: A printer that applies color by spraying ink onto the page. As opposed to continuous tone color.

Insert: A printed piece prepared for insertion into a publication or another printed piece.

Italic: The style of letters that slant, in distinction from upright letters. Used for emphasis within the text.

JPEG (The Joint Photographic Experts Group): File format formed to create a standard for color and gray scale image compression. JPEG describes a variety of algorithms (rules), each of which is targeted for a type of image application.

Justify: In composition, to space out lines uniformly to line up left and right.

Kerning: In typesetting, subtracting space between two characters, making them closer together.

Lamination: A plastic film bonded by heat and pressure to a printed sheet for protection or appearance.

Laminate: The application of one of various types of film to a print, making the print more durable and resistant to water. Laminates come in various thicknesses and finishes - some are glossy and some are matte and some prevent UV exposure.

Large Format (Wide Format): A printer, media, or print 13" or greater in width.

Layout: The drawing or sketch of a proposed printed piece. In platemaking, a sheet indicating the settings for a step-and-repeat machine.

Leaders: In composition, rows of dashes or dots to guide the eye across the page. Used in tabular work, programs, tables of contents, etc.

Leading: In composition, the distance between lines of type measured in points.

Letterspacing: The placing of additional space between each letter of a word.

Line Art: Any artwork or type in which there are no gray tones; all image areas are either black or white. Shading may be accomplished by such techniques as stippling or cross-hatching. Line art can be reproduced without using a halftone screen.

Line Screen: The frequency, or fineness of a halftone or screen, expressed in lines per inch (lpi). Coarse screens are used where dot gain is high, fine screens where

Ipi: Acronym for lines per inch.

Magenta: Hue of a subtractive primary and a four-color process ink. It reflects or transmits blue and red light and absorbs green light.

Make-Ready: In printing, all work done to set up a press for printing.

Matte Finish: A low gloss finish. We offer matte finishes in both paper and laminate choices.

Measure: In composition, the width of type, usually expressed in picas.

Media/Medium: The materials to be printed on. It can be anything from bond paper to copper and wood vellum.

Middletones: The tonal range between highlights and shadows of a photograph or reproduction.

Monitor Calibration: The process of bringing a monitor to a set standard. The process involves the color, saturation and brightness of the monitor and makes sure that the image displayed on the screen will be as close as possible to the image printed out of the printer.

Monochrome: Technically a "single color" In reprographics, it usually refers to a black and white image as opposed to a color one.

Mounting: A finishing option. Foam board adds stability and durability to artwork, portfolio pieces, posters and presentations

Native Files: The original file still in the original application format. A native file can still be opened and edited.

NCR: No-Carbon-Required. Standard sequence of carbonless paper is: 2 part = white/canary; 3 part = white/canary/pink; 4 part = white/canary/pink/gold.

Oblong: A booklet or catalog bound on the shorter dimension.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition): An electronic means of scanning (reading) copy, and converting the scanned image to an electronic equivalent. The ability to "read" printed text (characters) and convert it to digitized files that can be saved on disk and edited as a text file.

Offset: The method of traditional printing where ink is applied to paper by first transferring the ink from a printing plate to a set of rollers and then from the rollers onto paper.

Opacity: That property of paper that minimizes the "show-through" of printing from the opposite side or the next sheet.

Orientation: Direction that a page is printed. Horizontal is landscape and vertical is portrait.

Overlay: In artwork, a transparent covering over the copy where color break, instructions or corrections are marked. Also, trans¬parent or translucent prints which, when placed one on the other, form a composite picture.

Overprinting (Double Printing): Printing over an area that already has been printed.

Padding: A finishing option. Turn your paper into easy-to-use notepads.

Page Format: The standardized page sizes used across the industry:

Page Layout: The process of setting up artwork and text in pages. Also refers to software packages specializing in the process of page layout.

Pagination: The assignment of page numbers, either manually or electronically, in a document.

Palette: In computers, the collection of colors or shades available to a graphic system or program.

Pantone: A color matching system for print and computer applications. The system represents about 3,000 colors that are referred to by number.

PDF (Portable Document File): PDF is a universal electronic file format, modeled after the PostScript language and is device-and resolution-independent. Documents in the PDF format can be viewed, navigated and printed from any computer regardless of the fonts or software programs used to create the original.

Pica: Printer's unit of measurement used principally in typesetting. One pica equals approximately 1/6 of an inch.

Pigment: In printing inks, the fine solid particles used to give inks color, transparency or opacity.

Pixel: Short for "picture element." A pixel is the smallest resolvable point of a raster image. It is the basic unit of digital imaging.

Platform: Proprietary computer system. May be Windows, Macintosh, Unix or Linux

Plotter: A printer, usually wide-format, that prints vector graphics.

PMS (Pantone Matching System): Color charts that have over 700 preprinted color patches of blended inks, used to identify, display or define special colors.

Point: Printer's unit of measurement, used principally for designating type sizes. There are 12 points to a pica; approximately 72 points to an inch.

Portrait: in photography, vertical orientation of a format as opposed to landscape horizontal orientation.

PostScript: A page definition language (PDL) developed by Adobe Systems. When a page of text and/or graphics is saved as a PostScript file, the page is stored as a set of instructions specifying the measurements, typefaces, and graphic shapes that make up the page. It is a device-independent format. This is the computer language most recognized by printing devices. A postscript file has the extension ".ps".

PPD File(File Format): PostScript Printer Description file. A file that contains information on screen angle, resolution, page size and device-specific information for a file to be printed on a particular postscript printer.

PPI: A measure of screen resolution indicating the number of pixels on the horizontal axis by pixels on the vertical axis -- 800x600.

Preflighting: In digital prepress, the test used to evaluate or analyze every component needed to produce a printing job. Preflighting confirms the type of file being submitted, the color gamut, artwork required, screen fonts, printer fonts, EPS or TIFF files, page sizes, print driver, crop-marks, etc.

Pressure-Sensitive Paper: Material with an adhesive coating, protected by a backing sheet until used.

Print On Demand(POD): Printing documents as needed. As opposed to offset printing, where documents are printed in large quantities and stored until needed.

Printer Driver: Software that allows the computer to communicate with the printer.

Print Quality: A term describing the visual impression of a print¬ed piece. In paper, the properties of the paper that affect its appearance and the quality of reproduction.

Process Color: The process of printing using the ink colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Only these four colors are used to create the full color range. This process is also known as CMYK color.

Process Printing: The printing from a series of two or more halftone plates to produce intermediate colors and shades.

Proof: Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results and record how a printing job is intended to appear.

Profile: A digital measurement that describes the difference between the color that a device scans, displays, or prints and the actual color of an image.

Quality Control: A program of activities including customer serv¬ice, process control and sampling with the objective of eliminat¬ing causes of process variability now called Statistical Process Control.

Ragged Left: In typesetting, type that is justified on the right margin and ragged on the left

Ragged Right: In typesetting, type that is justified on the left margin and ragged on the right.

Ream: Five hundred sheets of paper.

Register: Fitting of two or more printed images, usually in different colors, in precise alignment with each other.

Register: in printing, fitting of two or more printing images in exact alignment with each other.

Register Marks: Crosses or other targets applied to original copy prior to photography. Used for positioning films in register, or for register of two or more colors in process printing.

Rendering: The interpretation of a document, image or other file so that it can be displayed on a computer.

Reprography: Copying and duplicating.

Resolution: Ability of an input device to record, or an output device to reproduce the fine detail of an image. Print resolution is generally expressed as dpi and screen resolution is usually expresses as ppi. There is a difference between resolution and addressability or sampling rate. Resolution concerns how closely spots can be placed, and also whether gray levels can be distinguished. Resolution for output devices depends on addressability, bit-depth, mark size and color.

Retouching: Altering artwork or output to correct faults or enhance the image.

RGB: Red, Green, Blue. The primary colors, called "additive" colors, used by color monitor displays, TVs and some color output devices. The combination and intensities of these three colors can represent the whole spectrum.

Saddle Stitching: A method of binding where the folded pages are stitched through the spine from the outside, using wire staples. Usually limited to 64 pages size.

Scale: The means within a program to reduce or enlarge the amount of space an image will occupy. Some programs maintain the aspect ratio between width and height whilst scaling, thereby avoiding distortion.

Scan: To convert pictures, artwork or images into digital information.

Scanner: An electronic device that scans. Scanners utilize electronic circuits to correct color, compress the tones and enhance the detail. Types of scanners include flatbed and drum.

Score: To impress or indent a mark in the paper to make folding easier. Normally utilized with cover stocks, especially against the paper grain.

Screen: A regular pattern of tiny dots that can be used to print a full range of tones.

Separations: Dividing the image into colors for printing. Commonly used in four-color and spot color offset printing.

Shadow: The darkest parts in a photograph, represented in a halftone by the largest dots.

Sheetwise: To print one side of a sheet of paper with one plate, then turn the sheet over and print the other side with another plate using same gripper and opposite side guide.

Signature: In printing and binding, the name given to a printed sheet after it has been folded.

Sizing: The treatment of paper which gives it resistance to the penetration of liquids (particularly water) or vapors.

Slitting: Cutting printed sheets or webs into two or more sections by means of cutting wheels on a press or folder.

Soft Proof: An image on a VDT screen. Also see hard proof.

Spiral Binding: A book bound with wires in spiral form inserted through holes punched along the binding side.

Spot: The smallest element of the addressability grid of an output device. Similar to a pixel, a spot is data, not something that can be seen. A spot is what the screener intended to form. A mark is what the marking engine actually placed at a spot location. A spot has a spatial aspect (size and location in the addressability grid), and a tonal and color aspect.

Spot Color: The method of applying color to a printed project that uses specially mixed inks to accurately represent a color. There are hundreds of these colors and the most common reference system for selecting them is the Pantone Matching System.

Stapling: A finishing option. Hold together loose papers for greater portability.

Stock: Paper or other material to be printed.

Stock Photography: Used widely by creative professionals in need of ready-made images that illustrate a specific lifestyle, scene, mood or process. Some stock images are royalty-free, but most carry a fee based on usage.

Substrate: Any material that can be printed on, such as paper, plastic and fabric.

Substrate: The media on which something is printed or adhered to.

Tabloid Size: A standard US paper size - 11 x 17.

Text: The body matter of a page or book, as distinguished from the headings.

Thumbnail: A small low-resolution version of an image, page or graphic.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format): A file format for graphics suited for representing scanned images and other large bitmaps. TIFF is a neutral format designed for compatibility with all applications. TIFF was created specifically for storing gray-scale images, and it is the standard format for scanned images such as photographs — now called TIFF/IT.

Trim Marks: In printing, marks placed on the copy to indicate the edge of the page.

Trim Size: The final size of a printed piece. The untrimmed size may be larger due to bleed.

Turnaround: The time it takes to get a job back from a service bureau. This time is dependent on several factors including size and complexity of the job.

TXT(File format): Text-only format. Retains no formatting.

Typeface: Style and design of a particular alphabet.

Type Gauge: In composition, a printer's tool calibrated in picas and points used for type measurement.

Uncoated Stock: Paper without any special chemical finish or coating. The most common type of paper used in printing and copying.

Undercut: In printing presses, the difference between the radius of the cylinder bearers and the cylinder body, to allow for plate (or blanket) and packing thickness.

UV Inks: in printing, solventless inks that are cured by UV radiation. They are used extensively in screen printing, narrow web letterpress and flexographic printing.

Varnish: A thin, protective coating applied to a printed sheet for protection or appearance. Also, in inkmaking, it can be all or part of the ink vehicle.

Vector: Images defined by sets of straight lines, defined by the locations of the end points. As opposed to raster image.

Variable Data Printing: Printing files where certain data changes from page to page while the rest of the data stays the same. Direct mail pieces are a good example of variable data printing, where only the recipients’ name and address changes.

Warm Color: In printing, a color with a yellowish or reddish cast.

Weight: Measurement of the heaviness of paper, stated in pounds. Copy paper is 20 lb., printing papers are 60, 70 and 80 lbs., and cover stocks are 65 and 80 lbs.

Widow: In composition, a single word or part of a word on a line by itself, ending a paragraph, or starting a page, frowned upon in good typography.

Wire-O Binding: A continuous double series of wire loops run through punched slots along the binding side of a booklet.

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get): Means that what you see on the computer monitor is generally the same as what appears on the hard copy or film.

Eco Friendly

Eco-friendly promotional products are good for the environment and good for getting your message across to your target audience.


Promotional items that endorse your business are great items to give away at tradeshows. They offer endless opportunities to get your message across to new audiences.

Corporate Gifts

Show employee appreciation and build company morale. Items such as flash drives, picture frames, desk accessories and computer mice make great employee gifts.

New Products

View our newest promotional products! We are constantly adding new items to our 300,000+ inventory to give you fresh and up-to-date choices every day.


Awards and recognition gifts say thank you to employees for a job well done. We carry awards, plaques, trophies, ribbons and much more.


Click here for FAQ's about our promotional products.

Promotional Products

We carry promotional items such as eco-friendly gifts, awards, corporate gifts, new products and tradeshow items.

Business Stationery

Our business card program streamlines your order process yet gives you complete control over your content. Letterhead, envelopes and pocket cards too!

Occasion Cards

We carry holiday and occasion cards, moving announcements, thank you notes and more. Customize your cards with logo imprints and other options!

Memos & Notepads

We print company phone pads, note pads and forms in various sizes. Personalize them with your company logo, names and contact information.

Programs & Announcements

Full color announcements and programs for fundraisers, trade shows, banquets and agendas. We also foil stamp, emboss and die cut.


We print full color single to multi-sheet newsletters, product sheets, tri-folds, rack cards, handouts and promotional literature.


Click here for FAQ's about offset printing.

Offset Printing

We print items such as business stationary, brochures, occasion cards, memos & notepads, programs and announcements.

Tips & Tricks

Design and tech tips to make designing your job a little easier, marketing tips to assist your advertising efforts and print tips for faster, less expensive buying.


Check out our video on how to sign in to your account and place orders online.

Printing Terms

Look here for a glossary of the most common terms in the printing industry.


Find different templates to design your full-size banners.


How do I send a file? How do I save a document as a PDF? What is a CMYK color format? Answers to your most frequently asked questions.


Click here for FAQ's about our tips and tricks.

Tips & Tricks

Design and tech tips to make designing your job a little easier, marketing tips to assist your advertising efforts and print tips for faster, less expensive buying.


Pitch books and investment books help you communicate your message with PowerPoint presentations, graphs, and charts. Custom binding and tabs available.


We can print 1-5000+ copies of your training, safety and operational manuals and technical documents. Full color, B&W, binding, inserts, index tabs, even lamination.

Black and White Copies

Our high-speed, high quality B&W laser printers produce crisp, clean copies of legal documents, RFP's, variable data, digital output of files, manuals and more.


Do you need digital scans of your important documents? Letter, legal, 11 x 17, oversize? We can PDF your documents or OCR scan your files to create searchable, editable text files.

Color Copies

Our high-quality digital color presses turn out beautiful invitations, flyers, brochures, newsletters, rack cards, coupons and more. We can also print large format prints and maps.


Click here for FAQ's about digital printing.

Digital Printing

We print B&W and color copies of presentations, product sheets, manuals, newletters, brochures, postcards and more. We also do archival scanning.

Maps & Prints

We print oversized, digital prints of well-logs, operational flow charts and pipe line maps. Turn your maps and prints into digital files for emailing and archiving.


Full color, affordable, retractable banners make great trade shows displays, point of purchase signage, directional signage and outdoor vinyl banners.

Oversize Scans

We scan large format documents such as well-logs, engineering plans and maps to digital files. Your PDF digital scans can be easily archived to CD.


Our digitally printed posters and prints are exceptional, with crisp, vibrant colors and photographic quality. Custom stock, mounting and laminating available.

Event Signage

Catch people's attention with color signage! We produce banners stands, pop up and hanging displays, full color table covers and tabletop displays.


Click here for FAQ's about large format printing.

Large Format Printing

We print event signage, maps, banners, well-logs, posters, prints and more. We also do oversize scanning.

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