70#, 100#, etc.

Paper thickness is often expressed in the weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of paper in the basic size for that grade. For example 500 sheets of 100# (pound), 20"x26" Card (Cover) Stock weighs 100 pounds.

A common weight and paper grade used for letterhead is 70# Text. A common weight and paper grade used for uncoated business cards is 100# Card Stock.

4-Color Process

4-ColorMona LisaThe method of reproducing full-color, continuous-tone color art (such as the Mona Lisa at right) into three primary ink colors, cyan, magenta and yellow, plus black ("CMYK".) Four printing plates are used to print four colors of minute dots of varying sizes onto the same piece of paper.

Subject to limitations of the CMYK Color Space, 4-Color Process can reproduce complex images such as the Mona Lisa above. 4-Color Process is the most common method used today for printing full-color images.

CMYK MixingThe first four columns at left show magnifications of individual cyan, magenta, yellow & black plates. The fifth column of each row shows a magnification of the printed page after all four impressions. The sixth column shows the resultant color as perceived by the human eye.

Producing colors using inks is a subtractive process. When there's no ink on a white piece of paper you see white. A mix of 100% of the three primary inks, cyan, magenta and yellow together produces black. A mix of 50% of each of the three primary inks produces a 50% gray. See halftone.

Accordian Fold

Accordian Fold A sheet which has been folded twice in right angles to form a W-shaped four page uncut section. Accordion folds are usually 100lb book papers such as brochures.

AQ Coating (Aqueous Coating)

Aqueous (AQ) coating is used to control light reflection, feel and print quality. It provides a light semi-gloss. Aqueous coating is typically applied to 100lb gloss book and 100lb gloss cover stock used in for flyers, post cards and business cards, etc.


The process or result of collecting, compressing and containing one or more computer file(s) in a single digital package for storage or electronic transmission. An archive greatly reduces the size of the file(s) and the chances of file corruption during transmission. The most common archival file formats are ZIP (for Windows' files) and SIT (for Mac files.)


UPC-A Barcode A series of vertical bars and spaces that represent any numerical series. The barcode facilitates automated processing by barcode readers and scanners. There are many kinds. The UPC-A standard barcode at right is the most common used for product identification in stores.

Postnet Barcode A POSTNET barcode (at left) is the standard used by the U.S. Postal Service for sorting mail.


The finishing department, which performs operations on the printed product after it has been printed. The bindery operations are as follows: Folding, Binding, Stitching, Scoring, Perforation, Die Cutting, & Envelope Converting.


Bindery Examplesr Different methods used to secure loose pages in a book is called binding. Examples include Spiral Binding (left) and Saddle Stitch (right.)

Bitmap Images

See Pixel-Based Images


Printed colors that extend past the edge of a finished page, no margins. Artwork submitted to the printer must include a portion of the image extending beyond the edge of the page, typically by 1/8". A larger size paper is used for printing and trimmed to final size. For example if the job is a business card (3-1/2" x 2"), the image size with bleed on four sides would be 3-3/4" x 2-1/4".


Tri- FoldA fold where a three panel piece has both side sections folded inward, one on top of the other. Each section is approximately 1/3 the length of the piece. . When partially open, the fold looks like a letter "C". It is also known as a Tri-Fold or Letter Fold.


Paper coated on one side.


Paper coated on both sides. AQ or UV Coatings are additional, seperate options not effected by this.

Camera Ready Art

High-quality copy on high-gloss paper suitable for photographing by a process camera or scanner. Replaced by digitally prepared files. Acceptable if digitally prepared files are not available.

Card Stock

Also called Cover Stock. Most heavyweight papers are called Card Stock. The thickness of business card "card stock" is indicated with point sizes such as 14pt or 16pt. Some people will also refer to 100# ("100 pound") Gloss Cover as card stock.

Carrier Route

The collection of mail addresses served by a single delivery person. In common usage, carrier route includes city routes, rural routes, highway contact routes, post office box sections, and general delivery units.

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black)

CMYK ColorsThe three primary ink colors used in 4-Color Process printing – Cyan, Magenta and Yellow, plus black ("CMYK".) The four inks together produce a broad spectrum of color.

Unlike RGB light, creating colors with ink is a subtractive process. No ink on a white page is, of course, white. A 100% mix of all three primary colors mixed together produce black (center, right.) A 50% mix of all three primary light colors produces a 50% gray halftone. Not all perceivable colors can be produced in CMYK printing. See 4-Color Process printing and CMYK Color Space.

Coated Paper

A paper with a surface that has been treated to reduce paper porosity and improve finish, light reflectivity, feel and print quality. Coated paper allows the use of finer halftone screens producing a sharper definition and greater color fidelity. For example, newsprint is highly porous and image quality is very limited. It is not coated. Paper used in magazines has a smooth coating that supports high resolution, high quality images. Common categories of coated paper include dull, matte, gloss and high gloss.


A varnish or laquer applied over a printed surface to protect it. Common coatings include UV Coating and Aqueous Coating. Card stock used in business cards and post cards may be coated on one side (C1S) only or on both sides (C2S.)

Color Depth

The quantity of discrete color values that can by represented by a given file format or imaging system expressed in "bits". Early 8-bit computer processors, programs, memory, monitors and early web browsers were only capable of representing a total of 256 different colors (the maximum number 8 bits can represent.) A 16-bit color depth (65,536 possible values) is now almost universal. A 24-bit color depth (over 16 million discrete values) is common. A 32-bit color depth (over 4 billion values) is standard for high-end imaging.

Color Separation

Artwork separated into individual colors matching the inks used in printing. For Spot Colors, there would be one Grayscale output for each color used. For 4-Color Process printing, images would be separated into four Grayscale outputs, one for each process color, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow plus Black.

Color Space (Gamut)

Visual Color SpaceColor is perceived in the human eye by three types of specialized cells sensitive to long, medium and short wavelengths, roughly corresponding to the perceived colors of red, blue and green. The diagram at right represents the full range of colors percepable by the average person.

No common imaging system is capable of reproducing the full range of colors that the human eye can see. The colors that are reproducible by any given device or system is called its Color Space or "gamut". Photographic film, computer monitors, consumer color printers and commercial offset presses all have different capabilities and color spaces. Each system, each model, even each piece of equipment, has its own unique color space. For tight color control, individual color compensation profiles are used for each piece of equipment in the production process.

General categories of Color Spaces include:

CMYK Color Spaces

RGB – The colors than can be reproduced by a typical computer monitor is determined by the properties of the light-emitting materials used in the screen. The monitor generates minute points of Red, Green and Blue light. Their luminescent characteristics define the location of the three verticies of devices color space (e.g. the dashed triangle at left.) The RGB light-based color space includes the range of colors that lie within that triangle. Note that the RGB color space is considerably smaller than the total range of possible colors (the faded area in the background.)

CMYK – The limits of a CMYK pigment-based color space is defined by the inks and paper used, and the capacity and precision of the printer or press. The rectangular-shaped box at left shows colors reproducable by a typical commercial press. The CMYK color space is different than the RGB color space. There are RGB colors near the points of the triangle (the deep blues, greens & reds) that can not be reproduced in CMYK. And, there are CMYK colors that can not be reproduced in RGB.

PMS – Pantone Matching System (PMS) spot colors use a wide variety of standard pigments and includes specific, individual spot colors spread throughout the possible range.

Bottom Line: Color spaces are different for each category and application. RGB (used on the web) and CMYK (used for printing) are very different! It is often impossible to print and accurately reproduce colors from different color spaces . Many PMS colors (particularly the deep blues, oranges & reds) will not reproduce well in 4-Color Process. And, it is often impossible to find a PMS match to a given RGB or CMYK color.


Pixel-based image files are often quite large. Numerous methods have been devised to reduce the size of, or "compress", large files.

Where relatively small, low resolution pictures are used, it is common to use a lower image quality in exchange for a smaller file size. For such applications a "lossy" compression method is used that deletes "unimportant" information. "GIF" and "JPG" files are considered "lossy" image formats.

Where a precise replication of the original is more important than a reduction in file size (for example a computer program), a "lossless" method is used that does not create any information loss. Archival file formats such as ZIP and SIT are considered "lossless."

Compression methods used vary with application, fidelity, image quality, media & file size requirements.

Consecutive Numbering

Numbering a form, or a series of printed material where the number changes sequentially from one to another, such as on checks. Example, if the first one has number 201, the second will get 202, the third would be 203 and so on.


GraduationMonotone ImageArtwork or image that includes a range of color densities, or tones (like the monotone image at left or the graduation at right), as opposed to line art which includes only solid colors (e.g. black text in a book.) Continuous-tone images can be produced in any color. They can be monotone, a single spot color such as the image at left, duotone with two spot colors, or full-color, 4-color process. A photograph printed on a black & white printer produces a continuous, monotone image in the color black.

Cropmarks (Guide Marks)

CropmarksThin lines printed in the margin of sheet that indicates to the cutter and bindery where the finished product should be trimmed. They are also used to show what part of a photo should be used and what part should be cropped off. The cropmarks at right would be used to mark the upper-right corner of the artwork.


CyanOne of the three (3) primary ink colors used in 4-Color Process printing. (It's the "C" in CMYK.) Cyan ink absorbs red light and reflects blue and green light. (We see the blue-green reflected light.) It is the color compliment of red.


Debossing is the process similar to embossing of creating a three-dimensional image or design in paper using mating metal dies to lower the level of the image below than the substrate giving it a three-dimensional effect.

Derivative File

The file format required for a given application is usually different than the Native File format in which it was created. A Derivative File is usually flattened (no layers), with uneditable, raterized text and often a much smaller, lossy representation of the original file. While the particular derivative file may be appropriate for the application for which it was created, it is usually not suitable for use in other applications.

Die Cutting

A specific shape like circle, star, etc – any design that cannot be done by a straight cut – which is cut by a metal blade. Door hangers are a popular product which requires die cutting.

DPI (Dots Per Inch)

Is a measure of the resolution or quality of the file image or output process. The higher the dpi, the higher the resolution, the greater the clarity and the higher the quality of the output.

For a printer or press, it is the maximum number of discrete dots of ink per inch it can produce. A common laser printer with a resolution of 600 dpi can produce dots as small as 2/1000th of an inch. A commercial press with a resolution of 2540 dpi can produce dots as . See resolution for minimum dpi requirements.


A photograph or image printed using two spot colors. The second colors is usually used as a highlight, or to add special effects.


Embossing Embossing is the process of creating a three-dimensional image or design in paper using mating metal dies to raise an image above the paper. Embossing can be used in conjunction with ink (colour register embossing), with no ink (blind embossing), or with foil (foil stamping.)

Embossing involves a separate stage in the production process, after any varnishing and laminating. Debossing is the same as embossing, but in the opposite direction to produce a depression.

EPS (Encapsulated Post Script)

EPS files are PostScript documents with additional restrictions intended to make EPS files usable as a graphics file format. EPS files are more-or-less self-contained, non-editable, reasonably predictable PostScript documents that describe an image or drawing, and that can be placed within another PostScript document.


Line ArtGraduationLine Art is a composite of mathmatically defined drawing elements cosisting of strokes and fills. In the case of the "L" at left, the "fill" is the spot color cyan inside the black outline. In the case of the image at right, the "fill" is the graduated red screen inside the black rectangular box.

Finished Size / Trim Size

The size of a printed product after all production operations have been completed.

Folding Examples

Folding Options


A collection of all the characters (upercase and lowercase letters, numerals, punctuation marks, etc.) of one typeface. Traditionally, a "font" referred to one size only. Now, with computerized typesetting, a "font" refers to a typeface in its totality and is not size specific.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is an Internet protocol designed to facilitate rapid and efficient transfer of files to and from remote computers. It requires an FTP Server and access to the remote computer. It does not have the limitations found in sending files by email.

Gamut (Color Space)

See Color Space.

Gate Fold

Gate Fold A regular Gate Fold (left) is when both sides of an oversize page are folded into the center like a double "gate" or shutters on a window.

Double Gate Fold A Double Gate Fold (right) is a Gate Fold with an additional fold in the center.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)

The Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is a bitmap image format introduced by CompuServe in 1987 that has come into widespread usage on the World Wide Web due to its simplicity, wide support and portability.

The format supports only supports 8 bits per pixel, allowing no more than 256 different colors per image. The 256 color limit makes the GIF format unsuitable for color photographs and other images with continuous color. But, it is well suited for simpler images with solid areas of color such as graphics or logos.

The GIF format also supports transparent backgrounds and animations.

Gloss Finish

An extra coating that reduces paper porosity and improve finish, light reflection, feel and print quality and gives a shiny appearance. Gloss coatings on paper reduce ink absorption, which allows excellent contrast and color definition. Gloss Finishes are much shinier than Matte Finishes.


Grayscale GraduationGrayscale ImageContinuous-tone artwork or image that includes a range of tones, or densities from white to black, such as a black & white photograph at left of the graduated scale at right.


Metal finger-like clamps that grab the paper to pull it through the press as the sheet is being printed. Also, that portion of the artwork that must be left left ink free to accommodate the clamps on the paper.


The thinnest possible line or space that is visible.


Half FoldWhen a sheet is folded in half.


A reprographic technique that simulates the reproduction of continuous-tone copy (such as photographs) through the use of dots that vary in size or spacing. "Halftone" also refers to the image created by this process. Where continuous tone imagery (e.g. film photography) contains an infinite range of colors or greys, the halftone process reduces visual reproductions to a binary image that is printed with only one color of ink.

Halftone DotsA magnification of 20% density gray at left shows that is constructed of a pattern or relatively small, solid black dots. At 40% the dots become larger. At 60% they become white dots in a background of black ink. At 80%, the white dots become much smaller. These dots may be visible to the naked eye in low-resolution printing such as newsprint. They are not noticable in a high-resolution glossy magazine.


Printing on the front and back of a sheet is setup so that the top of both sides is printed at the same end of the sheet. You would turn the sheet like the page of a book to read the reverse side.


Printing on the front and back of a sheet so that the tops of each side are printed at opposite ends from each other. The top of one side is opposite the bottom of the other. You would turn the sheet over from top to bottom to read the reverse side.


A spot on a printed sheet that appears as a small white circle with ink in the center, caused by particles such as dirt, dust, or bits of paper.


The printing of new copy on a piece that is already printed. Examples include adding names & addresses to pre-printed business card masters, or ink-jetting addresses on postcards after the actual card has been printed.


A letter, card, or similar item placed inside another mail piece, the "host" piece.

Job Number

A unique number assigned to a job by a buyer or manufacturer. The number allows the job to be tracked throughout production.

JPG or JPEG (Joint Photographics Expert Group)

JPEG is a commonly used method of compression for photographic and bitmap images. The degree of compression can be adjusted, allowing a selectable tradeoff between storage size and image quality. Depending on the image, JPEG can achieve a 10:1 compression with little perceptible loss in image quality.

Letter Fold

Tri- FoldA fold where a three panel piece has both side sections folded inward, one on top of the other. Each section is approximately 1/3 the length of the piece. Also known as a Tri-Fold or C-Fold.

Line Art

Line ArtBlue FlowerLine (or "vector", or "outline") Art, such as the words "Line Art" at left, is constructed of mathmatically defined drawing elements such as strokes and fills. It is totally different than pixel-based, bitmap images such as the flower at right.

The shape, or "stroke" (e.g. the outline of the "L" at left), its "fills" (the cyan color of the letter "L"), and its position on the page are all defined by mathmatical formulas.

Unlike bitmap images, the formulas, and file size, are essentially the same no matter what the image size is. A letter on a roadside billboard requires no more information than a letter on a printed page. No matter the size, Line Art output resolution is limited only by the limits of the output device. It is the preferred art format for type, lines, shapes and simple, spot color, drawn images such as used in corporate logos.

Line Screen

A transparent screen which has been etched with fine lines. It is used to convert a picture or photograph into a halftone dot pattern so that can be printed. The higher the Lines Per Inch (lpi) – the number of halftone dots per inch – the smaller the dots and the higher the resolution.


Offset PrintingLithographic printing is based on the repulsion of oil and water. Flexible aluminum, mylar or paper printing plates are created with minute hydrophobic regions that repulse water and accept the ink for the image, and hydrophilic regions that attract water and reject ink, thus becoming the background.

The plate is affixed to a "plate cylinder" on a printing press. Water rollers apply water, which cover the blank portions of the plate but is repelled by the emulsion of the image area. Ink, which is hydrophobic, is applied by the ink rollers and only adheres to the emulsion of the image area.

If the image were directly transferred to paper, it would a) create a negative image and b) the paper would become too wet. Instead, the plate rolls against an "offset" cylinder covered with a rubber blanket, which squeezes away the water, picks up the ink and transfers it to the paper fed between it and the impression cylinder.

Because the image is first transferred, or "offset" to the rubber blanket on the offset cylinder, this reproduction method is known as offset lithography or offset printing. Offset lithography is the most common form of print production.

Lossless / Lossy

Digital representation of high-resolution art is always a balancing act between acuracy in reproduction and file size. Whereas a given application may require only a small image with a low resolution, original images or artwork often have very large file sizes. Image size, resolution and color depth are often reduced depending on the application. Conversion and compression methods fall under to general categories:

Lossless means that the "there is no loss", that the data can be restored exactly to its earlier state. Some image file formats, such as PNG or TIF, include lossless compression. Archival file formats such as ZIP or SIT use lossless techniques.

• A method is considered lossy if original information is lost in the process and the original version can not be restored. Small web images, for example, have so much image information removed, that they are totally unsuitable for print or other applications. Image file formats commonly used on the Internet, JPG and GIF, are considered lossy.

LPI (Lines per Inch, lpi)

The resolution of the Line Screen used to produced the halftone dot pattern to be printed.

LZW (Lempel-Ziv-Welch)

LZW is a universal lossless data compression algorithm created by Abraham Lempel, Jacob Ziv, and Terry Welch. The algorithm is designed to be fast, but is not usually optimal because it performs only limited analysis of the data.


MagentaOne of the three (3) primary ink colors used in 4-Color Process printing. (It's the "M" in CMYK.) Magenta ink absorbs green light and reflects red and blue light. (We see the reflected blue & red light.) Magenta is the color compliment of green.


The non-printed areas around the image area of a page. Unless there is an intentional "bleed", a margin of at least 1/4" is usually required.

Matte Finish

A coated paper finish that is flat, not shiny like a Gloss Finish, but still keeps much of the ink from being absorbed by the paper and produces an excellent image.

Offset Printing

Offset PrintingThe transfer of an inked image from a plate (top, right) to a blanket cylinder (center), which in turn transfers the image to the printing material as it passes between the blanket and the impression cylinder (bottom) and pressure is applied. Also referred to as offset lithography.

Advantages include:

• Consistent high image quality.

• Quick and easy production of printing plates.

• Long printing plate life.

• The more you print, the less you pay per page, because most of the price goes into the preparation undergone before the first sheet of paper is printed and ready for distribution. Any additional paper print will only cost the client paper price (and ink), which is very minimal.

Open End Envelope

Open End EnvelopeAn envelope with an opening along its shortest dimension.

Open Side Envelope

Open Side EnvelopeAn envelope with an opening along its longest dimension.


Text Block
Text BlockSince there are literally thousands of fonts available on both Mac's and PC's, it becomes a problem to be sure that everyone has access to the same fonts. When digital art is supplied with missing fonts, a font will "default" to a different font often spoiling the printed piece entirely. To prevent this problem from occuring, convert all text to outlines so that each letter is a defined shape and fill. The plus is that artwork will become independent of font definition files. The minus is that text will no longer be editable.


The quantity of items produced over the quantity that was originally ordered.

Paper Grade

There are many types, or "grades", of paper. Each serves a unique purpose, usually suggested by its grade name. Common Paper Grades and basic sheet sizes include:

Bond (17"x22")Commonly used fro letters and business forms. They have surfaces which accept ink readily from a pen or typewriter and can be easily erased.

Coated (25"x28")Papers used when high printing quality is desired. There are many different types of coated paper.

Text (25"x28")Papers frequently used for announcement, booklets and brochures that are noted for their interesting textures and attractive colors.

Book (25"x28")Papers used for trade and texbooks as well as general printing and come in a wide range of weights and sizes.

Offset (25"x28")Papers similar to coated and uncoated book, but specially designed for use on an offset press.

Cover/Card (20"x26")Papers that complements existing Coated and Text Stock, but in heavier weights. Special charactristics of Cover Stock include dimensional stability, durability, uniform printing surface, good scoring, folding, embossing and die-cutting qualities. Also known as "Card Stock."

Newsprint (24"x36")Paper used in printing newspapers. It is made in basic weights from 28 to 35 pounds, with 30# used most extensively.

PDF (Portable Document Format)

A universal Adobe Acrobat® portable document format that is totally independent of the computer Operating System used. PDFs can be created and read on PCs or Macs, or any other system. We email Proofs in a PDF format.

Acrobat Reader Acrobat Reader® is now preinstalled on most new computers. Acrobat Reader® is free. If you do not have it, it can be safely downloaded for free from Adobe.


Authorization required to mail without affixing postage. A postage imprint, also referred to as an indicia (The imprinted area in the upper right corner of the mail piece that indicates postage payment), is used instead. An advance payment is made to the post office and postage payment is deducted from that deposit.


PICT is a graphics file format introduced on the original Apple Macintosh computer as its standard metafile format. It allows the interchange of graphics (both bitmapped and vector), and some limited text support, between Mac applications, and was the native graphics format of QuickDraw.


Short for "picture element". Any of the small discrete elements that together constitute an image (as on a television or computer screen), each with a specific color value and usually too small to be seen without magnification. A pixel on a computer screen is approximately 1/100 of an inch. The size of a print "pixel" typically ranges from 1/600 of an inch for a medium-resolution consumer printer down to 1/2500 of an inch for magazines, flyers, etc.

Pixel-Based Images

Blue FlowerLine ArtA pixel-based image – such as the flower at left – is comprised of a mosiac of minute, generally rectangular, uniform-sized points of color called pixels aligned in a grid. Bipmap art is fundamentally different than line art (or vector art) such as the image at right originally constructed of mathmatically defined drawing elements such as strokes and fills.

Small SmileyLarge SmileyWhen individual pixels are small – about 1/100 of an inch (100 dpi) as in the smiley face at left – the picture appears smooth. When the pixels are larger – such as the smiley face at right at 4x magnification (1/25 of an inch pixels (25 dpi) – the mosaic nature of the image becomes apparent.

Computer monitors, television screens, digital cameras and image-based programs such as Photoshop create and manipulate pixel-based, bitmap images. Bitmap image file formats include JPG, PNG, GIF and PSD (Photoshop.) Bitmap image files are typically much larger than those for line art files.

Bitmap image file sizes vary greatly depending on the image size, resolution, color depth and compression method (if any.) The flower above has a file size of about 8 Kilobytes. An uncompressed, 600 dpi, 8"x10" image, at a 24-bit color depth would be over 30 Megabytes. See resolution.


A flexible aluminum, polyester, mylar or paper light-sensitive sheet that holds a photographically produced image . During the printing process, the image area picks up ink, transfers it to an "offset" blanket and from the "offset" blanket to paper.

Modern printing plates are covered with a photosensitive emulsion. A photographic negative of the desired image is placed in contact with the emulsion and the plate is exposed to ultraviolet light. After development, the emulsion shows a reverse of the negative image.

The image on the plate can also be created through direct laser imaging in a CTP (Computer-To-Plate) device called a platesetter. See lithography.

PMS Color (Pantone Matching System)

PMS Colors A registered name for an ink color matching system used to compare, match and identify specific colors. To do so we use a pantone book. It contains specific Pantone colors with their closest CMYK values.

PMS colors are normally used for one, two or three spot color printing when the representation of corporate colors is important, when 4-color process printing is too expensive or not available, or for graphic highlights.

Different inks are used in the Pantone Matching System than CMYK inks. Some PMS Colors (e.g. numerous deep red, orange and blue PMS colors) are outside the CMYK color space and can not be accurately represented in 4-color process printing. See color space.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

PNG is a bitmapped image format that employs lossless data compression. PNG was created to improve upon and replace GIF as an image-file format not requiring a patent license. PNG supports palette-based (palettes of 24-bit RGB colors), greyscale or RGB images. PNG was designed for transferring images on the Internet, not professional graphics, and does not support other color spaces such as CMYK.

pt (Points)

Paper – When referring to paper or card stock sizes, 1 "point" (pt) equals 1/1,000th of an inch. 14-pt card stock (0.014" thick) is commonly used for Business Cards and Post Cards. 16-pt card stock (0.016" thick) produces a thicker, stiffer card.

pt (Points)

Typesetting – A unit of measurement used in designating type sizes. It is equal to 1/72th of an inch. There are 12 points to a pica. The use of the number 72 allows simple typesetting for 1,2,3,4,6 and 8 lines of type per inch. Each of these numbers are evenly divisable into the number 72. A 12-pt type size (6 lines per inch) is probably the most common type size used in print.


Payment for delivery service that is affixed or imprinted to a mail piece, usually in the form of a postage stamp, permit imprint (indicia), or meter stamp.


The process by which a mailer groups mail by ZIP Code so that it is sorted to the finest extent required by the standards for the rate claimed. Generally, presort is performed sequentially, from the lowest (finest) level to the highest level. Not all presort levels are applicable to all mailings.

Press Check

Printed sheets from the press that are pulled once all the makeready has been completed. The sheets are checked for quality and accuracy before authorization is given to go ahead with the full production run. Sheets may be pulled throughout the run to do press checks to assure that quality is being maintained. We DO NOT do press checks for customers.

Price Break

The order quantity level at which the price of the paper or printed material goes down.

Process Color

One of the three primary colors used in 4-color process printing: cyan (process blue), magenta (process red), yellow plus black.


A copy of the artwork representing the finished product. It is used for review and approval. It is also used to predict press results and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished..

We offer two types of proof.

1. An electronic PDF proof.

2. For critical jobs, a printed hardcopy proof sent through mail for the customer to approve before the job is printed.


Checking a proof for errors or discrepancies.


Drilling of holes through a stack of paper. We use hole punching if a customer wants to have that on any printed piece.


A price, given by the printer or distributor, based on the specifications supplied for that product.

Raster Image

See Bitmap Images


The process of converting a program file into the high-resolution, color-separated output needed making printing plates. Due to large size of production plates, the high resolution required and the production of multiple files (four for 4-color process), this can take considerable time. See "Bitmap".

Register Marks

Registration MarkThe printed marks used to align color separations for printing so that each color registers with each other.


Large SmileyResolution is expressed by the number of small dots per inch (DPI) of either light, as in a computer monitor, or ink on a printed page.

Small SmileyA bitmap graphics image on a computer monitor is comprised of a mosiac grid of minute points of colored light called pixels. When individual pixels are small as in the smiley ar left (about 1/100 of an inch on a computer monitor) the picture appears relatively smooth. When the pixels are large (smiley at right at 4x magnification, 1/25" pixels) the mosaic nature of the image becomes apparent.

The higher the "dpi", the smaller the ink dots (or light pixels), the higher the "resolution" and the greater the picture quality. Printed images require a much higher dpi and resolution than Web graphics. Some common resolutions:

    100dpi – Approximate resolution of current computer monitors.
    300dpi – Minimum for quality print output of CMYK images & photos.
    600dpi – Minimum for quality output of Spot Color Line Art and Text.
  1200dpi – Minimum for high quality output of thin or angled lines.
  2540dpi – Common standard in commercial 4-color printing.

RGB (Red, Blue, Green)

CMYK Colors The primary light colors, red, green and blue, used to display color in video monitors.

Unlike CMYK ink, creating colors with light is an additive process. No light is, of course, black. A 100% mix of all three primary light colors together produces a white light (center at right.) A mix of 50% of each of the three primary light colors produces a 50% gray halftone. Not all perceivable colors can be produced in a typical RGB system. See RGB Color Space.

RIP (Raster Image Processor)

The processor that converts (rasterizes) a computer art file to the resolution used by the printing press. It also allows final manipulation of the rasterized output to match the unique characteristics and color space of the specific press and printing process to be used.

Roll Fold

Roll Fold A type of fold where the piece is folded inward at one end and then folded inward again one or more times. It is as if you are rolling the piece up.


A straight-line crease pressed into a sheet of paper to allow it to fold easier and more accurately.

SEA (Self-Extracting Archive)

Compressed lossless archive file format used on Macintosh computers. On a Macintosh, it requires no external program to decompress.


The process of setting up and adjusting a printing press for a particular ink, paper and specifications prior to printing. This includes adjusting the infeed, grippers and guides, adjusting ink for proper coverage, registering copy, and matching the printed piece with the proof to be sure everything is correct.

Spot Color

Printing with one or more solid colors. Generally black ink is used with the addition of other colors. It is used to add highlight and add color to a printed product without having to print with four-color process. Standard, reproducible PMS colors are normally used for spot color printing.

TIF or TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)

TIFF is a file format for storing images, including photographs and line art. The TIFF format is widely supported by publishing, page layout & image-manipulation applications. Most images and readers are based on uncompressed 32-bit CMYK or 24-bit RGB images. File sizes for larger images can be quite large. It is the best format to use for print applications. LZW compression, a lossless data-compression technique, is often used with the TIFF format.


Tri- FoldA fold where a three panel piece has both side sections folded inward, one on top of the other. Each section is approximately 1/3 the length of the piece. Also known as a C-fold or letter-fold.


The process of cutting the product to its finished size. The excess that is cut off is also referred to as the trim.

Turnaround Time

The accumulated time between receipt of an order and completion of the finished product.


Ultra Violet – "beyond violet." The part of the spectrum where the wavelength of light is shorter than the wavelength of visible light.

UV Coating

A liquid coating applied over a printed piece, which is then bonded and cured using ultraviolet light. This provides a protective covering to the printed image. It is often used with 4-color business cards and postcards. It is important to remember that you CAN NOT write or imprint on a product with a UV coating.


A thin, liquid protective coating, either matte or glossy, that is applied to the product. It adds protection and enhances the appearance of the product. It can be applied as an all over coating or it can be applied as a spot coating.

Vector Art

See Line Art.

Work and Tumble

A printing method where multiple pages are laid out so that one plate can be used to print both sides. One side is printed and the paper is turned over so that you are using the opposite edge as the gripper edge. Then the second side is printed. The product is then cut apart to make two finished items.

Work and Turn

A printing method where multiple pages are laid out so that one plate can be used to print both sides. One side is printed and the paper is turned over so that you are using the same edge for the gripper edge. Then the second side is printed. The product is then cut apart to make two finished items.


YellowOne of the three (3) primary ink colors used in 4-Color Process printing. (It's the "Y" in CMYK.) Yellow ink absorbs blue light and reflects red and green light. Yellow is the color compliment of blue.


Tri- FoldA paper fold represented by back and forth folds into three panels. From the top edge, the fold looks like a letter "Z".


The ZIP file format is a lossless PC data compression and archive format. It is widely supported and many software utilities are available to create, modify, or open (unzip, decompress) ZIP files including WinZip & WinRAR. Microsoft and Apple have both included built-in ZIP support in later versions of their operating systems.

ZIP Code

A system of 5-digit codes that identifies the individual post office or metropolitan area delivery station associated with an address. ZIP+4 is an enhanced code consisting of the 5-digit ZIP Code and four additional digits that identify a specific range of delivery addresses.

ZIP+4 Code

A nine digit numeric code composed of two parts:

• The initial code: the first five digits that identify the sectional center facility and delivery area associated with the address, followed by a hyphen; and

• The four-digit expanded code: the first two additional digits designate the sector (a geographic area) and the last two digits designate the segment (a building, floor, etc.)

ZIP+4 Barcode

Postnet Barcode A POSTNET barcode (left) is the standard used by the U.S. Postal Service for sorting mail. A nine-digit POSTNET barcode consisting of 52 vertical bars.