Aqueous Coating: A water based coating whose protective properties lie somewhere above varnish and below UV coatings. Generally used to provide a finish with most of the protective capability of UV coatings, but with more of a satin finish. While providing a richer feel than Varnish, it is also more expensive and may be prone to more defects in the production process.

Film Lamination: A clear plastic film sheeting that is heat sealed to the paper surface to provide an extremely hard and very protective finish which is even more resistant than UV coating, and at a lower cost to boot. Lamination is available in either matte or gloss application and, in gloss form, is even more glossy than UV Coating. While Matte lamination provides a dull, satin finish that tends to feel fairly rich, Gloss lamination, for some designers may be seen as too glossy or plastic, and therefore somewhat “cheap”.

Spot UV: A UV coating used to cover a single photo or other isolated area. Spot UV works very well to highlight a photo, logo or other important design attribute, particularly if added to a matte surface, for added contrast. Can be expensive.

Spot Varnish: A varnish coating used to cover a single photo or other isolated area. Spot Varnish works moderately well to highlight a photo, logo or other important design attribute, but does not create the high contrast effect provided by Spot UV. It is, however, much less expensive, especially if applied inline as a fifth color.

UV Coating: A coating which, when cured under Ultra-Violet light, creates a glossy, highly protective surface with a rich, smooth feel. While not as protective as Lamination, UV is a very high quality finish, with a price tag to match. It is preferred for high end magazines, catalogs and books. While generally used as an “all over” coating, it can also be used as a Spot UV.

Varnish: An oil based coating providing a mild sheen and protective qualities to printed material. Varnish may be added in-line when printing (wet trapped), or as an additional coating after the printed matter has dried (dry-trapped) and may be either gloss or matte. While usually added as an “all over” coating, it may also be produced as a Spot Varnish. Varnish is a relatively inexpensive procedure which, when dry trapped to gloss coated paper can provide a rich luster to a print work, but has neither the protective qualities nor the shine of coatings like UV and Lamination.

  •  PAPER:

Art Paper: A common name for a coated paper stock with good reproductive qualities for offset printing.

Book Paper: A paper suitable for offset printing, generally with a high opacity as well as excellent folding qualities and durability.

Brightness: A measure of the whiteness or lack of color of a blank sheet of paper.

Lightweight Coated Paper: Strong and inexpensive paper made primarily of mechanically ground wood pulp rather than chemical pulp. Used primarily for Web Press production.

Newsprint: An inexpensive paper made primarily of mechanically ground wood pulp rather than chemical pulp.

Opacity: As opposed to transparency, a measure of the ability of a paper to prevent artwork printed on the reverse side of a page from showing through on the front side.

Synthetic Paper: “Yupo” paper is a synthetic paper, machine-made in the USA of 100% polypropylene. It is waterproof, stain resistant, and extremely strong and durable with a slick, smooth feel. It is a compelling and unique alternative to traditional art papers. Can be rather expensive.

Wood-free Paper: Paper which contains less than 10% mechanical pulp; Good for one and two color jobs, or jobs requiring a lower reproductive quality of full color images.


Bleed: Artwork which extends beyond the edge of the trim area of a print piece. The purpose of bleed is to safeguard against unsightly results that might otherwise be created should the piece be trimmed slightly beyond the intended trim area due to machine tolerance or human error.

Color Separation: The process of separating artwork into the component printing colors to be used in production, most often the four process colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, for later re-composition on press. During separation, continuous tone artwork is broken down into tiny dots through the aid of line screens to be specified by the printer.

CMYK: “Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black”’—A color formulation standard used for print production.

Creep: The phenomenon by which spreads in the middle of a thickly bound piece, especially bound by saddle stitching, often to “creep” out from the center fold line of the piece due to successive layers of spreads bound together. The result of creep may include the outer edges of middle pages being inadvertently trimmed off in an unattractive manner. Creep should be accounted for in pre-press by adjusting layouts either manually or via imposition software.

CTF: ‘Computer to Film’—A process by which color separations are made from computer to Film, from which printing plates are then burned using a refined photochemical process. Advantages include the control afforded by seeing wet proofs made from film, examining films for problems with Moïre patterns and Overprints, the ability to strip in or strip out corrections or remake films affordably. Disadvantages include the potential loss of quality due to one additional transfer step and the extra time required to make films.

CTP: ‘Computer to Plate’ The process by which color separations are made directly to printing plates from digital files, without the aid of an intermediary step. Advantages include quality afforded by eliminating the intermediary step, speed and convenience. Downsides may include an inability to identify problems with Moïre patterns and Overprints, the usual omission of accompanying wet proofs, which might allow identification of costly mistakes before press time.

Digital proofs: Proofs made by a proofing method such as inkjet, color laser, dye sublimation, or thermal wax to produce an approximation of the color to be expected in the final product.

DPI: “Dots Per Inch”— The print industry standard resolution metric. For printing, image files should be 300 dpi.

ICC Color Profiling: “International Color Consortium” profiling—A Universal color management specification created to allow color management across various platforms and vendors.

Live Area: The area inside the trim lines; The area of artwork intended to be included in the final work.

Moïre Pattern: An unsightly crisscross pattern created when previously printed material has been scanned and color separated once again, resulting in a conflict of screen angles.

Overprint: The process by which a color, quite often black due its density, is printed on top of a previously printed color area. For instance, small black or other dark type laid over a lighter color in a design, should normally be overprinted, to avoid registration problems on press. When providing PDF files, designers should ensure that the overprint setup is as desired, as it will be difficult in the preflight stage to make changes to such setup.

PDF: “Portable Document Format” —A file format developed by Adobe which permits linked images, fonts and color profiles to be embedded in a single file which may be opened and sent through a RIP for color separation without the native software package used to create the original file. Extremely advantageous for avoiding inadvertent pre-press errors, but difficult to change. Customers providing pdf files should be skilled in their creation.

Printer’s Spreads: A page layout configuration which is arranged in the order most convenient for printing, where up to 16 pages are generally imposed together on a single large printing sheet.
Reader’s Spreads: A page layout configuration which mimics the final order of pages as will be seen by the reader in the final piece.

RGB: “Red, Green, Blue”—A Color formulation standard commonly used for viewing art on a computer monitor.

Trim: The point on each side of a printed piece at which the artwork is intended to be cropped.

Wet Proofs: Proofs made by real printing ink, generally on the paper to be used on the actual print run. Wet proofs are run on hand presses using temporary Mylar plates and, while they may still exhibit discrepancies in registration or pressure-induced color shifts, are considered by many to be the closest sensual equivalent to the final product possible. Ideal for checking crossovers, construction, overprints and bleeds.


Die-Cut: The cutting of shapes from the substrate using a custom-made metal die and stamping machine.

Embossing/Debossing: A die-stamping process resulting in a raised (Emboss) or depressed (Deboss) surface on the substrate. Embossing may be executed either without any printing to highlight the affected area (blind Emboss) or as a complement to a printed area, for instance where a logo is first printed on a surface and then embossed.

Hole Punching: A process by which holes of a specified size are drilled through a finished, bound catalog or other printed material.

Hot Foil Stamp: A process whereby a metallic foil is die-stamped on to a substrate (usually paper) to leave an imprinted logo, text or other graphic device in the color and material of the metallic foil. A popular technique for Book Titles, Name Cards and invitations, hot stamps are generally either gold or silver, but may be created in a wide range of metallic colors.

Perforation: The punching of small holes (usually in straight lines) into a sheet of paper, to make a printed area easy to tear off. Used for vouchers, response cards, etc., various levels of ease in removing the perforated area may be achieved through the spacing between the holes.

Scoring: A process whereby a crease is created in a straight line on the substrate, primarily used to allow for ease of folding.


Bill of Lading: A shipping document noting the loading details of cargo on a vessel. Unless other arrangements, such as a Telex release, have been made, the Bill of Lading is generally the document required for a consignee to claim goods.

CBM: “Cubic Meters” The standard volumetric measuring standard for international shipping.

CIF: “Cargo Insurance Freight” A shipping arrangement whereby costs and services include moving loss-insured cargo to the port of destination, thereafter the importer assumes responsibility for customs clearance, destuffing and final delivery to door.

CFS: “Cargo Freight Station” A shipping arrangement whereby cargo is imported and moved to a bonded warehouse, where containers may be de-stuffed and loaded on to truck or rail transport for delivery to a remote destination.

DDP: “Delivered Duty Paid” A shipping arrangement whereby cargo is imported and delivered all the way to the door of the consignee, and where any applicable Import Duties are paid by the shipper.

DDU: “Delivered Duty Unpaid” A shipping arrangement whereby cargo is imported and delivered all the way to the door of the consignee, but where consignee is responsible for any applicable import duties.

FOB: “Free on Board” A shipping arrangement whereby cargo is delivered to the port of origin, loaded into containers, and placed on board the carrying ship, thereafter the consignee is responsible for all costs and arrangements henceforth.

Pallets: Cargo loading devices, usually made of wood or plastic, that are easily lifted and moved by a forklift. Almost always used in Ocean shipping.

Shrink-wrap: The process by which cartons stacked on a pallet are wrapped in cellophane sheeting to prevent them from moving or falling over in transit.

Telex release: A process by which a shipper may electronically authorize release of goods to a consignee without presentation of the Bill of Lading.