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We’ve mastered the language of print, but we don’t expect you to be fluent in our terms. So, we’ve put together this glossary to help you better understand the terms we use to process your orders. But if you come across something that still has you scratching your head, feel free to give us a call and we’ll be happy to translate.


Trade designation for a printed piece with four-colors (full color) printing on the front side and no printing on the back side.


Trade designation for a printed piece with four colors (full color) printing on the front side and one color printing on the back side.


Trade designation for a printed piece with four colors (full color) on the front side and four colors (full color) printing on the back side.

Aqueous Coating (AQ)

A clear, non-toxic coating that is applied by a printing press to protect and enhance the printed surface. Aqueous Coating adds brilliance and durability to POSITIVEPRINT products, such as postcards, premium flyers, booklets, and catalogs.

Back Side

The side that is opposite the front. For postcards, the back side is not coated with aqueous coating.


The joining of paper sheets to form a book or booklet with staples, wire, glue, collating, stitching, etc.


Used in offset printing, it is a rubber-surfaced fabric that is clamped around a cylinder. The image is transferred from the plate to the blanket, and from there, transferred to the paper.

Blink Image

An image that is debossed or embossed, but not printed with ink or foil.

Bond Paper

A grade of writing or printing paper where strength, durability and performance are essential requirements. Bond paper is used for letterhead.


In paper, brightness is the reflectance or brilliance of the paper.


An abridged description for cyan in the four color printing process.


An abridged description for coated one side.


An abridged description for coated two sides.


CMYK is an acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and K (black) which is the standard color mode used in four-color printing.

Coated Paper

Has a coating of clay or other substances that improves reflectivity and ink holdout. POSITIVEPRINT uses UV coating and aqueous coating to assure durability and improve the appearance.

Color Correction

Refers to adjusting an image to improve overall output color.

Color Separations

The four-color negatives or positives are the result of changing full color artwork into the four process colors (yellow, magenta, cyan, and black) by the use of filters. Color separation allows each color layer to be printed separately (one layer on top of the next layer) to give the final printed piece a consistent, full color appearance.

Comb Bind

A method of binding a booklet by inserting the teeth of a flexible plastic comb through holes punched along the edge of a stack of paper.

Computer-to-Plate (CTP)

A system in which the use of desktop publishing software, electronic prepress workstations and platesetters allows the imaging of metal plates for any type of press without the use of film, stripping or traditional platemaking.


The amount of ink on a paper sheet that is usually given in percentages.


Shifting position of the page in a saddle-stitched bind. As the book becomes thicker, creep moves the inside pages away from the spine.


The process to dry inks or other coatings after printing, which ensures good adhesion and prevents off-set.


The blue color that is one of the four standard process colors used in printing.


To press an image into paper so that it lies below the surface.


A device made out of sharp steel that is used to cut, score, stamp, emboss or deboss irregular shapes.

Die cutting

The process by which a die made out of sharp steel is used to cut irregular shapes in printed sheets.


The process used to transfer information from a client's file directly to the plate, producing high-quality printed pieces. This printing process does not require the use of film.


A basic halftone printing unit. A series of dots are combined to create a printed image.

Dot Pattern

A series of dots that make up a printed image.

Dots Per Inch (DPI)

The measurement of resolution of a printed image as determined by the number of dots that fit into one inch. The higher the concentration of dots per inch, the sharper the image will be.


A halftone that prints in two colors to create greater visual interest or more subtle detail and gray tones.


The ability of a press or digital copier to print on both sides of a sheet without having to manually turn over the sheet.


The process of pressing an image into paper so that it lies above the surface.

Foil Stamping

The process of pressing a heated die onto a sheet of foil, releasing the foil from its backing and adhering it to the paper to create a foil design on a printed piece.

Four-Color Printing

The process which combines cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks that are used to create a full color image.


The process that starts after the ink is on paper. This process includes cutting, trimming, folding, pasting and inserting.


A phenomenon of a faint image on a printed sheet where it was not intended to appear.

Hole Drilling

This process is used on materials that are intended to be stored in binders.


Another description for black which is one of the colors that is used in the standard four-color printing process.

Line Screen

Measures the number of dot lines per inch, providing an indication of image sharpness. The finer the ‘screen’ used to create printing plates, the more detail can be portrayed in the final printed piece. POSITIVEPRINT presses are run at line screens up to 175 lines per inch.


A method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose non-image areas repel ink. The images are first printed onto a rubber blanket and then offset to paper.


An abridged description for magenta in the four-color printing process.


The red color that is one of the four standard process colors used in printing.


The process used to prevent light from reaching part of an image, therefore isolating the remaining part.


An undesirable pattern that appears when two or more screen patterns are placed over one another. Moire may be caused by misalignment, incorrect screen angles, slipping or slurring.


A reverse of an image created when processing film. The light and dark parts of an image are tonally reversed from the original copy.

Offset Lithography

A printing process where the image prints by transferring ink from a plate to a rubber blanket that deposits the ink onto the substrate instead of directly from plate to paper.

Offset Printing

Refers to offset lithography, which is a printing process where the image prints by transferring ink from a plate to a rubber blanket, which deposits the ink onto the substrate instead of directly from plate to paper.

Pantone Matching Systems (PMS)

The most popular color matching systems used in the printing industry. A true PMS color is defined by a mixture of inks that will provide a specific color.

Perfect Binding

A bindery method where all pages are trimmed to a single sheet. They are clamped together and a cover is wrapped around the spine. The pages are attached to the cover using an adhesive.


Creation of a line of small holes for the purpose of tearing-off a part of a printed piece (usually straight lines) that takes place on a binder machine.


A metal sheet carrying an image to be reproduced using a printing press.


A means to convert mathematical and digital information into a series of dots by an imagesetter as digital data that will be used for output.

Raster Image Processor (RIP)

A device that translates page description commands into bitmapped information for an output device such as an imagesetter. A raster image processor is used to convert the output of a pre-press computer system into a format usable by an imagesetter.


A binding that features one or more staples in the spine of the book or booklet. Saddle-Stitched (stapled) is one of the binding options for booklets and catalogs.


A shallow crease where a sheet of paper will be folded. A score is important because it prevents the ink (and paper) from cracking at the edge of the fold.


To layout words, text and logos for printing.


A type of paper that has no coating and does not receive UV Coating or Aqueous Coating during the printing or finishing process.

UV Coating

A liquid applied to a printed sheet, that is then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light. This coating yields a tough, almost unscratchable surface that is extremely durable.


One of the colors that is used in the standard four-color printing process.