UACES Facebook Print Terminology

Printing Industry Terminology

The following print terminology descriptions could help in communicating the specifications of your project. There are literally hundreds of specialized printing-related terms. These are a few of the more common and useful terms.


  • Artwork

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

  • Binding or Bindery

    Processes using glue, wire staples, thread or mechanical clasps to hold pages together. Bleed Extension (1/8″) of image areas printed beyond the trim size of a sheet or page. This allows the image to spill off the edge of the page.

  • Bond Paper


    A strong, durable paper especially well-suited for writing, duplicating, and office use.


    Book Paper


    A paper available in a wide range of surface finishes, well suited for printing.




    The relative thickness of a sheet of paper in comparison to its weight. Bulky papers may be used to add thickness to a publication without adding weight.


    Camera-Ready Art or Mechanical Art


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


    Coated Stock


    Paper that has a chemical finish applied after sheet-formation. The finish may be glossy or matte.


    Cover Stock


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


    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.




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




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


    Glossy Print


    A photographic print, usually a positive, with a slick shiny surface.

  • Halftone

    An irregular pattern of tiny dots that can be used to print a full range of tones. Halftone screens are used to print reproductions of photographs and artwork that are not line art. Multiple halftones are combined in process color to give the illusion of a full-color image.

  • 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 highest quality is required. This is usually a function of the type of printing press and the paper specification. Common values are 85, 100, 120, 133 and 150 lpi.

  • Monotone

    An image that uses a halftone screen printed in a single spot color to create a toned effect.

  • 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; 5 part = white/green/canary/pink/gold; 6 part = white/blue/green/canary/pink/gold.

  • 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. This indirect or offset method is still the most common type of printing press.




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


    Process Color


    The method of applying color to a printed project that uses only four (4) inks to depict all colors. The four colors are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. This process is also known as CMYK color.




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




    Fitting of two or more printed images, usually in different colors, in precise alignment with each other. A regular pattern of tiny dots that can be used to print a full range of tones.


    Spot Color


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




    Applying ink as a screen to achieve a tone usually specified as a percentage.




    A transparent, positive photographic image, usually a full color slide. This is the highest quality art for color scanning.

  • Trim Size

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

  • Uncoated Stock

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

  • Weight

    A relative measurement of the heaviness of papers, stated in pounds (lbs). Common weights for copying papers are 20 and 24 lb. writing, for printing papers are 60, 70 and 80 lb. text, and for covers are 65 and 80 lb. cover.