Glossary of Printer Terms
Printers Jargon – Terms you might hear about your order. * Note: To see these terms used in context, check out "The Anatomy of a Photo Book," a comprehensive overview of the printing process.
Acid-Free Paper – Paper made from pulp that contains little or no acid so it resists deterioration from age. Also referred to as alkaline, archival, or permanent paper.
Banding – The presence of visible strips, lines, or bands of uneven, irregular, or mismatching density or inking across the width of the print.
Basis Weight – The weight of paper measured in pounds per 500 sheets. In the US (lbs), and Grams per Square Meter (gsms) in metric. This determines the thickness of the sheet used. These are also specified by: bond, book, Bristol, cover, index, offset, and text. All of Forever’s printed materials are on text or cover stock weight.
Bleed – Refers to when the layout extends beyond the edge. Bleeds are typically 1/8” larger than the trim, so that when the page is cut to size the layout will extend over the edge of the paper.
CMYK – Is a color space used in printing comprised of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. These colors make up the subtractive color system because they subtract light that is reflected off the paper to create color.
Coated Paper – Paper with a coating of clay and other substances that improves the reflectivity and ink hold out. Mills produce coated paper in the four major categories: cast, gloss, dull, and matte. Forever uses gloss, dull, and matte coated papers.
Crop Marks – Marks or lines at the corners of a page indicating where the sheet should be trimmed. Also called trim marks or tic marks.
Die Cutting – Cutting irregular (non-square) shapes in paper using a die. This is often seen on holiday cards.
Dye Sublimation – A printing process that uses heat to transfer dye (ink) onto materials such as plastic, wood, metal, ceramic, fabric, etc.
DPI – (also known as: Dots per Square Inch) is a measure of resolution of input devices such as scanners, display devices such as monitors, and output devices such as laser printers. The standard for printing high resolution is 300 dots per inch.
Dull Finish (paper) – Flat (not glossy) finish on coated paper that is slightly smoother than matte.
End Sheet – Sheet that attaches the inside pages of a hard bound book to its cover. Forever offers the choice of white or black end sheets.
Gamut – The entire range of color that can be possibly reproduced within a specific device (i.e computer screen, or a device such as 4-color process CMYK). RGB, sRGB, and CMYK all have separate color gamuts.
Ghosting – A faint image appearing on a printed sheet where it was not intended to appear. Chemical ghosting refers to the transfer of the faint image from the front of one sheet to the back of another. Mechanical ghosting refers to the faint image appearing as a repeat of an image on the same side of the sheet.
Gutter – On side-stitched and perfect bound books, the gutter is the margin area that extends into the binding edge. Artisan has a setting to help adjust for the gutter, which is usually the ¼” on the binding side.
JPEG – Is an adjustable format of compression for digital photography which allows a selectable tradeoff between storage size and image quality. Most of your photos and papers will be uploaded to your Forever account and added to your print projects in JPEG format.
Lay-flat Binding – Similar to side stitching, this binding is very durable; however the gutter is detached from the spine of the book so that the book can adjust and lay flat. Forever uses Flexbinding, which works by transferring the stress normally placed on the binding to the laminated hinge on each page, which enables photo spreads to flow smoothly from one page to the next for dramatic visual presentations. This method is only used on hard back books, and is excellent for photobooks.
Lignin – Substance in trees that holds cellulose fibers together. A lignin-free sheet has most lignin removed; groundwood paper contains lignin.
Matte Finish – Flat (not glossy) finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper.
Midtones – In a photograph or illustration, tones created by dots between 30% and 70% of coverage, as compared to highlights and shadows.
Opacity (paper) –The characteristic of paper that block the transmission of light or prevent show-through of printing from one side to the other.
Opacity (ink) – Characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate or paper from showing through.
Perfect Binding – The process of binding the book by gluing the pages into the book’s spine with a soft cover. Forever uses the PUR glue (Polyurethane Reactive) method, which offers superior adhesion and adds the ability to lay almost flat without compromising the binding strength. Because of PUR’s strength, we can also use less of it when creating a squarer spine, and we additionally have the ability to perfect bind the thinnest books. This method is traditionally used in soft cover books. Allow extra time for soft cover books, as the glue takes 24 hours to cure.
PDF – (also known as: Portable Document Format) is a file format used to present documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware and operating system. PDF files encapsulate a complete description of a fixed-layout flat document, including text, fonts, graphics, and other information needed to display it. PDF is a standard file used by printers because of its ability to translate color and layout without compromising either.
PNG – (also known as: Portable Network Graphics) is a raster graphics file format that supports lossless data compression. PNG offers a variety of transparency options which makes it a great format for many of our embellishments.
Post Bind or Post Bound – The bind with a screw or post inserted through a hole in the plastic sheets or sleeves for holding page prints.
Proof – Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press, and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.
Resolution – Sharpness of an image on film, paper, or computer screen.
RGB – A color space comprised of red, green, and blue that make up the additive system used by monitors, televisions, or anything projecting images. They are additive because they add light to create color.
Safety or Safe Zone – When books are trimmed, they are trimmed in book blocks; as a result, there pages can shift very slightly. Safety is the area 1/8” inside from the trim that is assured it will not be cut off. Any important images, embellishments, and text that you do not want to be trimmed should be well within this safe zone.
Separations – In the 4-color process, the separate film holding images of one specific color per piece of film in CMYK.
Side Stitching – Our hard bound or case bound books are side-stitched, a method of binding through the side of the page instead of gluing the page to the spine. This creates a very strong binding, but does not allow for pages to lay flat. This binding method is traditionally used in hard back books, and recommended for books that have a lot of pages.
Spine – Back or binding edge of a publication.
Spread – Two pages that face each other and are designed as one visual production unit.
sRGB – Or standard RGB is a color space created by HP and Microsoft to standardize the RGB color space across multiple platforms and monitors.
Substrate – Any surface or material on which printing is done.
TIFF – Or Tagged Image File Format is a flexible and adaptable file format for handling images and data with a single file. The ability to store image data in a lossless format makes a TIFF file a useful image archive because unlike the JPEG, a TIFF file using lossless compression may be edited and re-saved without losing image quality.
Trim – Is the final page size of the printing. When designing layouts that have bleeds, the pages are printed on a larger sheet of paper, and then cut down to the trim size.
UV Coating – Liquid applied to a substrate that is bonded and cured with UV light.