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FAQ & Dictionary


Adobe is a leading software manufacturer in the area of graphics, imaging and online editing tools, whose headquarters are located in San Jose, California. Their key product offerings are Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Pagemaker


 Is an arrangement of lines that are used to carry information. Barcodes automate processes through the use of information that is read by barcode readers. These are mainly used in mailing operations to automate the proper disposition of the address

Black and white

More commonly known as monochrome printing. This is where a document or print image relies on the white balance of the paper with black ink or toner being used. No colour is used in this process.

Blank page

This is traditionally a page that is left blank on purpose in a book or manual for page balance and impositioning purposes.


To extend the printed image beyond the edge of the paper when the item is trimmed. To print bleed in any process you need to use a larger sheet of paper and cut it to finished size.

Blind embossing

Is the creation of a raised area of print using metal dies. This is mainly used for logos or characters.


Publications that appear on non-regular intervals and can be up to 48 pages in length and are normally of the same paper consistency throughout. The cover can be stitched directly to a spine, single or multilayer block.


 Is to set up a scanner, monitor, printer or image setter so that it produces accurate and consistent results and predictable half tones throughout the process.


 Is a mechanical device used to measure the distance in two sides of a material object. A calliper can be used to also grip and feed an object through as a part of the active measurement taking.


Is an acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black).

Coated paper

 Coating paper improves the surface gloss, luster and whiteness making it more printable. The coating is made of various materials, natural paper pigments and

a binding agent. This is done at the paper mill. Gloss paper is very shiny, muted is satin and dull is matte. By hot drying paper and polishing it using a cylinder, you end up with cast-coated stock or machine coated paper that is mostly used in offset, gravure and letterpress printing.

Colour proof

A proof is used to ensure everyone agrees upon what is going to be printed including text colours and layout.


 Is the cutting of a printed piece of material into a specific shape. In the case of digital printing sheets are pre-die cut then printed on.

Digital printing

The true term of digital printing is when information is sent directly from a computer onto paper. Digital printing is a faster and more cost effective solution for smaller print runs, personalised printing, variable data printing and on demand applications.


 Is the creation of an image, design, logo, pattern or letters that are raised or depressed on an item such as paper, fabric or metal. The impression is made via die cast plates that press the material leaving the raised or depressed image behind.


 Stands for the International Colour Consortium (ICC) and brings the manufacturers of prepress products together along with print machine manufacturers to promote colour management.


 Is the arrangement of pages prior to printing so they appear in the correct order when the sheet is printed and folded.


Inkjet printing

 Is where minute droplets of ink are sprayed via jets onto the surface of paper.

The jet is applied by either using a piezoelectric or thermal technology. Inkjet is primarily used to print high-speed variable print work on a singular substrate that is normally fed by paper reels.


Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) is a compression of image files in RGB mode. It reduces the size of a file up to 95% but loses image information along the way. You can change the level of compression that means you may not lose as much image information along the way. JPEG’s have an ISO 10918 certification.


 Is a plastic film bonded by heat and pressure other printed sheet and offers protection or changes the appearance.

Offset printing

Where the printing plate is inked and transferred (offset) to a rubber blanket and then to the paper surface, used in both sheet fed and web fed presses.


 Is a quantity measure of paper, generally 500 sheets that are wrapped and packaged for ease of use.

RGB Is an additive colour model for the primary colours – red, green, blue and is self- illuminating. Devices such as monitors, digital cameras, scanners and other digital screens use the colour format.


Raster Image Processor (RIP) prepares data from a prepress stage and makes it accessible to the print stage. It can be used to produce offset printing plates. In digital printing the RIP can be used on the fly to make corrections and is the adjustable user interface to a digital print engine.

Saddle stitch

 Is a form of wire binding through the middle of the folded sheets. Most commonly done by staples.


Is the vividness and purity of colour. The less grey a colour has the more saturated it is.

Scanner Is an optical device that can capture image data. It is light sensitive and its sensors convert the information relating to colours, electrical values and image brightness to a computer. There are two types of scanners, drum and flatbed. The flatbed scanner requires the original to be placed on a flat glass surface and is then scanned by an array of light sensitive CCD elements. Alternatively, with a drum scanner the original is attached to a drum and the scanning takes place line by line by a rotating fine beam of light.


Specifications for Web Offset Publications (SWOP) are a standard used in the print industry for printing characteristics.


 Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) is commonly used for images as a file format. The format contains the hue and brightness of every pixel in the image and it support various colour systems.


 Is the creation of small overlapping areas where two colours meet to ensure that slight miss registrations do not show up as white on the printed material.

Uncoated paper

Is a term for untreated paper, which means it has no additional protective coating.

Variable data printing Variable Data Printing (VDP) is the ability to alter a document within a print run to ensure it is personalised to the recipient.

Vector format

Saves images as geometrical shapes rather than as images. Vector formats require less memory than pixel format and can be rescaled without affecting the sharpness of the image. It is not suitable for photographs.

Scanning resolution

The resolution at which you scan your images is very important. You do not want to scan at too low a resolution and lose quality, yet neither do you want to scan at too high a resolution – increasing file size and RIP time.


If you scan a line art graphic at less than the output resolution you risk having the edges of the image appear jagged. For most digital printing equipment, scanning your line art at 600dpi should be adequate while 1200 dip should be used for traditional printing processes. Always scan at 100% of the final size you need for your output. If your file takes too long to RIP, see if your CT image sizes are the problem. By reducing your file size this will help but may affect image quality. Also check that you have the rights to use the images that you are scanning.

Graphic file formats

The most common graphic file type is the TIF or TIFF image (Tagged Image File Format). TIFs are a lossless file type designed for cross platform compatibility and require large amounts of storage space. Another common file type is an EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file which is essentially a self contained PostScript file describing an image including a low-resolution preview.


EOS files have an advantage over TIF files in that they maintain colour stability when linked to an application. EPS files can be either vector or bitmap based. Files such as JPG or GIF are lossy files types and should be avoided if possible for printed output due to their low-resolution properties.

What is paper grain?

A paper’s grain is the direction in which most of the fibers lie. Grain is determined during the papermaking process, when fibers tend to align in one direction or the other. Paper is identified as either short grain (grain is parallel to paper’s short side) or long grain (grain is parallel to the paper’s long side), depending on how the paper is cut. A paper mill may indicate paper grain on carton and ream labels, product brochures, swatch books and price lists in several ways: You may see the words Long Grain or Short Grain.


The dimension parallel to the grain may be underscored. For example, 8.5x11 indicates long grain, while 11x17 indicates short grain. “M” may be used to indicate machine direction, for example, 11Mx17 indicates short grain.


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