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Working with Printers

Print materials in this workbook are camera-ready, which means they are in a format suitable for reproduction. Even though these materials have been provided, it is helpful to have a working knowledge of dealing with printers and copy centers.

Write out orders for printed materials first. Create a specification sheet that outlines all elements of your project. The list should include the size of the item (both the initial paper size and the size of the finished product), the type of paper to be used for printing, ink color desired, quantity you need, and the deadline for the materials. If you are creating a brochure, be sure to specify the number of folds.

Most customer-oriented print shops will be happy to assist you in selecting paper and ink samples. They should also be willing to explain different parts of the printing process. It’s a highly competitive business; find a printer who will help you understand the process.

Also consider working with a print broker; they are listed in the Yellow Pages. Print brokers may be able to find the best deal for your print project, based on your specifications. They can definitely save the time it would take to call print houses for estimates. It may also save you money in that the brokers may receive an additional discount as a frequent customer of print shops. Often, the fee for the print broker’s services are offset by the savings. A print broker may also know when printers are less busy, which could mean more cost savings to you.

There are literally hundreds of terms and definitions unique to the printing industry. Following are some of the most common terms.

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Glossary of Common Printing Terms

Accordion fold: Bindery term, two or more parallel folds which open like an accordion.

Alteration: Change in copy of specifications after production has begun.

Author’s corrections: Also know as "AC’s." Changes and additions in copy after it has been typeset.

Bind: To fasten sheets with wire, thread, glue or by other means.

Bleed: Printing that goes to the edge of the sheet after trimming.

Blind embossing: An image pressed into a sheet without ink or foil.

Blueline: A blue photographic proof used to check position of all image elements.

Butt: Joining images without overlapping.

Camera-ready copy: Print-ready mechanical art.

Coated paper: A clay-coated printing paper with a smooth finish.

Collate: A finishing term for gathering paper in a precise order.

Color key: Color proofs in layers of acetate.

Color separations: The process of preparing artwork, photographs, transparencies, or computer generated art for printing by separating into the four primary printing colors.

Contrast: The tonal change in color from light to dark.

Copy: All furnished material or disc used in the production of a printed product.

Crop: To cut off parts of a picture or image.

Crop marks: Printed lines showing where to trim a printed sheet.

Density: The degree of color or darkness of an image or photograph.

Die: Metal rule or imaged block used to cut or place an image on paper in the finishing process.

Dummy: A rough layout of a printed piece showing position and finished size.

Duotone: A halftone picture made up of two printed colors.

Emboss: Pressing an image into paper so that it will create a raised relief.

Flood: To cover a printed page with ink, varnish, or plastic coating.

Flop: The reverse side of an image.

Four-color process: The process of combining four basic colors to create a printed color picture or colors composed from the basic four colors.

French fold: Two folds at right angles to each other.

Galley proof: Text copy before it is put into a mechanical layout or desktop layout.

Ghosting: A faint printed image that appears on a printed sheet where it was not intended. More often than not, this problem is a function of graphical design. It is hard to tell when or where ghosting will occur. Sometimes you can see the problem developing immediately after printing the sheet, other times the problem occurs while drying. However, if the problem occurs, it is costly to fix, if it can be fixed. Occasionally it can be eliminated by changing the color sequence, the inks, the paper, changing to a press with a drier, printing the problem area in a separate pass through the press or changing the racking (reducing the number of sheets on the drying racks). Since it is a function of graphical design, the buyer pays for the increased cost.

Gloss: A shiny look reflecting light.

Hairline: A very thin line or gap about the width of a hair or 1/100 inch.

Halftone: Converting a continuous tone to dots for printing.

Hard copy: The output of a computer printer, or typed text sent for typesetting.

Indicia: Postal information place on a printed product.

Keylines: Lines on mechanical art that show position of photographs or illustrations.

Knock out: To mask out an image.

Magenta: Process red, one of the basic colors in process color.

Matchprint: Trade name for 3M integral color proof.

Matte finish: Dull paper or ink finish.

Mechanical: Camera ready art all contained on one board.

OK sheet: Final approved color inking sheet before production begins.

Opacity: The amount of show-through on a printed sheet. The more opacity or the thicker the paper the less show-through. (The thicker/heavier the paper the higher the cost.)

Overrun or overs: Copies printed in excess of the specified quantity. (Printing trade terms allow for
+ -10 percent to represent a
completed order.)

Perfect bind: A type of binding that
glues the edge of sheets to a cover like a telephone book, Microsoft software manual, or Country Living Magazine.

PMS: The abbreviation for Pantone Color Matching System.

Process blue: The blue or cyan color in process printing.

Process colors: Cyan (blue), magenta (process red), yellow (process yellow), black (process black).

Ragged left: Type that is justified to the right margin and the line lengths vary on the left.

Ragged right: Type that is justified to the left margin and the line lengths vary on the right.

Ream: Five hundred sheets of paper.

Register: To position print in the proper position in relation to the edge of the sheet and to other printing on the same sheet.

Register marks: Cross-hair lines or marks on film, plates, and paper that guide strippers, platemakers, pressmen, and bindery personnel in processing a print order from start
to finish.

Saddle stitch: Binding a booklet or magazine with staples in the seam where it folds.

Score: A crease put on paper to help it fold better.

Self-cover: Using the same paper as the text for the cover.

Show-through: Printing on one side of a sheet that can be seen on the other side of the sheet.

Spot varnish: Varnish used to highlight a specific part of the printed sheet.

Stock: The material to be printed.

Substrate: Any surface on which printing is done.

Transparency: A positive photographic slide on film allowing light to pass through.

Trapping: The ability to print one ink over the other.

Varnish: A clear liquid applied to printed surfaces for looks and protection. (UV coating looks better.)


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