Printing Glossary

Have you ever wondered what some of those curious printing terms actually mean? No? Well we've decided to publish them anyway!

If you come across any others that you think ought to be included (real or invented), we'd be pleased to hear from you...


To shake a stack of papers, either on a machine or by hand, so that the edges line up. Also referred to as knocking-up.

Joint Photographic Electronic Group. a common standard for compressing image data.

job ticket / job sheet:
Alternate names for a works order.

Text which is flush to both the left and right margins.

The adjustment of spacing between certain letter pairs, A and V for example, to obtain a more pleasing appearance.

To die-cut but not all the way through the paper – commonly used for peel off stickers.

A shape or object printed by eliminating (knocking out) all background colours.

kraft paper:
A tough brown paper used for packing.

A thin film coating which is applied to the paper or board to give a more glossy or matt appearance.

layout file:
The file created by computer application software which contains all the imported elements and where all the design and layout of a document are performed.

lithographic printing:
A printing process based on the principle of the natural aversion of water to grease. the areas to be printed receive and transfer ink to the paper, the non-printing areas are treated with water to repel the ink.

loose leaf:
A method of binding which allows the insertion and removal of pages for continuous updating.

Lines per inch - refers to the quality of a halftone screen. it is important to distinguish it from dpi which refers to the resolution of a device or image. commonly lpi is used at exactly half of the dpi of the device or image, i.e. 300dpi would equal 150lpi.

line copy:
Copy which can be reproduced without using halftones.

One of the four process colours, also known as red.

The work associated with the set-up of printing equipment before running a job.

metal plate:
A metal sheet with a specially coated 'emulsion' on its surface which when exposed through a film mask or by CTP process will produce an image. when the plate is loaded onto printing press it then reproduces this image using inks onto the paper.

Instrument used for measuring the thickness of paper.

moire pattern:
An undesirable grid-like pattern caused by the misalignment of dots on a printed document. this can occur when printing or sometimes when scanning from pre-printed material.

A non glossy finish.

A term used to describe all of the processes which prepare a job for the printing stage.

outline paths:
A term used when converting a font or graphic into a mathematical vector format. can also be called 'curves'.

offset printing:
A method in which the plate or cylinder transfers an ink image to an offset or transfer roller, which then transfers the image to stock.

Copies printed in excess of the quantity specified in the order.