The A - Z of Print & Direct Mail

Here's a handy guide to some of the technical terms used in our industry. Often we, as a printer and mailing house, assume that everyone else understands what we're talking about! So to help please see the following A - Z Guide.

2-D barcode (see also OCR)
An electronic means of reading copy or scanning an image and converting it to an electronic equivalent. A unique code read by a camera on our enclosing line to match up to 3 personalised items per pack.

Accordion fold (see also Concertina fold and Z fold)
A term used in binding for two or more parallel folds, which opens and folds like an accordion.

Acrobat 
Adobe software is used to create, amend and manage PDFs.

Adobe Creative Suite (CS/CC) 
A software suite of graphic design, video editing, and web development applications made by Adobe Systems and include Photoshop, Acrobat, InDesign, Premiere Pro, Illustrator and After Effects.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) 
(Pronounced ask-ee.) ASCII is a code for representing English characters as numbers, with each letter assigned a number from 0 to 127. Most computers use ASCII codes to represent text, which makes it possible to transfer data from one computer to another

Backing up 
Printing the reverse side of a sheet already printed.

Bezier curve 
The description of a character, symbol or graphic by its outline used by drawing programs to define the shapes.

Bitmap 
A computer image made up of dots. When this type of image is enlarged the quality will deteriorate and become grainy. JPEG, GIFS and TIFFS are bitmap files.

Bleed 
Print on an image or text, which exceeds the trim edge of a page or sheet.

Bond paper 
Another term for uncoated paper.

Bulk 
The degree of thickness of paper.

C Y M K 
Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (Key), these are the 4-colours used on printing presses and mixed to create the standard colours.

Coated paper 
Paper that contains a surface coating to produce a smooth and often shiny finish.

Colour management (ISO12647-2)
Defines a system or process, which ensures colour is consistent and accurate during production.

Concertina fold (see Z fold and Accordian Fold)
A term used in binding for two or more parallel folds, which opens and folds in a zig zag.

Creep 
This is the distance the printed matter shifts during the folding and binding.

Cropmarks 
See ‘Register marks’.

Computer to Plate (CTP) 
This system used to make printing plates directly from our repro department computers.

Continuous stationery 
Forms which are produced from reels of paper and then fan folded. Normally used for direct mail or other marketing purpose

CS software / CC software
See Adobe Creative Suite.

Curl 
The distortion of a printed sheet, which be caused by an excessive amount of print coverage, certain paper coatings or the drying process.

Densitometer 
Used in print to measure and control the density of colour on printed matter, during the printing process.

Density 
The degree of darkness (light absorption or opacity) of a photographic image.

Diecutting 
The method for cutting special shapes from printed material. It can be done on a flatbed or rotary presses, with the latter usually done in-line (at the same time) with the printing.

Digital Assets Management (DAM) 
A secured content management system focused on storing digital assets such as images, photographs and artwork.

Digital colour proof 
A colour proof produced from digital data and not directly from the printer press it will be produced from. This an be either coated or uncoated material.

Digital printing 
Printing direct from digital files. Used for short print runs or if a high level of personalisation is required.

Dot gain 
This is where dots print larger than they should causing darker tones or stronger colours.

Dots per inch (DPI) 
Used to measure the resolution of a screen image. The higher the DPI of an image the better the quality and the larger the file size.

Dummy proof 
A proof used in advance of production to represent the finished item.

Duplex printing and lasering 
Printing (or lasering) on both sides of the paper.

Embedding 
Refers to elements and data (such as images and fonts), which are included as part of a computer file in order to maintain or change the elements when used remotely.

Embossing 
A process performed after printing to stamp a raised (or depressed) image into the surface of paper. There are different methods including blind, deboss and foil-embossed.

Enclosing
A process performed after all items have been printed and personalised to insert them into the envelope or polywrap.

EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) 
It is a computer image designed as line art rather than pixels, which means it can be enlarged and maintain clarity. Files can only be created using design software such as a CS2 suite.