Printing Common Terms


The name of the item you need the printing quote for (e.g., book printing, brochure printing, catalog printing, etc.).


How many do you need? It is a good idea to list three quantities (e.g., 1000, 1500, 2000 pieces) for a printing quote, as the unit pricing is better once the printing press is running.


This is different from how many sheets of paper are printing. A single piece of paper has two sides and therefore is two pages.


This is the size of the item that you are printing once folded. (e.g., If you fold a letter to fit an envelope, the folded size is the “trim size” folded, or 3 2/3” x 8 1/2″ from the 8.5 x 11″ original size.)


This is the flat and final trimmed size before folding. (e.g., An 8 1/2” x 11″ four-page brochure spread out as a two-page “spread” would be 17” x 11″.)


This is the lighter weight paper stock. If there is not a separate cover, than only paper is used (i.e. a “self cover”); or if there is a separate heavier cover used in the printing, then text stock would be referred to as the inside paper.


This is heavier card type stock which is also used for the printing of the outside four pages of your printed item should it be different from the text when printing. If it is not, then your printed item is a “self cover”.


Ink that is used for the printing of the inner pages. This is described by the number of printing inks you require. The two numbers used are separated by a slash sign. If the front of your piece has four colors and the back has one, then your piece would be described as 4/1 or “four over one”. CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) is for process printing such as color photos. Pantone inks, also known as spot color or PMS (Pantone Matching System), are often used for brand identity purposes in matching your exact logo colors. While this helps match colors more precisely, this is also a more expensive printing process. (Note: Always count on a slight variation of color from paper to paper and press to press.)


Same as the above but specifically for the cover portion, if it differs from the text stock.


The amount of ink covering the printed page. Always let McGrath know if large solid areas of 100% ink exist on the page.


In a bleed, the ink prints to the very edge of the paper. When using “bleeds” you must allow for the art to extend 1/8″ beyond the page border when printing.


A complete disk not requiring further production other than to “rip” to film or plate if on a digital printing press. It should also contain folders for all of your images and fonts used.


Scanning is the process that records your images as a digital file from your photograph.


A black and white photo shot with a camera.


Combining your type, images, colors logo and other items into a finished, eye pleasing piece.


A “steel rule” die is manufactured, which is composed of thin pieces of steel that will be used to stamp a line or rule on the printed materiel. To die cut is to cut the printed piece almost like a cookie cutter. An example of this is a “pocket folder”.


The type of fold used to complete your printing job. A letter fold is a paper folded in thirds. A “Z” fold differs in that the parts do not overlap but form a Z at the end. A parallel fold is a half fold, double parallel folds in half and then half again versus a right angle where the second fold is done on a 90 degree angle from the first. Accordion fold is just more panels than the Z and similar. A gate fold is where the two end panels meet in the center with the center panel being the width equal to both end panels, and a double gate folds in half towards the center after the initial gate fold.


Two staples added to the center of the piece on the fold line. This is a typical magazine printing bind.


A squared off edge and glued pages define this bindery type. An example is your typical “pocket” book printing.


Creation of holes either by die or a bindery rolling process for tear outs or coupons.


Punching or die cutting holes to allow for binder or other use. Typical is three holes, automotive style is five holes.


Stamping with a metal die a foil material onto the paper. If the foil touches ink on the piece or is raised by embossing, it is called “registering”.


To die stamp the paper from the rear in order to create a raised effect. The opposite is to de-emboss and stamp from the front of the paper in order to create a lowered effect.