Glossary of Printing Terms | Printgenie Malaysia

We at are aware that printing can be really technical (fill with jargons) if you are not familiar with the printing industry (even fresh graphic designers are clueless about it!). Therefore, we have compiled the list of printing terms that is frequently used for your understanding;

Aqueous Coating:
Used to protect and enhance the printed piece. Aqueous coating / water varnish.

Bindery occurs in the finishing department, which performs operations on the printed product after it has been printed. Bindery operations are as follows: Folding, Scoring, Perforation, Binding, Stitching, Die Cutting, & Envelope Converting (currently done in house).

Various methods used to secure loose pages in a book is called binding. Saddle stitch is an example of binding.

Printed colors that extend past the edge of a page. In order to cut a job to its actual size, the processor must make sure the job gets printed with 2MM of bleed. Some jobs may require more. For example, a business card job (89MM x 54MM) the file size with bleed should be (93MM x 58MM).

Outlines around graphics, text or edge of a sheet.

The percent of light reflected back from a sheet of paper as measured by a light meter reading. Contrast is reduced and highlights are not as strong when paper with a lower brightness is used for a printed piece. At, dependent on paper brand, the papers have different brightness grades.

The primary colors used in 4-color printing. CMYK are used to reproduce full color on the printed sheet. CMYK is also called PROCESS COLOR.
C: Cyan (Blue)
M: Magenta (Red)
Y: Yellow
K: Key (Black)

The mixture of clay materials that are applied to paper to improve the smoothness of the paper’s surface and improve ink holdout during the printing process. uses Aqueous coating (AQ) and UV coating. UV coating adds a gloss finish to the product and improves the vibrancy of the printed colors. Spot UV can be applied to selected portions of the piece, while keeping the rest a matte finish.

Prepress Department that imposes multiple jobs of the same type in a press layout, called a batch. Collecting is responsible for creating schedules that meet production deadlines and satisfy job turnarounds.

Color Types
4C + 4C (4 over 4) – 2 sided (full color on front and on back)
4C + 1C (4 over 1) – 2 sided (full color on front, black on back)
4C + 0C (4 over 0) – 1 sided (full color on front)

Consecutive Numbering:
Numbering a form, or a series of printed material where the number changes sequentially from one to another. Example: page one begins with 201, the second will get 202, the third would be 203 and so on. Here At we only offer that service on our business documents range.

Crop Marks (Guide Marks):
Lines printed in the margin of sheet that indicates to the cutter and bindery where the finished product should be trimmed. They are also used to show what part of a photo should be used and what part should be cropped off.

Die Cutting:
A specific shape like circle, star, etc (any designs that cannot be done by a straight cut) which is cut by a metal blade. Door hangers are a popular product which requires die cutting. We offer limited, external cut die cutting as custom orders.

Dots Per Inch (dpi):
A measurement of resolution of input, output and display devices. 300 dpi means that when printed, each square inch of your image will contain 90,000 pixels (dots). The higher the dpi (the more pixels per inch) the more crisp the printed image will be. We require (digital files) to have to have a resolution of at least 300 dpi. Anything less than that is considered low resolution and may appear blurry when printed.

A process of imprinting an image by applying pressure to the back side of a material to change the surface, giving it a three dimensional or raised effect. Embossing can be referred to as raised lettering. DOES NOT offer embossing or raised lettering.

Finished Size / Trim Size:
The size of a printed product after all production operations have been completed.

Operations to a document after it has been printed. The finishing operations can include bindery work such as, trimming, folding, binding, die cutting, inserting or any post press process that must be completed.

Flat Size:
The size of a printed product after printing and trimming but before any finishing operations that affect its size, such as folding.

The application of metallic foil on paper using a heated die. The foil is adhered to the surface leaving the design of the die on the paper. Our Foil Stamp Printing adds a custom touch to your printed product by applying a thin film of metal to paper that creates a high grade, eye-catching result.

The process of bending printed sheets in a specific area. Folding is one of our popular bindery jobs.

Full Bleed:
Printing that goes to the edge of all four sides of the page.

Gloss Finish:
A coating on paper that provides a higher reflection of light, which results in a shiny appearance. Gloss coatings reduce ink absorption, which allows for more contrast and color definition.

Gray Scale:
A strip of paper containing gray tones ranging from white to black. Gray scale refers to black and white printed material.

Metal finger like clamps that grab the paper to pull it through the press as the sheet is being printed.

The thinnest possible line or space that is still visible.

Head to Head:
Printing on the front and back of a sheet is setup so that the top of both sides is printed at the same end of the sheet. Imagine turning the sheet like the page of a book to read the reverse side.

Printing on the front and back of a sheet so that the tops of each side are printed at opposite ends from each other. The top of one side is opposite the bottom of the other. You would turn the sheet over from top to bottom to read the reverse side. Also referred to as tumble or head-to-tail.

A spot on a printed sheet that appears as a small white circle with ink in the center. Can be caused by particles such as dirt, dust, or bits of paper.

The printing of new copy on a piece that is already printed. Examples of imprinting are ink-jetting addresses on postcards after the actual card has been printed. Please note that we DO NOT imprint or inkjet on any paper with AQ or UV Coating. The only jobs that can be imprinted after printing are spot UV jobs and any jobs in this category including: Spot UV on both sides, UV one side no UV on the other side, Spot UV on one side no UV on the other side. These jobs do not get UV or AQ coating after imprinting

In House:
When a production process for a printed product is done within a facility and is not sent to an outsider. Also referred to as in plant.

Ink Jet:
A printing technology in which liquid ink is sprayed through tiny nozzles onto the paper in a pattern of dots, forming the image on the paper. Jobs with AQ or UV coating cannot be ink jet printed.

A letter, card or similar item placed inside another mail piece (host piece).

Job Number:
A unique number assigned to a job by a buyer or manufacturer. The number allows the job to be tracked throughout production. Here at, customers automatically are assigned job numbers when they place an order online.

Printing a page so that when positioned for reading the width is greater than the height.

Line Screen:
A transparent screen which has been etched with fine lines. It is used to convert a picture or photograph into a halftone dot pattern so that can be printed.

1. The process of setting up and adjusting a printing press for a particular ink, paper and specifications prior to printing. This includes adjusting the infeed, grippers and guides, adjusting ink for proper coverage, registering copy, and matching the printed piece with the proof to be sure everything is correct. Also referred to as set up.

2. The paper used while making all the necessary adjustments before printing the actual run. Also referred to as set up.

The non-printed areas around the image area of a page.

Offset Printing:
The transfer of an inked image from a plate to a blanket cylinder, which in turn transfers the image to the printing material as it passes between the blanket and the impression cylinder and pressure is applied. Also referred to as offset lithography. Offset printing is used at Primo Print®.

Open Side Envelope:
An envelope with an opening along its longest dimension.

Out of Register / Off Register:
When an image is not printing in the exact location that it is suppose to. When printing more than one color, if the colors do not line up properly, they are out of register.

Sending information from a computer to a printing device to produce a printed page is called output.

Pantone Matching System (PMS):
A registered name for an ink color matching system used to compare, match and identify specific colors. To do so we use a pantone book. It contains pantone colors with their closest CMYK values.

Paper Grain:
The direction in which the fibers line up during the manufacturing process. It is easier to fold, bend, or tear the paper along the same direction of the fibers. Cut sheet laser printers generally use long grain paper in which the grain runs parallel to the long side of the paper, resulting in better performance through the laser printer.

A printing press that can print on the front and the back of the paper in one pass through the press.

The process of printing both sides of a sheet of paper in the same pass through the press.

Creating a series of holes so that the paper can be torn more easily along the line that is formed. Postage stamps and tear-off cards are common products that require perforation.

The smallest unit of a digitized image created by a digital device, such as a computer, camera, or scanner. Pixel is short for “picture element.” The more pixels per inch the better the resolution. On computer monitors, the display is divided into rows and columns containing thousands or millions of pixels. Each pixel is composed of three dots representing the three color channels of red, green, and blue light that are necessary for creating a color image on computer monitors and television screens. Because of their small size, the pixels appear to merge, simulating a continuous tone image, but when magnified they appear to be tiny square blocks of light.

A metal or paper light-sensitive sheet that holds an image that has been photographically produced. During the printing process, the image area picks up ink, which is then transferred to a blanket and then to paper.

Presentation Folder:
We offer various types of presentation folders: Inner pocket with round cut corner: (1 or 2, left & right pockets are optional) Inner pocket with straight cut corner: (1 or 2, left & right pockets are optional) Business card slit, left or right is also optional.

Machine used to print batches. utilises 4 color offset presses.

Press Check:
Printed sheets from the press that are pulled once all the makeready has been completed. The sheets are checked for quality and accuracy before authorization is given to go ahead with the full production run. Sheets may be pulled throughout the run to do press checks to assure that quality is being maintained. We DO NOT do press checks for customers.

Press Proof:
A proof that is produced on the press using the inks and paper specified for that order. We do not produce press proof unless we want to check color for a rejected job.

Press Run:
The total quantity of pieces printed during one printing.

Price Break:
The order quantity level at which the price of the paper or printed material goes down.

The department in charge of making customers’ files “print ready”.

A copy of the artwork representing the finished product. It is used for review and approval. offers on online proofs when the files are uploaded. Additionally, PDF proofs may be requested.

Checking a proof for errors or discrepancies from the original copy. We DO NOT provide proofread services to customers.

Drilling of holes through a stack of paper. Hole punching is used when specified by a customer for their printed piece.

A price, given by the printer or distributor, based on the specifications supplied for that product. We have an estimating department here at that can give a price quote or any custom job.

Register Marks:
The printed marks used to align color separations for printing so that each color registers with each other.

The measurement of output quality expressed in pixels (dots) per inch on a computer monitor or dots per inch on printed media. For example, a monitor displaying a resolution of 800 by 600 refers to a screen capable of displaying 800 pixels in each of 600 lines, which translates into a total of 480,000 pixels displayed on the screen. When referring to printed media, a 300dpi (dots per inch) printer for example, is capable of outputting 300 dots in a one-inch line, which means that it has the ability of printing 90,000 distinct dots per square inch (300 x 300).

The additive primary colors, red, green and blue, used to display color in video monitors. Printing with a file in RGB color mode will produce a washed out appearance. Our file uploader will check for RGB, alert if RBG color mode is found and automatically convert to CMYK. is NOT responsible for color conversions of of files submitted in RGB.

The turning or positioning of text or an image at different degrees of orientation on a page.

Round Cornering:
Using a machine to die cut the corners of forms, cards and books to create a rounded corner.

Saddle Stitching:
The method of binding the pages of a section where the folded pages are stitched through the fold from the outside, using a wire staple (stapling).

A crease applied, in a straight line, to a sheet of paper to allow it to fold easier and more accurately.

Set Up:
1.The process of setting up and adjusting a printing press for a particular ink, paper and specifications prior to printing. This includes adjusting the infeed, grippers and guides, adjusting ink for proper coverage, registering copy, and matching the printed piece with the proof to be sure everything is correct. Also referred to as set up.
2. The paper used while making all the necessary adjustments before printing the actual run. Also referred to as set up.

Shrink Wrapping:
A method of wrapping packages or products with a plastic film and then applying heat so that the wrap fits tight to the product. Shrink-wrapping is used to package a product in specific quantities and is also used for protection purposes. It also adds some stability to the product when storing. Also referred to as plastic wrapping. Shrink Wrapping is NOT offered at Primo Print®.

Fifth color, pantone metallic coated 877c. Must be designed in a vector based graphics program. Acceptable file types are EPS, CDR, and PDF. does NOT offer Silver.

Skid / Pallet:
A wooden platform used to hold stacks of paper or cartons. Used to store or ship materials or finished products.

A paperboard jacket that fits over the four sides (top, bottom, and two parallel sides) of a letter tray in order to keep the mail inside the tray from falling out.

Cutting paper by the use of a cutting wheel. Paper may be slit into smaller sheets or a web of paper may be slit into narrower rolls.
A slit can also refer to cuts made that do not divide a sheet. For example, on a presentation folder, smaller diagonal slits can be made on the pockets where business cards can then be displayed.

Spot Gloss / Spot UV:
Coating paper only in specific areas as opposed to all over coating. In a Spot UV job, the piece gets a UV coating in only specific areas and does not get any AQ coating in any other places. Spot UV can be referred to as spot varnish.

Spot Color:
Printing with one or more solid colors, generally black ink is used with the addition of other colors. It is used to add highlight and add color to a printed product without having to print with four-color process. We DO NOT offer spot color (PMS) printing.

Swatch Book:
A booklet containing samples of paper or ink colors.

A preset model that acts as a structure for setting up a similar product. offers templates for each standard product. Customers can download templates online.

1. The process of cutting the product to its finished size. The excess that is cut off is also referred to as the trim.
2. Combining various roll sizes to be slit from a full width roll from the paper machine so that an acceptable percentage of the salable width will be used.

Turnaround Time:
The accumulated time between receipt of an order and completion of the finished product. Here at, we offer a variety of turnaround depending on the product including, Next Day, 2-4 business days, and 3-4 business days.

The process of converting text into type used for printing.

Ultra Violet. The part of the spectrum where the wavelength of light is shorter than the wavelength of visible light.

UV Coating:
A liquid coating applied to the printed piece, which is then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light. This coating is used to provide a protective coating to the printed image. Please note that you CAN NOT write or imprint on a uv coated job.

A thin, liquid protective coating, either matte or glossy, that is applied to the product. It adds protection and enhances the appearance of the product. It can be applied as an all over coating or it can be applied as a spot coating.

The provider of a product or service. Also referred to as supplier.

Window Envelopes:
An envelope with a die cut opening that is intended to have information show through from the piece inside the envelope.

Work and Tumble:
A printing method where different pages are assembled so that they are on one plate. One side is printed and the sheet is turned from front to rear so that you are using the opposite edge as the gripper edge and then the second side is printed. The product is then cut apart to make two finished items.

Work and Turn:
A printing method where different pages are assembled so that they are on one plate. One side is printed and then the sheet is turned over so that you are using the same gripper edge and then the second side is printed. The product is then cut apart to make two finished items.







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