Printing Lingo

Every industry has their own language.  In my previous life in the auto industry we had terms such as upside down (owe more than the car is worth), sleds (older cars) and clunkers (not a great car).  In the printing industry we are no exception.  I am going to explain some of the common printing terms.

  • Four color both sides – 4/4 or two color two sides 2/2, one color two sides 1/1.
  • UV Coating – Ultra Violet coating that makes the paper shiny and prevents fingerprints
  • Saddle stitched – the process of putting a wire stitch in a booklet or newsletter.
  • 4 up – this means that you can get 4 of whatever you are printing on one sheet of paper and then it is trimmed to make 4 pieces.
  • Plated – this means that the metal plates are burned with a laser and are ready to be put on the press.
  • Gate fold – this is a piece of paper that has been folded to open up like a double gate.
  • PMS Colors – This means Pantone Matching System.  Just like in a paint store we have samples of colors and a customer can choose a color and the PMS gives the formula to mix the ink, or the printer can order that particular color from ink companies
  • Four Color Process – All four color printing is made from four basic colors – red, yellow, blue and black. The colors are separated by the graphics programs sent to the image setter for 4 plates.  Each cylinder on the press is inked with these 4 basic colors and as the paper goes through the rollers each color is printed on the paper and at the end you have the finished product.
  • Tri-Fold – This means the paper is folded three times.
  • Hickies – Imperfections in the printed area appearing as small dark spots surrounded by a white ring.  This is caused by foreign particles on the roller, plate or by water roller cover particles.

OK, admit it, you thought the last one was something else didn’t you?

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