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Glossary of Printing and Graphic Terms

4 Color Process Printing

A system where a color image is separated into four different color values by using filters and screens. The end result is four screens separated by color, printed with plates and the correct colored inks: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.


Binding is a finishing method which secures loose pages in a book, pamphlet or any other type of printed material.


CMYK Printing Services MilwaukeeThe term bleed refers to printed colors which extend past the edge of a finished page.


CMYK is the four ink colors used in 4-color process printing which combine to produce a broad spectrum of color. Colors include cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Color Correction

Color correction is the adjustment of one or more colors to achieve a desired result. When using ink colors, process colors are

contaminated with the other two colors and requires compensation in the separation images.


DPI is dots per inch and measures the resolution or quality of a file image or output process. The higher the DPI the higher the resolution, the greater the clarity and the higher the overall quality.

Die Cutting

Die cutting uses sharp steel rules to cut special shapes or letters from printed sheets. This process can be done on flatbed or rotary presses.

Digital Printing

Digital printing is a method of printing when an image is sent directly to a printer using digital files. This process eliminates the need for a printing plate.

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Envelopes are a flat piece of paper with a sealable flap and used to enclose a document.

Envelope types:


FTP is a file transfer protocol, a standard network protocol used to transfer files from one host to another.  FTP is commonly used in print environments to transfer a print job from a private computer to a server where it can then be printed.

Foil Stamped

Foil stamped is the process of pressing heated die onto a sheet of foil, then releasing the foil from its backing and adhering to a print source.


Imprinting is the printing of new copy on an already printed piece. Printing an address on a pre-printed postcard is an example of imprinting.

Ink Balance

Ink balance is the relationship of the densities and dot gain of process inks to each other and to a standard density of neutral gray.


Lamination is the process of applying a thin transparent plastic sheet to both sides of a sheet of paper. This plastic sheet protects against scuffs, water damage and withstands durability.

Offset Printing Services MilwaukeeOffset Printing

Offset printing is a printing method of mass-production when images on metal plates are transferred to the print media by rubber blankets or rollers. Offset printing is known for its high image quality.

Overlay Proof

Overlay proof is a color proof which stimulates the appearance of a printed piece and consists of sheets of film dyed or pigmented with the colors to be used in the print run.

PMS Color

PMS stands for the Pantone Matching System which is used worldwide to match and identify specific colors from a variety of pigments. Learn more about the Pantone Matching System now.

Paper Finishes

The paper finish is the treated surface quality of a paper and determines the paper’s porosity, finish, light reflectivity and quality.

Paper Finishes and Weights Information for Your Next Printing ServicesPaper Folding Types

Paper Weight

Paper weight is the paper thickness, often expressed in the weight in pounds of a ream of paper (500 sheets). A 100 pound card stock is thicker than an 80 pound card stock.

Perfect Binding

Perfect binding is when signatures are folded and collated on the top of one another as opposed to saddle-stitch binding.


Resolution is expressed by the number of small dots per inch (DPI) of either light on a computer monitor or ink on a printed page. Below are common resolutions:


SWOP is the abbreviation for the revised Specifications for the Web-Offset Publications. These specifications are for color separation films and color proofing for consistency of color.

Saddle Stitching

Saddle stitching is often used for booklets, catalogs, magazines and many other forms of printed materials. The saddle-stitch process consists of “stitching” using a spool of long metal wire.  The wire is pushed through the paper then folded similarly to a staple.  

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