This glossary doesn’t set out to be a totally comprehensive print, clothing and workwear reference tool. Instead it sets out to be a quick guide to terms commonly used that are often not or mis-understood, especially those that are relevant to the processes that we us at The Printing House.



‘A’ Sizes – The European standard for paper sizes, ranges from A0 down to A7


Back Up – To print on the reverse of a sheet that has already been printed on one side, 2. to make sure an image on one side of a sheet correctly aligns with the image on the other side of the sheet
Base Layer – A clothing term used to describe a thin, wicking, breathable layer of clothing designed to fit under mid- and outer layers (ie. fleeces and jackets)- suitable for decorating with vinyl
Bind – To join pages or sections together to form a book or a booklet
Bindery – The department that takes printed sheets and collates, folds & binds
Black – One of the four colours of CMYK – also called the Key Colour as it is the dominant colour in 4 colour process
Blanket – A rubber sheet, used on offset lithographic presses, that takes the ink from a printing plate and transfers it to the paper
Bleed – Bleed describes a document which has images or elements that touch the edge of the page, extending beyond the trim edge and leaving no white margin. When a document has bleed, it must be printed on a larger sheet of paper and then trimmed to crop marks
Board – Paper which weighs over 200 gsm
Body – The main text in a document, not including titles
Bond Paper – An uncoated paper commonly used for printing and photocopying, the surface of the paper is usually fairly coarse feeling
Book Block – Printed & folded sections, collated, but not yet bound
Breathable – A clothing term used to denote any item which allows air and water vapour to pass through from the inside – usually these items are designed so that they are also waterproof (from the outside). In effect, they allow moisture generated by your body to escape, but stop rain getting in!


Calender – The process of making paper smooth by pressing it between 2 rollers during manufacturing
Carbonless Paper (NCR Pads) – Paper coated with chemicals that allows writing to be transferred from a top sheet to the sheets below using pressure
CMYK – Process colours, the main inkset used in all forms of printing, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, blacK, the K stands for Key, the dominant colour
Colour Bar – A strip of small blocks of ink (Usually CMYK) which can be measured for ink density and dot gain, the Colour Bar is a key component of a strong colour management system
Colour Gamut – The range of colours that can be reproduced on a device, this can be a computer monitor or a printing press
Colour Separation – The process of separating full colour artwork into CMYK
Colour Sequence – The order in which inks are printed on a lithographic press
Colour Shift – Colour changes resulting from register, ink density or dot gain
Comb Binding – Similar to Wiro Binding, holes are punched on one edge of the document and it is then bound using a plastic comb
Commercial Printer – A printing company (such as The Printing House) who produce brochures, posters, booklets, stationery, magazines etc
Contract Colour Proofing – Usually produced using an 8 colour high end InkJet proofing device, these proofs aim to replicate process colour printing on a lithographic press
Crease Resistant (Non-Iron) – A clothing fabric designed to not crease, and to allow creases to be easily removed
Creep (Push Out) – Where the centre pages of a saddle-stitched booklet protrude more than the outer pages, causing an issue where the contents (especially page numbers) are closer to the trim edge in the centre of the book
Crop Marks (Trim Marks or Tick Marks) – Lines that indicate where a job should be trimmed
Cyan – One of the four colours of CMYK – also known as process blue


Densitometer – A device to measure ink density
Density – The thickness of a layer of printed ink
Desktop Publishing – Creating a design for print, from images and text, using a computer and software such as InDesign or QuarkXpress
Die Cutting – A ‘port-press’ process of cutting a shape out of the printed sheet. See our webpage dedicated to die cutting.
Direct To Garment Printing (DTG) – DTG is a digital print process ideal for short runs of 1-100 items of clothing. It uses inkjets to apply white ink and CYMK ink to produce full colour garments, even on dark colour fabrics
Dot Gain – When printing a halftone on a lithographic press, the dot grows slightly as the ink hits the paper, this is known as dot gain
Dots per Inch (dpi) – A measure of image resolution, the higher the number the better the resolution, as a guide 300 dpi is adequate for most images, but to keep text crisp 1200 dpi is a better option
Drilling – A finishing process where we drill a hole in a sheet, for example, so it can be inserted into a ring binder
Dye Sublimation – The process of infusing polyester based items with special inks – used in the printing of short run mugs


Embossing – Using a specially made ‘die’, the action of pressing the die into the sheet to take the shape of the die
Embroidery – A garment decoration process used for workwear and fashion clothing. It uses threads, often in multiple colours, which are stitched into the fabric to crease text, logos or designs
EPS – This is a common file format, the full name is Encapsulated Post Script


Feed Unit – The area of a printing press where paper is first fed into the press
Flexography – A print method that uses rubber of plastic plates with raised images, often called Flexo, commonly used in plastic or packaging print.
Foil Blocking – The application of a metallic foil onto a sheet of paper or board. Click for more information on foil blocking
Fount Solution – The liquid that moistens a printing plate that prevents ink adhering to the non-image area
Four Colour Process Printing – The lithographic process that uses CMYK to produce full colour print


Garment Decoration – Nothing to do with Christmas! The process of applying logos, designs and text to clothing and workwear. It includes embroidery, DTG, vinyl and transfer printing
Gate Fold – A fold where both sides fold towards, and meet in the middle
Grain Direction – The predominant direction the fibres in a sheet of paper or board, folding with the grain helps reduce cracking
Graphic Design – The process of creating eye-catching designs using text and images
Gripper Edge – The edge of the printed sheet that is held by grippers on a sheetfed press. This is the first edge of the sheet through the press and is also called the Leading Edge
GSM – A measurement of paper weight, Grams Per Square Metre


Hickey – A printing imperfection, usually only visible in heavily inked areas, caused by dirt or damage to the plate or blanket
High-Vis (High Visibility Clothing) – Safety clothing designed to be highly visible in areas where vehicle or forklift traffic is in use. Available in Jackets, Vests, Trousers, Shirts, Hoodies etc. Also known as Hi-Vis


Imposition – The process of arranging the pages onto printed sections so that when folded and bound they are in the correct order
Ink Jet printing – Often used for ‘Contract Colour Proofing’ due to the ability to replicate the colours used in 4 colour process or a less high end inkjet solution is often used for transactional print e.g. statement printing.


Keylines – Thin lines that can be used to frame images


Laminate – Available in gloss, matt or soft (satin) touch, lamination is the process of applying a thin film to a printed sheet that will add a layer of protection and the desired matt, soft touch or gloss finish
Landscape – Used to describe a booklet or book where the width is wider that the height
Letterpress – Method of printing using raised surfaces, using metal type or etched images
Lithography – Also known as litho printing, this process is the core print method used by most commercial printers which uses plates imaged by laser, where the image areas attract ink and the non-image areas repel ink.


Magenta – One of the four colours of CMYK
Mock Up – An version of proofing that is designed to recreate how the final job will look, especially to demonstrate folding and die cutting
Moire – A pattern that can arise due to dots (either from a previous printed halftone, or from a pattern in something like clothing) in a scanned image clashing with the dots in the halftone used to print it


Offset Printing – Used to describe all print processes where the plate doesn’t come into contact with the paper, instead it transfers ink onto a blanket first.


Pagination – Used to describe the numbering / page order of a book or magazine
Perfect Binding – A hot melt glue type of binding that gives a ‘square’ edge, like a paperback novel – we prefer to use PUR binding which looks the same but with a much more durable glue
Perforating – The process of punching a line of small holes in a sheet of paper to allow easy tearing
Portrait – Used to describe a booklet or book where the height is wider that the width
Pre-Press – The department that handles artwork, does the imposition and outputs the plates; basically, all the processes needed before actual printing
Press Time – The amount of time a job takes on a press
Printers Pairs – Consecutive pages of a book or magazine as they appear in the printed section
Proof – A sheet or mock up intended to give the recipient the best indication of how their job will look
Printing Plate – A sheet of paper, metal, plastic or rubber that carries the image to be reproduced
PUR Binding – A glue type of binding that gives a ‘square’ edge, like a paperback novel and preferred over perfect binding which looks the same but uses a brittle hot melt glue


Ream – 500 sheets of paper
Recycled Paper – Paper made partly or wholly from previously used paper
Register – The process of ensuring all plates are in the correct position so when the sheet is printed the registration marks all line up and the position remains consistent from sheet to sheet
Registration Marks – Marks made on printing plates in each colour being used; when correctly lined up the ‘register’ is correct.
RGB – The acronym for Red, Green & Blue, the additive primary colours
Rich Black – Using CMY to increase the depth of a printed black. Often a 40% cyan is used


Saddle Stitching – Is one of the easiest terms to misunderstand, yet it is the most popular form of binding. It really should be called something like ‘two staples on the spine’ or something logical like that but, because printers have elected to over-complicate things we call it Saddled Stitched because the booklet is collated on a saddle and the staples are actually stitched into the booklet from a long roll of wire.
Scanner – A device used to scan an image or a page
Scoring – The process of creasing board so that when it folds it doesn’t crack
Screen Printing – A print method used a lot in clothing printing, where ink is squeezed through a mesh template
Screen Ruling (LPI – Lines Per Inch) – The number of rows or lines of dots per inch in a halftone screen. Also called ‘Screen Ruling’
Separations – The colour elements of full colour print when separated into Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black
Setoff – The undesired transfer of wet ink from the top of one sheet to the underside of the next as they sit in the delivery unit of the press
Sheetfed Press – Any press that prints sheets of paper as opposed to webs (rolls)
Solid – An area of print with 100% ink coverage
Spectrophotometer – A device that can measure refraction of colour, the most accurate way of ensuring that colour is accurately reproduced
Spine – The binding edge of a Perfect or PUR bound document
Spiral Bind – Binding using a continuous spiral of wire or plastic, also known as coil binding and used things such as road atlases
Stitch Count – An embroidery term, used to say how many stitches are used to embroider a logo or graphic at a certain size, on a certain fabric; usually between 4000 and 12000 for common workwear items.


Thermography – A process where a slow drying ink is used, while the ink is wet, its dusted with a powder, the powder is heated to melt and leave a raised surface.
Thread Break – An embroidery term used to describe when the thread being used to stitch the design breaks unintentionally, often this is caused by poor digitising, but also, by fabric choice and thread imperfections
Transfer Printing – A process used for printing clothes that is very versatile and reaches the parts other processes can’t e.g. sleeves. It involves printing a special sheet with inks designed to be transferred to the garment


Variable Data Printing – A type of digital printing where text, graphics, and images can be changed from one sheet to the next. Most often used for ‘mail-merging’ onto letters or postcards


Yellow – One of the four colours of CMYK – also called process yellow


Zoodie – A hoodie with a zip. Simple