Print Jargon Buster

CMYK print.While print terminology is second nature to us, we are aware that to others it may be pretty alien. CMYK? DPI? GSM? While getting clued up will help allow communication to run smoother, it may also give you an advantage to your competitors by creating perfectly printed products first time round.

If you can’t find the term you’re looking for, please call us on 01603 430730 and we’ll be pleased to help.


Paper sizes

A0 841mm x 1189mm
A1 594mm x 841mm
A2 420mm x 594mm
A3 297mm x 420mm
A4 210mm x 297mm
A5 148mm x 210mm
A6 105mm x 148mm
A7 74mm x 105mm


Paper weight is measured in grams per square metre. For example a business card may be printed on to 400gsm whilst a flyer might be on 130gsm. For paper samples, get in contact.

Digital Printing

More cost effective than lithographic printing and allows for very short print runs. Although it is generally accepted that on the whole it is not yet to the standard of litho.

Lithographic Printing

Based on the principle of the natural aversion of water to grease. It is more cost effective for long run printing.


Positioning pages in a press-ready form in order for them to be in the correct numerical sequence after folding.


This describes the arrangement and number of pages. Remember: generally all books are made up of sections of 4 and the number of pages within a book must be divisible by 4. For example, 4pp cover and 16pp text. The exception is when there are throw-outs e.g. in some books you might have a 6 page cover where there is a fold out section. PUR, perfect bound and wiro bound books can work is 2 page sections as well however as they are bound using glue.

Self Cover

This is where the paper used inside a booklet is the same as that used for the cover.




The resolution of a reproduction is determined by how many pixels are used digitally to recreate the images. The greater the number of pixels, the higher the resolution. When printing, it is important that all digital image files are of the correct resolution.


This refers to ‘dots per inch’, and is typically used when describing the resolution of the print. The higher the DPI, the higher the resolution and so the more accurate and detailed your print.

  • Where possible images should be placed within a digital document at 100% size.
  • Low resolution images tend to be between 72dpi – 120dpi at 100%.
  • High resolution images should be at least 300dpi at 100%

Full Colour Process

Reproduction of full-colour photographs, or art, with the four basic colours of ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). Also known as 4 Colour Process.


Stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black) (as above) which when combined together can be made to produce the full colour spectrum.


Stands for the primary colours: red, green and blue. As with CMYK, it is similarly blended to create an array of other colours.

Printing in one/two/three colour

Printing in 1 colour does what it says on the tin; for example printing just black or perhaps a spot colour. Printing in 2 or 3 colour however a longer process as the piece is printed on a second or third time in a difference colour once the first layer has dried.


This is a standardised colour matching system. It allows different manufacturers in different locations to all reference a Pantone numbered colour, making sure they match without direct contact with one another. See Spot Colour.

Spot Colour

A method of specifying and printing colours, in which each colour is printed with its own ink.

Four Colour Process

Uses four inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to produce all other colours. Also known as ‘full colour’.


Refers to when a printed image extends beyond the trim edge of a sheet or page. Allowing for this avoids white areas surrounding the image when cut.


Similarly it’s important not to have anything touching the trim line as paper can sometimes move on the press, so potentially allowing text and logos to be chopped off. It is therefore essential to leave space for your content in order to avoid this. When designing in creative Adobe programs, the trim will give you a true representation of what will be printed.


This refers to the fonts used. It covers the, spacing, font, and typesetting of your text. It is important to keep this consistent to ensure that the text ‘fits’ with your style or branding.



File Types:


(Joint Photographic Electronic Group) is commonly used to compress image data.


(Portable Document Format) is a file format that has captured all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print, or forward to someone else. At Norwich Print Solutions, this is the format a document containing artwork for print is needed in. As it is a secure file, it is also generally used for proofing purposes.


An acronym for Encapsulated PostScript. This is a computer file format widely used by the printing and graphics industries.



Process of fastening papers together. Norwich Print Solutions offers a range of binding types including two wire saddle stitched and perfect binding. Take a look at some of our options.


A process of applying a transparent plastic film to the surface of a printed sheet. This is used to make the final sheet more durable and less likely to mark or scratch. Different finishes include Matt, Gloss and Silk.


Gathering together sheets of paper from a brochure, book or magazine and placing them into the correct order.


To mechanically press a rule into heavy paper or board. This allows it to be folded without cracking.


This is the process of converting a hard copy into digital data ready for editing and design. Here, the quality of the scan is dependent on the quality of the original (hard copy), the scanning equipment, software and also the experience of the operator.


Printed sheets are bonded together, each with its outward face able to received the print effect required to give you double thickness.

UV Varnish

This has a very high gloss finish and is applied by a roller in a thick layer and then dried very quickly under UV lights to give it its high finish.


Relief printing or stamping in which dies are used to raise characters above the surface of the paper


Relief printing or stamping in which dies are used to raise the surface of the paper around the characters.


Where an extremely find sheet of coloured film is applied to a blocked or embossed metal moulding. Normally metallic colours are used by any colour can be used.


A process of applying a transpaper plastic film to the surface of the a printed sheet. This is used to make the final sheet more durable and less likely to mark or scratch. Laminates come in different types of finishes – matt, gloss, silk, crystal and soft touch; gloss being the most durable. There are also different makes of laminates e.g. OPP and Acetate.


Folding Types

Concertina fold

When paper is folded with each fold in the opposite direction to the other before it.

Roll fold

When each fold is in the same direction as the preceding one.

Gate fold

Where a sheet has folds which meet together



For more information or to request any print samples, get in contact!

2018-07-20T15:26:16+01:00November 18th, 2016|