Pre-Press and Print Production Terms, Five

Pre-Press and Print Production Terms, Five

Pre-Press and Print Production Terms, Five

This is the fifth post in a series of posts that collect terms relating to Pre-Press and Print Production though there are one or two that might, strictly speaking, be called design terms. Many of the terms contained here, if you do any print design, should be familiar to you already, however, you will eventually come across most them as you interact with the printing industry. I have tried to make this list comprehensive, but it is nonetheless not exhaustive. As much as possible I have tried to give definitions for the terms as I understand them to be used in Australia at the present time. Also, there are a few terms that are redundant or outdated because they refer to technologies and/or processes that are no longer in use. I have included these because one day, like letterpress, they make come back into use and because older printers may still refer/use these terms as part of conversation, so it will help to know what they are talking about.

This list was updated in November 2018 The terms are spread over this and another six posts.

A–C, D–F, G–L, M–O, P–R, S–U, V–Z. In the last post there is also a list for useful books on the subject of Pre-Press and Print Production.


Page. The face of a printed sheet. Thus, a double-sided sheet is a two-page document.

Pages-to-view. The number of pages that have been imposed into a forme. Sometimes designers may be asked to impose artwork for a printer, in which case, it is necessary for the designer to determine (by asking or being told) how many pages-to-view are required to be imposed to create the appropriately sized Forme.

Pagination. To number pages in consecutive order.

Pamphlet. A term used interchangeably with Booklet or Brochure.

Panel. When the printed faces of a brochure or flyer are laid out as if they are separate pages and then folded. These are called panels. For example, a landscape A4 sheet laid out with three vertical columns and folded to DL is described as a six panels DL flyer.

Pantone. A brand of inks in common use in Australia. The set of base inks from which the spot colours are derived (see PMS) can be divided into three kinds; normal pigment ink, metallic ink – that contain very fine grains of metal, and fluorescent inks. There are also the four process colours (see CMYK).

Paper. The name given to all kinds of matted or felted sheets of fibre, Pulp, (usually vegetable, but sometimes mineral, animal, or synthetic) formed on a fine screen from a water suspension. See also Coated Paper and Uncoated Paper.

Paper Sizes. There are three paper size series in use in Australia. The most used is the ISO standard A-series. The largest size is A0 and 841mm x 1189 (area of sheet is one square metre and the dimensions are in the ratio of one to the square root of two). Each smaller sheet is obtained by dividing the longer dimension in half. There are two other series available; the C-series is used for envelopes and the dimensions are basically the A sizes plus 10mm. There is also the rarely used B-series which is smaller than the A-series. Designers are most likely to come up against the B-series when design publications (particularly Annual Reports) for government departments, many of which require their reports to be B5 (176mm x 250mm) in size.

Visit this website for the full range of paper sizes everywhere. Printers also have their own paper sizes, the IPS sizes. These sizes are just the A-series plus additional length and width to allow for Bleeds, Trims, Gutters and Gripper edge. When designing for efficient paper use it is important to remember that virtually all paper for sheet-fed printing is derived for the A-series of paper sizes.

Paperback. Book, or Booklet, with a heavy weight paper stock, usually 300-350gsm, used for the cover.

Pass. The act of a single sheet of paper moving through a press (and any other in-line processes) before being gathered in a stack at the end of the line.

PDF. Portable Document Format. This is now the dominant (and preferred) file format for delivery of artwork to print.

Peel-n-Seal Envelope. Envelopes with a covering strip is placed over the sealing substance on the flap. Once peeled back and the envelope is pressed shut it is sealed.

Perfect Binding. The official name for a glued binding. Largely replaced by Burst Binding. The minimum numbers of sheets that can successfully perfect bound is about 25 (or 50 pages). It is now frequently referred to as PUR Binding because of the binding glue used.

Perfecting. Offset Presses (both web and sheet-fed) with two or more towers can usually be set up to print both side of the paper at once, that is, in a single Pass. This is called perfecting.

Perforation. A line of small cuts pressed through paper to aid tearing removal of a portion of a page.

Periodicals. Similar to Magazines but with longer informational life expectancy. This term is not commonly used anymore.

Permanent Binding. The kind of binding used on Hard Cover Books.

Photoshop. A Software Application used for the manipulation of pixel based images. Part of the Adobe suite of programs.

Pica. A typographic unit of measurement equal to 12 points (approx. 4.233mm).

Pixel. Short for picture element. Images, other than vector based ones, are divided into a grid of pixels. The number of pixels of any given measure is the resolution of the image. The most common expression of pixel resolution is DPI in Printing and PPI (pixels per inch) for interactive media work.

Plain Faced Envelope. An envelope that has no window.

Plastic Laminate. A thin film of either matt or gloss plastic that is bonded to the surface of a document with heat and pressure

Plastic Plates. See Polymer Plates.

Plate. See Printing Plate.

PUR Binding. The most common form of Perfect Binding is with a polyurethane reactive (PUR) adhesive. This adhesive is both flexible and durable. It is regarded as superior to other adhesives used in Perfect binding, including ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) aka EVA Binding.

Plus cover. Specification to a printer that a brochure’s, or booklet’s, cover be of a different weight (usually heavier) stock as the internal (or Text) pages. In this case that total page number of the document does not include the cover (which is an additional four pages).

PMS. Pantone Matching System. This is the older and according to Pantone, the company, an out of date terminology for a system of formulae for mixing Pantone inks to get a range of different Spot Colours. Currently the system contains over 1,000 colours. Pantone now prefers us to refer to 'Pantone colours', however many printers still refer to 'PMS colours'.

Pocket Envelope. A envelope that opens on the short edge.

Point. A typographic unit of measurement (approx. 0.353mm).

Polymer Plates. Printing plates made of a polymer plastic. Cheaper than metal plates but allow for less print detail.

Post-consumer Waste (Paper). Waste paper that has been printed on. A component of recycled paper.

Poster. A single sheet printed on one side. generally posted in a public place to be read in passing. Posters that are backlit may have the mirror image of the front printed on the back to increase ink density when lit.

Postscript. A computer language created by Adobe specifically for computers to communicate with printers. When using the InDesign > Acrobat Distiller > Acrobat workflow it is necessary to save the artwork as a Postscript file (via the print window).

PPI. Pixels per Inch. A term that began life purely in the digital realm but is migrating into print design and is replacing DPI. For optimal printing results you have twice as many PPI as LPI. See also Dot Screen.

Pre-consumer Waste (Paper). Waste paper that has not been printed on. A component of Recycled paper. See also Mill Broke.

Pre-Press. Technically covers all elements of a design job prior to the commencement of printing. However, usually means the part of a design job between final approval by a Client and the commencement of printing (file prep, Proofing, Plate making, etc).

Press. Contraction of Offset, Letter or Web Press.

Press Seal Envelope. An envelope that has two flaps for closing. A sealing substance on each flap, when pressed together seals the envelope shut.

Print Production. A component of Project Management covering printing, embellishing and finishing of a design job.

Print Ready PDF. A PDF that has been output with the correct setting (and resolution) for printing. And has been checked.

Print Run. The printing of specified quantity of copies in a print job.

Printer. An individual or firm engaged in the business of printing. Also refers to electronic printing devices.

Printery. The place where printing occurs.

Printing. The transfer of Ink to a substrate, normally Paper, via, in Offset Printing, a Printing Plate.

Printing Plate. A thin metal plate onto which the artwork has been etched by the Imagesetter. One plate is required for each colour to be printed.

Printing Press. The machine that prints.

Process Inks. The four CMYK inks used for full colour printing.

Process Plates. The printing plates required for CMYK printing.

Production Management. A component of the Project Management covering the implementation and manufacture of a design job.

Project Management. A component of the Design Process, covering the organisation of the various components and suppliers involved in a design job.

Proof. A print out (now usually digitally produced) of artwork produced by the printer after imposition for the designer, Client to check for errors. Once approved by the client the printer will use the proof to maintain colour consistency during the printing.

Proofreader. The person who reads and checks proofs for errors

Proofreader’s Marks. A series of coded marks that indicate certain errors.

Pulp. The raw material of papermaking. Mostly made from wood Fibre but can also come from cotton and other fibrous high cellulose material such as sugar cane fibres.


QuarkXpress. A Software Application used for page layout. Used more commonly in the UK and Europe. Not part of the Adobe suite of applications.


Rag paper. Paper that has a minimum of 25% and up to 100% cotton fibre content.

Raised Printing. see Verco Printing.

Raster. An arrangement of small dots, each one representing one small element of an image (see also Pixel). All digital artwork is converted to a raster before printing, either on a press (where the raster appears on the plates) or digitally.

Rasterise. To convert an electronic artwork file to a raster image.

Registration. The process of aligning the printing plates using the Registration Marks so that the colours of a multi-colour (CMYK or Spot colour) print accurately in relation to each other. When the registration is correct then the printing is said to 'in register'.

Registration Marks. Marks consisting of a cross and circle that the printer uses to ensure that the printed colours are overlaid correctly.

Recto. The tight-hand side of a spread, as opposed to the Verso.

Recycled Paper. Paper that has a certain minimum content of Pulp that has already been used to make paper. The sources of the Fibre for the Pulp must come from Post-consmuer waste and Pre-consumer waste.

Relief Printing. A printing method that uses a raised impression area. A commercial form of relief printing is Letterpress.

Resolution. An expression of the quality of detail in an image, artwork or printout. Generally the higher the resolution the better the quality of detail, and the more and smaller the Pixels or dots in the Raster. However, higher resolution often means larger file sizes and there is an upper limit beyond which improvements are not discernable. 300 PPI (or DPI) is regarded as high resolution of photographic images for printing and anything below about 150 PPI is low resolution. Line art and bitmap images should be at least 600 PPI to be considered high resolution.

RIP. Raster Image Processing. The software/hardware combination within Imagesetters and Laser printers that actually processes the information of digital artwork files. The RIP converts all the digital information into an enormous high resolution Pixel image. The normal resolution of a printing plate is 2540 DPI. At this resolution curves appear perfectly smooth to the naked eye.

RGB. Red, Green, Blue. The base three colours used by display monitors to make up the visible colour spectrum displayed on screen. The process of displaying RGB colour on screen is additive meaning combining 100% of each results in white. This means that artwork will always display differently on screen compared to the final printed item. Artwork set up in the RGB colour space that is intended for printing may result in inaccurate colour results when printed.

Roll Fold. Where the fold keeps rolling onto itself.

Run-ons. A quantity of copies additional to the specified Print Run. This is a term used when requesting a quote form a printer. It is used when either the final quantity required is not completely known, or price is a factor in determining the final quantity.



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