What is DPI? Print vocabulary for the non-printer, part 2

So, last week we covered several print vocabulary words.  Let’s finish off the list this week. Pencils out…..

  • Perfect binding – The process of taking folded press forms and binding them intoperfect-binding1 a single cover, like a paperback book. With this configuration, you can do page counts in 2’s, since single sheets can be bound into the text. PUR binding is a variant on this that uses extra-strength, temperature-resistant glue.
  • Spine, head, foot and face – When you view a folded piece, or a bound book, there are sides, and they are referred to as the head, foot, face and spine. If you are looking at that piece, the top is the head, the bottom is the foot, the binding edge is the spine, and the opposite edge to the binding edge is the face. So, if your  printer says “we need to take a face trim to clean it up”, it means that they’re going to do a nice trim on the end opposite the binding edge to make it clean.
  • Bleed and image area– If you have images or copy or a graphic running off the edge of the page, you need to have a bleed in your file, which is basically additional image area beyond the trim. Standard bleed is 1/8” all around.  So, for example, on an 8-1/2 x 11” page, with the addition of 1/8” all around, your image area is 8-3/4 x 11-1/4”.  This is something you can set up in any of the CS applications easily.560px-8up_imposition.svg
  • Signature and imposition – How often have you viewed a flat proof and see page 2 next to page 15? That’s because printers need to layout out the pages on a press form correctly, so when that form is folded down, pages 14 and 15 face each other. The name for that folded down press form is called a signature, and the process of laying out the pages correctly on the signature is called imposition.
  • Double-hit – Sometimes, with specific solid colors, it may be advisable to run two hits of the same color, or double-hits. You may be running a nice solid grey or blue, or red (in PMS colors, not 4-color) and the printer may recommend this process in order to insure a good solid coverage.
  • In-line, dry-trap – Your printer might say they’re going to varnish the sheet in-line, or dry-trap.  In-line means that they’re going to do the varnish on the same pass as when they run the 4-color. Dry-trap means that they will let the color dry, and then come back and run the varnish.  The benefit to dry-trap is that the varnish will “sit” on top of the ink better than it will when run in-line.  But you will have to pay for the extra press pass.
  • Hard proof vs. soft-proof – For decades, proofing has been the process of6a00d834517f9d69e20120a812d1d5970b-800wi generating something physical or “hard” from film or from the files. Now, with the accuracy of the PDF format, and the online proofing process using PDFs, “soft” proofs are becoming widely accepted, even for commercial jobs.
  • Raster or vector – Raster files are image files, or any type of graphic that is resolution dependent. A vector file, usually something created in Illustrator, is dependent upon vector points, and can be scaled without degradation.
  • Book or text – For years, when you said “book” to a printer, that meant a coated text sheet, like gloss book or dull book. Now, many clients use the term “gloss text” or “dull text”, and then use “text” to mean any uncoated sheet. However, some clients may use “text” generically, and the printer will need to know if it’s coated, or uncoated.
  • Page vs. sheet – This is important to specify, particularly in multiple page documents. A sheet is a single sheet of paper, like an 8-1/2 x 11” sheet. But a sheet has TWO pages – each side of the sheet is a page.  Printers will often ask you to clarify what you want if you specify “22 pages”, since that’s not a multiple of four (which you need for saddle-stitching binding).  Clients may have meant 22 SHEETS, which is 44 pages.

I know that I really have only touched on some of the massive lexicon of print terminology and vocabulary, so if you have some you’ve heard or seen, but aren’t on this list, Tweet me at @protheropress and I’ll work up some answers for you.

Connect with John on Google+Twitter and LinkedIn.



About John Prothero

John Prothero is a print professional with over 30 years experience in the print industry. Starting out as a driver delivering jobs, he worked in bindery, proofing, plating, traditional prepress (camera and stripping), scheduling, job planning, job management, account management and digital job production. His skills also run in the area of blog authorship, social media management, and lead generation and qualification of prospective clients. John is also a contributor to Rhode Island Creative Magazine, a digital publication that highlights the creative spirit of the state of Rhode Island. You can read their online issues at www.ricreativemag.com
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