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Printing Glossary

This glossary of printing terms was created by people working in today's printing industry and is brought to you by MirPrint.com. It has been revised and edited and we have rewritten some technical descriptions in every day language to help the non technical person. Any suggestions that you may have on how we can improve this glossary will be carefully considered. Please send your comments and any new definitions to us at MirPrint.com.

Back up

Back Up refers to the process of printing an image, artwork or text on the reverse side of a sheet that has already been printed on one side.

It can also mean to adjust an image on one side of a sheet so that it aligns back-to-back with an image on the other side.

Banding

Banding usually refers to a defect in halftone screens or screen tints produced by laser printers or imagesetters in which parallel breaks (stair steps) or streaks appear in the dot pattern.

It can also refer to a method of packaging, where printed pieces of paper are bound using rubber bands.

Black Printer

A Black Printer is a plate used with the cyan, magenta, and yellow plates for four-color process printing. Its purpose is to increase the overall contrast of the reproduction and, specifically, improve shadow contrast. It is sometimes called the key plate, and the letter K is often used to designate its color.

Blanket

A Blanket is a fabric coated with natural or synthetic rubber that is wrapped around the blanket cylinder of an offset press. It transfers the inked image from the plate to the paper.

Bleed

Bleed is a printing term that refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming. The bleed is the part on the side of your document that gives the printer that small amount of space to move around paper and design inconsistencies.

Bleeds in the USA and UK generally are 1/8 of an inch from where the cut is to be made. Bleeds in Europe generally are 3 to 5mm from where the cut is to be made. This can vary from print company to print company.

Bond

Bond paper is a high quality durable writing paper similar to bank paper but having a weight greater than 50 g/m2. The name comes from it having originally been made for documents such as government bonds. It is now used for letterheads, other stationery and as paper for electronic printers.

Widely employed for graphic work involving pencil, pen and felt-tip marker, bond paper can sometimes contain rag fiber pulp, which produces a stronger, though rougher, sheet of paper. Nowadays, however, bond paper is currently known as being a smooth white sheet commonly made from normal eucalyptus pulp.

Brochure Printing

Brochures may advertise locations, events, hotels, products, services, etc. They are usually succinct in language and eye-catching in design. The two most common brochure styles are single sheet, and booklet (folded leaflets) forms.

The most common types of single-sheet brochures are the bi-fold (a single sheet printed on both sides and folded into halves) and the tri-fold (the same, but folded into thirds). A bi-fold brochure results in four panels (two panels on each side), while a tri-fold results in six panels (three panels on each side).

Other folder arrangements are possible: the accordion or "Z-fold" method, the "C-fold" method, etc. Larger sheets, such as those with detailed maps or expansive photo spreads, are usually folded into four, five, or six panels.

Booklet brochures are made of multiple sheets most often saddle stitched (stapled on the creased edge) or "perfect bound" like a paperback book, and result in eight panels or more.

Brochures are often printed using four color process on thick gloss paper to give an initial impression of quality. Businesses may turn out small quantities of brochures on a computer printer or on a digital printer, but offset printing turns out higher quantities for less cost. Compared with a flyer or a handbill, a brochure usually uses higher-quality paper, more color, and is folded.

Bronzing

Bronzing is a process by which a bronze-like surface is applied to other materials (metallic or non-metallic). Some bronzing processes are merely simulated finishes (patinas) applied to existing metal surfaces, or coatings of powdered metal that give the appearance of a solid metal surface. In other cases, an actual layer of heavy copper is electroplated onto an object to produce a bronze-like surface.