Glossary of Printing Terms
An A-Z of all things printing

Anilox – anilox is a method used to provide a measured amount of ink to a flexo printing plate.

Artwork – All original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, intended for printing. Also called art.

Adhesives – Used for the glue seem on the carton.

Against the Grain – At right angles to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to with the grain. Also called across the grain and cross grain. See also Grain Direction.

Bleed – is a printing term that refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet before trimming.

Boxes – decorative or unprinted carton / box made from folding boxboard.

Braille – Braille is a scripture that can be read by blind people with their fingers. It is a common reading and writing system for blind and partially sighted persons. It is not a language. It is just another way of writing and reading text.

Braille Cell – consists of six dots, positioned like the figure “six” on a dice, in two parallel vertical lines of three dots each.

Carton – folding box board, printed or unprinted box.

Cardboard – a generic term used for manufacturing of boxes / cartons, often this is incorrect as cardboard is any stiff paper or pasteboard and cartons are manufactured from Folding Box Board.

Caliper – the thickness of a sheet of board, measured in microns.

CMYK – Abbreviation of letters which stand for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (K). K is used for black to eliminate confusion with blue. Full colour printed images are made up of these component colours.

Cure – To dry inks, varnishes or other coatings after printing to ensure good adhesion and prevent setoff.

Coating – A special water based coating which is applied to printed matter to protect literature from ink smudging or finger marking or to enhance appearance. The main types are sealer, gloss, matt and silk.

Colour Separation – Process by which an image is separated into the component colours for multi colour print production.

Composite Print – Reelvision will never composite print a sheet. Composite printing is more than one artwork on the same printing plate. It is possible to print a lid and a base of the same job together (composite).

Cyan – One of the four process colours. Also known as process blue.

Deboss – Image pressed into pare or board so it lies below the surface.

Density – Difference between the darkest and lightest area of copy.

Die – tool for cutting, scoring, stamping embossing or debossing.

Die Cut – To cut the shape of the carton in the carton board.

Digital Proofing – Page proofs through electronic medium.

Digital Dots – Dot created by a computer and printed by laser or imagesetter, digital dots are uniform in size compared to halftone dots that vary in size.

Doctor Blade – is used to scrape excess ink from the surface leaving just the measured amount of ink in the cells. The roll then rotates to contact with the flexographic printing plate which receives the ink from the cells for transfer to the printed material.

DPI – Considered as “dots per square inch,” a measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters and monitors.

Estimate – Price that states what a job will probably cost. Also called bid, quotation and tender.

Embossing – The process of raising letters or designs out of the typical “viewing” surface of the board.

FBB – Abbreviation for Folding Box Board.

Flexographic – flexography or flexographic printing uses flexible printing plates made of rubber or plastic. The inked plates with a slightly raised image are rotated on a cylinder which transfers the image to the substrate. Flexography uses fast-drying inks, is a high-speed print process, can print on many types of absorbent and non-absorbent materials, and can print continuous.

Foil Emboss – To foil stamp and emboss an image. Also called heat stamp.

Four Colour Process – Full colour printing using four constituent colours: Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Black.

Four-up, three-up, two–up – Number of similar items printed on one sheet of board.

Grain of the Board – Machine manufactured board is made up of many fibres, which in general, tend to line up in one direction due to the nature of the process. This produces a preferred direction or grain along which it is easier to fold, bend or tear the board.

Gripper Allowance – The margin of paper along the gripper edge of the sheet which is held by the gripper and cannot be printed.

Grain Direction – Predominant direction in which fibres in paper become aligned during manufacturing. Also called machine direction.

Gripper Bar – A device on a printing or cutting machine for holding and transferring the sheet during the printing or finishing process.

GSM – Grammes per square metre. Standard measure of board weight.

Gutter – The inside margins or gap between items (in commercial print the gap between facing pages) is the gutter. The gutter space is that extra space allowance use to accommodate the printers marks that are not part of the job.

Keylines – Lines on a mechanical or negative showing the exact size, shape and location of photographs or other graphic elements. Also called holding lines.

Layout – A sample of the original providing (showing) position of printed work (direction, instructions) needed and desired.

Leading Edge / Copy Position – copy position of the label text as it is being dispensed on the Customer’s line

Make-ready – The work associated with the set-up of equipment before running a job.

Micron – The calliper of the board.

Micrometer – Instrument for measuring thickness of material, board is measured in microns where 1,000 microns equal 1mm.

Offset Printing – Printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.

Origination – All the graphical or text items that are needed to put together and print the Artwork, photography, typesetting etc.

Overs – The extra printed products delivered to a customer over and above the net amount ordered.

Packaging – General term for what products is packed into – ie: packaging boxes.

Pantone Reference – International guide system of designating colours for printing reference.

Perforation – Running a series of cuts (often very small and close together) into board to allow the two sides to be separated.

Plate – Piece of paper, metal, plastic or rubber carrying an image to be reproduced using a printing press.

Prepress – Camera work, colour separations, stripping, platemaking and other prepress functions performed by the printer, separator or a service bureau prior to printing. Also called preparation.

Printing – Any process that transfers to paper or another substrate an image from an original such as a film negative or positive, electronic memory, stencil, die or plate.

PMS – Pantone Matching System. See Pantone Reference definition.

Process Colours – The colours which make up full colour printing. Cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Proof – A printed sample of work to be checked for errors in text, positioning or quality of colour reproduction.

Register – To place printing properly with regard to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet. Such printing is said to be in register.

Resolution – Refers to the degree of detail of an image. It is usually measured in dots per inch (dpi) or lines per inch (lpi). A high resolution gives a high quality image and vice versa.

Reversed Out – Type appearing white on a black or colour background which is either a solid or a tint.

Rotary Press – Printing press which passes the substrate between two rotating cylinders when making an impression.

Special Colour – A colour which cannot be made up of the four component colours – CMYK. They are listed in a Pantone colour swatch book or can be a special mix to match an “original” colour sample. For example, if a corporate logo contains a special blue & is included in a brochure with photographs and text; this is termed a five colour job. (CMYK (pictures + text) + special blue = 5 colours).

Spot colour – Same as special colour.

Stripper Unit – Part of the cut and crease process, a stripper unit helps remove the waste board left after the die board has punched the design through the board sheet. There are two parts to a stripper board (upper and lower).

Tint – Percentage shade of a colour.

Trapping – When preparing digital artwork – it is the process of overlapping adjacent colours to eliminate the white lines that could appear between them during the print process.

Vignette – Decorative design or illustration fade to white.

Vignette Halftone – Halftone whose background gradually and smoothly fades away. Also called degrade.

Visual – A preliminary layout, indicating the general design, and the position of the various elements.

Web Direction – direction of web on the machine (always running left to right).

Why Choose Reelvision?

Our strategy is simple: to make our clients more successful through the advantages we deliver. Specialising in low volume printed folding cartons for niche and fast-moving products in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, veterinary, cosmetics and personal care industries, our attention to detail in terms of traceability, hygiene and product security is evident in our adherence to the most stringent quality standards and codes of practice.

That’s why we are a trusted supplier of the NHS as well as many other leading organisations and brands. So, whether you are looking for a carton for a clinical trial, life-saving drug or to launch a new commercial product, you can be confident that we will deliver the solution that’s right for you.

  • NHS
  • 3M
  • Dr Reddy's