MHP - Print our Future

MHP - Print our Future

Glossary of Print and Environmental terms

Recycled paper

Recycled paper is manufactured with recovered fibre. Recycled fibres have been extracted from existing paper products, to be used in the manufacture of further paper products. Recycled paper can be 100% recycled or mixed with virgin fibre to improve consistency. Recycled paper can contain various percentages of pre or post consumer waste. Post consumer waste has reached the end user, typically homes and offices, and is considered the most environmentally efficient as it has completed a useful life before re-entering the cycle. Pre consumer waste has left the mill but has not reached the end user, and typically consists of trimmings and rejected material from printers. This waste often has not been printed on and so requires less de-inking.

Sustainable Forest management

Organisations have been established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.

Products are certified by these organisations to assure consumers that they come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations.

Sustainable forest management systems work to promote responsible forestry, conserve biological diversity and protect old growth forests. Some of these organisations include a 'Chain Of Custody' system that tracks paper from forest all the way to finished material.

Carbon Neutral

Describes products and operations that have had their carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions

  1. Calculated
  2. Reduced where possible and
  3. 'Offset' through credits that fund renewable, emission free energy products.

Chlorine free paper

ECF – Elemental Chlorine Free

ECF indicates a paper that is made without the use of Elemental Chlorine. ECF pulp is produced with Chlorine dioxide, along with non-chlorine agents such as oxygen, resulting in a bleaching alternative that serves to reduce harmful 

PCF – Process Chlorine Free

Paper that contains post consumer recycled fibre that was processed without the use of any additional chlorine or chlorine compounds.

TCF – Totally Chlorine Free

No chlorine gases are used in the bleaching process. The alternative bleaching agents used might be liquid oxygen, hydrogen peroxide or sodium hydroxide. TCF cannot apply to recycled papers, because the source fibre cannot be determined.

pH Neutral paper

Acid in paper will cause yellowing and deterioration over time. Acids can be removed, or papers may have buffering agents added to them so they become pH neutral. Good papers are rated as pH neutral, better papers are called "acid free" and the best papers are "archival".

Acid-free Paper

Papermade from pulp containing little or no acid so it resists deterioration from age. Also called alkaline paper, archival paper, neutral pH paper, permanent paper and thesis paper.

Anodized Plate

An offset printing plate having a treated surface in order to reduce wear for extended use.

Anti-offset Powder

Fine powder lightly sprayed over the printed surface of coated paper as sheets leave a press. Also called dust, offset powder, powder and spray powder.

Aqueous Coating

Coating in a water base and applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the printing underneath.

Back Up

(1) To print on the second side of a sheet already printed on one side. (2) To adjust an image on one side of a sheet so that it aligns back-to-back with an image on the other side.


Usually in the book arena, but not exclusively, the joining of leafs or signatures together with either wire, glue or other means.


Rubber-coated pad, mounted on a cylinder of an offset press, that receives the inked image from the plate and transfers it to the surface to be printed.


Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming.


The main text of work not including the headlines.

Burst Perfect Bind

To bind by forcing glue into notches along the spines of gathered signatures before affixing a paper cover. Also called burst bind, notch bind and slotted bind.

Butt Register

Register where ink colors meet precisely without overlapping or allowing space between, as compared to lap register. Also called butt fit and kiss register.

Case Bind

To bind using glue to hold signatures to a case made of binder board covered with fabric, plastic or leather. Also called cloth bind, edition bind, hard bind and hard cover.

Cast-coated Paper

High gloss, coated paper made by pressing the paper against a polished, hot, metal drum while the coating is still wet.


Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four process colors.

Coated Paper

Paper with a coating of clay and other substances that improves reflectivity and ink holdout. Mills produce coated paper in the four major categories cast, gloss, dull and matte.


To organize printed matter in a specific order as requested.

Collating Marks

Mostly in the book arena, specific marks on the back of signatures indicating exact position in the collating stage.

Color Control Bar

Strip of small blocks of color on a proof or press sheet to help evaluate features such as density and dot gain. Also called color bar, color guide and standard offset color bar.

Color Curves

Instructions in computer software that allow users to change or correct colors.

Color Sequence

Order in which inks are printed. Also called laydown sequence and rotation.

Comb Bind

To bind by inserting the teeth of a flexible plastic comb through holes punched along the edge of a stack of paper. Also called plastic bind and GBC bind (a brand name).


Phenomenon of middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages.

Crop Marks

Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced.


Instrument used to measure density. Reflection densitometers measure light reflected from paper and other surfaces.


Regarding ink, the relative thickness of a layer of printed ink.


Device for cutting, scoring, stamping, embossing and debossing.

Die Cut

To cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard using a die.

Dot Gain

Phenomenon of halftone dots printing larger on paper than they are on films or plates, reducing detail and lowering contrast. Also called dot growth, dot spread and press gain.


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


In the printing arena, to drill a whole in a printed matter.


Simulation of the final product. Also called mockup.


To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface. Also called cameo and tool.

End Sheet

Sheet that attaches the inside pages of a case bound book to its cover. Also called pastedown or end papers.

Light Fast Inks

Inks with colors that retain their density and resist fading as the product is used and washed.

Film Laminate

Thin sheet of plastic bonded to a printed product for protection or increased gloss.

Finished Size

Size of product after production is completed, as compared to flat size.


Refers to ability of film to be registered during stripping and assembly. Good fit means that all images register to other film for the same job.

Foil Emboss

To foil stamp and emboss an image. Also called heat stamp.

Foil Stamp

Method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die. Also called block print, hot foil stamp and stamp.

Form Roller(s)

Roller(s) that come in contact with the printing plate, bringing it ink or water.

Fountain Solution

Mixture of water and chemicals that dampens a printing plate to prevent ink from adhering to the nonimage area.

Four-color Process Printing

Technique of printing that uses black, magenta, cyan and yellow to simulate full-color images.

Gate Fold

A sheet that folds where both sides fold toward the gutter in overlapping layers.


  1. Phenomenon of a faint image appearing on a printed sheet where it was not intended to appear. Chemical ghosting refers to the transfer of the faint image from the front of one sheet to the back of another sheet. Mechanical ghosting refers to the faint image appearing as a repeat of an image on the same side of the sheet.
  2. Phenomenon of printed image appearing too light because of ink starvation.

Grain Direction

Predominant direction in which fibers in paper become aligned during manufacturing. Also called machine direction.

Gripper Edge

Edge of a sheet held by grippers on a sheetfed press, thus going first through the press.


The unit of measurement for paper weight (grams per square meter).


In the book arena, the inside margins toward the back or the binding edges.


At the top of a page, the margin.


Imposition with heads (tops) of pages facing tails (bottoms) of other pages.


Spot or imperfection in printing, most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage, caused by dirt on the plate or blanket. Also called bulls eye and fish eye.

Image Area

The actual area on the printed matter that is not restricted to ink coverage,


Arrangement of pages on mechanicals or flats so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.


  1. Referring to an ink color, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through a printing unit.
  2. Referring to speed of a press, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through the press.

Impression Cylinder

Cylinder, on a press, that pushes paper against the plate or blanket, thus forming the image. Also called impression roller.

Ink Balance

Relationship of the densities and dot gains of process inks to each other and to a standard density of neutral gray

Ink Fountain

Reservoir, on a printing press, that holds ink.

Job Number

A number assigned to a specific printing project in a printing company for use in tracking and historical record keeping.


A vibration machine with a slopping platform to even-up stacks of printed materials.

Kiss Die Cut

To die cut the top layer, but not the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper. Also called face cut.


Artist style in which width is greater than height. (Portrait is opposite.)


One sheet of paper in a publication. Each side of a leaf is one page.


  1. All activities required to prepare a press or other machine to function for a specific printing or bindery job, as compared to production run. Also called setup.
  2. Paper used in the makeready process at any stage in production. Makeready paper is part of waste or spoilage.

Metallic Ink

Ink containing powdered metal or pigments that simulate metal.

Mock Up

A reproduction of the original printed matter and possibly containing instructions or direction.

Offset Printing

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


  1. Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents printing on one side from showing through the other side.
  2. Characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing


  1. Not transparent.
  2. To cover flaws in negative with tape or opaquing paint. Also called block out and spot.


To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint. Also called surprint.

Over Run

Additional printed matter beyond order. Overage policy varies in the printing industry.


One side of a leaf in a publication.

Page Count

Total number of pages that a publication has.

Perfect Bind

To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue.

Perfecting Press

Press capable of printing both sides of the paper during a single pass.


Taking place on a press or a binder machine, creating a line of small dotted wholes for the purpose of tearing-off a part of a printed matter (usually straight lines, vertical or horizontal).


Obsolete reference to Pantone Matching System. The correct trade name of the colors in the Pantone Matching


An art design in which the height is greater than the width. (Opposite of Landscape.)

Press Time

  1. Amount of time that one printing job spends on press, including time required for makeready.
  2. Time of day at which a printing job goes on press.

Printing Unit

Assembly of fountain, rollers and cylinders that will print one ink color. Also called color station, deck, ink station, printer, station and tower.

Process Color (Inks)

The colors used for four-color process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.

Production Run

Press run intended to manufacture products as specified, as compared to makeready.


Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.


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.

Register Marks

Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register. Also called crossmarks and position marks.


Abbreviation for red, green, blue, the additive color primaries.

Saddle Stitch

To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine, as compared to side stitch. Also called pamphlet stitch, saddle wire and stitch bind.

Satin Finish

Alternate term for dull finish on coated paper.

Self Cover

Usually in the book arena, a publication not having a cover stock. A publication only using text stock throughout.


Undesirable transfer of wet ink from the top of one sheet to the underside of another as they lie in the delivery stack of a press. Also called offset.

Soy-based Inks

Inks using vegetable oils instead of petroleum products as pigment vehicles, thus are easier on the environment.


Back or binding edge of a publication

Spiral Bind

To bind using a spiral of continuous wire or plastic looped through holes. Also called coil bind.


  1. Two pages that face each other and are designed as one visual or production unit.
  2. Technique of slightly enlarging the size of an image to accomplish a hairline trap with another image. Also called fatty.

Trim Size

The size of the printed material in its finished stage

UV Coating

Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.


Liquid applied as a coating for protection and appearance.

Wash Up

To clean ink and fountain solutions from rollers, fountains, screens, and other press components.


Unusable paper or paper damage during normal makeready, printing or binding operations, as compared to spoilage.

Woodfree Paper

Made with chemical pulp only.

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