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Glossary Of Terms

Glossary Of Terms

PostMark has positioned itself with a focus on clients and being a resource for them. We recognize that mailing and printing can be complex and have many terms. Below is a glossary we have compiled to give you a better understanding of some of those terms. A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P R S T U V W
  • Abrasion Resistance

    The resistance to scratching of a surface of paper by other paper surfaces or other materials.

  • Absorbency

    The ability of a material to take up moisture

  • Accordion Fold

    A type of paper folding in which each fold runs in the opposite direction to the previous fold creating a pleated or accordion effect.

  • Address dupe

    This is duplicate record where you have more than one record at the same address, regardless of individual name. You would check for Address Duplicates if you only wanted one mail piece per address.
    For example:
    George Smith 100 Main St, Anytown, NC 27409
    Sam Adams 100 Main St, Anytown, NC 27409
    This would mail as:
    Current Resident 100 Main St, Anytown, NC 27409

  • Alphabet Length

    The measured length (in points) of the lowercase alphabet of a certain size and series of type.

  • Antique Finish

    Paper with a rough, sized surface used for book and cover stock.

  • Aqueous Coating

    A quick drying water based coating used to protect printed materials.

  • Aqueous Plate

    Water soluble plate coatings, which are less toxic and less polluting.

  • Art Work

    Any materials or images that are prepared for graphic reproduction.

  • Artwork

    All illustrated material, ornamentation, photos and charts etc., that is prepared for reproduction.

  • Ascender

    Any part of a lower case letter which rises above the main body of the letter such as in "d", "b" and "h".

  • Aspect Ratio

    The aspect ratio is calculated for postcards and letter sized mail pieces. It is the width divided by the height. That ratio must be between 1.3 and 2.5. If your piece is outside of this range, it can't be mailed at the automation discount rates.

  • Back To Back

    Print applied to both sides of a sheet of paper.

  • Back up

    Print process of printing on the backside or 2nd side of a sheet

  • Background

    That portion of a photograph or line art drawing that appears furthest from the eye; the surface upon which the main image is superimposed.

  • Balance

    A term used to describe the aesthetic or harmony of elements, whether they are photos, art or copy, within a layout or design.

  • Balloon

    In an illustration, any line which encircles copy, or dialogue.

  • Banner

    The primary headline usually spanning the entire width of a page.

  • Base Line

    This is a term used to describe the imaginary horizontal line upon which stand capitals, lower case letters, punctuation points etc.

  • Basis Weight

    Basis or basic weight refers to the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that particular paper grade.

  • Binding

    Various methods of securing folded sections together and or fastening them to a cover, to form single copies of a book.

  • Blanket

    On offset presses a fabric-reinforced sheet of rubber to transfer the impression from the plate onto the paper.

  • Bleed

    Extra ink area that crosses trim line, used to allow for variations that occur when the reproduction is trimmed or die-cut.

  • Blistering

    Although seemingly dry, paper does contain approximately 5% moisture. In cases where there is excessive moisture, and the paper is passed through a high heat-drying chamber, the moisture within the paper actually boils and causes a bubble or blistering effect.

  • Blocking Out

    To mask a section of an art layout before reproduction.

  • Bond

    A grade of durable writing, printing and typing paper that has a standard size of 17x22 inches.

  • Book

    A general classification to describe papers used to print books; its standard size is 25x38 inches. A printed work which contains more than 64 pages.

  • Broad Fold

    A term given to the fold whereby paper is folded with the short side running with the grain.

  • Brochure

    A pamphlet that is bound in booklet form.

  • Buckle Folder

    A portion of the binding machinery with rollers that fold the paper.

  • Bulk

    A term given to paper to describe its thickness relative to its weight.

  • Bulk Mail

    Bulk Mail is no longer a recognized term by the USPS. The term that replaced it is Standard Rate. Standard Rate mail can be anything that is not highly personalized or sensitive in nature.Standard Rate mail is given a significant discount from First Class rates. It can be opened and inspected by the Post Office. Typical delivery is 3 to 10 days.

  • Bullet

    A boldface square or dot used before a sentence to emphasize its importance.

  • Caliper

    The measurement of thickness of paper expressed in thousandths of an inch or mils.

  • Camera Ready

    A term given to any copy, artwork etc., that is prepared for photographic reproduction.

  • Caps & Lower Case

    Instructions in the typesetting process that indicate the use of a capital letter to start a sentence and the rest of the letters in lower case.

  • Caps & Small Caps

    Two sizes of capital letters made in one size of type.

  • Case Binding

    Books bound using hard board (case) covers.

  • CASS Certify

    The process of verifying an address is a valid and deliverable address. CASS does NOT verify that anyone lives at a particular address, just that the address is valid and deliverable. CASS stands for Coding Accuracy Support System.

  • Coated (Paper)

    Paper coated with clay, white pigments and a binder. Better for printing because there is less picking.

  • Coated Stock

    Any paper that has a mineral coating applied after the paper is made, giving the paper a smoother finish.

  • Collate

    To gather sheets or signatures together in their correct order. (see Gather)

  • Color Bars

    This term refers to a color test strip, which is printed on the waste portion of a press sheet. It is a standardized (GATF-Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) process which allows a pressman to determine the quality of the printed material relative to ink density, registration, and dot gain. It also includes the Star Target, which is a similar system designed to detect inking problems.

  • Color Separating

    The processes of separating the primary color components for printing.

  • Condensed Type

    A narrow, elongated type face.

  • Copyboard

    A board upon which the copy is pasted for the purpose of photographing.

  • Cover

    A term describing a general type of papers used for the covers of books, pamphlets etc.

  • Cracking

    A term used to describe when a piece with lots of ink or toner is folded without being creased and the paper fibers tear resulting in a jagged folded edge and ink or toner peeling off.

  • Creep

    When the rubber blanket on a cylinder moves forward due to contact with the plate or paper. Result of added thickness of folded sheets being behind one another in a folded signature. Outer edges of sheets creep away from back most fold as more folded sheets are inserted inside the middle.

  • Crop

    To eliminate a portion of the art or copy as indicated by crop marks.

  • Crop Mark

    Markings at edges of original or on guide sheet to indicate the area desired in reproduction with negative or plate trimmed (cropped) at the markings.

  • Curl

    Not lying flat and tending to form into cylindrical or wavy shapes. A term to describe the differences of either side of a sheet relative to coatings, absorbency etc.; the concave side is the curl side.

  • Cutter

    Machine for accurately cutting stacks of paper to desired dimensions...can also be used to crease. Also trims out final bound books' top size (soft cover).

  • Dedupe

    The dedupe process checks for duplicates on a mailing list. See also, Exact dupes, Household dupes, Address dupes

  • Densitometer

    An optical device used by printers and photographers to measure and control the density of color.

  • Descender

    A term that describes that portion of lower case letters which extends below the main body of the letter, as in "p".

  • Diazo

    A light sensitive coal tar product used as a coating on presensitized plates, as well as overlay proofs.

  • Die Cutting

    A method of using sharp steel ruled stamps or rollers to cut various shapes i.e. labels, boxes, image shapes, either post press or in line. The process of cutting paper in a shape or design by the use of a wooden die or block in which are positioned steel rules in the shape of the desired pattern.

  • Digital Proof

    Color separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to color photographic paper creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed.

  • Dog Ear

    Occurs when you fold into a fold (such as a letter fold). At the side of one of the creases you get an indentation. It may look like a small inverted triangle.

  • Drill

    The actual drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding.

  • Drop Shadow

    A shadow image placed strategically behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page.

  • Dull Finish

    Any matte finished paper.

  • Dummy

    A term used to describe the preliminary assemblage of copy and art elements to be reproduced in the desired finished product; also called a comp.

  • Eggshell Finish

    The finish of paper surface that resembles an eggshell achieved by omitting the calendar process. Reference, calendar rolls.

  • Electronic Proof

    A process of generating a prepress proof in which paper is electronically exposed to the color separation negatives; the paper is passed through the electrically charged pigmented toners, which adhere electrostatically, resulting in the finished proof.

  • Em

    A unit of measurement equaling 12 points or 4.5mm.

  • Embossed

    A method of paper finishing whereby a pattern is pressed into the paper when it is dry.

  • Engraving

    A printing process whereby images such as copy or art are etched onto a plate. When ink is applied, these etched areas act as small wells to hold the ink; paper is forced against this die and the ink is lifted out of the etched areas creating raised images on the paper.

  • Exact Dupe

    An exact dupe is where a single person is on a list more than one time. In this situation we would eliminate one of the records and mail only one piece.
    For example:
    Keegan Jones 450 Maple Dr, Anytown, NC 27106
    Keegan Jones 450 Maple Dr, Anytown, NC 27106

  • Fan Fold

    Paper folding that emulates an accordion or fan, the folds being alternating and parallel.

  • Finish

    The surface quality of paper.

  • Flat

    Mail piece size where one of the dimensions exceeds those of a letter. Therefore, the piece must be more than .25 inch thick, longer than 11.5 inches, or taller than 6.125 inches.

  • Fold Marks

    Markings at top edges that show where folds should occur.

  • Folder

    Machine used to fold signatures down into sections.

  • Font

    The characters which make up a complete typeface and size.

  • French Fold(er)

    Folder with printing on one side so that when folded once in each direction, the printing on outside of the folds.

  • Gang

    Group of frames or impositions in the same forme of different jobs arranged and positioned to be printed together.

  • Ghosting

    When an image transfers either to another sheet or across from a fold due to ink/toner not being dry. Ghosting essentially transfers a lighter image to another sheet or from a fold that is not desired.

  • GIGO

    Garbage in, garbage out. Usually referred to that if files or lists provided are not of a good quality, the resulting printed pieces or output data can't be expected to be perfect.

  • Grain

    Direction of fibers in a sheet of paper governing paper properties such as increased size changes with relative humidity, across the grain, and better folding properties along the grain.

  • Gripper Edge

    The grippers of the printing press move the paper through the press by holding onto the leading edge of the sheet; this edge is the gripper edge.

  • Gutter

    Space between pages in the printing frame of a book, or inside margin towards the back or binding edge. The blank space or margin between the type page and the binding of a book.

  • Halftone

    Tone graduated image composed of varying sized dots or lines, with equidistant centers.

  • Hickies

    Imperfections in presswork due to dirt on press, trapping errors, etc.

  • House Sheet

    This is a term that refers to a paper that a printer keeps on hand in his shop.

  • Household Dupe

    Household dupes are when you have more than one person at an address with the same last name. Typically you will check for household duplicates if you do not want to send more than one piece to a family.
    For example:
    Amber Bryant, 230 N Elm St, Anytown, NC 27405
    Jim Brynat, 230 N Elm St, Anytown, NC 27405
    With the householding technique you would mail to:
    The Bryant Family 230 N Elm St, Anytown, NC 27405

  • Image Area

    That portion of the printing plate that carries the ink and prints on paper.

  • Imposition

    Arrangement of pages so that they print correctly on a press sheet, and the pages are in proper order when the sheets are folded.

  • Indicia

    Markings pre-printed on mailing envelopes to replace the stamp.

  • Ink Jet

    A printing technology that involves the transfer of ink through small jets rather than a transfer from a printing plate. Ink jet printing can have a tendancy to have some overspray.

  • Kerning

    The narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page.

  • Layout

    A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, roughs, thumbnails etc., of the final printed piece before it goes to print.

  • Leading

    Space between lines of type; the distance in points between one baseline and the next.

  • Letter

    Mail piece that is no larger than 6.125" tall and 11.5" wide and less than 0.25" thick. The piece must also be larger than 3.5" tall and greater than 5" wide and more than 0.009" thick.

  • M weight

    The actual weight of 1000 sheets of any given size of paper.

  • Matte Finish

    A coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring. Reference, calendaring.

  • Mechanical

    A term used to describe finished artwork that is camera ready for reproduction, including all type, photos, illustrations etc.

  • Metropolitan Service Area

    A group of ZIP codes usually in close proximity defining a large metropolitan area (e.g. New York City or Los Angeles).

  • NCOA

    NCOA processes a mail list against the USPS most recent list of address changes on file. NCOA is different from CASS as it verifies who (or what company) is at a specific address. An NCOA update can search back either 18 or 48 months. PostMark uses the 48 month search. NCOA stands for National Change of Address.

  • Oblong

    A term used to describe printed books, catalogs etc., that are bound on their shorter side; also referred to as album bound.

  • Offset

    The most commonly used printing method, whereby the printed material does not receive the ink directly from the printing plate but from an intermediary cylinder called a blanket which receives the ink from the plate and transfers it to the paper.

  • Opaque

    A quality of paper that allows relatively little light to pass through.

  • Over Run

    Surplus of copies printed.

  • Overprinting

    Any printing that is done on an area that has already been printed.

  • Parent Sheet

    A sheet that is larger than the cut stock of the same paper.

  • Perfect Binding

    Binding process where backs of sections are cut off, roughened and glued together, and rung in a cover.

  • Perfecting

    Printing both sides of the paper (or other material) on the same pass through the printing machine.

  • Perforating

    Punching small holes or slits in a sheet of paper or cardboard to facilitate tearing along a desired line.

  • Primary Colors

    In printing the four primary colors are cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black. Also referred to as CMYK.

  • Process Printing

    Printing from two or more half tones to produce intermediate colors and shades.

  • Proof

    Impression from composed type or blocks, taken for checking and correction, from a lithographic plate to check accuracy of layout, type matter, tone and color reproduction.

  • Ream

    500 sheets of paper.

  • Register

    The arrangement of two or more images in exact alignment with each other.

  • Right Angle Fold

    A term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other.

  • Saddle Stitching

    Stitching where the wire staples pass through the spine from the outside and are clinched in the center. Only used with folded sections, either single sections or two or more sections inset to form a single section.

  • Satin Finish

    A smooth delicately embossed finished paper with sheen.

  • Scaling

    The enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area.

  • Self Cover

    A cover made out of the same paper stock as the internal sheets.

  • Self Mailer

    A mail piece constructed of a single sheet of paper that folds before mailing.

  • Slitting

    A term to describe the process of cutting of printed sheets by the cutting wheels of a printing press.

  • Spiral Bind

    A binding whereby a wire or plastic is spiraled through holes punched along the binding side.

  • Spot Color

    Small area printed in a second color.

  • Standard Rate

    Standard Rate mail can be anything that is not highly personalized or sensitive in nature.Standard Rate mail is given a significant discount from First Class rates. It can be opened and inspected by the Post Office. Typical delivery is 3 to 10 days.

  • Step And Repeat

    A process of generating multiple exposures by taking an image and stepping it according to a predetermined layout.

  • Stet

    A proofreader's symbol that is usually written in the copy margin, that indicates that the copy, which was marked for correction, should be left as it was.

  • Stock

    A term for unprinted paper or other material to be printed.

  • Tab (Mailing Industry)

    In the mailing industry, referred to as the sticker or "wafer seal" that keeps a self mailer closed during mailing. Typically a tab is either white or clear. It can also be other colors.

  • Tab (Printing Industry)

    Tab is referred to as the extended part of a file folder, for example like on a 1/3 cut manilla folder.

  • Text

    A high quality printing paper.

  • Tint

    A halftone screen that contains all the same sized dots.

  • Tooth

    The rough surfaced finish of papers such as vellum or antique.

  • Transparent

    Inks that do not block out the colored inks that they print over, but instead blend with them to create intermediate colors.

  • Trapping

    The process of printing wet ink over printed ink which may be wet or dry.

  • Trim Marks

    Marks placed on the sheet to indicate where to cut the page.

  • Up

    A term used to describe how many similar sheets can be produced on a larger sheet; two up, four up, etc.

  • Varnish

    A clear shiny ink used to add gloss to printed pieces. The primary component of the ink vehicle. Reference, vehicle.

  • Watermark

    A translucent logo that is embossed during the papermaking process while the paper slurry is on the dandy roll. Reference, dandy roll