Accordion Fold: Also called a fan fold. Similar to a Z-fold but with an additional panel. The piece is folded twice in a zig-zag manner to form a “W” shape.

Additive Color: Color produced by light falling onto a surface. Compare to Subtractive Color. Additive primary colors are Red, Green, Blue.
Adobe Acrobat: A software program created by Adobe for converting any document to an Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) file. Anyone can open your document across a broad range of hardware and software using the downloadable, free software Adobe Acrobat Reader, and it will look exactly as you intended.
Against the Grain: When printing is at a right angle to the paper grain, it can cause problems in folding. A workaround for this is scoring.
Aqueous Coating: Water-based coating applied like ink to protect and enhance printing beneath. Environmentally friendly.

Banding: When screens do not transition smoothly. The steps between areas of lighter and darker screens look stepped or striped.
Bindery: Where the finishing of printed material takes place. Some things that happen in bindery are trimming, folding, binding, drilling, and boxing.
Blanket: Pad mounted on a cylinder of an offset press. Receives the inked image from the plate and transfers it to the surface to be printed.
Bleed: Printing beyond the trim marks on a sheet so that when the piece is trimmed to its final size, color reaches the edge of the paper. Typically 1/8″ (.125″) of bleed is sufficient.

Blind Image: A shape that is pressed into the paper without applying ink or foil. Can be embossed, debossed, or stamped.
Blueline: A print made on light-sensitive paper used as a proof for checking the film prior to making plates. Thompson Print & Mailing Solutions doesn’t use this kind of proof, we supply a low-resolution digital proof (PDF) to our customers electronically, a low-resolution paper folded comp, or high-resolution paper proof.

C1S: Abbreviation for Coated One Side.
C2S: Abbreviation for Coated Two Sides.
CMYK: Abbreviation for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (Black), the four process colors.
Camera-Ready: A term commonly used to mean that a document is ready to go to press. Historically, this meant that the art was ready to be included in the final “mechanical” layout and photographed. Plates were then made from the film’s negative. Now, in a digital-to-plate system, it simply means that a document is ready to be made into a printing plate.
Closed Gate Fold: The same as an Open Gate Fold with an additional fold in the center to create 4 panels.

Coated Paper: Paper that has been coated by a mixture of materials or a polymer. Some coating types offered by Thompson Print & Mailing Solutions include Gloss and Matte.
Collate: A term used in finishing for gathering sets or pages in a specified order.
Color Balance: In CMYK prepress, percentages of each ink required to create a certain color. On the press, this term refers to the amounts of each ink added to match the desired color.
Color Bar: A strip of colors in the trim area of a piece of printed material, used to ensure that all colors are printing correctly.
Color Correction: Improving color separations by altering the electronic file, the amount of color burned onto a plate, or the amount of ink applied to a press sheet.
Color Matching System: The process of ensuring that color remains the same when going from one medium to another. A popular Color Matching System (CMS) in the printing industry is the Pantone Matching System.
Color Separations: The process of preparing color images by separating them into individual color components. In offset printing, this is traditionally Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK). When these colors are printed on paper in small dots, the human eye combines them to see the final image.
Contrast: The degree of tones in an image, ranging from highlights to shadows.
Cover Stock: Thick paper used for items such as menus, posters, folders, and business cards.
Coverage: Amount of ink covering the surface of the paper. Usually expressed as light, medium, or heavy.
Crop: Removing outer parts of a picture or image to improve framing, accentuate subject matter or change aspect ratio.
Crop Marks: Also called trim marks. Printed marks that show where to trim a printed sheet.
Cure: Drying inks or varnishes to ensure good adhesion and prevent offsetting.
Cyan: An icy blue color that is one of the four component colors in the CMYK model, with Magenta, Yellow and Black.


Debossing: A shape that is pressed into paper. The resulting area is lowered.
Densitometer: A device used in quality control to measure the degree of darkness of printed ink.
Density: The degree of darkness in an image or photograph.
Die: A shape or blade used in embossing or for cutting a sheet into a specific shape.
Die Cutting: Cutting a sheet into a specific shape using a steel cutting die.
Digital Printing: Printing directly from a digital file onto a variety of media. Usually used for small or short-run jobs at a higher cost per page. Higher cost is offset somewhat by avoiding the technical steps required to make plates and set up a press. Digital Printing allows for variable data printing, printing on-demand, and shorter turnaround times than traditional offset printing.
Digital Proof: A proof delivered electronically rather than in paper form. The most usual file format is PDF.
Dot Gain: Also called spread. A term that expresses how much the size of a dot on film will increase when ink hits paper.
Dots Per Inch: Measurement of the resolution of an image. Abbreviated DPI.
72cpi vs 300dpi

Double Parallel Fold: A fold where the piece is folded in half, then half again, creating 4 panels on each side. Folds are parallel to each other.

DPI: Abbreviation for Dots Per Inch. Measurement of the resolution of an image.
Duotone: A halftone picture made up of two colors.


Embossing: A shape that is pressed into paper. The resulting area is raised.


Finish: (1) Surface of a coated paper, i.e. gloss or matte. (2) Term for trimming, folding, bindery and other post-press processes.
Finished Size: Size of finished printed piece after production is completed, as compared to Flat Size.
Flat Size: Size of printed piece after printing and trimming, but before folding and other finishing, as compared to Finished Size.
Flood: Also called Flood Coat. Covering a printed sheet completely with ink, varnish or some other coating.
Foil: Metallic or colored material on plastic sheets or rolls used in foil stamping, foil embossing, and foil debossing.
Folder: Bindery machine for folding printed material.
For Position Only: Placing photos or copy in a mechanical to indicate size and placement, but not intended for production. Abbreviated FPO.
Four-Color Process: Four basic colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) are combined to create a complete range of color.
Four-Panel Roll Fold: 4-panel fold where the piece is folded inward at one end and then inward again, as if you are rolling it up.

FPO: Abbreviation of For Position Only. Placing photos or copy in a mechanical to indicate size and placement, but not intended for production.
French Fold: Also called a Quarter-Fold. Paper is folded once vertically, then horizontally, for a 4-panel fold.