Printing 101

Aqueous Coating (AQ):

It is used to protect and enhance the printed piece. Aqueous coating is applied to all 100lb gloss book and 100lb gloss cover.


Different methods used to secure loose pages in a book.


Printed colors that extend beyond the edge of a page. To cut the job to the intended size and specifications, the processor has to make sure the job is designed with an 1/8″ bleed (some jobs may require more than that.) For example if the job is a business card (3.5″ x 2″) the file size with bleed would be (3.625″ x 2.125″).

Card Stock:

Also called “cover stock”. Most types of heavyweight paper are called card stock. The thickness of card stock is indicated with point sizes such as 14pt, 16pt. Some people will also refer to 100lb gloss cover as a card stock.


The primary colors used in 4-color printing. CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) are used to reproduce full color on the printed sheet. CMYK is also called “Process Color”.


The mixture of clay materials that are applied to paper to improve the smoothness of the paper’s surface and improve ink holdout during the printing process.
Examples are Aqueous coating (AQ) and UV coating.
UV coating adds a gloss finish to the product and also improves the vibrancy of the printed colors.
Spot-UV (also called spot varnish) can be applied to selected portions of the piece, while leaving the remainder with a matte finish.

Dots Per Inch (dpi):

A measurement of resolution of input, output and display devices. 300 dpi means that when printed, each square inch of your image will contain 90,000 pixels (dots), the higher the dpi (the more pixels per inch) the more crisp the printed image will be. Our electronic (digital) files require a minimum resolution of 300 dpi to avoid image degradation and poor quality print jobs.


The application of a metallic gold or silver foil on paper using a heated die. The foil is adhered to the surface, leaving the design of the die on the paper. Our Foil Stamp Printing adds a custom touch to your printed product by applying a thin film of metal to paper that creates a high grade, eye-catching result.

Offset Printing:

The transfer of an inked image from a plate, to a blanket cylinder. In turn, this image is transferred to the printing material as it passes between the blanket and the impression cylinder. Pressure is then applied. Also referred to as “offset lithography”.


The smallest unit of a digitized image created by a digital device, such as a computer, camera, or scanner. Pixel is short for “picture element.” The more pixels per inch, the better the resolution. On computer monitors, the display is divided into rows and columns containing thousands or millions of pixels. Each pixel is composed of three dots representing the three color channels of red, green, and blue light that are each necessary for creating a color image on computer monitors and television screens. Because of their small size, the pixels appear to merge, simulating a continuous tone image. But, when magnified, they appear to be tiny square blocks of light.


A metal or paper light-sensitive sheet that holds an image that has been photographically produced. During the printing process, the image area picks up ink. This is then transferred to a blanket, and then to paper.


The measurement of output quality expressed in pixels per inch on a computer monitor or dots per inch on printed media. For example, a monitor displaying a resolution of 800 by 600 refers to a screen capable of displaying 800 pixels in each of 600 lines, which translates into a total of 480,000 pixels displayed on the screen. When referring to printed media, a 300 dpi (dots per inch) printer (for example), is capable of outputting 300 dots in a one-inch line, which means that it has the ability of printing 90,000 distinct dots per square inch (300 x 300).

RGB & Printing: The additive primary colors (RGB = Red/Green/Blue) used to display color in video monitors. Attempting to print using a file in RGB color mode will produce a washed out appearance. We do not check files for RGB, so please take responsibility of your files before submitting them.


A crease applied, in a straight line, to a sheet of paper to allow it to fold easier and more accurately.