Glossary of Terms

A size – This is the metric measurement for paper: A4 is 210mm x 297mm, A5 is half that and A6 is half again.

Albert Quarto (AQ) – Albert Quarto (AQ) This is a traditional paper size : 8″ x 6″ (153 x 203) folded it fits into a C6 envelope.

Antique – A rough, irregular textured finish to the paper or card.

 Artwork – A black & white or colour image of a motif, picture or logo that the customer may wish to use. It must be presented to the typesetter in a usable format.

Bevel – Angled cut to edge of card, used to show gilding to best effect

Bleeding – Where the printed area is taken right up to the edge of card or paper. Artwork where a design is printed right up to the edge of the page is provided with extra width to the printed page size to allow the artwork to flow over the edge of the page, when trimmed. This is referred to as supplying artwork with ‘bleed’.

Blind-embossed – An impression stamped forcefully onto card creating a relief effect. No ink is used in this process.

Coloured ink – Any ink other than black.

Copy – A publishing and printers’ term referring to the actual wording to be printed.

Deckle edge – A decorative edge given to paper or card that may be either torn or die-cut.

Die – A metal block or ‘plate’ with text engraved into it. A die is required for all letterpressed, foiled and engraved/die stamped prints.

Die-stampingSee ‘Engraving’.

Digital colour – Reproducing a colour image on card has become increasingly easy and cheap to do. Digital colour as opposed to full colour lithographic printing works on the same principle as photocopying, the card is not required to go through the printing press four times as it is when printed lithographically, but only once. The disadvantages are that only a certain type of card can be used and the quality may not always be as good. Sharp and colours cannot be matched exactly.

DL – A long narrow envelope, usually with a peel & seal closure, that an A4 sheet can fit into when folded twice. This size is also often used for compliment slips.

Double-sided – Printing on both sides of a piece of paper or card, therefore requiring two plates and two runs through the press.

Edging  See bevel or gilt edge.

Embossing – A raised finish to a print, often used to describe Thermography.

Engraving – A traditional method of printing that provides particularly fine relief and detail of the image or text that has been engraved onto the die. Also referred to as ‘die-stamping’.

Finish /Finishing – Once a job has been printed it needs to be made ready for dispatch. Any dirty or misprinted items are removed and the paper or cards are cut, counted, folded, and packed, ready for shipping. Envelopes of the correct size and colour are counted and packed with the order. This is also where any additional processes are added to the order – such as ribboning, tissue or paper lining, edging or panel-sinking.

Fly or folded card – A card with a single fold is known as a fly card. The dimensions always refer to the size of the card when folded.

Full Colour – A colour photograph or picture is reproduced by printing it in four colours, blue, red, yellow and black.

Foiled – A print process where text is printed using a die with foil rather than ink. It creates a debossed or indented finish to the card. As the foil sits on top of the card, rather than sinking into the card surface like ink, it is particularly good for printing in light colours such as white or in metallics on dark or coloured cards, for a bold finish.

Gatefold – Two creases in a sheet of card that when folded brings the two outer sides together resembling double opening gates.

GB – Our standard small correspondence card size (152 x 110mm  or 4 3/8 x 6”). It is very close in size to an A6 card, but fits a C6 envelope more snugly. Is the corresponding card size to Marquis writing paper.

Gilt-edge – Silver, gold or other metallic foil can be applied to the edge of card to make it more attractive. The thicker the card the better the effect, beveling (see above) also improves the result.

GSM – A unit of measurement used by the paper industry. It stands for grams per square metre.

Gummed Diamond Flap (GDF) – An envelope with a diamond shaped point on the flap, that needs to be moistened to seal.

Half King – Also known as HK. A correspondence card size (114 x 178mm or 4 ½ x 7”) which is half a King size writing paper sheet. See King.

Hole drilling – Where the customer wishes to add their own ribbons, holes can be drilled in place.

Italic – Sloped or slanted print.

King – A larger paper size (178 x 229mm or 9 x 7”) in between A5 or Marquis sheet size and an A4 page. A close equivalent to PQ (see below). Also available in a corresponding card size, which is half the page height. See Half-King.

Laid – Textured paper or card with a regular track pattern.

Landscape – This refers to the orientation of a rectangular image. Landscape means the image sits on its long edge; portrait means it sits on its short edge.

Letterpress – A traditional way of printing, where a die with the image standing proud of the surface is inked and then impressed onto the paper. Traditionally it was not correct to indent the paper but it has now become fashionable to do so and is the style we use for all our letterpress printing.

Lined envelopes – Envelopes can be lined in paper or tissue to improve opacity and make the envelope more attractive. Paper and tissue linings are available to match most of our ink colours.

Litho / Lithography – A more modern printing technique that is faster and more consistent than Letterpress. Producing a flat finish on the page.

Marquis – A traditional paper size, (157 x 210mm or 8 ¼ x 6 ¼”), 10mm wider than an A5 page. Folds to fit a C6 envelope. Similar to AQ size (see above).

Metallic ink – Metallic inks are available in gold, silver or copper.

Non-lining figures – Older typefaces often have figures that do not sit flat on the base-line but sink below or rise above it (1 3 6 7 8 for example).

Quarto – A large paper size (254 x 203mm or 10 x 8”) that is just smaller than an A4 sheet.

Overprinted – Refers to printing onto material that has either been previously printed or would not normally be printed. Envelopes, for instance are usually supplied blank but may either have the address of the sender printed on the flap, or, to go with reply cards, printed with the RSVP address on the front. Christmas cards can be overprinted inside with the customer’s name and address.

Panel-sinking/plate sinking – An area, usually square or rectangular that is embossed into the card. The thicker the card the better the effect.

Pantone – A universal colouring reference system.

Peel & Seal – An envelope with a straight edged flap, where a strip can be peeled off to reveal the sticky glue used to close the envelope.

Plate – The printing plate carries the image to be printed and transfers it through the printing process onto the paper. Plates come in many formats depending on the type of printing machine and its size.

Portrait – See landscape.

Post Quarto – A paper size measuring 9″ x 7 “, that falls neatly between A4 and A5. Our ‘King’ size is a very close equivalent. See above.

Pp – is an abbreviation for “pages”: a page is one side of a sheet of paper or card. If folded the sheet becomes a booklet with 4 pages, a paper insert stapled into this booklet increases this to 8pp and another insert would give you a total of 12pp.

Proof – Before going to print a customer will often want to see what their job will look like; a proof allows them do this. Where possible layout proofs are emailed as a PDF where in some instances representative colours can be illustrated in the pdf proof.

Raised ink – Also known as thermo or thermographic printing or embossing – see Thermography below.

Ribbons – Ribbons can be added to most designs for decorative effect. They are available in satin or organza and are stocked in most colours to match our ink range. Special ribbons can be sourced by The Letter Press or can be supplied by the customer.

Roman – Roman is an upright serif typeface (not on a slant like Italic, nor a handwriting style like Script). Times Roman is the best known of Roman typefaces but there are thousands more.

Round-cornering – Rounding the corners of invitations to make them look smarter, to best effect with heavier weight cards.

Script – A typeface that resembles elegant copperplate handwriting. Shelley is a script typeface.

Second colour – To print a second colour requires a second sheet of film, a second plate, a change of colour on the press and for the paper to go through the press for a second time.

Serif – A serif is the small tick-mark that decorates the tips and ends of each letter of certain typefaces. More recently typefaces have been designed without serifs; these are known as sans-serif faces.

Set-off – Ink smudging that can happen to a recently printed job if the ink is too wet or the card is handled too soon after printing.

Single card – This is a simple card with no fold.

Thermography – Also known as Thermo, raised print or embossing this is a cheaper method than die-stamping of giving a raised surface to print. Powder is sprinkled onto the still wet ink which after heating fuse to create the relief effect.

Wove A smooth finish to the paper or card.

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