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Our Lingo

Printer Lingo

This is where we let loose, unwind, and unveil our quirky side. We love what we do and take it seriously—we just don’t take ourselves too seriously. Learn our lingo and enjoy a few outdated references and our particular blend of humour. You can’t say we didn’t warn you.

Accordion Fold

  1. The art of folding paper by bending each fold in the opposite direction of the previous fold, creating a pleated or accordion effect.
  2. The Accordion Fold might be something you first encountered in grade school, but this isn’t Kindergarten craft time—it’s high stakes paper folding.

Against the Grain

  1. Running a sheet of paper through a printing press at right angles to the grain direction of the paper, as opposed to with the grain. Sometimes called cross grain.
  2. Our mantra, our fight song, our favourite double entendre. Our raison d’être, our print proclamation (sounds better than core value, right?) and our promise to you—to think differently and see opportunity where others don’t.

Aqueous Coating

  1. This clear coating is used to protect printed pieces. It provides a high-gloss surface that deters dirt and fingerprints and improves the durability of postcards as they go through the mail and business cards as they ride around in peoples pockets. It also looks beautiful on brochures, catalogue covers, and stand-alone flyers.
  2. A coating that keeps your print products looking fiiiiiiiiiiine.


  1. A business or department within a printing company that does the cutting, folding, collating, drilling and other finishing operations used on printing projects.
  2. Let’s face it—this sounds like something straight out of Fifty Shades of Grey. We’re rolling with it.

Bleed blēd

  1. Any element that extends up to or past the edge of a printed page.
  2. The thing we avoid like Hell because it’s a WCB nightmare.

Carbonless Paper

  1. Paper that is chemically treated to transfer the impression from the first page to the subsequent pages. See Carbonless NCR Form Printing for more detailed info.
  2. Push aside the 90’s flashbacks—carbonless paper is still very much a thing. Orders, receipts, insurance, you’ve seen it and no doubt, smelt it.

Case Binding

  1. Books bound using hard board (case) covers. AKA, the fancy first edition, the collectible, the keeper. Also the version that precedes the 40% off paperback. #thepriceofbeauty


  1. To gather sheets or printed signatures together in their correct order.
  2. Put your content in the right order people. Enough said.

Colour Bars

  1. A colour test strip that is printed on the waste portion of a press sheet. It helps a press operator to monitor and control the quality of the printed material relative to ink density, registration and dot gain. It can also include a Star Target, which is designed to detect inking and press problems.
  2. You may have seen a colour bar on TV, but you heard it here first. #wewin

Crop Marks

  1. Small printed lines around the edges of a printed piece indicating where it is to be cut out of the sheet. Sometimes referred to as cut marks.
  2. Crops—unfortunate pants or a summer top. We’ll let you decide.


  1. An image, rule or line art on one printed page that carries over to an adjacent page of a bound or folded work.
  2. The vehicle you trade your sports car in for when your family expands. Also known as the mom jeans of the automobile world.

Deboss diːˈbɒs

  1. To press an image into paper with a die so it extends below the surface. The opposite of emboss where the image is raised above the paper surface.
  2. Put your sunglasses on, you are de boss.

Die Cutting

  1. The process of cutting paper in a shape or design by the use of a wooden die or laser in which are positioned steel rules in the shape of the desired pattern.
  2. Not murder. Erm… we’re not going to talk about murder (unless it’s Making a Murderer—so good right?). Anyway, moving on.


  1. The preliminary assemblage of copy and art elements to be reproduced in the desired finished product, also called a comp.
  2. The nickname you just couldn’t shake as a kid. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Embossing im’bôs

  1. The moulding and reshaping of paper by the use of special metal dies and heat, counter dies and pressure, to produce a raised image on the paper surface.
  2. When you have curves like these, you can’t help but show them off. Embrace the emboss.


  1. The metal sheet that is applied to paper using the foil stamping process. Frequently gold coloured, but available in many colours.
  2. Something shiny to distract your enemies. Oops, we spelled competitors wrong.

Gate Fold

  1. A three or four-panel fold where the two outside panels fold inward to meet in the centre. In an open gate fold, there are three panels, the bottom of which is twice the size of the folded panels. In a closed gatefold, there are four panels of roughly equal size where the outer panels are folded inward together.
  2. Inspiring a Downton Abbey-esque persona to take over, without the pomp and circumstance to back it up. One can dream though.


  1. Paper fibres lie in a similar direction in a sheet of paper. This direction is called the grain. Printing is usually done so that if folding is required, the fold is done parallel to the grain.
  2. The glutenous sensation that is sweeping the nation. Also, PSA, our paper is gluten-free.


  1. A blank space or margin between components on a printed piece or press sheet.
  2. We’re all familiar with the gutter. It’s our go-to hangout at the bowling alley (people still bowl right?). First rule of the gutter? Grannies aren’t allowed—mostly because they out bowl us with balls as slow as molasses.


  1. The effect that occurs when a spec of dust or debris (frequently dried ink) adheres to the printing plate and creates a spot or imperfection in the printing.
  2. Anyone got a turtleneck? A scarf, maybe? Yup, that takes us back to high-school.


  1. An image and/or text pre-printed on mailing envelopes in place of a stamp. In other words, how you get out of paying an arm and a leg for a stamp.


  1. Lines that are drawn on artwork that indicate the exact placement, shape and size of elements including halftones, illustrations, etc.
  2. Often confused with key lime. We wish we sold pies…side business idea? Someone tell Ken.


  1. Applying thin transparent plastic sheets to both sides of a sheet of paper, providing scuff resistance, waterproofing and extended use. Lamination—rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?


  1. Paper that is used in the press set-up process before the printing run actually starts. Or the process of setting up press or bindery equipment to produce a specific product, including setting paper size, ink density, image alignment, fold sizes, etc., in preparation for the actual production run. We promise—20 minutes doesn’t mean 2 hours.

Offset Printing

  1. The most commonly used printing method, where the printed material does not receive ink directly from a printing plate but from an intermediary blanket that receives the ink from the plate and then transfers it to the paper.
  2. Not the rapper. Print is experiencing a revival but we’re not that mainstream.

Perfect Binding

  1. A binding process where the signatures of a book are held together by a flexible adhesive.
  2. It’s called a perfect binding—do we need to flatter it even more by singing its praises? It’s p-e-r-f-e-c-t.


  1. An abbreviation for the Pantone Color Matching System. What were you thinking?

Press Check

  1. When a client visits a printing company to view actual printed sheets of their project before a full production press run is started.
  2. You know that time you read a brochure with a glaring typo from your competitor or saw a colour that wasn’t quite on brand? Yah…look how that turned out. Take a look at your printed piece before dropping bags of cash. You DO have the time.

Process Printing

  1. A system where a colour image is separated into different colour values (cyan, magenta, yellow and black or CMYK) by the use of filters and screens or digitally with a software program and then transferred to printing plates and printed on a printing press, reproducing the original colour image. That was anti-climatic, wasn’t it?

Saddle Stitch

  1. The binding of booklets or other printed materials by stapling the pages on the folded spine.
  2. Clint Eastwood. On a horse. Need we say more? We wish a saddle stitch was that cool.


  1. To crease paper with a metal rule for the purpose of making folding easier.
  2. It’s the thing all men have in common, the thing they can’t stop talking about. The thing men all have on their mind at night—what’s the score of the hockey game?

Self Cover

  1. A cover that is the same paper stock as the internal sheets.
  2. The go-to method of preventing a wardrobe malfunction. Yup, we’re talking nip slips guys and gals.

Spiral Bind

  1. A type of binding where a metal or plastic wire is spiralled through holes drilled along the binding side of a document. Commonly referred to as coil binding.
  2. Are we the only ones who associate spirals with amusement parks, milkshakes, and unfortunately timed upchucks?

Variable Data Printing

  1. Is a form of on-demand printing in which elements (such as text, graphics, photographs, etc) can be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the press, using information from a database. For example, a set of personalized letters, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with a different name and address on each letter.
  2. A hella complicated print technique that customizes your design. Remember that Coke campaign where everyone was super happy about finding their name on a coke bottle? Variable Data Printing my friends.


  1. A clear coating added to printed material for improved scuff resistance and usually higher gloss.
  2. What do printers and woodworkers have in common? We know the importance of a varnish. We also like plaid, axes, and suspenders, but now we just sound like hipsters.