Common Printing Terms

Use These Common Printing Terms To Help The Printer Understand Exactly What You Want And Get More Accurate Quotes

Bids and Quote Sheet

  • Advance Copies: a few copies of the finished print product sent as soon as the project is completed in the bindery.
  • Extent: a listing of all project components.
  • Finished Size: the dimensions of the finished piece.
  • Flat Size: the size of the printed piece prior to folding.
  • Landscape Format: horizontal (or, album).
  • Number of Colors: a listing of the number of colors for each project component. Example: “Text pages 4c x 1c” means 4 colors on one side of text sheets and 1 color on the other side.
  • PP: printed pages (front and back). Example: “32pp text” means 32 printed pages (front and back).
  • Pages: there are two pages for each sheet of paper. Also called “Leafs”–there are two pages for each leaf.
  • Portrait Format: upright (or, vertical).


  • Back Lining or Backing Paper: an additional back paper or cloth added to the spine to make the binding stronger.
  • Board Book: often used for children's books. Each cover and page of the book is laminated to a heavy board.
  • Burst Bind: to bind by forcing glue into notches along the spines of folded signatures. A burst bind is stronger than a perfect bind.
  • Comb Bind (also called Plastic Bind): bound by inserting a flexible plastic comb through holes punched along the binding edge of the book.
  • End Sheets: the sheets that attach the text to the hardcover (case) of a book.
  • Flush Cover: the text pages come to the edge of the cover.
  • Hardcover (also called Case Bound): this is the term for a hardbound book.
  • Head and Tail Bands: a cloth band that decorates the head and foot (or tail) of the spine.
  • Hinged Cover: this is a softbound book that is scored approx. .125” from the spine so that the cover opens without damaging the spine of the book.
  • Overhang Cover: the cover is slightly larger than the text pages.
  • Pastebind: the pages are secured with glue along the spine.
  • Perfect Bind (also called Limp Bind or Drawn-on Cover): hot glue is used to adhere the text pages to a soft cover.
  • Plus Cover: the cover is printed on a different paper than the text pages.
  • Round-Back Hardcover: the spine is rounded, as opposed to a square-back cover where the spine is flat.
  • Quarter Cover: book with the spine covered in one material and the other areas of the cover bound in a different material.
  • Saddle Stitch: bound by stapling sheets and cover together at the spine.
  • Self Cover: text and cover are the same paper.
  • Self Ends: the outer pages of the book's text are bound to the hardbound case, eliminating the need for end sheets.
  • Side Stitch: to bind by stapling sheets through the front of the printing.
  • Slip Case: a box, open on one side that is made to hold a book or series of books.
  • Softbound: this is a term for a perfect-bound book with no stitching.
  • Stitched and Bound: this is a term for perfect binding with the pages stitched together prior to perfect binding. This is a more secure binding than perfect binding and holds up better for repeated use or for softbound books that need to be forced flat by the reader.
  • Wire-O Bind: bound by inserting coil wire through holes drilled through the binding edge of the book.


  • Aqueous Coating: water-based coating available in matte or gloss finish. This coating accepts ink jet printing well. A thicker coat than varnish, but not as thick as laminate.
  • Laminate: plastic coating. Offers the most protection and is available as gloss or matte.
  • UV Coating: liquid coating cured with UV light. More durable than varnish or aqueous coating. Not as durable as laminate.
  • Varnish: a light coating that reflects light. Can be gloss or matte.


  • Art Paper: coated paper. Can be gloss art or matte art.
  • GSM (Grams Per Square Meter): this is the term for paper weight used everywhere except North America, where poundage is used.
  • Offset Paper: alternative term for uncoated paper.
  • Recycled Paper: new paper made entirely, or in part, from previously
    used paper.
  • Uncoated Paper (sometimes referred to as Wood-Free): no coating on the paper surface.
  • Vellum Paper: uncoated and rough surface.
  • Wood-Free (also called Free Sheets): paper made from wood fibers mixed with chemicals and cleaned free of impurities. Resists yellowing with age.


  • CYMK: these are the printing inks used in producing full-color printing (Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Black). This is the file format that colors must be converted to (from RGB) for commercial production of full color.
  • DPI: dots per inch. Usually 300 or 350 DPI is required for full-color printing.

Proofing and Shipping

  • Blueline Proofs: proofs showing the positioning of pages, graphics and text in mono color. Not used for proofing of color images.
  • Digital Proofs: proofs made from a photo mechanical process or a digital printer. Can be very accurate, although not as accurate as press proofs.
  • Dummies: bound blank paper proof to show the binding, paper quality and thickness.
  • Press Proofs: proofs made by putting files on a press and printing proofs. The most accurate form of proofing.Shipping
  • Bill of Lading: legally binding document listing goods shipped by the shipping company, acknowledging the receipt of goods and promising delivery to the person named.
  • CBM: this is the total size of a shipment in cubic meters.
  • CIF: stands for “Cost, Insurance and Sea Freight.”
    This is pricing based on delivery to the port of import (example: Los Angeles port). This does include international shipping and insurance, but does not include customs or port processing fees or local delivery.
  • Consignee: the person to whom the merchandise is destined.
  • DDP: stands for “Delivery Duty Paid.” This pricing is based on delivery to your destination. All costs including local delivery are included.
  • Ex-Factory: client, or client's agent, who is responsible for picking up the goods at the manufacturer's door.
  • FOB: stands for “Free on Board.” This is pricing based on delivery to the port of export (example: Hong Kong port). This does not include international shipping, insurance, customs or local delivery.
  • Ship Weight (sometimes called Gross Weight): this is the total weight of the shipment including all product and pallets.
  • Shipping Packing List: shows # of copies per carton, size & weight per carton, # of cartons per pallet, and size & weight per pallet.

Lead free, and environmentally sound, Soy based
Inks are used for all of our printing.

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ReliabilitySealAs a U.S. based print broker, Artful Dragon provides quality printing for books, catalog, brochure, calendar, four color printing, etc. in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India and other Asia based countries using reliable, high quality Asian and Chinese printers.