A look into the wonderful world of print and lettershop!

Print and Lettershop Terms

Gripper and Gripper edge: The leading edge of the sheet that is grabbed by the grippers to be pulled through the printing press.

Make Ready: The process of preparing the press for printing – loading ink, setting up plates, loading paper, a test run to ensure proper placement of image as well as colors.

Overprinting: Any printing on a sheet that has already been printed. Often teasers are overprinted on envelopes.

Overrun: Quantity of sheets printed over the requested quantity of print run.

Perfecting press: A sheet fed printing press that prints both sides of a sheet in one pass.

Washup: Procedure of cleaning the unit of a printing press.

Waste: Term for planned spoilage.

Web Press: A printing press that prints on rolls of paper passed through the press in one continuous piece, as opposed to individual sheets of paper. (Requires larger quantity runs, generally 40M, 8.5×11 sheet or more.)



Bleed: When the ink goes to, or ‘runs-off’ the edge of the page. This generally increases the cost of the piece since the piece must be printed on a larger sheet then trimmed down to the finished size.

CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. These are the four primary colors that make up ‘process color’.

4 Color Process: Using the above colors to achieve a 4 color image (such as a photo graph, although most full color images are made using CMYK rather than spot color).

4/4: Four over four. This indicates that a piece has 4 colors on both sides of the sheet.

2/2: Two over two. This indicates that a piece has 2 colors on both sides of the sheet.

1/1: One over one. This indicates that a piece has 1 color on both sides of the sheet.

Flood: To cover a sheet with ink.

Ghosting: After printing, a faint image of one part of a layout that unintentionally appears within another area of the layout is called ghosting. Ghosting can occur due to an accumulation of ink or a reduction in the amount of ink. Adjusting the layout can help in the prevention of ghosting. If you have a layout that incorporates both areas of heavy ink coverage such as large, bold headlines or reverses and areas of lighter coverage there is potential for ghosting.

Offseting: When the ink from one sheet transfers to another sheet (generally when stacked).

PMS: Pantone Matching System (ink colors that have numbers assigned).

Process Printing: A system where a color image is separated into different color 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 color image.

Register: The arrangement of two or more printed images in exact alignment with each other.

UV Coating: A very shiny and durable high gloss coating applied to printed material. This is applied as a liquid then cured with ultraviolet light.



Book or Text Weight: To describe the weight of paper. This paper is similar to what you put in your copy machine. Book weight or text weight paper and is divided into uncoated or offset paper, and coated paper, which includes matte or gloss coating. Common weights for text/book weight are 60# offset, 70#, or 80#.

Cover Weight: Cover weight is a heaver paper more akin to a ‘card stock’. Commonly used cover weights are 80# or 10# cover. However 9point or 10point also describe cover weight paper.

[You may contact a paper distributor for paper sample books, or ask SourceOne for samples].

C1s C2s: Coated 1 side; Coated 2 sides: There are papers that have either a matte or gloss coating on one or both sides. Most commonly used for job such as postcards where there is coating on the side that does not address.

Coated Stock: A paper that has a matte or gloss coating.

House Sheet: The paper that the printer uses most. It’s always good to inquire what a printer’s ‘house sheet’ is because this is often more economical than a specified brand of paper.

Offset Paper: Term used generally for an uncoated book/text weight paper.

Micrometer: The instrument used to measure the weight of paper.

Parent Sheet: A sheet that is larger than the cut sheet of the same paper.



Crop Marks: The marks showing where the piece is to trim to the finished size.

Duotone: A two color halftone.

Finished Size: The final size of a piece after it is trimmed

Gutter: The center blank area between left and right pages.

Image area: The area of a sheet that contains the image.

Kerning: Adjusting the spacing between the letters of type.

Knock out: To mask out an image

Leading: Refers to the distance between the baselines of successive lines of type, or the vertical spacing between the lines.

Moire: Occurs when screen angles are wrong causing odd patterns in photographs.

Registration Marks: Any crossmarks or other symbols used on a press sheet to assure proper registration.

Trim Marks: Marks on a printed sheet to show where the trim should be.

Trim Size: The final size of the piece of paper after it has been cut from the sheet on which it’s printed.

‘Up’: The number of identical images that can be printed on a parent sheet – 2 up, 4 up, 8 up, etc.



Lettershop: A service organization that is responsible for data hygiene and presort, folding, inserting and all steps in preparing mail according to USPS standards, then delivering mail to a designated location. Lettershop capabilities vary based on their equipment.

 1 into 1; 2 into 1: This refers to the number of pieces inserted into the envelope. 1 into 1 would be a letter into the carrier envelope. Three into one would be, for example – a letter, a lift note and a BRE into the carrier envelope.

 Address Change Service: An automated process that provides change-of-address information to participating mailers who maintain computerized mailing lists.

 Address Correction Service: A system of ancillary service endorsements that allows mailers to obtain the addressee’s new (forwarding) address or the reason for non-delivery.

 Ancillary Service: Forwarding, return, or address correction service included within a mail class.

 Area Distribution Center (ADC): A mail processing facility that receives and distributes mail destined for specific Zip codes.

 Aspect Ratio: The dimension of a mail piece expressed as a ratio of length divided by height. An aspect ratio between 1.3 and 2.5, inclusive, is required for automation compatibility – THUS DISCOUNTS.

 Automation-Compatible Mail: Mail that can be scanned and processed by automated mail processing equipment such as a barcode sorter. (Required for postal discounts.)

 Automation Discount: This is a discount offered to mailers who apply a pre-barcode to pieces that meet requirements for automation.

 Barcode: This is a series of vertical bars and spaces that represent the zip code for the delivery address.

 Code Accuracy Support System (CASS): This is a ‘DP’ service offered to mailers, service bureaus, and software vendors that help improve the accuracy of physical addresses and their respective zip codes. (This is a normal part of the ‘Data Processing’ when mail is prepared.)

 Dead Mail: Mail that is undeliverable as addressed and cannot be returned to the sender (usually because there is no return address on the piece).

Fold/Slit and Nest: This is a process requiring a specific piece of equipment where you take (for instance) a sheet that’s 8.5×14 and fold it, then cut it so that the bottom 3” is slit off resulting in a personalized, but detatched remit. This avoids having a ‘match’ situation.

IMB:  Intelligent Mail Barcode – required for postal discounts

Indicia: Pre-printed postal markings on an envelope valid for a specific class of mail, indicating the number of the permit holder. (Often a printer will pre-print the indicia when printing the copy on the envelope.)

Match Mail: When you match the personalized pieces within the envelope to each other, or match a piece inside the envelope to the address on the closed face carrier envelope.

National Distribution Center (NDC): This is a highly mechanized mail facility for processing classifications of Standard mail.

NCOA: National Change of Address – a process that is part of postal hygiene which will search the postal database and apply correct updated addresses (that have been provided to the USPS by the addressee) to a file provided by client.

VDP: Variable data printing – 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, address and any number of variables within the database, on each letter. Because VDP is data driven this is normally done with specialized printer at the lettershop.

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