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Frequently Asked Questions

Like many other professions, printing has its fair share of jargon. Understanding some of this will give you a better idea of the print process, and the options available to you. Of course, whatever you want to know or if there’s anything you’re unsure of, please don’t hesitate to ask. We’re here to help.

A-sized paper (A4, A5, etc.)

The ISO standard for paper sizes, which includes the common A4 sheet. The ratio of all A-sized paper is 1:1.414, which means that, if you cut the sheet exactly in half, you are left with two sheets which retain the original ratio – ie, cut an A4 sheet in half, you get two A5 sheets.

Artwork

All the files needed by the printer before going to print, including text and image files. Artwork is commonly delivered to Wotton in hard copy, on a CD-ROM, or by email.

B-sized paper

In addition to the A series, there is a less common B series. While less common in office use, it is used for a variety of special situations. Many posters use B-series paper or a close approximation, such as 50cm x 70cm; B5 is a relatively common choice for books. The B series is also used for envelopes and passports.

Binding

The physical binding together of leafs of paper or board. There are various types of binding available, for example, Wotton offers perfect binding, burst binding, saddle stitching, thermal binding, wiro binding, comb binding and more.

Bleed

Because it is not actually possible to print all the way up to the edge of a sheet, we may ask you to supply the artwork with a 3mm bleed which extends beyond the finished size to make sure that the print goes right up to the edge once the sheet is trimmed.

Board

Heavier paper (normally over 200gsm) which is usually used for products such as book covers and business cards.

CMYK

The four colours cyan, magenta, yellow and black which are used in four-colour process printing. Also referred to as four colour printing.

C-sized paper

Commonly used for envelope sizes, slightly larger than equivalent A-size. For example, a C4 envelope is slightly larger than an A4 sheet, which allows it to hold an A4 sheet. Another common envelope size is DL, which holds an A4 sheet folded in three.

CTP (computer to plate)

In this technology, an image created in a Desktop Publishing (DTP) application is output directly to a printing plate, eliminating the need for film and chemicals, and increasing sharpness and detail.

Digital printing

Printing directly from electronic data, and without the need for film. Ideal for short-run printing and quick turnaround. Wotton specialises in digital print, and offers full colour and black and white digital print.

Dots per inch (dpi)

Measurement of resolution, often abbreviated to DPI. High resolution artwork is needed for good quality printing (for example, 300dpi +)

Dummy

Mock up of an intended product (for example, a leaflet or journal) to give you a good idea of and feel for the finished item. A dummy will not usually be printed to a high quality, but will be made with the correct paper and materials.

Finishing

Where the printed materials get put into their final format. including guillotining, folding, binding, drilling and numbering.

Four-colour process

Process of combining four basic colours to produce a full-colour final product. A plate is created for each of the four colours in a full-colour job (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). The colours are then printed one at a time using lithography and combine to produce the full variety of colours that you see on the finished product.

GSM / grammes per square metre

The weight of paper or board, measured in grammes per square metre. For example, office copier paper is normally 80gsm, whereas the cover of a book might be 350gsm.

Laminate

Plastic coating which protects the surface of printed paper, and often provides a glossy finish (although matt laminate is also available). Paperback book covers are usually laminated as are brochures and catalogues.

Litho printing

Printing using plates. Ideal for longer print runs and a higher quality of print, colour or paper. Litho print is likely to be used for jobs such as business stationery, brochures, leaflets and magazines.

NCR

NCR paper is an alternative to carbon paper. Early product literature piggybacked on NCR’s corporate name by calling the paper No Carbon Required paper. It consists of sheets of paper that are coated on the bottom and/or the top with micro-encapsulated dye or ink and/or a reactive clay. When the sheet is written on, the pressure from the point of the writing instrument causes the micro-capsules to break and spill their dye.

Offset printing

Similar to litho print, but the printing plates do not actually come into contact with the paper. Instead, the ink is transferred from the plate onto a blanket and then onto the paper.

Over run

The number of surplus copies printed. Almost inevitably using litho, and could be a significant number if using a web press. There is often no extra charge for over runs.

Pantone

Standard range of colours denoted by a number. Using Pantone inks (as opposed to four-colour process) provides a greater variety of colour, and makes it much easier to match colours across products. If your brand requires a very specific colour, then you may wish to use a pantone colour (a spot colour) in addition to CMYK. hence five colour printing which Wotton is able to offer.

Paper (finishes)

Coated: Paper that is coated in clay to produce the two main finishes: matt and gloss. Gloss: A reflective, shiny coated paper, for example glossy magazines. Matt: Dull coat on paper, the opposite of glossy. Silk: Somewhere between matt and gloss paper, smoother finish than matt, and more reflective. Uncoated: Paper which has not been coated with clay, commonly used for books, newspapers etc. These absorb the ink more than coated paper, which means that colours will display differently (be aware of this).

PDF

Abbreviated form of portable document format. The PDF format was developed by Adobe and uses the postscript language, and it gives publishers the ability to set a design in stone. Printers will frequently ask for artwork to be submitted in PDF format.

Pre-press

Preparation carried out by the printer before printing, such as making sure artwork is print-ready, preparing printing plates etc. Wotton has a full design and pre-press facility.

Proof

Proof of how the finished page will look, usually printed on a laser printer or could even be a PDF. We will usually ask you to approve a proof before going to print.

RGB

The three colours red, green and blue which make up colours which you see on a computer screen. Printing usually uses four colours, CMYK. Be aware that RGB and CMYK may not display colours in the same way.

Run-on

The estimated cost of printing extra copies. The setup and make ready costs of getting ready to print, particularly for litho, may form a significant part of the overall cost, so printing as many copies as possible at one time is often an economical option.

Spot colour

Single ink of a specific colour used for printing, often a pantone colour.Spot varnish is a varnish applied to a specific section of the printed area.

Trim size

The final size of the paper after it has been trimmed, e.g. A4. Printers usually print on oversized paper, and then trim the paper down to the finished size after printing. This allows for greater flexibility of sizes, and makes it possible to print right up to the edge of the finished page.

Two-colour printing

Colour printing with just two colours is normally chosen where full colour is not necessary, and can make significant cost savings.

UV varnish

Alternative to lamination printed area is covered with a liquid, then dried using UV light. Produces a glossy, laminated effect, and can be applied to specific areas to produce special effects.

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