Compendium Printing Technique


Allowance overs

A certain amount of paper additional to the neccessary number of print sheets. This additional amount is neccessary for the setup of the machines and for further processing. The amount of allowance overs depends on the edition, the printing process, the printer, the printing technique, the colour scheme and the type of processing.



In the first printing step you don't always print everything. You can, for example, seperately print illustrations and text.


Colour gradient

Technique to spread colours stepless on a sheet of paper. You can, for example, spread two or more different colours (colour gradient) or two or more grey tones (brightness curve).


Data compression

Data compression is used to compress and thus reduce the size of data, either to save memory or transmission time. There are either lossless compression methods (such as ZIP) or lossy compression methods (such as JPEG or GIF).


Abbreviation for dots per inch. dpi is the measurement unit for both prints and screens. It indicates the point density or the amount of dots per inch. Colloquially one can also use the word "resolution".

Digital print

Printing method that doesn't need a master. Instead, it uses a digital file that is directly transfered to the print product, thus making it possible to print different images on every sheet of paper. You can, for example, personalize each print and insert the name of each recipient of a promotion campaign. You can also offer "print on demand", compiled of variable data. The huge advantage of this method is that you can produce small editions cost efficiently.



Total number of copies produced in one printing process for one publication. In your cost calculation, you have to include extra costs for the further processing and finishing according to the number and difficulty of the work steps.


Encapsulated PostScript is a image data format developed by Adobe systems. It's used to transfer image data. An EPS file is based on pixel or vector data.


Golden ratio

The golden ratio is the ratio of two digits or line segments. In the arts, architecture or typography it's deemed as the ideal proportion or law of the sublime. It was discovered by the ancient Greeks as an ideal that is to be found in the human body. Type areas, too, can be aranged according to the golden ratio, thus making them even more harmonic.



The positioning of pages in the order of printing before they are cut. The order of the imposition is calculated according to the further processing.


An imprimatur (from Latin: let it be printed) is the authorization to start printing. It can be declared either after the proofreading of the galley proofs has been finished or during the proof run after the setup of the printing machines. Historically, the imprimatur was the authorization of a printing process of theological works by a catholic bishop.


Matt lacquer

Reduces the dazzling effect of surfaces and provides a smooth, nonshiny surface that is perfect for reading text.



The application of page numbers to the pages.


The perforation of paper or cardboard along a line. Small holes or slits are punched out with steel combs or punch down tools. Perforations usually are used to provide a simple separation of single pages or segments of a page.


All work steps that are neccessary to produce a master, such as layout, image editing, page and sheet assembly or the exposure of films for the production of printing plates.

Paper waste

Faulty prints, thrown away paper, damaged paper.

Printing methods

There are different printing methods, such as offset printing, silkscreen printing, gravure printing or letterpress. They can be used to influence different variables, such as different color palettes, printing substrates or even the expenses.


A test print to control the tonal and colour values and to compare the quality of the proof with the quality of the template. The print result is directly monitored at the machine. Today though there are many different proof methods that are cheaper and quicker.



Many printers and imagesetters for offset printing can only print black, they can't print grey scales. An image that contains grey scales thus has to be rastered in order to simulate an image in full colour. When you, for example, have a black-and-white image, the brighter image values are produced with small picture elements and the darker image values are produced with bigger picture elements. When every element is small enough you get a grey colour impression. When you use four-colour printing all four colours are used to raster.

Register marks

Register marks are small cross hairs that are arranged on colour selections and printing plates. They are extremely important for an exact fitting, the arrangement of the printing plates and the exact printing of the colours. After the printing process the register marks are cut away.


The resolution is the measure of image sharpness. It indicates the number of picture elements (pixels, lines or dots) to be reproduced on a screen, a film or on paper per inch.


Screen ruling

The screen ruling indicates the number of dots on a certain line segment, either in lines per cm (L/cm) or in lines per inch (lpi). An 80 raster for example consists of 80 raster lines per cm (80 L/cm). The bigger the screen ruling, the better the detail rendition of an image, since more elements are available.



Typography generally means the aesthetic, artistic and functional creative process of printed matter and digital media by means of font, lines and planes.



Term in the pre-press stage. Describes the arrangement of text and images on a page and the fitting to a certain page layout.

Weight of paper

The weight of paper is measured in grams/sq meter. If the paper weighs 150 g/m² you have paper, if it weighs between 150 and 600 g/m² you have carton and if it weighs more than 600 g/m² you have cardboard.



The data format ZIP is a format for compressing data. It reduces the size of data and accelerates. data transmission. A ZIP data with the file extension .zip can contain multiple data.