Did You Know We Have a Glossary of Print Terms?

That's right: we have a glossary of print terms right on our site! We use these terms on our blog, in our warehouse, and in our business transactions. While many of them seem like jargon only a printer should know, it's important for you to know them, too! Understanding print terms will help you make the best decisions, order the correct product, and make it look fantastic.

Related: 5 tips for working with your printer to meet your deadline

Common Print Terms


Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black are the primary colors of 4-color printing. These colors create every shade you can find in print. It's vital for everything you print to be designed and prepped for print in CMYK to maintain the integrity of your vision after print.


This is the material you print on. Usually, it refers to paper and cardboard products, but it certainly is not limited to these! Substrates can be glass, plastic, wood, cloth, ceramic, vinyl, and more. You can learn more about the substrates we use at Alexander's here.


Part of a design document that has elements extending at least 1/8 inch past the paper's edge on all sides. This allows you to run colors or images out to the edge of the page without a distracting white margin. Every paper print job must have a bleed to cut the job to its actual size. Some jobs may require more than 1/8 inch.


A proof is a printed sample of the finished product so you can check the quality of the product and ensure that it meets expectations. Once a proof is approved, your entire order is printed. Be sure to thoroughly check proofs for image quality, color consistency, and spelling errors!


Securing loose pages into a book is called binding. The types of binding are:

Case Bind — To bind using glue to hold signatures to a case made of binder board covered with fabric, plastic or leather. Also called cloth bind, edition bind, hard bind and hard cover.

Mechanical Bind — To bind using a comb, coil, ring binder, post or any other technique not requiring gluing, sewing or stitching.

Perfect Bind — To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue. Also called adhesive bind, cut-back bind, glue bind, paper bind, patent bind, perfecting bind, soft bind and soft cover.

Saddle Stitch — To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine, as compared to side stitch. Also called pamphlet stitch, saddle wire and stitch bind.

Side stitch — To bind by stapling through sheets along, one edge, as compared to saddle stitch.


To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface. Also called cameo and tool.

Spot Coating / Spot UV

Coating paper only in specific areas as opposed to all over coating. In a spot UV job, the job gets a UV coating in specific areas and does not get coating in any other places. Spot varnish is another name for spot UV.

Related: Selecting the right paper coating or varnish for your print products

Want to know more about printing? Check out the glossary for yourself!

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