Glossary of Printing Terms


Printed colors that extend past the edge of a page. To cut the job to its actual size, the processor has to make sure the job gets printed with a 1/8” bleed. Some jobs may require more than that. For example, for a standard size business card (3.5″ x 2″), the artwork size with bleed would be 3.75″ x 2.25″.

Card Stock

Sometimes referred to as cover stock. Mostly heavyweight papers are called card stock. The thickness of card stock is indicated with point sizes such as 14 pt, 16 pt. Some people also refer to 100 lb. gloss cover as a card stock.


The primary colors used in four-color printing (C:Cyan, M:Magenta, Y:Yellow, K:Black). CMYK are used to reproduce full color on the printed sheet. CMYK is also referred to as process color.

Crop Marks

Lines printed in the margin of a sheet that indicate to the cutter/bindery where the finished product should be trimmed.

Die Cutting

Any design that cannot be done by a straight cut and is cut by a custom metal blade.

Dots Per Inch (dpi)

A measurement of resolution of input, output and display devices. The higher the dpi – the more pixels per inch, and the more crisp the printed image will be. Artwork to be printed requires a resolution of at least 300-dpi. Anything less than that is considered low resolution and may appear blurry when printed.

Double Parallel Fold

A type of fold where the piece is folded in half and then folded in half again. The folds are parallel to each other.


A process of imprinting an image by applying pressure to the back side of a material, giving it a three dimensional or raised effect.

Finished Size

The size of a printed product after all finishing operations such as trimming, die cutting and folding have been completed.