Print Glossary

Helping You Make Sense of Web Offset Printing

You certainly don’t have to be an expert in web offset printing to have a fabulous publication printed, but an understanding of the most commonly used terms can be a real advantage.

Blanket: A blanket is a piece of rubber that has fabric on it.  In a web offset printing press, a blanket is used to transfer images and letters from a metal plate onto paper.

Coldset Web Offset Printing: Coldset is a printing process in which ink is left to dry through air exposure and evaporation.  Coldset printing is used for paper like newsprint and other uncoated stocks.

Color Proof: The color proof is a representation of the final product made before the mass printing is done.

Final Trim Size:  The finished size of a magazine, postcard, brochure, flyer, etc.  In web offset printing, documents are printed on larger paper before being trimmed to the right size.

Finishing: Finishing refers to any post-printing process such as trimming or folding.

Heatset Web Offset Printing: Heatset is a web offset printing process in which the ink is dried rapidly while passing through a special oven instead of waiting for the ink to dry through air exposure.  Heatset offset printing is used for coated/glossy papers that are not very absorbent.

Offset Printing: Offset printing is a method of printing in which images or letters are put onto metal plates, then transferred to a blanket or rubber rollers. The image is then transferred onto paper.  Since the rubber is flexible, it will conform to any surface including wood, canvas, or cloth. Offset printing is also called “offset lithography”.

Perfecting Press: A perfecting press is a printing press that is capable of printing on both sides of paper during a single pass through the machine. Offset printing is the only printing technique that is capable of using a perfecting press.

Sans Serif: Sans Serif is a typeface that doesn’t have any serifs (small strokes) at the end of each letter.  Arial is a sans serif font; Times New Roman is not.

Specifications Web Offset Publications: This term refers to guidelines for each printing project. It includes information on the font, color bars, and proofing stock.  Also called “SWOP”, it ensures that each member of the printing team is on the same page when it comes to web offset printing projects so that each image and document looks uniform.

Web Offset Printing: Web offset printing is a form of offset printing in which paper is fed continuously through the printing press on a roll, rather than feeding each sheet into the printer individually.  Web offset printing is used primarily for high-volume publications such as newspapers, magazines, and catalogs.