Imprinting Industry Terms and Definitions
Art and Graphics Information
Placement is the Key: Imprinting Tips
Production and Imprinting Definitions and Terms
Definitions and Terms: Art and Production
A game operations professional is also often asked to help locate, price and purchase premium imprinted items. In doing so you may run across a whole new list of terms and buzzwords related to art, imprinting and production.
Gameops.com has posted this list to help you sort out the lingo and help you understand the ins and outs of the ad specialty industry. The list was created by ASI (The Advertising Specialty Institute), of which Gameops.com/Mark Out Productions is a member reprinted here with permission.
Art, Imprinting and Production Terms
Property which causes paper to take up liquids or vapors in contact with it. In optics, the partial suppression of light through a transparent or translucent material.
Lettering imprinted on any item. Usually an advertiser's name, sales message, trademark or slogan.
Graphic technique in which ink is applied with compressed air, similar to spray painting, to render a soft, airy effect.
Analog color proof
Off-press color proof made from separation films.
All illustration copy used in preparing a job for printing.
Artwork submitted for client approval, usually a black-and-white stat of the camera-ready art.
Author's alterations (AAs)
Changes in type at the proof stages, made by and chargeable to the client.
Design stamped without metallic leaf or ink, giving a bas-relief effect.
Hot-stamping without fail. The approach, used often with leather, gives a more subtle imprint than hot-stamping and a shallower imprint than debossing.
Break for color
To separate, by color, elements to be printed in different colors.
Manufacturer's identification mark printed on a form or product, usually in an inconspicuous area.
Any drawing, photos, illustration or lettering suitable for photographic reproduction.
Method in which molten metal is forced into a mold of rubber or plaster, then cooled into the desired shape.
Factory charge added for the labor costs involved in cleaning the printing press after using a nonstandard ink. Also known as a wash-up charge.
Hot-stamp procedure where the desired logo/copy is foil hot-stamped on a solid brass or metal base, then covered with epoxy dome.
Product in which a colored paste, made from ground glass, is applied to recessed areas, then fired at 1400 degrees and polished by stone and pumice to achieve brilliant color. Since gullies and ridges separate each individual color, fine lines between them are difficult to achieve.
Cyan, magenta, yellow, black subtractive colors for process color reproduction.
Any method, such as masking, dot-etching, re-etching and scanning, used to improve color rendition.
First or early printing of a finished color ad, combining impressions from each of the separate progressive color plates.
Separation of multicolored original art by camera or laser-scan techniques to produce individual separated colors. There are four common separations: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.
Final stage of a layout, finished to very closely resemble how the printed piece will look.
Continuous tone art
Photography, painting or other piece of art in which black-and-white tones gradually merge into one another.
Written content of advertising or editorial matter in the media.
Chemically created facsimile of a full-color reproduction.
To eliminate a portion of a picture, illustration or photography that contains unnecessary material, or to highlight a certain area of the image.
Indicators on artwork to show where an illustration is to be cut or sized.
Broad term encompassing all plates associated with letterpress and hot-stamp printing.
Deboss and color-fill
Combing hot-stamping with debossing, so foil fills an image that is pushed down into the product.
Depression of an image into a material such as paper, leather or suede, so the image sits below the product surface. Example: Lance Armstrong silicone bands have a debossed imprint.
Imprinting method in which the decal is printed on an offset or letter set press, submerged in water and placed on the product. Excess water and air squeegeed off and the product is kiln-fired, a process that fuses the decal with the glaze.
Mold into which molten metal, plastic or other material is forced to make a specific shape. Also, a tool of very hard material used to press a particular shape into or onto a softer material.
Charge by the supplier for creating a die from artwork supplied by the supplier.
Process where molten metal is injected into the cavity of a carved die.
Using sharp steel blades to cut shapes from printed sheets.
Steel plate engraved with the desired image, generally used to apply a gold or silver imprint.
Method of producing emblems and other flat specialties. A blank, cut from a metal sheet, is struck with a hammer that holds the die.
Artwork created using computer-assisted design software.
Digital color proof
Off-press color proof produced from digital data without the need for separation films.
1. to transform graphical input data into digital form for computer processing; to transform graphical input data into digital form for computer processing.
2. to assign a discrete numeric value to an analog variable by analog-to-digital conversion; to assign a discrete numeric value to an analog variable by analog-to-digital conversion.
Graphic device in which type is reproduced with an offset second image on one edge, giving a shadow effect that visually lifts the primary type and makes the image appear three-dimensional.
Simulation of a finished printed piece.
In photography, a process of producing color prints by tanning photographic emulsions and using them to transfer dye solutions to film or paper coated with gelatin.
Any artwork from child's signature to newspaper is reproduced as long as it can be wrapped around a cylindrical drum.
Medallion, logo or everyday object is buried deep in what appears to be solid glass but instead is acrylic
Emboss and color-fill
Combining hot-stamping with embossing (opposite of debossing). A raised image is stamped with foil. True embossing cannot be performed on vinyl.
Raising of an image on a product, accomplished by pressing the material between concave and convex dies.
Design stitched onto fabric through the use of high-speed, computer-controlled sewing machines.
Cutting an image into metal, wood or glass by one of three methods; computerized engraving, hand tracing or hand engraving.
Imprinting method in which the product to be imaged is coated with a protective coating that resists acid. The image is then exposed, leaving bare metal and protected metal. The acid attacks only the exposed metal, leaving the image etched onto the surface.
Decal that actually becomes part of the piece to which it is applied.
Imprinting method for paper in which a flexible rubber plate is wrapped around a cylinder. As the paper moves under the plate, it is pressed against it by another roller, and the ink is transferred on the paper.
Process in which a metal plate or die is heated and then pressed against foil into a surface, causing the pigments of the foil to transfer to the surface. Also called hot-stamping.
Printing process that creates color productions by overprinting screens that individually print reds, yellows, blues and blacks of variable specified intensities.
Engraving made by photographing through a glass screen that breaks the subject into small dots of varying intensities of gray, ranging from white to black.
Hand or manual (Engraving)
Used for detailed work on materials ranging from metal to eggshells. Not practical for volume orders.
Heat-transfer printing (direct-transfer process)
Imprinting method in which an image is screened onto a transfer substrate, which is then laid directly on the material to be imprinted. The image is transferred from the substrate to the material through heat and pressure.
Heat-transfer printing (sublimation)
Process in which a design is transferred to a synthetic fabric by heat and pressure. The heat causes the inks to turn into a gas so that they penetrate the fabric and combine with it to form a permanent imprint.
Also called a plastocal transfer.
Combination of several layers of refractive material that causes the image to have a three-dimensional effect.
Dry imprinting process in which a design or type is set on a relief die that is subsequently impressed by heat and pressure onto the printing surface.
Type composed by machine and made from molten metal.
Process in which molten metal or plastic is injected into the cavity of a carved die.
Printer that reproduces by projecting ink onto paper without the mechanical impact of plates.
Design that is impressed into its base material.
To add or delete space between pairs of adjacent characters. Also known as letterspacing.
Outline drawing on finished art to indicate the exact shape, position and size for such elements as halftones, line sketches, etc.
Coated with clear plastic, or two separate sheets of paper joined together as a single sheet to provide a special thickness or varying colors from side to side.
Imprinting method by which art or lettering is cut into a material by a laser beam that vaporizes the portion exposed through openings in a template.
Process of creating multidimensional, animated or bi-view effects by photographing with an extremely fine screen and placing plastic made up of tiny lenses over the top.
Printing method in which ink is carried on a raised surface to the page or object being printed.
Black-and-white illustration of reproduction quality.
Photograph reproduction as a line illustration, accomplished by shooting the photo without a screen and omitting the middle tones.
Technology used to produce temperature reactive products which change colors, going through a range of reddish browns, greens, and blues.
Process of mounting a printed lithography sheet to single-faced corrugated to produce a display-quality piece that is structural corrugated.
Logo or Logotype
Style of lettering or design of a company used as a trademark to identify itself.
Dull paper finish without gloss or luster.
Final make-up of printed advertisement before transformation onto a printing plate.
Production method in which jewelry or other material is shaped by covering a mold with molten metal.
Screen pattern caused by the clash of dot patterns when two or more screens are used.
Made by pouring molten plastic (usually polypropylene) into a cavity to make a hard, seamless shell.
Mounting and finishing
Manufacturing of a display, applying litho, die-cutting and assembly.
Color that does not reproduce in final production, used to mark instructions and corrections on camera-ready art.
Printing process in which the image is transferred to a rubber blanket, which in turn applies it to the surface to be printed.
Printing process in which a positive image is transferred to a rubber blanket in reverse, which in turn applies it to the surface to be printed, right reading.
Heaviness of ink coverage.
Off-press color proof produced with four dyed or pigmented overlay films.
Method of imprinting in which a recessed surface is covered with ink. When the plate is wiped clean, ink remains in the recessed area. A silicone pad then presses against the plate, pulls the ink out of the recesses and is pressed directly against the product.
Master letters or designs are traced with a stylus that is connected to and followed by a cutting tool that pushes the lettering or image into metal. Used in many jewelry shops to engrave silver-plated bowls and cups.
Pantone Matching System (PMS)
Color scale used to precisely match colors for printing. Each hue has a coded number indicating instructions for mixing inks to achieve that hue. Pantone Matching System Colors.
Impression of type or artwork on paper so the correctness and quality of the material to be printed can be checked. The least expensive is a regular black and white faxed paper proof. The most expensive is an actual physical preproduction sample of the product itself.
Act of producing mechanical art.
Transparent image or ghost superimposed over a subject.
Printing process using an acid solution to etch a photograph onto a metal surface.
Photographic imaging (Engraving)
1. Photometal processes actually develop metal by using photosensitive, anodized aluminum in either metal stock or metal sheet stock.
2. Chemical etching uses negative or camera-ready artwork, exposes it and coats the metal using acid or other more toxic chemicals to eat away impressions on the metal not covered by film.
Photomechanical transfer IPMT
Diffusion-transfer process used to resize or copy images.
Black-and-white reproduction of original art, generally not acceptable as "camera-ready" art.
Rubber or metal image carrier that transfers ink to the printing surface.
Color proofs for checking position, layout and/or color breakout of image elements.
Image reproduction with the same density values as the original.
Proof of a color subject made on printing press in advance of the production run.
Color proofs that show the reproduction of each color plate separately and in combination with each other. Also called color keys.
Progressive proofs or 'progs'
Proofs made from separate plates in color work showing sequence of printing and result after each color has been applied.
Impression of type or artwork on paper to allow the correctness and quality of the material to be checked.
Design concept expressing an element's relationship of length to width.
Screening process using puff inks. After screening, the product is exposed to heat. A chemical additive in the ink causes it to rise, creating a raised surface.
Cross-hair marks applied to negatives, artwork, photographs or mechanicals to ensure precise register on the final product.
Process by which two or more hot-stamps are aligned, so the multicolored foils fit the image area perfectly.
Density of dots for any given output device. The unit of measurement is dots per inch (dpi).
Process of improving/highlighting necessary details in a picture, photograph, print or drawing.
Mirror like inversion of elements on a printing plate in relation to their order on the surface printed from it.
Relies on a computer and controller to send messages concerning the desired design to a flat-bed engraving table.
Type of printing, utilizing an etched copper cylinder.
Clear orange coating on an acetate base, used in preparing camera-ready artwork when one or more colors will be used. Also know as amberlith.
Typestyle without cross strokes at the end of the main strokes.
To impress a mark in a sheet of paper to facilitate folding and help it lie flat.
Series of dots used to reproduce halftones or blended colors. As the percentage of screen increases, the color prints darken.
Charge by suppliers for creating a silkscreen of the artwork used for imprinting products.
Process in which shading and tinting are added to a line reproduction.
Imprinting method in which the image is transferred to the printed surface by ink squeegeed through a stenciled screen stretched over a frame. Screens are treated with a light-sensitive emulsion, then film positives are put in contact with the screens and exposed to light. The light hardens the emulsion not covered by the film, leaving a soft area on the screen for the squeegee to force ink through. Also called silkscreening.
Any typeface with letters having a cross stroke at the end of the main stroke.
Special charges added to certain products in a catalog. It covers the cost of preparing the type for the press and the actual printing.
Initial rough drawing in pencil, ink or color to determine the arrangement of an artwork.
Printed area without type or other illustrations.
A product sample carrying a prospective buyers' imprint, produced with the expectation that the prospect will order it.
Color used usually for accent
Photo print of an art made by a camera. Use stat paper only on final proofs before going to production.
Same image printed continuously in a pattern on the same sheet of paper.
Attaching, putting together or assembling in negative film from the separate elements of an ad, brochure, flyer or other printed materials into one cohesive unit.
Dye transfer process where the image consists of a colored dye permanently embedded into the material surface of pores. Used to imprint messages, graphics and photographs on a variety of items, primarily mousepads, mugs, T-shirts, caps and trophy medals.
Temperature reactive or thermocromatic inks
Process of applying a special ink that disappears to reveal a hidden message when heat is applied. For instance, used on a mug so that when hot liquid is poured into, the message appears or on a glass, so that when cold liquid is poured into it, the message appears.
Melts an image into the metal, based on a die. Often used for small items such as name badges and small signs.
Thermal dye sublimation
Like thermal printers, except pigments are vaporized and float to desired proofing stock. Similar to Thermal Dye Diffusion Transfer, or D2T2.
Means of imprinting in which powder is added to the image to be printed. When heated, the powder fuses with the ink, and the image appears in relief.
A photoengraving used to print tints of any percentage of color.
To attach endsheets or other material to the outside of folded sections by machine applications of thin strip of adhesive.
Full-color, translucent, photographic film positive.
Printing ink that does not completely conceal the color of the carrying material beneath.
Process of adjusting adjacent colors to account for misregistration, which occurs due to the complex machinery of the press and because materials stretch and shift during printing.
Finished size of a printed piece after waste is trimmed away.
Sheet of type created through a photographic and chemical process which can be transferred onto almost any surface by burnishing the back of the sheet.
General term used to describe the styles of lettering available in typesetting.
To create type of a quality usable for reproduction, whether electronically or mechanically.
Thin, protective coating applied to a printed sheet for protection, appearance or to prevent fingerprinting.
Photoprint with halftone dot pattern in place of continuous tone, ready for line reproduction. (See PMI)
Illustration in which the background fades gradually away until it blends into the unprinted paper.
Line drawings in which the middle tones have been retained.
Press that prints from a continuous roll of paper.
Visual effect of the thickness or thinness of text, rules or logos.
Space on a page not occupied by type, pictures or other elements.
Formation of pictures or copies of graphic materials by the action of light on an electrically charged surface in which the image is usually developed with powders.
- asi Glossary of Industry Terms
- Thanks to Kate McClelland at ASI for her assistance with with list.
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