Production Terms Glossary

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Bindery is also referred to as finishing. It is a specific department within a printing plant responsible for the finishing of a print job.  Types of finishing can include collating, folding, inserting, stitching, stapling, gluing,  and trimming along with other post-process steps.

Calendering is the process used to make the surface of paper smooth. The process occurs at the end of the papermaking process and incorporates pressing the paper between metal cylinder rollers, called calenders. This creates a smooth feel and glossy look to the paper.



Cyan Magenta Yellow Black is the base four-color process used for most printers.
Technically, adding equal amounts of pure cyan, magenta, and yellow should produce black. However, because of impurities in the inks, rich black is not achievable using just Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. Using the three colors is costly, and additionally puts too much ink on the page.

CMYK is a smaller color gamut than RGB, l*a*b*, or others. Before converting any image or graphic to CMYK, first, save the file and tag it with the original color gamut. Append the name of the record with CMYK.


Crop Marks are thin lines, usually offset away from the artwork.  They are printed as a guide for the finishing department, where a guillotine cutting device is lined up and cuts hundreds of sheets in one movement.  The artwork is rotated to the next mark, and the pages are cut again and again until all four sides are cut to the final size.



Gamut is referred to as a range, also referred to as a color space. Color is presented in a 3D shape, and the gamut is the range of colors achievable in that color space. A color gamut relies on three factors, colorant, material, and technology. With all three, a creative can specify color with accuracy and confidence. If a gamut is chosen, simply on one of three, then color shifts will occur due to limitations or characteristics of material and technology.

Registration marks are made up of a small circle with two lines going through the center.  Registration marks are printed outside the trim area of the artwork design. Registration marks allow the printer and creative director to accurately determine if the print job is aligned from plate to plate. i.e. the Cyan plate is aligned to the yellow plate, which is aligned to the Magenta plate, which is aligned to the Black plate, etc, including spot colors. Images are considered to offset, or off-register when the registration marks are not aligned properly. They create a fuzzy or shift in the image.


Red, Green, and Blue is a color space typically used for digital screens, TVs, and tablets.

RGB is referred to as additive colors, where colors begin as black, darkness, and shift to create white. Screens have hundreds of thousands of pixels. Each pixel has three sub-pixels: a red light, green light, and blue light. These sub-pixels light up in different intensities based on the color the pixel ultimately displays to produce a result on a black monitor. By superimposing red, green, and blue light, a large array of colors can be created.

RGB will give the perception of brighter colors, when compared to physical colors, like print and packaging. RGB color space is significantly larger than CMYK. When converting an image from RGB to CMYK, the software is 'amputating' the color space. If you need to work in multiple color spaces, it is best to save the file in each color space.

The RGB value for black is: R: 0 G: 0 B: 0

The RGB value for white is: R: 255 G: 255 B: 255

When saving a file, it is best to amend the file name with the color space.





Trim size, also referred to as finished size or cut size, is the final product's measurements. See Paper Sizes

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