MagazinePublisher.com

your source for magazine printing, mailing, distribution, and other magazine-related services.

Dictionary of Magazine Printing Terms

Binding or Bindery:

A method of attaching pages together into a magazine. Some options are stitching (stapling) or perfect binding.

BiPad Number:

Bipad numbers are unique numbers assigned to magazines and displayed in the magazine as UPC or barcodes. When a magazine is purchased at a retail store the barcode is scanned by clerk. The computer looks up the number in the database telling the cash register such information as magazine name, issue number, retail price, inventory available, and date magazine should be removed from their racks. A Bipad number is required to have a magazine barcode.

Bleed:

Trimming machines are not as precise as printing presses. When the magazine is cut down (trimmed) to its final size, it is almost impossible to cut along the page edge exactly. Having art go well off the page (bleed off) will ensure no possibility of a white hairline around the edge of page.
During the setup of your magazine any art going to the edge of the page will need to go off (bleed off) the page by at least 1/8", not stop at page edge in order to print correctly.

Example photo:
Pink outline is the page edge (trim),
Light pink area is the page's live area
Yellow area is the area that will trimmed off
.
Top photo bleeds off top and left side. Bottom photo bleeds off left side only.

C2S/C1S:

Coated 2 Sides refers to paper that is shiny on both sides. C2S is the paper used by most magazines. C1S is the kind of paper typically used on some nice post cards.

Cheshire Labeling:

The industry term for "Peal & Stick" style labels used in the mailing process.

CMYK:

Most magazines are printed using only 4 ink colors; Cyan (blueish), Magenta (pinkish), Yellow & Black. Layering these colors can produce most colors...but not all.

Coated Paper:

Coated paper is paper that has a shiny surface (has an enamel coating). When printing on coated paper the ink sits on top of the paper and doesn't soak in much. This produces a cleaner, sharper image, however the coating process makes paper more expensive to make and might make it unrecyclable.

Cold Set:

Cold set printing is printing what does not use heat to dry freshly printed ink. Because ink takes a certain amount of time to dry, uncoated papers are often used to speed the drying process.

CSR:

Short for Customer Service Representative. Once your magazine is directed to a specific press you will be assigned a CSR to follow your job and will be the person that always knows its status.

Digital Back Issue After your magazine is printed it only makes sense to sell your back issues. One cost effective option is to allow a backissue service to handle the sales and storage of the files for you. Click here for information.

Dot Gain:

The concept that ink soaks into paper by different amounts on different types of paper. The more the dot gain, the darker, less crisp the photo will appear. Usually expressed in %'s. Ink on newsprint soaks in approximately 10% more than coated paper.

DTP or D2P:

Short for Direct to Plate. A modern printing process that allows artwork to be converted in the computer to a form that bypasses the film stage and goes directly to the printing press (plate). This process saves time, produces a cleaner image and eliminates expensive film charges. MagazinePublisher.com uses this process on almost all of their printing.

Facing Pages (Reader's Spreads) Facing pagess are pages built in the computer the way the reader will view the magazine: cover, then pages 2 and 3 together facing each other, 4 and 5 facing each other, etc.
See Reader's Spreads below.

Film:

After artwork has been completed, a photograph is taken of it. The resulting film negative is used to transfer the art into a format (plate) that is used by a printing press. A modern printing breakthrough allows artwork to be converted in the computer to a format that bypasses the film stage and goes "direct to plate". This process saves time and film costs.

4/1 (four over one):

A job that is printed using 4 color on front and one color (usually black) on the back.

4 Color (same as four color, full color or process color):

Photos in most magazines are printed using just 4 ink colors; Cyan (blueish), Magenta (pinkish), Yellow & Black. Layering these colors can produce most colors...but not all.

FTP:

Stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is a method of sending files via computer modem. If you send your magazine using this method we will give you the specific login information.

Gutter: The center, folded area of a magazine.

Heat Set:

Heat set printing is printing what uses a heater to dry freshly printed ink. Drying the ink means very finely detailed images can be printed at higher printing speeds.

Imagesetter:

A computer device that converts digital information to a form that printing presses can use.

Indica: The indica is a special "postage stamp" that tells the Post office the method that your magazine is being mailed and who to bill for that mailing. It is printed either right on the magazine, on its mailing label or to the outside of the package the magazine rides in. There are very strict requirements about indica content, placement locations, size and design.

Linescreen:

Images on paper are made by printing tiny dots of ink. These dots fool the eye into thinking there is a photo. Line screen is the measurement of these dots in terms of lines per inch. 150 line has 150 lines (or rows of dots) every inch. The higher the number, the more detail an image can have but the more difficult it is to print.
Printing standards are 150 line for coated paper, 100 for uncoated and 85 for newspaper.
A real world example: use a magnifying glass to look at a newspaper photo or any printed image.

Offset:

A type of printing press or printing method. The printing press uses paper in sheets of a standard size (offset paper). Economical only for short printing runs.

Pages:

Each face of a sheet of paper. The cover (of a "self-cover" magazine) is page 1, inside the cover is page 2, and so on. See Plus Cover.

Page Numbering:

The cover of a "self-cover" magazine is page 1, inside the cover is page 2, and so on. The cover of a "plus-cover" magazine is not numbered, page 1 is the first interior page. See Plus Cover.

Paper Weight: See Pounds.

PDF:

Short for Portable Document Format. PDF is a digital file format that was designed to make it possible for viewers to open and view on many computer platforms (Macintosh, Windows or UNIX) without cross-platform problems.

Perf:

Short for Perforation or Perforating. A process that places tiny holes in paper making it easier to tear out of a magazine. An example would be around a Business Reply card.

Perfect Bound:

A binding method. The magazine will have a spine that resembles the spine of a paperback novel.

Plate:

The part of a printing press that transfers the ink onto the paper.

Plus Cover/Self Cover:

Plus Cover doesn't include the cover in the page count (number of pages plus the cover). Self Cover refers to a job that the cover is included in the page count. Example: 16 pages self cover has 16 total pages. 16 pages plus cover has 20 total pages (16 interior pages + 4 cover pages).
Reason for Plus Cover: a magazine cover that requires a process that the interior doesn't (heaver paper or UV coating). It must be printed at a different time and possibly another location. The term tells us that there is an added step to the process.
Also, there are page numbering differences in plus cover and self cover... see Page Numbering.

Poly Bagging:

A clear, sealed plastic bag that the magazine is placed into. This protects the magazine in the mail and allows other items, such as catalogs or CDs, to be included with the mailing.

Postscripting:

The term for saving magazine pages in a format that is optimal for imagesetters.

Pounds (lbs.):

A very old and confusing system of measuring paper thickness. The higher the number the thicker the paper. Newspapers are usually 45-50 lb. and business cards are roughly 80-100 lb. Magazine are usually in between... 60-80 lb.
The measurement is based on the weight of a ream of 25" x 38" (a standard size) paper. Paper weight needs to be a consideration: heavier/thicker paper feels richer and is more durable but is more expensive and can increase mailing/shipping costs.
To make things confusing there is text and cover weights of paper. When talking about interior pages of a magazine, it is assumed to be text weight unless otherwise stated.
In an attempt to end all the confusion, another measuring system has been devised that measures the actual paper thickness (in points) but it has been slow to catch on.
For more information about paper visit our "ABC's of Paper" page.

Reader's Spreads/Printer's Spreads

Reader's spreads are pages built in the computer the way the reader will view the magazine: cover, then pages 2 and 3 together facing each other, 4 and 5 facing each other, etc. Most softwares refer to reader's spreads as "facing pages."
In the "old days" magazines had to be built in printer's spreads (page one next to page 32, page 31 next to page 2, page 3 next to 30, etc.). The process was confusing especially when building pages where art crossed the gutter. Modern imposition software automatically converts reader's spreads to printer's speads.

Resolution:

Images on a computer monitor are made by tiny dots of light (pixels). These dots fool your eye into thinking there is photo on the screen. Resolution refers to the number of the dots in terms of pixels per inch (ppi). The higher the number, the more detail an image can have. Your computer monitor shows images at 72 ppi. Printing standards are 300 ppi for coated paper, 200 for uncoated and 170 for newspaper.

RGB: Computer monitors make all their colors using three (light) colors; Red, Green, and Blue. Use these colors can produce most all the colors your eye can see. This "color space" is used when producting anything that is viewed through your monitor, NOT printed. Printing inks cannot come close to printing this range (see CMYK).

Sheet-feed or Sheet-fed Press:

A printing method in which the printing press uses large, pre-cut paper. Compaired to web printing it is a much slower process and is much more expensive for larger runs like magazines.

Stitching or Saddle Stitch:

A binding method. The industry term for stapling along the fold.

Self Cover/
Plus Cover:

Self Cover refers to a job that the cover is included in the page count. Plus Cover doesn't include the cover in the page count (number of pages plus the cover). Example: 16 pages self cover has 16 total pages. 16 pages plus cover has 20 total pages (16 interior pages + 4 cover pages).
Reason for Plus Cover: a magazine cover that requires a process that the interior doesn't (heaver paper or UV coating). It must be printed at a different time and possibly another location. The term tells us that there is an added step to the process.

Signature:

A grouping of 16 pages. Most of our presses' paper comes from the mills in a size that allows all 16 pages to be printed on a large, single sheet of paper. Any more or less, paper is wasted and costs increase. This why we ask that magazines be built in these 16 page increments.

Tip-on or Tip-in:

The process of inserting something into a magazine (such as a subscription card, booklet, CD, decal, etc.) by gluing, stapling or blowing-in (not attached).

Uncoated Paper:

The paper doesn't have a coating to make it shiny or keep the ink from soaking in. Copier paper and newspapers use uncoated paper. Fully recyclable.

UV Coating:

A heavy, shiny coating put on some high-image magazines. It makes for a very classy piece that hides fingerprints and takes abuse well. It can be expensive and the job MUST be a plus cover job.

Varnish:

A shiny coating put on some high-image magazines. Although not as heavy or shiny as UV, Varnish is a cheaper alternative as it is "printed on" as just another ink color, not a separate process like UV.

Web Printing:

A type of printing press or printing method. The printing press uses papers that come supplied on a large roll (resembling a paper towel roll). Used for large runs of printing.