Embossing Print Glossary

Embossing and General Print Glossary

A-sizes:                          The international ISO range of metric paper sizes, the largest being AO (841x1189mm). The sizes reduce proportionally from AO by folding in half each time.

Acetate:                         A cellulose acetate clear transparent sheet of plastic used as an overlay or strike sheet.

Allen Key:                     Long “L” shaped hexagonal (6 sided) key for adjusting Socket and grub screws.

Alterations:                 Any specification or image changes to the Die after the Die has been made.

Antique:                        A high-quality, bulky paper with a rough finish.

Art paper:                    Coated paper with a gloss finish.

Artwork (Camera Ready):   Reproduction-quality origination in high-contrast black-and-white, the original design, including text and or drawings used to reproduce the image with all blemishes and imperfections removed or corrected.

Ascender:                      The part of a letter that rises above its main body, as in the letter “b”.

B-sizes:                           The international ISO range of metric paper sizes designed for work requiring a larger format than standard A sizes.

Banker:                           An envelope with a diamond flap on the long edge.

Bevelled Edge:             The edge of an Embossed or de-bossed image made to a specific angle to the paper’s flat surface. Bevelled edges typically range from 30 to 80 degrees between the flat surface of the paper and that of the image.

Blank Embossing:      See Blind Embossing.

Bleed:                              The printed area which runs over the trimmed edge of a page, this is usually 3 to 5 mm.

Blind Debossing:         Lowering the image on a non-printed surface. Indenting the substrate produce a lowered profile image.

Blind Embossing:        Creating a raised profile image on to a substrate without a printed design on top of the Embossing.

Block:                               A general term for metal relief printing plates and for the Aluminium bases the Hot Foiling plates are attached too.

Board:                             Card or cardboard, rather than paper. It is measured in thickness (160 – 2200 microns) or by weight per square metre (GSM) e.g. 180g/m².

Border:                           Opposite of panel. Usually referred to as a line to be printed, stamped, Embossed or de-bossed. It is open inside its perimeter, rather than solid.

Bunter (Post):             A small device used to fix Dies in place on a suitable bed. The bunters are screwed in place and the adjusting screws are turned with a bunter wrench to lock the Die in the correct position.

Bunter Wrench:           A tool used to move the adjusting screws on a Bunter Post.

C-sizes:                            The international ISO range of metric sizes for envelopes, designed to accommodate equivalent A sizes.

Calliper:                          The thickness of a single sheet of paper or card. A micrometer is used to measure the calliper of the material and the measure is in microns (1000 microns (µ) is equal to 1 mm). The micrometer is also known as a Calliper.

Camera Ready:              Artwork that is of a quality suitable for making negatives.

C° (Degrees Centigrade): A metric measure of temperature. °C = 5 ÷ 9 x (°F – 32).

Chase:                                A holder for type and blocks.

Chiselled:                         A shape indented into Embossed or de-bossed images resembling a V-shape.

Coated Card / paper:   Paper or board with a coating applied (e.g. China clay) to produce a smooth, print receptive finish that will enhance the sharpness and gloss of the printed image. Coated paper is commonly known as Art paper.

Collate:                               To gather printed work in the correct sequence for binding.

Colour Fast:                     The ability of the foiled products to resist fading when exposed to light.

Colour Register:             Having design elements fit each other through various   press operations, such as printing, Embossing, Foil Stamping, folding or Die cutting.

Combination Die:           A female Die used to Emboss and hot stamp at the same time. It can have a cutting rule to aid in a clean cut of the foil around the image area. The combination Die is used in conjunction with a Counterforce to aid in the Embossing element of the process.

Copy:                                 Text content in an article, document, manuscript etc.

Counter Die:                   See Counterforce.

Counterforce:                A male Counter Die made from the original female Die used to press the substrate into the Die to Emboss or de-boss. It is usually made of various resins and or powders usually combined with a backing material such as fibreglass board.

Creasing:                         To produce an indent across paper or card to help produce a clean preferable crack free fold.

Creasing Rule:              Thin metal strips designed to crease a suitable substrate. The rules are manufactured in varying widths and thicknesses so a suitable rule for the material to be creased should be available.

Crop marks:                   Short lines printed beyond the required print area on oversize   material, which indicates where the material should be trimmed.

Dandy roll:                      A wire cylinder used in the papermaking process to create effects and textures on paper or card. This device also used to produce watermarks on paper.

De-boss(ing):                 Embossing in the opposite direction. The Embossed image is lower than the face of the substrate, or in other words the impression is sunk into the material.

Deckle edge:                   The indented edge of a fancy card or an untrimmed feathery uneven edge on paper or card.

Density:                            The amount of blackness in the image of the artwork.

Die, Combination:        See Combination Die.

Die, Counter:                  See Counterforce.

Die, Duplicate:               See Duplicates.

Die, Embossing:             See Embossing.

Die, Foil-Embossing:   Same as combination Die.

Die-Making:                    The process of hand carving, CNC or manual machining, hand finishing images, or shapes into a metal Die. These Dies are mainly three-dimensional as opposed to photo etching that are always 2D or 2½D. The Embossing Dies are female (recessed) and are used as mould for reshaping paper or other substrate. If Embossing, Dies are used with Counterforces. If printing the only 2D or 2½D Dies are used.

Die, Stamping:                A 2D or 2½D photo-etched or machined Die used to flat stamp an image through a foil on to a substrate using heat and pressure.

Die, Steel Rule:               See Steel Rules.

Die Bonding Tape:        This tape is used for fixing hot stamping Dies. It is heat or acetone activated and best used with tweezers.

Die Cut(ting):                  The method used to punch out irregular shapes or windows in paper, board, leather, plastics etc.

Die Cutter:                        Punch tool and / or machine to cut out shapes.

Die Plate:                           A holder with a smooth machined surface upon which a relief printing plate is attached.

Dies:                                     A metal plate engraved by hand or machine used in conjunction with its matching Counterforce to produce a 3D image on to material (paper, card, thin plastics, metal foil etc.).Printing plate with a design or text. A cutting forme (punch) used to cut shapes in paper and board.

Domed:                                A profile shape on an image Embossed or debossed resembling a semi-circle or half-moon.

Dot:                                       A single element from which a halftone reproduction is produced.

DPI:                                      “Dots per Inch” normally referred to laser printed or imagesetter output.

Duotone:                             A two colour half tone image.

Duplicate (Dups.):         Duplicates, also known as Dups., are moulded from the original metal Die. These can be made of various materials but are usually Bakelite or fibreglass. Dups. are used to reduce costs when making multiple Dies by etching and or engraving.

Dwell:                                   The length of time metal type or a printing plate is in contact with the item being printed.

Emboss:                             Raising an image above the substrate level.

Embossing:                        A process of indenting paper, board, plastics and other flexible materials with a raised pattern or design under pressure and sometimes heat. The female Die may be hand-sculptured, CNC or manually engraved or photo-etched.

Emulsion:                           A photosensitive coating on a negative film.

Engrave:                             To mark or carve letters and or designs onto a surface, using CNC or manual machines, hand chiselling etc. or chemical photo-etching. The Die, or engraving, is usually metal, although it can be plastic, stone, wood or other materials.

Engravers Board:             A 24-ply layered board for blind Embossing make ready base.

Epoxy Glass Board:         See Fibreglass board.

F° (Degrees Fahrenheit):  An Imperial measure of temperature. °F = (9 ÷ 5 x °C) + 32°C.

Fibreglass Board:              Extremely hard board ideal for crisp, clean Hot Foil printing applications and long print runs.

Filling in (infill):               A printing fault caused in hot stamping where clear spaces are filled with foil e.g. in the centre of the letter “O”.

Fluted Foil Dies:                Embossing Dies designed to Emboss and Hot Foil at the same time. These Dies will only Hot Foil the Embossed image and nothing else (unless specifically designed to do so).

Foil:                                         General term for the hot stamping material, consisting of an extremely thin plastic film (usually polyester) coated with a colour pigment, a release coating and a heat and pressure activated adhesive.                                               

Foil Embossing:                  Raising an image and applying foil at the same time in one press run, using a combination foil Embossing Die.

Foils, Dusted:                       Foils utilizing a bronze powder on the carrier. Easily applied, but easily rubbed off without an over-coating. Limited colours available.

Foils, Flat Pigment:           Opaque foils of intense colour, resembling flat paint.

Foils, Gloss:                           Transparent foils with a glossy appearance.

Foils, Gloss Pigments:       Opaque foils of intense colour, resembling glossy enamel paint.

Foils, Holographic:            Foil which has holographic images Embossed into it, allowing the viewer to view the stamped holographic image in three-dimensional without the need for special glasses.

Foils, Metallic:                      Metallised Aluminium foils available in many colours, either shiny (mirror) or satin in their finish. The most widely used foils are gold and silver.

Foils, Patterned:                  Foils manufactured with specific patterns and or colours, rather than one colour. These range from wood grains, marble, multi-colour patterns, to three-dimensional holographic designs or images. A wide variety of designs are available from numerous supplies.

Foils, Pearlescent:              Similar to gloss foils, having translucent pearl colour. Selection of colours is limited.

Foils, Tint or Pastel:          Flat or dull translucent stamping foil. Can be applied in varying degrees of colour density by changing the press temperature when stamping. Limited choice of colours available. Can be used with Embossing.

Foil blocking:                        The process by which a foil is transferred to a substrate using a heated metal Die.

Foil Embossing Dies:         See Fluted foil Dies.

Fold lines:                              Tick marks which indicates where a sheet is to be folded. This is often dotted, to distinguish between folding and trimming.

Font:                                         A complete assortment of (metal) type characters of the same design. It is made up of varying quantities of each character. The digital versions of metal type, where the characters are electronic bits of data are software fonts. These software fonts are usually output on imagesetters and on laser and inkjet printers. These fonts are scalable so you can have various variants and any size and as many of any character you require.

Foot:                                         The bottom of a page.

Forme:                                     A complete type set job, locked up in the type chase. A large cutting punch usually mounted on wood or a metal frame. The punch is made using a cutting blade and is ruled to the shape required.

Founders Type:                    Metal type cast by a type foundry.

Furniture (Packing):         Strips of Aluminium used to fill horizontal gaps in a type chase.

Glazing:                                   Smoothing a textured substrate with controlled heat and pressure to give it a shiny effect.

Gold Blocking:                      See Hot Foiling

Grammage:                           A metric term for expressing the weight of paper or card. The weight of paper or card in grams, in one square metre (g/m²).

Grey Board:                          A base board designed for use with a specific two part resin Counterforce system.

Gripper Edge:                      The edge of the sheet to be Embossed or stamped which is pushed or pulled against a predetermined stop on the press. For registering purposes, the same designated edge is used during all press applications on the sheet.

GSM:                                        An abbreviation of “Grams per Square Metre” (g/m²).

Gutter:                                   The margin on a sheet which will be bound into a book or the gap between multiple images on a sheet.

Hairline:                                A very fine line.

Head:                                       The top of a page.

Heat Tape:                            See Die Bonding tape.

Hickey:                                    A spot on a printed sheet caused by dust or ink imperfections.

Hologram:                             A flat three-dimensional picture or image.

Hot Foiling (Stamping):     The process by which extremely fine coating of colour pigment is impressed onto a substrate using heat and pressure, usually for decorative and promotional products, such as logos or company names and for printing stationery, Greeting cards etc.

House Style:                          Most companies have an artwork style so all their stationery, literature; promotional products etc. have the same or similar look and feel.

Image Area:                          A design to be printed, stamped or Embossed onto a substrate.

Imposition:                           The layout of pages on a flat sheet which, when folded, the pages will read in the correct order.

ISO sizes:                               International range of sizes for paper and envelopes.

Ivory Card / Board:            A high quality card made in white and other colours with a bright, clear appearance, particularly used for printing business cards and similar high quality work.

Jacket:                                     The removable cover of a book, usually more decorative then the bound cover and made of paper or thin plastic.

Jig (Jigging):                         A factory made “off the self-attachment” or a DIY attachment made to hold the product to be printed.

Jobbing Printer:               A printer who undertake all kinds of general purpose printing e.g. stationery, leaflets etc.

Kiss-cut:                                Usually referring to self-adhesive labels. Kiss cutting is where the adhesive label is cut without cutting through the backing paper. Thus enabling the self-adhesive label to be peeled away leaving the backing release liner intact.

Lay Gauge:                           A guide bar for horizontal positioning of items to be printed.

Layout:                                  Draft of an artwork, which shows the position, size, colour and other details for a final design.

Laid Card / Paper:            The surface of paper and / or card has relief lines or patterns usually created during the paper/card making process.

Lamination:                         A matt, satin or gloss film applied to printed paper for protection or to achieve a particular effect.

Laser cutting:                       Very fine cutting by laser, where traditional Die-cutting cannot achieve the required level of detail. Laser cutting is used where the volume of work does not justify the cost of Die-cutting (short run), or sample making etc.

Lower Case:                          Small letters as opposed to capital letters (Upper Case).

Machine proof:                    Proof produced on the same press, and by the same process, as the final job. This method is the most accurate of all the proofing processes.

Mag.:                                         An abbreviated term for Magnesium etched plates, the most popular and commonly available type of metal hot stamping Dies.

Magnesium Dies:                 Printing and Embossing Dies made out of Magnesium.

Make Ready:                          The preparation and correction of the printing plate or Embossing Die, before starting the print or Embossing run. This is to ensure a uniform and clean impression of optimum quality.

Mark-up:                                Instructions written on artwork or proofs for the printer to follow.

Mould Skin:                           A covering material used to cover Embossing make ready to prevent wrinkling of the substrate when Embossing.

Monochrome:                       Single colour, normally black.

Multi-Level:                          Multi-level Dies have any number of distinct levels separated by bevels while Sculptured Dies have smooth transition between the various depths.

Non-Image Area:                Background area, as opposed to the printed and or Embossed image area.

Numbering:                           Usually done offline, the process by which collated sheets are consecutively numbered, e.g. for Invoices.

Out of Register:                    Incorrect positioning of type, Dies or item to be printed on. When the print image is not central or not where it should be.

Over Run / Over’s:               Printing substrates in quantities larger than required (A must, if printing in multiple colours).

Pagination:                            Page numbering.

Pantone:                                 A commonly used system of colour matching on coated and uncoated stock, also known as PMS.

Paper Board:                         A term sometimes used for lightweight boards usually below 300g

Paper Level:                          Reference point plane for all Embossing and debossing.

Patching Up:                         A process carried out during make ready. It involves sticking tape or paper to build up areas of faint printing (usually Metal Type).

Perforating:                          Piercing a series of holes in to a sheet of paper, usually to enable tearing.

Pertinax:                               See Phenolic Board. Pertinax is a branded phenolic board.

Phenolic Board:               A very hard make-ready board mounted on the platen press for extra sharp detail when flat stamping. A backing board used to protect the cutting blade when Die cutting.

Photo-Etching:                 Sometimes referred to as photo-mechanical or chemical milling. An Image on a photographic positive or negative is exposed onto a photo sensitive coated Magnesium, Copper or Zinc sheet and then etched to a specific depth and angle. Depending upon the Die function, the image is etched into an Embossing Die and the non-image area is etched away on a stamping Die.

Photo Polymer Plate:       A relief printing plate made of polymer on a steel backing plate. The plate works by exposing UV light through a negative and washing away the unexposed parts. There are many variants of this product with one specific for Hot Foil printing.

Pica:                                        A unit of type measure equivalent to 1/6” or 4.23mm. One pica equals a font size of 12 points.

Plasticizer Migration:    When foil is stamped on PVC or other plastic products, the plasticizer migrates from the within the material to the foil printed surface. The result is the metallic foil will fade over time.

Platen Press:                        A Clam shell action as on the HF85 Digital Hot Foiler or Heidelberg platen press.

Plates:                                     Dies or Blocks and / or metal plates on which the Die is attached too.

Platemaking:                        The process of making Photopolymer printing plates from, exposing film onto unexposed polymer plate, washing, drying and post exposing, to produce a finished ready to use plate.

Pocket (envelope):              An envelope with its opening flap on the short edge.

Point Size:                               A unit of measure for type. Each point is 0.0139” or 0.353mm. There are 12 points to a pica and 72 points to an inch or 25.4mm (see pica).

Polyurethane Sheet:           Used as flat stamping counter for large coverage applications. This is an excellent make-ready board for holograms.

Pressboard:                             A light weight, extra hard, rolled and friction glazed board commonly used as a bedding material.

Presspahn:                              See pressboard

Press Proof (Proof):            A short press run for approval by the customer prior to the actual production run. It uses the actual materials such as paper, inks, Dies, etc.

Pressure adjustment:       The screws on the Hot Foiler used for the adjustment of the pressure exerted on the print product by the printing Die or type. It is also used even out the print impression.

Print Area:                             Area covered by the impression on the Die or type.

Print Bed:                              The material upon which the item being printed seats. This can also be called a bedding material or an impression sheet. Examples of such materials as card, paper, Presspahn, fibreglass, Pertinex etc.

Printing Platen:                   The Plate on which the Item to be printed is placed.

Proof:                                        A pre-production impression made for the purpose of checking the accuracy of the layout, setup, type matter, colour, overall look etc. This is done for in-house quality control and / or for customer final approval before full print run. It is also referred to as a “pull”.

Quads:                                       Type spacing material used in between words.

Quoins:                                     A locking device for type used in a chase which produces lateral pressure on the type, so that the forme may be locked up.

Ragged:                                    Text with irregular line lengths set to a maximum width, usually with an even left margin.

Ream:                                        500 sheets of paper of the same size, quality, and Grammage however; this can vary in some cases e.g. wrapping paper.

Register:                                   The alignment of two or more images when printed sequentially on top of each other. The quality of the print image is dependent on the accuracy of the registration. When the print impressions are not in the precise position, then the print is referred to as “out of register”. The precise colour to colour relationship in the printed image enhances the visual look.

Relief Printing:                     A method of printing, using a printing plate, which has a raised image, as used in Hot Foiling, flexo printing, and letterpress printing.

Relief depth:                          The height from the floor of the printing plate to the print face.

Reverses:                                 Openings in the image where the background or paper shows through the printed or foiled areas. Can be either type or design elements.

Rough Proof:                         A preliminary impression taken without any make ready preparations.

Rubbing:                                 The unintentional transfer of ink from one sheet to another, this transfer is more common with uncoated or matt coated paper.

Rule:                                        A metal strip the same height as type, with different edge finishes and widths that will produce solid lines, dashes, dots etc. when printing.

Run:                                         The number of items to be printed.

Run-on:                                  To continue printing on the same run.

Sans Serif:                             A font / type face that does not contain the short cross or spiral like terminals at the end of the stroke. An example of a sans serif font is Arial.

Scorching/Heat Tint:       Changing the colour of paper in the Embossed or debossed area by using extreme heat, which creates a two-toned effect, with the image being the darker tone.

Score / Scoring:                   The sharply creasing of a substrate, which helps facilitate folding and prevent the risk of cracking the surface when the material is folded. If using paper or card, scoring should be made in the same direction as the grain, when ease of folding is of major concern. For greater strength, a score can be made perpendicular to the paper grain.

Sculpted Embossing:        Raising and or lowering an image with three-dimensional realism with any of a variety of shapes, angles, and edges, as opposed to flat levels, for example a person’s face. Sculptured Dies have smooth transition between the various depths, while multi-level Dies have any number of distinct levels separated by bevels

Sculptured Embossing:      See Sculpted Embossing above.

Separation:                             The separation of the different coloured elements of the proof for the purposes of block making. Each colour needs to have separate Dies.

Serif:                                         Font characters in a type face that contains the short cross or spiral like terminals at the end of the stroke. An example of a serif font is Times Roman, the font used to set many newspapers.

Set-off:                                     The unintentional transfer of wet ink from one sheet to another, usually due to the sheets being stacked too high or moved before properly dry.

Sheet fed:                                Printing in sheets as opposed to rolls of paper.

Spot Varnish:                        Varnish applied to a specific area on a printed sheet.

Short Run:                              Printing of a few items only.

Side Lay:                                 A side stop on the print platen, to help correctly position the item to be printed, and is used in conjunction with the lay gauge.

Single Level:                         Raising or lowering an image from the original flat level.

Spacer:                                     Narrow metal slugs to fit between words or letters when setting type.

Slip Case:                                Holder for locking one or two lines of type so that it is ready for putting into a chase.

Stamping Die:                       A 2D or 2½D photo-etched or machined Die used to flat stamp an image through a foil on to a substrate using heat and pressure.

Steel Rule:                             Used to manufacture a cutting Die for cutting out or perforate a shape in a substrate. Steel rule are made in various thicknesses and heights such as type high (.918”) and are cut and bent to specific patterns and mounted in a wooden base. The steel blades have knife-like cutting edges.

Step and Repeat:                Same image precisely repeated one or more times horizontally and or vertically to a fixed distance. These distances from one image to another are referred to as “centres” when measured from a point on one image to the same point on an adjacent image.

Substrate:                              The material that is used to be printed on to e.g. paper, board, film etc.

Thermography:                   A method of producing a relief effect by applying a powder on to a wet printed image. The powder sticks only to the wet image and when heat is applied to the powder, the powder melts and expands, producing a relief effect.

Throat Depth:                     Specifically in Hot Foil, the throat depth is the maximum thickness of item that can be accommodated on your machine.

Tick marks:                          See trim marks.                    

Tint:                                        A less opaque colour achieved by applying a screen, specified as a percentage of the solid colour.

Toggle Bit:                             Fits the screw on top of the Toggle Hook. Used in conjunction with a Toggle Key to tighten and adjust Toggle Hooks in the bed.

Toggle Hook:                        A small device used in a honeycomb heated bed / platen to position Dies. Toggle hooks are produced with a variety of head sizes to facilitate Die placement and are available in standard and low profile heights to suit different bed depths.

Toggle Key:                           Holds a Toggle Bit to allow tightening and adjustment of Toggle Hooks.

Toggle Lockout:               This occurs when you incorrectly adjust the Hot Foiler. When the Hot Foiler print handle is brought down it toggles to produce maximum pressure. If the handle slip past the toggle position and goes beyond, it loosing pressure. This produces a poor quality of print.

Trim marks:                       Trim marks are printed lines which fall outside the image area, and indicate where the sheet should be cut. They can also be used as a register marks and are sometimes called Tick marks.

Type High:                          The total height of type including the body and print face is 0.918” (23.3172mm).

Type Holder:                      The type / furniture chase.

Type Matter:                      Any artwork that has been setup in metal type.

Uncoated Paper:              Paper with no coating (china clay). This type of paper is better suited for Embossing because of its softer finish and reduced tendency to wrinkle or crack. Foils will appear less glossy on these types of materials. Uncoated, textured sheets may sometimes be very difficult to smooth out when Foil Stamping.      

Unifraction Dies:              A double etched Die suitable for Embossing 2 D.

Upper Case:                         The capital letters of a font.

Varnish:                                A transparent coating applied for visual effect or protection.

Wallet:                                  An envelope with a square flap on the long edge.

Watermark:                        An image impressed into the body of a sheet of paper during the manufacturing process a using dandy roll

Work and turn:                 Printing the front and reverse sides of a sheet using a single plate. Each sheet yields two copies of the same item.            

Wove:                                     A paper without inherent lines.

Z – direction                        Perpendicular to the plane of the substrate.  If the substrate is placed flat on a horizontal surface, then the Z direction would be vertical.

Zinco:                                     A block / Die made of zinc. This term is an also used as a generic word for metal relief printing plates