Glossary of Terms

Joe Spruch

Glossary of Terms

When requesting a job from Print & Mail Services, it may be helpful to understand some of the standard print industry terms in order to process your job request more efficiently. Below are some general terms used:


Barrel Fold
a common fold that reveals more information as the piece is unfolded

collect and combine (texts, information, or sets of figures) in proper order

Crops and Bleeds
crop marks are a set of marks that define a printed area. Bleed is the term used for the extended area of your artwork that goes beyond its actual size

Digital Printing
a method of printing from a digital-based image

Digital Proof
an electronic file sent as a PDF file, or copied and scanned sent via email for approval

Double Gate Fold 
four parallel folds to create eight panels – the paper is  first folded like a gate fold with smaller side panels and then folded in half

Half Fold
a piece of paper folded in half 

Hard Copy Proof 
a one-off copy of what the exact  finished print will look like

Gate Fold
two parallel folds to create six panels – three panels on each side of the paper. The left and right panels are roughly half the width of the center panels and fold inward to meet in the middle without overlapping

a process of placing sheets of paper inside one another without stapling or binding

Offset Printing
uses etched metal plates that apply ink onto a sheet of paper

Perfect Bound
a form of bookbinding in which the pages are bound by gluing with a wrap-around cover

PMS Colors 
(Pantone Matching System) is a color system based upon over one thousand standardized ink colors commonly used for spot color in printing

Process Color
also known as four-color process printing, is a method that reproduces  finished full-color artwork using four primary colors: cyan (process blue), magenta (process red), yellow and black

Saddle Stitch
a wire staple passed through the fold of a magazine or booklet

a crease in paper so it will
fold easier and reduce cracking

Side Stitch
a document that is secured by using two staples off of a common margin for binding purposes

a sheet of paper folded in thirds (C-Fold, Z-Fold)

Wire-O Bound
also known as Twin Loop, Double-Loop, Double-O, Duo-Wire, or simply Wire Binding, is a popular method for joining the pages and cover of a bound document

Sample Bindings Sample Folds



Bulk Mail
officially called Standard Mail. Class of mail for sending large quantities of similar items where postage is calculated on weight, shape, thickness, and quantity. Less expensive than First Class

Direct Mail
medium used to deliver advertising directly to postal addresses, including envelopes, self-mailers, postcards, flyers, and catalogs

First Class Mail
a more expensive mail service, designed to be faster


any item, such as a brochure, pamphlet, buckslip, or card, placed in a direct mail package

Indicia/Postal Imprint
postal permit information printed on objects to be mailed, and accepted by the USPS in lieu of stamps or meter marks. In most cases, the permit is preprinted on the carrier

Matched Mail
pairing a personalized letter with the address displayed on the outside of the envelope



pre-paid postage applied, via ink imprint, to envelopes, meter tape, and postcards

Presorted Mail
mail that has been sorted by address or carrier route in order to reduce costs of the U.S. Postal Service and thus create postal savings for the mailer

Reply Card
a card in a mailing used by the recipient to reply to the offer



a piece of direct mail without an envelope. Technically, this can include catalogs, booklets, slim-jims, folded mailers, and postcards. However, the term usually refers to a folded mailer

Standard Class Mail
the USPS delivery of direct mail promotions weighing less than one pound (formerly classified as Third Class)