Scary Printing terms

All year, in print shops everywhere there are always some howling-ly Halloween-ish terms being bandied about. Today we look at some of these frightfully scary printing terms.

As always happens this time of year there are Halloween songs on the radio and more than a few eerie and creepy things happening. Here at our print shop we are happily preparing for some trick or treating.

For printers it is always a funny time of year to reflect on our lingo at the print shop. There are a ton of scary printing terms we use that sound strange, violent, and downright spooky. Today we take a bit of time out for the holiday to look at a few of the more frighteningly fuzzy terms.



If you hear your printer mention ghosting on a project, take heart there are no ghouls in the press. Instead, this scary printing term is a print issue in which a second lighter copy shows up near the original print. Now that is spooky! This sometimes happens in a newspaper where the the text of an article, or the outlines of a comic character are repeated on the page. The repeated part is usually lighter – appearing like a phantom or ghost on the page.

Kiss Cut

Perhaps vampires everywhere get romantic feelings when they hear the term kiss cut. In truth this is a cutting process in printing that helps create items like stickers and labels. A kiss cut is a light die cut of a paper that doesn’t go all the way through. The easiest thing to think of is a sticker. A printer will print a number of images on a page and then kiss cut a shape around them. The kiss cut cuts the shape, but doesn’t cut the bottom paper. When you use them, you would just peel off the shaped sticker from the bottom page leaving the bottom and unwanted sticker paper behind.


A crash or crash printing is no accident. Its a process of using a heavy impression that prints ink on a top page and pushes hard enough to make an impression on an underneath page. So that the first page would print with ink, and the impression on other pages would ‘print’ by using carbon or carbonless paper below. We often use crash numbering at our shop on multi-part carbonless forms. The top will print a number in red ink, and then press hard enough to transfer the number in carbonless black onto the other parts of the form. Read more about carbonless paper here.


Again, nothing dastardly here. Choke is a technical process prepress uses for trapping  an image. A choke is a way of enlarging a background color under another image or text. This makes the hole under an image smaller, so that when you print the image on top the chances of white space showing through from paper. In short it helps make a print job look cleaner and print nicer. We assure you no one gets hurt in the process.


One last term to haunt your holiday, but it’s one we use quite often throughout the year. Bleed is very important to printing. And we assure you it doesn’t hurt.

Bleed is the process of extending an image to be printed over where a final piece will be trimmed. So if you were printing a piece with a blue background on a white sheet of paper, you would extend the blue past the size of the final card. This way when we trim the paper to your card’s size there is no chance that any white paper shows at the edges when they should be blue. Read more about bleed here.

We hope you enjoyed this terrifying tour of a few scary printing terms. Although the language of printers may at times sound a little spine-chilling, we hope you’ve learned some horrifyingly helpful new info.

Happy Halloween!


cutpasteandprint Printing, graphic design, binding, and promotional product specialists in Huntingdon Valley, PA. We proudly serve the Bucks and Montgomery County areas with superior quality, great customer service, and a commitment to getting you and your the best possible printed materials. Our services include: Digital Printing, Offset Printing, Graphic Design, Promotional Items, Bindery, and Copying.

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