See below a list of common terms and phrases that are used in the print, mail and digital industries.



To help ensure everyone is talking the same language, please find below a list of useful terms and definitions.

Absorbency – The ability of paper to absorb or take in liquids.

Acid-free paper – Paper manufactured on a paper machine with the wet-end chemistry controlled to a neutral or slightly alkaline pH. Acid-free paper enhances the longevity of documents and is more environmentally friendly than traditional woodpulp paper.

Addressing – The delivery details that are printed on a document/letter/label, visible on the outside of the mail piece.

Address Carrier – An item that bears address details on it i.e. flysheet or envelope.

Align – Lining up characters and/or images on a document using a vertical or horizontal line as a reference point.

Author’s corrections – Any changes made to the copy after it has been set.

Backing up – The process of printing the second side of a printed sheet, in registration with the first side.

Barcode – A barcode is a block of variable width lines printed by a laser printer. The barcode can be read using special sensors or a light pen and the pattern can be translated into letters and numbers.

Barcode Read Area – The clear zone at the bottom of an envelope that must be kept clear of any print or symbols. Except for the barcode, nothing should be in this area.

Binding – This is the process used to keep your books and booklets together. There are many different methods of binding. For example: saddle stitch, perfect and burst bound.

Bleed – An area beyond the artwork which is cut off after printing. If any image is right to the edge of artwork, a 3mm ‘bleed’ ensures that no white of paper is showing if the guillotine is slightly off.

Borders – A margin around the edge of artwork. We recommend that all borders are more than 3mm wide on the trim edges as this allows for any shift.

BRE – Short form description of a Business Reply service Envelope.

Brochure – A high quality pamphlet with a planned layout, typography and illustrations. The term is also loosely used for promotional pamphlets or booklets

BSP – Stands for Barcode Sort Plan.

Burst binding – Burst binding is similar to perfect binding, however it is more durable. The spine of each section is perforated during the folding process. Glue is then pushed up between the perforations during binding and the cover drawn on. Burst binding is used for books and booklets that are greater than 35 pages.

BWF – An abbreviation of Barcoded Window Face which is a type of envelope face.

C4 – An envelope size that measures 329 x 229mm, it is commonly used to insert A4 sized inserts

Catalogue – Bound printed matter containing advertising.

Cellosheen – A plastic film heat bonded to printed products such as booklet covers or business cards. It can be either gloss or matt and can be applied to either both or just one side of an item.

Charge Account – An bulk billing service that is set up with Australia post that enables companies like Melbourne Mail Management to bill clients on their own account.

Charity Mail – An Australia Post scheme that provides cheaper postage rates organizations that have been sanctioned by the Australia Taxation office as an income tax exempt charity.

Coated – Printing papers that have had a surface coating to give a smoother, more even finish with greater opacity.

Coated 1 Sided – Paper with coating on one side only.

Coated 2 Sided – Paper with coating on both sides.

Cold lamination (gloss or matt) – Uses pressure sensitive adhesives to bind the film to the material being laminated. This is your best option when you are laminating heat-sensitive work.

Collating – The process of arranging your printed and/or other materials into a desired sequence and packing them for despatch.

Colour mode – Refers to the way in which the colour is created in the document, an example could be CMYK or RGB.

Colour separation – The process of separating a continuous tone colour (SPOT / Pantone) into the four process colours for print production.

Concertina fold – A method of folding where each fold opens in the opposite direction to its neighbour, giving a concertina or pleated effect.

Consignee – The name given to the person to whom the shipment is addressed, the recipient of the mailing piece.

Consignment – The name given to an article once it has been picked up by a distribution company.

Consignor – the consignor is the person or company sending/shipping the goods. The details of the person/company will be on the Bill Of Lading as the party contracting with the carrier company responsible for the delivery.

Crash fold – Folding a document in more than 1 direction. For example, an A3 sheet folded to A4 and then crash folded to DL for mailing.

Crease – An indent made in paper to make folding easier. It minimises cracking of the ink and paper at the edge of the fold.

Clean Mail – An Australia Post service providing cheaper rates to those who present a minimum of 300 correctly machine addressed items.

Creep – When the middle pages of a folded booklet extend slightly beyond the outside pages.

CMYK – The abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The colours used in our full-colour printing process.

CSV – A database file with Comma Separated Values. CSV is a standard export format for many applications, most notably, Microsoft Excel.

CTP – Computer-to-plate, a process of printing directly from a computer onto the plates used by a printing press, it eliminates the need for a separate film-to-plate exposure system.

Cyan – The blue colour used in four-colour process printing.

Database Cleaning – The process of updating a list in order to remove undeliverable addresses.

Database – A file that contains records, information such as customer names and addressing details, typically stored in a systematic way on computer.

Data Entry – Entering records, names and addressing details onto computer one at a time from handwritten or printed material

Dead Mail – Mail sent to an incorrect address , which cannot be returned to the sender usually because there is no return address.

Deadline – The agreed time/date by which a project must be completed.

Debossing – An inverted form of embossing. An image or decoration is recessed into the paper, so it’s lower than the paper surface.

Deduplication – The process of removing duplicate addresses and names from a database.

Digital proofing – The final hard copy view of your artwork before it hits the press and your final chance to make changes. Digital proofing incurs an extra charge and is not compulsory.

Direct Marketing – Mail or advertising such as brochures or flyers promoting an organization addressed to it’s recipient, i.e. membership groups.

Distiller job options – When creating a PDF only use Adobe Acrobat Distiller. Melbourne Mail Management’s distiller settings (job options) can be obtained by downloading them from this website. Download the setting compatible to your operating system.

DL – A paper size measuring 99 x 210mm

DLX – An envelope size measuring 120 x 235mm

Doc – A Microsoft Word file.

Domestic Mail – An item which is being mailed within the same country of origin.

DPI (dots per inch) – The measurement of resolution for page printers, phototypesetting machines and graphics screens.

DPID – Abbreviation of Delivery Point Identifier –  an 8 digit code allocated to each delivery point.

Drilling – The process of drilling holes in printed material.

Duplex – Printing on both sides of a sheet of paper.

Email – Electronic Mail; Messages sent via a computer link or network from one computer to another.

Embedded fonts – A process that allows fonts to be viewed by all computers – even if they don’t have the same font installed. Essential for printing.

Embossing – A process which produces images or decorations that are raised above the surface of the paper.

Encapsulation – A method of laminating items, this method leaves a clear 2 – 3mm border around the whole edge of the object.

Encoding – The act of recording electronic information on to a magnetic strip.

Epson Proof – An Epson proof is an inkjet proofing method that produces a CMYK (Full or Four Color Process) proof using your files. It allows you to view your artwork before sending it to print. It is not 100% colour accurate.

EPS – Abbreviation for Encapsulated Postscript File. EPS is the preferred format for many computer illustrations because of its efficient use of memory and colour control.

Eware – Melbourne Mail Management provides an online warehouse where clients can log on to their own account and view stock levels and inventory. In addition, a campaign transaction report may be printed outlining material usage.

File Maintenance – Keeping a file up to date by adding, changing or deleting records.

Finishing – Any process that follows printing, including folding, stitching, binding and laminating.

Flysheet – Commonly used for print post, it is the top sheet with mailing details that goes behind plastic wrapping.

Form cut or die cut – The process of cutting paper and card into different shapes (other than a square or rectangle) after it has been printed.

Foamcore board – A lightweight board made of rigid plastic foam.

Four-colour process – Printing using four colour separation plates;  yellow, magenta, cyan and black. The inks are translucent and can be combined to produce a wide range of colours.

FTP – File Transfer Protocol, a method of transferring files from one computer to another over the internet without using email.

Fulfillment – The activities performed once an order is received.

Full Rate – Letters or parcels that are going at full rate costs, with no postage discounts.

Gatefold – A type of fold where two sides of paper are folded inwards, towards each other, effectively creating a gate-like appearance.

Gatorfoam – A rugged, durable board with an exceptionally hard and smooth surface that resists dents and punctures.

Generic – An item that is not personalized.

GIF – Graphics Interchange Format, a highly compressed file format. GIFs shouldn’t be used for files to be printed on an offset printing press.

Gloss cello – A clear, shiny finish plastic coating applied using heat. It brings out and emphasizes colours. It makes images look brighter and adds definition.

Gluing – a permanent method of fixing multiple items together.

GSM – Grams per square metre, a standard measure of the weight of paper.

Guillotine – A machine used to trim stacks of paper. The guillotine-cutting blade moves between two upright guides and slices paper evenly as it moves down.

Gumming – Similar to gluing, however it is not permanent. The gum becomes sticky when wet.

ICC – International Colour Consortium, established by the printing industry to create, promote and encourage the standardisation of colour.

ICC Profiles – Standard guidelines for colour management. The profile allows one piece of software or hardware to “know” how another device created its colours and how they should be interpreted or reproduced.

Image – A digitalized version of a graphic element.

Image area – Any part of the design to be printed, stamped or embossed.

Imposition – The arrangement or layout of pages on a printed sheet.

Import – The process of transferring data or software from one system into another.

Impression – Refers to the number of plates hitting the press sheet.

Inkjet printing – Inkjet printing is a style of printing where drops of ink are sprayed onto a substrate to form an image.

Insert – An item, i.e. brochure or flyer, placed inside a package.

Internal bleed – This refers to space inside the trim edge containing no important information. 3mm of internal bleed is preferred to allow for a small amount of movement in the printing process.

Job Bag – A physical envelope containing all the paperwork and records relating to a job.

JPEG – Abbreviation for Joint Photographic Experts Group, a file compression format allowing high quality full colour or grey-scale digital images to be stored in relatively small files.

 – An adhesive sticker addressed and placed on a letter/parcel.

Laser printing – A method of printing using a laser beam to produce an image on a photosensitive drum.

Leading Edge – The folded edge that goes into the envelope first. Melbourne Mail Management requires the leading edge to be the roll folded edge that doesn’t open.

Line screen – The resolution of a halftone, expressed in lines per inch (lpi). The standard line screen that offset printers use is: 175lpi for coated stocks. Newspapers and lower quality uncoated papers are printed at a lower line screen to stop bleed and set off.

List Maintenance – The ongoing practice of updating, adding, editing or deleting parts of a database.

Lithography – A printing process based on the principle of the natural aversion of water to oil. The printing plate is treated chemically when being made so the image will accept ink and reject water.

Lodgement – The handing over of processed mail pieces to Australia Post for delivery.

Logo – Short for ‘logotype’, it is a company or product identifier; whether a symbol, name or trademark.

Machineable – Items of mail within certain specifications, making it possible to use automated machinery to process.

Machine varnish – A thin, protective coating applied to a printed sheet to reduce marking, scuffing and to help the ink dry quickly.

Mail Merge – The process of merging records from a database file, name & address details onto a letter or envelope template, effectively personalizing it.

Manifest – A list of the goods being transported by a carrier.

Match Mail – the process of matching more than one personalized item.

Matt cello – A non-reflective plastic sheet coating applied with heat. Used to protect the surface it is adhered to, it has a waxy feel and enhances the quality and longevity of the piece.

Matt paper – A coated paper with a dull smooth finish.

MDB – (Multidimensional Database) a product that can store and process multidimensional data.

MIC – An in-house program designed to meet all of Melbourne Mail Management’s needs regarding client details and job processing.

Microperf – A very finely cut perforated edge, designed to replicate the effect of a guillotine cut edge.

Mounting – Attaching artwork to another (usually more solid surface) to present it in an attractive way.

Nesting – The process of placing one insert inside another insert.

Numbering –Printing sequential numbers on your printed material; an example would be raffle tickets or gift vouchers.

Offset – A printing method that transfers an image from an inked plate onto a rubber blanket covered cylinder and then onto the printed surface.

Overs – Excess materials left over once a job has been completed.

Overprinting – The process of printing over an area that’s already printed. Used by Melbourne Mail Management to personalize the printed materials.

Pantone – The name of a widely used ink colour matching system, created by Pantone Inc of USA.

Parallel fold – A method of folding where two folds are parallel to each other. Two parallel folds produce a six-page sheet.

PDF – Portable Document File, a type of formatting that enables files to be viewed on a variety of computers regardless of the program used to create them. PDF files retain the “look and feel” of the original document.

Perforation – A line of punched holes that allow a sheet of paper to be torn or folded accurately. You might also hear it called a ‘perf’.

Personalization – Personal details, such as first name, that is printed/used in direct marketing campaign or member card.

Pixel – A coloured dot that makes up an image on a computer or television screen.

Pixel (picture element) – the smallest spot of phosphor on a display monitor that can be lit up on a screen.

Postage Paid Imprint – A postage paid imprint is printed on envelopes or wrappers for items that have already had postage paid. Approval must be obtained from Australia Post prior to its use.

Polywrap – A transparent plastic wrap that is often used to wrap direct mail packages.

Postcode – A postcode consists of four digits indicating a particular delivery destination.

Primary colours – The three main colours in the printing world from which all other colours are created: cyan, magenta and yellow.

Printing plate – A surface that carries an image to be printed.

Proof – A test print that shows how the finished product will look.

PMS – Pantone Matching System, a standard that creates different ink colours by mixing inks with a minimal amount of base colour. A process guide shows how Pantone spot colours will appear when converted to process colours (CMYK).

PPI – Pixels Per Inch, a measurement describing the size of a printed image. The higher the number, the more detailed the image.

Presort – An Australia Post letter service that is accessible to customers who have a minimum of 300 barcoded letters to be posted that adhere to Australia Posts mailing conditions for this type of letter.

Print Post – An Australia Post services that provides reduced postal prices for anyone who has a publication distributed via post periodically throughout the year.  Must be approved by Australia Post and issued with a Print Post Number. The publication must be printed matter and have a fixed title with an issue number.

PSD – PhotoShop Document format stores an image as a set of layers, including text, masks, opacity, blend modes, color channels, alpha channels, clipping paths, and duotone settings Innate to Adobe Photoshop.

Publicational Campaign – refers to any multi page document that requires plastic wrapping with a personalized flysheet.

Raster Image – Electronic representation of printable data using a grid of points called pixels. Each pixel contains a defined value about its colour, size and location in the image – this enables us to print, picture perfect.

Reconciliation – The process of comparing two or more sets of data to resolve discrepancies and demonstrate proof of accuracy.

Recycled Paper – A paper product consisting of 100% recovered fibre. Recovered fiber includes pre- or post-consumer sources or both.

Registered Mail – Mail that is registered by the post office when sent, which enables it to be traced to a certain degree, with the possibility of proof of delivery. It is also a safer method, with some indemnity against getting lost or spoiled during delivery.

Reply Paid Envelope – An envelope supplied by the sender so recipient can reply at no cost to themselves. The Reply Paid Envelope is printed with a common address

Resolution – The number of pixels in an image. The more pixels, the higher the resolution and the better the picture. For a good quality print result, colour and gray scale raster images (pixel-based/scans) should be 300dpi (maximum 350dpi). Mono raster images (bitmaps) should be 1200 dpi maximum.

Response Rate – In a direct mail campaign, the percentage of recipients who responded.

RGB – Red, Green, Blue, a model for describing colours that are produce by emitting light rather than absorbing it. They are known as additive colours because when they are added together they create all colours. RGB colours are what you see on your computer screen, these must be converted to CMYK for printing.

RIP – Raster Image Processor, a production device used to convert a digital file into a raster image. The raster image is the electronic representation of printable data.

Roll fold – A fold where one side of the item is folded inwards and then folded inwards again, as if you are rolling it up.

RPT – Raw Process time, the time it takes to complete a process assuming the process is completed without interruption.

Saddle stitch – A form of binding commonly used to create books and booklets from 8 to 64 pages. The book or booklet is stapled through the middle fold of its sheets using 2 staples.

Scoring – Making a line or a crease in paper or board so that it can be folded cleanly. Scoring is recommended when you require folding on stocks heavier than 150gsm. It minimises cracking of the ink and paper at the edge of the fold.

Screenboard – A board with high rigidity and dimensional stability.

Set off – A printing problem that occurs when wet ink from the printed side of the sheet transfers to the back of the sheet above it. Sometimes multiple sheets can stick together.

Seeding/seeded – False names are added to a mailing list as a way to check delivery.

Show Through – Printing that is seen by looking through a sheet of paper that is not adequately opacified.

Simplex – Printing on one side of an item only.

Spot colour – A colour that’s not produced with our standard four-colour process, the colour is printed using ink made exclusively. It’s used when you require a very specific ink colour. These colours are usually Pantone Colours.

Spot varnish – Varnish is applied to a particular spot on your printed material – not the whole surface. It creates a shiny effect on one area and nowhere else. It is applied to the paper like the ink on the other plates and dries very quickly.

Stock – The general term for any paper or board that is used as a printed surface.

Surface Mail – this is the slowest means of sending mail, whether by land or sea.

Swatch – A sample of colours or paper stocks.

Transactional – Mail that contains sensitive or personal information that is addressed to its recipient. i.e invoices, pay slips, certificates and  statements.

Transparency – The ability of an ink or coating to allow light to pass through it. Process colours are transparent to allow them to blend and create other colours.

Trim – Cutting the printed product down to the correct size.

Trim marks – The guide marks on the printed sheet that indicate where you want to cut/trim the printed sheet, also referred to as crop marks.

TIFF – Tagged Image File Format, a bitmapped file format used for the reproduction of digitally scanned images such as photographs, illustrations and logos.

TXT – (Text File) TXT format is useful for text if you do not need to preserve the formatting.

Undeliverable – When a mailing item cannot be delivered to the destination addressed.

Universal Postal Union – A United Nations Organization headquarters that is based in Berne Switzerland. dealing in the specifics of international mail issues, setting worldwide postal rules and regulations.

UV Varnish – A varnish applied after printing, either as an overall finish to give a high gloss finish, or applied as a ’spot’ varnish to certain areas as an enhancement.  UV light is used to cure the varnish.

Vector graphics – These are created with lines rather than pixels. You can move, resize, and change the colour of vector graphics without losing quality.

WYSIWYG – What-you-see-is-what-you-get (pronounced “wizzywig”). Refers to systems that allow you to preview your print work on screen, the printed page will look the same as the preview.

Window – A transparent portion of an envelope through which an address can be seen.

XLS – (Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet) Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program and XLS is its native file format.

Z fold – A Concertina fold that has only 3 panels and looks like a Z.

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