LJB Studio

Print Dictionary


Print Dictionary


Die Cutting

The cutting of paper into decorative shapes or patterns using a steel cutting die.


Printing imaged by digital data from prepress systems using liquid ink or powdered toner.

Eco Solvent Inks

Light solvent inks for inkjets, often called eco solvents, have a relatively low VOC (volatile organic compound) being released into the atmosphere. Eco-solvent inks have their colours suspended in a mild biodegradable solvent, which means that the ink has virtually no odour.

Edge Painting

The painted edge of a book or business card. Historically, bookbinders would gild the edges of books with gold to show their importance. Today edge painting is typically done with opaque inks (sometimes metallic inks), resulting in a colourful edge surface. Foil Edging is done with metallic foil (such as gold or silver), resulting is a smooth, reflective surface.


Embossing is impressing an image in relief to achieve a raised surface. Debossing is pressing an image into paper so it lies beneath the surface. Both can be registered over printing or on blank paper which is called blind embossing/debossing.

Foil Stamping

Foil stamping, also referred to as foiling, uses heat to adhere a foil material directly onto the paper surface. A die, produced from magnesium, copper or brass, is shaped to the image required to be foil printed, and for each foil colour a different die is made. Foils come in many different colours and finishes including metallic, reflective and even holographic. Foils are opaque and can be used on coloured or black paper stocks.

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting is a technology that uses a laser to cut materials. It works by directing the output of a high-power laser most commonly through optics. The laser optics and CNC (computer numerical control) are used to direct the material or the laser beam generated. The focused laser beam is directed at the material, which then either melts, burns, vaporizes away, or is blown away by a jet of gas, leaving an edge with a high-quality surface finish.

Laser Engraving

Laser engraving, which is a subset of laser marking, is the practice of using lasers to engrave an object. The technique does not involve the use of inks, nor does it involve tool bits which contact the engraving surface and wear out.


A technique of relief printing using a printing press. A die creates a surface with raised letters, which is inked and pressed to the surface of the printing substrate to reproduce an image in reverse. A process by which many copies are produced by repeated direct impression of an inked, raised surface against sheets or a continuous roll of paper.

Offset Lithography

A commonly used printing technique in which the inked image is transferred (or “offset”) from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface. Generally the printing will be done out of the standard four-colour process. This means that the artwork is separated onto four different printing plates and each plate prints a specific single colour – cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). Together these colours combine to create a full-colour print. Occasionally additional printing plates might also be added to print spot colours, e.g. special inks such as fluorescent or metallic or a Pantone ink that matches a brand colour. Similarly, there might be fewer colours used such as two-colour printing where only two specified colours will be printed, and because only two printing plates are being made this is cheaper than four-colour litho.


The Pantone Colour Matching System is largely a standardised colour reproduction system. By standardising the colours, different manufacturers in different locations can all refer to the Pantone system to make sure colours match without direct contact with one another.

Risograph (RISO)

Originally invented to make use of low cost inks, Risograph is an intermediate between digital printing and screen printing that comes with inherent quirks: off-registration, limited colors, uneven ink performance — in short: an inaccurate and inconsistent process. But its this simplicity and lack of precision that are Risograph’s feature. Risograph’s results are reminiscent of handmade screen-prints, coveted for their effective adoption of very bold, bright and vibrant colours.

Silk Screen

Process of printing by hand. A mesh cloth is stretched over a wooden frame. The design or image is painted on this screen and is squeegeed through onto the printing surface.

Soy Inks

Soy ink is a kind of ink made from soybeans. The oil is refined and then mixed with other environmentally friendly compounds such as natural resins and waxes. As opposed to traditional petroleum-based ink, soy-based ink is kinder on the environment and can actually be used to produce brighter, more vibrant colours. The fine bright colours are a result of the soy oil – it is much clearer and less, well, “oily” than petroleum based inks. Soy ink is a frequent choice of newspapers and other mass produced documents since it can produce such bright colours, and is substantially more cost effective. However it is slower to dry than many inks.

Spot UV

Spot UV is a gloss coating applied using ultra-violet radiation to cure the finish to the paper stock after the printing has been finished. It is able to be applied in specific areas or as an image.

Vegetable inks

The environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-based ink is vegetable-based ink. This can be made from a variety of vegetable oils such as: Soy Bean, Coconut, Corn, Walnut, Linseed and Canola. Vegetable-based ink only emits approximately 2-4% VOCs into the atmosphere – significantly less than oil inks, but takes longer to dry. Vegetable oils are non-hazardous and they're a renewable resource, unlike petroleum which is a finite resource.

Waterless Printing

Waterless printing is an offset lithographic printing process that eliminates the water or dampening system used in conventional printing. It takes advantage of modern technology to reduce these environmental impacts. Notably, it uses Computer to plate (CtP) technology and silicon plates to eliminate chemicals and water altogether. Many waterless printers also use Direct Ink (DI) technology and vegetable-based inks exclusively to further reduce resource use, pollution and VOCs emissions. Waterless presses are also praised for their high quality colour reproduction, and the reduced paper set-up waste for each job.

White Ink

Opaque white ink can create a unique print effect — it is a non-transparent ink which does not let any of the base colour show though. The more hits of white used, the more it stands out from the background. White ink can be used alone, or as the base to print colour on top, which allows full colour imagery to be printed on dark coloured paper.