The various terms used in describing the printing process can be daunting. Many of the terms come from processes that were used long before digital printing revolutionized the industry. Both the processes and the terms have been adapted to this new method of printing.

Flat Printing, also known as Offset Printing, is the most widely used printing process. In Flat Printing, an image is created on a rubber cylinder or "plate." The plate is then inked and the image transferred to paper. Flat Printing produces very crisp and clear graphics and text.

Thermography creates a raised effect on the finished piece. Ink is applied to the paper in a fashion similar to Offset Printing. The paper is then dusted with a special powder that adheres to the inked areas. Excess powder is removed by suction. The inked sheet passes under a heat lamp that fuses the powder to the ink, resulting in the raised appearance.

While heat is used to create the raised effect of Thermography, additional heat—such as that used to fuse the toner to the page in a laser printer—can ruin the thermographed image. Lazer Raze Thermography is specially designed to withstand the heat generated in laser printers. Lazer Raze results in the same raised effect as Thermography and is available in any ink color.

Another method of producing a raised effect is Engraving. In this printing process a die is created that has the image or text etched into it. The die is coated with ink, any excess is wiped off and it is pressed into the back of the paper. The result is a slightly raised appearance and feel.

Embossing—sometimes called Blind Embossing—is an ink-free process that relies instead on pressing the image or text into the back of the paper using a metal die. Simple images can utilize single-level embossing, where the raised appearance is uniform and one-dimensional. Complex images can be rendered effectively with multi-level embossing, creating a three-dimensional effect.

Foil Embossing—sometimes called Hot Leaf Embossing—takes Embossing one step further by adding a foil leaf to the raised portion of the image. Foil Embossing is possible on single- and multi-levels. The resulting effect is a raised metallic image on the front of the paper.

Foil Stamping, also known as Hot Stamping, is a process using pressure and heat to stamp or "deboss" an image or text into the front of the paper. The resulting effect is similar to ink but generally very shiny in appearance. Stamping is done on a single level only.

Full-Color Printing—also called Four-Color Printing, Process Color Printing or CMYK Printing—is used to faithfully reproduce complex graphics or pictures. In this process, the image is broken down into four color components and then recombined during printing for the illusion of continuous color.

Century Press, Inc. • 10443 Balls Ford Road • Manassas, VA 20109 • (703) 335-5663 • (703) 335-2480 fax
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