Printing Lingo: Finishing Options

We have come to the end of our “Printing Lingo” series (you can read the other entries here). What better way to finish this set of posts than by talking about…well, finishing? What is finishing exactly? It refers to what is done to a printed piece after printing. Here are some common types of finishing that you may run across.


Laminating - Laminating involves adding a clear plastic film to the print which protects it from moisture, wrinkles, tears, and other possibly damaging actions. This is a great option for pieces that will be exposed to the elements to reused multiple times.




Velvet Laminate – This is a type of laminate that produces a matte finish with a soft feel to the surface of the printed piece. It is similar in appearance to the Aqueous Coating that was covered in the special embellishments, however, velvet laminate provides more protection/sturdiness to the job.


Scoring – Scoring is the act of creating a crease on a printed piece that will allow for an easy and clean fold. This is most common in greeting or thank you cards. Scoring is very important with heavier weight paper to ensure that there are no cracks when the paper is folded.



Paper Drilling – If you have ever added paper to a 3-ring binder, then you will recognize the end product of paper drilling. It is the act of creating holes in paper so that it can be fastened into binders, charts, folders, or any number of other options. Holes are placed to match the specific type of binder that is used.


Perforating – Perforating creates a series of fine cuts along a page that allows for an easy and clean removal. Typically used with cardstock and is a great option for response cards, coupons, and more. Perforation can be done wherever you need the page, or portion of the page, to detach.


Die Cuts – Die Cuts are used to cut paper into the shape or size that is needed for the finished job. Commonly used in packaging to create the unique shapes that, when folded, create a products package. They are also used to cut business cards, postcards, and other marketing material. Custom dies can be ordered in almost any shape/design that you may need.




Padding – Padding is the technique used to create tear-off notebooks. A special type of flexible glue is added to the edge of a stack of pages and once dry, you can easily remove them sheet by sheet. This is a great option for branded notepads, prescription pads, and frequently used forms.


Binding – When most people hear the term finishing they typically think of binding. There are many different types of binding to choose from. Here are just a few of them.


  • Perfect Binding – This is the type of binding often seen in paperback books. A stack of pages are glued to the spine of the book’s cover using a strong adhesive. The completed project is then trimmed to size, ensuring that all pages are perfectly even.

  • Saddle-Stitching – To achieve a saddle-stitched binding, a stack of papers are attached with staples along the center fold line. This is perfect for projects with lower page counts like annual reports, magazines, or catalogs.

  • Spiral/Coil Binding – With a spiral-bound project, holes are drilled into paper and a metal or plastic coil is inserted through the holes. One of the many advantages of wire binding is the ability to open the pages a full 360 degrees.

Deciding on what finishing options work best for your project can be daunting. Our hope is that with a little more knowledge about the processes that are available, the whole printing process will be a little easier. The greatest resource at your disposal, however, is a print specialist. Working closely with account executives, designers, and print masters can take the burden of trying to guess what options are best.


Call 25.874.6183 or visit DMSColor.com for more information and let our years of experience and knowledge work for you.

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