Another thread in another catagory went on quite long. Like a good conversation, the subject shifted. It started to be a discussion of some of the terms we use, and misuse, in the craft. I think there can be value in starting a new thread. It should not attempt to become a dictionary, but rather a place the new aspirant can come to view and ask questions.
I gag up a bit when someone says they wish to buy a printer and press items. Let’s be gentle with the novices. I propose two rules:
Aspiring printers are not to apologize for not knowing the terms and language of the craft. You need only say that you are new and describe the ‘thingy’ as best you can, and that you seek assistance.
Those who think they know the language and what the ‘thingy’ is may respond in a kind and helpful manner.
Tympans and friskets and pi, Oh My!
Printers speak a funny language. If we are going to practice the ancient craft, let us also try to preserve the language and not invent new words when a word already exists.
I learned the craft and the language in school 60 years ago. Maybe the teacher was wrong then, but I learned it as he taught it. That is my story and I am sticking to it, and the language.
Register. The correct alignment and placement of the printing. Often to register the second color to the first. Also to insure that all sheets are in register each to the others.
The term very often used now is registration. Maybe not too bad, but we were taught that ‘registration’ was the sign over the desk in the hotel lobby.
Makeready. All one word. All that goes on on the tympan including setting the gauge pins. The tympan is the draw sheet and all that goes under it. The sheets that go under the draw sheet are the spot up sheet and the packing. The draw sheet is often called the tympan sheet. I have heard/seen the packing sheets referred to as some makeready. As in “you have to add a few more pieces of makeready”. The purist in me winces. Packing is packing.
Let’s have some fun and help the novices. I may learn something new, or be corrected in what I now think is correct.
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Terminology can be altered arbitrarily during technological change, as in “typeface” becoming “font” on the personal computer. You are quite correct about “register”, but since DTP came into use, “registration” rather than “register” has been the output option; most prepress is done on the desktop now, so it is no wonder that contemporary usage has been lead away from the traditional, just because of a menu or dialogue box written by software engineers.
Registration is the process used to get things to register. Both terms are appropriate and have been in use the four decades I have been involved in printing.
Ok here is some Terms that I was taught.. years ago.
Dummy, mock-up, Signature, and Printers Spread.
DUMMY or mock-up - was blank paper folded to resemble the pages. Use to make sure, as you print you’re printing the book as planned.
Depending on the page size and how many pages you were printing up. Pages in quantity of 2 - 4 - 8 - 16 will give you equal amount of SIGNATURES so they are front and back.
2 were front and back.. really no need to make a dummy for this.
4 This is where PRINTERS SPREAD comes into play.
Just for simplicity sake we can use a 16 page book. (fold 2 8 1/2 x 11 sheets in 4ths, then insert one into the other.)
This will give you a DUMMY with 16 pages and 2 SIGNATURES each SIGNATURE has 8 pages 4 pages each side, in PRINTERS SPREAD. You can title the first SIGNATURE, that has pages 7, 10, 6, 11 and then 5, 12, 8, 9, to narrow this down for simple identification of each SIGNATURE, you could call this SIGNATURE “B” then the Signature with 16, 1, 4, 13, and then 3, 14, 2, 15 This could be called Signature A.
If you use this layout for yourself or when consulting a Printing Company. There will be less confusion as to what you really want verses what you might get.
To follow this formula, adding 4 pages to a SIGNATURE or 8 pages to a SIGNATURE Just remember there are front and backs. Write your page number on very edges of the sheet so you can see them when you thumb through your DUMMY or Mock-up.
You can go higher than 32 pages to a SIGNATURE just remember that is 16 pages to a side. 11 x 17 will give you 16 pages to a size, just going to be a small book. Then as the book is stapled or perfect bound the top is trimmed slightly to cut the folded tops.
My suggestion is not to give handwritten items for printing. Not everyone writes perfect and to a trained typesetter Times Roman is easier to follow after 8 or more hours setting type. Then another thing, If it’s done offset, it can help our Text recognition move it and set it faster. Saves you money in the long run. I have printed books in the 6,000 range with 15 SIGNATURES and this process works great to keep track of all and keep it going smoothly.
Back to “registration”: looking through various texts at hand, so far I haven’t found the word used until the mid-1960s. Before that I just find “register” and “registering”. I was way off to think it was a Silicon Valley corruption, but it still does seem to be a definite evolution from earlier usage.
“Registration” is a noun, a verb and even an adjective, allowing its use many ways. Eg
“‘Registration’ is the subject to day, boys and girls of the Composing Room”. And, “Help me to do the registration on this form, please”. Or “Buy my Registration machine, please!”.
“Register” is a verb and a noun, depending on its context, a word with many meanings in the English language; for Printing: a verb, it is the positioning of several forms so as to print a job that has several colours, or, to assist a sheet to be Work&Tumbled/Turned/Twisted/Moved/Backed.
“I’ll lock this form so it’ll register with another form”.
As a noun; “I’ll look up the last time we printed this job in the Jobs Register”!!!!!
“Registering” is a verb, same as Jumping, Singing, Reading.
Eg “look, I’m jumping”.
It can also be an adjective: a Registering Machine.
All these words and their variants have been around for many many centuries, depending on the industry or occupation. Sadly, some of our computer wizards/programmers don’t have good English skills, and we are allowing ourselves to be led astray. A good English English dictionary should be as vital and important to a printer as any other tool.
I use Collins and Oxford dictionaries and the “Authors’ and Printers’ Dictionary” from Oxford Uni Press.
Don’t start me on Participles and Tenses and other shades of the great English language.
By the way, the correct spelling for Registrable is just that, not registerable!
William Amer, Rockley. NSW
OK, well stated, but that also brings up the issue of differing terminology between the US and UK/Australia. The writing in the earlier 20th century in the US is different from the writing in the US today, but it was also distinct from writing elsewhere. I have been looking in US printing texts on presswork (letterpress and lithographic) specifically, and before the ’60s, I have not yet found the word registration used, but rather register and registering. Even the GATF (Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, where such things were researched and developed) refers in the ’50s to “registering systems” that would soon be called registration systems. So is it more a change in the nature of technical writing than changes on the shop floor?
As a hand spiker, I know what the Hell box is. I speculate about the origin of the term. I wonder if it is used in the other English speaking countries. Or in countries with languages other than English.