Glossary of Terms
Click on the Letter of Your Choice
- A transparent sheet placed over originals
or artwork, allowing the designer to write instructions
and\or indicate a second color for placement.
- Acid-free Paper
- Papermade from pulp containing little or
no acid so it resists deterioration from age. Also called
alkaline paper, archival paper, neutral pH paper, permanent
paper and thesis paper.
- Acid Resist
- An acid-proof protective coating
applied to metal plates prior to etching.
- Additive Color
- color produced by light falling onto
a surface, as compared to subtractive color. The additive
primary colors are red, green and blue.
- A4 Paper
- ISO paper size 210 x 297mm used for
- Against the Grain
- At right angles to the grain direction
of the paper being used, as compared to with the grain.
Also called across the grain and cross grain. See also Grain
- Pen-shaped tool that sprays a fine
mist of ink or paint to retouch photos and create continuous-tone
- Any change made by the customer after
copy or artwork has been given to the service bureau, separator
or printer. The change could be in copy, specifications
or both. Also called AA, author alteration and customer
- Anodized Plate
- An offset printing plate having a
treated surface in order to reduce wear for extended use.
- Anti-offset Powder
- Fine powder lightly sprayed over
the printed surface of coated paper as sheets leave a press.
Also called dust, offset powder, powder and spray powder.
- Antique Paper
- Roughest finish offered on offset
- Aqueous Coating
- Coating in a water base and applied
like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the
- All original copy, including type,
photos and illustrations, intended for printing. Also called
- Author’s Alterations (AA’s)
- At the proofing stage, changes that
the client requests to be made concerning original art provided.
AA’s are considered an additional cost to the client usually.
- Back Up
- (1) To print on the second side of
a sheet already printed on one side. (2) To adjust an image
on one side of a sheet so that it aligns back-to-back with
an image on the other side.
- Base Art
- Copy pasted up on the mounting oard
of a mechanical, as compared to overlay art. Also called
- Base Negative
- Negative made by photographing base
- Basic Size
- The standard size of sheets of paper
used to calculate basis weight in the United States and
- Basis Weight
- In the United States and Canada,
the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut
to the basic size. Also called ream weight and substance
weight (sub weight). In countries using ISO paper sizes,
the weight, in grams, of one square meter of paper. Also
called grammage and ream weight.
- Usually in the book arena, but not
exclusively, the joining of leafs or signatures together
with either wire, glue or other means.
- Usually a department within a printing
company responsible for collating, folding and trimming
various printing projects.
- Category of paperboard ranging in
thickness from 15 to 48 points.
- Rubber-coated pad, mounted on a cylinder
of an offset press, that receives the inked image from the
plate and transfers it to the surface to be printed.
- Printing that extends to the edge
of a sheet or page after trimming.
- Blind Folio
- A page number not printed on the
page. (In the book arena, a blank page traditionally does
not print a page number.)
- Blind Image
- Image debossed, embossed or stamped,
but not printed with ink or foil.
- Sticking together of printed sheets
causing damage when the surfaces are separated.
- An enlargement, usually used with
graphic images or photographs
- Prepress photographic proof made
from stripped negatives where all colors show as blue images
on white paper. Because ‘blueline’ is a generic term for
proofs made from a variety of materials having identical
purposes and similar appearances, it may also be called
a blackprint, blue, blueprint, brownline, brownprint, diazo,
dyeline, ozalid, position proof, silverprint, Dylux and
- A description or commentary of an
author or book content positioned on the book jacket.
- Board Paper
- General term for paper over 110#
index, 80# cover or 200 gsm that is commonly used for products
such as file folders, displays and post cards. Also called
- The main text of work not including
- Boiler Plate
- Blocks of repetitive type used and
copied over and over again.
- Bond paper
- Category of paper commonly used for
writing, printing and photocopying. Also called business
paper, communication paper, correspondence paper and writing
- Book Block
- Folded signatures gathered, sewn
and trimmed, but not yet covered.
- Book Paper
- Category of paper suitable for books,
magazines, catalogs, advertising and general printing needs.
Book paper is divided into uncoated paper (also called offset
paper), coated paper (also called art paper, enamel paper,
gloss paper and slick paper) and text paper.
- The decorative design or rule surrounding
matter on a page.
- (1) a repeating registration problem
in the printing stage of production. (2) Customer unhappy
with the results of a printing project and refuses to accept
- Bristol Paper
- General term referring to paper 6
points or thicker with basis weight between 90# and 200#
(200-500 gsm). Used for products such as index cards, file
folders and displays.
- The term used to indicate work printed
on one of a large sheet of paper.
- A photographic print created on bromide
- Broken Carton
- Carton of paper from which some of
the sheets have been sold. Also called less carton.
- The effect produced by dusting wet
ink after printing and using a metallic powder.
- Build a Color
- To overlap two or more screen tints
to create a new color. Such an overlap is called a build,
color build, stacked screen build or tint build.
- Thickness of paper relative to its
- A dot or similar marking to emphasize
- Burst Perfect Bind
- To bind by forcing glue into notches
along the spines of gathered signatures before affixing
a paper cover. Also called burst bind, notch bind and slotted
- Butt Register
- Register where ink colors meet precisely
without overlapping or allowing space between, as compared
to lap register. Also called butt fit and kiss register.
- Buy Out
- To subcontract for a service that
is closely related to the business of the organization.
Also called farm out. Work that is bought out or farmed
out is sometimes called outwork or referred to as being
out of house.
- C1S and C2S
- Abbreviations for coated one side
and coated two sides.
- To make the surface of paper smooth
by pressing it between rollers during manufacturing.
- (1) Thickness of paper or other substrate
expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils or points), pages
per inch (ppi), thousandths of a millimeter (microns) or
pages per centimeter (ppc). (2) Device on a sheetfed press
that detects double sheets or on a binding machine that
detects missing signatures or inserts.
- Camera-ready Copy
- Mechanicals, photographs and art
fully prepared for reproduction according to the technical
requirements of the printing process being used. Also called
finished art and reproduction copy.
- Camera Service
- Business using a process camera to
make photostats, halftones, plates and other elements for
printing. Also called prep service and trade camera service.
- Carbonless Paper
- Paper coated with chemicals that
enable transfer of images from one sheet to another with
pressure from writing or typing.
- Selling unit of paper that may weigh
anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 pounds (9,090 to 45, 454
kilos), depending on which mill or merchant uses the term.
- Selling unit of paper weighing approximately
150 pounds (60 kilos). A carton can contain anywhere from
500 to 5,000 sheets, depending on the size of sheets and
their basis weight.
- Covers and spine that, as a unit,
enclose the pages of a casebound book.
- Case Bind
- To bind using glue to hold signatures
to a case made of binder board covered with fabric, plastic
or leather. Also called cloth bind, edition bind, hard bind
and hard cover.
- Cast-coated Paper
- High gloss, coated paper made by
pressing the paper against a polished, hot, metal drum while
the coating is still wet.
- Catalog Paper
- Coated paper rated #4 or #5 with
basis weight from 35# to 50# (50 to 75 gsm) commonly used
for catalogs and magazines.
- Chain Dot
- (1) Alternate term for elliptical
dot, so called because midtone dots touch at two points,
so look like links in a chain. (2) Generic term for any
midtone dots whose corners touch.
- Chain Lines
- (1) Widely spaced lines in laid paper.
(2) Blemishes on printed images caused by tracking.
- Deterioration of a printed image
caused by ink that absorbs into paper too fast or has long
exposure to sun, and wind making printed images look dusty.
Also called crocking.
- Check Copy
- (1) Production copy of a publication
verified by the customer as printed, finished and bound
correctly. (2) One set of gathered book signatures approved
by the customer as ready for binding.
- Technique of slightly reducing the
size of an image to create a hairline trap or to outline.
Also called shrink and skinny.
- Strength of a color as compared to
how close it seems to neutral gray. Also called depth, intensity,
purity and saturation.
- Close Up
- A mark used to indicate closing space
between characters or words. Usually used in proofing stages.
- Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow
and key (black), the four process colors.
- Coarse Screen
- Halftone screen with ruling of 65,
85 or 100 lines per inch (26, 34 or 40 lines centimeter).
- Coated Paper
- Paper with a coating of clay and
other substances that improves reflectivity and ink holdout.
Mills produce coated paper in the four major categories
cast, gloss, dull and matte.
- To organize printed matter in a specific
order as requested.
- Collating Marks
- Mostly in the book arena, specific
marks on the back of signatures indicating exact position
in the collating stage.
- Color Balance
- Refers to amounts of process colors
that simulate the colors of the original scene or photograph.
- Color Blanks
- Press sheets printed with photos
or illustrations, but without type. Also called shells.
- Color Break
- In multicolor printing, the point,
line or space at which one ink color stops and another begins.
Also called break for color.
- Color Cast
- Unwanted color affecting an entire
image or portion of an image.
- Color Control Bar
- Strip of small blocks of color on
a proof or press sheet to help evaluate features such as
density and dot gain. Also called color bar, color guide
and standard offset color bar.
- Color Correct
- To adjust the relationship among
the process colors to achieve desirable colors.
- Color Curves
- Instructions in computer software
that allow users to change or correct colors. Also called
HLS and HVS tables.
- Color Electronic Prepress System
- Computer, scanner, printer and other
hardware and software designed for image assembly, color
correction, retouching and output onto proofing materials,
film or printing plates. Abbreviated CEPS.
- Color Gamut
- The entire range of hues possible
to reproduce using a specific device, such as a computer
screen, or system, such as four-color process printing.
- Color Key
- Brand name for an overlay color proof.
Sometimes used as a generic term for any overlay color proof.
- Color Model
- Way of categorizing and describing
the infinite array of colors found in nature.
- Color Separation
- (1) Technique of using a camera,
scanner or computer to divide continuous-tone color images
into four halftone negatives. (2) The product resulting
from color separating and subsequent four-color process
printing. Also called separation.
- Color Sequence
- Order in which inks are printed.
Also called laydown sequence and rotation.
- Color Shift
- Change in image color resulting from
changes in register, ink densities or dot gain during four-color
- Color Transparency
- Film (transparent) used as art to
perform color separations.
- Comb Bind
- To bind by inserting the teeth of
a flexible plastic comb through holes punched along the
edge of a stack of paper. Also called plastic bind and GBC
bind (a brand name).
- Commercial Printer
- Printer producing a wide range of
products such as announcements, brochures, posters, booklets,
stationery, business forms, books and magazines. Also called
job printer because each job is different.
- Complementary Flat(s)
- The second or additional flat(s)
used when making composite film or for two or more burns
on one printing plate.
- Composite Art
- Mechanical on which copy for reproduction
in all colors appears on only one surface, not separated
onto overlays. Composite art has a tissue overlay with instructions
that indicate color breaks.
- Composite Film
- Film made by combining images from
two or more pieces of working film onto one film for making
- Composite Proof
- Proof of color separations in position
with graphics and type. Also called final proof, imposition
proof and stripping proof.
- (1) In typography, the assembly of
typographic elements, such as words and paragraphs, into
pages ready for printing. (2) In graphic design, the arrangement
of type, graphics and other elements on the page.
- Comprehensive Dummy
- Simulation of a printed piece complete
with type, graphics and colors. Also called color comprehensive
- To keep paper in the pressroom for
a few hours or days before printing so that its moisture
level and temperature equal that in the pressroom. Also
called cure, mature and season.
- Contact Platemaker
- Device with lights, timing mechanism
and vacuum frame used to make contact prints, duplicate
film, proofs and plates. Also called platemaker and vacuum
- Continuous-tone Copy
- All photographs and those illustrations
having a range of shades not made up of dots, as compared
to line copy or halftones. Abbreviated contone.
- The degree of tones in an image ranging
from highlight to shadow.
- Business that makes products such
as boxes, bags, envelopes and displays.
- Surface or frame on a process camera
that holds copy in position to be photographed.
- Thick paper that protects a publication
and advertises its title. Parts of covers are often described
as follows: Cover 1=outside front; Cover 2=inside front;
Cover 3=inside back, Cover 4=outside back.
- Extent to which ink covers the surface
of a substrate. Ink coverage is usually expressed as light,
medium or heavy.
- Cover Paper
- Category of thick paper used for
products such as posters, menus, folders and covers of paperback
- Coarse cloth embedded in the glue
along the spine of a book to increase strength of binding.
Also called gauze, mull and scrim.
- Phenomenon of middle pages of a folded
signature extending slightly beyond outside pages. Also
called feathering, outpush, push out and thrust. See also
- Crop Marks
- Lines near the edges of an image
indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks
and tic marks.
- Type or art that continues from one
page of a book or magazine across the gutter to the opposite
page. Also called bridge, gutter bleed and gutter jump.
- To dry inks, varnishes or other coatings
after printing to ensure good adhesion and prevent setoff.
- Customer Service Representative
- Employee of a printer, service bureau,
separator or other business who coordinates projects and
keeps customers informed. Abbreviated CSR.
- Circumference of the impression cylinder
of a web press, therefore also the length of the printed
sheet that the press cuts from the roll of paper.
- Cut Sizes
- Paper sizes used with office machines
and small presses.
- Cutting Machine
- A machine that cuts stacks of paper
to desired sizes. The machine can also be used in scoring
- Cutting Die
- Usually a custom ordered item to
trim specific and unusual sized printing projects.
- Abbreviation for hundredweight using
the Roman numeral C=100.
- One of the four process colors. Also
known as process blue.
- Data Compression
- Technique of reducing the amount
of storage required to hold a digital file to reduce the
disk space the file requires and allow it to be processed
or transmitted more quickly.
- To press an image into paper so it
lies below the surface. Also called tool.
- Deckle Edge
- Edge of paper left ragged as it comes
from the papermaking machine instead of being cleanly cut.
Also called feather edge.
- Instrument used to measure density.
Reflection densitometers measure light reflected from paper
and other surfaces; transmission densitometers measure light
transmitted through film and other materials.
- (1) Regarding ink, the relative thickness
of a layer of printed ink. (2) Regarding color, the relative
ability of a color to absorb light reflected from it or
block light passing through it. (3) Regarding paper, the
relative tightness or looseness of fibers.
- Density Range
- Difference between the darkest and
lightest areas of copy. Also called contrast ratio, copy
range and tonal range.
- Desktop Publishing
- Technique of using a personal computer
to design images and pages, and assemble type and graphics,
then using a laser printer or imagesetter to output the
assembled pages onto paper, film or printing plate. Abbreviated
- Device Independent Colors
- Hules identified by wavelength or
by their place in systems such as developed by CIE. ‘Device
independent’ means a color can be described and specified
without regard to whether it is reproduced using ink, projected
light, photographic chemistry or any other method.
- Device for cutting, scoring, stamping,
embossing and debossing.
- Die Cut
- To cut irregular shapes in paper
or paperboard using a die.
- Digital Proofing
- Page proofs produced through electronic
memory transferred onto paper via laser or ink-jet.
- Diffusion Transfer
- Chemical process of reproducing line
copy and making halftone positives ready for paste-up.
- Digital Dot
- Dot created by a computer and printed
out by a laser printer or imagesetter. Digital dots are
uniform in size, as compared to halftone dots that vary
- Direct Digital Color Proof
- Color proof made by a laser, ink
jet printer or other computer-controlled device without
needing to make separation films first. Abbreviated DDCP.
- Dog Ear
- A letter fold at the side of one
of the creases, an indentation occurs.
- Dot Gain
- Phenomenon of halftone dots printing
larger on paper than they are on films or plates, reducing
detail and lowering contrast. Also called dot growth, dot
spread and press gain.
- Dot Size
- Relative size of halftone dots as
compared to dots of the screen ruling being used. There
is no unit of measurement to express dot size. Dots are
too large, too small or correct only in comparison to what
the viewer finds attractive.
- Measure of resolution of input devices
such as scanners, display devices such as monitors, and
output devices such as laser printers, imagesetters and
monitors. Abbreviated DPI. Also called dot pitch.
- Double Black Duotone
- Duotone printed from two halftones,
one shot for highlights and the other shot for midtones
- Double Bump
- To print a single image twice so
it has two layers of ink.
- Double Burn
- To expose film or a plate twice to
different negatives and thus create a composite image.
- Double Density
- A method of recording electronically
(disk, CD, floppy) using a modified frequency to allow more
- Double Dot Halftone
- Halftone double burned onto one plate
from two halftones, one shot for shadows, the second shot
for midtones and highlights.
- Printing defect appearing as blurring
or shadowing of the image. Doubling may be caused by problems
with paper, cylinder alignment, blanket pressures or dirty
- Considered as “dots per square inch,”
a measure of output resolution in relationship to printers,
imagesetters and monitors.
- Sample of inks specified for a job
applied to the substrate specified for a job. Also called
- In the printing arena, to drill a
whole in a printed matter.
- Halftone dots or fine lines eliminated
from highlights by overexposure during camera work.
- Dropout Halftone
- Halftone in which contrast has been
increased by eliminating dots from highlights.
- Dry Back
- Phenomenon of printed ink colors
becoming less dense as the ink dries.
- Dry Offset
- Using metal plates in the printing
process, which are etched to .15mm (.0006 in) creating a
right reading plate, printed on the offset blanket transferring
to paper without the use of water.
- Dry Trap
- To print over dry ink, as compared
to wet trap.
- Dual-purpose Bond Paper
- Bond paper suitable for printing
by either lithography (offset) or xerography (photocopy).
Abbreviated DP bond paper.
- Dull Finish
- Flat (not glossy) finish on coated
paper; slightly smoother than matte. Also called suede finish,
velour finish and velvet finish.
- Simulation of the final product.
Also called mockup.
- Black-and-white photograph reproduced
using two halftone negatives, each shot to emphasize different
tonal values in the original.
- Duplex Paper
- Thick paper made by pasting highlights
together two thinner sheets, usually of different colors.
Also called double-faced paper and two-tone paper.
- Offset press made for quick printing.
- Brand name for photographic paper
used to make blue line proofs. Often used as alternate term
- Electronic Front End (Electronic
- General term referring to a prepress
system based on computers.
- Electronic Image Assembly
- Assembly of a composite image from
portions of other images and/or other page elements using
- Electronic Mechanical
- Mechanical exclusively in electronic
- Electronic Publishing
- (1) Publishing by printing with device,
such as a photocopy machine or ink jet printer, driven by
a computer that can change the image instantly from one
copy to the next. (2) Publishing via output on fax, computer
bulletin board or other electronic medium, as compared to
output on paper.
- To press an image into paper so it
lies above the surface. Also called cameo and tool.
- Casting of light-sensitive chemicals
on papers, films, printing plates and stencils.
- Emulsion Down/Emulsion Up
- Film whose emulsion side faces down
(away from the viewer) or up (toward the viewer) when ready
to make a plate or stencil. Abbreviated ED, EU. Also called
E up/down and face down/face up.
- Encapsulated PostScript file
- Computer file containing both images
and PostScript commands. Abbreviated EPS file.
- End Sheet
- Sheet that attaches the inside pages
of a case bound book to its cover. Also called pastedown
or end papers.
- English Finish
- Smooth finish on uncoated book paper;
smoother than eggshell, rougher than smooth.
- Printing method using a plate, also
called a die, with an image cut into its surface.
- Abbreviation for envelope.
- Encapsulated Post Script, a known
file format usually used to transfer post script information
from one program to another.
- Equivalent Paper
- Paper that is not the brand specified,
but looks, prints and may cost the same. . Also called comparable
- Price that states what a job will
probably cost. Also called bid, quotation and tender.
- The individual performing or creating
- To use chemicals to carve an image
into metal, glass or film.
- Edge of a bound publication opposite
the spine. Also called foredge. Also, an abbreviation for
typeface referring to a family of a general style.
- Fake Duotone
- Halftone in one ink color printed
over screen tint of a second ink color. Also called dummy
duotone, dougraph, duplex halftone, false duotone, flat
tint halftone and halftone with screen.
- Fast Color Inks
- Inks with colors that retain their
density and resist fading as the product is used and washed.
- Feeding Unit
- Component of a printing press that
moves paper into the register unit.
- Felt Finish
- Soft woven pattern in text paper.
- Felt Side
- Side of the paper that was not in
contact with the Fourdrinier wire during papermaking, as
compared to wire side.
- Fifth Color
- Ink color used in addition to the
four needed by four-color process.
- Film Gauge
- Thickness of film. The most common
gauge for graphic arts film is 0.004 inch (0.1 mm).
- Film Laminate
- Thin sheet of plastic bonded to a
printed product for protection or increased gloss.
- Fine Papers
- Papers made specifically for writing
or commercial printing, as compared to coarse papers and
industrial papers. Also called cultural papers and graphic
- Fine Screen
- Screen with ruling of 150 lines per
inch (80 lines per centimeter) or more.
- (1) Surface characteristics of paper.
(2) General term for trimming, folding, binding and all
other post press operations.
- Finished Size
- Size of product after production
is completed, as compared to flat size. Also called trimmed
- Refers to ability of film to be registered
during stripping and assembly. Good fit means that all images
register to other film for the same job.
- Fixed Costs
- Costs that remain the same regardless
of how many pieces are printed. Copyrighting, photography
and design are fixed costs.
- Flat Color
- (1) Any color created by printing
only one ink, as compared to a color created by printing
four-color process. Also called block color and spot color.
(2) color that seems weak or lifeless.
- Flat Plan (Flats)
- Diagram of the flats for a publication
showing imposition and indicating colors.
- Flat Size
- Size of product after printing and
trimming, but before folding, as compared to finished size.
- Method of printing on a web press
using rubber or plastic plates with raised images. Also
called aniline printing because flexographic inks originally
used aniline dyes. Abbreviated flexo.
- To print a sheet completely with
an ink or varnish. flooding with ink is also called painting
- Flush Cover
- Cover trimmed to the same size as
inside pages, as compared to overhang cover. Also called
- Leaf, at the front and back of a
casebound book that is the one side of the end paper not
glued to the case.
- Fogging Back
- Used in making type more legible
by lowering density of an image, while allowing the image
to show through.
- Foil Emboss
- To foil stamp and emboss an image.
Also called heat stamp.
- Foil Stamp
- Method of printing that releases
foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die.
Also called block print, hot foil stamp and stamp.
- A bindery machine dedicated to folding
- Fold Marks
- With printed matter, markings indicating
where a fold is to occur, usually located at the top edges.
- Gatefold sheet bound into a publication,
often used for a map or chart. Also called gatefold and
- Folio (page number)
- The actual page number in a publication.
- Each side of a signature. Also spelled
- Size, style, shape, layout or organization
of a layout or printed product.
- Form bond
- Lightweight bond, easy to perforate,
made for business forms. Also called register bond.
- Form Roller(s)
- Roller(s) that come in contact with
the printing plate, bringing it ink or water.
- For Position Only
- Refers to inexpensive copies of photos
or art used on mechanical to indicate placement and scaling,
but not intended for reproduction. Abbreviated FPO.
- In the case book arena, the binding
process which involves folding, rounding, backing, headbanding
- Trough or container, on a printing
press, that holds fluids such as ink, varnish or water.
Also called duct.
- Fountain Solution
- Mixture of water and chemicals that
dampens a printing plate to prevent ink from adhering to
the nonimage area. Also called dampener solution.
- Four-color Process Printing
- Technique of printing that uses black,
magenta, cyan and yellow to simulate full-color images.
Also called color process printing, full color printing
and process printing.
- Free Sheet
- Paper made from cooked wood fibers
mixed with chemicals and washed free of impurities, as compared
to groundwood paper. Also called woodfree paper.
- French Fold
- A printed sheet, printed one side
only, folded with two right angle folds to form a four page
- Full-range Halftone
- Halftone ranging from 0 percent coverage
in its highlights to 100 percent coverage in its shadows.
- Full-scale Black
- Black separation made to have dots
throughout the entire tonal range of the image, as compared
to half-scale black and skeleton black. Also called full-range
- Galley Proof
- Proof of type from any Source, whether
metal type or photo type. Also called checker and slip proof.
- (1) To halftone or separate more
than one image in only one exposure. (2) To reproduce two
or more different printed products simultaneously on one
sheet of paper during one press run. Also called combination
- Gate Fold
- A sheet that folds where both sides
fold toward the gutter in overlapping layers.
- Signatures assembled next to each
other in the proper sequence for binding, as compared to
nested. Also called stacked.
- Ghost Halftone
- Normal halftone whose density has
been reduced to produce a very faint image.
- (1) Phenomenon of a faint image appearing
on a printed sheet where it was not intended to appear.
Chemical ghosting refers to the transfer of the faint image
from the front of one sheet to the back of another sheet.
Mechanical ghosting refers to the faint image appearing
as a repeat of an image on the same side of the sheet. (2)
Phenomenon of printed image appearing too light because
of ink starvation.
- Mostly in the book arena, gold leafing
the edges of a book.
- Consider the light reflecting on
various objects in the printing industry (e.g., paper, ink,
laminates, UV coating, varnish).
- Gloss Ink
- Ink used and printed on coated stock
(mostly litho and letterpress) such as the ink will dry
- General term used to distinguish
between or among printing papers, but whose specific meaning
depends on context. Grade can refer to the category, class,
rating, finish or brand of paper.
- Graduated Screen Tint
- Screen tint that changes densities
gradually and smoothly, not in distinct steps. Also called
degrade, gradient, ramped screen and vignette.
- Grain Direction
- Predominant direction in which fibers
in paper become aligned during manufacturing. Also called
- Grain Long Paper
- Paper whose fibers run parallel to
the long dimension of the sheet. Also called long grain
paper and narrow web paper.
- Grain Short Paper
- Paper whose fibers run parallel to
the short dimension of the sheet. Also called short grain
paper and wide web paper.
- Basis weight of paper in grams per
square meter (gsm).
- Graphic Arts
- The crafts, industries and professions
related to designing and printing on paper and other substrates.
- Graphic Arts Film
- Film whose emulsion yields high contrast
images suitable for reproduction by a printing press, as
compared to continuous-tone film. Also called litho film
and repro film.
- Graphic Design
- Arrangement of type and visual elements
along with specifications for paper, ink colors and printing
processes that, when combined, convey a visual message.
- Visual elements that supplement type
to make printed messages more clear or interesting.
- Method of printing using metal cylinders
etched with millions of tiny wells that hold ink.
- Gray Balance
- Printed cyan, magenta and yellow
halftone dots that accurately, reproduce a neutral gray
- Gray Component Replacement
- Technique of replacing gray tones
in the yellow, cyan and magenta films, made while color
separating, with black ink. Abbreviated GCR. Also called
achromatic color removal.
- Gray Levels
- Number of distinct gray tones that
can be reproduced by a computer.
- Gray Scale
- Strip of gray values ranging from
white to black. Used by process camera and scanner operators
to calibrate exposure times for film and plates. Also called
- Grind Edge
- Alternate term for binding edge when
referring to perfect bound products.
- Approximately 1/8 inch (3 mm) along
the spine that is ground off gathered signatures before
- Gripper Edge
- Edge of a sheet held by grippers
on a sheetfed press, thus going first through the press.
Also called feeding edge and leading edge.
- Groundwood Paper
- Newsprint and other inexpensive paper
made from pulp created when wood chips are ground mechanically
rather than refined chemically.
- The unit of measurement for paper
weight (grams per square meter).
- In the book arena, the inside margins
toward the back or the binding edges.
- Hairline (Rule)
- Subjective term referring to very
small space, thin line or close register. The meaning depends
on who is using the term and in what circumstances.
- Half-scale Black
- Black separation made to have dots
only in the shadows and midtones, as compared to full-scale
black and skeleton black.
- (1) To photograph or scan a continuous
tone image to convert the image into halftone dots. (2)
A photograph or continuous-tone illustration that has been
halftoned and appears on film, paper, printing plate or
the final printed product.
- Halftone Screen
- Piece of film or glass containing
a grid of lines that breaks light into dots. Also called
contact screen and screen.
- Halo Effect
- Faint shadow sometimes surrounding
halftone dots printed. Also called halation. The halo itself
is also called a fringe.
- Hard Dots
- Halftone dots with no halos or soft
edges, as compared to soft dots.
- Hard Mechanical
- Mechanical consisting of paper and/or
acetate and made using paste-up techniques, as compared
to electronic mechanical.
- At the top of a page, the margin.
- Imposition with heads (tops) of pages
facing tails (bottoms) of other pages.
- Heat-set Web
- Web press equipped with an oven to
dry ink, thus able to print coated paper.
- Spot or imperfection in printing,
most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage, caused by dirt
on the plate or blanket. Also called bulls eye and fish
- High-fidelity Color
- Color reproduced using six, eight
or twelve separations, as compared to four-color process.
- High-key Photo
- Photo whose most important details
appear in the highlights.
- Lightest portions of a photograph
or halftone, as compared to midtones and shadows.
- Hinged Cover
- Perfect bound cover scored 1/8 inch
(3mm) from the spine so it folds at the hinge instead of,
along the edge of the spine.
- Abbreviation for hue, lightness,
saturation, one of the color-control options often found
in software, for design and page assembly. Also called HVS.
- Hot Spot
- Printing defect caused when a piece
of dirt or an air bubble caused incomplete draw-down during
contact platemaking, leaving an area of weak ink coverage
or visible dot gain.
- House Sheet
- Paper kept in stock by a printer
and suitable for a variety of printing jobs. Also called
- A specific color such as yellow or
- Image Area
- The actual area on the printed matter
that is not restricted to ink coverage,
- Laser output device using photosensitive
paper or film.
- Arrangement of pages on mechanicals
or flats so they will appear in proper sequence after press
sheets are folded and bound.
- (1) Referring to an ink color, one
impression equals one press sheet passing once through a
printing unit. (2) Referring to speed of a press, one impression
equals one press sheet passing once through the press.
- Impression Cylinder
- Cylinder, on a press, that pushes
paper against the plate or blanket, thus forming the image.
Also called impression roller.
- To print new copy on a previously
printed sheet, such as imprinting an employee’s name on
business cards. Also called surprint.
- Ink Balance
- Relationship of the densities and
dot gains of process inks to each other and to a standard
density of neutral gray
- Ink Fountain
- Reservoir, on a printing press, that
- Ink Holdout
- Characteristic of paper that prevents
it from absorbing ink, thus allowing ink to dry on the surface
of the paper. Also called holdout.
- Ink Jet Printing
- Method of printing by spraying droplets
of ink through computer-controlled nozzles. Also called
- Inner Form
- Form (side of the press sheet) whose
images all appear inside the folded signature, as compared
to outer form.
- In-Plant Printer
- Department of an agency, business
or association that does printing for a parent organization.
Also called captive printer and in-house printer.
- Within a publication, an additional
item positioned into the publication loose (not bound in).
- Intaglio Printing
- Printing method whose image carriers
are surfaces with two levels, having inked areas lower than
noninked areas. Gravure and engraving are the most common
forms of intaglio. Also called recess printing.
- Integral Proof
- Color proof of separations shown
on one piece of proofing paper, as compared to an overlay
proof. Also called composition proof, laminate proof, plastic
proof and single-sheet proof.
- Printed pages loosely inserted in
- A number assigned to a published
work and usually found either on the title page or the back
of the title page. Considered an International Standard
- Job Lot Paper
- Paper that didn’t meet specifications
when produced, has been discontinued, or for other reasons
is no longer considered first quality.
- Job Number
- A number assigned to a specific printing
project in a printing company for use in tracking and historical
- Job Ticket
- Form used by service bureaus, separators
and printers to specify production schedule of a job and
the materials it needs. Also called docket, production order
and work order.
- A vibration machine with a slopping
platform to even-up stacks of printed materials.
- Abbreviation for black in four-color
process printing. Hence the ‘K’ in CMYK.
- (1) The screw that controls ink flow
from the ink fountain of a printing press. (2) To relate
loose pieces of copy to their positions on a layout or mechanical
using a system of numbers or letters. (3) Alternate term
for the color black, as in ‘key plate.’
- Lines on a mechanical or negative
showing the exact size, shape and location of photographs
or other graphic elements. Also called holding lines.
- Key Negative or Plate
- Negative or plate that prints the
most detail, thus whose image guides the register of images
from other plates. Also called key printer.
- Kiss Die Cut
- To die cut the top layer, but not
the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper. Also called face
- Kiss Impression
- Lightest possible impression that
will transfer ink to a Substrate.
- Kraft Paper
- Strong paper used for wrapping and
to make grocery bags and large envelopes.
- Laid Finish
- Finish on bond or text paper on which
grids of parallel lines simulate the surface of handmade
paper. Laid lines are close together and run against the
grain; chain lines are farther apart and run with the grain.
- A thin transparent plastic sheet
(coating) applied to usually a thick stock (covers, post
cards, etc.) providing protection against liquid and heavy
use, and usually accents existing color, providing a glossy
(or lens) effect.
- Artist style in which width is greater
than height. (Portrait is opposite.)
- Lap Register
- Register where ink colors overlap
slightly, as compared to butt register.
- Laser Bond
- Bond paper made especially smooth
and dry to run well through laser printers.
- Laser-imprintable Ink
- Ink that will not fade or blister
as the paper on which it is printed is used in a laser printer.
- Lay Flat Bind
- Method of perfect binding that allows
a publication to lie fully open. (Also known as Lay Flat
- Lay Edge
- The edge of a sheet of paper feeding
into a press.
- A sample of the original providing
(showing) position of printed work (direction, instructions)
needed and desired.
- Amount of space between lines of
- One sheet of paper in a publication.
Each side of a leaf is one page.
- Ledger Paper
- Strong, smooth bond paper used for
keeping business records. Also called record paper.
- Letter fold
- Two folds creating three panels that
allow a sheet of letterhead to fit a business envelope.
Also called barrel fold and wrap around fold.
- Letter Paper
- In North America, 8 1/2′ x 11′ sheets.
In Europe, A4 sheets.
- Directions about a specific matter
(illustrations) and how to use. In regard to maps and tables,
an explanation of signs (symbols) used.
- Method of printing from raised surfaces,
either metal type or plates whose surfaces have been etched
away from image areas. Also called block printing.
- Lightweight Paper
- Book paper with basis weight less
than 40# (60 gsm).
- Substance in trees that holds cellulose
fibers together. Free sheet has most lignin removed; groundwood
paper contains lignin.
- Line Copy
- Any high-contrast image, including
type, as compared to continuous-tone copy. Also called line
art and line work.
- Line Negative
- Negative made from line copy.
- Linen Finish
- Embossed finish on text paper that
simulates the pattern of linen cloth.
- Method of printing using plates whose
image areas attract ink and whose nonimage areas repel ink.
Nonimage areas may be coated with water to repel the oily
ink or may have a surface, such as silicon, that repels
- Live Area
- Area on a mechanical within which
images will print. Also called safe area.
- Logo (Logotype)
- A company, partnership or corporate
creation (design) that denotes a unique entity. A possible
combination of letters and art work to create a “sole” entity
symbol of that specific unit.
- Binding method allowing insertion
and removal of pages in a publication (e.g., trim-4-drill-3).
- Loose Proof
- Proof of a halftone or color separation
that is not assembled with other elements from a page, as
compared to composite proof. Also called first proof, random
proof, scatter proof and show-color proof.
- Lens built into a small stand. Used
to inspect copy, film, proofs, plates and printing. Also
called glass and linen tester.
- Low Key Photo
- Photo whose most important details
appear in the shadows.
- Machine Glazed (MG)
- Paper holding a high-gloss finish
only on one side.
- One of the four process colors.
- (1) All activities required to prepare
a press or other machine to function for a specific printing
or bindery job, as compared to production run. Also called
setup. (2) Paper used in the makeready process at any stage
in production. Makeready paper is part of waste or spoilage.
- Making Order
- Order for paper that a mill makes
to the customer’s specifications, as compared to a mill
order or stock order.
- Male Die
- Die that applies pressure during
embossing or debossing. Also called force card.
- Manuscript (MS)
- An author’s original form of work
(hand written, typed or on disk) submitted for publication.
- Imprinted space around the edge of
the printed material.
- Instructions written usually on a
- To prevent light from reaching part
of an image, therefore isolating the remaining part. Also
called knock out.
- Paper or plastic plate used on a
- Match Print
- A form of a four-color-process proofing
- Matte Finish
- Flat (not glossy) finish on photographic
paper or coated printing paper.
- Camera-ready assembly of type, graphic
and other copy complete with instructions to the printer.
A hard mechanical consists of paper and/or acetate, is made
using paste-up techniques, and may also be called an artboard,
board or paste-up. A soft mechanical, also called an electronic
mechanical, exists as a file of type and other images assembled
using a computer.
- Mechanical Bind
- To bind using a comb, coil, ring
binder, post or any other technique not requiring gluing,
sewing or stitching.
- Mechanical Separation
- Color breaks made on the mechanical
using a separate overlay for each color to be printed.
- Mechanical Tint
- Lines or patterns formed with dots
creating artwork for reproduction.
- Metallic Ink
- Ink containing powdered metal or
pigments that simulate metal.
- Metallic Paper
- Paper coated with a thin film of
plastic or pigment whose color and gloss simulate metal.
- In a photograph or illustration,
tones created by dots between 30 percent and 70 percent
of coverage, as compared to highlights and shadows.
- Mil 1/1000 Inch
- The thickness of plastic films as
printing substrates are expressed in mils.
- Phenomenon of droplets of ink being
thrown off the roller train. Also called flying ink.
- Mock Up
- A reproduction of the original printed
matter and possibly containing instructions or direction.
- Mostly used over phone lines, a device
that converts electronic stored information from point a.
to point b.
- Undesirable pattern resulting when
halftones and screen tints are made with improperly aligned
screens, or when a pattern in a photo, such as a plaid,
interfaces with a halftone dot pattern.
- Paper size (7′ x 10′) and envelope
shape often used for personal stationery.
- Spotty, uneven ink absorption. Also
called sinkage. A mottled image may be called mealy.
- A specific type of glue used for
books binding and personal pads needing strength.
- Multicolor Printing
- Printing in more than one ink color
(but not four-color process). Also called polychrome printing.
- M Weight
- Weight of 1,000 sheets of paper in
any specific size.
- Natural Color
- Very light brown color of paper.
May also be called antique, cream, ivory, off-white or mellow
- Signatures assembled inside one another
in the proper sequence for binding, as compared to gathered.
Also called inset.
- Neutral Gray
- Gray with no hue or cast.
- News Print
- Paper used in printing newspapers.
Considered low quality and “a short life use.”
- Newton Ring
- Flaw in a photograph or halftone
that looks like a drop of oil or water.
- In the book binding process, a stage
where air is expelled from it’s contents at the sewing stage.
- Nonheatset Web
- Web press without a drying oven,
thus not able to print on coated paper. Also called cold-set
web and open web.
- Nonimpact Printing
- Printing using lasers, ions, ink
jets or heat to transfer images to paper.
- Nonreproducing Blue
- Light blue that does not record on
graphic arts film, therefore may be used to preprint layout
grids and write instructions on mechanicals. Also called
blue pencil, drop-out blue, fade-out blue and nonrepro blue.
- Novelty Printing
- Printing on products such as coasters,
pencils, balloons, golf balls and ashtrays, known as advertising
specialties or premiums.
- Offset Printing
- Printing technique that transfers
ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly
from plate to paper.
- (1) Characteristic of paper or other
substrate that prevents printing on one side from showing
through the other side. (2) Characteristic of ink that prevents
the substrate from showing through.
- Onion Skin
- A specific lightweight type (kind)
of paper usually used in the past for air mail. Seldom used
today (in the typewriter era).
- (1) Not transparent. (2) To cover
flaws in negative with tape or opaquing paint. Also called
block out and spot.
- Open Prepress Interface
- Hardware and software that link desktop
publishing systems with color electronic prepress systems.
- Outer form
- Form (side of a press sheet) containing
images for the first and last pages of the folded signature
(its outside pages) as compared to inner form.
- Outline Halftone
- Halftone in which background has
been removed or replaced to isolate or silhouette the main
image. Also called knockout halftone and silhouette halftone.
- Layer of material taped to a mechanical,
photo or proof. Acetate overlays are used to separate colors
by having some type or art on them instead of on the mounting
board. Tissue overlays are used to carry instructions about
the underlying copy and to protect the base art.
- Overlay Proof
- Color proof consisting of polyester
sheets laid on top of each other with their image in register,
as compared to integral proof. Each sheet represents the
image to be printed in one color. Also called celluloid
proof and layered proof.
- To print one image over a previously
printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint.
Also called surprint.
- Over Run
- Additional printed matter beyond
order. Overage policy varies in the printing industry. Advance
questions avoid blind knowledge.
- One side of a leaf in a publication.
- Page Count
- Total number of pages that a publication
has. Also called extent.
- Page Proof
- Proof of type and graphics as they
will look on the finished page complete with elements such
as headings, rules and folios.
- In the book arena, the numbering
- Painted Sheet
- Sheet printed with ink edge to edge,
as compared to spot color. The painted sheet refers to the
final product, not the press sheet, and means that 100 percent
coverage results from bleeds off all four sides.
- One page of a brochure, such as one
panel of a rack brochure. One panel is on one side of the
paper. A letter-folded sheet has six panels, not three.
- Paper Plate
- A printing plate made of strong and
durable paper in the short run offset arena (cost effective
with short runs).
- Parallel Fold
- Method of folding. Two parallel folds
to a sheet will produce 6 panels.
- Parent Sheet
- Any sheet larger than 11′ x 17′ or
- Chipboard with another paper pasted
- To paste copy to mounting boards
and, if necessary, to overlays so it is assembled into a
camera-ready mechanical. The mechanical produced is often
called a paste-up.
- Proofreader mark meaning printer
error and showing a mistake by a typesetter, prepress service
or printer as compared to an error by the customer.
- Perfect Bind
- To bind sheets that have been ground
at the spine and are held to the cover by glue. Also called
adhesive bind, cut-back bind, glue bind, paper bind, patent
bind, perfecting bind, soft bind and soft cover. See also
Burst Perfect Bind.
- Perfecting Press
- Press capable of printing both sides
of the paper during a single pass. Also called duplex press
- Perf Marks
- On a “dummy” marking where the perforation
is to occur.
- Taking place on a press or a binder
machine, creating a line of small dotted wholes for the
purpose of tearing-off a part of a printed matter (usually
straight lines, vertical or horizontal).
- A unit of measure in the printing
industry. A pica is approximately 0.166 in. There are 12
points to a pica.
- Engraving done using photochemistry.
- Photomechanical Transfer
- Brand name for a diffusion transfer
process used to make positive paper prints of line copy
and halftones. Often used as alternate term for photostat.
- Brand name for a diffusion transfer
process used to make positive paper prints of line copy
and halftones. Often used as alternate term for PMT.
- Phenomenon of ink pulling bits of
coating or fiber away from the surface of paper as it travels
through the press, thus leaving unprinted spots in the image
- Pickup Art
- Artwork, used in a previous job,
to be incorporated in a current job.
- Small holes (unwanted) in printed
areas because of a variety of reasons.
- Pin Register
- Technique of registering separations,
flats and printing plates by using small holes, all of equal
diameter, at the edges of both flats and plates.
- Short for picture element, a dot
made by a computer, scanner or other digital device. Also
- Planographic Printing
- Printing method whose image carriers
are level surfaces with inked areas separated from noninked
areas by chemical means. Planographic printing includes
lithography, offset lithography and spirit duplicating.
- Piece of paper, metal, plastic or
rubber carrying an image to be reproduced using a printing
- (1) In quick printing, a process
camera that makes plates automatically from mechanicals.
(2) In commercial lithography, a machine with a vacuum frame
used to expose plates through film.
- Plate-ready Film
- Stripped negatives or positives fully
prepared for platemaking.
- Pleasing Color
- Color that the customer considers
satisfactory even though it may not precisely match original
samples, scenes or objects.
- Obsolete reference to Pantone Matching
System. The correct trade name of the colors in the Pantone
Matching System is Pantone colors, not PMS Colors.
- Abbreviation for photomechanical
- (1) Regarding paper, a unit of thickness
equating 1/1000 inch. (2) Regarding type, a unit of measure
equaling 1/12 pica and .013875 inch (.351mm).
- An art design in which the height
is greater than the width. (Opposite of Landscape.)
- Position Stat
- Photocopy or PMT of a photo or illustration
made to size and affixed to a mechanical.
- Positive Film
- Film that prevents light from passing
through images, as compared to negative film that allows
light to pass through. Also called knockout film.
- Post Bind
- To bind using a screw and post inserted
through a hole in a pile of loose sheets.
- Camera work, color separations, stripping,
platemaking and other prepress functions performed by the
printer, separator or a service bureau prior to printing.
Also called preparation.
- Prepress Proof
- Any color proof made using ink jet,
toner, dyes or overlays, as compared to a press proof printed
using ink. Also called dry proof and off-press proof.
- To print portions of sheets that
will be used for later imprinting.
- Press Check
- Event at which makeready sheets from
the press are examined before authorizing full production
- Press Proof
- Proof made on press using the plates,
ink and paper specified for the job. Also called strike
off and trial proof.
- Press Time
- (1) Amount of time that one printing
job spends on press, including time required for makeready.
(2) Time of day at which a printing job goes on press.
- Price Break
- Quantity at which unit cost of paper
or printing drops.
- Printer Pairs
- Usually in the book arena, consecutive
pages as they appear on a flat or signature.
- Printer Spreads
- Mechanicals made so they are imposed
for printing, as compared to reader spreads.
- Any process that transfers to paper
or another substrate an image from an original such as a
film negative or positive, electronic memory, stencil, die
- Printing Plate
- Surface carrying an image to be printed.
Quick printing uses paper or plastic plates; letterpress,
engraving and commercial lithography use metal plates; flexography
uses rubber or soft plastic plates. Gravure printing uses
a cylinder. The screen printing is also called a plate.
- Printing Unit
- Assembly of fountain, rollers and
cylinders that will print one ink color. Also called color
station, deck, ink station, printer, station and tower.
- Process Camera
- Camera used to photograph mechanicals
and other camera-ready copy. Also called copy, camera and
graphic arts camera. A small, simple process camera may
be called a stat camera.
- Process Color (Inks)
- The colors used for four-color process
printing: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.
- Production Run
- Press run intended to manufacture
products as specified, as compared to makeready.
- Test sheet made to reveal errors
or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing
job is intended to appear when finished.
- Proofreader Marks
- Standard symbols and abbreviations
used to mark up manuscripts and proofs. Also called correction
- Proportion Scale
- Round device used to calculate percent
that an original image must by reduced or enlarged to yield
a specific reproduction size. Also called percentage wheel,
proportion dial, proportion wheel and scaling wheel.
- Publishing Paper
- Paper made in weights, colors and
surfaces suited to books, magazines, catalogs and free-standing
- Subjective term relating to expectations
by the customer, printer and other professionals associated
with a printing job and whether the job meets those expectations.
- (1) Sheet folded twice, making pages
one-fourth the size of the original sheet. A quarto makes
an 8-page signature. (2) Book made from quarto sheets, traditionally
measuring about 9′ x 12′.
- Quick Printing
- Printing using small sheetfed presses,
called duplicators, using cut sizes of bond and offset paper.
- Price offered by a printer to produce
a specific job.
- Rag Paper
- Stationery or other forms of stock
having a strong percentage content of “cotton rags.”
- Rainbow Fountain
- Technique of putting ink colors next
to each other in the same ink fountain and oscillating the
ink rollers to make the colors merge where they touch, producing
a rainbow effect.
- Raster Image Processor
- Device that translates page description
commands into bitmapped information for an output device
such as a laser printer or imagesetter.
- Reader Spread
- Mechanicals made in two page spreads
as readers would see the pages, as compared to printer spread.
- 500 sheets of paper.
- Recycled Paper
- New paper made entirely or in part
from old paper.
- Reflective Copy
- Products, such as fabrics, illustrations
and photographic prints, viewed by light reflected from
them, as compared to transparent copy. Also called reflex
- To place printing properly with regard
to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet.
Such printing is said to be in register.
- Register Marks
- Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and
film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register.
Also called crossmarks and position marks.
- Relief Printing
- Printing method whose image carriers
are surfaces with two levels having inked areas higher than
noninked areas. Relief printing includes block printing,
flexography and letter press.
- Ability of a device, such as an imagesetter,
to produce film or plates that yield images in register.
- General term for xerography, diazo
and other methods of copying used by designers, engineers,
architects or for general office use.
- Sharpness of an image on film, paper,
computer screen, disc, tape or other medium.
- Resolution Target
- An image, such as the GATF Star Target,
that permits evaluation of resolution on film, proofs or
- Type, graphic or illustration reproduced
by printing ink around its outline, thus allowing the underlying
color or paper to show through and form the image. The image
‘reverses out’ of the ink color. Also called knockout and
- Abbreviation for red, green, blue,
the additive color primaries.
- Right Reading
- Copy that reads correctly in the
language in which it is written. Also describes a photo
whose orientation looks like the original scene, as compared
to a flopped image.
- Rotary Press
- Printing press which passes the substrate
between two rotating cylinders when making an impression.
- Round Back Bind
- To casebind with a rounded (convex)
spine, as compared to flat back bind.
- Ruby Window
- Mask on a mechanical, made with rubylith,
that creates a window on film shot from the mechanical.
- Line used as a graphic element to
separate or organize copy.
- Map or drawing given by a printer
to a stripper showing how a printing job must be imposed
using a specific press and sheet size. Also called press
layout, printer’s layout and ruleout.
- Saddle Stitch
- To bind by stapling sheets together
where they fold at the spine, as compared to side stitch.
Also called pamphlet stitch, saddle wire and stitch bind.
- Satin Finish
- Alternate term for dull finish on
- To identify the percent by which
photographs or art should be enlarged or reduced to achieve,
the correct size for printing.
- Electronic device used to scan an
- To compress paper along a straight
line so it folds more easily and accurately. Also called
- Screen Angles
- Angles at which screens intersect
with the horizontal line of the press sheet. The common
screen angles for separations are black 45 degree, magenta
75 degree, yellow 90 degree and cyan 105 degree.
- Screen Density
- Refers to the percentage of ink coverage
that a screen tint allows to print. Also called screen percentage.
- Screen Printing
- Method of printing by using a squeegee
to force ink through an assembly of mesh fabric and a stencil.
- Screen Ruling
- Number of rows or lines of dots per
inch or centimeter in a screen for making a screen tint
or halftone. Also called line count, ruling, screen frequency,
screen size and screen value.
- Screen Tint
- Color created by dots instead of
solid ink coverage. Also called Benday, fill pattern, screen
tone, shading, tint and tone.
- Selective Binding
- Placing signatures or inserts in
magazines or catalogs according to demographic or geographic
- Self Cover
- Usually in the book arena, a publication
not having a cover stock. A publication only using text
- Self Mailer
- A printed item independent of an
envelope. A printed item capable of travel in the mailing
- Separated Art
- Art with elements that print in the
base color on one surface and elements that print in other
colors on other surfaces. Also called preseparated art.
- Usually in the four-color process
arena, separate film holding qimages of one specific color
per piece of film. Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. Can
also separate specific PMS colors through film.
- Serigraphic Printing
- Printing method whose image carriers
are woven fabric, plastic or metal that allow ink to pass
through some portions and block ink from passing through
other portions. Serigraphic printing includes screen and
- Service Bureau
- Business using imagesetters to make
high resolution printouts of files prepared on microcomputers.
Also called output house and prep service.
- Undesirable transfer of wet ink from
the top of one sheet to the underside of another as they
lie in the delivery stack of a press. Also called offset.
- Hue made darker by the addition of
black, as compared to tint.
- Darkest areas of a photograph or
illustration, as compared to midtones and high-lights.
- Sheetfed Press
- Press that prints sheets of paper,
as compared to a web press.
- Technique of printing one side of
a sheet with one set of plates, then the other side of the
sheet with a set of different plates. Also called work and
- Allowance, made during paste-up or
stripping, to compensate for creep. Creep is the problem;
shingling is the solution. Also called stair stepping and
- Side stitch
- To bind by stapling through sheets
along, one edge, as compared to saddle stitch. Also called
cleat stitch and side wire.
- Printed sheet folded at least once,
possibly many times, to become part of a book, magazine
or other publication.
- Compound mixed with paper or fabric
to make it stiffer and less able to absorb moisture.
- Slip Sheets
- Separate sheets (stock) independent
from the original run positioned between the “printed run”
for a variety of reasons.
- Soft Dots
- Halftones dots with halos.
- Any area of the sheet receiving 100
percent ink coverage, as compared to a screen tint.
- Soy-based Inks
- Inks using vegetable oils instead
of petroleum products as pigment vehicles, thus are easier
on the environment.
- Specially Printer
- Printer whose equipment, supplies,
work flow and marketing is targeted to a particular category
- Complete and precise written description
of features of a printing job such as type size and leading,
paper grade and quantity, printing or binding method. Abbreviated
- Instrument used to measure the index
of refraction of color.
- Specular Highlight
- Highlight area with no printable
dots, thus no detail, as compared to a diffuse highlight.
Also called catchlight and dropout highlight.
- Back or binding edge of a publication
- Spiral Bind
- To bind using a spiral of continuous
wire or plastic looped through holes. Also called coil bind.
- Split Fountain
- Technique of putting ink colors next
to each other in the same ink fountain and printing them
off the same plate. Split fountains keep edges of colors
distinct, as compared to rainbow fountains that blend edges.
- Split Run
- (1) Different images, such as advertisements,
printed in different editions of a publication. (2) Printing
of a book that has some copies bound one way and other copies
bound another way.
- Paper that, due to mistakes or accidents,
must be thrown away instead of delivered printed to the
customer, as compared to waste.
- Spot Color or Varnish
- One ink or varnish applied to portions
of a sheet, as compared to flood or painted sheet.
- (1) Two pages that face each other
and are designed as one visual or production unit. (2) Technique
of slightly enlarging the size of an image to accomplish
a hairline trap with another image. Also called fatty.
- Standard Viewing Conditions
- Background of 60 percent neutral
gray and light that measures 5000 degrees Kelvin the color
of daylight on a bright day. Also called lighting standards.
- Short for photostat, therefore a
general term for an inexpensive photographic print of line
copy or halftone.
- Statistical Process Control
- Method used by printers to ensure
quality and delivery times specified by customers. Abbreviated
- Step and Repeat
- Prepress technique of exposing an
image in a precise, multiple pattern to create a flat or
plate. Images are said to be stepped across the film or
- Stocking Paper
- Popular sizes, weights and colors
of papers available for prompt delivery from a merchant’s
- Stock Order
- Order for paper that a mill or merchant
sends to a printer from inventory at a warehouse, as compared
to a mill order.
- String Score
- Score created by pressing a string
against paper, as compared to scoring using a metal edge.
- To assemble images on film for platemaking.
Stripping involves correcting flaws in film, assembling
pieces of film into flats and ensuring that film and flats
register correctly. Also called film assembly and image
- Substance Weight
- Alternate term for basis weight,
usually referring to bond papers. Also called sub weight.
- Stumping (Blocking)
- In the book arena, hot die, foil
or other means in creating an image on a case bound book.
- Any surface or material on which
printing is done.
- Subtractive Color
- Color produced by light reflected
from a surface, as compared to additive color. Subtractive
color includes hues in color photos and colors created by
inks on paper.
- Subtractive Primary Color
- Yellow, magenta and cyan. In the
graphic arts, these are known as process colors because,
along with black, they are the inks colors used in color-process
- Supercalendered Paper
- Paper calendered using alternating
chrome and fiber rollers to produce a smooth, thin sheet.
Abbreviated SC paper.
- Taking an already printed matter
and re-printing again on the same.
- Swash Book
- A book in a variety of forms, indicating
specific stock in specific colors in a specific thickness.
- Abbreviation for specifications for
web offset publications, specifications recommended for
web printing of publications.
- Using a broadsheet as a measure,
one half of a broadsheet.
- Grade of dense, strong paper used
for products such as badges and file folders.
- Tagged Image File Format
- Computer file format used to store
images from scanners and video devices. Abbreviated TIFF.
- Target Ink Densities
- Densities of the four process inks
as recommended for various printing processes and grades
of paper. See also Total Area Coverage.
- Concerning a printing project’s basic
details in regard to its dimensions. A standard layout.
- Text Paper
- Designation for printing papers with
textured surfaces such as laid or linen. Some mills also
use ‘text’ to refer to any paper they consider top-of-the-line,
whether or not its surface has a texture.
- Method of printing using colorless
resin powder that takes on the color of underlying ink.
Also called raised printing.
- Initial ideas jotted on virtually
anything in regard to initial concept of a future project.
- Screening or adding white to a solid
color for results of lightening that specific color.
- Tip In
- Usually in the book arena, adding
an additional page(s) beyond the normal process (separate
- Tone Compression
- Reduction in the tonal range from
original scene to printed reproduction.
- Total Area Coverage
- Total of the dot percentages of the
process colors in the final film. Abbreviated for TAC. Also
called density of tone, maximum density, shadow saturation,
total dot density and total ink coverage.
- Touch Plate
- Plate that accents or prints a color
that four-color process printing cannot reproduce well enough
or at all. Also called kiss plate.
- Trade Shop
- Service bureau, printer or bindery
working primarily for other graphic arts professionals,
not for the general public.
- Positive photographic image on film
allowing light to pass through. Also called chrome, color
transparency and tranny. Often abbreviated TX.
- To print one ink over another or
to print a coating, such as varnish, over an ink. The first
liquid traps the second liquid. See also Dry Traps and Wet
- Trim Size
- The size of the printed material
in its finished stage (e.g., the finished trim size is 5
1\2 x 8 1\2).
- Uncoated Paper
- Paper that has not been coated with
clay. Also called offset paper.
- Undercolor Addition
- Technique of making color separations
that increases the amount of cyan, magenta or yellow ink
in shadow areas. Abbreviated UCA.
- Undercolor Removal
- Technique of making color separations
such that the amount of cyan, magenta and yellow ink is
reduced in midtone and shadow areas while the amount of
black is increased. Abbreviated UCR.
- Universal Copyright Convention (UCC)
- A system to protect unique work from
reproducing without knowledge from the originator. To qualify,
one must register their work and publish a (c) indicating
- Unsharp Masking
- Technique of adjusting dot size to
make a halftone or separation appear sharper (in better
focus) than the original photo or the first proof. Also
called edge enhancement and peaking.
- Term to indicate multiple copies
of one image printed in one impression on a single sheet.
“Two up” or “three up” means printing the identical piece
twice or three times on each sheet.
- UV Coating
- Liquid applied to a printed sheet,
then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.
- The shade (darkness) or tint (lightness)
of a color. Also called brightness, lightness, shade and
- Liquid applied as a coating for protection
- Vellum Finish
- Somewhat rough, toothy finish.
- Brand name for high-contrast photographic
- Viewing Booth
- Small area or room that is set up
for proper viewing of transparencies, color separations
or press sheets. Also called color booth. See also Standard
- Decorative design or illustration
fade to white.
- Vignette Halftone
- Halftone whose background gradually
and smoothly fades away. Also called degrade.
- Virgin Paper
- Paper made exclusively of pulp from
trees or cotton, as compared to recycled paper.
- Abbreviation for volatile organic
compounds, petroleum substances used as the vehicles for
many printing inks.
- Wash Up
- To clean ink and fountain solutions
from rollers, fountains, screens, and other press components.
- Unusable paper or paper damage during
normal makeready, printing or binding operations, as compared
- Translucent logo in paper created
during manufacturing by slight embossing from a dandy roll
while paper is still approximately 90 percent water.
- Web Break
- Split of the paper as it travels
through a web press, causing operators to rethread the press.
- Web Gain
- Unacceptable stretching of paper
as it passes through the press.
- Web Press
- Press that prints from rolls of paper,
usually cutting it into sheets after printing. Also called
reel-fed press. Web presses come in many sizes, the most
common being mini, half, three quarter (also called 8-pages)
and full (also called 16-pages).
- Wet Trap
- To print ink or varnish over wet
ink, as compared to dry trap.
- (1) In a printed product, a die-cut
hole revealing an image on the sheet behind it. (2) On a
mechanical, an area that has been marked for placement of
a piece of artwork.
- Wire Side
- Side of the paper that rests against
The Fourdrinier wire during papermaking, as compared to
- With the Grain
- Parallel to the grain direction of
the paper being used, as compared to against the grain.
See also Grain Direction.
- Woodfree Paper
- Made with chemical pulp only. Paper
usually classified as calendered or supercalendered.
- Working Film
- Intermediate film that will be copied
to make final film after all corrections are made. Also
- Paper manufactured without visible
wire marks, usually a fine textured paper.
- Wrong Reading
- An image that is backwards when compared
to the original. Also called flopped and reverse reading.