Shipping Alert for Memorial Day Weekend 
All orders placed after 10 AM CST Thursday May 25 will Ship Tuesday May 30. 
In observance of the holiday, our office and customer service team will be off Monday May 30th. 

Glossary of Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


A4 - ISO paper size 210 mm x 297 mm used for letterhead.

AI - Adobe Illustrator's metafile format, which is actually a type of Encapsulated Postscript.

Achromatic - Having no color or hue.

Actinic Light - Light that exposes a coating or emulsion.

Additive Color Theory - The mixture of red, green and blue light, the primary colors of light, to produce white light.

Adhesive Binding - Applying a glue or another, usually hot-melt, substance along the backbone edges of assembled, printed sheets; the book or magazine cover is applied directly on top of the tacky adhesive.

Addressability - In a line of printed digital information the number of positions per unit length, usually per inch, at which successive pixels are placed.

Against the Grain - At right angles to the direction of the grain of the paper.

Airbrush - A function of a color imaging system to add or remove printing ink of any value in a designated picture area.

Aliasing - A “staircase” or jagged effect that occurs when display resolution is too coarse to minimize the broken or crooked appearance of certain electronic design elements. Aliasing is more visually pronounced in diagonal lines, curves and circles.

Alpha Channel - An eight-bit channel reserved by some image-processing applications for masking or retaining additional color information.

Alteration - 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 or customer alteration.

Amberlith - The orange or red acetate material that artists cut into elements or shapes to put on areas of keylines indicating where halftones, tints, etc., are to be positioned. Also called rubylith.

Anilox - This inking system is commonly used in flexographic presses. An elastomer-covered fountain roller runs in the ink pan and is adjustable against a contacting, engraved metering roll. Ink is flooded into the engraved cells of the metering roll, excess is doctored off by the wiping or squeezing action of the fountain roll or a doctor blade, and that which remains beneath the surface of the metering roll is transferred to the printing plates.

Anti-offset Powder - Finely powdered starch sprayed on the printed surface of coated paper as sheets leave the press to prevent wet ink from transferring from the top of one sheet to the bottom of the next sheet.

Aqueous Coating - Water based coating applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the printed surface.

Artifact - A visible defect in an electronic image, caused by limitations in the reproduction process (hardware or software). Aliasing patterns are an example of artifacts.

Artwork - comprehensive. Design produced primarily to give the client an approximate idea of what the printed piece will look like. Alternative terms: comprehensive; comp.

Ascender - The part of a lower case letter which rises above the main body, as in “b” or “d”.

ASCII - Acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange, the international standard codes that are used by most computers to symbolize letters, numbers, punctuation and certain special commands.

Assembling - Collecting individual sheets or signatures into a complete set with pages in proper sequence and alignment. Assembling is followed by binding.

Author’s Proof - Prepublication copy sent to the author for approval. It is returned marked "OK" or "OK with changes."

Return to top ↑


Back Up - In printing; to print the second side of a sheet already printed on one side. In computers; to make a copy of your work on a separate disk in case something happens to the original.

Banding - An electronic prepress term referring to visible steps in shades of a gradient.

Bar Code - A binary coding system using a numerical series and bars of varying thicknesses or positions that can be read by optical character recognition (OCR) equipment. Bar codes are used in printing as tracking devices for jobs and sections of jobs in production.

Basic Size - 25” x 38” for book papers, 20” x 26” for cover papers, 22 fi” x 28 fi” or 22 fi” x 35” for bristols, 25 fi” x 30 fi” for index.

Basis Weight - Weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that grade; example: 500 sheets of 17” x 22” 20 lb. bond paper weighs 20 pounds. In countries using ISO paper sizes the weight, in grams, of one square meter of paper.

Binder’s Creep - The slight but cumulative extension of the edges of each inserted spread or signature beyond the edges of the one that encloses it in a saddle-stitch bind.

Binding - The fastening of the assembled sheets or signatures along one edge of a publication.

Blanket - In offset printing, a rubber-surfaced fabric that is clamped around a cylinder. The image is transferred from the plate to the blanket, and from there, transferred to the paper.

Bleed - Printed image which extends beyond the trim edge of the sheet or page.

Bleed Tab - A bleeding ink square at the edge of a page that functions as a guide for locating specific material.

Blind Image - Image that is debossed, embossed or stamped, but not printed with ink or foil.

Blocking - Sticking together of printed sheets causing damage when the surfaces are separated.

Body - (1)The printed text of a book not including endpapers or covers. (2)The size of type from the top of the ascenders to the bottom of the descenders.

Body Type - Text set in paragraph or block form, as distinguished from heads and display type matter. Alternative term: body matter.

Boilerplate - Standard text that is stored electronically and can be rearranged and combined with fresh information to produce new documents.

Bond Paper - A grade of writing or printing paper where strength, durability and performance are essential requirements; used for letterheads, business forms, etc. The basic size is 17” x 22”.

Book Paper - A general term for coated and uncoated paper. The basic size is 25” x 38”.

Bottling - The process of skewing pages to compensate for paper thickness as it is folded. Primarily used on signatures designed for large web or large sheetfed presses.

Breakacross - A photo or other image that extends across the gutter onto both pages of the spread. Alternative terms: crossover; reader’s spread.

Break for Color - In artwork and composition, to separate the parts to be printed in different colors.

Brick-and-mortar - Located or serving consumers in a physical facility as distinct from providing remote, especially online, services.

Brightness - In paper, the reflectance or brilliance of the paper.

Bristol - Type of board paper used for post cards, business cards and other heavy-use products.

Bronzing - Printing with a sizing ink and then applying bronze powder while still wet to produce a metallic luster.

Buckle Folder - A bindery machine in which two rollers push the sheet between two metal plates, stopping it and causing it to buckle at the entrance to the folder. A third roller working with one of the original rollers uses the buckle to fold the paper.

Bump - Ink applied from a fifth or higher plate in four-color process printing, usually to strengthen a specific color; also referred to as a touchplate.

Butt Register - Register where ink colors meet precisely without overlapping or allowing space between. Also called butt fit and kiss register.

Return to top ↑


CGM - Computer Graphics Metafile, an American National Standards Institute/International Standards Organization metafile format for images of pretty much any kind.

Calender - To make the surface of paper smooth by pressing it between rollers during manufacturing.

Calibrate - To adjust the scale on a measuring instrument such as a densitometer to a standard for specific conditions.

Calibration - A process by which a scanner, monitor or output device is adjusted to provide a more accurate display and reproduction of images.

Caliper - The thickness of paper, usually expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils). Also, a device on a sheetfed press that detects double sheets or on a binding machine that detects missing signatures or inserts.

Callout - A portion of text, usually duplicated from accompanying text, enlarged, and set off in quotes and/or a box to draw attention to what surrounds it.

Camera-Ready - Copy and all other printing elements are ready photography.

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 edition, hard bind or hard cover.

Cast Coated Paper - Paper dried under pressure against a heated, polished cylinder to produce a high-gloss enamel finish.

Centimeter - Metric measurement of length. 2.54 centimeters = 1 inch.

Chalking - Refers to improper drying of ink. Pigments dust off because ink has been absorbed too rapidly into the paper.

Character Generation - Constructing typographic images electronically as a series of dots, lines, or pixels on the screen of a cathode-ray tube (CRT).

Character Recognition -The function of systems that automatically read or recognize typed, printed, or handwritten characters or symbols and convert them to machine language for processing and storing in electronic systems. See also: optical character recognition.

Chill Rolls - On a web offset press, the section located after the drying oven where heatset inks are cooled below their setting temperature.

Choke - A slight size reduction of an opening into which an image will print.

Chopper Fold - Conveying a signature from the first parallel fold in a horizontal plane, spine forward, until it passes under a reciprocating blade that forces it down between folding rollers to complete the fold.

Chroma - The attribute of color that specifies its amount of saturation or strength.

Chrome - A slang term meaning the color transparency used as the original copy.

CIE - International Commission on Illumination. A standards institute most well known in the graphic arts for its work in color space definition.

CMYK - Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four process colors.

Coated Paper - Paper with a coating of clay or other substances that improves reflectivity and ink holdout.

Coating - An unbroken, clear film applied to a substrate in layers to protect and seal it, or to make it glossy.

Collate - In binding, the gathering of sheets or signatures.

Color Balance - Maintaining the ratio of cyan, magenta and yellow ink to produce a picture with the desired color and without an unwanted color cast or color bias.

Color Bars - The color strip on proofs that is used as a guide for the printer in determining the amount and density of ink needed.

Color Cast - Discoloration of an entire image or portion of an image caused by an overabundance of one color.

Color Correction - The deliberate adjustment of one or more colors to achieve a desired result. With inks, process colors are not pure colors; each is contaminated with the other two colors and has a hue error that requires compensation in the separation images.

Color Fidelity - How well a printed piece matches the original.

Color Proof - A visual impression of the expected final reproduction produced on a substrate with inks, pigments or dyes.

Color Reference - A set of process inks printed on standard paper and used for color control.

Color Scanner - An electronic piece of equipment that utilizes a laser or other high intensity light to make color separation negatives from either reflective prints or transparencies.

Color Separations - The four-color negatives or positives which are the result of changing full color photos or art into the four process colors (yellow, magenta, cyan and black) by the use of filters.

Color Sequence - The order in which the four-color process inks are printed on the plate.

Color Specification System - Charts or swatches of preprinted color patches of blended inks, each with a corresponding number, used to allow designers, printers and customers to communicate color with more accuracy.

Colorimeter - An instrument for measuring color the way the eye sees it.

Comb Bind - To bind by inserting the teeth of a flexible plastic comb through holes punched along the edge of a stack of paper.

Combination Folder - A bindery machine or in-line finishing component of a web press that incorporates the characteristic of knife and buckle folders.

Composite Art - Mechanical on which copy for reproduction in all colors appears on only one surface, not separated into overlays. A tissue overlay is used to indicate color breaks.

Composite File - A PostScript file that represents color pages containing picture elements specified in terms of RGB (red, green and blue) color space as opposed to black and white “gray level” pages which represent separations.

Composite Proofs - Single test sheet showing position and color of all elements as stripped up.

Comprehensive - A detailed dummy or sketch of a design, intended to give a clear sense of how the finished piece should look.

Compression - Reducing the size of a file for storage purposes or to enhance the speed of data transfer by eliminating the redundancies and other unnecessary elements from the original. See also: data compression.

Concept Creation - Selecting images and generating and approving ideas from thumbnails and rough layouts during the graphic design process.

Condensed Type - Type whose width has been reduced without affecting its height.

Condition - 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.

Contact Print - A photographic print made from a negative or positive in contact with a sensitized paper, film or printing plate.

Content Proof - A proof that shows the customer the correct text and position of image elements but does not necessarily show accurate color reproduction.

Content Provider -One who owns or is licensed to sell content.

Continuous Tones - Commonly identified as the film for the four colors of a separation before it is broken into dots.

Continuous-Tone Digital Proofing - Producing a proof with reliable color but no halftone pattern (photorealistic) directly from a digital file, usually by inkjet or dye sublimination process, without producing a set of film negatives.

Contrast - The amount of difference between the lightest and the darkest areas in a photo or artwork.

Conventional Dot - A halftone dot with the classic square format: middle tone dots are square, while the extremely small black dots or white openings are round.

Copy - Original job material (paste-ups, film, photos and other graphics) furnished for the print job.

Copyfitting - Adjusting copy to the allotted space, by editing the text or changing the type size and leading.

Coverage - The amount of ink on a page or sheet, usually given in percentages.

Crash - Coarse cloth embedded in the glue along the spine of a book to increase strength of binding.

Creep - The shifting position of the page in a saddle-stitched bind. Creep moves the inside pages or signatures away from the spine.

Crop - To opaque, mask, mark, cut, or trim an illustration or other reproduction to fit a designated area.

Crop Marks - Symbols placed in the margin outside the image area that indicate to the printer and bindery the area to be printed and/or trimmed from the image.

Cropping - (1)Indicating what portion of the copy is to be included in the final reproduction. (2)Trimming unwanted areas of a photograph film or print.

Cross Direction - In paper, the direction across the grain. Paper is weaker and more sensitive to humidity in its cross direction.

Crossover - A reproduction that extends across two facing pages in a book or magazine and crosses over the binding.

Cure - To dry inks, varnishes or other coatings after printing to ensure good adhesion and prevent set-off.

Curl - The distortion of paper due to differences in structure or coatings from one side to the other or from absorption of moisture on the press.

Cutoff - Circumference of the impression cylinder of a web press, therefore, the length of the printed sheet on roll to sheet presses or the length of the repeat pattern on roll to roll presses.

Cyan - One of the three subtractive primary colors used in process printing. It is commonly known as “process blue.”

Cylinder - Part of a system of large rollers on an offset lithography press. The plate cylinder transfers an image onto the blanket cylinder, which is then offset onto a press sheet passing between the blanket and impression cylinders.

Return to top ↑


Data File - Text, graphics, or pictures that are stored electronically as a unit.

Data Shift - In process color printing, it describes a shift in one of the channels of data that comprise the image file and could cause inconsistent color in some areas in the image.

Deboss - To press an image into paper so it lies below the surface.

Deckel Edge - The untrimmed feathery edges of paper formed where the pulp flows against the wire of a paper making machine.

Decompress - To return compressed data to its original size and condition.

Default - A method or value that software will use in processing information unless the computer operator specifies otherwise. For example, a scanning program has default settings for variables like brightness and contrast that apply unless the user requests something else.

Delivery - (1) The section of a printing press that receives, jogs and stacks the printed sheet. (2) The output end of bindery equipment.

Densitometer - 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.

Density - The amount an object absorbs or reflects light is called “density level.” High-density objects absorb or stop light; low-density objects reflect or transmit light.

Descender - The part of a lower case letter which extends below the main body, as in “p”.

Desensitizer - Chemical agent used to make non-image areas of a printing plate repellent to ink.

Desktop Color Separation (DCS) - A color file format that creates five PostScript files, one for each color (CMYK) and a data file about the image.

Desktop Publishing - The creation of fully composed pages with all text and graphics in place on a system that includes a personal computer with a color monitor; word processing, page-makeup, illustration, and other off-the-shelf software; digitized type fonts; a laser printer; and other peripherals, such as an optical image scanner. Completely paginated films are output from an imagesetter.

Desktop Publishing Stripping - Electronic assembly of all elements in final imposition for direct output as composite negative or plate.

Detail Enhancement - The technique of exaggerating picture image edges with unsharp masking or peaking, so the observer can easily see the detail of the original in the final reproduction.

Die - Device for cutting, scoring, stamping, embossing or debossing.

Die Stamping - Printing from lettering or other designs engraved into copper or steel. Also called the intaglio process, it is used for the production of letterheads, business cards, etc.

Diecutting - Using sharp steel rules to cut special shapes from printed sheets. Diecutting can be done on either flatbed or rotary presses.

Digital - Method of representing information in numerical (binary) code. Unlike analog signals, digital ones are either "on" or "off." See also: analog device.

Digital Color Proof - Proof printed directly from computer data to paper or another substrate without creating separation films first. Proof made with computer output device, such as laser or inkjet printer.

Digital Printing - Printing by plateless imaging systems that are imaged by digital data from prepress systems.

Digital Soft Proof - A color video monitor display of a picture file, data file or text file.

Digitize - To convert an image or signal into binary form.

Digitized Information - Text, photographs and illustrations converted into digital signals for input, processing and output in an electronic publishing system.

Dither - To fill the gap between two pixels with another pixel having an average value of the two to minimize the difference or add detail to smooth the result.

Document - (1)Recorded information regardless of physical form or characteristics. Often used interchangeably with record. (2)An individual record or an item of nonrecord materials or of personal papers 2.A collection of information that is processed as a unit.

Document Content - Document Content refers to the substance of the material or information within the document that is intended to be communicated.

Dot - The individual element of a halftone.

Dot Area - The size of the dot is indicated by the percentage of the area it occupies from zero to one hundred percent.

Dot Etching - Applying chemicals by hand to either negatives for increasing dot size which adds color; or, to positives for decreasing dot size which subtracts color.

Dot Gain - The increase in the printing dot size from the halftone film to the printed substrate resulting in darker tones.

Dots Per Inch (DPI) - A unit that describes the resolution of an output device or monitor.

Double Black Duotones - Image created from two halftones, one for highlights and the other for midtones and shadows. Both plates are inked with black for the most contrast.

Double Burn - Utilizing two or more negatives to expose an image on a plate or positive print.

Drawdown - Sample of inks specified for a job applied to the substrate specified for a job.

Drier - A substance added to ink to hasten drying.

Drop Out - The technique that can give a mediocre photo greater contrast by photographically removing some dots to create highlights that show the actual white of the paper.

Drum - The common name for the photoconductive cylinders used on scanners and plotters.

Dryer - A unit on a web press that hardens the heatset ink by evaporating the solvent ingredient in it.

Dummy - A layout showing the size, shape, form and general style of a piece of printing.

Duotone - Two films are made by changing the screen angle for each and one plate is made for each film. A duotone is printed in two colors but both plates can be used for the same color ink for maximum contrast. When using black ink this is called a “double black”.

Duplex Paper - Paper with a different color or finish on each side.

Dynamically-generated pages - Web pages, birthed at the time they are downloaded, often contain up-to-the-second data pulled into a template. Search engine results pages are dynamically generated.

Return to top ↑


EPS - Abbreviation of Encapsulated PostScript. Pronounced as separate letters, EPS is the graphics file format used by the PostScript language. EPS files can be either binary or ASCII. The term EPS usually implies that the file contains a bit-mapped representation of the graphics for display purposes. In contrast, PostScript files include only the PostScript commands for printing the graphic.

Easter egg - A small cartoon, animation, or other feature hidden by a programmer in the code of a game or application and triggered by an arcane sequence of keystrokes or mouse clicks.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) - (1)The communication or transmission of data as electronic messages according to established rules and format s in order to transact business. (2)Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). The computer-to-computer exchange of formatted, transactional information between autonomous organizations. (3)EDI is the exchange of routine business transactions in machine readable format . It covers many areas including, ordering, pricing, quoting, backordering, shipping, receiving, planning purchases as well as invoicing and payments. There are two competing standards : EDIFACT and ASC X12. ASC X12 and EDIFACT consider their format differences to be minor and are pursuing reconciliation.

Electronic Dot Generation - Method of producing halftones electronically on scanners and prepress systems.

Electronic Printing, Black or Spot Color - Technology that reproduces pages in black or black plus spot (highlight) colors directly from a computer file without negatives, plates, etc., typically using electrostatic or electrophotographic processes.

Electronic Printing, Full-color - Technology that reproduces pages in process colors directly from a computer file without negatives, plates, etc., typically using electrostatic or electrophotographic processes.

Electronic Publishing - A configuration of hardware and software used for digital page composition. The term includes desktop publishing and high-end systems.

Electrophotography - Image transfer system used in copiers to produce images using electrostatic forces.

Elliptical Dot - An elongated or oval halftone dot used to minimize the midtone jump in dot gain at the point where dots are large enough to connect.

Emboss - To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface.

Enamel - A term applied to a coated paper or to a coating material on a paper.

Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) - A file format used to transfer PostScript™ image information from one program to another.

Encapsulation - In programming, the process of combining elements to create a new entity. For example, a procedure is a type of encapsulation because it combines a series of computer instructions. Likewise, a complex data type, such as a record or class, relies on encapsulation. Object-oriented programming languages rely heavily on encapsulation to create high-level objects . Encapsulation is closely related to abstraction and information hiding.

End Sheet - Sheet that attaches the inside pages of a case bound book to its cover.

Engraved Cylinder - An image carrier with recessed image areas that are filled with ink, which is then transferred to the substrate. Engraved, or intaglio, cylinders are often used in the gravure process.

Engraving - Printing method using a plate, also called a die, with an image cut into its surface.

Enhanced Multi-color (“High-fidelity”) Printing - Full-color printing using six, seven or more “process” colors instead of the traditional four.

Estimate - A statement of what a print job will probably cost based on specified quantities, materials and labor.

Estimating - The process of determining approximate cost, specifying required quality and quantity, and projecting waste.

Environmentally-friendly Processes - Reduced-chemical, silver-and VOC-free processes for preparation of printed materials.

Etch - To use chemicals to carve an image into plates and film or an acid solution used to desensitize the non-printing areas of the plate.

Exposure - The quantity of light that is allowed to act on a photographic material. The product of the intensity and the duration of the light acting on the emulsions.

Return to top ↑


Face - Edge of a bound publication opposite the spine.

FAQ - Frequently-asked-questions.

Fanout - Distortion of paper on the press due to waviness in the paper caused by absorption of moisture at the edges of the paper, particularly across the grain.

Feeder - The part of the press that separates the sheets of paper and feeds them into position for printing.

Felt Side - The smoother side of the paper.

Fifth Color - Non-process or premixed ink color used in addition to the four process colors.

File - A collection of digital information stored together as a unit on a computer disk or other storage medium and given a unique name, which permits the user to access the information. A file may contain text, images, video, sound, or an application program.

Filler - Inorganic materials like clay, titanium dioxide, calcium carbonate, and other white pigments added to the papermaking finish to improve opacity, brightness, and the overall printing surface.

Fill-up - Occurs when ink fills the area between the halftone dots or plugs of the type.

Fine Paper - Paper made specifically for writing or commercial printing, as opposed to coarse paper and industrial paper.

Fingerprint - To test a printing press to determine its exact printing characteristics, such as its dot gain, ink density and trapping, for the purpose of customizing color separations for those printing conditions.

Finish - General term for trimming, folding, binding and all other post-press operations. Also refers to the surface characteristics of paper.

Flat - The assembled composite of negatives or positives ready for platemaking. Also, a term used to describe a photograph that is lacking in contrast.

Flat Colors - Colors and tints that are not formulated from standard process colors. Also, color that seems weak or lifeless.

Flexography - A printing process that uses a raised surface of flexible rubber or photopolymer printing plate mounted on a rotary drum and thin, fast-drying inks to print on almost any roll stock.

Flop - Reversing a transparency or negative so that what was on the right side is now on the left.

Flush Cover - A cover trimmed to the same size as the inside text pages.

Fly Leaf - The half of the end sheets not glued to the front and back covers of a case bound book.

Flying Paster - An automatic pasting device that splices a new roll of paper onto an expiring roll without stopping the web press.

Foil Stamp - To press a heated die onto a sheet of foil, releasing the foil from its backing and adhering it to a substrate.

Folio - In typesetting, the typeset page number. Right hand pages contain the odd number folios.

Fold - Bending and creasing a sheet of paper as required to form a printed product.

Font - A complete set of type characters in one typeface and type size.

Foot - The bottom of a page or book.

Foot Margin (also tail margin) - The distance between the bottom edge of the body of type (text) on a page and the bottom edge of the trimmed page.

Format - (1)The sequential organization of data in terms of its components. Also: A specific arrangement of data. (2)a.The shape, size, style, and general makeup of a particular record. (2)b.In electronic records , the arrangement of data for computer input or output, such as the number and size of data fields in a logical record or the spacing and letter size used in a document . Also called layout. See also FILE LAYOUT, RECORD LAYOUT. (2)c.In microform records, the placement of microimage s within a given microform (image arrangement) or the arrangement of images in relation to the edges of the film (image orientation).

Form - Each side of a signature.

Form Roller - A roller which comes in contact with the printing plate, bringing it water or ink.

For Position Only (FPO) - Refers to inferior quality copies of photos or art used on mechanicals to indicate placement and scaling, but not intended for reproduction.

Fountain Solution - A mixture of water and chemicals that dampens a printing plate to prevent ink from adhering to the non-image areas.

Four-color Process - Use of cyan, magenta, yellow and black to create a full color image.

Free Sheet - Paper made from cooked wood fibers mixed with chemicals and washed free of impurities.

Frequency - The lines per inch (lpi) in a halftone screen.

Frequency-modulated Screening - See stochastic screening.

FTP - File Transfer Protocol is the language computers speak to transfer files between systems over the Internet.

Full-scale Black - A black printer separation that prints dots in every part of the picture, from the highlight to the shadow. Also called full-range black.

Fuzz - Fibers projecting from the surface of a sheet of paper.

Return to top ↑


Galley Proof - A printout of text used for proofreading before final page assembly.

Gang - To halftone or separate more than one image in only one exposure. Also to print two or more finished products on the same sheet during one press run.

Gapless Press - A web press with special blanket cylinders that, with each rotation, allow more printing per square inch. This larger print space plus a shorter cutoff point can save a significant amount of paper on large runs.

Gather - To assemble folded signatures in proper sequence.

Gear Streaks - Parallel streaks appearing across the printed sheet at the same interval as the gear teeth on the cylinder.

Ghosting - Phenomenon on a faint image on a printed sheet where it was not intended to appear.

GIF - The Graphic Interchange Format is a compression format for images. Pictures and graphics you see on Web pages are usually in GIF format because the files are small and download quickly.

Gradation - The relationship of the tonal values of an image to its intermediate films and reproduction as well as magnetic or optical representation. It may also refer to the tonal values within the picture.

Grain - The direction in which most fibers are aligned.

Grammage - The metric basis weight of paper. Weight is expressed in grams per square meter.

Gravure - The process of printing from cylinders that contain cells that hold the ink for transfer to the substrate. In gravure color printing, each succeeding color is printed on a dry color, rather than one still wet as in letterpress and offset lithography.

Gray Balance - The proper amount of cyan, magenta and yellow printing to produce a gray scale with no apparent dominant hue.

Gray Component Replacement (GCR) - A color separation process that uses the black printer for the neutral gray portion of any color. Instead of mixing cyan, magenta and yellow to produce those grays, they are replaced with black ink. GCR deepens the shadows in an image that lacks depth. GCR completely replaces the grays with process black, unlike UCR which reduces process colors in the neutral grays and adds black.

Gray Stabilization - Ability to maintain neutral gray balance during a color reproduction. The use of GCR helps to stabilize neutrals.

Gripper Edge - The leading edge of a sheet which is held by the grippers.

Gripper Margin - The unprintable area of the paper where it is gripped as it passes through a printing press. Usually measures a half inch or less.

Grippers - Metal fingers that clamp onto the paper and control its flow as it passes through the press.

Gutter - The inside margin of a bound page.

Return to top ↑


Hairline Register - Register within plus or minus one-half row of dots.

Halftone - An image composed of tiny dots whose variations in size create the illusion of variations in tone. Traditionally, a halftone screen was used to convert a continuous tone image into a halftone; such screening is currently done electronically.

Halftone-based Digital Proofing - Producing a proof with reliable color and halftone pattern directly from a digital file, usually by electronic process, without producing a set of film negatives.

Hard Copy - A printed paper copy of output in readable form. It is also a transparency film or photograph of an image displayed on the monitor.

Hard Proof - A color proof made on a substrate from production films or on a substrate directly from the stored pixel data. The latter is usually referred to as a digital hard proof, and a video proof as a digital soft proof.

Head - The top of a page or book.

Heatset - Web printing process whereby non-absorbent paper goes through the press and the ink is dried by heat.

Hickey - Spot on a printed sheet usually due to dust, lint or bits of paper.

Highlight - The lightest area of a photograph that has the smallest or fewest dots when made into a halftone.

HLS/HSV - Abbreviations for hue, lightness and saturation and hue saturation and value. These are different names for the same color-control options found in most desktop software.

Holdout - A property of coated paper with low ink absorption which allows ink to set on the surface with high gloss. Too much holdout can cause ink to rub off or mark the next sheet.

Hot Spot - Printing defect caused when a piece of dirt or an air bubble caused incomplete drawdown during contact platemaking, leaving an area of weak ink coverage or visible dot gain.

Hue - The attribute of color that designates its dominant wave length and distinguishes it from other colors.

Return to top ↑


Image - The digitized representation of a graphic element (photograph, painting, film) bitmapped in computer memory for display on a video monitor for output in paper or film form.

Image Area - On a lithographic printing plate, the area that has been specially treated to receive ink and repel water.

Image Capture - The process of converting photographs or other artwork into digital data so that they can be used in computer-based layouts.

Image Carrier - The device on a printing press that carries an inked image either to an intermediate rubber blanket or directly to the paper or other printing substrate. A direct-printing letterpress form, a lithographic plate, a gravure cylinder and a screen used in screen printing are examples of image carriers.

Image Processing - The alteration or manipulation of images that have been scanned or captured by a digital recording device. Can be used to modify or improve the image by changing its size, color, contrast, and brightness, or to compare and analyze images for characteristics that the human eye could not perceive unaided. This ability to perceive minute variations in color, shape, and relationship has opened up many application s for image processing.

Imagesetter - A high-resolution laser output device that writes data on photosensitive paper or film. The data is processed by a RIP and can record halftones and line images as well as type.

Imposition - The process of placing graphics into predetermined positions on a press-size sheet of paper. Page layout is the process of defining where repeating elements such as headlines, text, and folios (page numbers) will appear on multiple pages throughout a document, while imposition can be thought of as defining where these completed pages will appear on much larger sheets of paper.

Imposition, Head-to-Head - Arranging pages on a form during stripping so that the top of one page is located adjacent to the top of the opposite page.

Imposition Layout - A guide that indicates how images should be assembled on the sheet to meet press, folding, and bindery requirements.

Impression - One sheet passing once through the press.

Impression Cylinder - The hard metal cylinder that presses the paper against the inked blanket cylinder, transferring the inked image to the substrate. The impression cylinder on most sheetfed presses uses paper grippers to hold the sheet through its rotation.

Imprinting - To print new copy on a previously printed sheet, such as imprinting an employee’s name on business cards.

Indexed Color Images - An image where each pixel value is used as an index to a palette for interpretation before it can be displayed. Such images must, therefore, contain a palette which has been initialized specifically for a given image. The pixel values are usually 8-bit and the palette 24-bit (8-red, 8-green, and 8-blue). See also eight-bit image.

Infeed - (1) The section of a sheetfed press where the sheet is transferred from the registering devices of the feedboard to the first impression cylinder. (2) The set of rollers controlling web tension ahead of the first unit on a web press.

In-line - Components of a system arranged in a logical production sequence and in such a way that materials are automatically fed to the next component. An example would be a coating tower on a press to apply the lacquer or UV coating on the same pass as the color.

Indirect Screen - The process of first separating a photo or artwork into the four process colors by creating continuous tones. The dots are then added using an additional process.

Ink - A printing ink is a dispersion of a colored solid (pigment) in a liquid, specially formulated to reproduce an image on a substrate.

Ink Balance - Relationship of the densities and dot gain of process inks to each other and to a standard density of neutral gray.

Inking System - The section of a lithographic press that controls the distribution of ink to the plate.

Ink Jet - A method of printing images using jets that squirt minuscule drops of ink onto a variety of surfaces.

Inplant - A department or division of a company that usually does printing for only that company.

Insert - A printed piece prepared for insertion into a publication or another printed piece.

Intaglio - Method of printing in which the image is etched below the non-printing surface. Gravure and engraving are the most common forms.

Intensity - The measurement of color from dull to brilliant.

ISO - International Standards Organization.

Return to top ↑


JPG - Joint Pictures Expert Group. The committee which set standards for a file format for graphics. The

JPEG file format is a compressed format, with some loss of quality during compression. A popular web format do to the generally small size of pictures. File formats of .jpg, .jpeg, and .jpe.

JDF - JDF is a comprehensive XML-based file format/proposed industry standard for end-to-end job ticket specifications combined with a message description standard and message interchange protocol. JDF is designed to streamline information exchange between different applications and systems. JDF is intended to enable the entire industry, including media, design, graphic arts, on demand and e-commerce companies to implement and work with individual workflow solutions. JDF will allow integration of heterogeneous products from diverse vendors to seamless workflow solutions. Basic Idea upon which JDF is based: To develop an open, extensible, XML-based job ticket standard, as well as mechanism that provides new business opportunities for all individuals and companies involved in the process of creating, managing and producing published documents in the new economy. Building on existing technologies of CIP3’s PPF and Adobe’s PJTF, the Job Definition Format supplies a means for printing businesses to streamline the process of producing printed material. The most prominent features of JDF are: (1)Ability to carry a print job from genesis through completion. This includes a detailed description of the creative, prepress, press, postpress and delivery processes. (2)Ability to bridge the communication gap between production and Management Information Services. This ability enables instantaneous job and device tracking as well as detailed pre- and post calculation of jobs in the graphic arts. (3)Ability to bridge the gap between the customer’s view of product and the manufacturing process by defining a process independent product view as well as a process dependent production view of a print job. (4)Ability to define and track any user defined workflow without constraints on the supported workflow models. This includes serial, parallel, overlapping and iterative processing in arbitrary combinations and over distributed locations. (5)Ability to do so (1,2,3&4) under nearly any precondition.

Job Specifications - A detailed description of the requirements of a print job.

Job Ticket - Form used by service bureaus, separators and printers to specify the production schedule of a job and the materials needed.

Jog - To align the edges of a pile of paper by hitting or shaking against a flat surface.

Return to top ↑


K - Abbreviation for black in four-color process printing.

Kiss Cut - To die cut the top layer but not the backing of self-adhesive paper.

Kiss Impression - Lightest possible impression that will transfer ink to a substrate.

Knife - In folding machines, the three or four blades at different levels and at right angles to each other that force the paper between the folding rollers. The sheet of paper is pushed from one knife folding mechanism to the other until the desired number of folds have been made.

Knock Out - To clear an area of absolutely every printing dot; or to outline an image and drop out all dots surrounding it.

Return to top ↑


Lacquer - A clear resin/solvent coating, usually glossy, applied to a printed sheet for protection or appearance.

Laminate - To bond a plastic film by heat and pressure to a printed sheet for protection and appearance.

Lap Register - Register where ink colors overlap slightly.

Layout - A drawing that gives the general appearance of the finished piece and usually indicates the relationship between illustrations and copy.

Leading - (ledd-ing) The linespace, or white space, between lines of copy measured in points.

Leaf - One sheet of paper in a publication. Each side of a leaf is one page.

Letterpress - A method of printing where the wrong-reading raised surface of a printing plate is inked and impressed directly onto the paper. There are four types of letterpress presses; platen, flatbed cylinder, rotary and belt.

Line Copy - High contrast images or type without shading which do not require halftone screening.

Lithography - Method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose non-image areas repel ink. The images are first printed onto a rubber blanket and then offset to paper.

Live Matter - The vital parts or elements of a printed piece which must not be trimmed off.

Loupe - Lens built into a small stand. Used to inspect copy, film, proofs, plates and printing.

Return to top ↑


M - The abbreviation for magenta in the four-color process. Also the abbreviation for “one thousand”.

MNG - (pronounced "ming") The proposed Multiple Network Graphics format is a multi-image extension of the existing PNG format.

Magenta - One of the three subtractive primary colors of process printing. It is commonly called “process red.”

Makegood - The rerun of an ad or printed piece by a publisher or printer because of their error.

Makeready - The process of setting up and adjusting a printing press for a particular ink, paper and set of printing conditions prior to a press run. Also, the paper used during these adjustments.

Margin - The blank space around the image area of a page, also referred to as a gutter.

Mask - An opaque overlay placed over any part of a photo or separation negative that should not be exposed to light.

Master - To etch pits (tracks) into the Glass Master (acts like a negative) from which a CD-ROM “stamper” is made.

Mechanical - Complete pages, with text, line art and crop marks in position, ready to be photographed or output to film.

Mechanical Binding - Clasping individual sheets together with plastic, small wire, or metal rings. Two examples are three-ring binding and spiral binding.

Metameric Colors - Colors that can change their perceived hue depending on the different lighting conditions.

Metric System - A decimal system adopted by most countries for solid, liquid and distance measurements.

Midtone - The tonal values of an image that fall midway between the highlight and shadow dots.

Misregister - Printed images that are incorrectly positioned, either in reference to each other or to the sheet’s edges.

Modeling - The apparent detail in a picture indicating that the objects are three dimensional; having surface texture or relief such as the ripple on an orange peel or the texture of a woven fabric.

Moire - Objectionable patterns that appear at regular frequencies when two or more screen patterns are placed over one another. May be caused by misalignment, incorrect screen angles, slipping or slurring.

Mottle - Spotty or speckled printing.

Mount - To fasten the plate or blanket to an offset press.

Moveable Type - The individual metal or wooden type characters that are taken from the typecase, arranged to form words and sentences, and then returned to the case for reuse later.

Return to top ↑


Negative - The film image of a completed page from which plates will be burned. The light and dark parts of the image are tonally revised from the original copy.

Neutral Gray - Any level of gray from white to black with no apparent color cast or hue.

Non-heatset - Web printing process whereby porous paper goes through the press and the ink dries naturally.

Non-image Area - The portion of a lithographic printing plate that is treated to accept water and repel ink when the plate is on the press. Only the ink-receptive areas will print an image.

Non-impact Printing - A printing device that creates letters or images on a substrate without striking it. Large, high-speed and ordinary office photocopiers as well as laser and ink-jet printers are some examples.

Non-reproducible Colors - Certain colors in nature and photography cannot be reproduced using process inks. An example of non-reproducible color is a very dark, deep, rich, wine red.

Return to top ↑


Oblong - A booklet or catalog bound along the shorter dimension.

Off-press Proof - A color proof that is similar in appearance to the finished printed product but is made without the aid of a printing press.

Offset Printing - Usually refers to offset lithography. The image prints by transferring ink from a flat plate or cylinder to a rubber blanket that deposits the ink onto the substrate instead of directly from plate to paper.

One-up - Having only one image of each item (see two-up).

Opacity - Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents print on one side from showing through to the other side. Also, the characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.

Opaque - To paint out the portions of a negative that are not wanted on the plate.

Optical Centering - Positioning material a little above center when it is desired to make it appear centered with respect to top and bottom.

Optical Gain - An effect caused by printing on a rough-surfaced paper in which halftone dots appear larger than actual size, resulting in image degradation.

Orthochromatic - A term applied to photographic materials that are sensitive to green, blue and ultraviolet light.

Outline Halftone - A photo reproduction in which the background around the primary subject has been removed.

Overlay - A tissue over the base keyline for writing corrections and instructions such as indicating color breaks.

Overlay Proof - Color proof which simulates the appearance of the printed piece. It consists of sheets of film dyed or pigmented with the color and image of each plate to be used in the print run. The film is stacked so it is in register and in the order the inks will be printed.

Overprint - To print over an area that has previously been printed.

Overrun - Copies printed and/or bound in excess of the specified quantity.

Oxidation - Combining oxygen with the drying oil in a printing ink to promote a slow chemical reaction that produces a dry ink film.

Return to top ↑


PS - Adobe Systems Postscript isn't an image format, per se - it's a page description language, originally conceived so computers could send very accurate page descriptions to the then new high resolution laser printers. You can save black and white or even color pictures as Postscript, but you'll end up with a very large file. Postscript is not a very efficient format, but its advantage is all plain text - you can modify a Postscript file with any text editor, if you know what you're doing. PSD Adobe Photoshop's native format, which stores all of its layer and selection and miscellaneous other image data.

Packing - Paper used to underlay the image or impression cylinder in letterpress or the plate or blanket in lithography to get the proper squeeze and pressure for printing.

Page - One side of a leaf in a publication.

Page Layout Software - Computer programs used to assemble type and images into page form.

Page Makeup - The assembly of all elements to make up a page.

Pagination - Numbering pages in order. Also, the process of performing page makeup on a computer.

Palette - The collection of colors or shades available or used in a project, graphic system or program.

Panel - One page of a brochure on one side of the paper. A letter folded sheet has six panels.

Parallel Fold - A folding succession in which all folds are made parallel with each other.

Paste-up - Placing graphics and text in a mechanical either manually or electronically.

PDF - Portable document format. A computer file format that preserves a printed or electronic document’s original layout, type fonts and graphics as one unit for electronic transfer and viewing. The recipient uses compatible “reader” software to access and even print the PDF file.

Perfect Binding - Signatures that are folded and collated on top of one another, as opposed to saddle-stitch binding in which the signatures are folded inside one another.

Perfecting Press - Press that prints on both sides of the paper during a single pass.

Perforating - Punching a row of small hole or incisions into or through a sheet of paper to permit part of it to be detached; to guide in folding; to allow air to escape from signatures; or to prevent wrinkling when folding heavy papers.

Phototypesetting - Setting type directly on film or photosensitive paper for reproduction.

Pica - Unit of measure commonly used in typesetting and design. A pica is one-sixth of an inch.

Picking - The lifting of the paper surface during printing, leaving unprinted spots in image areas. This occurs when the pulling force (tack) of the ink is greater than the surface strength of the paper.

Pickup Art - Artwork from a previous job incorporated into a current job.

Pigment - The fine, solid particles used to give color, transparency or opacity to ink.

Piling - The building up or caking of ink on rollers, plates or blankets which will not transfer readily

Pinholes - Tiny areas that are not covered by ink.

Pixel - Abbreviation for picture element. The separate elements of a bitmapped image on a video monitor.

Pixel Interleave - System of organizing color data within a computer pixel-by-pixel (i.e., a pixel of yellow, a pixel of magenta, a pixel of cyan, a pixel of black, etc.). See also: pixel.

Pixel Swopping - A CEPS technique to exchange pixels from one area of a picture for pixels in another area. Example: a window may be removed from a brick building if one area of the brick wall is placed in that area of the picture. Using this technique, blemishes can be removed and objects can be added to the reproduction.

Pixelization - A technique used to represent areas of complex detail as relatively large square or rectangular blocks of discrete, uniform colors or tones.

Plate - Piece of paper, metal, plastic or rubber carrying an image to be reproduced using a printing press.

Plate Cylinder - In lithography, the cylinder that holds the printing plate tightly and in register on press. It places the plate in contact with the dampening rollers that wet the nonimage area and the inking rollers that ink the image area, then transfers the inked image to the blanket, which is held on its own cylinder.

Platemaking - Preparing a printing plate or other image carrier so that it is ready for the press.

Platesetters - A device that images printing plates directly from digital image data; no film or any analog processes are required.

Platform - (1)A computer hardware usually incorporating a specific operating system. (2)The underlying hardware or software for a system. For example, the platform might be an Intel 80486 processor running DOS Version 6.0. The platform could also be UNIX machines on an Ethernet network. The platform defines a standard around which a system can be developed. Once the platform has been defined, software developers can produce appropriate software and managers can purchase appropriate hardware and applications. The term is often used as a synonym of operating system. The term cross-platform refers to applications, formats, or devices that work on different platforms. For example, a cross-platform programming environment enables a program mer to develop programs for many platforms.

PMS - Acronym for Pantone Matching System, a set of preprinted color patches used to choose and communicate color so exact matches can be obtained.

Point - Unit of measurement commonly used to specify type sizes. There are 12 points in a pica and 72 points in an inch.

Point-and-Click Access - Use of graphical-user-interface (GUI) software and a mouse to execute computer commands.

POP - Point of Presence, terminology for local access to a network or telecom service. Also point of purchase.

Porosity - The property of paper that allows the permeation of air, an important factor in ink penetration.

Port - The connecting point between an electronic device and the equipment that transfers data to the rest of the system.

Position Proof - A color proof that is made to verify that all the elements of the reproduction (text, graphics and pictures) are in the correct position and are in register with each other.

Positive - A reproduction which is exactly like the original.

Post Bind - To bind using a screw and post inserted though a hole in a pile of loose sheets.

PostScript - Adobe Systems, Inc. tradename for a page description language that enables imagesetters and other output devices developed by different companies to interpret electronic files from any number of personal computers ("front ends") and off-the-shelf software programs.

PostScript, encapsulated - A file format used to transfer PostScript™ image information from one program to another.

Postpress - The final stages in the printing process in which printed sheets are transformed into saleable products, including binding, finishing and delivery.

Preflighting - An orderly procedure using a checklist to verify that all components of an electronic file are present and correct prior to submitting the document for high-resolution output.

Premakeready - The stage prior to printing in which all production specs are examined, necessary materials are brought to the press, and materials are checked for damage.

Prepress - Camera work, color separating, stripping, platemaking and other functions performed by the printer, separator or service bureau prior to the actual printing.

Prepress Proof - Any color proof made using ink jet, toner, dyes or overlays.

Press Check - When a customer is at the printing press as the press begins to print his or her job, in order to approve the job as it is printed. A press check can last a few minutes or several days, depending on the size of the job.

Press Proof - A proof made on press using the ink and paper specified for the job.

Press Run - The actual running of the press to print the job following makeready. Also, the number of copies of a publication printed.

Presswork - All operations performed on or by a printing press that lead to the transfer of inked images from the image carrier to the paper or other substrate.

Price Break - Quantity at which unit cost of paper or printing drops.

Primary Colors - The colorants of a system used to reproduce the colors for the entire reproduction. Cyan, magenta and yellow are subtractive primary colors while red, green and blue are additive primary colors.

Printer Control Language - (PCL) the page description language (PDL) developed by Hewlett Packard and used in many of their laser and ink-jet printers. PCL 5 and later versions support a scalable font technology called Intellifont.

Printer’s Spread - Two facing pages in the order they will be printed, e.g. pages 1 and 4 and also 2 and 3 will be keylined together for a four-page brochure.

Print Quality - The degree to which the appearance and other properties of a print job approach the desired result.

Printing - Any process that transfers to paper or another substrate an image from an original such as film, electronic memory, stencil, die or plate.

Printing Plates - A thin metal, plastic or paper sheet that serves as the image carrier in many printing processes.

Printing Unit - The sections on printing presses that house the components for reproducing an image on the substrate. In lithography, a printing unit includes the inking and dampening systems and the plate, blanket and impression cylinders.

Process Colors - The three colors (cyan, magenta and yellow) plus black that are used in full-color printing.

Process Color Separation - A consequence of the offset lithographic process. In order to print full-color images, it is necessary to prepare four separate files for each of the process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). When the colors are overprinted, they combine to render a wide range of color. CMYK produces the widest range of color with the fewest inks when printing.

Process Control - A system using feedback to monitor and manage a certain procedure, input and output data are tabulated according to specific formulas and compared with certain standards and limits; the process is then adjusted as necessary.

Process Inks - The ink colors of cyan, magenta and yellow used to print color reproductions.

Process Photography - (1) Creating line and halftone images for photomechanical reproduction. (2) The equipment, materials and methods used in preparing color-separated printing forms for color reproduction.

Progressive Proof - A set of proofs made with ink on paper from the actual plates to show the sequence of printing and the result after each additional color is applied. Also called progs.

Proof - A prototype of an image that is supposed to show how it will appear when printed on the press.

Property Rights - Metadata recording the ownership of Content and the history of ownership may be stored in the wrapper in order to facilitate the establishment and preservation of copyright.

Proportion Scale - Round device used to calculate percentage that an original image must be reduced or enlarged to yield a specific reproduction size.

Return to top ↑


Quadratone - A halftone image created by overprinting four different halftone screens of the same image with different tonal values.

Quads - Refers to the four separated films; cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Quality Control - The day-to-day operational techniques and activities that are used to fulfill requirements for quality, such as intermediate and final product inspections, testing incoming materials and calibrating instruments used to verify product quality.

Quartertone - Those dot percentages that are near the 25 percent printing dot size.

Quarto - Sheet folded twice, making pages one-fourth the size of the original sheet. A quarto makes an 8-page signature.

Quotation - Price offered by a printer to produce a specific job.

Return to top ↑


RAW - This may be a Photoshop RAW file, which is a PSD file with no identifying header. Or it may be a minimally formatted image data dump.

RTF - Microsoft's Rich Text Format, which is normally used as a well-understood cross-platform word processing document format, but which can store pictures as well as text. As image storage formats go, though, this one is as inefficient as Postscript.

Ragged - Type that is not justified on the right or left side.

Rag Paper - Paper containing a minimum of 25% rag or cotton fiber pulp.

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.

Random Access - A system of data file management in which a record is accessible independent of its file location or the location of the previous record accessed. In other words, records need not be accessed sequentially.

Random Proof - A color proof consisting of many images ganged on one substrate and randomly positioned with no relation to the final page imposition. This is a cost-effective way to verify the correctness of completed scans prior to further stripping and color correction work. Also called scatter proof.

Raster - An image composed of a set of horizontal scan lines that are formed sequentially by writing each line following the previous line, particularly on a television screen or computer monitor. See also: bitmap.

Raster Image Processor (RIP) - The device that interprets all of the page layout information for the marking engine of the imagesetter or platesetter. PostScript or another page description language serves as an interface between the page layout workstation and the RIP.

Rasterization - The process of converting mathematical and digital information into a series of variable-density pixels.

RC Paper - The photosensitive resin-coated paper generally used to record the output of typesetters and imagesetters.

Reader’s Spread - Keylines of two facing pages in correct numerical order, e.g., pages 2 and 3.

Ream - 500 sheets of printing paper. Stacks and skids of paper often include slips of paper (ream markers) marking the division of the stack into reams.

Recto Page - The right-hand or odd-numbered page of an open book or spread.

Recycled Paper - New paper made entirely or in part from old paper.

Reflection Copy - Any opaque color artwork submitted for reproduction such as photos, sketches or paintings.

Reflective Copy - Any painting, artwork or photograph (not transparencies) that reflects light off its surface.

Register - The fitting of two or more printing images on the same paper in exact alignment with each other.

Register Marks - Crosses or some other design that are pasted outside your keyline on the board. Everything done to the job through printing must have these marks to prevent the separations, film or plates from being misaligned or out of register.

Registration - The correct positioning of one color over another during the printing process.

Relief Printing - Printing method whose image carriers are surfaces with two levels having inked areas higher than non-inked areas. Types include block printing, flexography and letterpress.

Remote proofing - Digital transmission of a proof to a remote office or customer location for output and evaluation at the remote site.

Repeatability - The precision with which a device can position an image, usually measured in microns. For example, a capstan imagesetter has low repeatability compared with a drum imagesetter which is more accurate in its operation.

Replicate - In the manufacturing of a CD-ROM, to mold the actual disc by injecting molten polycarbonate into the mold cavity (stamper), then quickly cool the plastic to harden it, a process which takes less than 15 seconds. After replication of the disc, art is printed onto the non-data side of the disc via silk-screen or offset printing.

Reprint - An ad which is printed and then sent to a magazine for insertion. Also refers to a reprint of ads supplied by the publication before the publication is issued.

Resolution - S(1)The density of dots or pixels on a page or display usually measured in dots per inch. The higher the resolution, the smoother the appearance of text or graphics. (2)The precision with which an optical, photographic, or photomechanical system can render visual image detail. Resolution is a measure of image sharpness or the performance of an optical system. It is expressed in lines per inch or millimeter.

Retouch - To correct flaws in an image or make design changes.

Reverse - Type, graphic or illustration produced 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 knock out or liftout.

RGB - Red, green and blue. The additive primaries which are used in video monitors.

Rich Text Format - A standard developed by Microsoft Corporation for specifying format ting of documents. RTF files are actually ASCII files with special commands to indicate format ting information, such as fonts and margins. Other document format ting languages include the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), which is used to define document s on the World Wide Web, and the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), which is a more robust version of HTML.

Right-angle Fold - A folding succession in which each succeeding fold is made at right angles to the preceding one.

Right Reading - Copy that reads correctly in the language in which it is written. Also describes a photo whose orientation looks like the original image.

Rosette Pattern - The desirable minute circle of dots that is formed when two or more process color screens are overprinted at their appropriate angle, screen ruling and dot shape.

Rotogravure - A printing process that uses a cylinder as an image carrier. Image areas are etched below nonimage area in the form of tiny sunken cells. The cylinder is immersed in ink, and the excess ink is scraped off by a blade. When the substrate contacts the printing cylinder, ink transfers, forming the image.

RRED - Right reading, emulsion side down.

Rub Proof - Ink that has reached its maximum dryness and does not mar with normal abrasion.

Rule - A straight line of any thickness or a line used as a graphic element to separate or organize copy.

Run Around - Type that is made to fit around a picture of art.

Run of Paper (ROP) - Printing full color in newspaper but using the same paper and press as the balance of the newspaper.

Return to top ↑


Saddle-sewn - A form of binding that stitches thread through the gutter fold of a publication.

Saddle-stitched - A form of binding that uses staple-shaped wires through the gutter fold; also called saddle-wired.

Sans Serif Type - Any type style that does not have cross strokes on the ends of the letters.

Scale - Calculate the amount a photo is to be reduced or enlarged.

Scanner - Electronic device used to digitize an image.

Score - To compress paper along a straight line so it folds more easily and accurately.

Screen - Plastic sheets that have cross-hatched lines. These screens are placed between the camera and the original photo or continuous tones to break the image into dots to create a halftone image.

Screen Angles - Angles at which the halftone screens are placed with relation to one another to avoid undesirable moire pattern. The most common angles are black 45°, magenta 75°, yellow 90° and cyan 105°.

Screen Frequency - The number of rows (lines) and columns of dots per inch or centimeter of a halftone screen.

Screen Printing - Method of printing by using a squeegee to force ink through an assembly of mesh fabric and a stencil.

Screen Ruling - Sometimes confused with resolution, screen ruling is the number of printing dots per millimeter or per inch on the exposed film. The screen ruling is a critical factor in determining the resolution need. The finer the screen ruling, the higher the resolution needs to be, due to the amount of information required to generate the printing dots.

Screen Tint - A halftone screen pattern of all the same size dots that creates an even tone.

Secondary Colors - Colors created by combining two primary colorants of a color system. Example: red would be the secondary color produced with magenta and yellow. Also referred to as overprint colors.

Selective Binding - Placing signatures or inserts in magazines and catalogs according to demographic or geographic guidelines.

Self Cover - A cover made from the same paper as the inside text pages.

Serif Type - Any type style that has cross strokes on the ends of the letters.

Serigraphics Printing - Printing method whose image carriers are woven fabric, plastic or metal that allows ink to pass through some portions and blocks ink from passing through other portions. Types include screen and mimeograph.

Service Bureau - A business that provides manipulation and output of digital files, usually to a PostScript imagesetter.

Set-off - Ink from a printed sheet rubs off or marks the next sheet as it is being delivered. Also called offset.

Shadow - The darkest areas of an image or photograph; represented as the largest dots in a halftone.

Sharpen - Reducing the size in halftones or separations.

Sheeter - A device on a printing press that converts continuous forms into smaller sheets.

Sheetfed Press - A printing press that feeds and prints on individual sheets of paper (or another substrate), rather than a continuous paper roll or web.

Sheetwise - To print one side of a sheet of paper with one form or plate, then turn the sheet over and print the other side with another form using the same gripper and side guide. This method is used for printing signatures.

Shingling - A technique used to compensate for creep. The gutter margin on a page is gradually narrowed from the outside pages to the middle pages of the signature.

Show-through - The undesirable condition in which the printing on the reverse side of a sheet can be seen through the sheet under normal lighting conditions.

Shrink Wrap - Using heat to affix a thin plastic material around printed and bound products to prepare them for shipment.

Side Stitch - To bind by stapling through all sheets along one edge.

Signature - A group of pages brought together into proper sequential order and alignment after it has been folded.

Silhouette Halftone - A halftone with all of the background removed.

Silverprint - A proof that is made of the negative film to ensure that all elements are accurate and in correct position before the plate is made.

Sizing - Treatment of paper which gives it resistance to the penetration of liquids (particularly water) or vapors.

Skid (also pallet) - Wooden platform that supports piles of paper during shipping and storage. Skids usually accommodate from 2500 to 4000 pounds of paper.

Slit - To cut printed sheets or webs into two or more sections by means of cutting wheels on a press or folder.

Slur - A smearing of ink that occurs in printing when there isn’t enough pressure on the blanket.

SNAP - Specifications for Nonheatset Advertising Printing, a set of standards for color separations and proofing developed for those printing with uncoated paper and newsprint stock in the United States.

Soft Dot - Halftone dot with a weak fringe density or halo surrounding a solid core.

Soft Proof - A proof that is viewed on a color-calibrated video monitor as opposed to a hard proof printed on paper.

Software - The stored instructions (programs) that initiate the various functions of a computer (the hardware). Instructions may be written in machine language or in another programming language, then compiled, interpreted, or assembled into machine language. Word processing, page layout, and drawing programs are a few of the software programs used in the graphic arts. There are also other more specialized software programs that control high-end color electronic prepress systems and even some presswork applications.

Solid - Any area of the sheet receiving 100 percent ink coverage.

Solvent - A component of the vehicle in printing inks that disperses the pigment and keeps the solid binder liquid enough for use in the printing process.

Specs - Complete and precise written description (or specifications) of features of a printing job such as type size and leading, paper grade and quantity, printing quality or binding method.

Spectrum - The series of color bands formed when a ray of light is dispersed by refraction; the rainbow-like band of colors resulting when a ray of white light is passed through a prism.

Splice - The area where two paper rolls are joined to form one continuous roll.

Spine - The back of a bound book connecting the two covers. Also called backbone.

Spiral Bind - To bind using a spiral of continuous wire or plastic looped through holes. Also called coil bind.

Split Run - Different images, such as advertisements, printed or bound in different editions of a publication. Also, two or more binding methods used on the same print run.

Spooler - A device by which a computer can store data and feed it gradually to an external device, such as a printer, which is operating more slowly than the computer.

Spot Color - Individual color or colors that are utilized to highlight illustrations or type. Spot color is frequently printed with non-process color inks, although process inks can be used.

Spot Varnish - Varnish applied only to certain portions of a sheet to highlight those areas.

Spread - Two facing pages. They can be a reader’s spread or a printer’s spread.

Square Halftone - A halftone that has four right-angle corners.

Stamping - Using a die and often colored foil or gold leaf to press a design into a book cover, a sheet of paper or another substrate. The die may be used alone (in blank stamping) if no color or other ornamentation is necessary. Special presses fitted with heating devices can stamp designs into book covers.

Standard Viewing Condition - An area surrounded by a neutral gray and illuminated by a light source of 5000K both for viewing transparencies and reflection prints. Large format transparencies should be surrounded by approximately 2-4 inches or 5-10 centimeters of white surround and should not be viewed with a dark surround.

Stat - Short for photostat, a photographic print of line copy or halftones.

Static Neutralizer - A device on a printing press designed to remove static from the paper and avoid ink set-off and trouble with feeding the paper.

Statistical Process Control (SPC) - Method of understanding and managing production processes by collecting numerical data about each step in the process and all materials used in the production sequence, including output; this data is then analyzed to locate causes of variations.

Step-and-repeat - The procedure of exposing an image repeatedly in different places on the printing plate.

Stochastic Screening - A digital screening process that converts images into very small dots (14-40 microns) of equal size and variable spacing.

Stock - The paper or other substrate to be printed.

Strip - 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.

Stripping - The process of manually creating composite films and fully imposed flats for platemaking. Most of this work is now done electronically, bypassing the traditional artisan.

Substrate - Any surface on which printing is done.

Subtractive Color System - A means of producing a color reproduction or image with combinations of yellow, magenta and cyan colorants, which serve as filters to “remove” colors from a white substrate.

Supercalender - A finishing device consisting of alternate metal and resilient rollers used to produce a smooth, thin sheet of paper.

Swatch - A small, printed solid used for color matching or measurement. It represents what an ink color might look like after it is printed.

SWOP - Abbreviation for the revised Specifications for Web-Offset Publications; a set of specifications for color separation films and color proofing to insure the consistency of the printed color.

Return to top ↑


TIFF/TIF - TIFF stands for Tag Image File Format; TIFF was a large, unwieldy, 24 bit format untilversion 6 came out, which supported compression and made it less painful. The fact that its compression was somewhat broken and might or might not be compatible with different programs on different computers somewhat reduced the bonus. The compression is LZW and thus owned and licensed out by Unisys (see GIF) is another problem. TIFF is, nonetheless, a very popular professional graphics format. A TIFF file permits the image to be edited in other applications (ie, QuarkXpress, and Macromedia Freehand)

Tack - The amount of stickiness in printing inks that makes them adhere to the substrate while minimizing dot gain. Too much tack can cause surface picking.

Tear Sheet - Actual ad removed from a publication and sent to the advertiser, often with the invoice.

Terms and Conditions - This is metadata that describes the "rules" for use of an object. Terms and conditions might include an access list of who can view the object, a "conditions of use" statement that might be displayed before access to the object is allowed, a schedule (tariff) of prices and fees for use of the object, or a definition of permitted uses of an object (viewing, printing, copying, etc.).

Text - The body matter of a page or book as distinguished from the heading and art.

Thermography - Method of printing using colorless resin powder that takes on the color of underlying ink.

Tile - A method used when a page is too large to be output in its entirety by the output device. The page is divided into pieces that allow for overlap so that it can be reassembled as a whole.

Tint - A solid color reduced either by screening or by adding white ink. Also, a halftone of a specified dot percentage, but less than 100%.

Tissue Overlay - A thin, translucent paper placed over artwork (mostly mechanicals) for protection and used to indicate color breaks and corrections.

Tonal Compression - The reduction of an original’s tonal range to a tonal range achievable though the reproduction process.

Tonal Range - The difference between the brightest and the darkest tone in a photograph or offset lithographic print.

Tone - The character of a color, its quality or lightness.

Tooth - A characteristic of paper, a slightly rough finish, which permits it to take ink readily.

Trade Shop - Service bureau, printer or bindery working primarily for other graphic arts professionals, not for the general public.

Traditional Color Angles - The screen angles used most often in color separation, considered to be optimal for reducing moire patterns-yellow at 0°, cyan at 15°, black at 45° and magenta at 75°.

Transparency - Positive photographic image on film allowing light to pass through.

Transparent Ink - A printing ink which does not conceal the color beneath. Process inks are transparent so that they will blend to form other colors.

Trapping - A method of overlapping adjoining colors or inks that helps minimize the possibility of a fine white line appearing between two colors, caused by misregistration of color negatives. Also, the ability to print a wet ink film over previously printed ink.

Trim - To cut the excess paper from the edges of a publication after it has been printed and bound.

Trim Marks - Marks on the outside of a keyline to indicate where the piece is to be cut.

Two-up - Having two images of each item (see one-up).

Type 1 - A format for storing digital typefaces developed by Adobe Systems. The most popular typeface format for PostScript printers.

Typesetting - Composing type into words and lines in accordance with the manuscript and typographic specifications.

Typography - The art and craft of creating and/or setting type professionally.

Return to top ↑


Uncoated Paper - Paper that has not been coated with clay.

Undercolor Addition (UCA) - A technique used to add cyan, magenta and yellow printing dots in dark neutral areas of the reproduction to give them more density.

Undercolor Removal (UCR) - The technique of reducing the cyan, magenta and yellow content in neutral areas of the reproduction and replacing them with black ink so the reproduction will appear normal but will use less ink.

Unit - One inking, plate and impression station on a press. A four-color press has four units.

Up - In printing, two-up, three-up, etc., refers to imposition of material to be printed on a larger size sheet to take advantage of full press capacity.

URL - The Uniform Resource Locator is the address of a page on the Web.

UV Coating - Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

Return to top ↑


Vacuum Frame - A device that holds film or plates in place by withdrawing air through small holes in a rubber supporting surface.

Value - The degree in a color or gray that varies from light to dark.

Varnish - A thin, protective liquid coating applied to the printed sheet for protection or appearance.

Vector - Mathematical descriptions of images and their placement.

Vehicle - The liquid component of a printing ink.

Verso Page - The left-hand or even-numbered page of an open book or spread.

Vignette - An illustration in which the background fades gradually away until it blends into the unprinted paper.

Virgin Paper - Paper made exclusively of new pulp from trees or cotton. No recycled materials are included.

Visible Spectrum - That portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to which the human eye is sensitive; wavelengths of approximately 400 through 700 nanometers. Because of the characteristics of cone sensing (color-reading mechanism of the retina), it is generally agreed that humans detect only red, green, and blue. All perceived colors are combinations of those sensitivities (hue) in relation to the strength of the transmitted or reflected light (brightness) and the intensity of the light hitting the retina (saturation). Ultraviolet wavelengths are shorter and infrared wavelengths are longer than the sensitivity range of the eye and are invisible as a result.

Return to top ↑


WMF - Windows Metafile format, which is an intermediate vector format for Windows programs to use when interchanging data and, generally speaking, should never be seen anywhere else.

WPG - WordPerfect metafile format, used by WordPerfect software on various platforms. It supports bitmapped, vector and Encapsulated Postscript data.

Washup - The process of cleaning the rollers, form or place and fountain of a press with solvents to remove ink as required after a day’s run, or during a run for ink color changes.

Waterless Lithography Sheetfed - Water-free offset lithographic capability on a sheetfed press that allows ultrafine reproduction and improved, almost continuous-looking halftones.

Waterless Lithography Web - Water-free offset lithographic capability on a web press that allows ultrafine reproduction and improved, almost continuous-looking halftones.

Watermark - Translucent logo in paper created during manufacture by slight embossing while paper is still approximately 90 percent water.

Web - A roll of paper used in web or rotary printing.

Web Press - A printing press that prints on paper from a continuous roll and outputs it onto another roll, as a folded signature or as cut sheets.

White Light - Theoretically, light that emits all wavelengths of the visible spectrum at uniform intensity. In reality, most light sources cannot achieve such perfection.

Widow - A single word in a line by itself, ending a paragraph, or starting a page, frowned upon in good typography.

Wire Side - The side of a sheet next to the wire in paper manufacturing; opposite the felt or top side.

With the Grain - Folding or feeding paper into a press parallel to the grain of the paper.

Work and Tumble - To print one side of a sheet of paper, then turn the sheet over from gripper to back using the same side guide and plate to print the second side.

Work and Turn - To print one side of a sheet of paper, then turn the sheet over from left to right and print the second side. The same gripper and plate are used for printing both sides.

Wrong Reading - An image that is backwards when compared to the original.

Return to top ↑


Xerography - An electrostatic nonimpact printing process in which heat fuses dry ink toner particles in electrically charged areas of the substrate, forming a permanent image. The charged areas of the substrate appear dark on the reproduction, while uncharged areas remain white.

X-Height - The height of lowercase letters in a font (not including ascenders or descenders).

XML - eXtensible Markup Language is designed especially for Web documents. It enables Web authors and designers to create their own customized tags to provide functionality not available with HTML.

Return to top ↑


Yellow - One of the three subtractive primary colors used in process printing.

Return to top ↑


Zoom - An electronic function that increases or reduces the magnification of the image displayed on the video screen.

Return to top ↑

©2001-2017 Blanks/USA | 7700 68th Avenue North Suite 7 | Minneapolis, MN 55428