CleanStyle

Pyramid Printing's

Glossary of Printing Terms

Sometimes it seems every industry speaks its own unique language, and printing is no exception. Fortunately, you've found the ultimate translation guide. Here's our list of common printing and graphic-arts terms, with simple, straightforward definitions you're sure to understand.

10-point C1S

10-point C1S

C1S is a printing industry acronym for “coated one side.” (Likewise, C2S means “coated two sides.”) 10-point C1S refers to coatings applied to paper by the paper manufacturer, usually sizing between .008" and .018" thickness. Coatings are applied to the paper before your printer receives the paper and prints on it. Thus, it is not to be confused with various coatings your printer may apply after the printing process, such as UV or aqueous coatings, varnishes or laminates.
100# Gloss Text

100# Gloss Text

A glossy paper stock, about 25% thicker and heavier than a light magazine cover. 100# gloss text is used for brochures, flyers, and self-mailers, and can be a nice cover option for catalogs, programs, and magazines.
100# Uncoated Cover

100# Uncoated Cover

Similar to a smooth, bright-white cardstock paper (around 14pt in thickness), this bright, robust material is a good option for business cards, rack cards, bookmarks, etc.
120# Gloss Cover

120# Gloss Cover

A sturdy, glossy paper stock with a coated finish to make photographs and other images look gorgeous. Great for postcards, bookmarks, hang-tags, packaging, door hangers, table tents, or other heavyweight products. This stock works best when you’re using metallic inks.
24# Uncoated and 28# Uncoated

24# Uncoated and 28# Uncoated

A standard paper stock used for high-end pieces or envelopes. While everyday copy paper is around 20# (referring to the weight of 500 sheets), 24# is more common for resumes and high-quality colored papers, and the (thicker) 28# stock is more common for envelopes, brochures, or two-sided printing when you want to prevent show through.
70# Uncoated Text

70# Uncoated Text

This ultra-premium, non-glossy white stock is a sturdy, substantial paper. It is the best type of uncoated paper for full-color printing, and is ideal for stationery, envelopes, and newsletters.
80# Dull/Matte Text

80# Dull/Matte Text

A durable, finely coated paper with a slightly coated finish that has minimal sheen. A step below gloss coating, these paper options work well for pocket folders, brochures, catalog inserts, flyers, or printing with brighter colors and crisp typography.
80# Gloss Cover

80# Gloss Cover

A stiff, high-sheen paper stock that’s ideal for large photo displays, promotional materials, sell sheets, catalog covers, and more.
80# Gloss Text

80# Gloss Text

A pragmatic, go-to glossy paper. Text papers are typically used for the inside pages of books, brochures, annual reports, and direct mail pieces because they are thin, elegant, and affordable. The gloss veneer also makes them a good candidate for sell sheets, magazines, catalogs, and light magazine covers.
A4 Paper

A4 Paper

A4 is the standard paper size used worldwide (labeled based on the metric system), with the exception of countries in North America. At 8.3 X 11.7”, A4 is slightly narrower and a bit longer than the “A” size of 8.5 X 11” paper.
AA’s (Author’s Alterations)

AA’s (Author’s Alterations)

Author's Alterations (AAs) are text or design changes ordered in a printer’s proof (by an author) after a job has already been sent to a printer for production.
Absorption

Absorption

The property that causes paper to absorb liquids or vapors in contact with it. Absorption is a key factor in text or image quality and may affect your decisions about types of paper, ink, or print techniques.
Accordion Fold

Accordion Fold

A document folding method that uses a series of alternating folds to create multiple panels of similar size. These parallel pleats allow publications to minimize bulk (so a piece closes compactly) but to open fully with minimal resistance.
Acetate

Acetate

A transparent material used to form flexible, transparent pages – available in many colors. These ultra-versatile sheets can be placed over originals or artwork (allowing a designer to write instructions on) and can be used for greeting cards, window projects, stencils, and report covers to create a beautiful stained-glass effect.
Acid Resist

Acid Resist

An acid-proof protective coating applied to metal plates prior to etching.
Acid-Free Paper

Acid-Free Paper

Paper made from pulp containing little or no acid, so it is less likely to degrade with age. Acid-free paper has four times the durability (with a lifespan of 200 years) of acid-sized paper (lifespan of 40-50 years) and is thought to be more environmentally sound. Also called alkaline paper, archival paper, neutral pH paper, permanent paper and thesis paper.
Acrobat

Acrobat

Adobe's Portable Document Format, often referred to as “PDF.”
Additive Primaries

Additive Primaries

The primary colors of red, green, and blue that can be combined (in pairs) to create the secondary colors of cyan, magenta, and yellow, or combined in three equal amounts to produce the color white.
Addressability

Addressability

The number of dots per inch (DPI), spots per inch (spi), or spots per centimeter (spc). Addressability has an important bearing on print quality and high-contrast fine detail.
Against the Grain

Against the Grain

To run a sheet of paper through the printing press perpendicular to the paper grain direction (as opposed to with the grain). This is usually suboptimal for both press operation and final ink quality.
Airbrush

Airbrush

A compressed air tool that sprays a fine mist of paint or ink. Used to correct and obtain tone or graduated tone effects, it is often used in illustration and photo retouching.
Alkaline Paper

Alkaline Paper

A type of acid-free paper that has enhanced brightness, whiteness, and opacity compared to acid paper.
Alteration

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, and customer alteration.
AM (Amplitude Modulation) Screening

AM (Amplitude Modulation) Screening

A form of traditional halftone (dot pattern) screen printing, employing dots of variable size – with equal spacing between dot centers – arranged on a grid. When viewed from a distance these dots create the illusion of a continuous tone reproduction.
AM/FM Screening

AM/FM Screening

Two different forms of screen printings that employ different dot arrangement to reproduce images, color tones, and shadows. Each method has different advantages and disadvantages, so you may want to discuss this topic with your printer to see which screen option is more appropriate for your job.
Analog Color Proof

Analog Color Proof

An off-press color proof made from separation films or files. The technique has become antiquated with technology advances that allow color proofing in digital formats.
Aniloxinking

Aniloxinking

In flexography, a two-roll inking system featuring a smooth fountain roll that transfers inks to an etched metal or ceramic-coated metal roll, using cells of fixed size and depth that transfer the ink to the printing plate. Now also being offered with new offset lithographic presses.
Anodized Plate

Anodized Plate

An offset printing plate having a treated surface in order to reduce wear for extended use.
Anti-aliasing

Anti-aliasing

The process of smoothing out jagged edges by blending the colors of the pixels around the object to create the illusion of smoothness.
Anti-halation Backing

Anti-halation Backing

In photography, an absorbent coating applied to the back of film to prevent a halo-like blurring effect of highlights or to other bright areas in an image.
Anti-offset or Set-off Spray

Anti-offset or Set-off Spray

A dry spray of finely powdered starch used on the printing press to prevent wet ink from transferring from the top of one sheet to the bottom of the next sheet. This also creates space for oxygen to react with the ink, which enhances the drying process.
Antique Finish

Antique Finish

A term describing the textured surface – usually on book and cover papers – that has a naturally rough texture. This provides a degree of surface smoothness while preserving the antique or eggshell appearance.
Antique Paper

Antique Paper

The roughest finish offered on offset paper. See also: Antique Finish.
Aperture

Aperture

In photography, this refers to the opening in the lens (or “lens stop”) as you press the shutter release button of a camera. The aperture you set (expressed as an f/number such as f/22) impacts the size of that hole: the larger the hole, the more light that gets in; the smaller the hole, the less light.
Apochromatic

Apochromatic

In photography, these color-corrected lenses focus the three colors blue, green, and red, in the same plane. This minimize color fringes and results in sharper image and more precise color accuracy.
Application Files

Application Files

Files used to create a design. These files include layout files (created in programs such as QuarkXpress or Adobe Creative Suite) as well as artwork files (created in Photoshop, Illustrator, and font files). Application files are usually needed by a commercial printer when he/she cannot use the PDF file created by a designer.
APR (Automatic Picture Replacement)

APR (Automatic Picture Replacement)

The automatic replacement of a low-resolution image by a high-resolution image.
Aqueous Coating

Aqueous Coating

Aqueous coating is a clear, fast-drying, water-based coating that is used to protect print pieces from dirt, fingerprints, and the bumps and tears of daily life. It provides a durable, yet high-gloss, satin/soft touch finish. Because it is water-based, aqueous coating is often used in packaging food, household products, brochures, catalogs, and fast-moving consumer products.
Art

Art

Any illustrations used to prepare a job for print including graphics, drawings, charts, etc.
Artwork

Artwork

The original physical materials – including photos, graphic images, text, and other components – needed to produce a printed piece. May also refer to the electronic or digital components needed for preparing a printed piece for production on a press or copier.
Ascender

Ascender

Any part of a lowercase letter which rises above the main body of the letter (such as in “d,” “b,” and “h”).
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

A standard means of representing text as numerical data, which includes the printable characters from a keyboard (like letters, digits, punctuation marks, and a few miscellaneous symbols). There are 95 printable characters in total.
Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved by embedding a virtual image into a live experience, triggering a virtual holographic-type image using digital elements, sound, GPS data, or other sensory stimuli delivered via technology. It is a growing trend among companies involved in mobile computing, marketing, and business applications in particular.
Back Up

Back Up

How an image on one side of a printed sheet aligns with the image on the other side.
Back-trap Mottle

Back-trap Mottle

A common and serious print quality problem in lithographic offset printing of coated papers. It is mostly caused by non-uniform ink setting, a nonuniform surface porosity, and/or incorrect ink tack sequencing in multicolor printing.
Backbone

Backbone

The back of a bound book connecting the two covers. Also called a spine.
Backing Up

Backing Up

Printing the reverse side of a sheet which has already been printed on one side.
Backslant

Backslant

Any type that tilts to the left or backward direction; opposite of italic type.
Bad Break

Bad Break

In text layout, starting a page or ending a paragraph with a single word, which visually disrupts the overall flow of text and distracts the reader.
Balloon

Balloon

In an illustration, any line that encircles copy or dialogue.
Base Art

Base Art

The copy pasted on the mounting board of a mechanical (the camera-ready assembly of type, graphic, and content complete with instructions to the printer). Base art usually has the copy to be printed using black ink. Sometimes called base mechanical.
Base Line

Base Line

An imaginary line, under a line of type, used to align characters.
Base Negative

Base Negative

A negative made by photographing base art.
Basic Size

Basic Size

In inches, 25 x 38 for book papers, 20 x 26 for cover papers, 22-1/2 x 28-1/2 or 22-1/2 x 35 for bristols, and 25-1/2 x 30-1/2 for index.
Basis Weight

Basis Weight

In the United States and Canada, basis weight refers to the weight – in pounds – of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to the standard size. When writing basis weight, the word “pound” is abbreviated with the symbol “#” (e.g., 500 coated sheets of 50-pound book paper is written 50# coated).
Beveled Emboss

Beveled Emboss

In printing, embossing uses custom made dies to create a raised surface according to the design. Beveled dies are given beveled edges (typically 30 to 60 degrees) to allow printers to press harder into the paper and get a deeper impression while preventing paper damage.
Bezier Curve

Bezier Curve

The description of a character, symbol, or graphic by its digital outline. Used by drawing programs to define shapes or create vector graphics.
Bi-Cubic Downsampling

Bi-Cubic Downsampling

Bi-cubic downsampling assigns a weighted average value to the pixel area for image compression. Compression and downsampling can significantly reduce the size of portable document formats (or PDFs).
Bible Paper

Bible Paper

A thin, but strong, opaque paper opaque used for bibles and books.
Bimetal Plate

Bimetal Plate

In lithography, a plate used for long runs in which the printing image base is usually copper and the non-printing area is aluminum, stainless steel, or chromium.
Bind

Bind

In print, the joining of pages together (through comb binding, spiral binding, saddle stiching, etc.).
Bindery

Bindery

In print, the sector responsible for collating, folding, trimming, and binding projects. A bindery may be a department within a printing company or a separate business.
Bit

Bit

In computers, the basic unit of digital information; a contraction of Binary digiT. A number of bits is called a byte.
Bit-depth

Bit-depth

Bit depth refers to the color information stored in an image. The higher the bit depth of an image, the more colors it can store. The simplest image, a 1-bit image, can only show two colors, while a 24-bit image can display over 16 million colors. As the bit depth increases, the file size of the image also increases because more color information has to be stored for each pixel in the image. Bit depth may also refer to the number of bits of tonal range capability of the spots of an output device or printer.
Bitmap

Bitmap

In computer imaging, the electronic representation of a page, indicating the position of every possible spot (zero or one). Bitmap (or raster) images are stored as a series of tiny dots called pixels, which is a very small square that is assigned a color then arranged in a pattern with other pixels to form the image.
Black Printer

Black Printer

A printing plate that only uses black ink. A print advertisement only using a black plate is less expensive that one using color.
Black-and-white

Black-and-white

In printing, originals or reproductions in single color, as distinguished from multicolor. Sometimes called monochrome, abbreviated B/W.
Blank

Blank

Category of paperboard (a material similar to paper, but stronger and more rigid) ranging in thickness from 15 to 48 points.
Blanket

Blanket

In offset printing, a rubber-coated pad, mounted on a cylinder or an offset press, that receives the inked image from the plate and then transfers it to the surface to be printed. Some digital printers use an offsetting blanket or transfer unit.
Bleed

Bleed

An extra amount of printed image that extends to the edge of a sheet or page (beyond the trim edge).
Blind Embossing

Blind Embossing

In printing, embossing uses custom made dies to create a raised surface according to the design. Blind embossing refers to a design that is stamped without metallic leaf or ink, giving a bas-relief effect. One way to make blind embossing stand out even more is to use textured paper, since the area around the embossing will be pressed smooth, thus creating more contrast.
Blind Folio

Blind Folio

A page number not printed on the page. (In the book arena, a blank page traditionally does not print with a page number.)
Blind Image

Blind Image

In lithography, an image that has lost its ink receptivity and fails to print. In print, an image debossed, embossed, or stamped, but not delineated by any color of ink or foil.
Blocking

Blocking

When ink or liquid coating causes printed sheets or paper roll sections to stick together. Blocking can cause images to smudge from one page to the next or sheets to damaged when they are separated.
Blowup

Blowup

An image enlargement.
Blueline

Blueline

A step in the analog printing process that allows films to be exposed to light sensitive paper then folded and bound. Relating to photography, prepress proofs are 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 with similar appearances, it may also be called a blackprint, blue, blueprint, brownline, brownprint, diazo, dyeline, ozalid, position proof, silverprint, Dylux or VanDyke.
Blurb

Blurb

A description or commentary of an author or book content positioned on the book jacket. May also refer to a description of a person (such as a writer or speaker) appearing as part of an article by that individual.
Board Paper

Board Paper

A general term for paper over 110# index, 80# cover or 200 gsm. Board paper (or paperboard) is commonly used for products such as file folders, displays and postcards.
Body

Body

In design, the main text of work not including the headlines. In printing or inkmaking, a term referring to the viscosity or fluid consistency of an ink (e.g., an ink with too much body is described as stiff).
Body Type

Body Type

A typeface (or font) used for the main part or text of a printed piece, as distinguished from the headings.
Boiler Plate

Boiler Plate

Something generic that can be re-used with minimal adaption. In print or design, this refers to blocks of repetitive type used and copied over and over again.
Bold-Faced Type

Bold-Faced Type

A name given to type that is heavier, darker, or thicker than the standard text type (e.g. plain or regular style) that is being used.
Bond

Bond

A grade of durable writing, printing, and typing paper that is erasable and somewhat rigid.
Bond Paper

Bond Paper

A category of paper commonly used for writing, printing, and photocopying. Also called business paper, communication paper, correspondence paper, and writing paper.
Book Block

Book Block

A group of folded pages (without cover, endpapers, or binding) that are bound and trimmed for the assembly of a book or pamphlet.
Book Paper

Book Paper

A category of paper suitable for books, magazines, catalogs, advertising, and general printing needs. Book paper is categorized as uncoated paper (also called offset paper), coated paper (also called art paper, enamel paper, gloss paper, and slick paper), and text paper.
Border

Border

The decorative design or rule surrounding matter on a page.
Bounce

Bounce

1. Inconsistent positioning of the printed image on the sheets of paper as they travel through a printing press. 2. A repeating registration (or paper alignment) problem in the printing stage of production.
Bpi (Bits per inch)

Bpi (Bits per inch)

An acronym referring to Bits per inch, or how densely information is packed on a storage medium. In printing, the acronym Dpi refers to how many dots can be printed in one square inch of paper, while the acronym Ppi refers to the number of pixels per inch (and refers to a quality of a photo that has been captured by a camera). The more pixels or dots per inch, the finer the detail in the print will be and the sharper it will look.
Bps (Bits per second)

Bps (Bits per second)

An acronym referring to Bits per second. This unit is used to measure data transfer rates based on “Decimal multiples of bits.” The symbol for bit per second is bps or b/s or bit/s.
Break for Color

Break for Color

In artwork and composition, to separate the parts to be printed into different colors.
Brightness

Brightness

A characteristic of photography, paper, or ink referring to how much light (or brilliance) the photo subject, paper, or ink reflects.
Bristol

Bristol

A board paper of various thicknesses (from 6 points or thicker with base weight between 90# and 200#) that has a smooth finish. Used for printing and drawing, including materials such as index cards, file folders, and displays.
Broadside

Broadside

In book printing, a sheet printed as one page. In commercial printing this term refers to work printed on an oversize sheet (which is sometimes folded once to produce four pages).
Brochure

Brochure

A multi-page promotional piece that can be folded into a template, pamphlet, or leaflet.
Broken Carton

Broken Carton

This refers to a carton which has been opened with some items taken out. In print, it indicates a carton of paper from which some of the sheets have been sold. Also called a less carton.
Bromide

Bromide

A photographic print created on bromide paper (which is a fast printing paper coated with an emulsion of silver bromide: used mostly for enlargements).
Bronzing

Bronzing

One of the oldest print finishing processes, bronzing describes the effect produced by dusting wet ink after printing and using a metallic powder. The technique is still used today to produce unique, high-quality labels and packaging.
Build a Color

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.
Bulk

Bulk

The degree of thickness of paper relative to its basic weight. In book printing, the number of pages per inch for a given basis weight.
Bullet

Bullet

A dot or similar marking (checkmarks, dashes, discs, etc.) to emphasize text and offset lists.
Burnish

Burnish

Burnishing is a condition that occurs when dulling particles are flattened by scraping or when the spaces between them are moistened by oil from fingers during handling. In both cases, a smoother surface is the result, which appears glossy (or lighter in tone) in the affected areas.
Burst Perfect Bind

Burst Perfect Bind

To bind by forcing glue into notches along the spines of gathered/folded pages before affixing a paper cover. Also called burst bind, notch bind, and slotted bind.
Butt Register

Butt Register

A term referring to the precise meeting of ink colors – without overlapping or allowing space in between – as compared to lap register (where ink colors overlap slightly). Also called butt fit and kiss register.
Buy Out

Buy Out

To subcontract for a service that is closely related to the business of the organization. Work that is bought out or farmed out is sometimes called outwork or referred to as being “out of house.” Also called farm out.
Byte

Byte

In computers, a unit of digital information, equivalent to one character or 8 to 32 bits, 64 bits, etc. A bit is the basic unit of digital information; a number of bits is a byte.
C1S and C2S

C1S and C2S

A printing industry acronym for “coated one side” or “coated two sides.” These terms refer to coatings applied to paper by the paper manufacturer (usually between .008" and .018" thickness), and are applied to the paper before your printer receives the paper and prints on it. Thus, it is not to be confused with various coatings your printer may apply after the printing process, such as UV or aqueous coatings, varnishes or laminates.
CAD (Computer-Aided Drafting or Design)

CAD (Computer-Aided Drafting or Design)

In graphics, the production of drawings and plans for architecture and engineering systems. CAD systems are specialized workstations or very high-performance personal computers that employ CAD software packages and input devices such as graphic tablets and scanners.
Calendar Rolls

Calendar Rolls

A cast-iron roll that is part of a series of metal rolls at the end of a paper machine. When the paper is passed between these rolls they increase its smoothness and the glossiness of the surface. The amount of pressure controls the degree of smoothness of the paper. Most papers other than antique finished papers are calendared. The type of finish that is achieved using calendaring is called an eggshell finish, vellum finish, or English finish.
Caliper

Caliper

1. The thickness of paper or other printing surface, expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils or points), pages per inch (ppi), thousandths of a millimeter (microns), or pages per centimeter (ppc). 2. The device on a sheetfed press that detects double sheets, or on a binding machine that detects missing signatures or inserts.
Camera-ready

Camera-ready

1. A common term used in the commercial printing industry, meaning a document is from a technical standpoint ready to “go to press,” or be printed. 2. Copy that is ready to be photographed.
Caps and Small Caps

Caps and Small Caps

Two sizes of capital letters made in one size of type, commonly used in most Roman typefaces.
Carbonless Paper

Carbonless Paper

Carbonless copy paper has micro-encapsulated dye or ink on the back side of the top sheet, as well as a clay coating on the front side of the bottom sheet. When pressure is applied (from writing or impact printing), the dye capsules rupture and react with the clay to form a permanent mark duplicating the markings (elements like images, writing, or typing) made to the top sheet. In the span of seconds, intermediary layers act as multipart stationery, adding flexibility and convenience to any business exchange!
Carload

Carload

Selling a 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. Abbreviated CL.
Carton

Carton

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.
Case

Case

The covers of a hardbound book.
Case Binding

Case Binding

A binding method in which the hard board book case (cover) is made separately from the textblock and later attached to it.
Cast Coated

Cast Coated

Coated paper dried under pressure against a polished, hot, metal drum to produce a high-gloss enamel finish.
Cast-And-Cure

Cast-And-Cure

A holographic effect that uses a flexographic printing press to press a laminated casting film to a wet UV coating or varnish, creating a film that can be rolled up and reused (approximately 10-20 times) to create unique packaging or labels with holographic, high gloss, matte, and iridescent effects.
Catalog Paper

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.
CCD (Charge Coupled Device)

CCD (Charge Coupled Device)

A semiconductor light-sensitive electronic device that emits an electrical signal proportional to the amount of light striking it. Used in scanners and video cameras.
CD-ROM (Compact Disc Read Only Memory)

CD-ROM (Compact Disc Read Only Memory)

In digital prepress, a laser-encoded optical storage disk that can store 650 mega-bytes to more than one gigabyte of data (on a disk about the size of a traditional 51/4-inch floppy disk).
Cell

Cell

A small etched or engraved depression (e.g. very fine dimples) in a gravure cylinder or an anilox roll that carries the ink to a flexographic printing plate. The number, size, and geometry of the anilox cells vary and will determine the amount of ink that the anilox roll delivers to the plate.
Cell Volume

Cell Volume

In printing, anilox is a method used to provide a measured amount of ink to a flexographic printing plate. Cell volume is measure of a cell's capacity to carry ink; calculated as theoretical volume or liquid volume.
Cells Per Inch (Cpi)

Cells Per Inch (Cpi)

The number of cells per inch on a flexo anilox or gravure cylinder.
Center Spread

Center Spread

The pair of pages facing each other at the center of a magazine or newspaper, printed and made up as a single unit.
CEPS (Color Electronic Prepress System)

CEPS (Color Electronic Prepress System)

A high-end, computer-based system (including scanner, printer and other hardware) and software designed for image assembly, color correction, retouching, and output onto proofing materials, film, or printing plates. 
Chain Dot

Chain Dot

Alternate term for elliptical dots; where midtone dots (from a photo or illustration) touch and look like links in a chain.
Chain Lines

Chain Lines

The more widely spaced lines created in the thickness of laid paper, and visible as brighter lines as viewed by transmitted light. Chain lines appear on laid paper as a result of the wires of the papermaking machine.
Chalking

Chalking

The deterioration of a printed image caused by the improper drying of ink (because it was absorbed too quickly or had long exposure to sun and wind, which caused the pigment to dust off). Sometimes called crocking.
Check Copy

Check Copy

A term used to describe the production copy of a print publication that has been verified by the customer for final print runs.
Chemical Pulp

Chemical Pulp

A type of paper pulp produced by treating groundwood chips with chemicals to removed impurities like lignin, resigns, and gums.
Chemistry

Chemistry

The term used to describe the composition and processing solutions that involve the reactions between photons, photographic film, and developing solution to make photo prints.
Chokes and Spreads

Chokes and Spreads

In prepress and multi-color printing, a trapping technique that adjusts the size of an image and the opening in which it will be inserted. A choke is a photographic enlargement of the background color in which a second image will print. This has the effect of reducing the size of – or “choking” – the hole in which a foreground object will be printed. A spread is the slight photographic enlargement—or “spreading”—of the image that will print within the choked image. This combination of reducing the opening and enlarging the image creates a slight overlap when the images ultimately print, eliminating unwanted white spaces or gaps between the two images.
Chrome

Chrome

The strength of a color as compared to how close it seems to neutral gray. This is also referred to as depth, intensity, purity, and saturation.
CIE Color Spaces

CIE Color Spaces

Three-dimensional color mapping systems (such as CIELab) that are used to plot three color attributes (X, Y, Z) in order to numerically specify a measured color and accurately reproduce that it in print and digital displays.
CIP4

CIP4

An acronym for the Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press, and Postpress. CIP4 is a global, non-profit standards association that sets protocols and automates workflows in printing.
Clip Art

Clip Art

Refers to copyright-free drawings that can be electronically copied and pasted into documents or other files. Clip art is available for purchase and unlimited reproduction.
Close Up

Close Up

A proofreading mark used to indicate that a space needs to be “closed” between words or characters.
Closed Loop System

Closed Loop System

An automatic control system in which an operation, process, or mechanism can adjust itself and is regulated by feedback. In printing, a densitometer in a digital printer may provide feedback data for color adjustment.
CMY (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow)

CMY (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow)

Subtractive primary colors, each of which is a combination of two additive primary colors (red, green, and blue). The CMY color model adds cyan, magenta, and yellow pigments or dyes together to produce a broad array of colors.
CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key/Black)

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key/Black)

The subtractive process colors (cyan, magenta, and yellow) used in CMYK color printing. Black (K) is added to enhance color and contrast. The CMYK color model is also used to describe the printing process itself, because CMYK refers to the four ink plates used in some color printing presses.
Co-mail

Co-mail

Co-mail is the process of mixing different-sized catalogs and publications from multiple sources to produce sorted and bundled packages that are as USPS delivery-friendly as possible.
Co-palletize

Co-palletize

Co-palletization (or co-pal) is when the mailing company takes mail trays that have been addressed and sorted and combines them on the same pallet with trays of direct mail from multiple customers to create full pallets. This qualifies mail for greater postal discounts and allows mail to ship faster and with better tracking.
Coarse Screen

Coarse Screen

A halftone screen – commonly used in newsprint – typically with a ruling of 65, 85, or 100 lines per inch.
Coated Paper

Coated Paper

Paper having a surface coating that produces a smooth finish. Coated papers are best suited for high quality printing tasks. Paper may be gloss coated, dull-coated, machine-coated, or cast-coated.
Coated Stock

Coated Stock

Any paper that has a mineral coating applied after the paper is made, giving the paper a smoother finish.
Coating

Coating

An emulsion, varnish, or lacquer applied over a print surface to protect it and make it appear more professional. Some coatings can be applied to precise points on the page and others are flooded across the entire sheet. Each combination of coatings, tints, and textures can be used to adjust the level of protection or achieve different visual effects.
Coil Binding

Coil Binding

Coil binding – or spiral binding – uses a piece of spiraled plastic or wire to hold the finished book together. Coil binding allows books to be laid flat when opened, or even folded over onto itself. This is a wonderful binding option for reports, instruction manuals, cookbooks, calendars, and other items that need both flexibility and the ability to stay open.
Cold Color

Cold Color

Any color that is toward the blue side of the color spectrum. Cool colors (green, blue, and violet) tend to recede in space and typically make a space (or design) seem larger.
Collate

Collate

To gather or arrange pages in a proper sequence. In bookbinding, collating refers to verifying the correct order of pages.
Collotype

Collotype

A screenless printing process – employing a glass plate with a gelatin surface – that carries the image to be reproduced via litho-graphic presses.
Colophon

Colophon

A distinctive emblem used to identify books and others works produced by a printer or publisher.
Color Balance

Color Balance

In photography and image processing, color balance is the global adjustment of the intensities of the colors (typically cyan, magenta, and yellow). An important goal of this adjustment is to render specific colors – particularly neutral colors – correctly, or to produce a natural gray.
Color Bar

Color Bar

A color bar (or color control strips or proofing bars) are essentially test targets printed in the trim area of a press sheet. Color bars help press operators monitor and control the quality of the printed material relative to print placement, ink density, and dot gain.
Color Blanks

Color Blanks

Sometimes called “shells,” color blanks are press sheets printed with photos or illustrations, but without any type.
Color Break

Color Break

In multicolor printing, a color break is the position, line or area where one ink color stops and another begins.
Color Cast

Color Cast

A color cast is a visible, unwanted color tint to an image. Color casts occur when white balance is inaccurate or light is contaminated with a color, such as in the instance of bouncing from a colored surface. 
Color Control Bar

Color Control Bar

A color bar (or color control strips, color guides, or standard offset color bars) are essentially test targets printed in the trim area of a press sheet. Color control bars help press operators monitor and control the quality of the printed material relative to print placement, ink density, and dot gain.
Color Correction

Color Correction

Any method such as masking, dot-etching, re-etching, and scanning; used to improve color.
Color Curves

Color Curves

Instructions in computer software that allow users to change or correct colors. Just as you can make a plethora of adjustments to luminance (light) values, you have the same control over color to adjust highlights, mid-tones, and darks of any of the three-color channels (red, green, and blue), or to remove one of these color channels entirely.
Color Electronic Prepress System

Color Electronic Prepress System

In digital prepress, CEPS is a high-end, computer-based system that is used to color correct scanner images and assemble image elements into the highest-quality final pages.
Color Filter

Color Filter

A sheet of dyed glass, gelatin or plastic, or dyed gelatin cemented between glass plates. Used in photography to absorb certain colors and transmit others. The filters used for color separation are red, green, and blue (RGB).
Color Gamut

Color Gamut

Color gamut is defined as the entire range of hues which a particular device (or system) can produce or record, such as on a computer screen, or via a four-color printing press.
Color Key

Color Key

A type of post-film proof that represents color images less accurately than a die sublimation or contact proof. Color keys are created by overlaying a series of translucent films on one another to represent the printed piece.
Color Management

Color Management

A system of hardware, software, and procedures that are calibrated to best ensure color accuracy and repeatability throughout the design and production process. 
Color Model

Color Model

A color model is an abstract mathematical model describing the way colors can be represented as numbers, typically as twenty or thirty values or color components. When this model is associated with a precise description of how the components are to be interpreted (viewing conditions, etc.), the resulting set of colors is called “color space.” 
Color Proofs

Color Proofs

A visual impression of the expected final print reproduction, produced on a printing surface with inks, pigments, or dyes. Many color proofing systems exist to ensure the accuracy of everything from screen angles and dot shapes to the precise color of a proof.
Color Separation

Color Separation

The process of separating color originals into the primary printing color components – in negative or positive form – using red, green, and blue filters. Today, color separation is totally electronic.
Color Sequence

Color Sequence

In the 4-color print process (CMYK) or any multi-color printing, different inks are laid down in sequence in order to build the final image. The order that inks are laid down can significantly alter the final printed result. Ink sequence can also impact whether the job runs successfully or fails on press. Also called the color rotation or laydown sequence.
Color Shift

Color Shift

In four-color printing, color shift refers to the change in image color that can occur after a change in register, ink density, or dot gain, which can deter the final print quality and permit loss in total color gamut.
Color Transparency

Color Transparency

The use of transparent film to perform color separations. In design software, adjusting color transparency can permit underlying objects to shine through, allow overlaid text to be more legible, or to create a unique tint by mixing colors.
Colorimeter

Colorimeter

A tri-stimulus (three-filtered) device that uses red, green, and blue filters to mimic the way humans perceive color.
Comb Binding

Comb Binding

Comb binding (sometimes referred to as cerlox or surelox binding) is one of many ways to bind pages together into a book. This method uses round plastic spines with 19 rings (for US Letter size) or 21 rings (for A4 size) and a hole puncher that makes rectangular holes.
Commercial Printer

Commercial Printer

Commercial printing refers to the collection of services, which include bulk printing along with binding, composition, layout designing, and press productions. A commercial printer is used to produce phone books, magazines, labels, catalogs, brochures, business forms, promotional and training manuals, etc. Also called a job printer.
Commercial Register

Commercial Register

Refers to color printing on which the misregister allowable is within ± one row of halftone dots.
Commingled Mailing

Commingled Mailing

Commingling is a process by which mailings from more than one company are combined to meet USPS discount minimums (for quantity) for mailings to targeted neighborhoods.
Common Impression Cylinder Press

Common Impression Cylinder Press

In offset printing, this refers to an impression cylinder that contacts more than one rubber-surfaced fabric. These presses transfer an image to a plate and then to the paper.
Complimentary Flat(s)

Complimentary Flat(s)

The second or additional flat used when combining images from two or more pieces for a burn on one printing plate.
Composite Art

Composite Art

A print made from a number of individual plates, combining all colors onto one surface (rather than separating them into onto overlays). Composite art has a tissue overlay with instructions that indicate color breaks.
Composition

Composition

The assembly of typographic elements, graphics, or other page elements into pages ready for printing.
Comprehensive Dummy

Comprehensive Dummy

A comprehensive dummy from a commercial printing company simulates the final printed piece (with type, graphics, and colors). It includes the client's images and text and is formatted in accordance with instructions given when the first dummy was prepared by the graphic artist and reviewed by the client. The comp may be backed up, folded, scored or perforated if the final piece will have these features. Also called color comprehensive and comp.
Computer-to-plate

Computer-to-plate

Computer-to-plate (CTP or C2P) is an imaging technology which helps to transfer a digital image – generated in a computer – directly to a printing plate. Before CTP, the technology used was computer-to-film (CTF), where the image output was passed to a photographic film, and the output film was then used to make the printing plate. CTP lowers costs and shortens the amount of time needed to get a job on the press.
Condensed Type

Condensed Type

Type whose width has been reduced without affecting its height. Condensed type appears tall and tightly spaced.
Condition

Condition

To store paper in the pressroom for several hours or days before a print run so that the moisture level and temperature of the paper is equal to that of the pressroom.
Conductivity

Conductivity

A property of fountain solutions that must be controlled along with pH.
Contact Platemaker

Contact Platemaker

A machine with lights, timing device, and vacuum frame used to make contact prints or duplicate film, proofs, and plates.
Continuous Tone

Continuous Tone

All photographs and illustrations having a range of shades not made up of dots, as compared to line copy or halftones. An example of a continuous tone image is a photograph or a color transparency. Abbreviated contone.
Contone

Contone

An abbreviation for continuous tone.
Contract Proof

Contract Proof

A color proof of a print job; an agreement between the printer and the customer about how the printed product will look.
Contrast

Contrast

Any difference between visual items, such as the point size of text, the thickness of lines, the dark vs. light shades of colors, etc. In printing, contrast refers to the degree of perceptible difference between a duplicate and its original.
Converter

Converter

Converts are companies that specialize in modifying or combining raw materials such as polyesters, adhesives, silicone, adhesive tapes, foams, plastics, felts, rubbers, or liners and metals to create new products. In print, converters are known for making products such as boxes, bags, envelopes and displays.
Copy

Copy

Any client-supplied material (digital files, typed content, artwork, etc.) to be used in the print production.
Copy Preparation

Copy Preparation

The directions and preparation involved in arranging and sizing all client-supplied material (e.g. illustrations, text, etc.) to be photographed or electronically processed for reproduction.
Copyboard

Copyboard

1. The surface or frame on a process camera that holds the copy in position for photographing. 2. The backing on which the original to be reproduced is positioned in front of the camera in photoengraving.
Corrigendum

Corrigendum

An error to be corrected (discovered after printing), and a supplemental sheet containing the correction. Plural is corrigenda.
Cover Paper

Cover Paper

A term applied to papers mostly used for the covers of catalogs, brochures, booklets, pamphlets, etc. Also used for business cards and postcards.
Coverage

Coverage

A term used in printing to express how much ink is on a sheet. A page with light coverage might just have a small amount of text on it, while a page with heavy coverage indicates a large section of page covered in ink. Usually expressed in percentages.
Crash

Crash

Thick cloth embedded in the glue along the spine of a book to create a more robust binding.
Creep

Creep

The shifting position of a page as paper is folded, inserted, or bound during the finishing process. The amount of creep will vary depending on the number and thickness of the sheets and must be compensated for during layout and imposition. Sometimes called “push out.”
Crop

Crop

To crop is to trim portions of the copy (usually on a photograph) so that only part of the original subject can be seen within the image. Indicated on the original by cropmarks.
Crop Marks

Crop Marks

Any mark that clearly shows where material should be cut off, typically after an image has been produced, once it has been printed. Also called cut marks and tick marks.
Cross Direction

Cross Direction

The direction perpendicular to the grain direction of a paper. Paper is weaker and more sensitive to changes in relative humidity in the cross direction than the grain direction.
Crossmarks

Crossmarks

Marks on the register (the fitting of two or more printing images on the same paper in exact alignment with each other).
Crossover

Crossover

A type or art across two facing pages (in a book or magazine) that “crosses” the gutter and continues on the opposite page. Also called a bridge, gutter bleed, or gutter jump.
CSR (Customer Service Rep)

CSR (Customer Service Rep)

The print professional you will work with once you’ve given a job to a printer.
CTP (Computer-to-Plate)

CTP (Computer-to-Plate)

Abbreviation for computer-to-plate imaging technology which helps to transfer a digital image generated in a computer directly to a printing plate. Before CTP, the technology used was computer-to-film (CTF), where the image output was passed to a photographic film, and the output film was then used to make the printing plate. This process lowers costs and shortens the amount of time needed to get a job on the press.
Cure

Cure

The process of drying inks, varnishes, or other print coatings. Curing ensures good adhesion and prevents unwanted transfer of ink from one printed sheet to another. 
Curl

Curl

The distortion of a print product due to the absorption of moisture, or the differences in structure or coatings from one side to the other.
Cut Sizes

Cut Sizes

Paper sizes used during casual or commercial printing.
Cutoff

Cutoff

The circumference of the impression cylinder of a web press, based on the length of the printed sheet or the length of the repeat pattern on roll to roll presses.
Cutscore

Cutscore

A sharp-edged knife used during die cutting (a process in which you use a machine to mass-produce cut-out shapes). A cutscore is made to cut partway into the paper or board to aid in folding and to reduce paper cracking.
Cutting Die

Cutting Die

A tool that cuts out your custom packaging shape, built as a base with molded blades sticking out of it. Usually this is a custom ordered item to trim specific and unusual sized printing projects.
Cutting Machine

Cutting Machine

A machine that cuts stacks of paper to desired sizes. The machine can also be used in scoring or creasing.
CWT

CWT

An abbreviation for hundredweight using the Roman numeral C=100. Often used to calculate freight charges.
Cyan

Cyan

A shade of blue used in four-color ink printing (the C in CMYK). This hue reflects or transmits blue and green light while absorbing red.
Cylinder Gap

Cylinder Gap

A break in the circumference of an offset press plate cylinder, blanket cylinder, impression cylinder, or transfer cylinder in which the mechanism for the plate, clamps, and grippers is housed. The cylinder gap on the plate cylinder also allows the inking system to renew itself between printed sheets. 
Dampening

Dampening

In offset printing, the water-based fountain solution applied to the printing plate. This repels ink from in non-image areas of the plate.
Dampening System

Dampening System

In off-set lithographic printing, the mechanism for transferring a water-based fountain solution to the printing plate as a means of making non-image areas ink repellent (so that the oil-based ink does not collect in unwanted areas of the printing plate).
Data Compression

Data Compression

The process of reducing the amount of storage required to store or transmit a digital file. The greater the compression, the less detail can be encoded in a file, and the more detail is lost when a file is covered.
DCS (Desktop Color Separation)

DCS (Desktop Color Separation)

A data file defined to assist in printing process color separation using desktop color systems. Five files are created: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black image data, then compiled for a fifth file color preview to ensure perfect color blend for the final product.
Deboss

Deboss

Debossing and embossing are the processes of creating either raised or recessed relief images and designs in paper and other materials. A debossed pattern is pressed into the paper so it lies below the surface.
Deckle

Deckle

A removable wooden frame or “fence” used in manual paper making; can also refer to the width of a wet sheet as it comes off the wire of a paper machine. Deckle edge paper is an industrially produced paper with rough cut or distressed edges (as used in the book trade).
Deckle Edge

Deckle Edge

The raw end of handmade or machine-made paper. It appears as a rough, frayed edge. Many artists and crafters like to keep this look as an artistic embellishment, but the deckle edge is typically cut off when manufactured paper is sold.
Densitometer

Densitometer

A photoelectric instrument used by printers and photographers to measure the density of images, colors, or viscosity of inks on the base material on which something will be printed.
Density

Density

1. The measure of darkness, blackening, or “strength” of an image in terms of its ability to disperse or absorb light (e.g. opacity), as measured by a densitometer. 2. The number of dots per unit area given by display devices (such as monitors) or output devices (such as laser printers or imagesetters).
Density Range

Density Range

Density is the measure of darkness or “strength” of an image in terms of its opacity. The density range is the difference (or contrast) between the darkest and lightest areas of copy. Also called tonal range or copy range.
Descender

Descender

The portion of a lowercase letter that extends below the main body, as in “q.”
Desktop Publishing

Desktop Publishing

The use of the computer and software to create visual displays of ideas and information. Desktop publishing documents may be for desktop or commercial printing, or for electronic distribution (including PDF, slideshows, email newsletters, electronic books, etc.).
Device-independent

Device-independent

The features of a computer program or system that allows different output devices to display the same file. Device-independent colors are hues identified by wavelength that can be accurately reproduced across several mediums (e.g. ink, projected light, photographic chemistry, etc.).
Die

Die

Any metal plate or block etched with a design, lettering, or pattern used to stamp or press these designs into a printed material. Used in embossing, debossing, die-stamping, scoring, foil stamping, etc.
Die-stamping

Die-stamping

A cold forming process that involves the production of either a machine-etched or a hand-engraved steel die or copperplate, which is then mounted onto the moving arm of a large die stamping press where it is inked. Given the unbeatable finish and fine detail of die stamping, it is a natural choice when printing elegant crests, symbols, or intricate type for business cards, letterheads, etc. Sometimes called ‘engraved,’ ‘copperplate,’ or ‘intaglio’ printing.
Diecutting

Diecutting

A process of using sharp steel rules to mass-produce cut-out shapes for labels, cartons, packaging, etc. There are several different types of die cutting processes available today, including flatbed die cutting, rotary die cutting, and digital die cutting.
Diffusion Transfer

Diffusion Transfer

In photography or photocopying, a chemical process of reproducing a master copy on a receiver sheet.
Digital Asset Management (DAM)

Digital Asset Management (DAM)

A segment of the content management market focused on the systematic cataloging and management of digital media (text, images, video, and audio), and the devices needed to store, retrieve, or use this media. Also referred to as Media Asset Management.
Digital Color Proof

Digital Color Proof

A color proof produced from digital data without needing to make separate color films first. Sometimes abbreviated DCP or referred to as Direct Digital Color Proof.
Digital Dot

Digital Dot

A dot created by a computer and printed out by a laser printer or imagesetter. Tiny, uniformly-sized dots are displayed in patterned grids to make up larger words or images. The more pixels (or dots) per inch, the finer the detail in the print will be and the sharper it will look.
Digital Inks

Digital Inks

1. A form of technology that allows handwriting and drawings to be added electronically to documents and be displayed on a computer monitor. 2. In digital printing, imaging material used in plateless printing systems, including the (powdered) toner mixture used for tone printing inks.
Digital Photography

Digital Photography

Cameras that use a light-sensitive sensor (in place of film) to capture electronic images, which are then digitized and stored as a computer file for further digital processing, viewing, electronic publishing, or digital printing.
Digital Plates

Digital Plates

High speed or spark discharge plates that record images directly on plate to transfer digital data from a prepress system to materials like paper, polyester, or aluminum plates.
Digital Printing

Digital Printing

A method of plateless printing that sends a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. This can refer to small-run jobs like desktop publishing to large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers. Digital printing has a higher cost per page but allows for on-demand printing, shorter turnaround times, or the use or variable data for each print run. Also referred to as electronic printing.
Digitizer

Digitizer

Any hardware device that receives analog information such as sound or light, and records it digitally (in binary form). Usually, this information is stored in a file on a computing device. This transfer process is called digitization.
Dimensional Stability

Dimensional Stability

A measure of the extent to which a paper, film, or print product will resist a change in size as a result of a change in moisture content, relative humility, or the application of a compressing force, as during printing. Polyester-based films are more dimensionally stable than acetate bases, but glass is more stable than polyester.
Direct Digital Color Proof (DDCP)

Direct Digital Color Proof (DDCP)

A color proof – made by a computer-controlled output device – that can be produced without making color separation films first.
Display Type

Display Type

Type that is set larger than the main body text, such as headings.
Distribute and Print

Distribute and Print

To distribute a print job to printers around the country so it can be printed locally or mailed more cost-effectively.
Dithering

Dithering

An intentionally applied form of noise used to randomize quantization error and prevent large-scale patterns such as color banding in images. Dithering techniques make different colors for adjacent dots or pixels to give an illusion of a third color, or by adding shades of gray to a project. Also referred to as halftoning.
Doctor Blade

Doctor Blade

In gravure printing, a knife-edged blade pressed against the engraved printing cylinder to wipe away excess ink and to produce fine, detailed images.
Dog Ear

Dog Ear

Part of a sheet of paper (commonly a corner) which has been folded over. This is a printing defect that can be caused by mechanical problems on the press or folding machine.
DOS (Disk Operation System)

DOS (Disk Operation System)

Short for disk operating system, DOS refers to the original operating system developed by Microsoft for IBM, sometimes also referred to as MS-DOS (Microsoft disk operating system). Today DOS refers to a set of programs that instructs a disk-based computer system to manage resources and operate exterior components.
Dot

Dot

The smallest individual element of a halftone. Dots per inch (Dpi) is a measure of image quality.
Dot Gain

Dot Gain

A phenomenon that causes printed material to reveal darker tones (or stronger colors) than intended. This happens when a plate is exposed and light scatters, or when ink is improperly transferred from a printing plate to the transfer unit and print materials.
Dot Size

Dot Size

The relative size of dots used in halftone (dot pattern) printing, as compared to dots of the screen ruling being used.
Dots Per Inch (DPI)

Dots Per Inch (DPI)

A measure of how many dots can be printed in one square inch of paper. The more pixels or dots per inch, the finer the detail in the print will be and the sharper it will look.
Double Black Duotone

Double Black Duotone

In printing, the means of increasing contrast of printed images by printing with two specially-prepared black halftone plates (one for highlights and one for midtones and shadows). Also called double-black halftone printing.
Double Bump

Double Bump

To print a single image darker by sending a sheet through the press twice (so that the same color prints again). This process may be needed when extremely dense solid areas are required.
Double Burn

Double Burn

Combining images of two or more films into a single film to create a single composite image. May also refer to artwork in which overlays are shot as separate negatives then burned together to make the printing plate.
Double Density

Double Density

A method of recording electronic data, using a modified frequency so more storage is created (about twice the capacity of the prior format).
Double Dot Halftone

Double Dot Halftone

The reprographic technique used to simulate continuous-tone imagery through the use of dots burned onto one printing plate from two originals (one shot for shadows, the second for midtones and highlights). A double halftone reproduces much greater contrast than a conventional halftone. Also called a double halftone.
Doubling

Doubling

A printing defect characterized by a faint duplicate of a printed impression out of alignment with the solid image, or flawed double impressions created during die-stamping or foil stamping.
Download

Download

In computer networks, download means to receive data from a remote system, typically from a server such as a web server, an FTP server, an email server, or other similar system. This contrasts with uploading, where data is sent to a remote server. A download is a file offered for downloading or that has been downloaded, or the process of receiving such a file.
DPI

DPI

Acronym for Dots Per Inch; a measure of how many dots can be printed in one square inch of paper. The more pixels or dots per inch, the finer the detail in the print will be and the sharper it will look.
Draw-down

Draw-down

A term that is used to describe an ink chemist's method of roughly determining color shade. In commercial printing, a drawdown is a sample spread of ink that your print provider presses onto a paper. For offset printed jobs, the drawdown is the best way to see exactly how the ink will look on a given paper. There are machines that will create the drawdown, but many shops actually hand roll the ink onto the paper.
Drilling

Drilling

The process of drilling holes in press sheets, books, or bound projects, often to facilitate mechanical binding.Also known as punching.
Drop Shadow

Drop Shadow

In graphic design, a drop shadow is a visual effect consisting of drawing that looks like the shadow of an object, giving the impression that the object is raised above the objects behind it.
Drop-out

Drop-out

Portions of originals that do not reproduce, especially colored lines or background areas (often intentionally). White type on a colored background is called a drop-out. This term may also refer to halftone dots or fine lines eliminated from highlights (by overexposure) during camera work.
Dropout Halftone

Dropout Halftone

To increase contrast in halftone printing by eliminating dots from highlights. Can also refer to any halftone photographed as line art, with black and white but no shades of gray.
Dry Offset

Dry Offset

A hybrid of letterpress printing and offset lithography that uses etched metal plates (mounted to plate cylinders), which transfer ink to a rubber-coated pad (a blanket) before this image is transferred to the final surface to be printed. Useful for printing on rough or irregular surfaces, such as aluminum cans. Also called letterset printing.
Dry Trap

Dry Trap

In four-color process color printing, the ability to successfully lay wet ink film on top (previously printed) dry ink.
Dryback

Dryback

A decrease in the gloss or color intensity of ink during drying. Dryback can be avoided by ensuring the paper’s absorbency allows the proper amount of time for ink drying.
Dryer

Dryer

A substance added during commercial printing to harden the heatset ink by evaporating a solvent ingredient into it. This hastens drying.
DTP

DTP

An acronym for Desktop Publishing (the use of the computer and software to create visual displays of ideas and information).
Dual Purpose Bond Paper

Dual Purpose Bond Paper

Bond paper is commonly used for writing, printing, and photocopying. Dual purpose bond paper is suitable for printing by both offset printers or photocopiers.
Dull Finish

Dull Finish

A semi-gloss finish on coated paper that is slightly smoother than matte (but less glossy than gloss). Also called suede finish, velvet finish, or velour finish.
Dummy

Dummy

A preliminary mockup (created prior to production) showing the size, shape, form, and general style of a project as it may appear in a final print run.
Duotone

Duotone

1. A black-and-white image reproduced using two halftone negatives. 2. A term for a two-color halftone reproduction originating from a one-color photograph. Here two films are made by changing the screen angle for each and one plate is made for each film. This allows for maximum contrast and emphasizing different tonal values in the original.
Duplex

Duplex

A print setting that allows printing of a sheet of paper. Print devices without this capability can only print on a single side of paper, sometimes called single-sided printing or simplex printing. Also referred to as “perfecting.”
Duplex Paper

Duplex Paper

Thick paper made by pasting highlights together from two thinner sheets, usually displaying a different color or finish on each side. Also called double-faced paper and two-tone paper.
Duplicator

Duplicator

A small printing press (typically capable of printing sheets no larger than 11 X 17) used in offset lithography for quick, single-color, short-run print jobs.
DVD (Digitial Video or Versatile Disk)

DVD (Digitial Video or Versatile Disk)

A disk that can store audio, video, and computer data at 4.7 or more gigabytes per disk.
Dye Sublimation

Dye Sublimation

A photographic looking color print created by imprinting heated dyes on a surface (rather than using ink). Many dye-sublimation printers are used to produce photographic prints, ID cards, clothing, plastics, and more.
Dylux

Dylux

A brand name for photographic paper used as a proofing medium in the print industry (used for evaluating page layouts, text, photos, and other illustrations). Sometimes called blueline.
Dynamic Range

Dynamic Range

Density difference (e.g. color depth or possible pixel values) for a digital image. Describes the number of possible colors or gray shades that can be included in a particular image. 8-bit images can represent as many as 256 colors; 24-bit image can represent approximately 16 million colors. In design software, using a high dynamic range setting allows you to portray a much greater range of tonal detail than a given camera could capture in a single photo. 
Electronic Image Assembly

Electronic Image Assembly

In prepress, the digital composition of an image created from portions of other images and/or page elements.
Electronic printing

Electronic printing

A method of plateless printing that sends a digital-based image directly to a variety of media (without the use of traditional ink, water, chemistry, or plates). This can refer to small-run jobs like desktop publishing to large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers. Electronic printing has a higher cost per page but allows for on-demand printing, shorter turnaround times, or the use or variable data for each print run. Also referred to as digital printing.
Electronic Proof

Electronic Proof

A prepress proof in which paper is electronically exposed to the color separation negatives and passed through electronically charged pigment toners. Also known as a soft proof, electronic proofs are generated for any file that will be printed (interior pages, book covers, packaging, etc.). Electronic proofs are not intended to be accurate for color.
Electronic Publishing

Electronic Publishing

The distribution of digital text, images, and video. Electronic publishing includes pieces printed manually (from a copy machine or ink printer) and also for online publications, fax machines, or digital media such as CDs and DVDs.
Electrophotography

Electrophotography

A type of dry photocopying method used to create copies of a picture using an electrostatic charge and toners, as in copiers and digital printers.
Elliptical Dot

Elliptical Dot

Elongated or oval halftone dots that improve the progression of tones (particularly in middle tones and fading or blended illustrations); used to minimize the midtone jump and improve print quality at the point where dots are large enough to connect.
Em

Em

A unit in the field of typography where a unit of measurement is exactly as wide and high as the point size being set. For example, one em in a 16-point typeface is 16 points. Therefore, this unit is the same for all typefaces at a given point size. For example, the em dash and em space are each one em wide.
Embedded Profile

Embedded Profile

A coded tag at the end of the image file data that allows a Color Management Module to translate the color data correctly from one profile or color space to another.
Embossed Finish

Embossed Finish

In the trade printing area, embossing finish refers to raising parts of paper or cardboard for extra texture and emphasis. This dimensional print finish adds additional depth to the embossed elements, to create tactile shadows and highlights in a design. Embossed finish adds a tactile, unique feeling and dimension to your design, so it resembles wood, cloth, leather, or some other textured pattern.
Embossing

Embossing

Embossing and debossing are the processes of creating either raised or recessed relief images and designs in paper and other materials. An embossed pattern is raised against the background, while a debossed pattern is sunken into the surface of the material but might protrude somewhat on the reverse side.
EME (Electromechanical Engraver)

EME (Electromechanical Engraver)

In gravure printing, EME is a machine used to make printing cylinders that can transfer an image to the surface of the printing cylinder for reproduction on a printing surface (e.g. plastic, film, or foils).
Emulsion

Emulsion

The colloidal suspension of one liquid in another. In photography, an emulsion is any light-sensitive coating used to form reproductions of an image on papers, films, stencils, and printing plates. This is the basis of photography.
Emulsion Down/Emulsion Up

Emulsion Down/Emulsion Up

Emulsion refers to the light-sensitive coating used to form reproductions of an image on papers, films, stencils, and printing plates. Emulsion up (EU) refers to film where the image is tipped toward the viewer; emulsion down (ED) is film that faces away from the viewer.
En

En

A unit in the field of typography where a unit of measurement is half the width of an em. By definition, it is equivalent to half of the height of the font (e.g. in 16 point type it is 8 points). As its name suggests, it is also traditionally the width of an uppercase letter “N”. The en dash (–) and en space ( ) are each one en wide. In English, the en dash is commonly used for inclusive ranges (e.g., “pages 12–17” or “August 7, 1988 – November 26, 2005”), and increasingly used to replace the long dash (“—”, also called an em dash or en rule). Also called ‘nut.’
Enamel

Enamel

A term applied to a coated paper, or another term for gloss coated paper.
End Papers

End Papers

A sheet that attaches the inside pages of a case bound book to its cover. Also referred to as pastedown.
English Finish

English Finish

A grade of coated book paper that has a smoother, more uniform surface than machine finish. English Finish is smoother than eggshell but rougher than smooth.
Engraving

Engraving

A printmaking method, engraving is done with a sharp tool (called a burin) used to scratch lines into a hard surface such as metal or wood. In modern printing, engraving refers to the process in which artwork is chemically etched onto a copper plate which can be inked and pressed onto paper, (creating a slightly raised impression for the image).
EP

EP

An abbreviation for the word envelope.
EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)

EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)

A file format used to transfer graphic images within compatible applications.  EPS files are more-or-less self-contained, and reasonably predictable PostScript documents that describe an image or drawing and can be placed within another PostScript document. An EPS file is essentially a PostScript program, saved as a single file that includes a low-resolution preview “encapsulated.” within it, allowing some programs to display a preview on the screen, or sized without loss of quality at different resolutions.
Equivalent Paper

Equivalent Paper

A term used to describe respective qualities of papers that look and print the same, while not being brand specified. Sometimes called comparable stock.
Estimate

Estimate

An approximation of what a print job may cost, specifically based on things like paper selection, folds or binding, colors and finishes, etc.
Estimator

Estimator

The individual responsible for pricing an estimate for a potential print job. When working with an estimator, you may be able to request that certain elements of a job be separated from the basic printing cost; this enables you to price out extra elements (such as foil stamps, unusual binding, or various finishing options).
Etch

Etch

An acidified gum solution (used in lithographic printing) to desensitize the non-printing areas of the plate in order to carve an image into metal, glass, or a print surface; also, an acid solution added to the fountain water to help keep non-printing areas of the plate free from ink.
Expanded Type

Expanded Type

In contrast with condensed type, expanded type has a width greater than normal. Also referred to as extended type.
Exposure

Exposure

In photography, exposure is the amount of light per unit area (the image plane illuminance times the exposure time) that reaches a frame of photographic film or the surface of an electronic image sensor. Exposure is determined by shutter speed, lens aperture, and scene luminance. An “exposure” is a single shutter cycle. 
Face

Face

The printing surface of a piece of metal type, or the opening edge of a bound publication (opposite of the spine). Face can also be used to refer to a particular plane of a computer graphics wireframe model, or as a shortened form of the term typeface.
Fadeometer

Fadeometer

A device used to measure the degree that an ink sample (or other pigmented coatings) will fade when exposed to light.
Fake Color

Fake Color

To produce a color piece by using one image as a key and making the other separations (or isolated individual color areas) from it manually.
Fanout

Fanout

The undesirable expansion (or distortion) of a sheet of paper on the press – caused either by moisture absorption or by mechanical stretching of the paper – resulting in poor registration of images.
Fast Color Inks

Fast Color Inks

Highly saturated colored inks that resist fading and retain their solidity over time (especially as the products are dried, used, or washed).
Feeder

Feeder

The section of a printing device that separates the sheets and feeds them in position for printing.
Felt Side

Felt Side

The smoother side of the paper for printing (as compared to the wire side). Since the felt side contains more filler, it is somewhat weaker than the wire side, and is often not the preferred side for printing. 
Fifth Color

Fifth Color

In offset printing, the fifth color is an additional spot color used to supplement the traditional colors used in process printing (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). Often this may be an integral color for the corporate/brand image (such as Ferrari red or IBM blue) where consistent color matching is crucial.
File

File

A container in a computer system for storing information in electronic form, a file is a group of related information (such as text, graphics, page instructions, and picture information) that is stored on magnetic disks, in the hard drive, or on other media.
Filling In (or Filling Up)

Filling In (or Filling Up)

A condition where ink saturates the area between the halftone dots or plugs up (fills in) the type.
Film Laminate

Film Laminate

Sheets of clear plastic bonded to a printed product so the product is totally enclosed in plastic. This adds durability (to protect from stains, tears, and moisture) and makes the colors on the printed piece appear more brilliant or glossy.
Fine Papers

Fine Papers

Any of a wide variety of high-quality papers used for writing or commercial printing (as compared with grainy or industrial papers). Sometimes called graphic papers or cultural papers.
Fine Screen

Fine Screen

A sheet of film with a ruling of 150 lines per inch (80 lines per centimeter) or more.
Finish

Finish

1. A general term for the surface characteristics of paper. 2. Any variety of processes performed to a piece of printing – can include cutting, trimming, binding, folding, laminating, or distinct operations like foil stamping and debossing.
Finished Size

Finished Size

The final size of a product (or flat) after printing and trimming is complete. Also called flat size.
Fit

Fit

The proper placement of different colors on a printed sheet, or the ability of film to be perfectly aligned during assembly and stripping. Good fit means that all images align precisely to other film for the same job.
Fixed Costs

Fixed Costs

Expenses that don’t change, regardless of how many pieces are printed. Examples include photography, copyrighting, or general overhead costs for your commercial printing partner.
Flat

Flat

The assembly of film (negatives on goldenrod paper or positives on film) to a carrier sheet ready for platemaking.
Flat Color

Flat Color

A form of color printing created by printing only one ink (as compared to process color printing, in which dots of one color are overprinted on dots of one or more other colors to produce blends. May also refer to colors that appear dull or lifeless. Also called spot color.
Flat Plan (Flats)

Flat Plan (Flats)

A diagram of flats (assemblies of film for reproduction on a carrier sheet) that offer a birds-eye view of publication layouts, colors, etc.
Flat Size

Flat Size

The final size of a product after printing and trimming is complete. Also called finished size.
Flatbed Scanner

Flatbed Scanner

An optical scanner which makes use of a flat surface for scanning documents. Pages are placed facedown on glass plate as a scan head moves beneath the glass. The scanner is capable of capturing all elements on the document and does not require movement of the document. 
Flexography

Flexography

A form of printing that uses flexible rubber relief plates and highly volatile fast-drying inks to print on a variety of surfaces (where the image to be printed is reproduced on raised areas that are higher than the non-printing areas). Flexography is commonly used in package printing or for cans, bottles, and non-flat surfaces.
Flocking

Flocking

The application of fine (natural or synthetic) particles to adhesive coated surfaces. Like thermographic printing, flocking is usually done by the application of a high-voltage electric field that causes flock material to fly vertically onto a surface attaching to a previously applied glue. Often used for clothing or apparel services. The flocking process can magically transform a plain, flat surface into a rich, warm, intensely-colored, comfortable, and visually compelling texture.
Flood

Flood

Any coating that covers the entire surface of a paper sheet or other printed material. Flood coating is usually applied in liquid form such as ink or varnish. Also called painting.
Fluorescent Ink

Fluorescent Ink

Printing inks with a phosphorescent pigment that adds brightness and luminosity because they emit and reflect light (with a psychedelic effect).
Flush Cover

Flush Cover

A cover that has been trimmed to the same size as the inside text pages as in this book.
Flush Left (or Right)

Flush Left (or Right)

Alignment of the left side of a page, screen, or margin (with the right-hand side ragged), which is the default style of text alignment in most cases. If text is jagged on the left and aligned on the right, it is said to be “flush right.”
Flush Paragraph

Flush Paragraph

A paragraph with no indention.
Flying Paster or Splicer

Flying Paster or Splicer

A device – found in the infeed section of printing presses used in web offset lithography – which splices a fresh roll of paper in place of an expiring roll, without stopping the press.
Flyleaf

Flyleaf

In case binding, a set of unprinted sheets of heavy paper which follow or precede endleaf papers (which secure the body of a book to its case).
FM (Frequency Modulation) Screening

FM (Frequency Modulation) Screening

A computerized method for digital screening that coverts images into very small dots of equal size and variable spacing. This halftone process (based on pseudo-random distribution of halftone dots) uses frequency modulation (FM) to change the density of dots according to the gray level desired. Also called stochastic screening.
Focal Length

Focal Length

In photography, focal length refers to the distance from the center of the lens to the image of an object at infinity. In more general terms, the focal length is a description of the lens that tells you what angle of view and magnification you can capture. 
Fogging Back

Fogging Back

Lowering the density of an image so type layered in front of it becomes more legible.
Foil

Foil

A very thin metal sheet applied to paper during a foil stamping process. Foil is typically thinner than .006-inches and is composed of metal (like aluminum) or a shiny, tissue-like material.
Foil Embossing

Foil Embossing

To heat stamp an image (with a thin layer of shiny metallic film) before embossing a pattern under it to create a raised area of text, image, or a pattern. This dimensional print finish adds additional depth to the embossed elements, creates tactile shadows, and vibrantly highlights areas in a design.
Foil Stamping

Foil Stamping

Impressing metallic foil onto paper with a heated die. When the die is heated and pressed against the foil and print surface, the foil color is released onto the various materials for a flashy, lustrous effect.
Fold Marks

Fold Marks

In prepress, a set of marks added to a negative or a print piece that indicate where a fold should occur.
Folder

Folder

A bindery device used in the folding phase of binding and finishing. May also refer to a printed sheet containing one or more folds.
Foldout

Foldout

A printed insert designed to be bound into a larger publication, but is printed separately. The width of a foldout is wider than the other pages, and requires one or more folds for inclusion in the document.
Folio

Folio

A page number in a publication.
Font

Font

A font is the combination of typeface, size, weight, slope, and style to make up a printable or displayable set of characters. Font characters include letters, numbers, symbols, and punctuation marks. Fonts can be held in the storage or memory of a computer, on sheets of transfer lettering, on film, or in job cases holding metal type.
For Position Only (FPO)

For Position Only (FPO)

A written designation applied to a low-resolution or inferior-quality image that is used to indicate placement or size in design, but is not intended for use in final print runs.
Form

Form

Each side of a printed (folded) sheet (or an assembly of pages and images).
Form Bond

Form Bond

A lightweight category of paper often used for business forms. Sometimes called register bond.
Form Rollers

Form Rollers

The rollers on a printing press that come in contact with a printing plate (bringing it ink or water).
Format

Format

The type size, style, typeface, margins, bleed, gutters, imaging specs, printing requirements, etc. for a printed piece.
Forwarding

Forwarding

In case binding, any variety of operations in which sections of a book are stitched, fitted, glued, folded, etc., before being placed inside a cover.
Fountain

Fountain

The portion of a printing press (typically a metal trough) that holds fluids such as water, ink, varnish, etc.
Fountain Solution

Fountain Solution

In off-set lithographic printing, the mechanism for transferring a water-based fountain solution to the printing plate as a means of making non-image areas ink repellent (so that the oil-based ink does not collect in unwanted areas of the printing plate). Also called dampening solution.
Four-Color Process Printing

Four-Color Process Printing

The use of four specific colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to reproduce color photos or illustrations. Abbreviated as CMYK, each process color is comprised of percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks; the various percentages blend to produce different hues. Often print runs occur in separate stages to lay down each color.
Four-Color, Process Color, or 4-C

Four-Color, Process Color, or 4-C

The use of four specific colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to reproduce color photos or illustrations. Abbreviated as CMYK, each process color is comprised of percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks; the various percentages produce different hues. Often print runs occur in separate stages to lay down each color.
Fourdrinier Machine

Fourdrinier Machine

A device for producing paper, paperboard, and other fiberboards, consisting of a moving endless belt of wire or plastic screen that receives a mixture of pulp and water and allows excess water to drain off, forming a continuous sheet for further drying by suction, pressure, and heat. This machine was named for the brothers who invented it.
FPO (For Position Only)

FPO (For Position Only)

In graphic design and commercial printing, FPO is an acronym indicating for position only or for placement only. An image marked FPO is a placeholder or a temporary low-resolution illustration in the final location and size on camera-ready artwork to indicate where an actual high-resolution image will be placed on the final film or plate. FPO images are commonly used when you've been supplied actual photographic prints or another type of artwork to be scanned or photographed for inclusion. 
Free Sheet

Free Sheet

A grade of paper containing little or no mechanical wood pulp. Often used in the production of office papers. 
French Fold

French Fold

A type of fold produced by printing on only one side, then folded once vertically and once horizontally to produce an (uncut) four-page folder. Often used in advertising, French folding helps maximize space and gives the appearance that there is more content than actually exists.
Front End System

Front End System

The workstation or group of workstations containing the application software for preparing pages of type and graphics.
Fugitive Glue

Fugitive Glue

Adhesive used to affix items to a printed piece (such as plastic or paper cards, magnets, etc.). These thin strips of gummy-like glue can easily be peeled off the surface it bonds with. Also called “booger glue.”
Full-range Halftone

Full-range Halftone

Using a tonal range of small printed dots (ranging from white highlights with zero percent coverage to shadows with 100 percent coverage) to produce the impression of a continuous-tone image.
Full-scale Black

Full-scale Black

Using printed dots that contain the full range of tonal gradations (from white highlights to dark shadows) so that dots are printed in every part of an image (as opposed to half-scale black, where dots are only printed in the darker portions of the image).
Galley Proof

Galley Proof

A version of a printed piece prepared for the purpose of editing and commentary. Once all parties have had an opportunity to review it, a final page proof can be produced. This document includes correct pagination, images, and other formatting conventions, to allow people to check it one more time for errors. Also called checker and slip proof.
Gamma

Gamma

In photography, a measure of the response of a given film, developer, and development regime to light. High gamma indicates high contrast.
Ganging

Ganging

Gang-run printing describes a printing method in which multiple printing projects are placed on a common paper sheet in an effort to reduce printing costs and paper waste. Gang runs are generally used with sheet-fed printing presses and CMYK process color jobs, which require four separate plates that are loaded into the press.
Gapless

Gapless

In offset printing, gapless printing uses plate or blanket cylinders without gaps. Gapless printing uses paper more efficiently and processes jobs very quickly.
Gate Fold

Gate Fold

A three or four panel fold where the two outside (parallel) panels fold inward to meet in the center. The folded size is wider than a standard tri-fold brochure and the opening provides a more creative design effect.
Gathering

Gathering

The assembling of pages together (together with the cover) as a unit. Groups of sheets (folded in half together) are sometimes called a section, a gathering, or a signature.
GCR (Gray Component Replacement)

GCR (Gray Component Replacement)

The substitution of black for the gray component in images. In GCR, the CMY (cyan, magenta, yellow) values that add to gray along the tone scale can be replaced with black ink. GCR uses less ink, and some of that ink is black, which is normally cheaper than the others.
Gear Streaks

Gear Streaks

A printing defect of offset lithography characterized by light and dark bands in solids and halftones parallel to the gripper edge of a press sheet. Gear streaks are a consequence of excessive packing, or the production of too much pressure between the plate and blanket cylinders, which causes the cylinders to slip and transfer streaks to the paper.
Generation

Generation

In imaging and photography, each successive stage of reproduction.
Ghost Halftone

Ghost Halftone

Halftone printing uses very small dots to produce the impression of a continuous-tone image, and a ghost halftone reduces the dot density so an image is very faint. (This allows the image to be easily overprinted with text.)
Ghosting

Ghosting

An offset printing defect characterized by the (unintended) appearance of faint replicas of printed images in undesirable places. May also occur in screen printing when an image stretches beyond the edges of the stencil or on the wrong side of the printing surface.
Giclee Prints

Giclee Prints

Pronounced “jee-clay,” this neologism (French for “sprayed ink”) refers to fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers.
Gigabyte

Gigabyte

In computers, a gigabyte is equivalent to one billion bytes. (A bit is equivalent to one character; a number of bits is a byte).
Gilding

Gilding

In binding and finishing, a treatment in which metallic or gold coating is applied to the trimmed edge of book pages.
Gloss

Gloss

The quality of paper, ink, laminates, etc. that causes them to appear shiny. Materials that reflect light in parallel rays appear more glossy, while matte surfaces defuse rays in a variety of directions and appear more dull.
Gloss Ink

Gloss Ink

The quality of ink that causes it to appear especially shiny. Produced by adding extra varnish or by printing on a coated paper stock that causes ink to dry quickly before it penetrates the paper.
Glyph

Glyph

In typography, a glyph is an elemental symbol within an agreed set of symbols, intended to represent a readable character (such as a single letter, symbol, or number from a font).
Grade

Grade

A classification of paper, defined in terms of its uses. Each grade serves a purpose: some of the most common classifications are bond, coated, text, cover, book, offset, index, label, tag, newsprint, etc. Grade accounts for a sheet’s ingredients, brightness, and opacity.
Graduated Screen Tint

Graduated Screen Tint

The screen printing process uses fabric friendly ink to transfer a design onto a printing surface using a mesh screen. Graduated screen tints contain an infinite number of colors or greys and change color density gradually and smoothly, while halftone screen printing generally refers to greyscale images (such as photographs) or images printed with only one color of ink.
Grain

Grain

The prevalent direction in which the majority of paper fibers become aligned during manufacturing on a paper machine.
Grain Direction

Grain Direction

The prevalent direction in which the majority of paper fibers become aligned during manufacturing on a paper machine. Grain direction is an important factor that determine a paper’s strength and dimensional stability.
Grain Long Paper

Grain Long Paper

A term for a paper which has its grain direction parallel to the longer sheet dimension, which can affect the printability, runnability, and dimensional stability of the final product. Sometimes called narrow web paper or long-grain.
Grain Short Paper

Grain Short Paper

A term for a paper which has its grain direction parallel to the shorter sheet dimension, which can affect the printability, runnability, and dimensional stability of the final product.
Grammage

Grammage

The weight of paper expressed as grams per square meter of the paper (expressed in g/m2).
Graphic Arts

Graphic Arts

The field, crafts, or technology relating to visual communication, typesetting, printing, publishing, or other professional endeavors involving design and print.
Graphic Arts Film

Graphic Arts Film

Film that yields high contrast images that can be reproduced by a printing press. Sometimes called repro film or litho film.
Graphic Design

Graphic Design

Planning and projecting ideas or messages in a visual way, typically for an electronic or print publication.
Graphical User Interface (GUI)

Graphical User Interface (GUI)

A system of interactive visual components for computer software. In digital imaging, a GUI system allows users to manipulate files by pointing to pictures (icons, cursors, or buttons) with a mouse or pointing device instead of typing in key commands.
Graphics

Graphics

Any visual element within a page (such as a photograph, symbol, layout, etc.), typically in addition to text. Graphics make messages more clear, attractive, or compelling.
Gravure Printing

Gravure Printing

Gravure printing—also known as rotogravure printing—is primarily a long-run, high-speed, high-quality printing method used to etch elements into a surface. Like engraving, gravure is a form of intaglio printing that produces fine, detailed images. It works well for CMYK printing where each color of ink is applied by its own cylinder, adding drying steps in between.
Gray Balance

Gray Balance

The dot values or densities of cyan, magenta, and yellow that produce a neutral gray.
Gray Component Replacement (GCR)

Gray Component Replacement (GCR)

In four color process printing, this process replaces the gray component of cyan, magenta, and yellow halftone dots with black ink. GCR printing produces more consistent color, increases shadow detail, and is less expensive because it uses less ink and because black ink is usually cheaper. Sometimes called achromatic color removal.
Gray Level

Gray Level

Indicates the brightness of a pixel. The minimum grey level is 0. The maximum gray level depends on the digitization depth of the image. In contrast, in a grayscale or color image a pixel can take on any value between 0 and 255.
Gray Scale

Gray Scale

Grayscale is a group of shades without any visible color. In printing, gray scale refers to a strip of standard gray tones (in analog or digital form), ranging from white to black, placed at the side of original copy during photography to measure tonal range and contrast.
Grind Edge

Grind Edge

In perfect binding (where an adhesive binding is applied to the spine of gathered papers to hold them together), this refers to the binding edge of such pages.
Grind Off

Grind Off

In perfect binding (where an adhesive is applied to hold pages together), removing 1/8 inch (or 3 mm) along the inner edge the pages before binding occurs.
Gripper Edge

Gripper Edge

The edge of a sheet held by grippers on a sheetfed press, thus going first through the press. Also, the front edge of a lithographic or wraparound plate secured to the front clamp of a plate cylinder. Sometimes called a feeding edge and leading edge.
Gripper Margin

Gripper Margin

A space at the leading edge of a sheet of paper—usually three-eighths to one-half inch wide—where, on a sheetfed press, printing cannot take place. This margin is reserved for use by the grippers, or the mechanisms that carry the sheet through the press.
Grippers

Grippers

A space on a sheet of paper that allows for the press to physically grip the paper (or the metal fingers that clamp on the paper and control its flow as it passes through a press). Anything under the guide is outside of the printing area and effectively unprintable.
Groundwood Paper

Groundwood Paper

A variety of inexpensive paper (such as newsprint) manufactured using groundwood or mechanical pulp (rather than chemically refined materials). Groundwood paper is typically high in bulk, smoothness, and printability.
Groundwood Pulp

Groundwood Pulp

A mechanically prepared wood pulp used in the manufacture of newsprint and other publication grade papers.
GSM

GSM

An abbreviation for “grams per square meter.” This is a unit measuring the weight and thickness of paper, using a sample sheet cut to one square meter in size.
Gum Arabic

Gum Arabic

A gummy, water-soluble substance that can be applied to the surface of offset printing plates to prevent ink accumulation in non-printing areas. Gum arabic can also be added to the fountain water to help keep non-printing areas of the plate free from ink.
Gumming

Gumming

The process of applying a thin coating of gum to the non-printing areas of a lithographic plate.
Gutter

Gutter

The blank space, fold, or margin at which facing pages meet on a printed piece or press sheet. More space is usually required in the binding fold area
Hairline (Rule)

Hairline (Rule)

In typography, a very thin rule line, small space, thin line, etc. Usually less than one-half point wide, although this is a subjective term that varies in precise meaning.
Hairline Register

Hairline Register

In process color printing, the positioning of two or more printing images with the thinnest visible space or rule (within ±1/2 row of dots) so there is no color overlap.
Half-scale Black

Half-scale Black

A black printer or key color separation made to print dots only in the shadow or darker sections of an image (as opposed to graduated or full-scale black, where dots are printing across the full tone of gradations from white highlights to dark shadows).
Halftone

Halftone

Using small dots (arranged in a pattern or grid) to produce the impression of a continuous-tone image. This effect is achieved by varying the dot size and the number of dots per square inch. Halftone printing allows clients to print photographic or otherwise multi-tonal artwork using only one ink color, which can significantly reduce costs.
Halftone Screen

Halftone Screen

A sheet of film or glass with a particular set of dot patterns used to convert a full tone photo image into a series of dots. The dot pattern can then be printed on a variety of products (like T-shirts, clothing items, glass and plastic containers, etc.).
Halo Effect

Halo Effect

A letterpress and flexographic printing defect characterized by excess ink accumulating at the edges of printed letters and dots or by a colored region surrounded by surplus ink piles. Halos appear as a faint shadow and may sometimes be caused by excessive pressure between the plate and impression cylinders. Sometimes called halation.
Hard Copy

Hard Copy

A copy of textual or graphic information (as from microfilm or computer storage) produced on paper in normal size for a permanent visual record. “Soft” copy refers to images displayed on screens.
Hard Dot

Hard Dot

Halftone dots (used in dot pattern printing) that have no soft edges, halos, or fringe (as compared to soft dots).
Hard Mechanical

Hard Mechanical

In printing and typography, typesetting text by injecting molten type metal into a mold of the glyph or character which will later be used to press ink to paper. This paste-up technique was the standard technology used for mass-market printing until the arrival of phototypesetting and then electronic processes. Sometimes called hot metal or hot lead typesetting.
Hard Proof

Hard Proof

A physical print that closely matches what the finished print product will look like. These proofs are highly recommended for those who are printing offset for the first time, and for those who have specific color requirements.
Hardware

Hardware

The physical, mechanical, and electrical components of a computer system, including output devices like printers.
Head Margin

Head Margin

Blank area or whitespace margin that occurs above the first line of text (or other topmost element) on a page.
Head-to-tail

Head-to-tail

A form of two-sided printing that places the top of copy (or graphics) on the back side of a sheet so it is next to the bottom copy on the front side of the sheet. Here the page is read by turning the page over from top to bottom. Also called head-to-toe imposition.
Header

Header

Any text that appears at the top of the page but is not part of the body text (such as the chapter title, dates, author, etc.).
Heat Seal Coating

Heat Seal Coating

Water-based and solvent-based emulsions (with excellent bond strength) that can adhere to films, foil, paper, packaging, laminate coatings, etc.
Heat-set Web

Heat-set Web

A printing press equipped with an oven at the delivery end of the press. These ovens dry the ink on the paper as it runs through the press and are thus able to print on coated paper.
Hickeys

Hickeys

A spot or imperfection in printing, due to dirt on the press, dried ink kin, paper particles, etc. Most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage. Also referred to as fish eye or bull’s eye.
High Contrast

High Contrast

A large difference between light and dark in a print or image. High contrast reproductions have a light density that is greater than the original, and can result in a loss of detail in the shadows and highlights of an image.
High-fidelity Color

High-fidelity Color

Color reproduced using additional process inks (such as orange and green), as compared to the traditional four-color printing process. This method reproduces more of the color spectrum.
High-key Colors

High-key Colors

A set of colors that range from mid-tone hues to white. In general, the high key range provides upbeat options and convey a soft, harmonious look with little contrast between the light and dark areas of a piece.
High-key Photo

High-key Photo

A photo whose most important details occur at the lightest (or whitest) end of the color scale.
Highlight

Highlight

The lightest (or whitest) portions of a photograph or digital image, as compared to mid-tones and shadows.
Hinged Cover

Hinged Cover

In case binding, an adhesively bound cover with a flexible joint that allows the book to open without breaking the spine (scored 1/8 inch from the spine, so books can open more easily).
HLS

HLS

A color system (referring to hue, lightness, and saturation) found in some graphic programs to compute accurate color matching. Also called HSL, HSV, or HSB, relating to value or brilliance.
Holdout

Holdout

The ability of paper to prevent ink from penetrating into its surface (in contrast to ink absorbency). Coated papers with low ink absorption allow ink to set on the surface with a high gloss appearance and better image quality.
Holographic Foil

Holographic Foil

Thin plastic sheeting that includes holographic images printed on it with a laser. A single image is captured from many angles, and all angles are then printed onto the foil. The result is a picture that looks three-dimensional even though it is flat.
Horizontal Line Screen

Horizontal Line Screen

A line screen is the measure of how many halftone lines are printed in a linear inch. The value is expressed as Lines Per Inch (LPI). This important measurement, related to the way printers reproduce photographic images, also defines the necessary resolution of an image. Today, horizontal line screens are simulated using a software filter.
Hot Melt

Hot Melt

Inks or binding adhesives that require heat for application.
Hot Spot

Hot Spot

Printing defects caused when a piece of dirt (or an air bubble) cause an incomplete reproduction of an image. In video, hot spots refer to extreme highlights caused by the reflection of light.
House Sheet

House Sheet

The standard paper kept in stock by a printer; used repeatedly, they are fitting for a variety of print jobs. Sometimes called a floor sheet.
HSV

HSV

Acronym for Hue, Saturation, Value. An alternate representation of the RGB color model (used in some graphic programs) to model the way human vision perceives color-making attributes. The HSV representation models the way different colors mix together, with the saturation dimension resembling various tints of bright colors, and the value dimension resembling the mixture of those colors with varying amounts of black or white.
HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

The standard coding language used to create Hypertext documents to be displayed in a web browser. HTML can be assisted by technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and scripting languages such as JavaScript.
Hue

Hue

In colors, the attribute of a visible light due to which it is differentiated from or similar to the primary colors of red, green, and blue. The term is also used to refer to colors that have no added tint or shade.
Hydrophilic

Hydrophilic

In off-set printing, hydrophilic areas are non-image areas that are water receptive, so the plate does not receive or accept ink on non-printing areas. Some offset lithographic presses use a water-based dampening system, while others use printing plates on which a silicone layer repulses the unwanted ink. The opposite is hydrophobic.
Hydrophobic

Hydrophobic

In off-set printing, hydrophobic areas are the image areas that repel water, so that the plate will receive ink for the desired printing areas. Some offset lithographic presses use a water-based dampening system, while others use printing plates on which a silicone layer repulses the unwanted ink. The opposite is hydrophilic.
Hypertext

Hypertext

In online publications, hypertext refers to a word or a chunk of text that can be linked to another document or text available online. Clicking a hyperlink causes another document (or website) to be retrieved, opened, and displayed.
ICC (International Color Consortium)

ICC (International Color Consortium)

The International Color Consortium (ICC) was formed in 1993 by eight vendors in order to create an open, vendor-neutral color management system which would function transparently across all operating systems and software packages. This allowed for matching of color when projects moved between applications and operating systems, producing uniformity in display or print.
Image Area

Image Area

Any portion of an image-carrying surface (such as a photo negative, stencil, or printing plate) which contains the image to be printed.
Image Assembly

Image Assembly

To assemble images on film to compose a page or layout 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 or stripping.
Imagesetter

Imagesetter

In digital imaging, a generic term for ultra-high resolution (large-format) computer output devices. Also called computer to film or CtF.
Imposetter

Imposetter

An imagesetter (or computer output device) capable of outputting a film flat with four, eight, or more pages in imposed position.
Imposition

Imposition

The arrangement of pages on mechanicals or flats so that – after printing, folding, and cutting – all pages will appear in the correct order.
Impression

Impression

Referring to either the printed image, the pressure necessary to transfer a printed image onto a surface, or an ink color (one impression is equivalent to one press sheet passing once through the press).
Impression Cylinder

Impression Cylinder

The cylinder, on a press, that pushes paper against the plate or rubber-surfaced fabric, which then forms an image. Sometimes called an impression roller.
Imprint

Imprint

To print new information on a previously printed piece by running it through the press again, (such as adding an address or event date to a brochure). Sometimes called surprint.
In-Plant Printer

In-Plant Printer

An in-house or partner print department that produces projects of a parent organization (instead of buying preprinted items from an outside source). Sometimes called captive printer.
Indicia

Indicia

An identifying mark used as a guideline for copy or other page elements. Can also refer to a mailing permit, an image, or text preprinted on an envelope in place of a stamp.
Ink Balance

Ink Balance

The quality of ink density and how it transfers from the printing plate to the print materials, especially when comparing four-color process inks to each other or to a basic grayscale.
Ink Dry Back

Ink Dry Back

When printed ink colors become less vibrant or more diffused after they have dried on a printed surface.
Ink Fountain

Ink Fountain

The mechanism that stores and supplies ink to roller within a printing press.
Ink Holdout

Ink Holdout

A quality of paper that prevents ink from penetrating into its surface. Inks achieve greater levels of gloss and better image quality when they dry on a print surface, rather than being absorbed. Also called holdout.
Ink Jet Printing

Ink Jet Printing

A printing method that operates by propelling tiny droplets of ink through computer-controlled nozzles. Ink jet printers are the most common device used for non-commercial printing, due to their low cost, color options, and ease of use. Sometimes called jet printing.
Ink Mist

Ink Mist

In high-speed printing presses, ink mist refers to rapidly moving ink rollers that spray out flying filaments or threads of ink. This occurs more commonly when long (low tack) ink is used. Sometimes referred to as flying, spitting, spraying, and throwing.
Ink Substitution

Ink Substitution

In four-color process printing, ink substitution involves replacing one of the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, or black) colors with a similar match color. This offers a way to heighten color impact without using more costly touch plates.
Ink Train Aqueous

Ink Train Aqueous

An aqueous coating with a thick viscosity that enables printers to work the coating with an ink knife and to prevent ink from running through the ink keys.
Ink-jet Printing

Ink-jet Printing

A plateless method of printing that produces images directly on paper (from digital data) by spraying fine droplets of ink or pigments through computer-controlled nozzle. Also referred to as jet printing.
Inkometer

Inkometer

A specialized measuring instrument used by the printing industry to measure the “tack” (adhesiveness) of an ink with the roller system of an offset press. Inks with too much tack can cause the surface of the paper to pick off and interfere with transfer on subsequent printing units and copies.
Inner Form

Inner Form

The side of press sheet whose images all appear inside the folded pages, (rather than on the outside pages of bound publication).
Insert

Insert

A printed piece (or flyer, blow-in card, etc.) prepared for insertion into a magazine, newspaper, or other printed publication.
Intaglio Printing

Intaglio Printing

Print and printmaking techniques where the image is engraved into a surface and this incised (or sunken) area holds the ink. This is the direct opposite of a relief print, where the parts of the matrix that make the image stand above the main surface. Sometimes called gravure or recess printing.
Integral Proof

Integral Proof

The assembly of typographic elements, graphics, and other page elements combined onto one page of proofing paper (instead of proofs that are separated into separate color films, then overlayed on top of each other to simulate the final product). Sometimes called composition, laminate, plastic, or single-sheet proofs.
Interleaves

Interleaves

Loosely inserting pages of non-adhering materials (called slip sheets) in between printed materials as they come off the press to prevent smudging or sticking.
ISBN (International Standard Book Number)

ISBN (International Standard Book Number)

A 10- to 13-digit number assigned to a published work, distinguishing it from other publications or separate editions or variations of the same work (like an e-book or paperback versus hardcover version). The ISBN is usually found on the title page or the back of the title page.
Italic

Italic

Any type that slants upward to the right, used for emphasis in the text (as in, ‘these words are italicized’). Opposite of backslant type.
Jacket

Jacket

The decorative paper wrapper placed around a hardbound book to provide additional protection, design, or advertising capabilities. Sometimes called a dust cover or dust jacket.
JDF (Job Definition Format)

JDF (Job Definition Format)

A data exchange standard or a universal electronic job ticket that contains production information relevant for print buying (like prepress, finishing, dispatch, or customer service estimates).
Job Lot Paper

Job Lot Paper

Any shipment of paper that turns out to be unsuitable for a particular job.
Job Number

Job Number

A numeric label assigned to a specific printing project. Used for tracking, billing, etc.
Job Ticket

Job Ticket

A production order form used to detail the production schedule of a print job and the materials needed during the process. Sometimes called a docket or a work order.
Jog

Jog

To align sheets of paper into a compact, uniform pile. A jogger is a vibration machine with a slopping platform to even-up stacks of printed materials.
Jogger

Jogger

A vibrating machine which squares and neatly stacks piles of printed materials. Sometimes this is attached to the printing press.
JPEG

JPEG

Acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group, which created a standard for color and gray scale image compression (in 1992). JPEG was largely responsible for the proliferation of digital images and photos across the Internet and is the default format for most digital cameras. JPEG typically achieves 10:1 compression with little perceptible loss in image quality. The most common filename extensions for these compressions are .jpg and .jpeg.
Justification

Justification

To set type flush on both right and left margins (uniformly from left to right) by adjusting the spacing or hyphenation of words so the characters fill a given line of text form end to end.
Justify

Justify

To set type flush on both right and left margins (uniformly from left to right). Used well, justified type can look clean and classy. When it’s carelessly set, justified type can make your text look distorted and hard to read. 
K (in CMYK - Key)

K (in CMYK - Key)

K stands for “Key” (or black) in the CMYK pigment model, which refers to the subtractive process colors (cyan, magenta, and yellow) used in color printing. Black (K) is added to enhance color and contrast.
Kerning

Kerning

The method used to reduce space between two or three characters so type appears better fitted together. Due to different font styles and serifs, some letters may need extra kerning for words to look right.
Key

Key

To relate loose pieces of copy to their positions on a dummy or mechanical layout using a set of symbols (letters or numbers).
Key Negative or Plate

Key Negative or Plate

One of a set of printing plates for a color printing job; this plate contains the most detail and is used as a guide to properly align the other plates. Also called key printer.
Keyline

Keyline

An outline drawing of finished art that details the exact size, shape, position, or location of elements like photos, half-tones, line sketches, or other graphic elements. Sometimes called holding lines.
Kilobyte

Kilobyte

In computers, a kilobyte is equivalent to 1024 bytes. (A bit is equivalent to one character; a number of bits is a byte).
Kiss Die Cut

Kiss Die Cut

To make a die cut in the top layer of self-adhesive paper without scraping into the backing film behind it. Sometimes called face cut.
Kiss Impression

Kiss Impression

In printing, the lightest possible impression that will transfer ink to the material being printed on.
Kraft

Kraft

A paper or board made of unbleached wood pulp (brown in color). Kraft paper is strong paper used for wrapping and for making grocery bags and large envelopes.
Lacquer

Lacquer

A clear resin or solvent coating (usually glossy) that is used as an industrial coating or applied to a printed sheet for protection. Lacquer films are shiny, hard, and resistant to wear and weathering.
Laid Finish

Laid Finish

A finish on paper where grids of parallel lines give it a ribbed or watermarked appearance (in contrast to the uniform surface of wove paper).
Laid Paper

Laid Paper

A type of paper that exhibits parallel lines at equal distances (almost resembling a watermark) that run either horizontal or vertical across the page. This ribbed effect arises due to the wire mesh over which the paper pulp is laid as it is being pressed and dried.
Lamination

Lamination

The process of bonding a plastic film coating to a printed sheet, using heat and pressure. This is often applied to thick stocks (like covers, cardstock posters, etc.) to protect against liquid or heavy use. Lamination also accents the existing color to provide a glossy (or lens) effect.
LAN (Local Area Network)

LAN (Local Area Network)

The communication link in a localized area, such as an office, building, or campus, with technology that provides a high-bandwidth, low-cost medium to which many computers can be connected.
Landscape

Landscape

The horizontal orientation of a page format, where the width is greater than the height. Opposite of portrait, which is the vertical orientation.
Lap Register

Lap Register

A term referring to the slight overlapping on ink colors, as compared to a butt fit or kiss register. Sometimes called lapping color.
Laser

Laser

A powerfully focused light beam used in digital-imaging devices to produce images by electronic impulses from computers or facsimile transmission.
Laser Bond

Laser Bond

Commonly used paper with a smooth, dry texture that is compatible for use with laser printers.
Laser Die-cut

Laser Die-cut

A die cut refers to a cut on a surface or object using a very strong razor called a steel rule. A laser cut die cut uses an exceptionally strong laser beam to perform this same cut. While the steel rule is guided by hand, the laser beam is guided by use of a computer using a pre-determined path or direction.
Laser-imprintable Ink

Laser-imprintable Ink

Ink that will not bubble or fade when exposed to heat during the laser printing process.
Lay Edge

Lay Edge

The side of a piece of paper (or printed material) that will feed into a printing press.
Lay Flat Bind

Lay Flat Bind

A binding method that allows publications to open completely flat across a center fold, so images can run across both halves of the spread with minimal disruption. Also called lay flat perfect binding.
Layout

Layout

A sketch or plan of how a page or sheet will look when printed. In platemaking, a layout is the sheet designating settings for a step-and-repeat machine.
Leaders

Leaders

In typography, leading is known as “line spacing,” and is generally measured as the distance from one baseline of type to the next, while leaders are rows of dashes or dots to guide the eye across the page (for example, in a table of contents).
Leading

Leading

In typography, leading is known as “line spacing,” and is generally measured as the distance from one baseline of type to the next. Leading is measured in points.
Leaf

Leaf

A term for one sheet of paper in a publication. One leaf contains two pages (a verso and a recto). May also refer to shiny tissue-like colored metal applied during a foil stamping process.
LED

LED

Acronym for Light Emitting Diodes. Used in place of lasers for some output systems. An LED printer is similar to a laser printer, but it uses a LED array as a light source in the printhead.
Ledger Paper

Ledger Paper

A light-weight paper stock that is generally used for keeping records (or for tasks that incur a high degree of wear and tear) because it is very durable. Commonly occurs as 24lb or 28lb bond weight.
Legend

Legend

Any explanatory text or directions placed near an illustration or chart to guide in its use.
Lenticular

Lenticular

A printing technology in which a lenticular lens is used to produce an image with an illusion of depth, or the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles. The image itself is a composite of two or more graphics interlaced together using special software.
Letter Fold

Letter Fold

A three-panel fold that allows a sheet of letterhead to fit in a business envelope. Sometimes called a wrap-around or barrel fold.
Letter Paper

Letter Paper

The most common size of print or document paper. In North America, this is 8.5 X 11-inch sheets. In Europe, the label is A4.
Letterpress

Letterpress

Printing that uses inked, raised surfaces (either metal type or plates whose surfaces have been etched away from the image areas) to create the image. The use of letterpress printing has declined due to advances in other forms of printing, especially offset lithography and gravure. Sometimes called block printing.
Letterspacing

Letterspacing

The amount of space between all characters, or the placing of additional space between each letter of a word. Sometimes called character spacing.
Lightweight Paper

Lightweight Paper

Book paper whose weight of one ream (500 sheets) is less than 40# (60 gsm).
Lignin

Lignin

The organic substance in tree wood that binds cellulose fibers together. The presence of lignin in paper pulp reduces permanence and contributes to the yellowing of paper over time. Free sheet paper has most lignin removed, while groundwood paper does not.
Line Copy

Line Copy

Any monochrome copy (e.g., a document or drawing) consisting of two bones, black and white, and no intermediate gradations. This allows for reproduction without the use of a halftone screen.
Line Negative

Line Negative

A photographic negative which contains only text or line art (but no tonal images or any matter containing shades of gray).
Linen Finish

Linen Finish

An embossed finish on paper that mimics the pattern of fabric. Linen texture adds a sophisticated quality to paper and is available in colors like white, blue, ivory, and gray.
Lithography

Lithography

A printing method that uses plates whose image areas attract ink and whose nonimage areas repel ink (often because they have been treated with water or another ink-repellent coating). Here the image and non-image areas co-exist on the same plane, in contrast to raised letterpress or engraved/etched gravure printing.
Live Area

Live Area

In typography and page layout, the portion of a page (within the prescribed margins) where type, graphics, and other elements can be added for a mockup or for final print. Sometimes called safe area.
Logotype/Logo

Logotype/Logo

A personalized type, design symbol, or corporate emblem for a company or product.
Long Ink

Long Ink

Printing ink characterized by its ability to flow (on printing press ink rollers) and to form long threads when stretched. Long ink performs well on the press, has water-resistant qualities, and transfers well to the printed service.
Loose Proof

Loose Proof

A color separated proof (or overlay) that has not been assembled with other elements from a page (as compared to a composite proof, which combines all colors onto one surface). Sometimes called first, random, scatter, or show-color proof.
Looseleaf

Looseleaf

Any binding method that allows users to insert or remove pages from a publication.
Lossless Compression

Lossless Compression

A compression technique that decompresses data back to its original form without any integrity loss, as all pixel data is retained. The decompressed file and the original are identical. All compression methods used to compress text, databases, and other business data are lossless. For example, the ZIP archiving technology (PKZIP, WinZip, etc.) is the most widely used lossless method. Lossless compression is recommended for high-contrast images, line art, and text.
Lossy Compression

Lossy Compression

A compression technique that does not decompress digital data back to 100% of the original. Lossy methods can provide high degrees of compression and result in smaller compressed files, but some number of the original pixels, sound waves, or video frames are removed forever. The lossy techniques available in Acrobat Distiller (when making a PDF) are JPEG, Subsampling, Downsampling, and Bi-cubic Downsampling.
Loupe

Loupe

A small magnifier used to inspect copy, proofs, film, or other details of a printed sheet. Sometimes called a linen or glass tester.
Low Key Photo

Low Key Photo

A photo whose most important details appear in shadow areas, with very few highlight regions.
Lowercase

Lowercase

A type case containing lowercase letters (versus capital letters), and usually figures, punctuation marks, spaces, and quads.
LPI

LPI

Acronym for lines per inch. A linear measure of screen ruling expressing how many lines of dots that are per inch in a screen tint, halftone, or separation.
M (Mega)

M (Mega)

An abbreviation for mega or megabyte. (A bit is equivalent to one character; a number of bits is a byte). In computers, a megabyte is equivalent to around one million bytes (1,048,576), and is used to specify the amount of storage available on a disk or in memory. M is also a prefix for capacities and speeds (megabits, megahertz, etc.).
M Weight

M Weight

A means of describing paper based on the actual weight of 1000 sheets of paper in a specific base weight and sheet size. For example, 1,000 sheets of 80 Cover in a 26 x 40 sheet size weighs 320 pounds. Thus, this paper has a 320 mweight.
Machine Coated

Machine Coated

Coating applied to a paper on one or both sides (coated on a paper machine as an integral part of the papermaking operation, and not on a separate machine).
Machine Direction

Machine Direction

The direction in which the stock flows onto the paper machine wire or the corresponding direction of a sheet cut from it.
Machine Glazed (MG)

Machine Glazed (MG)

A high-gloss paper finish produced by allowing the wet paper web to dry against a highly-polished metal cylinder. This paper has a shiny appearance on one side and a slightly rough appearance on the other, and is manufactured with the capability to hold greasy or oily products.
Magenta

Magenta

A shade of purple/pink used in four-color ink printing (the C in CMYK). This hue reflects or transmits blue and red light while absorbing green.
Magnetic Black

Magnetic Black

Black ink containing magnetic iron-oxide particles (similar to those on magnetic tape), often used for printing checks, deposit slips, and other financial documents.
Magnetic Storage

Magnetic Storage

The storage of data on a magnetized medium, such as a disk, film tape, drum, core, or the magnetic stripes of credit cards.
Makeover

Makeover

1. Replacing an old design with a new one. 2. A printing job done over because of flaws in a previous run. 3. A printing plate that is remade.
Makeready

Makeready

Paper used in the press preparation before a printing run begins, or the mounting and preparation of printing plates (including setting paper size, ink density, fold sizes, etc.) before a publication is produced.
Making Order

Making Order

Mill-ordered paper that is exactly tailored to a customer’s specifications (as compared with a stock order).
Male Die

Male Die

Any metal plate or block etched with a design, lettering, or pattern that applies pressure while stamping these into a print surface (used in embossing and debossing). Sometimes called force card.
Manuscript

Manuscript

Any original handwritten, typed, or electronic copy submitted for publication. Commonly abbreviated ms. (singular) or mss. (plural).
Margin

Margin

Any deliberately unprinted space on a page, especially surrounding a block of text. Margins improve aesthetics and readability and allow room for finish techniques such as trimming, binding, etc.
Mark-up

Mark-up

In typesetting, instructions for desired type characteristics that are written on a proof (or dummy), such as point size, alignment, leading, style, etc.
Mask

Mask

In lithography, a mask is an opaque material used to protect selected areas of a print plate during exposure. In color separation photography, a photomask is an opaque plate with holes or transparencies that lets light shine through in a defined pattern that is reproduced on the material receiving the print.
Master

Master

A paper or plastic plate used on a duplicating press.
Match Print

Match Print

A one page, color-printed proof that simulates the final product outcome before sending a piece to press. Hard proofs printed on an output device are less expensive than the final piece, which is run through the printing press.
Matte Finish

Matte Finish

A dull, flat finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper. Matte will reflect little to no light, satin finish retains a pearl-like sheen, and semi-gloss and gloss finishes have a gleaming, polished sheen.
Measure

Measure

The width of a column of type. With justified type, all lines have equal measure. With right- or left-aligned text, the measure will equal the longest possible line. Usually expressed in picas, sometimes called line measure.
Mechanical

Mechanical

A term for a camera-ready mockup of artwork (including text, photos, and other elements onto one artboard) complete with instructions for the printer. A hard mechanical consists of paper and/or acetate, and may also be called an artboard, board, or paste-up. A soft mechanical exists as a file of type and other images assembled using a computer, and may be called an electronic mechanical.
Mechanical Bind

Mechanical Bind

A means of fastening sheets of paper together using metal or plastic inserts such as combs, coils, clamps, posts, or any technique not requiring gluing, sewing, or stitching.
Mechanical Pulp

Mechanical Pulp

The process in which wood is separated or defibrated into pulp for the paper industry. This process uses wood in the form of mechanically processed logs or chips, by grinding stones (from logs) or in refiners (from chips) to separate the fibers.
Mechanical Separation

Mechanical Separation

Color breaks performed by hand, where the art for each separate color is prepared manually on separate boards or transparent overlays.
Mechanical Tint

Mechanical Tint

Dots arranged in patterns or lines that enable artwork to be easily reproduced.
Megabyte (Mbyte, MB, Meg, or M)

Megabyte (Mbyte, MB, Meg, or M)

In computers, a megabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information (a bit is equivalent to one character; a number of bits is a byte). A megabyte is equivalent to around one million bytes (1,048,576), and is used to specify the amount of storage available on a disk or in memory.
Megahertz

Megahertz

A unit of frequency equal to one million hertz. It can also be described as one million cycles per second. Megahertz is used to measure wave frequencies as well as the speed of microprocessors. Radio waves, which are used for both radio and TV broadcasts, are typically measured in megahertz.
Menu

Menu

An on-screen list of available actions a user can perform in a software program. Menu titles may appear as text, icons, or both, and selection is made by clicking or tapping the title and selecting from the list.
Metallic Ink

Metallic Ink

Ink that looks metallic when printed. Made with powdered metallic bits, combined with colored pigments that are suspended in liquid to imitate the look of metal. The most common colors used are silver and gold.
Metallic Paper

Metallic Paper

Paper coated with a thin film that simulates metal, such as gold, silver, pearlescent luster, etc.
Metric System

Metric System

A system of measurement in which the basic units are the meter, the second, and the kilogram. In this system (adopted by most countries for solid, liquid, and distance measurements), the ratios between units of measurement are multiples of ten. For example, a kilogram is a thousand grams, and a centimeter is one-hundredth of a meter.
Middletones

Middletones

In a photograph or illustration, the tonal range (created by dots between 30 and 70 percent of coverage) that falls between the highlights and shadows.
Mil 1/1000 Inch

Mil 1/1000 Inch

A unit of length equal to 0.0001 inch, used for measuring the thickness of plastic films, paper, or the thickness of a printed surface.
Mirafoil, Liquid Foil, Super Silver

Mirafoil, Liquid Foil, Super Silver

A metallic UV-cured coating that creates a foil- or chore-like finish. Mixed as a liquid but appears as a foil when dried and applied. Also called Super Silver or Liquid Foil.
Misting

Misting

During commercial printing, a condition generated when rapidly moving ink rollers spray out filaments and threads of ink, commonly occurring when excessively long ink is used. Sometimes called flying, spitting, throwing, or spraying ink.
Mock Up

Mock Up

A detailed sample page including the position and style of page elements and possibly containing instructions or direction for final print. Sometimes called a dummy.
Modem

Modem

Short for Modulator-Demodulator, a device that adapts one type of signal to another. Mostly used over a phone line, modems convert electronic stored information from one location to another.
Moire

Moire

A independent (usually shimmering) pattern seen when two geometrically regular patterns are superimposed at an acute angle. Destructive moiré is an undesirable phenomenon for the screen printer, creating distortion or causing odd stripes and patterns to occur in a photo or print.
Monarch

Monarch

A horizontally-oriented paper (7’ x 10’) or envelope, often used for personal stationary.
Monitor

Monitor

A display screen that provides visual output (like a screen or display) from a computer, cable box, camera, or other video-generating device. The two predominant screen technologies are LCD and OLED.
Montage

Montage

A single pictorial composition made by juxtaposing or superimposing many pictures or designs, often based on a specific theme.
Mottle

Mottle

A spotty, uneven absorption of ink, mostly in solid areas. A mottled image may be called mealy, spotted, or blotchy. Also called sinkage.
Mouse

Mouse

A hand-held pointing device that moves a cursor on a computer (or work-station) by maneuvering the mouse on a flat surface. Originally named because its cord resembled a mouse tail.
Mull

Mull

A specialty glue used to bind books and personal notepads.
Mullen Tester

Mullen Tester

A test performed to measure the bursting strength of paper or paperboard. In a Mullen test, the paper sample is placed between two clamps as the paper is stretched by hydraulic pressure and a rubber diaphragm.
Multicolor Printing

Multicolor Printing

Printing publications with more than one ink color (but not separately printing the different color layers, as the four-color printing process does).
Nanometer

Nanometer

One billionth of a meter. Abbreviated “nm,” nanometers are used to measure the wavelengths of light and radiant energy elements within a transistor on a chip.
Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology

The science of developing materials at the atomic and molecular level in order to imbue them with special electrical and chemical properties. Nanotechnology, which deals with devices typically less than 100 nanometers in size, and nongraphic printing presses use very small pigment water-based particles, combining offset performance with digital adaptability.
Natural

Natural

A term to describe printing materials that have a neutral, wood-colored hue (including ivory, cream, or off-white).
Negative

Negative

An image – usually on a strip of transparent plastic film, a plate, or other photographic material – in which the lightest areas of the photographed subject appear darkest, and vice versa.
Nested

Nested

Booklet or book papers assembled inside each other (in proper order but without the cover) for binding. Sometimes called an inset.
Network

Network

A system that transmits data between users, which includes the client devices (computers, tablets, and phones) and the network equipment (servers, switches, routers, and cables). Networks connect groups of computers so users can share information and resources or perform related tasks.
Neutral Gray

Neutral Gray

Refers to gray that is not a black and white mix, but an equal mixture of all the spectrum colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). This shade minimizes “color pollution” of a viewing area, which is caused by reflections from chromatic surfaces.
Newsprint

Newsprint

Newsprint is a low-cost, non-archival paper consisting mainly of wood pulp and most commonly used to print newspapers and other publications or advertising material. Invented in 1844 by Charles Fenerty of Nova Scotia, it usually has an off-white cast and distinctive feel.
Newton Ring

Newton Ring

A term used to describe a flaw in a photograph or printed image that appears as a drop of water or oil.
NFC

NFC

An acronym for Near Field Communication, this wireless communication technology with a very short range is built into most new smartphones and credit cards, and may be included in tablets, cameras, and household appliances. NFC is used for identification, mobile payments, train and bus tickets, etc. It can also be used to transfer data between devices or to connect a new wireless device to a Wi-Fi hotspot 
Nipping

Nipping

In book binding, the process of expelling air from the pages (as the spine is compressed) prior to attaching the cover.
Non-Impact Printer

Non-Impact Printer

A printing device (such as a laser printer or copier) in which a printing element does not directly strike a surface. Non-impact printing uses lasers, ions, ink jets, or heat to transfer images to paper.
Nonheatset Web

Nonheatset Web

A press that prints on paper rolls fed into the printing equipment (instead of on stacks of paper). Nonheatset presses do not have a drying oven, so they cannot print on coated paper. Ink laid down by these presses must be absorbed into the paper to dry or the solvent must evaporate into the surrounding air.
Nonimpact Printing

Nonimpact Printing

Any printer that uses lasers, ions, ink jets, or heat to produce images on a printing surface without actually striking it (e.g. laser, thermal, or ink-jet printers).
Nonreproducing Blue

Nonreproducing Blue

In prepress and graphics, any light blue marks (made using a non-reproducible blue pen) on camera-ready pages. Light blue does not record on graphics arts film, and can be used to preprint layout grids or write instructions. Sometimes called blue pencil, or drop-out, fade-out, and nonrepro blue.
Novelty Printing

Novelty Printing

Printing on “swag” or novelty products such as stress balls, pens, hats, tumblers, tote bags, etc. Often used for advertising, gifts, or promotional purposes.
Object-oriented

Object-oriented

Software and hardware that use geometrical formulas (like line and arc segments) to represent images. The other method for representing graphic images is through bit maps made of patterns of dots. Vector-oriented images are more flexible than bit maps because they can be resized and stretched. Vectors look better on monitors and printers with higher resolution.
Oblong

Oblong

A magazine or booklet bound on the shorter edge (with landscape rather than portrait alignment). Oblong projects combine wide pages with narrow, short spine heights, which requires more planning for folding, stitching, or binding.
OCR

OCR

An acronym for Optical Character Recognition, or the machine recognition of printed characters. OCR systems “read” printed characters and convert them to digitized files that can be saved and edited as a text file. Advanced OCR systems can also recognize hand printing.
Off Loading

Off Loading

The transfer of resource intensive computational tasks to a separate processor, such as a hardware accelerator or an external platform (like a cluster, grid, or a cloud) to relieve the pressure of data processing associated with a specific application. Off loading to a coprocessor can be used to accelerate applications including image rendering and mathematical calculations.
Off-press Proofs

Off-press Proofs

A color proof prepared photographically or digitally by exposing a negative or positive to light-sensitive materials (or by generating color output from a computer). Off-press proofs are designed to simulate the appearance a printed piece, and are usually cheaper and faster to produce than press proofs.
Offset

Offset

A printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a rubber-coated pad (a blanket cylinder) and then to the paper or print surface (instead of directly printing from plate to paper). Also called offset lithography.
Offset Gravure

Offset Gravure

Offset gravure printing—also known as rotogravure printing—is primarily a long-run, high-speed, high-quality printing method. This style of printing is generally performed on a flexographic press by adding a cylinder with an engraved depression and covering the plate cylinder with a solid rubber plate. Sometimes called rotogravure printing.
Offset Paper

Offset Paper

A general term used for a variety of paper, similar to uncoated book paper (e.g. coated offset paper and uncoated groundwood-free offset paper). Offset paper is produced especially for offset printing, where the printer transfers ink from a plate to an intermediate image-carrier before reproducing it on a printing surface.
Offset Printing

Offset Printing

Any form of printing that uses an intermediate carrier to transfer the image from an original to a printing surface (instead of directly from plate to paper). Most commonly used in offset lithography.
Oleophobic

Oleophobic

A term used to define a type of material that doesn’t have an affinity to oils. The opposite is oleophilic.
Onionskin

Onionskin

A lightweight bond paper typically used for products like carbon copies, legal copies, or air mail.
Opacity

Opacity

The characteristic of paper that minimizes the show-through of printing from one side to another.
Opaque

Opaque

1. Not transparent 2. To cover flaws (with tape) or paint out areas on a negative that are not wanted on a printing plate.
Opaque Ink

Opaque Ink

An ink that conceals all color beneath it. High opaque colors, sometimes called “high definition colors,” will have more pigment added to the resin and thinner mixture, thus giving the high opaque inks the most hiding power. 
Open Prepress Interface (OPI)

Open Prepress Interface (OPI)

A workflow protocol used in electronic prepress that links publishing software and image setting hardware through a network. OPI automatically replaces low-resolution images with high-resolution images and is useful for minimizing high-resolution file transfer on networks.
OPI

OPI

An acronym for Open Prepress Interface; an extension to the Postscript printer and imagesetter language that automatically replaces low-resolution images with high-resolution images. Also called APR.
Orthochromatic

Orthochromatic

Photographic surfaces unaffected by red but sensitive to blue, green, yellow, and ultraviolet rays. In photography, this term also means an image is correct in the rendering of colors – free from the usual photographic fault of exaggerating the deepness of greens, yellows, and red, and the brightness of blues and violets.
Outer Form

Outer Form

The side of a press sheet whose images fall on the first and last (outside) pages of a folded pages of a bound publication (rather than on the inside pages, like an inner form).
Outline Halftone

Outline Halftone

A halftone print image in which background material has been eliminated to isolate or silhouette the main image. Sometimes called silhouette halftone or knockout halftone.
Over Run

Over Run

Any quantity of printed materials produced above the requested number of copies in the original order.
Overhang Cover

Overhang Cover

Refers to a cover that is bigger than most of the pages found inside of it.
Overlay

Overlay

A transparent layer taped to a mechanical, photo, or proof to give directions on color breaks, corrections, or print guidelines. Also refers to acetate overlays used to separate colors by having some type of base art on them (instead of attaching artwork to the mounting board).
Overlay Proof

Overlay Proof

A process of proof-making where color separations are individually exposed to light sensitive film, each containing one of the four process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). These transparent sheets are then overlayed on top of each other to simulate the appearance of the final, full-color reproduction.
Overprinting

Overprinting

To print one element over a previously printed image (such as text on top of a graphic) or to print one color on top of another color. When this happens, the bottom color can show through and ruin the quality of printed materials. Or overprinting can be done intentionally for effect (like creating a rich black by printing black over another dark color). Also called surprint.
Overrun

Overrun

A quantity of printed materials greater than the what was specified in an initial print order.
Overs and Unders

Overs and Unders

An amount either more than or less than the requested quantity of an item (overs exceed the expected quantity; unders occur when a print runs falls short). Because each step in the print process results in spoilage that must be accounted for, overs and unders are incorporated into the print contract.
Packing

Packing

Paper, plastic, or other material inserted underneath a press plate or rubber coated pad (while on the press) to raise the printing surface or increase image surface. Packing is often necessary when printing pressure is too light to produce a good image or when the printing length needs to be adjusted.
Page

Page

One side of a sheet of paper. Abbreviated p, pg, or (plural) pp.
Page Buffering

Page Buffering

The ability to send a whole image to disk and print at one time (uninterrupted) for continuous flow.
Page Count

Page Count

The total number of pages in a newsletter, booklet, or other print piece, including blank pages. Sometimes called extent.
Page Description Language (PDL)

Page Description Language (PDL)

A language used to describe how type and graphic elements should be produced by an output device (like a printer). PDL files are typically generated by a print driver or by the application itself. The two most common are PCL (developed by HP) and Postscript (developed by Adobe).
Page Makeup

Page Makeup

The art process of assembling all elements to make up a page, either onto hard copy mounting boards or digital display screens (for output to a plate or printer).
Page Proof

Page Proof

Proof samples of a page (including type, graphics, headings, etc.) produced prior to a pressrun as a means of checking for errors.
Pagination

Pagination

1. In book making, the numbering of pages. 2. In prepress printing, the process of assembling all elements into pages (typesetting combined with other graphic elements).
Painted Sheet

Painted Sheet

A sheet with ink printed to the edge (as compared to spot color), resulting in 100 percent coverage.
Palette

Palette

An alternate term for a color palette. In computer imaging, this refers to a window of icons displaying the colors, shades, or design tools available for use.
Panchromatic

Panchromatic

Photographic film sensitive to all visible colors. A disadvantage of panchromatic film is that it cannot be handled safely in red darkroom light (unlike orthochromatic film, which is sensitive to all colors except red).
Panel

Panel

1. One page or section of a brochure (a letter-folded sheet has six panels total, counting front and back sides). 2. In finishing, a solid color of ink or foil applied to all or part of a book cover to provide a background for additional foil or die-stamping.
Paper Plate

Paper Plate

A commercial printing plate – made of robust, durable paper – used for short runs in offset printing.
Parallel Fold

Parallel Fold

Any fold made in a sheet of paper (or printing material) oriented in direction of a previous fold. Two parallel folds in a sheet will produce six panels, four folds will produce ten panels.
Parchment

Parchment

A hard-finished paper (like that of animal skin) used to present a nostalgic, elegant, or antique texture.
Parent Sheet

Parent Sheet

A sheet larger than the cut stock of the same paper (typically A3, or larger than 11’ x 17’).
Paste-up

Paste-up

To paste page elements to mounting boards so overlays can be assembled into a camera-ready image. For many years, paste-ups were performed manually, but now paste-ups are usually compiled digitally.
Pasteboard

Pasteboard

Thick fiber paper (similar to cardboard) with another paper pasted to it.
PC

PC

An acronym for personal computer.
PDF

PDF

An acronym for Portable Document File, a universal electronic file format that is device- and resolution-independent. PDF is the preferred file format for sending documents to commercial print houses. If the commercial printer uses PDF imagesetters, no conversion is necessary. If it uses only PostScript hardware, the PDF files are converted to PostScript first.
PE

PE

An acronym for printer’s errors, which is a proofreader mark showing mistakes made in typesetting, prepress service, or by the individual printer (as opposed to an error or an “Author’s Alteration” made by the customer).
Pearlescent Coating

Pearlescent Coating

A coating or mixture of inorganic materials used to add iridescence (or the luster characteristic of mother-of-pearl). Used in screen, lithographic, gravure, and flexographic inks to impart a metal-like sheen.
Perf Marks

Perf Marks

On a preliminary mockup (created prior to production), a series of cuts or slits made on the printing surface that show the size, form, or shape of a project as it may appear in a final print run.
Perfect Bind

Perfect Bind

Binding sheets of paper at the spine, which are held to the cover by glue that attaches them to a wraparound cover. Also called adhesive bind, cut-back bind, glue bind, paper bind, patent bind, perfecting bind, soft bind, and soft cover.
Perfecting Press

Perfecting Press

An offset printing press that applies ink to both sides of a sheet of paper during a single pass through the press. 
Perforating

Perforating

A line of small dots inflicted by a binding machine for creating a tear-off portion of a brochure, ticket, etc.
pH

pH

A reference number expressing the acidity or alkalinity of solutions. In print inks, even small viscosity shifts can result in printing variation, thus pH monitoring can result in a more consistent printing run. Lower pH increases the rate of evaporation and results in thicker ink. Higher pH results in a thinner ink.
Phosphorescent Coating

Phosphorescent Coating

A coating or ink film produced from phosphors, which have the ability to become luminous when exposed to heat, light, or ultraviolet rays. Use of this element will allow a product to absorb daylight and glow in the dark.
Photoconductor

Photoconductor

Flexible material wrapped around the drum (which accepts an electrical charge and discharges where exposed to light). In printing, digitized data is sent via an electrostatic charge to the photoconductor, which then distributes the ink to the paper. The photoconductor unit is considered one of the core components of a laser printer.
Photoengraving

Photoengraving

An engraving process that uses a light-sensitive photoresist applied to the surface to be engraved; this creates a mask that shields some areas from dissolving or behind etched away. Photoengraving can be used to make printing plates or to make printed circuit boards, nameplates, commemorative plaques, foil-stamping dies, and embossing dies.
Photomechanical Transfer (PMT)

Photomechanical Transfer (PMT)

A transfer process used to “diffuse” an image from film to a photographic print made of line art. Also called diffusion transfer.
Photopolymer Coating

Photopolymer Coating

A soluble, light-sensitive plate coating used in the exposing of flexographic printing plates or offset lithography. These coatings allow the plates longer print runs, especially when baked in an oven after processing.
Photostat

Photostat

A brand name for the transfer process that occurs during photomechanical transfer.
Pica

Pica

A typesetting unit of measurement in printing. One pica is approximately 1/6 of an inch (0.166 in.). There are 12 points to a pica.
Picking

Picking

A rupture or deformation of a paper’s surface during printing. This occurs when the pulling force of a sticky ink is pulling fibers or coating off the paper or forming a blister-like protrusion in the paper. Picking also describes a similar problem of gravure printing in which bits of the printing surface are transferred to the printing rollers.
Pickup Art

Pickup Art

Artwork for a current job that was used previously in another design project.
Pigment

Pigment

In papermaking, pigments refer to fine, inorganic particles (e.g. clay, titanium dioxide, or calcium carbonate) that are added to fill, color, or coat paper. These delicate particles give inks color, opacity, and transparency.
Piling

Piling

A printing problem caused by the build up or caking of inks, coatings, or paper fibers on the printing plate, rollers, or rubber plates. Piling diminishes the print quality and can increase wear and tear on the printing press.
Pin Register

Pin Register

A technique to align printing plates, flats, or separation films by using small holes (of equal diameter) at the edges of each element.
Pinholing

Pinholing

A printing defect characterized by air bubbles or incomplete ink coverage causing small, unwanted holes to occur in the printing surface. Pinholing is commonly found in flexographic and gravure printing processes.
Pixel

Pixel

The smallest display element of an electronic screen or an image displayed through bit map dots. This is the fundamental unit of scanning and digital imaging. (PIX [picture] ELement).
Planographic Printing

Planographic Printing

A printing process in which the image area (of the plate carrying an image) is to be printed on the same plane as the non-image areas. In planographic processes like lithography, oil-based inks and water repel each other to keep non-image areas from being reproduced.
Plastic Comb Binding

Plastic Comb Binding

A binding method where pages are bound together using a plastic comb – a strip with a series of curved plastic prongs – which is inserted into drilled or punched holes along the binding edge of the pages.
Plate

Plate

In a printing press, the image-carrying surface (like a piece of paper, metal, plastic, or rubber) that transmits an image to be reproduced.
Plate Cylinder

Plate Cylinder

Mechanism in the printing press where a plate is attached, which then transfers inked images to either a rubber plate or directly to the printing surface. Each cylinder prints one color of ink; plate cylinders can also be used for coating or varnish. A plate cylinder is also used in some types of letterpress printing.
Plate-ready Film

Plate-ready Film

Stripped negatives or positives ready to be assembled for use on a printing plate.
Platemaker

Platemaker

A machine or process camera that makes plates that can reproduce illustrations or printed matter (often by exposing film to ultraviolet light). Can also refer to a prepress worker using any variety of techniques to make printing plates for use in commercial printing.
Platesetting

Platesetting

Plates are the basic image-carrying surface in the printing press, and methods of preparing a plate for print depend on the print process being used. Some plates are engraved, some use photoconductors, and some use screens with mounted stencils. A platesetter (or image setter or computer-to-plate system) uses lasers to expose or image paper, polyester, or aluminum plates.
PMS (Pantone Matching System)

PMS (Pantone Matching System)

PANTONE is the brand-name for a popular color matching system, and PMS is a spot color system comprised of 1,012 colors mixed from 12 different base inks. PMS is the standard ink color system used by commercial printers.
Point

Point

A measurement used for the thickness of paper (one point equals 1/1000 inch) or of type sizes and line spacing (there are 12 points to a pica and approximately 72 points in text that is one inch tall).
Poor Trapping

Poor Trapping

Trapping is the technique of printing one ink on top of another one. Poor trapping leads to inks that do not adhere properly. This can cause the ink to form little beads or it can be rubbed off too easily. Also called undertrapping.
Porosity

Porosity

A measure of the extent to which a paper surface will allow the permeation of air or liquid through its surface. Different printing methods require paper of differing porosities.
Portrait

Portrait

The vertical orientation of a page format, where the height is greater than the width. Opposite of landscape, which is the horizontal orientation.
Position Proof

Position Proof

A color proof used to check the position, layout, location, graphic or text elements, and colors before a full print run is conducted.
Position Stat

Position Stat

A photocopy or photomechanical transfer of an illustration or photo, made to size and mounted on a camera-ready mockup of artwork.
Positive

Positive

Any images (especially in photographic film or paper print) in which the dark and light values are the same as the original, as opposed to a negative, which is tonally reversed. Positive film prevents light from passing through images, while negative film does allow this.
Post Bind

Post Bind

A mechanical binding process that inserts metal or plastic posts through punched or drilled holes in pages to hold them together. One advantage of post binding is it allows pages to be added (and the post extended) as the size of a publication increases.
Post Script

Post Script

A page description language (developed by Adobe), used to describe how type and graphic elements should be produced by an output device (like a printer).
Ppi

Ppi

Acronym used for Pixels Per Inch. A measure of the resolution – specifically, how many dots occur in one inch – on a computer monitor, scanner, printer, or imagesetter. The more pixels per inch, the finer the details an image will carry, and the sharper it will look. Sometimes called Dpi (dots per inch).
Pre-press Proofs

Pre-press Proofs

A color proof (made using ink jet, toner, dyes, or overlays instead of using ink) that is meant to simulate the appearance of a printed proof. Sometimes called dry proof and off-press proof.
Preflighting

Preflighting

The process of confirming and analyzing every digital file needed to produce a printing job (making sure they are present, valid, correctly formatted, etc.). This eliminates costly errors and facilitates smooth print production.
Premium

Premium

Any paper stocks with the best attributes of thickness, texture, opacity, brightness, and coating.
Prepress

Prepress

All the steps required to transform an original into a state that is ready for reproduction by printing. Can include art and copy preparation, photography, image assembly, color separations, plate making, and more.
Preprint

Preprint

To print portions of sheets that will be printed on again later (in the surprint or overprinting process).
Press Check

Press Check

Previewing actual printed sheets of a project before authorizing the full production run (of a commercial print project) to begin.
Press Proofs

Press Proofs

A color proof made using ink (rather than toner, dyes, or overlays). This printed sample, made on the press, shows exactly how the project will print using the same elements needed for the final press run.
Press Time

Press Time

The start time (or total amount of time) a project will spend on the physical printing press.
Pressure-sensitive Paper

Pressure-sensitive Paper

Paper coated with an adhesive substance which, in dry form, will remain sticky at room temperature and will bond with another surface under minimal pressure (without moistening). The adhesive coating is protected by a backing sheet until used.
Price Break

Price Break

The order quantity at which the unit cost of paper or the actual print processing fees decrease.
Primary Colors

Primary Colors

A set of colorants that can be mixed in varying amounts to produce a gamut of colors (but cannot be produced themselves by combinations of other colors). The additive color primaries of light are red, green, and blue. The subtractive color primaries of pigments are cyan, magenta, and yellow.
Print Quality

Print Quality

A term describing the quality of a printed images compared to the version that was originally intended. The properties of the paper being used will affect the quality of a reproduction.
Printer Pairs

Printer Pairs

In brochure or booklet publication, laid out spreads that will be committed to paper. If you are considering printing a piece with multiple pages, you may be required to supply your artwork in printer pairs.
Printer Spreads

Printer Spreads

In multi-page printings, spreads are general descriptions for a pair of facing pages. A reader’s spread is the consecutive placement of pages (like page 2 & 3 together). A printer’s spread is the imposed position of pages based on how many pages are in the publication (for a 16-page booklet, p. 2 & 15 are grouped together).
Printer’s Devil

Printer’s Devil

The traditional name for apprentices in printer’s shops. Today this term refers to a pressman’s assistant. Printing was originally associated with black magic because of the marvelous uniformity of printed works as compared with handwritten manuscripts. Printers cherished their air of mystery and dubbed their young helpers as evil spirits, or “devils.”
Printing

Printing

Any process that transfers an image from an original (such as an electronic file, a film negative, a plate or stencil, etc.) to a printing surface.
Printing Plate

Printing Plate

In a printing press, the image-carrying surface (like paper, metal, plastic or rubber plates, etc.) that transmits an image to be reproduced.
Printing Unit

Printing Unit

The portion of a printing press where printing actually occurs (including elements like printing plates, impression cylinders, ink rollers, etc.). Sometimes called color or ink station, tower, or deck.
Process Camera

Process Camera

A large camera operated for graphic arts photography, used to photograph mechanicals and other camera-ready copy. Sometimes called a stat, copy, or graphic arts camera.
Process Colors

Process Colors

The printing of color images using the subtractive primaries (cyan, magenta, and yellow, plus the addition of black) in a color separation process where colors are detached from the original art and each given their own printing plate.
Process Printing

Process Printing

The printing of color images that separates different process colors (cyan, magenta, and yellow, plus the addition of black) by printing from a series of two or more plates to produce intermediate colors and shades. Sometimes called CMYK.
Production Run

Production Run

Press runs that manufacture products as specified (not including the makeready activities required to prepare a press or other machines before the print run).
Program

Program

A collection of instructions that tell a computer what to do. All programs are “software,” but the programs users work with (e.g. word processors, spreadsheets, Web browsers, etc.) are called “applications,” “application programs” or “apps.” The overarching programs that control the computer (operating system, driver, etc.) are called “system software.”
Progressive Proofs

Progressive Proofs

A set of color proofs produced using the four color separation negatives one by one (e.g. the yellow plate alone; the magenta plate alone; a combination of yellow and magenta; cyan alone; yellow, magenta, and cyan in combination; etc.). Progressive proofs allow for greater color control and accuracy during a press run.
Progressives

Progressives

Color separations (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) printed from individual plates then compiled into one final image. Progressive proofs are any proofs made from the separate colors of a multi-color printing project.
Proof

Proof

An early copy made to check for typos, flaws, positional errors, layout problems, etc.
Proofreader Marks

Proofreader Marks

Standard abbreviations or symbols used to identify corrections on a manuscript or proof.
Proportion Scale

Proportion Scale

A round device found in graphic arts photography and plate making, used to calculate percent reduction or enlargement of an image (required to yield a specific reproduction size). Sometimes called a proportion rule or a percentage, scaling, or proportion wheel.
Publishing Paper

Publishing Paper

Production paper of varying weights, surfaces, or colors that is well-suited for books, magazines, or free-standing inserts.
pURLS

pURLS

Acronym for personalized URLs, or a unique web address created for a specific target of a marketing campaign. Each pULR renders a unique landing page or microsite for the target. Direct mail and email marketers love them because the uniqueness of the web address enables individual and precise response tracking. PURLs also generate higher conversion rates than standard landing pages because the page content is personalized and more targeted.
QR Code

QR Code

Acronym for “Quick Response” Barcode. These two-dimensional, black-and-white grids can be read by smartphones with a camera or mobile devices using visual scanning technology. QR Codes can store information such as images, phone numbers, or links to coupons, websites, and landing pages. Brands can add QR codes to packaging, billboards, print ads, and more.
Quality Control (QC)

Quality Control (QC)

All the activities that ensure the customer is pleased with a product or service. In printing, this can include batch sampling, prepress proofs, customer service reps, and more.
Quark

Quark

Short for QuarkXPress, one of the primary graphic design publishing applications used for desktop publishing. A Mac only version was released in 1987 and a Windows version in 1992.
Quarto

Quarto

Any printed sheet that has been folded two times to yield four leaves (or eight pages). Abbreviated 4to and 4º. May also refer to a book made from quarto sheets.
Quick Printing

Quick Printing

Printing using small sheetfed presses that use cut sizes of paper (versus printing on rolls of paper which require cutting after the print run).
Quote or Quotation

Quote or Quotation

A price estimate offered by a printer for the production of a specific job. Quotes are based on the size of a project, the quality of materials, the finishes added after printing, etc.
Rag Paper

Rag Paper

Papers or stationery containing a complete or partial content of cotton fibers.
Ragged Left

Ragged Left

To set type flush on the right margin, so the text is uneven on the left. Sometimes called rag left.
Ragged Right

Ragged Right

To set type flush on the left margin, so the text is uneven on the right. Sometimes called rag right.
Rainbow Fountain

Rainbow Fountain

The rainbow effect produced by putting ink colors next to each other in the holding fountain while oscillating the ink rollers so colors merge when they touch.
Raised Coating

Raised Coating

Raised ink printing places a transparent coating over certain areas of a design, adding texture to a product that can be felt at a touch and admired in fine detail. Raised coatings required special flexible plates within the printing press.
Raster Image Processor (RIP)

Raster Image Processor (RIP)

A combination of computer software and hardware that prints images using a series of tiny dots (called pixels), where each small square is assigned a color and is arranged in a pattern with other pixels to form the image.
Reader Spread

Reader Spread

A pair of facing pages, typically the left- and right-hand pages in a publication, such as a book, magazine, or newspaper. Reader spreads are placed as readers would see the pages, while printer spreads position page pairs based on final booklet assembly (for a 16-page brochure, pages 2 and 15 may form a printer’s spread).
Ream

Ream

500 sheets of paper. A ream is the quantity of paper used to determine a paper’s base weight.
Recto

Recto

The odd-numbered page on the right-hand side of a book, from the Latin phrase “recto folio.” Opposite of verso.
Recycled Paper

Recycled Paper

New paper produced entirely or in part from discarded paper or recovered paper fibers. About 80% of recovered paper used in the United States is used to produce paperboards, and deinked recycled paper is increasingly used to manufacture writing, typing, printing, and xerography papers, as well as tissues and other sanitary papers.
Red, Green, Blue (RGB)

Red, Green, Blue (RGB)

The additive color primaries (or the three basic components of visible light) that can be combined in pairs to create the secondary colors of cyan, magenta, and yellow, or combined in three equal amounts to produce the color white. In computer graphics, RGB refers to a type of color image display (called an RGB monitor), but RGB computer files must be translated into the CMYK color space in order to be printed on a printing press.
Reflective Copy

Reflective Copy

Printed products (such as photos, fabrics, or artwork) viewed by light reflected from them, as compared to transparent copy. Sometimes called reflex copy.
Register

Register

The arrangement of two or more printed images (or colors) in exact alignment with each other. Such printing is said to be in register. Accurate register ensures that a final printed piece has the effect of a “single image,” with no color gaps or overlaps.
Register Marks

Register Marks

Any cross-hair lines or symbols applied to the original copy prior to production, used for positioning films, plates, or flats on a press to ensure proper positioning. Sometimes called cross marks or position marks.
Relative Humility (RH)

Relative Humility (RH)

A measure of the amount of water vapor present in the atmosphere (expressed as percentage of the maximum water vapor that air could hold at the same temperature and pressure). RH is an important consideration in printing and papermaking, as paper can absorb and lose water readily, which affects print quality and dimensional stability.
Relief Printing

Relief Printing

Any printing or imaging process that transfers an image to a printing surface by means of a raised image-carrying surface (such as letter press, block printing, and flexography).
Repeatability

Repeatability

The ability of a device (such as an imagesetter) to keep photographic film or plates in proper positioning so final outputs are exactly aligned with no color gaps or overlays. Usually measured in micrometers.
Reprography

Reprography

General term for duplicating, xerography, diazo, or other methods of copying used by designers, engineers, printers, etc.
Resolution

Resolution

The sharpness of an image on film, monitors, paper, etc., and the ability of input or output devices to reproduce fine details of these images. High resolution images are usually needed for best-quality print outputs.
Resolution Target

Resolution Target

Highly precise test images helpful for diagnosing, calibrating, and monitoring imaging steps (like resolution of film, proofs, and plates) in the graphic reproduction process.
Reticulation Effect

Reticulation Effect

A printing defect resulting from a withdrawal of ink from the printed material, which results in a wrinkled, granulated appearance.
Retrofit

Retrofit

The act of providing a machine with a part that it did not have when it was built. In printing, this may mean adding advanced capabilities into a device or program (without replacing it completely) to reduce the time, capital, or resources needed for a new product.
Reverse

Reverse

The negative or opposite of an image, type, or graphic (e.g., black text on white paper, versus white text on black paper). In print, this may mean reproducing a graphic or text by printing ink around its outline and allowing the underlying color or paper to show through and form an image. Also called a knockout or liftout.
RGB

RGB

An abbreviation for red, green, and blue, the additive color primaries. These colors can be combined (in pairs) to create the secondary colors of cyan, magenta, and yellow, or combined in three equal amounts to produce the color white.
Rich Black

Rich Black

Using multiple ink colors (in addition to black) to create a deeper, darker hue. Common CMYK values used are 30% cyan, 20% magenta, 20% yellow, and 100% black.
Right Reading

Right Reading

Copy that reads correctly in the language in which it was written. Can also describe a photo whose orientation matches the original scene or any film or paper images which can be read normally (from left to right and top to bottom).
Right-angle Fold

Right-angle Fold

Any fold made in a sheet of paper (or other printing surface) which is oriented at a 90-degree angle to a previous fold.
River

River

The optical path of white space that sometimes occurs when poor or random word spacing is used. This is distracting to the eye, and can be corrected by repositioning words from one line to another for better aesthetic appeal.
Roller Stripping

Roller Stripping

Removing excess ink from ink rollers, or a general reference to ink that does not adhere to metal rollers on a press.
Rotary Press

Rotary Press

Any printing press that passes a printing material between two rotating cylinders when making an impression (in contrast to a flatbed press).
Round Back Bind

Round Back Bind

A binding on which the spine is curved or rounded, as compared to a flat back bind.
Rub-Proof

Rub-Proof

Scuff-resistant ink that has reached maximum dryness (often due to wax that has been added to give ink a tough, robust surface that resists wear during shipping and handling). Used primarily for printing on cartons and other packaging. Also called non-scratch ink.
Ruby Window

Ruby Window

A rubylith mask, placed on a camera-ready mockup of artwork, that creates a window on film shot from this mechanical.
Rule

Rule

A line used as a graphic element to organize copy, separate page elements, to create boxes, or underline something. The lightest weight rule (and the most commonly used) is the hairline rule.
Ruleup

Ruleup

A diagram or map created by a printer to demonstrate how a job must be imposed using a specific press and sheet size. Sometimes called a ruleout or a press/printer’s layout.
Runaround

Runaround

Copy that is typeset so it will create a “hole” on the page to fit an illustration, photo, or other page element (like a pull quote). Also describes type that is set to form a shape. Sometimes called a wraparound or a contour.
Runnability

Runnability

The paper properties that determine how a paper performs on the printing pres. Can include the cleanliness of the paper surface, the coatings or varnishes on a paper, or how well the paper holds its stability during a run through the press.
Running Footer

Running Footer

A text or character (like a page number, book title, chapter title, or author) located at the bottom of consecutive pages in a chapter or book.
Running Head

Running Head

A headline or title at the top of a page that appears on all pages of a chapter or book.
Saddle Stitch

Saddle Stitch

To bind a booklet or printed material by stapling (or wiring) pages through the spine of folded sheets.  Also called pamphlet stitch, saddle wire, and stitch bind.
Safelight

Safelight

A special colored lamp used in photographic darkrooms, which illuminates without fogging the materials. The color of light (usually red) is one designed to which a specific film in not sensitive.
Safety Paper

Safety Paper

Paper formulated with a protective background that shows sign of erasure, so it cannot be tampered with easily. Used to expose forgery or document alterations, such as paper used for checks, bonds, bank clips, coupons, tickets, warranties, and legal forms.
Sample

Sample

The smallest unit of any digitized sound or optical image taken by a digitizing device (like a camera or scanner). Can be measured in pixels per inch (in scanning) or kilohertz (in audio).
Sandpaper Coating

Sandpaper Coating

Print coatings that add a gritty, tactile sandpaper texture. These coatings, similar to some unglazed clay work, give plastics and paper products a slightly edgy feel.
Sans Serif

Sans Serif

Characters or typefaces without serifs, or lines crossing the free end of the stroke. Serif type is easier to read in text, while sans serif characters are more easily perceived in headlines.
Satin Finish

Satin Finish

A dull semi-gloss paper finish that is slightly smoother than matte but less glossy than gloss. Intended to simulate the feel of stain. Also called suede finish, velvet finish, or velour finish.
Saturation Mailing

Saturation Mailing

A delivery by the USPS to every address on one or more carrier routes or an entire zip code. Significantly reducing costs and simplifying the mailing process, this technique is great for marketing local businesses to nearby residents.
Scale

Scale

1. In design or photography, any range of values between a minimum and maximum amount. 2. In imaging, to resize an image by enlarging or reducing it by some amount so it fits in a predetermined area. 3. In print, a paper defect characterized by a slightly discolored, highly glossy blotch on the paper surface.
Scaling

Scaling

Identifying the proper size (or percent) by which photos or art should be reduced or enlarged to achieve the correct size for printing.
Scanner

Scanner

An electronic device used to convert a hard copy document or material into a digital file. Many scanners have the ability – through software – to display previews and allow color modifications prior to scanning. This enables the operator to optimize the contrast and color attributes prior to image capture. Post-scanning image manipulation using programs such as Photoshop can be used to further refine and manipulate a scanned image.
Scented Coating

Scented Coating

Thin, transparent varnishes that are laid over a piece of print. The coating contains tiny micro-capsules of scent which are broken when rubbed, allowing the scent to be released into the air (which often evokes an emotional response from the sniffer!).
Score

Score

To compress (or crease) paper along a straight line so it folds more easily. This improves accuracy and reduces the likelihood of paper cracking.
Screen Angles

Screen Angles

In process color and prepress printing, individual screens (film sheets or dot patterns) are placed at specific angles to avoid a shimmering, distorted pattern from occurring in the photo or print. Frequently used angles are black 45º, magenta 75º, yellow 90º, and cyan 105º.
Screen Density

Screen Density

The percent of ink coverage allowed through a mesh screen during screen printing. Sometimes called screen percentage.
Screen Printing

Screen Printing

A print method that uses a squeegee to force ink through a mesh fabric and a stencil, allowing bold, opaque colors to be applied to clothing, glass and plastic containers, CDs and DVDs, or fine art prints. Sometimes called serigraphic printing.
Screen Ruling

Screen Ruling

The number of lines or dots per inch for making a screen tint or a film with a photographic image on it (a halftone). Sometimes called line count, ruling, screen frequency, screen size and screen value.
Screen Tint

Screen Tint

A printed area of color (made up of patterns of dots) created by forcing ink through a mesh fabric and a stencil instead of applying a solid layer of ink. Screen tints consist of dots that are all the same size and create an even color tone. Sometimes called Benday, screen tone, shading, or fill pattern.
Screening

Screening

1. In prepress and photography, the act of converting a continuous-tone image into a halftone dot pattern, or to produce any other screen tint. 2. A part of an image processor that calculates tonal values for each bit or pixel. 3. A printing defect of gravure printing or flexographic printing (relating to inconsistent ink application).
Sculpted Emboss

Sculpted Emboss

In printing, embossing uses custom made dies to create a raised surface according to the design. Sculpted embossing creates an emboss that resembles a bas-relief sculpture, and it requires a multilevel die that will accept shapes, angles, and edges that create a carved effect.
Scum

Scum

Unwanted deposits of ink in the non-image area of a printing plate. This can cause image discoloration, haphazard patterns, or ink films left on the print surface. Sometimes called toning.
Selective Binding

Selective Binding

Placing inserts or various publication segments into various print products for different intended recipients in one binding run. For example, a catalog can be selectively bound so that pages advertising women’s fashions will be sent only to women. Selective binding can be used to insert special reply forms, to attach different covers, or to conduct other promotional tests.
Self Cover

Self Cover

A cover that is the same paper stock as the pages inside a booklet.
Self Mailer

Self Mailer

Any advertisement, booklet, or piece of direct mail that has space for a name, address, and postage and can be mailed without a wrapper or envelope.
Semi-Chemical Pulp

Semi-Chemical Pulp

A method of converting wood chips to paper pulp (for papermaking) that combines chemical and mechanical means. This results in stiff fibers, and the process is used to make corrugated paperboard, cardboard roll cores, and containers.
Sensitivity Guide

Sensitivity Guide

In prepress, a thin, continuous-tone gray scale with numbered steps for each tone that helps control exposures in platemaking and lithfilm photography.
Separated Art

Separated Art

In four-color printing, the process of separating the colors of full color artwork into individual plates (or films) for each color of ink. Also called preseparated art. The process of color separation can be accomplished photographically, electronically, or on the desktop.
Separations

Separations

Usually in the four-color process realm, a means of dividing a full color photography into four separate components, corresponding to the four primary colors used in process color printing (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). The process of color separation can be accomplished photographically, electronically, or on the desktop.
Serif

Serif

In typography, an all-inclusive term for characters that have a line crossing the free end of a stroke (as seen in many Roman typefaces). The term serif refers to both that finishing line and to the characters and typefaces that have them. Serif characters tend to be easier to read and are good for typsetting long stretches of copy.
Serigraphic Printing

Serigraphic Printing

An alternate term for screen printing, especially using image carriers made of woven fabric, plastic, or metal that allow ink to pass through some areas while blocking ink from passing through others. The word is derived from the Greek words ser (meaning “silkworm”) and graphein (meaning “writing [or printing]”).
Server

Server

A computer system in a network that is shared by multiple users. Servers come in all sizes from x86-based PCs to IBM mainframes. A server may have a keyboard, monitor and mouse directly attached, or one keyboard, monitor and mouse may connect to any number of servers via a switch.
Service Bureau

Service Bureau

A company or prepress house that provides high resolution printouts of files prepared on microcomputers. Service bureaus typically form a link between desktop publishers and commercial printers, who require assembled pages on film for platemaking. Sometimes called output house or prep service.
Set-off

Set-off

In presswork, the undesirable transfer of wet ink from the top of one sheet to the underside of another as sheets are lying in a delivery stack of the press. Sometimes called offset.
SGML (Standard Generalized Mark-up Language)

SGML (Standard Generalized Mark-up Language)

A coding language used for identifying and marking text for elements of a document (like titles, sub-headings, paragraphs, tables, etc.). SGML is used in typesetting and electronic publishing and is also used for information retrieval from databases and for designing World Wide Web pages. 
Shade

Shade

The alteration of a color hue by adding small amounts of black ink.
Shadow

Shadow

The darkest areas of an original, a print, or a photograph. In halftone (dot pattern) printing, shadows have the largest dots.
Sharpen

Sharpen

To decrease the dot size of a halftone (in dot pattern printing) which decreases the color strength of an image or enhances the contrast around the edges of an image.
Sheetfed Press

Sheetfed Press

Any press that prints on individual sheets (or other printing surfaces) rather than being fed by rolls of paper. Sometimes called sheet-fed.
Sheetwise

Sheetwise

Printing two different images on two sides of a sheet by turning the sheet over after the first side is printing (and using the same side guides and gripper).
Shingling

Shingling

A means of positioning type in saddle-stitched publications. Shingling compensates for creep, an increasing book thickness through the interior of the publication, by progressively narrowing and increasing the bind margin. Sometimes called stair stepping or progressive margins.
Short Ink

Short Ink

Printing ink characterized by a limited ability to flow. This ink forms short threads when stretched and does not perform well on the press.
Show-through

Show-through

The characteristic of paper that allows printing on the reverse side of a sheet of paper to be seen under normal lighting conditions.
Side Guide

Side Guide

A device attached to the feedboard of a sheetfed printing press, which aids in laterally positioning a sheet of paper before it is fed through the press.
Side Stitch

Side Stitch

In binding and finishing, the stapling of sheets or page sections together on the side closest to the binding edge.
Signature

Signature

In printing and publishing, any single press sheet on which multiple pages are printed. When folded and cut, this signature forms a group of pages in their proper sequence.
Silhouette Halftone

Silhouette Halftone

A halftone print image in which background material has been eliminated to isolate or silhouette the main image. Sometimes called a knockout halftone or an outline halftone.
Simplex

Simplex

A sheet printed on one side only (as opposed to a duplex, when a job is printed on both sides).
Simulated Split Fountain

Simulated Split Fountain

A print process for developing a multicolor look by using just two inks. Here, two colors are placed side-by-side in the same ink fountain and printed off the same plate. The ink colors are distinct on the edges but blend in the center where they meet.
Sizing

Sizing

The treatment of various materials either to wet paper pulp or the to surface of partially dried finished paper. Sizing increases surface strength by giving paper greater resistance to the penetration of liquids or vapors.
Skid

Skid

A platform support onto which papers or print materials are loaded (and often wrapped, stacked, safely stored, and even transported by a fork lift or skid lift) for later use.
Slip Sheets

Slip Sheets

A sheet of paper inserted between printed products to prevent ink smudges or sticking.
Slitting

Slitting

In printing or in binding and finishing, the cutting of a large press sheet into two or more smaller sheets by means of cutting wheels on a folder or press.
Small Caps

Small Caps

An alphabet of small capital letters designed to match the x-height (of the lowercase letters) of a particular typeface and size. Small caps should be used for abbreviations of awards, decorations, honors, titles, etc., following a person's name.
Smoothness

Smoothness

A paper quality defined by the evenness or lack of contour in its surface. Smoothness can be measured by an air leak tester or several varieties of smoothness gauges, which utilize rates of air flow over a paper surface. Smooth papers assure more uniformity in print.
Soft Dot

Soft Dot

In halftone photography, dots appearing with a considerable soft halo fringe that causes printed material to reveal darker tones (or stronger colors) than intended.
Soft Ink

Soft Ink

A thick, viscous ink, such as that used in paste inks or offset lithography.
Soft Proof

Soft Proof

A type of digital proof (as opposed to a hard proof that you can physically hold) which reproduces an image on a color computer monitor. Sometimes called digital soft proof.
Soft-Touch Coating

Soft-Touch Coating

A transparent liquid coating applied during the inline process once a printing has been completed. This special effect imparts a unique, rubbery, suede-like feel, with a durable, velvety-soft matte film.
Software

Software

Instructions for the computer about how to run. A series of instructions that performs a particular task is called a “program.” The two major software categories are “system software” and “application software.”
Solid

Solid

Any area of a page receiving 100 percent ink coverage (as compared with screen tints, which are made up of patterns of dots).
Soy Inks

Soy Inks

Inks using vegetable oils (often from soybeans) instead of petroleum products as pigment vehicles. Soy inks help eliminate smudging and are easier on the environment.
SPC

SPC

Acronym for Statistical Process Control, an industry-standard methodology for measuring and controlling quality during the manufacturing process. Quality data in the form of product or process measurements are obtained in real-time during manufacturing. This data is then plotted on a graph with pre-determined control limits.
Specialty Printer

Specialty Printer

A printer whose equipment, workstations, or marketing is streamlined to produce a particular category of products.
Specification

Specification

A complete and precise written description of features for a printing job (such as line spacing, paper style and quantity, binding and folding methods, etc.). Abbreviated specs.
Spectrophometer

Spectrophometer

A device for measuring light intensity by calculating the wavelength of light. The most common application of spectrophotometers in the printing industry (or in ink and paper manufacturing) is the measurement of light absorption.
Spectrum

Spectrum

The complete range of colors that corresponds to wavelengths in the visible (rainbow) spectrum. Black, white, and gray, which are produced by combinations of wavelengths, are not considered spectral colors.
Spectrum Silver Foil

Spectrum Silver Foil

A foil that contains pigments that change color when moved in the light.
Specular Highlight

Specular Highlight

In an original proof or a printed image, a highlight where the brightest area of an image is produced by a reflection of a light source within an image. This area has no printable dots and no detail. Sometimes called a drop-out highlight and a catchlight.
Spine

Spine

The back or binding edge connecting two covers of a publication. Sometimes called backbone.
Spiral Binding

Spiral Binding

A type of binding where a metal or plastic wire is spiraled through holes punched along the binding side of a document.
Split Fountain

Split Fountain

A technique of putting ink colors next to each other in the holding fountain and printing them off on the same plate (but not blending the edges together, which is done with rainbow fountains).
Split Run

Split Run

Dividing a print run so its products vary in some way: like altering advertisements in different editions of a publication, or assembling some booklets with a plastic comb and others with perfect binding.
Spoilage

Spoilage

Wasted materials or labor that is consumed as a result of avoidable errors. In printing, this usually refers to paper that must be thrown away instead of delivered (printed) to the customer.
Spool (Simultaneous Peripheral Operations OnLine)

Spool (Simultaneous Peripheral Operations OnLine)

A computer utility that regulates data flow by putting jobs on a queue and taking them off one at a time. Most operating systems come with one or more spoolers, such as a print spooler for spooling documents.
Spot

Spot

Similar to a pixel, this data represents the diameter of the spot that a scanner can detect or an output device can image. The spot size is the determining factor in a device's resolution: the smaller the spot the more that can fit in a particular unit of linear distance, and the smoother the image that will be scanned or produced.
Spot Varnish

Spot Varnish

One ink or varnish applied to highlight specific portions of a sheet, as compared to a full painted sheet.
Spreads and Chokes

Spreads and Chokes

In prepress and multi-color printing, a trapping technique that adjusts the size of an image and the opening in which it will be inserted. A choke is a photographic enlargement of the background color in which a second image will print. This has the effect of reducing the size of (or “choking”) the hole in which a foreground object will be printed. A spread is the slight photographic enlargement—or “spreading”—of the image that will print within the choked image. This combination of reducing the opening and enlarging the image creates a slight overlap when the images ultimately print, eliminating unwanted white spaces or gaps between the two images.
Standard Viewing Conditions

Standard Viewing Conditions

A set of specific standards (set by the American National Standards Institute) prescribed for optimum viewing and evaluation of color transparencies and prints. This includes a background of 60 percent neutral gray, a light source with a temperature of 5000K, and an illumination of 200 footcandles (simulating the color of daylight on a bright day). Sometimes called lighting standards.
Star Target

Star Target

A film pinwheel used to measure resolution during production and degradation during printing. A star target amplifies the effect of gain, slur, doubling, paper movement, so that small distortions in print can be easily seen by the operator.
Stat

Stat

Short for photostat. A general term used for an inexpensive photographic print made of line art or halftones (patterned dots).
Static Neutralizer

Static Neutralizer

An attachment to the printing press which removes static electricity from paper. This helps minimize the transfer of wet ink to the reverse side of the sheet laying on top of it (in the press delivery tray) and streamlines the paper feeding process.
Statistical Process Control

Statistical Process Control

A workflow management method used by printers to ensure timely delivery of best-quality products. Abbreviated SPC.
Step-and-repeat

Step-and-repeat

A prepress technique of exposing an image multiple times by stepping it in position according to a precise, predetermined pattern. Step-and-repeat can be done manually or by a photocomposing device.
Stet

Stet

In typography and proofing, a proofreader's command written in the margin of marked up proofs (or corrected manuscript or typescript copy), indicating that copy marked for correction should remain as it was so that the originally copy should stand.
Stochastic Screening

Stochastic Screening

A digital screen process that converts images into very small dots, while keeping the size of the dots constant. In contrast, conventional halftone screening varies the size of the dots while keeping their frequency per line constant. This method is particularly suitable for the color printing of complicated images involving complex textures such as that of woven fabrics such as tweeds and silks, repeating backgrounds, and other geometric shapes that tend to cause interference/moiré problems when printed using conventional screens. It is being used in day-to-day printing for projects ranging from telephone directories to fine art reproductions. Sometimes called Frequency Modu-lated (FM) screening.
Stock

Stock

A term for unprinted paper or other material to be printed. See paper type descriptions for precise details.
Stock Photography

Stock Photography

The supply of photographs, used widely by creative professional in need of ready-made images, which are often licensed for specific uses. Stock photography is a cost-effective, time-saving way for designers and marketing professionals to obtain professional photos without the cost of hiring a professional photographer and organizing a photo shoot. 
Stocking Paper

Stocking Paper

The most often needed page formats (sizes, weights, and colors) available for prompt delivery from a merchant’s warehouse.
Strike-through

Strike-through

1. In printing, the undesirable condition in which printing on the reverse side of a page shows through the sheet. 2. In typography or publishing, type that has been set with a line through it, like THIS.
Strikethrough

Strikethrough

The undesirable visibility of printing on the reverse side of a sheet of paper (due to excessive ink penetration through the paper or because of low paper opacity).
String Score

String Score

A crease impressed in a piece of paper (or other print materials) by pressing a string against paper. Scoring is done to indicate the desired positions of folds or to make them easier to facilitate.
Stripping

Stripping

1. In printing, removing excess ink from ink rollers, or a general reference to ink that does not adhere to metal rollers on a press. 2. In image assembly, to assemble images on film for platemaking. Stripping involves positioning film negatives or positives on a flat, and correcting flaws in film. Also called film assembly and image assembly.
Stumping (Blocking)

Stumping (Blocking)

Using hot die, foil, or other methods to create an image on a hardcover book.
Substance

Substance

An alternate term for the base weight of bond or writing paper; this is the weight in pounds of 500 sheets of paper (one ream) cut to the standard for business paper. Sometimes called substance number or substance weight.
Substance Weight

Substance Weight

An alternate term for the basis weight of common paper stock. Sometimes called a sub weight.
Substrate

Substrate

Material on which printing is done, such as paper, plastic, foil, metal, cloth, or the surface any surface where ink will be applied.
Subtractive Color

Subtractive Color

Color produced when light is reflected from (rather than absorbed by) an object. All color printing processes use the subtractive process to reproduce color.
Subtractive Primaries

Subtractive Primaries

Yellow, magenta, and cyan. In graphic arts, process colors describe the printing of color images using the subtractive primaries – yellow, magenta, and cyan – plus the addition of black, in a color separation process where colors are separated from the original art and each given their own printing. Sometimes called the four-color process when four separations are made.
Sulphate Pulp

Sulphate Pulp

Paper pulp made from wood chips cooked under pressure in calcium bisulphite. This material is sometimes called kraft paper, and is a strong paper used for wrapping and for making grocery bags and large envelopes.
Sulphite Pulp

Sulphite Pulp

Paper pulp made from wood chips cooked under pressure in a solution of bisulphite of life (calcium bisulphate). One of the most common uses of sulfite paper is in the development of a photograph.
Supercalendar

Supercalendar

A paper finishing operation that produces a very smooth, high-gloss paper surface that is exceptional for printing. A supercalendar (separate from the papermaking machine) presses a hard roll heavily against the soft roll to compress the material, which “buffs” the paper and adds luster and an enamel-like finish.
Supercell

Supercell

In digital halftone screen printing, a combination of dots or machine pixels which can be used as a single unit to optimize certain screen angles.
Surprint

Surprint

1. In printing, taking an already printed matter and re-printing again on this material. 2. In prepress, exposing separate negatives (or flats) on an exposed image so there is some amount of overlap between images. Sometimes called overprinting.
Swatch Book

Swatch Book

A collection of color swatches (including specific paper stock or thickness options) bound in book form to identify and aid in selection of colors for design and print.
Switch Coating

Switch Coating

A UV coating that provides a shimmering color transformation effect when applied to the printed materials.
SWOP

SWOP

An acronym for Specifications for Web Offset Publications; one of the major (quality) standards recommended for printing web offset publications.
Synthetic Papers

Synthetic Papers

The general term for an entire category of products that look, feel, and perform like standard paper. Rather than wood pulp as the primary ingredient, these papers are made with synthetic polymers (which are plastic/petroleum-based) to deliver additional material properties.
Tabloid

Tabloid

A newspaper with a compact page size smaller than broadsheet (roughly half the size of a standard newspaper).
Tack

Tack

In printing inks, tack is the property of cohesion that exists between particles of the ink film, or the force required to split an ink film. The tack (or stickiness) of the ink should not exceed the surface strength of the paper or damage to the paper may occur.
Tag

Tag

A paper grade characterized by high thickness, strength, density, and tear or water resistance. Tag is used in heavy-duty products such as folders, badges, and covers, and is produced in a variety of colors (primarily white and manila).
Tagged Image File Format (TIFF)

Tagged Image File Format (TIFF)

A computer file format for storing raster graphics and other large bitmaps. Widely used in book publishing and other print-related industries, TIFF is the standard format for scanned images such as photographs. TIFF files retain their layers and transparency when saved in design software. Files use the .tif and .tiff extensions.
Target Ink Densities

Target Ink Densities

The recommended density of inks used in four-color process printing, tailored for best quality transfer of ink from the printing plate to the unique print surface.
Template

Template

In a page layout, a background, grid, image, or shape used to indicate the dimensions and locations of certain page elements. Templates determine things like column and margin positioning, page numbers, artwork positioning, etc.
Terabyte (TB)

Terabyte (TB)

In computers, a unit of digital information is a bit and a number of bits is a byte. A terabyte refers to one trillion bytes. Also called TB, Tbyte, and T-byte.
Text

Text

The content or body of characters on a page (as distinguished from headings or subheadings).
Thermal Dye Sublimation

Thermal Dye Sublimation

A computer printing technique which uses heat to transfer dye onto a printing surface, converting vaporized pigments from a solid to a gas state without passing through a liquid stage.
Thermal Transfer Printing

Thermal Transfer Printing

A type of printing that occurs on a ribbon (or transfer sheet), as ink from the ribbon is transferred directly onto a printed surface.
Thermochromatic Coating

Thermochromatic Coating

A reaction caused by dyes whose optical properties change as a function of temperature (like bottle label that changes color when the syrup inside is fully heated).
Thermography

Thermography

An economical printing process designed to simulate engraved printing. Done by dusting wet printed ink with a resin-based powder, then fusing resin particles with heat to produce a raised effect.
Thermomechanical Pulp (TMP)

Thermomechanical Pulp (TMP)

Paper pulp made by steaming wood chips before and during refining. Thermomechanical pulp is stronger than refined mechanical groundwood pulp, and newsprint made with TMP allows for higher runnability on the press.
Thumbnails

Thumbnails

A small sketch of a proposed page layout, or any concepts generated in the brainstorming phase of design. A slightly more finalized layout sketch is known as a rough.
TIFF

TIFF

Abbreviation for Tagged Image File Format, a computer file format for storing raster graphics and other large bitmaps. Widely used in book publishing and other print-related industries, TIFF is the standard format for scanned images such as photographs. TIFF files retain their layers and transparency when saved in design software. Files use the .tif and .tiff extensions.
Tints

Tints

A mixture of color with white (which increases lightness). These even tones of a solid color contrast with shades, which refers to a mixture of color with black (which increases darkness).
Tip In

Tip In

Binding a foldout or other insert as a separate insertion (usually by means of an adhesive).
Tolerances

Tolerances

In commercial printing, tolerances are the accepted amount of variance from stated specifications (such as dot size, plate or paper thickness, or other printing parameters).
Tone Compression

Tone Compression

Reducing the range of light between shadows and highlights when reproducing an image or page.
Tone Reproduction

Tone Reproduction

The degree to which all elements of a reproduced image are similar to those on the original image. In printing, a tonal reproduction curve can be applied to electronic images prior to printing so the final copy closely approximates the proportionality or the original.
Toner

Toner

A very concentrated pigment or dye (usually fine powder contained inside a catridge) used in plateless printing systems such as electrophography, magnetography, or laser printers. Toner powder is electrostatically charged inside the printer and fused to a printing surface as it passes over a metal drum in the printer.
Toning

Toning

Unwanted deposits of ink in the non-image area of a printing plate. This can cause image discoloration, haphazard patterns, or ink films left on the print surface. Sometimes called scum.
Tooth

Tooth

The surface roughness of a paper that allows it to accept ink readily. In screen printing, tooth refers to the roughness of a monofilament fabric that allows it to accept the adhesion of a stencil.
Total Area Coverage (TAC)

Total Area Coverage (TAC)

The combined value of all ink colors for a particular area or object on a page. This value cannot exceed a specified amount, or the ink transfer or paper quality will suffer. May also refer to the percentage of dot percentages produced during halftone (pattern dot) image reproduction.
Touch Plate

Touch Plate

A method for adding extra-trinary colors (or special match colors) outside of the traditional cyan, magenta, or yellow. Used especially to reproduce a unique color in the original artwork. In multi-color or screen printing, a touch plate can be added to print “non-producible” colors such as fluorescents or whites.
Trade Printers

Trade Printers

Commercial printers who fulfill orders for other print professionals (and not for the general public).
Transparency

Transparency

In photography and imaging, a transparency is a photographic color positive exposed to transparent film. In digital imaging, this refers to a design feature that allows the opacity of graphics to be adjusted so that underlying layers, text, or images can show through.
Transparent Copy

Transparent Copy

An original copy of an image that must be reproduced, scanned, or viewed by transmitting light through it (sometimes known as transmission copy).
Transparent Ink

Transparent Ink

A type of white pigment that does not reflect light, but allows light to pass through it so it does not conceal the color beneath. In screen printing, a transparent pigment is known as an extender base.
Transpose

Transpose

To exchange the position of a letter, line, graphic element, etc., with another. Often used when describing typographic errors, where two letters are inadvertently reversed, like in this “xeample.”
Transpromo

Transpromo

In printing, transpromo refers to transactional documents (such as invoices, event tickets, or bills) that also contain promotional messages or advertising.
Trapping

Trapping

The action of printing one ink film on top of another (previously printed) ink, as in process color printing. Trapping is a way to avoid white lines or gaps between colors or graphic elements.
Trim Marks

Trim Marks

Marks placed on copy to indicate where cuts should be made (designating the edge of the page).
Trim Size

Trim Size

The desired dimensions of a printed piece, distinct from the cover size and finalized after trimming pages after printing.
Twin-wire Machine

Twin-wire Machine

A fourdrinier paper machine using two wires (instead of one) to form pulp into paper. This allows for efficient dewatering of fibers while providing strength and aesthetic appeal to the product.
Two-sidedness

Two-sidedness

A paper property denoting the difference in texture, printability, or appearance between a paper’s top (felt) and bottom (wire) sides.
Type Gauge

Type Gauge

A typography tool used to measure points and pica for character and line spacing. Also called a line gauge or an E-gauge.
Typo

Typo

A spelling mistake or misprint in type setting. An abbreviation for typographical error.
UCA (UnderColor Addition)

UCA (UnderColor Addition)

In process color printing, a means of lightening dark neutral gray areas by adding dots of cyan, magenta, or yellow ink to the color separation films.
UCR (UnderColor Removal)

UCR (UnderColor Removal)

In process color printing, a means of reducing the amounts of cyan, magenta, and color ink used in neutral gray areas by reducing the dots on the color separation films where the colors overlap (and increasing the black dots by an equivalent amount in these areas). This technique reduces the cost of printing since it uses less color ink.
UGRA Test Target

UGRA Test Target

A measure of the dot size and image resolution. UGRA is the Swiss Association for the Promotion of Research in the Graphic Arts industry.
Uncoated Paper

Uncoated Paper

Paper which has not had a coating (such as varnish or lacquer) applied. Also called offset paper.
Undercolor Addition

Undercolor Addition

In four-color process printing, a means of lightening dark neutral gray areas by adding dots of cyan, magenta, and yellow ink to the shadow areas of different color separation films.
Undercolor Removal (UCR)

Undercolor Removal (UCR)

In four-color process printing, a means of limiting the total amount of ink used in image reproduction, done by reducing the amount of cyan, magenta, and yellow ink used in gray areas and increasing black dots in equivalent amounts. UCR decreases the cost of print and limits ink volume so potential production problems are avoided.
Unit

Unit

In multicolor printing presses, a shorthand term for the portion of the press where printing actually occurs (including elements like printing plates, impression cylinders, ink rollers, etc.). Sometimes called color or ink station, tower, or deck. A four-color press has four printing units.
Universal Copyright Convention (UCC)

Universal Copyright Convention (UCC)

An international system (adopted in 1952) to protect unique work from being reproduced without knowledge from the originator. To qualify, one must register their work and public a © indicating registration.
UNIX

UNIX

A multiuser, multitasking operating system used in servers ranging from personal computers to high-end mainframes. UNIX is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.
Unsharp Masking

Unsharp Masking

In image processing, an edge enhancement process performed by adjusting the dot size so reproductions appear sharper (or more focused) than the original. Sometimes called peaking.
Up

Up

A reference to describe how many copies of a single image can be placed on a larger sheet (or plate) and printed at the same time. Two-up printing, for example, would involve printing two pages on the same sheet with the same plate.
Uppercase

Uppercase

A type case containing uppercase letters (versus lowercase letters); an alternate term for capital letters.
UV Coating

UV Coating

A protective coating applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light. This high gloss coating is very shiny and durable, protecting products that are handled frequently and reflecting light in an eye-catching way.
UV Inks

UV Inks

A type of radiation-curing ink that dries, or “sets” with the application of ultraviolet light. Designed to replace heatset inks whose solvents emit potentially toxic gaseous emissions. Used in specialty printing such as cosmetic packaging, screen printing, and flexography.
Value

Value

One of the three attributes of color, describing a color’s shade (darkness) or tint (lightness). Sometimes called brightness, lightness, or tone.
Variable Data Printing

Variable Data Printing

A digital printing technique that uses database-driven print files for the mass personalization of printed materials (allowing businesses to personalize text, artwork, addresses, or promotions to different types of clients, for example). Also known as personalized printing or 1:1 printing.
Varnish

Varnish

An overcoating applied to a printed piece for aesthetic reasons (i.e. to increase gloss) or to protect a piece from wear and tear. Can be applied across the printed surface or only to certain portions for aesthetic effect.
Vehicle

Vehicle

The liquid component of ink that holds the pigment (the ink property that specifies color and or ink properties like transparency or resistance to heat) and binds pigment to a surface after drying.
Vellum Finish

Vellum Finish

A rough, toothy paper finish similar to eggshell. Characterized by an uneven texture and an absorbent surface, allowing for relatively fast ink penetration.
Velox

Velox

A brand name for high-contrast chloride photographic papers, used for proofing negatives and producing prints.
Verso

Verso

The even-numbered page on the left-hand side of an open book. From the Latin phrase, in verso folio, meaning “on the turned leaf.”
Viewing Booth

Viewing Booth

Small areas or rooms that allow printing professionals to make visual color judgments with accuracy and confidence. Booths range from small portable desktop devices to vertical viewing systems designed for the evaluation of large format prints.
Vignette

Vignette

A decorative illustration sketch in which the borderless elements fade gradually away as the object blends and disappears into areas of the unprinted (white) paper.
Vignette Halftone

Vignette Halftone

A halftone (or dot pattern print) whose background gradually and smoothly fades away. Sometimes called a degrade.
Virgin Paper

Virgin Paper

Paper made exclusively of tree or cotton pulp, in contrast to recovered fiber used in recycled paper.
Viscosity

Viscosity

The measure of a liquid’s resistance to deformation, informally described as its “thickness” (like how syrup is “thicker” than water). The viscosity of ink can affect its transfer process onto printed materials or the overall jetting of ink through the nozzle.
VOCs

VOCs

Chemicals that tend to evaporate easily, specifically petroleum-based chemicals used in some printing inks and coatings. Abbreviation for volatile organic compounds.
WAN (Wide Area Network)

WAN (Wide Area Network)

A long-distance communications network covering a wide geographic area beyond a single building or campus. Large enterprises have their own private WANs to link remote offices if they are not using internet connectivity. The Internet is the world’s largest WAN.
Warm Color

Warm Color

Any color that is toward the red side of the color spectrum. Warm colors (browns, oranges, red, and yellows) tend to expand in space, drawing the eye and evoking a wide range of emotions.
Washup

Washup

The process of cleaning ink rollers, cylinders, forms, plates, cylinders, or other image-carrying surfaces (including the ink fountain itself) from a printing press. A washup is often performed at the completion of a job.
Waste

Waste

Unusable paper or materials used to set up the press before printing begins (as compared to spoilage, which occurs during a print run).
Waterless Plate

Waterless Plate

A printing plate with silicone rubber coating in non-image areas. Waterless printing eliminates the need for a dampening solution and allows for many benefits, including tighter color control and reduced paper waste.
Waterless Printing

Waterless Printing

An alternative to conventional printing, this method uses printing plates with silicone rubber coating in non-image areas. Waterless Printing eliminates the need for a dampening solution and allows for many benefits, including tighter color control and reduced paper waste.
Watermark

Watermark

A translucent design, image, or logo embossed during papermaking (or printed onto paper) at the time of manufacture. Watermarks are visible when paper is held up to light.
Web

Web

A term for a continuous roll of paper (or any printed material – like paperboard or plastic film) used in commercial printing. Uncut paper rolls are used in web offset lithography.
Web Break

Web Break

A split of paper (fed from a continuous roll into a commercial web press) that requires operators to stop printing and rethread the press.
Web Gain

Web Gain

An unwanted stretching of paper (fed from a continuous roll) as it passes through a commercial web press.
Web Press

Web Press

A press that prints on rolls of paper – passed through a press on one continuous piece – rather than printing one piece of paper at a time.
Web Printing

Web Printing

Work produced on large presses that use rolls of paper (called webs) rather than individual pieces. Web printing is preferred when printing large quantities or long runs. Projects printed on rolls are usually cut to size after printing.
Web Tension

Web Tension

A web press prints on rolls of paper, which are passed through a press on one continuous piece. Web tension is the amount of tension applied by the press as it pulls the paper through the press.
Wet Trap

Wet Trap

In process color printing, the ability to successfully lay ink or varnish on top of wet ink. (As compared with dry trap, which adds layers after the ink has dried.)
Widow

Widow

In typesetting, widows and orphans are lines at the beginning or end of a paragraph which are left dangling at the top or bottom of a page or column. May also refer to a single word or part of a word on a line by itself.
Wire Side

Wire Side

In papermaking, this property refers to the texture, printability, or appearance of the bottom side of a sheet (the part produced next to the wire in the manufacturing process).
Wire-O Binding

Wire-O Binding

A type of spiral binding comprising a double set of wire loops inserted into punched or drilled holes along the bound set of pages.
With the Grain

With the Grain

Folding or feeding paper into a press in a direction parallel to the orientation of the paper fibers.
Woodfree Paper

Woodfree Paper

Paper created exclusively from chemical pump (where most of the lignin is removed and separated from cellulose fibers during processing). Woodfree paper is not as susceptible to yellowing as paper containing mechanical pulp. Sometimes called calendered or supercalendered.
Word Processor

Word Processor

A machine or software application used to electronically create and edit text documents.
Work-and-tumble

Work-and-tumble

In prepress and printing, a layout in which one plate contains all the images (or pages) to be printed on both sides of the sheet. Once one side of the job has been printed, the printed materials are turned over using the same side guide and plate to print the back side.
Work-and-turn

Work-and-turn

In prepress and printing, a layout in which one plate contains all the images (or pages to be printed). Once one side of the job has been printed, the printed materials are turned over using the opposite side guide, and the same plate is used to print the back side.
Working Film

Working Film

Film that will be copied to make a perfect final film after design alterations are made. Also called buildups.
World Wide Web (WWW)

World Wide Web (WWW)

An internet-based system that enables individuals or companies to publish text, graphics, sound, and video files to the entire world, except in countries or locations that prohibit the free interchange of information. The web is the world’s largest online shopping mall and the most diverse source of information, news, and commentary.
Wove or Wove Paper

Wove or Wove Paper

A unlined, smooth paper with a uniformed surface and a gentle patterned finish.
Wrinkles

Wrinkles

Creases in paper or printed material that form during papermaking, printing, or finishing. Wrinkles can also form on the surface of a printed ink film that dries unevenly.
Writing Paper

Writing Paper

Common bond paper used for printing, photocopying, and everyday business purposes.
Wrong Reading

Wrong Reading

A term describing any film or paper image that appears backwards when compared to the original. This is a reversed mirror image, as opposed to a right-reading, which can be read from left to right, top to bottom.
WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get)

WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get)

In computing, WYSIWYG is a system in which editing software allows content to be edited in a form that resembles its appearance when printed or displayed as a finished product, such as a printed document, web page, or slide presentation. Colors may vary slightly.
Xerographic Paper

Xerographic Paper

A type of bond paper manufactured specifically for electrostatic printing processes (reproducing well in photocopiers and laser printers).
Xerography

Xerography

An electrophotographic printing and imaging process, used most commonly in photocopiers and laser printings. Xerox is a trade name for this process.
XML (eXtensible Mark-up Language)

XML (eXtensible Mark-up Language)

The most widely used semi-structured format for data, containing tags and text similar to HTML. XML allows content developers to create tags that can do almost anything they want – specifying data items such as products, prices, and sales reps – so that richly structured documents can be shared over the Web.
Yellow

Yellow

A principle color used in four-color ink printing (the Y in CMYK). This hue reflects or transmits yellow while absorbing all other colors.
Yield

Yield

In larger print runs, projects are printed on continuous rolls rather than individual pages, then cut to size after printing. Yield refers to the number of final pieces you can cut from a parent size sheet.
Zip file

Zip file

A compressed archive file used to make large files and collections of files more manageable to the user. When a .zip file is created, data is compressed. Multiple files can be combined into a single zip folder, making it easier to upload, download, store on the hard drive, or transfer across a network or the internet.
Real-world definitions for common printing and graphic-arts industry words, provided by your friends at Pyramid Printing.