Print Dictionary



Ai - Adobe Illustrator file format, which is actually a type of Encapsulated Postscript.

Additive Color - color produced by light falling onto a surface, as compared to subtractive color. The additive primary colors are red, green and blue.

Adobe Acrobat - A popular software program for the conversion of documents into the portable document file (PDF) format. Through Acrobat or another PDF, users can read electronic versions of printed documents that maintain the attributes (bold and italic type and other formatting choices) assigned to a printed original.

A4 Paper - ISO paper size 210 x 297mm used for Letterhead.
Against the Grain - At right angles to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to with the grain. Also called across the grain and cross grain.

Aliasing - A jagged or "staircase" effect in a raster image, caused by an insufficient number of image samples.

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

Alteration - Any change made by the customer after copy or artwork has been given to the service bureau, separator or printer. The change could be in copy, specifications or both.

Antique Paper - Roughest finish offered on offset paper.

Aqueous Coating - Coating in a water base and applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the printing underneath.

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

Artwork - All original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, intended for printing. Also called art.

Author's Alterations (AA's) - At the proofing stage, changes the client requests to be made concerning the original art provided. AA's are considered an additional cost to the client usually.
banding. An electronic prepress term referring to visible steps in shades of a gradient.


Basic size - The standard size of sheets of paper used to calculate basis weight in the United States and Canada.

Basis weight - In the United States and Canada, the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to the basic size. Also called ream weight and substance weight (sub weight). In countries using ISO paper sizes, the weight, in grams, of one square meter of paper. Also called grammage and ream weight.

Bind - Usually in the book arena, but not exclusively, the joining of leafs or signatures together with either wire, glue or other means.

Bindery - Usually a department within a printing company responsible for collating, folding and trimming various printing projects.

Bitmap - An image represented by an array of picture elements, each of which is encoded as one or more binary digits.

Blank - Category of paperboard ranging in thickness from 15 to 48 points.

Blanket - Rubber-coated pad, mounted on a cylinder of an offset press, that receives the inked image from the plate and transfers it to the surface to be printed.

Bleed - Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming.

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

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

Body type - Text set in paragraph or block form, as distinguished from heads and display type matter.

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

Blow-up - An enlargement, usually used with graphic images or photographs.

Board paper - General term for paper over 110# index, 80# cover or 200 gsm that is commonly used for products such as file folders, displays and post cards. Also called paperboard.

Bond paper - Category of paper commonly used for writing, printing and photocopying. Also called business paper, communication paper, correspondence paper and writing paper.

Book paper - Category of paper suitable for books, magazines, catalogs, advertising and general printing needs. Book paper is divided into uncoated paper (also called offset paper), coated paper (also called art paper, enamel paper, gloss paper and slick paper) and text paper.

Border - The decorative design or rule surrounding matter on a page.

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

Brightness - The brilliance or reflectance of paper.

Bristol paper - General term referring to paper 6 points or thicker with basis weight between 90# and 200# (200-500 gsm). Used for products such as index cards, file folders and displays.
Broadside - The term used to indicate work printed on one of a large sheet of paper.

Broken carton - Carton of paper from which some of the sheets have been sold. Also called less carton.
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 - Thickness of paper relative to its basic weight.

Bullet - A dot or similar marking to emphasize text.

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


C1S and C2S - Abbreviations for coated one side and coated two sides.
Calender - To make the surface of paper smooth by pressing it between rollers during manufacturing.

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

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

Caliper - (1)Thickness of paper or other substrate expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils or points), pages per inch (ppi), thousandths of a millimeter (microns) or pages per centimeter (ppc). (2) Device on a sheetfed press that detects double sheets or on a binding machine that detects missing signatures or inserts.

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

Camera-ready - Photographs and artwork fully prepared for reproduction according to the technical requirements of the printing process being used. Also called finished art and reproduction copy.
camera service. Business using a process camera to make Photostats, halftones, plates and other elements for printing. Also called prep service and trade camera service.

Cast-coated paper - High gloss, coated paper made by pressing the paper against a polished, hot, metal drum while the coating is still wet.

Chain lines - (1) Widely spaced lines in laid paper. (2) Blemishes on printed images caused by tracking.
chalking. Deterioration of a printed image caused by ink that absorbs into paper too fast or has long exposure to sun, and wind making printed images look dusty. Also called crocking.

Choke - Technique of slightly reducing the size of an image to create a hairline trap or to outline. Also called shrink and skinny.

Cloning - A retouching function available on a color imaging system or in an image-editing program. It is normally used to remove image defects by replacing pixels in the defective areas with duplicate pixels from adjacent, non-defective areas. It can also be used to duplicate sections of an image. Alternative term: pixel swapping.

Close up - A mark used to indicate closing space between characters or words. Usually used in proofing stages.

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

Coarse screen - Halftone screen with ruling of 65, 85 or 100 lines per inch (26, 34 or 40 lines centimeter).

Coated paper - Paper with a coating of clay and other substances that improves reflectivity and ink holdout. Mills produce coated paper in the four major categories cast, gloss, dull and matte.

Collate - To organize printed matter in a specific order as requested.

Color balance - Refers to amounts of process colors that simulate the colors of the original scene or photograph.

Color break - In multicolor printing, the point, line or space at which one ink color stops and another begins. Also called break for color.

Color cast - Unwanted color affecting an entire image or portion of an image.

Color control bar - Strip of small blocks of color on a proof or press sheet to help evaluate features such as density and dot gain. Also called color bar, color guide and standard offset color bar.

Color correct - To adjust the relationship among the process colors to achieve desirable colors.

Color curves - Instructions in computer software that allow users to change or correct colors.

Color electronic prepress system - Computer, scanner, printer and other hardware and software designed for image assembly, color correction, retouching and output onto proofing materials, film or printing plates. Abbreviated CEPS.

Color gamut - The entire range of hues possible to reproduce using a specific device, such as a computer screen, or system, such as four-color process printing.

Color key - Brand name for an overlay color proof. Sometimes used as a generic term for any overlay color proof.

Color model - Way of categorizing and describing the infinite array of colors found in nature.

Color separation - (1) Technique of using a camera, scanner or computer to divide continuous-tone color images into four halftone negatives. (2) The product resulting from color separating and subsequent four-color process printing. Also called separation.

Color sequence - Order in which inks are printed. Also called laydown sequence and rotation.

Color shift - Change in image color resulting from changes in register, ink densities or dot gain during four-color process printing.

Color transparency - Film (transparent) used as art to perform color separations.

Commercial printer - Printer producing a wide range of products such as announcements, brochures, posters, booklets, stationery, business forms, books and magazines. Also called job printer because each job is different.

Composite art - Mechanical on which copy for reproduction in all colors appears on only one surface, not separated onto overlays.
Composite art has a tissue overlay with instructions that indicate color breaks.

Composite proof - Proof of color separations in position with graphics and type. Also called final proof, imposition proof and stripping proof.

Composition - (1) In typography, the assembly of typographic elements, such as words and paragraphs, into pages ready for printing. (2) In graphic design, the arrangement of type, graphics and other elements on the page.

Comp dummy - Simulation of a printed piece complete with type, graphics and colors.

Condition - To keep paper in the pressroom for a few hours or days before printing so that its moisture level and temperature equal that in the pressroom. Also called cure, mature and season.

Continuous-tone copy - All photographs and those illustrations having a range of shades not made up of dots, as compared to line copy or halftones. Abbreviated contone.

Contrast - The degree of tones in an image ranging from highlight to shadow.

Conversion - The process of preparing documents, capturing, and indexing current files for use on an imaging system.

Converter - Business that makes products such as boxes, bags, envelopes and displays.

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

Coverage - Extent to which ink covers the surface of a substrate. Ink coverage is usually expressed as light, medium or heavy.

Cover paper - Category of thick paper used for products such as posters, menus, folders and covers of paperback books.
Creep - The slight but cumulative extension of the edges of each inserted spread or signature beyond the edges of the signature that encloses it. This results in progressively smaller trim size on the inside pages. Alternative terms: push out; shingling; binder’s creep.

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

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

Crop marks - Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks and tic marks.

Crossover - Type or art that continues from one page of a book or magazine across the gutter to the opposite page. Also called bridge, gutter bleed and gutter jump.
Cure - To dry inks, varnishes or other coatings after printing to ensure good adhesion and prevent setoff.

Customer service representative - Employee of a printer, service bureau, separator or other business who coordinates projects and keeps customers informed. Abbreviated CSR.

Cut sizes - Paper sizes used with office machines and small presses.

Cyan - One of the four process colors. Also known as process blue.


DCS1, DCS2 Desktop Color Separation - Developed by Quark. A DCS1 file is composed of five files. The main file is a composite with a low-resolution preview and pointers to the separation files. There are four separations files, one for each process color. DCS2 adds spot color capabilities, and single file as well multi-file formats.

Data compression - A software or hardware process that reduces the size of images so that they occupy less storage space and can be transmitted faster and easier. This process is accomplished by removing the bits that define blank spaces and other redundant data, and replacing them with a smaller algorithm that represents the removed bits. Data must be decompressed before it can be used. See also: compression.

Data conversion - Technique of changing digital information from its original code so that it can be recorded by an electronic device using a different code. Data created in one software format may be converted to another before printing. Data must also be converted for various output devices, such as when RGB colors are converted to CMYK.

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

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

Density - (1) Regarding ink, the relative thickness of a layer of printed ink. (2) Regarding color, the relative ability of a color to absorb light reflected from it or block light passing through it. (3) Regarding paper, the relative tightness or looseness of fibers.

Density range - Difference between the darkest and lightest areas of copy. Also called contrast ratio, copy range and tonal range.
desktop color separation (DCS). A color file format that creates five PostScript files, one for each color (CMYK) and a data file about the image.

Desktop publishing - Technique of using a personal computer to design images and pages, and assemble type and graphics, then using a laser printer or imagesetter to output the assembled pages onto paper, film or printing plate. Abbreviated DTP.
Device independent colors - Hues identified by wavelength or by their place in systems such as developed by CIE. 'Device independent' means a color can be described and specified without regard to whether it is reproduced using ink, projected light, photographic chemistry or any other method.

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

Die cut - To cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard using a die.
Digital proofing - Page proofs produced through electronic memory transferred onto paper via laser or ink-jet.
Digital dot - Dot created by a computer and printed out by a laser printer or imagesetter. Digital dots are uniform in size, as compared to halftone dots that vary in size.

Direct digital color proof - Color proof made by a laser, ink jet printer or other computer-controlled device without needing to make separation films first. Abbreviated DDCP.

Direct-to-plate technology - Those imaging systems that receive fully paginated materials electronically from computers and expose this information to plates in platesetters or imagesetters without creating film intermediates.

Dot gain - Phenomenon of halftone dots printing larger on paper than they are on films or plates, reducing detail and lowering contrast. Also called dot growth, dot spread and press gain.
Dot size - Relative size of halftone dots as compared to dots of the screen ruling being used. There is no unit of measurement to express dot size. Dots are too large, too small or correct only in comparison to what the viewer finds attractive.

Dots-per-inch - Measure of resolution of input devices such as scanners, display devices such as monitors, and output devices such as laser printers, imagesetters and monitors. Abbreviated DPI. Also called dot pitch.

Double bump - To print a single image twice so it has two layers of ink. Also called “double hit”.
Double dot halftone - Halftone double burned onto one plate from two halftones, one shot for shadows the second shot for midtones and highlights.

Doubling - Printing defect appearing as blurring or shadowing of the image. Doubling may be caused by problems with paper, cylinder alignment, blanket pressures or dirty cylinders.

Download - To transfer a file or files from a remote computer to a local computer’s hard drive.

DPI - Considered as "dots per square inch," a measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters and monitors.

Drawdown - Sample of inks specified for a job applied to the substrate specified for a job. Also called pull down.

Drill - In the printing arena, to drill a whole in a printed matter.

Dropout - Halftone dots or fine lines eliminated from highlights by overexposure during camera work.

Dropout halftone - Halftone in which contrast has been increased by eliminating dots from highlights.

Dry back - Phenomenon of printed ink colors becoming less dense as the ink dries.

Dry offset - Using metal plates in the printing process, which are etched to .15mm (.0006 in) creating a right reading plate, printed on the offset blanket transferring to paper without the use of water.

Dry trap - To print over dry ink, as compared to wet trap.

Dual-purpose bond paper - Bond paper suitable for printing by either lithography (offset) or xerography (photocopy). Abbreviated DP bond paper.

Dull finish - Flat (not glossy) finish on coated paper; slightly smoother than matte. Also called suede finish, velour finish and velvet finish.

Dummy - Simulation of the final product. Also called mockup.

Duotone - Black-and-white photograph reproduced using two halftone negatives, each shot to emphasize different tonal values in the original.
Duplex paper - Thick paper made by pasting highlights together two thinner sheets, usually of different colors. Also called double-faced paper and two-tone paper.

Duplicator - Offset press made for quick printing.

Dylux - Brand name for photographic paper used to make blue line proofs. Often used as alternate term for blueline.


Electronic front end (Electronic Composition) - General term referring to a prepress system based on computers.
Electronic image assembly - Assembly of a composite image from portions of other images and/or other page elements using a computer.
Electronic mechanical - Mechanical exclusively in electronic files.

Electronic publishing - (1) Publishing by printing with device, such as a photocopy machine or ink jet printer, driven by a computer that can change the image instantly from one copy to the next. (2) Publishing via output on fax, computer bulletin board or other electronic medium, as compared to output on paper.

Emboss - To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface. Also called cameo and tool.

Emulsion - Casting of light-sensitive chemicals on papers, films, printing plates and stencils.

Emulsion down/emulsion Up - Film whose emulsion side faces down (away from the viewer) or up (toward the viewer) when ready to make a plate or stencil. Abbreviated ED, EU. Also called E up/down and face down/face up.

Encapsulated postscript file - Computer file containing both images and PostScript commands. Abbreviated EPS file.
End sheet - Sheet that attaches the inside pages of a case bound book to its cover. Also called pastedown or end papers.
English finish - Smooth finish on uncoated book paper; smoother than eggshell, rougher than smooth.
engraving. Printing method using a plate, also called a die, with an image cut into its surface.
EP. Abbreviation for envelope.

EPS - Encapsulated Post Script, a known file format usually used to transfer post script information from one program to another.
Equivalent paper - Paper that is not the brand specified, but looks, prints and may cost the same. . Also called comparable stock.
Estimate - Price that states what a job will probably cost. Also called bid, quotation and tender.

Estimator - The individual performing or creating the "estimate".

Etch - To use chemicals to carve an image into metal, glass or film.

Face - Edge of a bound publication opposite the spine. Also called foredge. Also, an abbreviation for typeface referring to a family of a general style.

Fake duotone - Halftone in one ink color printed over screen tint of a second ink color. Also called dummy duotone, dougraph, duplex halftone, false duotone, flat tint halftone and halftone with screen.

Fast color inks - Inks with colors that retain their density and resist fading as the product is used and washed.

Feeding unit - Component of a printing press that moves paper into the register unit.

Felt finish - Soft woven pattern in text paper.

Felt side - Smooth side of paper. Ink prints more evenly on the felt side of paper.

Fifth color - Ink color used in addition to the four needed by four-color process.

Film gauge - Thickness of film. The most common gauge for graphic arts film is 0.004 inch (0.1 mm).

Film laminate - Thin sheet of plastic bonded to a printed product for protection or increased gloss.

Fine papers - Papers made specifically for writing or commercial printing, as compared to coarse papers and industrial papers. Also called cultural papers and graphic papers.

Fine screen - Screen with ruling of 150 lines per inch (80 lines per centimeter) or more.

Finish - (1) Surface characteristics of paper. Paper can have either rough or smooth finish. A smooth finish reproduces color and detail better because light is reflected back to the eye more uniformly.  (2) General term for trimming, folding, binding and all other post press operations.

Finished size - Size of product after production is completed, as compared to flat size. Also called trimmed size.

File transfer protocol(FTP) - The tool used to retrieve information in the form of electronic files from any number of computer systems linked via the TCP/IP protocol. Users in effect transfer copies of information found on remote computers either directly to their own computers or to a service provider€s network and then to their own computers. firewall. The layer of security that protects internal computer networks from outside intrusions, particularly from the Internet.

Fit - Refers to ability of film to be registered during stripping and assembly. Good fit means that all images register to other film for the same job.

Fixed costs - Costs that remain the same regardless of how many pieces are printed. Copyrighting, photography and design are fixed costs.

Flat color - (1) Any color created by printing only one ink, as compared to a color created by printing four-color process. Also called block color and spot color. (2) color that seems weak or lifeless.
flat plan (Flats). Diagram of the flats for a publication showing imposition and indicating colors.

Flat size - Size of product after printing and trimming, but before folding, as compared to finished size.

Flexography - Method of printing on a web press using rubber or plastic plates with raised images. Also called aniline printing because flexographic inks originally used aniline dyes. Abbreviated flexo.

Flood - To print a sheet completely with an ink or varnish. flooding with ink is also called painting the sheet.

Flush cover - Cover trimmed to the same size as inside pages, as compared to overhang cover. Also called cut flush.
Flyleaf - Leaf, at the front and back of a case bound book that is the one side of the end paper not glued to the case.
Fogging back - Used in making type more legible by lowering density of an image, while allowing the image to show through.

Foil emboss - To foil stamp and emboss an image. Also called heat stamp.

Foil stamp - Method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die. Also called block print, hot foil stamp and stamp.

Folder - A bindery machine dedicated to folding printed materials.

Fold marks - With printed matter, markings indicating where a fold is to occur, usually located at the top edges.
Foldout - Gatefold sheet bound into a publication, often used for a map or chart. Also called gatefold and pullout.

Folio (page number) - The actual page number in a publication.
Form - Each side of a signature. Also spelled forme.

Format - Size, style, shape, layout or organization of a layout or printed product.
Form bond - Lightweight bond, easy to perforate, made for business forms. Also called register bond.

Form roller(s) - Roller(s) that come in contact with the printing plate, bringing it ink or water.
for position only. Refers to inexpensive copies of photos or art used on mechanical to indicate placement and scaling, but not intended for reproduction. Abbreviated FPO.

Forwarding - In the case book arena, the binding process which involves folding, rounding, backing, head banding and reinforcing.

Fountain - Trough or container, on a printing press, that holds fluids such as ink, varnish or water. Also called duct.
Fountain solution - Mixture of water and chemicals that dampens a printing plate to prevent ink from adhering to the non-image area. Also called dampener solution.

Four-color process printing - Technique of printing that uses black, magenta, cyan and yellow to simulate full-color images. Also called color process printing, full color printing and process printing, 4-cp.

Free sheet - Paper made from cooked wood fibers mixed with chemicals and washed free of impurities, as compared to ground wood paper. Also called wood free paper.

French fold -  A printed sheet, printed one side only, folded with two right angle folds to form a four page uncut section.

Full-range halftone - Halftone ranging from 0 percent coverage in its highlights to 100 percent coverage in its shadows.
Full-scale black - Black separation made to have dots throughout the entire tonal range of the image, as compared to half-scale black and skeleton black. Also called full-range black.


Galley proof - Proof of type from any Source, whether metal type or photo type. Also called checker and slip proof.

Gang - (1) To halftone or separate more than one image in only one exposure. (2) Getting the most out of a printing press by using the maximum sheet size to print multiple images or jobs on the same sheet. A way to save money.
Gate fold - A sheet that folds where both sides fold toward the gutter in overlapping layers.

Gathered - Signatures assembled next to each other in the proper sequence for binding, as compared to nested. Also called stacked.
Ghost halftone - Normal halftone whose density has been reduced to produce a very faint image.

Ghosting - (1) Phenomenon of a faint image appearing on a printed sheet where it was not intended to appear. Chemical ghosting refers to the transfer of the faint image from the front of one sheet to the back of another sheet. Mechanical ghosting refers to the faint image appearing as a repeat of an image on the same side of the sheet. (2) Phenomenon of printed image appearing too light because of ink starvation.

Gigabit (Gb) - One billion bits.

Gigabyte (GB) - One thousand megabytes or one billion bytes.

Gilding - Mostly in the book arena, gold leafing the edges of a book.
Gloss - 1. Consider the light reflecting on various objects in the printing industry (e.g., paper, ink, laminates, UV coating, varnish). 2. Amount of shine reflected by a paper’s surface. Shinier paper makes ink look brighter. Varying degrees of gloss for coated papers: wash coating (least glossy), matte coating, dull coating (suede or velvet), gloss coating, ultra gloss coating, cast coating (most glossy).

Gloss ink - Ink used and printed on coated stock such as the ink will dry without penetration.

Grade - General classification of paper quality. Offset papers are graded from 1 (highest quality) to 5 (lowest quality). Grade may also refer to the brightness of a paper:#1 grade reflects 85% of blue light, whereas #5 grade reflects 70 –74%.

Graduated screen tint - Screen tint that changes densities gradually and smoothly, not in distinct steps. Also called degrade, gradient, ramped screen and vignette.
Grain direction - Predominant direction in which fibers in paper become aligned during manufacturing. Also called machine direction.
Grain long paper - Paper whose fibers run parallel to the long dimension of the sheet. Also called long grain paper and narrow web paper.

Grain short paper - Paper whose fibers run parallel to the short dimension of the sheet. Also called short grain paper and wide web paper.

Grammage - Basis weight of paper in grams per square meter (gsm).

Graphic arts - The crafts, industries and professions related to designing and printing on paper and other substrates.

Graphic arts film - Film whose emulsion yields high contrast images suitable for reproduction by a printing press, as compared to continuous-tone film. Also called litho film and repro film.

Graphic design - Arrangement of type and visual elements along with specifications for paper, ink colors and printing processes that, when combined, convey a visual message.

Graphics - Visual elements that supplement type to make printed messages more clear or interesting.

Gravure - Method of printing using metal cylinders etched with millions of tiny wells that hold ink.

Gray balance - Printed cyan, magenta and yellow halftone dots that accurately, reproduce a neutral gray image.

Gray component replacement - Technique of replacing gray tones in the yellow, cyan and magenta films, made while color separating, with black ink. Abbreviated GCR. Also called achromatic color removal.

Gray levels - Number of distinct gray tones that can be reproduced by a computer.

Gray scale - Strip of gray values ranging from white to black. Used by process camera and scanner operators to calibrate exposure times for film and plates. Also called step wedge.

Grind edge - Alternate term for binding edge when referring to perfect bound products.

Grind off - Approximately 1/8 inch (3 mm) along the spine that is ground off gathered signatures before perfect binding.

Gripper edge - Edge of a sheet held by grippers on a sheet fed press, thus going first through the press. Also called feeding edge and leading edge.

Ground wood paper - Newsprint and other inexpensive paper made from pulp created when wood chips are ground mechanically rather than refined chemically.

GSM - The unit of measurement for paper weight (grams per square meter).

Gutter - In the book arena, the inside margins toward the back or the binding edges.


>Hairline (rule) - Subjective term referring to very small space, thin line or close register. The meaning depends on who is using the term and in what circumstances.

Half-scale black - Black separation made to have dots only in the shadows and midtones, as compared to full-scale black and skeleton black.

Halftone - (1) To photograph or scan a continuous tone image to convert the image into halftone dots. (2) A photograph or continuous-tone illustration that has been halftoned and appears on film, paper, printing plate or the final printed product.

Halftone screen - Piece of film or glass containing a grid of lines that breaks light into dots. Also called contact screen and screen.

Halo effect - Faint shadow sometimes surrounding halftone dots printed. Also called halation. The halo itself is also called a fringe.

Hard dots - Halftone dots with no halos or soft edges, as compared to soft dots.

Hard mechanical - Mechanical consisting of paper and/or acetate and made using paste-up techniques, as compared to electronic mechanical.

Header - At the top of a page, the margin.

Head-to-tail - Imposition with heads (tops) of pages facing tails (bottoms) of other pages.

Heat-set web - Web press equipped with an oven to dry ink, thus able to print coated paper.

Hickey - Spot or imperfection in printing, most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage, caused by dirt on the plate or blanket. Also called bulls eye and fish eye.

High-fidelity color - Color reproduced using six, eight or twelve separations, as compared to four-color process.

High-key photo - Photo whose most important details appear in the highlights.

Highlights - Lightest portions of a photograph or halftone, as compared to midtones and shadows.

Hinged cover - Perfect bound cover scored 1/8 inch (3mm) from the spine so it folds at the hinge instead of, along the edge of the spine.

HLS - Abbreviation for hue, lightness, saturation, one of the color-control options often found in software, for design and page assembly. Also called HVS.

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

House sheet - Paper kept in stock by a printer and suitable for a variety of printing jobs. Also called floor sheet.

Hue - A specific color such as yellow or green.


Image area - The actual area on the printed matter that is not restricted to ink coverage.

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

Imagesetter - Laser output device using photosensitive paper or film.

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

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

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

Imposition systems - Step-and-repeat imaging cameras or computerized methods of assembling the units of pages into signatures for printing. The latter method is often referred to as digital imposition.

Impression - (1) Referring to an ink color, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through a printing unit. (2) Referring to speed of a press, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through the press.
Impression cylinder - Cylinder, on a press, that pushes paper against the plate or blanket, thus forming the image. Also called impression roller.
Imprint - To print new copy on a previously printed sheet, such as imprinting an employee's name on business cards.

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

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

Ink fountain - Reservoir, on a printing press, that holds ink.

Ink holdout - Characteristic of paper that prevents it from absorbing ink, thus allowing ink to dry on the surface of the paper. Also called holdout.

Ink jet printing - Method of printing by spraying droplets of ink through computer-controlled nozzles. Also called jet printing.

Inner form - Form (side of the press sheet) whose images all appear inside the folded signature, as compared to outer form.

In-plant printer - Department of an agency, business or association that does printing for a parent organization. Also called captive printer and in-house printer.

Inserts - Within a publication, an additional item positioned into the publication loose (not bound in).

Intaglio printing -Printing method whose image carriers are surfaces with two levels, having inked areas lower than non-inked areas. Gravure and engraving are the most common forms of intaglio. Also called recess printing.

Integral proof - Color proof of separations shown on one piece of proofing paper, as compared to an overlay proof. Also called composition proof, laminate proof, plastic proof and single-sheet proof.

Interleaves - Printed pages loosely inserted in a publication.

ISBN - A number assigned to a published work and usually found either on the title page or the back of the title page. Considered an International Standard Book Number.


Jaggies - Edges of artwork such as text having a choppy, saw tooth appearance. Resulting from using bitmap created artwork rather than vector created artwork. Highly undesirable.

Job lot paper - Paper that didn't meet specifications when produced, has been discontinued, or for other reasons is no longer considered first quality.

Job number - A number assigned to a specific printing project in a printing company for use in tracking and historical record keeping.

Job ticket - Form used by service bureaus, separators and printers to specify production schedule of a job and the materials it needs. Also called docket, production order and work order.

Jogger - A vibration machine with a slopping platform to even-up stacks of printed materials.

JPEG (joint pictures expert group) - The committee which set standards for a file format for graphics. The JPEG file format is a compressed format, with some loss of quality during compression. A popular web format due to the generally small size of pictures. File formats of .jpg, .jpeg, and .jpe.


Abbreviation for black in four-color process printing. Hence the 'K' in CMYK.

Key - (1) The screw that controls ink flow from the ink fountain of a printing press. (2) To relate loose pieces of copy to their positions on a layout or mechanical using a system of numbers or letters. (3) Alternate term for the color black, as in 'key plate.'

Keylines - Lines on a mechanical or negative showing the exact size, shape and location of photographs or other graphic elements. Also called holding lines.

Key Negative or Plate - Negative or plate that prints the most detail, thus whose image guides the register of images from other plates. Also called key printer.

kilobyte. kb - A measurement unit used to describe the size of computer files. A kilobyte is equivalent to 1024 bytes or characters of information.

Kiss Die Cut - ut the top layer, but not the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper. Also called face cut.

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

Kraft Paper - Strong paper used for wrapping and to make grocery bags and large envelopes.


Laid Finish - Finish on bond or text paper on which grids of parallel lines simulate the surface of handmade paper. Laid lines are close together and run against the grain; chain lines are farther apart and run with the grain.

Laminate - A thin transparent plastic sheet (coating) applied to usually a thick stock (covers, post cards, etc.) providing protection against liquid and heavy use, and usually accents existing color, providing a glossy (or lens) effect.

Landscape - Artist style in which width is greater than height. (Portrait is opposite.)

Lap Register - Register where ink colors overlap slightly, as compared to butt register.

Laser Bond - Bond paper made especially smooth and dry to run well through laser printers.

Laser-imprintable Ink - Ink that will not fade or blister as the paper on which it is printed is used in a laser printer.

Lay Flat Bind - Method of perfect binding that allows a publication to lie fully open. (Also known as Lay Flat Perfect Binding.)

Lay Edge - The edge of a sheet of paper feeding into a press.

Layout - A sample of the original providing (showing) position of printed work (direction, instructions) needed and desired.

Leading - Amount of space between lines of type.

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

Ledger Paper - Strong, smooth bond paper used for keeping business records. Also called record paper.

Letter fold - Two folds creating three panels that allow a sheet of letterhead to fit a business envelope. Also called barrel fold and wrap around fold.

Letter Paper - In North America, 8 1/2' x 11' sheets. In Europe, A4 sheets.

Legend - Directions about a specific matter (illustrations) and how to use. In regard to maps and tables, an explanation of signs (symbols) used.

Letterpress - Method of printing from raised surfaces, either metal type or plates whose surfaces have been etched away from image areas. Also called block printing.

Lightweight Paper - Book paper with basis weight less than 40# (60 gsm).

Lignin - Substance in trees that holds cellulose fibers together. Free sheet has most lignin removed; ground wood paper contains lignin.

Line Copy - Any high-contrast image, including type, as compared to continuous-tone copy. Also called line art and line work.

Line Negative - Negative made from line copy.

Linen Finish - Embossed finish on text paper that simulates the pattern of linen cloth.

Lithography - Method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose non-image areas repel ink. Non-image areas may be coated with water to repel the oily ink or may have a surface, such as silicon, that repels ink.

Live Area - Area on a mechanical within which images will print. Also called safe area.

Logo (Logotype) - A company, partnership or corporate creation (design) that denotes a unique entity. A possible combination of letters and art work to create a "sole" entity symbol of that specific unit.

Loose-leaf - Binding method allowing insertion and removal of pages in a publication (e.g., trim-4-drill-3).

Loose Proof - Proof of a halftone or color separation that is not assembled with other elements from a page, as compared to composite proof. Also called first proof, random proof, scatter proof and show-color proof.

Loupe - Lens built into a small stand. Used to inspect copy, film, proofs, plates and printing. Also called glass and linen tester.

Low Key Photo - Photo whose most important details appear in the shadows.


Machine Glazed (MG) - Paper holding a high-gloss finish only on one side.

Magenta - One of the four process colors.

Make-ready - (1) All activities required to prepare a press or other machine to function for a specific printing or bindery job, as compared to production run. Also called setup. (2) Paper used in the make-ready process at any stage in production. Make-ready paper is part of waste or spoilage.

Making Order - Order for paper that a mill makes to the customer's specifications, as compared to a mill order or stock order.

Male Die - Die that applies pressure during embossing or debossing. Also called force card.

Manuscript (MS) - An author's original form of work (hand written, typed or on disk) submitted for publication.

Margin - Imprinted space around the edge of the printed material.

Mark-Up - Instructions written usually on a "dummy."

Mask - To prevent light from reaching part of an image, therefore isolating the remaining part. Also called knock out.

Master - Paper or plastic plate used on a duplicating press.

Match Print - A form of a four-color-process proofing system.

Matte Finish - Flat(not glossy) finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper.

Mechanical - Camera-ready assembly of type, graphic and other copy complete with instructions to the printer. A hard mechanical consists of paper and/or acetate, is made using paste-up techniques, and may also be called an art board, board or paste-up. A soft mechanical, also called an electronic mechanical, exists as a file of type and other images assembled using a computer.

Mechanical Bind - To bind using a comb, coil, ring binder, post or any other technique not requiring gluing, sewing or stitching.

Mechanical Separation - Color breaks made on the mechanical using a separate overlay for each color to be printed.

Mechanical Tint - Lines or patterns formed with dots creating artwork for reproduction.

megabit - One million bits.

megabyte - One million bytes.

Metallic Ink - Ink containing powdered metal or pigments that simulate metal.

Metallic Paper - Paper coated with a thin film of plastic or pigment whose color and gloss simulate metal.

Midtones - In a photograph or illustration, tones created by dots between 30 percent and 70 percent of coverage, as compared to highlights and shadows.

Mil 1/1000 Inch - The thickness of plastic films as printing substrates are expressed in mils.

Misting - Phenomenon of droplets of ink being thrown off the roller train. Also called flying ink.

Mock Up - A reproduction of the original printed matter and possibly containing instructions or direction.

Modem - Mostly used over phone lines, a device that converts electronic stored information from point a. to point b.

Moiré - Undesirable pattern resulting when halftones and screen tints are made with improperly aligned screens, or when a pattern in a photo, such as a plaid, interfaces with a halftone dot pattern.

Monarch - Paper size (7' x 10') and envelope shape often used for personal stationery.

Mottle - Spotty, uneven ink absorption. Also called sinkage. A mottled image may be called mealy.

Mull - A specific type of glue used for books binding and personal pads needing strength.

Multicolor Printing - Printing in more than one ink color (but not four-color process). Also called polychrome printing.

M Weight - Weight of 1,000 sheets of paper in any specific size.


Natural Color - Very light brown color of paper. May also be called antique, cream, ivory, off-white or mellow white.

Nested - Signatures assembled inside one another in the proper sequence for binding, as compared to gathered. Also called inset.

Neutral Gray - Gray with no hue or cast.

News Print - Paper used in printing newspapers. Considered low quality and "a short life use."

Newton Ring - Flaw in a photograph or halftone that looks like a drop of oil or water.

Nipping - In the book binding process, a stage where air is expelled from it's contents at the sewing stage.

Non-heatset Web - Web press without a drying oven, thus not able to print on coated paper. Also called cold-set web and open web.

Non-impact Printing - Printing using lasers, ions, ink jets or heat to transfer images to paper.

Non-reproducing Blue - Light blue that does not record on graphic arts film, therefore may be used to preprint layout grids and write instructions on mechanicals. Also called blue pencil, drop-out blue, fade-out blue and non-repro blue.

Novelty Printing - Printing on products such as coasters, pencils, balloons, golf balls and ashtrays, known as advertising specialties or premiums.


Offset Printing - Printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.

Opacity - (1) Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents printing on one side from showing through the other side. (2) Characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.

Onion Skin - A specific lightweight type (kind) of paper usually used in the past for air mail. Seldom used today (in the typewriter era).

Online - The state of a computer being connected to and communicating with another electronic device for the purpose of distributing or retrieving information.

Opaque - (1) Not transparent. (2) To cover flaws in negative with tape or opaquing paint. Also called block out and spot.

Open Prepress Interface, OPI - Hardware and software that link desktop publishing systems with color electronic prepress systems. High-resolution color images are stored on a central network server, and low-resolution files are used for positioning, scaling, etc. in the page layout program. At output time, the high-resolution images are swapped for the low-resolution images.

Outer form - Form (side of a press sheet) containing images for the first and last pages of the folded signature (its outside pages) as compared to inner form.

Outline Halftone - Halftone in which background has been removed or replaced to isolate or silhouette the main image. Also called knockout halftone and silhouette halftone.

Overlay - Layer of material taped to a mechanical, photo or proof. Acetate overlays are used to separate colors by having some type or art on them instead of on the mounting board. Tissue overlays are used to carry instructions about the underlying copy and to protect the base art.

Overlay Proof - Color proof consisting of polyester sheets laid on top of each other with their image in register, as compared to integral proof. Each sheet represents the image to be printed in one color. Also called celluloid proof and layered proof.

Overprint - To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint. Also called surprint.

Over Run - Additional printed matter beyond order. Overage policy varies in the printing industry. Advance questions avoid blind knowledge.


Page - One side of a leaf in a publication.

Page Count - Total number of pages that a publication has. Also called extent.

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

Page Proof - Proof of type and graphics as they will look on the finished page complete with elements such as headings, rules and folios.

Pagination - In the book arena, the numbering of pages.

Painted Sheet - Sheet printed with ink edge to edge, as compared to spot color. The painted sheet refers to the final product, not the press sheet, and means that 100 percent coverage results from bleeds off all four sides.

Panel - One page of a brochure, such as one panel of a rack brochure. One panel is on one side of the paper. A letter-folded sheet has six panels, not three.

Paper Plate - A printing plate made of strong and durable paper in the short run offset arena (cost effective with short runs).

Parallel Fold - Method of folding. Two parallel folds to a sheet will produce 6 panels.

Parent Sheet - Any sheet larger than 11' x 17' or A3.

Pasteboard - Chipboard with another paper pasted to it.

Paste-up - To paste copy to mounting boards and, if necessary, to overlays so it is assembled into a camera-ready mechanical. The mechanical produced is often called a paste-up.

PE - Proofreader mark meaning printer error and showing a mistake by a typesetter, prepress service or printer as compared to an error by the customer.

Perfect Bind - To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue. Also called adhesive bind, cut-back bind, glue bind, paper bind, patent bind, perfecting bind, soft bind and soft cover. See also Burst Perfect Bind.

Perfecting Press - Press capable of printing both sides of the paper during a single pass. Also called duplex press and perfector.

Perf Marks - On a "dummy" marking where the perforation is to occur.

Perforating - Taking place on a press or a binder machine, creating a line of small dotted wholes for the purpose of tearing-off a part of a printed matter (usually straight lines, vertical or horizontal).

Pica - A unit of measure in the printing industry. A pica is approximately 0.166 in. There are 12 points to a pica.

Photoengraving - Engraving done using photochemistry.

Photomechanical Transfer - Brand name for a diffusion transfer process used to make positive paper prints of line copy and halftones. Often used as alternate term for
Photostat - Abbreviated PMT.

PhotoShop (PSD) - Brand name of popular professional level graphics program, typically used for photo editing.

Photostat - Brand name for a diffusion transfer process used to make positive paper prints of line copy and halftones. Often used as alternate term for

Picking - Phenomenon of ink pulling bits of coating or fiber away from the surface of paper as it travels through the press, thus leaving unprinted spots in the image area.

Pickup Art - Artwork, used in a previous job, to be incorporated in a current job.

Pin-holing - Small holes (unwanted) in printed areas because of a variety of reasons.

Pin Register - Technique of registering separations, flats and printing plates by using small holes, all of equal diameter, at the edges of both flats and plates.

Pixel - Short for picture element, a dot made by a computer, scanner or other digital device. Also called pel.

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

Planographic Printing - Printing method whose image carriers are level surfaces with inked areas separated from non-inked areas by chemical means. Planographic printing includes lithography, offset lithography and spirit duplicating.

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

Platemaker - (1) In quick printing, a process camera that makes plates automatically from mechanicals. (2) In commercial lithography, a machine with a vacuum frame used to expose plates through film.

Plate-ready Film - Stripped negatives or positives fully prepared for platemaking.

Pleasing Color - Color that the customer considers satisfactory even though it may not precisely match original samples, scenes or objects.

PMS - Obsolete reference to Pantone Matching System. The correct trade name of the colors in the Pantone Matching System is Pantone colors, not PMS Colors.

Abbreviation for photomechanical transfer.

Point - (1) Regarding paper, a unit of thickness equating 1/1000 inch. (2) Regarding type, a unit of measure equaling 1/12 pica and .013875 inch (.351mm).

Portrait - An art design in which the height is greater than the width. (Opposite of Landscape.)

Position Stat - Photocopy or PMT of a photo or illustration made to size and affixed to a mechanical.

Positive Film - Film that prevents light from passing through images, as compared to negative film that allows light to pass through. Also called knockout film.

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

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

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

Prepress - Camera work, color separations, stripping, platemaking and other prepress functions performed by the printer, separator or a service bureau prior to printing. Also called preparation.

Prepress Proof - Any color proof made using ink jet, toner, dyes or overlays, as compared to a press proof printed using ink. Also called dry proof and off-press proof.

Preprint - To print portions of sheets that will be used for later imprinting.

Press Check - Event at which make-ready sheets from the press are examined before authorizing full production to begin.

Press Proof - Proof made on press using the plates, ink and paper specified for the job. Also called strike off and trial proof.

Press Time - (1) Amount of time that one printing job spends on press, including time required for make-ready. (2) Time of day at which a printing job goes on press.

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

Printability - How well a paper runs through a press.

Printer Pairs - Usually in the book arena, consecutive pages as they appear on a flat or signature.

Printer Spreads - Mechanicals made so they are imposed for printing, as compared to reader spreads.

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

Printing Plate - Surface carrying an image to be printed. Quick printing uses paper or plastic plates; letterpress, engraving and commercial lithography use metal plates; flexography uses rubber or soft plastic plates. Gravure printing uses a cylinder. The screen printing is also called a plate.

Printing Unit - Assembly of fountain, rollers and cylinders that will print one ink color. Also called color station, deck, ink station, printer, station and tower.

Process Camera - Camera used to photograph mechanicals and other camera-ready copy. Also called copy, camera and graphic arts camera. A small, simple process camera may be called a stat camera.

Process Color(Inks) - The colors used for four-color process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.

Production Run - Press run intended to manufacture products as specified, as compared to make-ready.

Proof - Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.

Proofreader Marks - Standard symbols and abbreviations used to mark up manuscripts and proofs. Also called correction marks.

Proportion Scale - Round device used to calculate percent that an original image must by reduced or enlarged to yield a specific reproduction size. Also called percentage wheel, proportion dial, proportion wheel and scaling wheel.

Publishing Paper - Paper made in weights, colors and surfaces suited to books, magazines, catalogs and free-standing inserts.


Quality - Subjective term relating to expectations by the customer, printer and other professionals associated with a printing job and whether the job meets those expectations.

Quarto - (1) Sheet folded twice, making pages one-fourth the size of the original sheet. A quarto makes an 8-page signature. (2) Book made from quarto sheets, traditionally measuring about 9' x 12'.

Quick Printing - Printing using small sheet fed presses, called duplicators, using cut sizes of bond and offset paper.

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


Rag Paper - Stationery or other forms of stock having a strong percentage content of "cotton rags."

Rainbow Fountain - Technique of putting ink colors next to each other in the same ink fountain and oscillating the ink rollers to make the colors merge where they touch, producing a rainbow effect.

Raster Image Processor(RIP) - Device that translates page description commands into bitmapped information for an output device such as a laser printer or imagesetter. PostScript or another page description language serves as an interface between the page layout workstation and the RIP.

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

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

Reader Spread - Mechanicals made in two page spreads as readers would see the pages, as compared to printer spread.

Ream - 500 sheets of paper.

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

Reflective Copy - Products, such as fabrics, illustrations and photographic prints, viewed by light reflected from them, as compared to transparent copy. Also called reflex copy.

Register - To place printing properly with regard to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet. Such printing is said to be in register.

Register Marks - Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register. Also called cross marks and position marks.

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

Repeatability - Ability of a device, such as an imagesetter, to produce film or plates that yield images in register.

Reprographics - General term for xerography, diazo and other methods of copying used by designers, engineers, architects or for general office use.

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

Resolution Target - An image, such as the GATF Star Target, that permits evaluation of resolution on film, proofs or plates.

Reverse - Type, graphic or illustration reproduced by printing ink around its outline, thus allowing the underlying color or paper to show through and form the image. The image 'reverses out' of the ink color. Also called knockout and liftout.

RGB - Abbreviation for red, green, blue, the additive color primaries.

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

Rotary Press - Printing press which passes the substrate between two rotating cylinders when making an impression.

Round Back Bind - To casebind with a rounded (convex) spine, as compared to flat back bind.

RTF - Microsoft's Rich Text Format, which is normally used as a well-understood cross-platform word processing document format, but which can store pictures as well as text.

Rule - Line used as a graphic element to separate or organize copy.

Ruleup - Map or drawing given by a printer to a stripper showing how a printing job must be imposed using a specific press and sheet size. Also called press layout, printer's layout and ruleout.


Saddle Stitch - To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine, as compared to side stitch. Also called pamphlet stitch, saddle wire and stitch bind.

Satin Finish - Alternate term for dull finish on coated paper.

Scale - To identify the percent by which photographs or art should be enlarged or reduced to achieve, the correct size for printing.

Scanner - Electronic device used to scan an image.

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

Screen Angles - Angles at which screens intersect with the horizontal line of the press sheet. The common screen angles for separations are black 45 degree, magenta 75 degree, yellow 90 degree and cyan 105 degree.

Screen Density - Refers to the percentage of ink coverage that a screen tint allows to print. Also called screen percentage.

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

Screen Ruling - Number of rows or lines of dots per inch or centimeter in a screen for making a screen tint or halftone. Also called line count, ruling, screen frequency, screen size and screen value.

Screen Tint - Color created by dots instead of solid ink coverage. Also called Benday, fill pattern, screen tone, shading, tint and tone.

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

Self Cover - Usually in the book arena, a publication not having a cover stock. A publication only using text stock throughout.

Self Mailer - A printed item independent of an envelope. A printed item capable of travel in the mailing arena independently.

Separated Art - Art with elements that print in the base color on one surface and elements that print in other colors on other surfaces. Also called preseparated art.

Separations - Usually in the four-color process arena, separate film holding images of one specific color per piece of film. Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. Can also separate specific PMS colors through film.

Serigraphic Printing - Printing method whose image carriers are woven fabric, plastic or metal that allow ink to pass through some portions and block ink from passing through other portions. Serigraphic printing includes screen and mimeograph.

Service Bureau - Business using imagesetters to make high resolution printouts of files prepared on microcomputers. Also called output house and prep service.

Setoff - Undesirable transfer of wet ink from the top of one sheet to the underside of another as they lie in the delivery stack of a press. Also called offset.

Shade - Hue made darker by the addition of black, as compared to tint.

Shadows - Darkest areas of a photograph or illustration, as compared to midtones and high-lights.

Sheet fed Press - Press that prints sheets of paper, as compared to a web press.

Sheetwise - Technique of printing one side of a sheet with one set of plates, then the other side of the sheet with a set of different plates. Also called work and back.

Shingling - Allowance, made during paste-up or stripping, to compensate for creep. Creep is the problem; shingling is the solution. Also called stair stepping and progressive margins.

Side stitch - To bind by stapling through sheets along, one edge, as compared to saddle stitch. Also called cleat stitch and side wire.

Signature - Printed sheet folded at least once, possibly many times, to become part of a book, magazine or other publication.

Size - Compound mixed with paper or fabric to make it stiffer and less able to absorb moisture.

Slip Sheets - Separate sheets (stock) independent from the original run positioned between the "printed run" for a variety of reasons.

Smoothness - The amount a paper is polished and coated to create an even surface. Smooth papers reproduce color and detail better than rough papers because they reflect light back more uniformly. Smoothness of uncoated papers is classified as follows: mimeo (roughest), vellum, antique, eggshell, wove, satin, and luster (smoothest). Coated papers: see gloss.

Soft Dots - Halftones dots with halos.

Solid - Any area of the sheet receiving 100 percent ink coverage, as compared to a screen tint.

Soy-based Inks - Inks using vegetable oils instead of petroleum products as pigment vehicles, thus are easier on the environment.

Specially Printer - Printer whose equipment, supplies, work flow and marketing is targeted to a particular category of products.

Specifications - Complete and precise written description of features of a printing job such as type size and leading, paper grade and quantity, printing or binding method. Abbreviated specs.

Spectrophotometer - Instrument used to measure the index of refraction of color.

Specular Highlight - Highlight area with no printable dots, thus no detail, as compared to a diffuse highlight. Also called catchlight and dropout highlight.

Spine - Back or binding edge of a publication

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

Split Fountain - Technique of putting ink colors next to each other in the same ink fountain and printing them off the same plate. Split fountains keep edges of colors distinct, as compared to rainbow fountains that blend edges.

Split Run - (1) Different images, such as advertisements, printed in different editions of a publication. (2) Printing of a book that has some copies bound one way and other copies bound another way.

Spoilage - Paper that, due to mistakes or accidents, must be thrown away instead of delivered printed to the customer, as compared to waste.

Spot Color or Varnish - One ink or varnish applied to portions of a sheet, as compared to flood or painted sheet.

Spread - (1) Two pages that face each other and are designed as one visual or production unit. (2) Technique of slightly enlarging the size of an image to accomplish a hairline trap with another image. Also called fatty.

Standard Viewing Conditions - Background of 60 percent neutral gray and light that measures 5000 degrees Kelvin the color of daylight on a bright day. Also called lighting standards.

Stat - Short for Photostat, therefore a general term for an inexpensive photographic print of line copy or halftone.

Statistical Process Control - Method used by printers to ensure quality and delivery times specified by customers. Abbreviated SPC.

Step and Repeat - Prepress technique of exposing an image in a precise, multiple pattern to create a flat or plate. Images are said to be stepped across the film or plate.

Stocking Paper - Popular sizes, weights and colors of papers available for prompt delivery from a merchant's warehouse.

Stock Order - Order for paper that a mill or merchant sends to a printer from inventory at a warehouse, as compared to a mill order.

String Score - Score created by pressing a string against paper, as compared to scoring using a metal edge.

Strip - To assemble images on film for platemaking. Stripping involves correcting flaws in film, assembling pieces of film into flats and ensuring that film and flats register correctly. Also called film assembly and image assembly.

Substance Weight - Alternate term for basis weight, usually referring to bond papers. Also called sub weight.

Stumping (Blocking) - In the book arena, hot die, foil or other means in creating an image on a case bound book.

Substrate - Any surface or material on which printing is done.

Subtractive Color - Color produced by light reflected from a surface, as compared to additive color. Subtractive color includes hues in color photos and colors created by inks on paper.

Subtractive Primary Color - Yellow, magenta and cyan. In the graphic arts, these are known as process colors because, along with black, they are the inks colors used in color-process printing.

Supercalendered Paper - Paper calendered using alternating chrome and fiber rollers to produce a smooth, thin sheet. Abbreviated SC paper.

Swash Book - A book in a variety of forms, indicating specific stock in specific colors in a specific thickness.

SWOP - Abbreviation for specifications for web offset publications, specifications recommended for web printing of publications.


Tabloid - Using a broadsheet as a measure, one half of a broadsheet.

Tag - Grade of dense, strong paper used for products such as badges and file folders.

Tagged Image File Format(TIFF, TIF) - Computer file format used to store images from scanners and video devices. Abbreviated TIFF. A TIFF file permits the image to be edited in other applications (ie, QuarkXpress, and Macromedia Freehand)

Target Ink Densities - Densities of the four process inks as recommended for various printing processes and grades of paper. See also Total Area Coverage.

Template - Concerning a printing project's basic details in regard to its dimensions. A standard layout.

Terabyte - One thousand gigabytes or one million megabytes.

Text Paper - Designation for printing papers with textured surfaces such as laid or linen. Some mills also use 'text' to refer to any paper they consider top-of-the-line, whether or not its surface has a texture.

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

Thumbnails - Initial ideas jotted on virtually anything in regard to initial concept of a future project.

Tint - Screening or adding white to a solid color for results of lightening that specific color.

Tip In - Usually in the book arena, adding an additional page(s) beyond the normal process (separate insertion).

Tone Compression - Reduction in the tonal range from original scene to printed reproduction.

Total Area Coverage - Total of the dot percentages of the process colors in the final film. Abbreviated for TAC. Also called density of tone, maximum density, shadow saturation, total dot density and total ink coverage.

Touch Plate - Plate that accents or prints a color that four-color process printing cannot reproduce well enough or at all. Also called kiss plate.

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

Transparency - Positive photographic image on film allowing light to pass through. Also called chrome, color transparency and tranny. Often abbreviated TX.

Trap - To print one ink over another or to print a coating, such as varnish, over an ink. The first liquid traps the second liquid. See also Dry Traps and Wet Traps.

Trim Size - The size of the printed material in its finished stage (e.g., the finished trim size is 5 1\2 x 8 1\2).

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


Uncoated Paper - Paper that has not been coated with clay. Also called offset paper.

Undercolor Addition - Technique of making color separations that increases the amount of cyan, magenta or yellow ink in shadow areas. Abbreviated UCA.

Undercolor Removal - Technique of making color separations such that the amount of cyan, magenta and yellow ink is reduced in midtones and shadow areas while the amount of black is increased. Abbreviated UCR.

Uniform resource locator(URL) - The World Wide Web address of a company, service, or other information resource.

Universal Copyright Convention(UCC) - A system to protect unique work from reproducing without knowledge from the originator. To qualify, one must register their work and publish a (c) indicating registration.

Unsharp Masking - Technique of adjusting dot size to make a halftone or separation appear sharper (in better focus) than the original photo or the first proof. Also called edge enhancement and peaking.

Up - Term to indicate multiple copies of one image printed in one impression on a single sheet. "Two up" or "three up" means printing the identical piece twice or three times on each sheet.

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


Value - The shade (darkness) or tint (lightness) of a color. Also called brightness, lightness, shade and tone.

Varnish - Liquid applied as a coating for protection and appearance.

Vellum Finish - Somewhat rough, toothy finish.

Velox - Brand name for high-contrast photographic paper.

Viewing Booth - Small area or room that is set up for proper viewing of transparencies, color separations or press sheets. Also called color booth. See also Standard Viewing Conditions.

Vignette - Decorative design or illustration fade to white.

Vignette Halftone - Halftone whose background gradually and smoothly fades away. Also called degrade.

Virgin Paper - Paper made exclusively of pulp from trees or cotton, as compared to recycled paper.

VOC - Abbreviation for volatile organic compounds, petroleum substances used as the vehicles for many printing inks.


Wash Up - To clean ink and fountain solutions from rollers, fountains, screens, and other press components.

Waste - Unusable paper or paper damage during normal make-ready, printing or binding operations, as compared to spoilage.

Watermark - Translucent logo in paper created during manufacturing by slight embossing from a dandy roll while paper is still approximately 90 percent water.

Web Break - Split of the paper as it travels through a web press, causing operators to rethread the press.

Web Gain - Unacceptable stretching of paper as it passes through the press.

Web Press - Press that prints from rolls of paper, usually cutting it into sheets after printing. Also called reel-fed press. Web presses come in many sizes, the most common being mini, half, three quarter (also called 8-pages) and full (also called 16-pages).

Wet Trap - To print ink or varnish over wet ink, as compared to dry trap.

Window - In a printed product, a die-cut hole revealing an image on the sheet behind it. (2) On a mechanical, an area that has been marked for placement of a piece of artwork.

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

Wire Side - Side of the paper that rests against The Fourdrinier wire during papermaking, as compared to felt side.

With the Grain - Parallel to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to against the grain. See also Grain Direction.

Woodfree Paper - Made with chemical pulp only. Paper usually classified as calendered or supercalendered.

Working Film - Intermediate film that will be copied to make final film after all corrections are made. Also called buildups.

Wove - Paper manufactured without visible wire marks, usually a fine textured paper.

Wrong Reading - An image that is backwards when compared to the original. Also called flopped and reverse reading.

WYSIWYG(what-you-see-is-what-you-get) - Computer screen displays that approximate the true size and true shape of typographic characters, rules, tints, and graphics.

WYSIWYP - Short for What You See Is What You Print, and pronounced wizzy-whip, refers to the ability of a computer system to print colors exactly as they appear on a monitor. WYSIWYP printing requires a special program, called a color management system (CMS) to calibrate the monitor and printer.



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