Glossary Of Terms

Glossary Of Terms

We take great pride in making our clients feel confident about their jobs during the production process. To help you gain a better understanding of what’s happening to your project, we’ve compiled a glossary of terms that we commonly use in our industry.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T V W
  • Absorbency

    The ability of a material to take up moisture

  • AC

    Author's Correction

  • Accordion Fold

    A type of paper folding in which each fold runs in the opposite direction to the previous fold creating a pleated or accordion effect.

  • Acetate

    A transparent or translucent plastic sheet material of a variety of colors, used as a basis for artwork and overlays.

  • Additive Colors

    In photographic reproduction, the primary colors of red, green and blue which are mixed to form all other colors.

  • Alignment

    The condition of type and or art materials as they level up on a horizontal or vertical line.

  • Art Work

    Any materials or images that are prepared for graphic reproduction.

  • Artwork

    All illustrated material, ornamentation, photos and charts etc., that is prepared for reproduction.

  • Author's Alterations (AA's)

    Changes made after composition stage where customer is responsible for additional charges.

  • Back To Back

    Print applied to both sides of a sheet of paper.

  • Background

    That portion of a photograph or line art drawing that appears furthest from the eye; the surface upon which the main image is superimposed.

  • Balance

    A term used to describe the aesthetic or harmony of elements, whether they are photos, art or copy, within a layout or design.

  • Banker's Flap Envelope

    Also called wallet flap; the wallet flap has more rounded flap edges.

  • Banner

    The primary headline usually spanning the entire width of a page.

  • Base Line

    This is a term used to describe the imaginary horizontal line upon which stand capitals, lower case letters, punctuation points etc.

  • Basic Size

    This term refers to a standard size of paper stock; even though the required size may be smaller or larger.

  • Basis Weight

    Basis or basic weight refers to the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that particular paper grade.

  • Binder's Board

    A heavy paperboard with a cloth covering that is used for hardback binding of books.

  • Binding

    Various methods of securing folded sections together and or fastening them to a cover, to form single copies of a book.

  • Blanket

    On offset presses a fabric-reinforced sheet of rubber to transfer the impression from the plate onto the paper.

  • Bleed

    Extra ink area that crosses trim line, used to allow for variations that occur when the reproduction is trimmed or die-cut.

  • Blind Emboss

    A design or bas relief impression that is made without using inks or metal foils.

  • Blind Embossing

    Embossed forms that are not inked, or gold leafed.

  • Block

    Illustrations or line art etched onto zinc or copper plates and used in letterpress printing.

  • Blow-up

    Any enlargement of photos, copies or line art.

  • Body

    The main shank or portion of the letter character other than the ascenders and descenders. Also: A term used to define the thickness or viscosity of printer's ink.

  • Body Size

    The point size of a particular type character.

  • Boldface

    Any type that has a heavier black stroke that makes it more conspicuous.

  • Bounce 1

    A registration problem, usually on copiers, where the image appears to bounce back and forth. A bounce usually occurs in one direction depending on how the paper is passing through the machine. This is usually accented by card stock (especially if it's over the machine's spec). When a customer refuses a job for whatever reason.

  • Brochure

    A pamphlet that is bound in booklet form.

  • Bullet

    A boldface square or dot used before a sentence to emphasize its importance.

  • Caps & Small Caps

    Two sizes of capital letters made in one size of type.

  • Chancery Italic

    A 13th century handwriting style which is the roots of italic design.

  • Coated (Paper)

    Paper coated with clay, white pigments and a binder. Better for printing because there is less picking.

  • Coated Stock

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

  • Collate

    To gather sheets or signatures together in their correct order. (see Gather)

  • Color Bars

    This term refers to a color test strip, which is printed on the waste portion of a press sheet. It is a standardized (GATF-Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) process which allows a pressman to determine the quality of the printed material relative to ink density, registration, and dot gain. It also includes the Star Target, which is a similar system designed to detect inking problems.

  • Color Separating

    The processes of separating the primary color components for printing.

  • Composition

    The assembly of characters into words, lines and paragraphs of text or body matter for reproduction by printing.

  • Condensed Type

    A narrow, elongated type face.

  • Copy

    Refers to any typewritten material, art, photos etc., to be used for the printing process.

  • Corner Marks

    Marks on a final printed sheet that indicate the trim lines or register indicators.

  • Cover

    A term describing a general type of papers used for the covers of books, pamphlets etc.

  • Creep

    When the rubber blanket on a cylinder moves forward due to contact with the plate or paper. Result of added thickness of folded sheets being behind one another in a folded signature. Outer edges of sheets creep away from back most fold as more folded sheets are inserted inside the middle.

  • Crop

    To eliminate a portion of the art or copy as indicated by crop marks.

  • Crop Mark

    Markings at edges of original or on guide sheet to indicate the area desired in reproduction with negative or plate trimmed (cropped) at the markings.

  • Cutter

    Machine for accurately cutting stacks of paper to desired dimensions...can also be used to crease. Also trims out final bound books' top size (soft cover).

  • Cutting Die

    Sharp edged device, usually made of steel, to cut paper, cardboard, etc., on a printing press.

  • Cyan

    A shade of blue used in the four-color process; it reflects blue and green and absorbs red.

  • Deckle Edge

    The rough or feathered edge of paper when left untrimmed.

  • Delete

    An instruction given to remove an element from a layout.

  • Densitometer

    An optical device used by printers and photographers to measure and control the density of color.

  • Density

    The degree of tone, weight of darkness or color within a photo or reproduction; measurable by the densitometer. Reference, densitometer.

  • Density

    The lay of paper fibers relative to tightness or looseness which affects the bulk, the absorbency and the finish of the paper.

  • Die

    Design, letters or shapes, cut into metal (mostly brass) for stamping book covers or embossing. An engraved stamp used for impressing an image or design.

  • Die Cutting

    A method of using sharp steel ruled stamps or rollers to cut various shapes i.e. labels, boxes, image shapes, either post press or in line. The process of cutting paper in a shape or design by the use of a wooden die or block in which are positioned steel rules in the shape of the desired pattern.

  • Die Stamping

    An intaglio process for printing from images engraved into copper or steel plates.

  • Digital Proof

    Color separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to color photographic paper creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed.

  • Dot

    The smallest individual element of a halftone.

  • Dot Gain

    Darkening of halftone image due to ink absorption in paper causing halftone dots to enlarge. Terms to describe the occurrence whereby dots are printing larger than they should.

  • Drill

    The actual drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding.

  • Drop Shadow

    A shadow image placed strategically behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page.

  • Dry Mount

    Pasting with heat sensitive adhesives.

  • Ductor Roller

    The roller between the inking and the dampening rollers.

  • Dull Finish

    Any matte finished paper.

  • Dummy

    A term used to describe the preliminary assemblage of copy and art elements to be reproduced in the desired finished product; also called a comp.

  • Duotone

    Color reproduction from monochrome original. Keyplate usually printed in dark color for detail, second plate printed in light flat tints. A two-color halftone reproduction generated from a one-color photo.

  • Duplex Paper

    Paper which has a different color or finish on each side.

  • Electronic Composition

    The assembly of characters into words, lines and paragraphs of text or body matter with graphic elements in page layout form in digital format for reproduction by printing.

  • Electronic Proof

    A process of generating a prepress proof in which paper is electronically exposed to the color separation negatives; the paper is passed through the electrically charged pigmented toners, which adhere electrostatically, resulting in the finished proof.

  • Elliptical Dot

    Halftone screens in which the dots are actually elongated to produce improved middle tones.

  • Embossed

    A method of paper finishing whereby a pattern is pressed into the paper when it is dry.

  • Embossing

    To raise in relief a design or letters already printed on card stock or heavy paper by an uninked block or die. In rubber and plastic plate making the process is usually done by heat.

  • Enamel

    A term that describes a glossy coating on paper.

  • Endsheet

    Attaching the final sheet of a signature of a book to the binding.

  • English Finish

    A grade of uncoated book paper with a smooth uniform surface.

  • Engraving

    A printing process whereby images such as copy or art are etched onto a plate. When ink is applied, these etched areas act as small wells to hold the ink; paper is forced against this die and the ink is lifted out of the etched areas creating raised images on the paper.

  • Estimate

    The form used by the printer to calculate the project for the print buyer. This form contains the basic parameters of the project including size, quantity, colors, bleeds, photos etc.

  • Estimator

    One who computes or approximates the cost of work to be done on which quotation may be based.

  • Expanded Type

    Type with width greater than normal producing a rectangular effect.

  • Fan Fold

    Paper folding that emulates an accordion or fan, the folds being alternating and parallel.

  • Filling In

    A fault in printing where the ink fills in the fine line or halftone dot areas.

  • Folder

    Machine used to fold signatures down into sections.

  • Folio or Page Number

    Number of page at top or bottom either centered, flushed left or flushed right often with running headline.

  • Gang

    Group of frames or impositions in the same forme of different jobs arranged and positioned to be printed together.

  • Gather

    To assemble or collect sections into single copies of complete books for binding.

  • Gathering

    Assembling sheets of paper and signatures into their proper sequence; collating.

  • Goldenrod

    An orange colored paper with gridlines, used to assemble materials for exposure for platemaking.

  • Graduated Screen

    An area of image where halftone dots range continuously from one density to another.

  • Grain

    Direction of fibers in a sheet of paper governing paper properties such as increased size changes with relative humidity, across the grain, and better folding properties along the grain.

  • Grained Paper

    A paper embossed to resemble various textures, such as leather, alligator, wood, etc.

  • Gripper

    A series of metal fingers that hold each sheet of paper as it passes through the various stages of the printing process.

  • Gripper Edge

    The grippers of the printing press move the paper through the press by holding onto the leading edge of the sheet; this edge is the gripper edge.

  • Gutter

    Space between pages in the printing frame of a book, or inside margin towards the back or binding edge. The blank space or margin between the type page and the binding of a book.

  • Hairline register

    Printing registration that lies within the range of plus or minus one half row of dots. It is the thinnest of the standard printers' rules.

  • Halftone

    Tone graduated image composed of varying sized dots or lines, with equidistant centers.

  • Halftone Screen

    A sheet of film or glass containing ruled right-angled lines, used to translate the full tone of a photo to the halftone dot image required for printing.

  • Highlights

    The lightest tones of a photo, printed halftone or illustration. In the finished halftone, these highlights are represented by the finest dots.

  • IBC

    Inside back cover.

  • IFC

    Inside front cover.

  • Image Area

    That portion of the printing plate that carries the ink and prints on paper.

  • Imposition

    Arrangement of pages so that they print correctly on a press sheet, and the pages are in proper order when the sheets are folded.

  • Impression

    Product resulting from one cycle of printing machine. The pressure of the image carrier, whether it be the type, plate or blanket, when it contacts the paper.

  • Inserts

    Extra printed pages inserted loosely into printed pieces.

  • Italic

    Text that is used to denote emphasis by slanting the type body forward.

  • Job Number

    A number assigned to a printing project used for record keeping and job tracking. Also used to retrieve old jobs for reprints or reworking by customer.

  • Jog

    To vibrate a stack of finished pages so that they are tightly aligned for final trimming.

  • Jogger

    Vibrating, sloping platform that evens up the edges of stacks of paper.

  • Kerning

    The narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page.

  • Laid Finish

    A parallel lined paper that has a handmade look.

  • Laser Engraving

    A paper cutting technique whereby laser technology is utilized to cut away certain unmasked areas of the paper. The cutting is a result of the exposure of the paper to the laser ray, which actually evaporates the paper.

  • Lay Edge

    Edge of a sheet of paper being fed into a printing press.

  • Layout

    A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, roughs, thumbnails etc., of the final printed piece before it goes to print.

  • Leaders

    The dots or dashes used in type to guide the eye from one set of type to the next.

  • Leading

    Space between lines of type; the distance in points between one baseline and the next.

  • Linen

    A paper that emulates the look and texture of linen cloth.

  • Matte Finish

    A coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring. Reference, calendaring.

  • Midtone Dot

    Commonly taken as the area between highlight and shadow area of a subject's face in halftone image.

  • Negative

    Film that contains the same images as the original print, except that all colors and shades are reversed. Reference, positive.

  • Newsprint

    A light, low cost groundwood paper made especially for newspapers. Reference, groundwood.

  • Nominal Weight

    When the basis weight of paper differs from the actual weight, the term nominal weight is used.

  • OFC

    Outside front cover.

  • Offset

    The most commonly used printing method, whereby the printed material does not receive the ink directly from the printing plate but from an intermediary cylinder called a blanket which receives the ink from the plate and transfers it to the paper.

  • Offset Paper

    A term for uncoated book paper.

  • Opacity

    Quality of papers that defines its opaqueness or ability to prevent two-sided printing from showing through.

  • Opaque

    A quality of paper that allows relatively little light to pass through.

  • Overprinting

    Any printing that is done on an area that has already been printed.

  • Page

    One side of a leaf.

  • Page Makeup

    The assemblage of all the necessary elements required to complete a page.

  • Page Proofs

    Proofs made up from pages.

  • Parchment

    A hard finished paper that emulates animal skin; used for documents, such as awards, that require writing by hand.

  • Paste-up

    Preparation of positive materials into a layout for photographing to film negatives.

  • Perf Marks

    Markings usually dotted lines at edges showing where perforations should occur.

  • Perfect

    A term used to describe the binding process where the signatures of a book are held together by a flexible adhesive.

  • Perfect Binding

    Binding process where backs of sections are cut off, roughened and glued together, and rung in a cover.

  • Perfecting

    Printing both sides of the paper (or other material) on the same pass through the printing machine.

  • Perfecting Press

    A printing press that prints on both sides of the page in a single pass.

  • Perforating

    Punching small holes or slits in a sheet of paper or cardboard to facilitate tearing along a desired line.

  • Pica

    Standard of measurement, 1/6 inch. 1 pica = 12 points 72 points = 1 inch

  • Plate

    Reproduction of type or cuts in metal, plastic, rubber, or other material, to form a plate bearing a relief, planographic or intaglio printing surface.

  • Platemaking

    Making a printing plate from a film or flat including preparation of the plate surface, sensitizing, exposing through the flat, developing or processing, and finishing.

  • PMT

    Photomechanical transfer.

  • Point

    A measurement unit equal to 1/72 of an inch. 12 points to a pica, 72 points to an inch.

  • Positive

    Film that contains an image with the same tonal values as the original; opposite of a negative.

  • Premium

    Any paper that is considered better than #1 by its manufacturer.

  • Press-Proof

    Actual press sheet to show image, tone values and colors as well as imposition of frame or press-plate.

  • Primary Colors

    In printing the four primary colors are cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black.

  • Printers Pairs

    Two consecutive pages as they appear on a flat or signature.

  • Process Inks

    Printing inks, usually in sets of four colors. The most frequent combination is yellow, magenta, cyan, and black, which are printed, one over another in that order, to obtain a colored print with the desired hues, whites, blacks, and grays.

  • Process Printing

    Printing from two or more half tones to produce intermediate colors and shades.

  • Proof

    Impression from composed type or blocks, taken for checking and correction, from a lithographic plate to check accuracy of layout, type matter, tone and color reproduction.

  • Rag paper

    Papers with a complete or partial content of cotton fibers.

  • Ragged Left

    The term given to right-justified type that is uneven on the left.

  • Ragged Right

    The term given to left-justified type that is uneven on the right.

  • Readers Pairs

    Two consecutive pages as they appear in printed piece.

  • Ream

    500 sheets of paper.

  • Reducer

    Any substance that softens and reduces the tack of ink.

  • Register

    The arrangement of two or more images in exact alignment with each other.

  • Register Marks

    Any crossmarks or other symbols used on layout to assure proper registration.

  • Right Angle Fold

    A term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other.

  • Rubine

    A pigment somewhat redder than true magenta.

  • Run-Around

    A term given to copy that accommodates the lines of a picture or other image or copy.

  • Runability

    A term used to describe how well a paper runs on a printing press.

  • Saddle Stitching

    Stitching where the wire staples pass through the spine from the outside and are clinched in the center. Only used with folded sections, either single sections or two or more sections inset to form a single section.

  • Satin Finish

    A smooth delicately embossed finished paper with sheen.

  • Scaling

    The enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area.

  • Score

    Impressions or cuts in flat material to facilitate bending or tearing.

  • Self Cover

    A cover made out of the same paper stock as the internal sheets.

  • Shadow Dot

    The lowest density of a halftone image.

  • Sharpen

    To decrease the dot size of the halftone which in turn decreases the color strength.

  • Side Guide

    The guides on the sides of the sheet fed press that position the sheet sideways as the paper is led towards the front guides.

  • Side Stitching

    Stitching where the wire staples pass through the pile of sections or leaves gathered upon each other and are clinched on the underside.

  • Signature (Section)

    Printed sheet (or its flat) that consists of a number of pages of a book, placed so that they will fold and bind together as a section of a book. The printed sheet after folding.

  • Silhouette halftone

    A halftone with the background screen removed.

  • Slitting

    A term to describe the process of cutting of printed sheets by the cutting wheels of a printing press.

  • Spine

    Back edge of a book.

  • Spiral Bind

    A binding whereby a wire or plastic is spiraled through holes punched along the binding side.

  • Spot Color

    Small area printed in a second color.

  • Spread

    A film image that is larger than the original image to accommodate ink trapping. Reference, trapping

  • Stabbing

    To bind a series of pages with wire staples such that staples enter from the front and back simultaneously, neither side being long enough to exit the opposite side.

  • Step And Repeat

    A process of generating multiple exposures by taking an image and stepping it according to a predetermined layout.

  • Stet

    A proofreader's symbol that is usually written in the copy margin, that indicates that the copy, which was marked for correction, should be left as it was.

  • Stock

    A term for unprinted paper or other material to be printed.

  • Tensile Strength

    A paper's ability to withstand pressure.

  • Text

    A high quality printing paper.

  • Thermography

    A printing process whereby slow drying ink is applied to paper and while the ink is still wet, it is lightly dusted with a resinous powder. The paper then passes through a heat chamber where the powder melts and fuses with the ink to produce a raised surface.

  • Transparent

    Inks that do not block out the colored inks that they print over, but instead blend with them to create intermediate colors.

  • Trapping

    The process of printing wet ink over printed ink which may be wet or dry.

  • Trim Marks

    Marks placed on the sheet to indicate where to cut the page.

  • Two-sidedness

    The difference in feel and appearance of either side of a sheet of paper due to the papermaking process having a felt and wire side.

  • Varnish

    A clear shiny ink used to add gloss to printed pieces. The primary component of the ink vehicle. Reference, vehicle.

  • W&T

    An abbreviation for work and turn.

  • Watermark

    A translucent logo that is embossed during the papermaking process while the paper slurry is on the dandy roll. Reference, dandy roll

  • Web

    The roll of paper that is used in web or rotary printing.

  • Web Break

    A tear in a web roll during the printing process.

  • Web Press

    Cylinder printing machine in which the paper is fed from a continuous reel, as opposed to sheet fed.

  • Web Tension

    The term given to the tension or pull exerted by the web press on the web roll.

  • Widow

    A single word or two left at the end of a paragraph, or a part of a sentence ending a paragraph, which loops over to the next page and stands alone. Also, the last sentence of a paragraph which contains only one or two short words.

  • Wire Stitching Or Stapling

    To fasten together sheets, signatures, or sections with wire staples. 3 methods... saddle stitching, side stitching, and stabbing.

  • Wrinkles

    The unevenly dried surface of printed inks.