Glossary of Printing Terms
Please select the first letter of the word from the list above to
jump to the glossary.
Abrasion Resistance. Resistance to frictional rubbing as
distinct from resistance to knocks and impacts. Abrasion tests may
be made by means of the finger alone, or with a cloth or a pad with
or without a mildly abrasive powder. The pressure, speed and time of
rubbing as well as the character of the rubbing agent should be
controlled when making comparisons of abrasion resistance.
ABS. Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, a thermoplastic. Hs
good impact resistance and a surface that is easily decorated.
Absolute White. In theory, a material that perfectly
reflects all light energy at every visible wavelength. In practice,
a solid white with known spectral data used as the "reference white"
for all measurements of absolute reflectance.
Acetate. Thin, flexible sheet of transparent
plastic used to make overlays.
Against the grain. At right angles to the grain
direction of paper.
Agent. Alternate term for Artist's
Airbrush. Pen-shaped ink sprayer used to retouch
photographic prints and create illustrations.
Alley. Space between columns of type on a
Alteration. Change in copy or specifications made
after production has begun.
Amberlith. Another trade name for orange masking
Artboard. Alternate term for Mechanical.
Artist's representative. Person who handles
marketing and other business matters for designers, illustrators,
Artwork. Images, including type and photos,
prepared for printing.
ASCII. Acronym for American Standard Code for
Information Interchange, a standard code used to help interface
Backbone. Alternate term for Spine.
Back up. To print on the second side of a
sheet already printed on one side. Such printing is called a backup.
Banding. Method of packaging printed pieces
using paper, rubber, or fiberglass bands.
Base negative. Negative made from copy
pasted to mounting board, not overlays.
Basic size. The one standard size of each
grade of paper used to calculate basis weight.
Basis weight. Weight in pounds of a ream of paper
cut to the basic size for its grade.
Baud rate. Number of bits of information
transmitted per second from one digital device to another.
Benday. Alternate term for Screen tint.
Bind. To fasten sheets or signatures and adhere
covers with glue, wire, thread, or by other means.
Binder's board. Very stiff paper board used
to make covers of case bound books.
Bindery. Print shop department or separate
business that does trimming, folding, binding, and other finishing
Black Printer The plate during the prepress
printing process that is used with the cyan, magenta and yellow
printers to enhance the contrast and to emphasize the neutral tones
and detail in the final reproduction shadow areas.
Blanket. Thick rubber sheet that transfers
ink from plate to paper on an offset press.
Blanket cylinder. Cylinder of a press on
which the blanket is mounted.
Bleed. Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet
or page after trimming.
Blind emboss. To emboss without added ink or
foil the embossed image.
Blow up. To enlarge photographically. Such
an enlargement is called a blowup.
Blueline. Prepress, photographic proof where
all colors show as blue image on white paper.
Board. Alternate term for Mechanical.
Board paper. Grade of paper commonly used
for file folders, display, and post cards.
Bond paper. Grade of paper commonly used for
writing, printing, and photocopying.
Bookbinder. Alternate term for Trade
Book paper. Grade of paper suitable for books,
magazines, and general printing needs.
Brightness. Characteristic of paper referring to
how much light it reflects.
Bristol. Type of board paper used for post
cards, business cards, and other heavy-use products.
Broken carton. Less than one full carton of
Broker. Agent who supplies printing from many
Bulk. Thickness of paper, expressed in
thousandths of an inch or pages per inch (ppi).
Bulk pack. To pack printed pieces in boxes without
prior wrapping in bundles.
Burn. In photography, to give extra exposure to a
specific area of a print. In lithography, to expose a blueline proof
or printing plate with light.
Burnisb. To smooth and seal by rubbing
elements. adhered to a mechanical.
Burst perfect bind. To bind by forcing glue
into notches in spines of signatures, and then adhering a paper
Butt. To join without overlapping or space between.
Butt fit. Ink colors overlapped only a
hairline so they appear perfectly butted.
Buyout. Subcontracted service.
C1S. Paper coated on one side.
C2S. Paper coated on both sides.
Calender. To make paper smooth and glossy by
passing it between rollers during manufacturing.
Caliper. Thickness of paper, expressed in
thousandths of an inch.
Camera-ready copy. Mechanicals, photographs,
and art fully prepared to be photographed for platemaking according
to the technical requirements of either quick or commercial
Camera service. Business using a process
camera to make PMTS, halftone negatives, printing plates, etc.
Cardboard. General term for stiff, bulky paper such
as index, tag, or bristol.
Carload. Usually 40,000 pounds of paper.
Case bind. To bind by gluing signatures to a
case made of binder's board covered with fabric, plastic, or
leather, yielding hard cover books.
Cast coated. Coated paper with a surface
similar to that of a glossy photograph.
Center marks. Lines on a mechanical,
negative, plate, or press sheet indicating the center of a layout.
CEPS Abbreviation for color electronic prepress
systems, a high-end, computer-based system that is used to color
correct scanned images and assemble image elements into final pages.
Chipboard. Inexpensive, single-ply
cardboard, usually brown or gray.
Chrome. Alternate term for Transparency.
Cleat bind. Alternate term for Side
Clip art. High-contrast drawings printed on
white, glossy paper and made to be cut out and pasted to a
CMYK Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and
black process colors or inks.
Coarse screen. Screen with ruling of less
than 133 lines per inch.
Coated paper. Paper with a coating of clay
that improves ink holdout.
Collate. To assemble sheets into proper
Collateral. Ad agency term for printed
pieces, such as brochures and annual reports, that are not directly
involved in advertising.
Collotype. Method of printing continuous
tones using a plate coated with gelatin.
Color bar. Strip of colors printed near the
edge of a press sheet to help evaluate ink density.
Color break. In multicolor printing, the
point or line at which one ink color stops and another begins.
Color Control Bars A film test printed or exposed
onto a film or substrate to produce an assortment of measurable
color and gray patches that are used to measure and control the
Color correct. To retouch or enhance color
Color Key. 3M trade name for overlay color
Color matching system. System of numbered
ink swatches that facilitates communication about color.
Color process. Alternate term for 4-color
Color separation. Set of four halftone
negatives for making plates for 4-color process printing.
Color separation service. Business making
separation negatives for 4-color process printing.
Color swatch. Sample of an ink color.
Comb bind. To bind by inserting teeth of a
flexible plastic comb through holes in a stack of paper.
Commercial artist. Artist whose work is
planned for reproduction by printing.
Commercial Register Color printing in
which misregister allowable is within + or one row of dots.
Comp. Short for Comprehensive dummy.
Composite film. Graphic arts negative made
by combining two or more images.
Composite proof. Proof of color separations
in position with graphics and type.
Comprehensive dummy. A detailed dummy or
sketch of a design, intended to give a client or the printer a clear
sense of how the finished publication will or should look when
reproduced. Desktop publishing systems can easily create comps using
low-resolution black and white or color printers. Every job
submitted for printing must be accompanied with a color-broken
comprehensive clearly indicating color breaks.
Consignment memo. Alternate term for
photographer's Delivery memo.
Contact print. Photographic print made by
exposing a negative in direct uniform contact with paper.
Contact sheet. Alternate term for Proof
Continuous-tone copy. All photographs and
those illustrations having a range of shades.
Contract Proof A color proof that represents an
agreement between the printer and the client regarding exactly how
the printed product will appear.
Contrast. Range of gradations in tones between
lightest white and darkest black in continuous-tone copy or the
abrupt change between light and dark in line copy.
Converter. Business that combines printed
sheets with other materials to make boxes, displays, etc.
Copy. For an editor or typesetter, all
written material. For a graphic designer or printer, everything that
will be printed: art, photographs, and graphics as well as words.
Copyboard. Part of a process camera that
holds copy in position to be photographed.
Copy preparation. In typesetting, marking up
manuscript and specifying type. In pasteup and printing, making
mechanicals and writing instructions to ensure proper placement and
handling of copy.
Copyright. Ownership of creative work by the
writer, photographer, or artist who made it.
Copywriter. Person who writes copy for
Corner marks. Lines on a mechanical,
negative, plate, or press sheet showing the corners of a page or
Corrugated. Characteristic of board for
boxes made by sandwiching fluted kraft paper between sheets of paper
Cotton content paper. Paper made from cotton
fibers rather than wood pulp.
Cover paper. Grade of paper made for covers
and post cards.
C print. Color photographic print made from
a negative on Kodak C Print paper.
Crash printing. Letterpress printing on
carbon or carbonless forms so image prints simultaneously on all
sheets in the set.
Creep. Phenomenon of middle pages of a
folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages.
Cromalin. DuPont trade name for integral color
Crop. To eliminate portions of an
illustration or photograph so the remainder is more clear,
interesting, or able to fit the layout.
Crop marks. Lines near the edges of an image
showing portions to be eliminated
Crossover. Image that continues from one page of a
publication across the gutter to the opposite page.
Cutoff. The circumference of the impression
cylinder of a web press, therefore also the length of the sheet the
press will cut from the roll of paper.
Cut stock. Paper distributor term for paper
11 x 17 or smaller.
CWT. Paper distributor abbreviation for 100 pounds.
Cyan. one of the four process colors; also known as
Dampener fountain. Alternate term for
Water fountain on a press.
Dampening solution. Alternate term for
Data conversion. To change digital
information from its original code so that it can be recorded by an
electronic memory using a different code.
Deboss. To press an image into paper so it
lies below the surface.
Deckle edge. Feathered edge on
specially-made sheets of text and cover paper.
Delivery memo. Form sent by photographers
and stock photo services to clients for signature to verify receipt
of photos and agreement to contract terms.
Densitometer. Instrument used to measure
light reflecting from or transmitted through copy.
Density. Relative darkness of copy, ink on
paper, or emulsion on film, as measured by a densitometer.
Density range. Expression of contrast
between darkest and lightest areas of copy.
Depth of field. Photographer term for relative
sharpness of features in an image regardless of their distance from
the camera when photographed.
Design brief. Written description of how a printed
piece is intended to look and the requirements for reproducing it.
Diazo. Light-sensitive coating on paper or film for
making contact prints of technical drawings.
Die. Sharp metal rule used for die cutting
or block of metal used for embossing or foil stamping.
Die cutting. Cutting irregular shapes in
paper using metal rules mounted on a letter press.
Dimensional stability. Ability of paper and
other substrates to retain their exact size despite the influence of
temperature, moisture, or stretching.
Direct mail. Mail designed to motivate
readers to respond directly to senders with a purchase, donation, or
Doctor blade. Flexible metal strip that
cleans excess ink from a gravure plate prior to each impression.
Dodge. To block light from selected areas
while making a photographic print.
Dot etching. Chemical or photographic method
of color correcting separation negatives.
Dot gain or spread. Phenomenon of dots
printing larger on paper than they are on negatives or plates.
Double bump. To print a single image twice
so it has two layers of ink.
Double bum. To expose a plate or proof to
two negatives to create a composite image.
Draw down. Sample of specified ink and
paper, used to evaluate color.
Drill. To bore holes in paper so sheets fit
over posts of loose-leaf binders.
Drop out. To eliminate halftone dots or fine
lines due to overexposure during camera work or platemaking. The
lost copy is said to have dropped out.
Dropout halftone. Halftone in which the
highlight areas contain no dots.
Dry gum paper. Label paper with glue that
can be activated by water.
Dull finish. Characteristic of paper that reflects
relatively little light.
Dull ink or varnish. Alternate term for
Matte ink or varnish.
Dummy. Preliminary drawing or layout showing
visual elements. Also a simulation of a printed piece using paper
specified for a job.
Duotone. Photograph reproduced from two
halftone negatives and usually printed in two ink colors.
Duplex paper. Paper with a different color
or finish on each side.
Duplicator. Small offset press using paper
12 x 18 or smaller (not to be confused with spirit duplicator).
Dylux. DuPont trade name for photographic
paper used to make blueline proofs.
Edition bind. Alternate term for Case
Electronic image assembly. Assembly of new
image from portions of existing images or elements using a computer.
Electronic memory. Disk, magnetic tape, or
other memory device that holds digital information.
Electronic page assembly. Assembly and
manipulation of type, graphics, and other visual elements on a
Electronic publishing, Publishing by
printing with a computer-controlled photocopy machine.
Electronic retouching. Using a computer to
enhance or correct a scanned photograph.
Emboss. To press an image into paper so it
lies above the surface.
Emulsion. Coating of chemicals on papers,
films, and printing plates that, prior to development, is sensitive
Enamel paper. Alternate term for Coated
paper with gloss finish.
End sheets. Sheets that attach the inside
pages of a case bound book to its cover.
Engraver. Person who makes a plate for engraving.
Also may refer to trade camera service.
Engraving. Method of printing using a plate, also
called a die, with an image carved into it.
Estimate. Price that states what a job will
probably cost based on initial specifications from customer.
Etch. Using chemicals or tools, to carve away metal
leaving an image or carve an image into metal. Also, alternate term
for Fountain solution.
Exposure time. Time required for light to
record an image while striking light-sensitive emulsion.
Fake duotone. Halftone in one ink color
printed over screen tint of a second ink color.
Fast film. Film that requires relatively
little light to record an image.
Film coat. Paper with a very thin coating.
Film laminate. Thin sheet of plastic adhered
to printed paper for protection.
Filter. Colored glass or gelatin used to
reduce or eliminate specific colors from light before it strikes
film or paper.
Final count. Number of printed pieces
delivered and charged for.
Fine screen. Screen with ruling of more than
150 lines per inch.
Finish. Surface characteristic of paper.
Finishing. Inclusive term sometimes used for
all bindery operations.
Finish size. Size of printed product after
production is complete.
Fixer. Chemical that prevents deterioration
of images on photosensitive paper.
Flat. in photography, characteristic of an
image that lacks contrast. In printing, an assembly of negatives
taped to masking material and ready for platemaking.
Flexography. Method of printing on a web
press using rubber plates with raised images.
Flood. To cover a sheet with ink or varnish.
Flop. To reproduce a photograph or
illustration so that its image faces opposite from the original.
Flush cover. Cover that is trimmed to the
same size as inside pages, as with paperback books.
Flute. Paper pleat between the walls in
Foil emboss. To foil stamp and emboss an
Foil stamping. Method of printing on a
letter press using thin metallic or pigmented film and a die.
Form. One side of a press sheet.
Format. Size, shape, and overall style of a
layout or printed piece.
Formula pricing. Printing prices based on
standard papers, formats, ink colors, and quantities.
Fountain. Reservoir for ink or water on a
Fountain solution. Mixture of water and
chemicals that dampens a printing plate to prevent ink from adhering
to its non-image area.
4-color process. Technique of printing that
uses the four process colors of ink to simulate color photographs or
Free sheet. Paper made from cooked wood
fibers mixed with chemicals and washed free of impurities.
French fold. Two folds at right angles to
Fully saturated. Photographer term for rich
Gang. To reproduce two or more printed
pieces or multiple copies of the same piece simultaneously on one
sheet of paper. Also, to halftone or separate more than one image in
only one exposure.
Gather. To assemble signatures into the proper
sequence for binding.
GBC binding- General Binding Corporation
trade name for plastic comb binding.
Generation. A first generation image is the
original; second generation is made from the original; third
generation is made from the second generation. Print on this page is
fourth generation: type (first), negative (second), plate (third),
Ghost halftone. Halftone that has been
screened to produce a very faint image.
Ghosting. Phenomenon of a faint image on a
printed sheet where it was not intended to appear.
Gloss. Characteristic of paper, ink, or varnish
that reflects relatively large amounts of light.
Glossy. Photographic print made on glossy paper.
Goldenrod. Alternate term for
Grade. One of seven major categories of
paper: bond, uncoated book, coated book, text, cover, board, and
Grain. In paper, the direction in which
fibers are aligned. in photography, crystals that make up emulsion
Grain long or grain short. Paper whose
fibers parallel the long or short dimension of the sheet.
Graphic arts. The crafts, industries, and
professions related to designing and printing messages.
Graphic arts film. Film whose emulsion
responds to light on an all-or-nothing principle to yield high
Graphic arts magnifier. Lens, mounted in a
small stand, used to inspect copy, negatives, and printing.
Graphic designer. Professional who conceives
of the design for, plans how to produce, and may coordinate
production of a printed piece.
Graphics. Art and other visual elements used
to make messages more clear.
Gravure. Method of printing using etched
metal cylinders, usually on web presses.
Gray scale. Strip of swatches of tone values
ranging from white to black used by process camera operators to
calibrate exposure times.
Gripper edge. Edge of a sheet held by the
grippers, thus going first through a sheetfed press.
Groundwood paper. Newsprint and other
inexpensive papers made from pulp created by grinding wood
Gusset. Expandable portion of a bag, file
folder, or envelope.
Gutter. Space between columns of type where
pages meet at the binding.
Hairline. Very thin line or gap about the width of
a hair: 1/100 inch.
Halftone. To photograph continuous-tones through a
screen to convert the image into dots. The result is also called a
halftone and may be either positive or negative and on film or
Halftone dots. Dots that by their varying sizes
create the illusion of shading or a continuous-tone image.
Halftone screen. Piece of film containing a grid of
lines that breaks light into dots as it passes through.
Half web. Web press whose width and cutoff allow
printing eight 8 1/2 x 11 pages on one press sheet.
Hard bind. Alternate term for Case bind.
Hard cover. Bound with a
case of binder's board.
Head stops. Adjustable posts on register unit of a
press that properly position leading edge of a sheet.
Heat-set web. Web press equipped with oven to make
ink dry faster, thus able to print coated paper.
Hickey. Donut-shaped spot or imperfection in
printing, most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage.
High-bulk paper. Paper made relatively thick in
proportion to its basis weight.
High contrast. Few or no tonal gradations between
dark and light areas.
Highlights. The lightest areas in a photograph or
Holding fee. Charge made to clients who keep
photograph longer than agreed to.
Holdout. Alternate term for Ink holdout.
House sheet. General-use paper ordered in large
quantities and kept in stock by a printer.
Hypo. Alternate term for Fixer.
Image area. Portion of a negative or plate
corresponding to inking on paper; portion of paper on which ink
Image assembly. Alternate term for Stripping.
Imposition. Arrangement of pages on mechanicals or
flats so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are
folded and bound.
Impression. One pressing of paper against type,
plate, blanket, or die to transfer an image.
Impression cylinder. Cylinder on a press that
presses paper against the blanket (offset) or plate (gravure).
Imprint. To print additional copy on a previously
Index paper. Light weight board paper for writing
and easy erasure.
Indicia. Postal permit information printed on
objects to be mailed and accepted by USPS in lieu of stamps.
Ink fountain. Reservoir on a printing press that
Ink holdout. Characteristic of paper allowing ink
to dry on its surface rather than by absorption.
Ink jet. Method of printing by spraying droplets of
ink through computer-controlled nozzles.
In-plant printer. Department of an agency,
business, or association that does printing for the parent
Integral proof. Color proof of separation negatives
exposed in register on one piece of proofing paper.
Interface. To link two or more electronic devices
so they can function as one unit.
Internegative. Negative made from a transparency
for the purpose of making photographic prints.
IR coating. Liquid laminate coating bonded and
cured with infrared light.
ISBN. International Standard Book Number assigned
by the book's publisher using a system administered by the R. R.
Bowker Company in New York City.
ISSN. International Standard Serial Number assigned
by the Library of Congress in Washington DC to magazines,
newsletters, and other serials requesting it.
Job shop. Commercial printing company.
Job ticket. Alternate term for Work order.
Jog. To straighten or align sheets of paper in a
Key. To code separate pieces of copy to a
layout or mechanical using a system of numbers or letters.
Keyline. Alternate term for Mechanical.
Keylines. Lines on a mechanical or negative
showing the exact size, shape, and location of photographs or other
Keys. Screws on an ink fountain that
control ink flow.
Kill fee. Charge made by writers and
photographers for work done on assignment, then not used.
Kiss die cut. To die cut the top layer, but
not the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper.
Knock out. Alternate term for Mask out.
Knockout film. Alternate term for Masking
material such as Rubylith.
Kraft paper. Strong paper, usually brown,
used for wrapping and to make bags.
Kromekote. Champion Paper Company trade name
for a high-gloss, cast-coated paper.
Laid finish. Grid of parallel lines on paper
simulating surface of handmade paper.
Laminate. To bond plastic film to paper, or to glue
paper to chipboard or corrugated cardboard.
Large-format camera. Camera that makes
negatives 4 x 5 or larger.
Laser printing. Method of photocopying using
a laser beam to charge the drum.
Layout. Sketch or drawing of a design for a
proposed printed piece showing position, size, and color of copy.
Leading edge. Edge of a sheet of paper that
enters the press first, also known as the Gripper edge.
Ledger paper. Strong, smooth bond paper used for
keeping business records.
Legible. Characteristic of copy having sufficient
contrast with the paper on which it appears and determined by such
features as typeface, size, leading, and quality of printing.
Letterpress. Method of printing from raised
surfaces. A letter press is the kind of press used.
Lettershop. Alternate term for Mailing service.
Light table. Translucent glass surface lit
from below, used by production artists and strippers.
Light weight paper. Book grade paper of
basis weight 40# or less with high opacity for its weight.
Line conversion screen. Piece of film
containing line patterns that break light into those patterns as it
Line copy. Type, rules, clip art, and other
images that are high contrast.
Line negative. High contrast negative
usually made from line copy.
Linen tester. Alternate term for Graphic
Lines per inch. The number of lines or rows
of dots there are per inch in a screen and therefore in a screen
tint, halftone, or separation.
Linotype. Mergenthaler trade name for
machine that sets lines of metal type.
Liquid laminate. Plastic applied to paper as
a liquid, then bonded and cured into a hard, glossy finish.
Lithography. Method of printing using a
chemically-coated plate whose image areas attract ink and whose
non-image areas repel ink.
Live area. Alternate term for Image area.
Logo. Assembly of type and art into a distinctive
symbol unique to an organization, business, or product.
Long grain. Alternate term for Grain long
Loop stitch. To saddle stitch with staples
that are also loops which slip over rings of binders.
Loose proof. Proof of one color separation.
Loupe. Alternate term for Graphic arts
M. Roman numeral for 1,000.
Magenta. One of the four process colors; also known
as process red.
Mailing service. Business specializing in
addressing and mailing large quantities of printed pieces.
Makeready. All activities required to set up
a press before production begins. Also refers to paper used in the
Making order. Order for custom-made paper.
Manila paper. Strong, buff-colored paper
used to make envelopes and file folders.
Margin. Space forming border of a page or
Masking material. Opaque material, often
film, used in pasteup to outline photographs or in platemaking to
withhold light from non-image areas.
Mask out. To cover selected copy or art so
it will not appear on a negative or plate.
Master. Paper or plastic offset printing plate.
Also, paper plate for spirit duplicating.
Matchprint. 3M trade name for integral color proof
Matte finish. Slightly dull finish on
coated, lightly calendered paper.
Matte ink or varnish. Ink or varnish that
appears dull when dry.
Mechanical. Camera-ready assembly of type,
graphics, and other line copy complete with instructions to the
Mechanical artist. Alternate term for Production
Mechanical separation. Mechanical prepared using a
separate overlay for each color to be printed.
Media conversion. Alternate term for Data
conversion from one digital coding to another.
Medium format camera. Camera that makes 2 1/4 x 2
Medium screen. Screen with ruling of 133 or 150
lines per inch.
Metallic ink. Ink containing powdered metal
that sparkles in light.
Micrometer. Instrument used to measure
thickness of paper.
Middle tones. Tones in a photograph or
illustration about half as dark as its shadow areas and represented
by dots between 30% and 70% of full size.
Mike. To measure the thickness of a sheet of paper
using a micrometer.
Mill swatch. Paper sample book provided by a
Mimeograph. Method of printing using a
plastic stencil mounted on a rotating drum containing ink.
Mimeograph bond. Highly absorbent paper made
for the mimeograph method of printing.
Mockup. Alternate term for Dummy.
Model release. Contract authorizing
commercial use of a photograph that includes image of a recognizable
person or private property.
Modem. Short for modulator/demodulator, a
device that converts digital signals to analog tones and vice versa
so that systems based on electronic memories can interface over
Moire. Undesirable pattern in halftones and
screen tints made with improperly aligned screens.
Mottle. Spotty, uneven ink coverage
especially noticeable in large solids.
Mounting board. Any thick, smooth piece of
board paper used to paste up copy or mount photographs.
Multicolor printing. Printing done in more
than one ink color.
Mylar. DuPont trade name for polyester film.
Negative. Characteristic of an image on film or
paper in which blacks in the original subject are white or clear and
whites in the original are black or opaque. Also, piece of film on
which negative image appears.
Negative space. Alternate term for White
Non-image area. Portion of mechanical,
negative, or plate that will not print.
Non-reproducing blue. Light blue color that
does not record on graphic arts film, therefore may be used to write
instructions on mechanicals.
Novelty printing. Printing on products such
as pencils, balloons, and ashtrays.
Offset. Alternate term often used for Setoff.
Offset paper. Alternate term often used for
Uncoated book paper
Offset powder. Fine powder sprayed on
freshly printed sheets to prevent transfer of wet ink as they
accumulate in the delivery stack.
Offset printing. Method of lithographic
printing that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket, then from the
blanket to paper.
OK sheet. Printed sheet representing final
inking adjustments approved before production run begins.
Opacity. Characteristic of paper that helps
prevent printing on one side from showing on the other.
Opaque. Not transparent. Also, a verb
meaning to cover flaws in negatives with paint or tape. Also, the
paint used for this purpose.
Opaque ink. Heavily pigmented ink that
blocks out color of underlying ink or paper.
Open web. Web press without a drying oven.
thus unable to print on coated paper.
Outline halftone. Halftone in which
background has been removed to isolate or silhouette an image.
Overlay. Sheet of tissue or acetate taped to a
mechanical so that it covers the mounting board.
Overlay proof. Color proof consisting of
acetate sheets covering each other in register, one for each color
to be printed.
Overprint. To print over a previously
Overrun. The number of pieces that were
printed in excess of the quantity specified.
Overs. Printed pieces in an
Pad. To bind by applying glue along one edge of a
stack of sheets.
Page count. Total number of pages, including
blanks and printed pages without numbers.
Pages per inch. Number of pages per inch of
thickness of a bound publication. Each sheet has two pages.
Pagination. Assembly of type with other line
copy into page format. When done by hand, this is makeup or pasteup;
when done electronically, it is computer aided pagination (CAP).
Pallet. Wooden platform used as a base for
loading and moving paper and printed products.
Paper distributor. Merchant selling paper
wholesale to printers and other buyers of large quantities.
Paper dummy. Unprinted sample of a proposed
printed piece trimmed, folded, and, if necessary, bound using paper
specified for the job.
Parchment. Paper that simulates writing
surfaces made from animal skins.
Parent sheet. Paper distributor term for
sheet 17 x 22 or larger.
Paste bind. To bind by adhering sheets with
glue along the fold of the spine.
Paste up. To adhere copy to mounting boards
and, if necessary, overlays so it is assembled into a camera ready
Pasteup. The process of pasting up. Also, alternate
term for Mechanical.
Percentage wheel. Alternate term often used
for Proportional scale.
Perfect bind. To bind sheets by trimming at
the spine and gluing them to a paper cover
Perfecting press.. Press capable of printing
both sides of the paper during a single pass.
Photocopy. Method of printing that transfers
images electrostatically and creates them on paper with powder
bonded by heat.
Photosensitive. Characteristic of paper,
film, and printing plates coated with light-sensitive chemicals.
Photostat. Process used to make positive
paper prints of line copy and halftones. Often used as alternate
term for PMT.
Picking. Undesirable phenomenon of bits of
fiber or coating coming loose from paper during printing.
Pigment. Finely-ground particles giving
color and opacity to ink.
Pinholes. Tiny holes in the emulsion of
negatives or printing plates.
Pixel. Short for picture element, referring
to a part of a dot made by a scanner or other digital device.
Plate. See Printing plate.
Plate cylinder. Cylinder of a press on which
the printing plate is mounted.
Platemaker. In quick printing, process camera that
makes plates automatically after photographing mechanicals. In
commercial printing, machine used to expose plates from flats.
Platen press. A letterpress that opens and
closes like a clamshell.
Plate-ready film. Alternate term for
Pleasing color. Color that is satisfactory
even though it doesn't match original samples, scenes, or objects.
Plugged up. Undesirable characteristic of
printing when ink fills in around halftone dots, causing loss of
PMS. Abbreviation for PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM, a
check standard trademark for color reproduction and color
reproduction materials owned by Pantone, Inc.
PMT. Abbreviation for photomechanical transfer, a
Kodak trade name for a process used to make positive paper prints of
line copy and halftones.
Point. In paper, unit of thickness equalling
1/1000 inch. In typesetting, unit of height equalling 1/72 inch.
Portfolio. Collection of best work by an artist,
photographer, or designer for showing during meetings with
Position stat. Photocopy or PMT made to size
and pasted to a mechanical showing how to crop, scale, and position
loose art or photos.
Positive. Characteristic of an image on film
or paper in which blacks in the original subject are black or opaque
and whites in the original are white or clear.
PPI. Short for pages per inch.
Preparation. Camera work, stripping,
platemaking, and other activities by a trade camera service or
printer before press work begins. Also called prep.
Prepress. Alternate term for Preparation.
Preprint. To print work in advance to be
ready for inserting or imprinting.
Press check. Event at which test sheets are
examined before production run is authorized to begin.
Press proof. Proof made on press using the
plates, paper, and ink specified for the job.
Press run. The number of pieces printed.
Press sheet. One sheet as it comes off the
Price break. Quantity level at which unit
cost of paper or printing drops.
Printer. In printing trade, person who owns
or manages print shop or runs printing press. In 4-color process
printing, one of the separation negatives.
Printing. Any process that repeatedly
transfers an image from a plate, die, negative, stencil, or
Printing plate. Surface carrying image to be
Printing trade customs. See Trade customs.
Process blue. Alternate term for Cyan.
Process camera. Graphic arts camera used to
photograph mechanicals and other camera-ready copy.
Process colors. The colors needed for
4-color process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan, and black.
Process inks. Inks in the four process
Process printing. Alternate term for
4-color process painting.
Process red. Alternate term for Magenta.
Production artist. Person who does pasteup.
Prog. Short for Progressive proof.
Progressive proof. Press proof showing each
color of a job separately or several colors in combination.
Proof. Test sheet made to reveal errors or
flaws, predict results, and record how a printing job is intended to
Proof OK. Customer signature approving a
proof and authorizing the job to advance to the next stage.
Proofread. To examine copy or a proof for
errors in writing or composition.
Proof sheet. Photographer term for sheet of
images made by contact printing negatives.
Proportional scale. Device used to calculate
percent that an original image must be reduced or enlarged to yield
a specific reproduction size.
Publish. To produce and sell or otherwise make
available printed communication to the public.
Pulp. Mixture of wood and/or cotton fibers,
chemicals, and water from which mills make paper.
Quick printer. Printer whose business
attitude emphasizes basic quality, small presses, and fast service.
Quotation. Printer's offer to print a job
for a specific price calculated from specifications and dummies
provided by customer.
Railroad board. Heavy board paper used for
posters and signs.
Raised printing. Alternate term for
RC paper. Resin-coated paper for typesetting
and PMTs that, when properly processed, will not yellow.
Readable. Characteristic of messages that
are written and edited and set in type selected and composed to make
them easy to understand.
Ream. 500 sheets of paper.
Recto. Right-hand page of an open publication.
Reflective copy. Copy that is not
Register. To position printing in proper relation
to 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 negatives that guide strippers and printers.
Reprographics. General term for xerography,
diazo, and other methods of copying used by designers, engineers,
Retouch. To enhance a photo or correct its flaws.
Reverse. Type or other image reproduced by printing
the background rather than the image itself, allowing the underlying
color of paper or previously printed ink to show in the shape of the
Right reading. Copy reading correctly
(normally) from left to right.
Rights. Conditions and terms of licensing agreement
between copyright owner and client.
Rotogravure. Gravure printing using a web press.
Rough layout. Simple sketch giving general
idea of size and placement of type and art.
R print. Color photographic print made from
transparency without using internegative.
Rubylith. Ulano trade name for red masking
Rule. Line used for graphic
Ruling. See Screen ruling.
Run. Total number of copies ordered or
Running head or foot. Title or other
information at the top or bottom of every page of a publication.
Saddle stitch. To bind by stapling sheets
together where they fold at the spine.
Scale. To identify the percent by which images
should be enlarged or reduced.
Scaling wheel. Alternate term for
Scanner. Electronic device used to make
color separations and sometimes halftones and duotones.
Score. To compress paper along a line so it
will fold more easily.
Screen. Piece of film with dots of uniform
density, used to make plates that will print screen tints. See
also Halftone screen.
Screen density. Amount of ink, expressed as
percent of coverage, that a specific screen allows to print.
Screen printing. Method of printing by
forcing ink through a mesh stencil.
Screen ruling. The number of rows or lines
of dots per inch in a screen for tint or halftone.
Screen tint. Area of image printed with dots
so ink coverage is less than 100% and simulates shading or a lighter
Scribe. To scratch lines into emulsion of a
Scum. Undesirable thin film of ink covering
non-image area of printed sheet,
Self-cover. Publication made entirely from
the same paper so that cover is printed simultaneously with inside
Self-mailer. Printed piece designed to be
mailed without an envelope.
Separation. Alternate term for Color separation.
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.
Sew. To use thread to fasten signatures
together at the spine of a book.
Shadows. Darkest areas in a photograph or halftone.
Sharp. Characteristic of an image in clear
Sheeter. Device to cut roll of paper into sheets.
Sheetfed press. Press that prints sheets of
Shingling. Allowance made during pasteup or
stripping to compensate for creep.
Short grain. Alternate term for Grain
Show through.. Printing on one side of paper
that can be seen on the other side.
Shrink wrap. Method of tightly wrapping
packages or products in plastic film.
Side guides. Adjustable mechanism on
register unit of a press that properly positions a sheet side to
Side stitch. To bind by stapling through
sheets along one edge.
Signature. Sheet of printed pages which, when
folded, become part of a publication.
Sizing. Chemicals mixed with pulp that make
paper less able to absorb moisture.
Skid. Alternate term for Pallet.
Slip sheet . Blank sheet placed between
newly-made printed products to prevent setoff or scuffing during
handling and shipping.
Slit. To cut paper using a disk or wheel.
Slow film. Film that requires a relatively large
amount of light to record an image.
Slur. Undesirable phenomenon of halftone dots
becoming slightly elongated during printing.
Small-format camera. Camera making negatives
35mm or smaller.
Smyth sewn. One pattern of sewn binding.
Soft bind. Alternate term for Perfect
Soft cover. Bound without a case; usually
perfect bound, but also sewn and bound with a paper cover.
Solid. Any area of the sheet that has received 100%
Special effects. General term for
reproduction of photographs using techniques such as line conversion
Specialty advertising. Printed advertising
on products such as mugs, matchbooks, jewelry, and pencils.
Specialty papers. Paper distributor term for
carbonless, pressure-sensitive, synthetic, and other papers made for
Specialty printer. Printer specializing in
making a particular product.
Specifications. Complete and precise
descriptions of paper, ink, binding, quantity, and other features of
a printing job.
Spec sheet. Short for sheet on which specifications
Spine. Binding edge of a signature or publication.
Spiral bind. To bind using a spiral of wire or
plastic looped through holes.
Spirit duplicating. Method of printing that uses a
chemical fluid to dissolve a trace of carbon from the plate to make
Split fountain. Technique of printing more than one
ink color at a time from a single printing unit.
Spoilage. Paper wasted during make ready, printing,
or bindery operations.
Spot vamish. Varnish applied to portions of a
Stabilization paper. Paper for typesetting and PMTs
that begins deteriorating a few weeks after use.
Stamping. Alternate term for Foil stamping.
Stat. General term for inexpensive photographic
print of line copy or halftone.
Stat camera. Small process camera.
Stationery. Letterhead, envelopes, cards, and other
printed materials for business correspondence.
Stencil. Piece of fabric or film carrying image for
screen printing or mimeograph.
Stitch bind. To bind with wire staples
Stock. Paper or other substrate.
Stock photo. Photograph in a collection maintained
for commercial purposes.
Stripper. Person who strips negatives.
Stripping. Assembling negatives in flats in
preparation for making printing plates.
Substance weight. Alternate term for Basis
weight used when referring to bond papers.
Substrate. Any surface on which printing is done.
Sub weight. Short for substance weight.
Supercalender. To calender paper extensively until
Surprint. Alternate term for Overprint.
Swatch book. Book with small samples of paper or
Synthetic paper. Plastic
or other petroleum-based paper.
Tack. Characteristic of ink making it sticky.
Tag. Board grade paper used for products such as
tags and file folders.
Text paper. Grade of paper characterized by
Thermography. Method of printing using colorless
resin powder and heat applied to wet ink yielding raised images.
Thumbnail sketch. Rough sketch of a design.
Tick marks. Alternate term for Crop marks.
Tinning. Method of binding by crimping a metal
strip along edges of sheets.
Tint. Alternate term for Screen tint.
Tip in or on. To glue one edge of a sheet to
another sheet or signature.
Tissue. Thin, translucent paper used for overlays.
Tonal range. Photographer term for density range.
Toner. Powder forming the image in photocopy.
Toning. Alternate term for Scumming.
Trade bindery. Business specializing in trimming,
folding, binding, and other finishing operations.
Trade camera service. Alternate term for Camera
Trade custom. Business terms and policies followed
by businesses in the same field and often codified by a trade
Trade shop. Printer or other service working
primarily for other graphic arts professionals.
Transfer key. 3M trade name for integral color
Translite. Piece of glass or plastic lit from
behind and on which a photographic image has been reproduced for
Transparency. Positive photographic image, usually
in color, on film allowing light to pass through.
Trim marks. Lines on a mechanical, negative,
plate, or press sheet showing where to cut edges off of paper or cut
paper apart after printing.
Trim size. Size of the printed product after
last trim is made.
Turnaround time. Amount of time needed to
complete a job or one stage of it.
Uncoated paper. Paper that is not clay
Undercolor removal. Technique of making and
printing color separations that minimizes amount of cyan, magenta,
and yellow ink in shadow areas.
Underrun. Production run of fewer copies than the
Up. Printing two up or three up means printing the
identical piece twice or three times on one sheet of paper in one
UV coating. Liquid laminate bonded and cured
with ultraviolet light.
Varnish. Clear liquid applied like ink on press for
beauty and protection.
Vellum finish. Relatively rough finish on
Velox. Kodak trade name for high-contrast
photographic paper. Also refers to a positive made by contact
printing a negative to such paper.
Verso. Left-hand page of an open publication.
Vignette halftone. Halftone whose background
gradually fades into white.
Wash up. To clean ink from rollers,
fountains, an other components of a press.
Waste. Alternate term for Spoilage.
Water fountain. Reservoir on a press to hold
Watermark. Distinctive design created in
paper during manufacture.
Web. Roll of printing paper.
Web break. Break in paper running through a
web press, causing production to stop.
Web press. Press that prints paper from a
Weight. See Basis weight (of paper).
White space. Designer term referring to
non-image area that frames or sets off copy.
Window. Block of masking material on a mechanical
that shows position of a photograph or other visual element. Also,
an area cut out of masking material.
Wire-O. Trade name for method of mechanical
binding using double loops of wire.
With the grain. Parallel to the grain
direction of paper.
Working film. Graphic arts negatives still
loose or not composited.
Work order. Form used by printing companies
to specify and schedule production of jobs and record the time,
materials, and supplies that each job requires to complete.
Wove finish. Relatively smooth finish on
paper achieved by moderate calendering.
Wrong reading. Image that is backwards
compared to the original.
X-Height. The height od the lowercase letters
relative to the capitals; an important typographic concept. In the
same point size, type with a greater x-height will present the
illusion of being larger. For this reason, large x-heights are
favored in display advertising.
Xerography. Alternate term for Photocopying.
Yankee dryer. A device that dries as it comes off
the wet end of the paper making machine by pressing one side of the
paper against a cylinder that seam-heats it and imparts a glazed
finish at the same time.
Zip Code Sorting. Presorting mail, other than first
class, into zip code sequence prior to delivery to the post office.
The extent of the sortint is dependent upon the class of the mail
and other postal regulations.