Glossary of Printing Terms
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Select the first letter of the word from the list
above to jump to appropriate section of the glossary.
Accordion fold. Bindery term, two or more parallel
folds which open like an accordion
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 page.
Alteration. Change in copy or specifications
made after production has begun.
Amberlith. Another trade name for orange
Artboard. Alternate term for
Artist's representative. Person who
handles marketing and other business matters for designers,
illustrators, and photographers.
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 digital equipment.
Backbone. Alternate term for
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
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
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
Bind. To fasten sheets or signatures
and adhere covers with glue, wire, thread, or by other
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 tasks.
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
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
Board. Alternate term for Mechanical.
Board paper. Grade of paper
commonly used for file folders, display, and post
Bond paper. Grade of paper commonly
used for writing, printing, and photocopying.
Bookbinder. Alternate term for
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
Broken carton. Less than one
full carton of paper.
Broker. Agent who supplies printing
from many printing companies.
Bulk. Thickness of paper, expressed
in thousandths of an inch or pages per inch
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
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 cover.
Butt. To join without overlapping or
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 printing.
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
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.
Chipboard. Inexpensive, single-ply
cardboard, usually brown or gray.
Clip art. High-contrast drawings
printed on white, glossy paper and made to be cut
out and pasted to a mechanical.
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 sequence.
Color bar. Strip of colors printed
near the edge of a press sheet to help evaluate ink
Color break. In multicolor printing,
the point or line at which one ink color stops and
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 printing process.
Color correct. To retouch or
enhance color separation negatives.
Color Key. 3M trade name for
overlay color proof.
Color matching system. System
of numbered ink swatches that facilitates communication
Color process. Alternate term
for 4-color process printing.
Color separation. Set of four
halftone negatives for making plates for 4-color process
Color separation service. Business
making separation negatives for 4-color process printing.
Color swatch. Sample of an ink
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
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.
Contact print. Photographic
print made by exposing a negative in direct uniform
contact with paper.
Contact sheet. Alternate term
for Proof sheet.
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
Converter. Business that combines
printed sheets with other materials to make boxes,
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
Copywriter. Person who writes
copy for advertising.
Corner marks. Lines on a mechanical,
negative, plate, or press sheet showing the corners
of a page or finished piece.
Corrugated. Characteristic of
board for boxes made by sandwiching fluted kraft paper
between sheets of paper or cardboard.
Cotton content paper. Paper
made from cotton fibers rather than wood pulp.
Cover paper. Grade of paper
made for covers and post cards.
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
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
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 process blue.
Dampener fountain. Alternate
term for Water fountain on a press.
Dampening solution. Alternate
term for Fountain solution.
Data conversion. To change digital
information from its original code so that it can
be recorded by an electronic memory using a different
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.
Densitometer. Instrument used
to measure light reflecting from or transmitted through
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
Die. Sharp metal rule used for
die cutting or block of metal used for embossing or
Die cutting. Cutting irregular
shapes in paper using metal rules mounted on a letter
Dimensional stability. Ability
of paper and other substrates to retain their exact
size despite the influence of temperature, moisture,
Direct mail. Mail designed to
motivate readers to respond directly to senders with
a purchase, donation, or other action.
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
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 bind.
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 computer screen.
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 to light.
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
Estimate. Price that states what a
job will probably cost based on initial specifications
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
Fake duotone. Halftone in one
ink color printed over screen tint of a second ink
Fast film. Film that requires
relatively little light to record an image.
Film coat. Paper with a very
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
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
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
Flush cover. Cover that is trimmed
to the same size as inside pages, as with paperback
Flute. Paper pleat between the
walls in corrugated cardboard.
Foil emboss. To foil stamp and
emboss an image.
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
Fountain. Reservoir for ink
or water on a press.
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 illustrations.
Free sheet. Paper made from
cooked wood fibers mixed with chemicals and washed
free of impurities.
French fold. Two folds at right
angles to each other.
Fully saturated. Photographer
term for rich color.
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), print
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
Gloss. Characteristic of paper, ink,
or varnish that reflects relatively large amounts
Glossy. Photographic print made on
term for Flat.
Grade. One of seven major categories
of paper: bond, uncoated book, coated book, text,
cover, board, and specialty.
Grain. In paper, the direction
in which fibers are aligned. in photography, crystals
that make up emulsion on film.
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
Graphic arts film. Film whose
emulsion responds to light on an all-or-nothing principle
to yield high contrast images.
Graphic arts magnifier. Lens,
mounted in a small stand, used to inspect copy, negatives,
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
Groundwood paper. Newsprint
and other inexpensive papers made from pulp created
by grinding wood mechanically.
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 paper.
Halftone dots. Dots that by their varying
sizes create the illusion of shading or a continuous-tone
Halftone screen. Piece of film containing
a grid of lines that breaks light into dots as it
Half web. Web press whose width and
cutoff allow printing eight 8 1/2 x 11 pages on one
Hard bind. Alternate term for Case
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
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 halftone.
Holding fee. Charge made to clients
who keep photograph longer than agreed to.
Holdout. Alternate term for Ink
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 appears.
Image assembly. Alternate term for
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 printed sheet.
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 holds ink.
Ink holdout. Characteristic of paper
allowing ink to dry on its surface rather than by
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 organization.
Integral proof. Color proof of separation
negatives exposed in register on one piece of proofing
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
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
Job shop. Commercial printing company.
Job ticket. Alternate term for Work
Jog. To straighten or align sheets
of paper in a stack.
Key. To code separate pieces
of copy to a layout or mechanical using a system of
numbers or letters.
Keyline. Alternate term for
Keylines. Lines on a mechanical
or negative showing the exact size, shape, and location
of photographs or other graphic elements.
Keys. Screws on an ink fountain
that control ink flow.
Kill fee. Charge made by writers
and photographers for work done on assignment, then
Kiss die cut. To die cut the
top layer, but not the backing layer, of self-adhesive
Knock out. Alternate term for
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
Lettershop. Alternate term for Mailing
Light table. Translucent glass
surface lit from below, used by production artists
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 passes through.
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 arts magnifier.
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
Logo. Assembly of type and art into
a distinctive symbol unique to an organization, business,
Long grain. Alternate term for
Grain long (paper).
Loop stitch. To saddle stitch
with staples that are also loops which slip over rings
Loose proof. Proof of one color separation.
Loupe. A magnifying glass used to
review a printed image, plate and position film.
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
Makeready. All activities required
to set up a press before production begins. Also refers
to paper used in the process.
Making order. Order for custom-made
Manila paper. Strong, buff-colored
paper used to make envelopes and file folders.
Margin. Space forming border
of a page or sheet.
Masking material. Opaque material,
often film, used in pasteup to outline photographs
or in platemaking to withhold light from non-image
Mask out. To cover selected
copy or art so it will not appear on a negative or
Master. Paper or plastic offset printing
plate. Also, paper plate for spirit duplicating.
Matchprint. 3M trade name for integral
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 printer.
Mechanical artist. Alternate term for
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
Medium format camera. Camera that makes
2 1/4 x 2 1/4 negatives.
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
Mike. To measure the thickness of a
sheet of paper using a micrometer.
Mill swatch. Paper sample book
provided by a mill.
Mimeograph. Method of printing
using a plastic stencil mounted on a rotating drum
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 telephone lines.
Moire. Undesirable pattern in
halftones and screen tints made with improperly aligned
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
Multicolor printing. Printing
done in more than one ink color.
Mylar. DuPont trade name for
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
Negative space. Alternate term
for White space.
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
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
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
Overlay. Sheet of tissue or acetate
taped to a mechanical so that it covers the mounting
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 overrun.
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
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
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
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 mechanical.
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
Perfecting press.. Press capable
of printing both sides of the paper during a single
Photocopy. Method of printing
that transfers images electrostatically and creates
them on paper with powder bonded by heat.
of paper, film, and printing plates coated with light-sensitive
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
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 Flat.
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 shadow detail.
PMS. Abbreviation for PANTONE MATCHING
SYSTEM, a check standard trademark for color reproduction
and color reproduction materials owned by Pantone,
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 prospective clients.
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
Prepress. Alternate term for
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
Press run. The number of pieces
Press sheet. One sheet as it
comes off the press.
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
Printing. Any process that repeatedly
transfers an image from a plate, die, negative, stencil,
or electronic memory.
Printing plate. Surface carrying
image to be printed.
Printing trade customs. See Trade
Process blue. Alternate term
Process camera. Graphic arts
camera used to photograph mechanicals and other camera-ready
Process colors. The colors needed
for 4-color process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan,
Process inks. Inks in the four
Process printing. Alternate
term for 4-color process painting.
Process red. Alternate term
Production artist. Person who
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 appear.
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
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
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
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
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
Reprographics. General term
for xerography, diazo, and other methods of copying
used by designers, engineers, and architects.
Retouch. To enhance a photo or correct
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 image.
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
R print. Color photographic
print made from transparency without using internegative.
Rubylith. Ulano trade name for
red masking film.
Rule. Line used for
Ruling. See Screen ruling.
Run. Total number of copies
ordered or printed.
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 Proportional scale.
Scanner. Electronic device used
to make color separations and sometimes halftones
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
Screen tint. Area of image printed
with dots so ink coverage is less than 100% and simulates
shading or a lighter color.
Scribe. To scratch lines into emulsion
of a negative.
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 pages.
Self-mailer. Printed piece designed
to be mailed without an envelope.
Separation. Alternate term for Color
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
Sew. To use thread to fasten
signatures together at the spine of a book.
Shadows. Darkest areas in a photograph
Sharp. Characteristic of an
image in clear focus.
Sheeter. Device to cut roll of paper
Sheetfed press. Press that prints
sheets of paper.
Shingling. Allowance made during
pasteup or stripping to compensate for creep.
Short grain. Alternate term
for Grain abort (paper).
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
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
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
Soft bind. Alternate term for
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% ink coverage
Special effects. General term
for reproduction of photographs using techniques such
as line conversion and posterization.
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 special applications.
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 are written.
Spine. Binding edge of a signature
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 each impression.
Split fountain. Technique of printing
more than one ink color at a time from a single printing
Spoilage. Paper wasted during make
ready, printing, or bindery operations.
Spot vamish. Varnish applied to portions
of a sheet.
Stabilization paper. Paper for typesetting
and PMTs that begins deteriorating a few weeks after
Stamping. Alternate term for Foil
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
Sub weight. Short for substance weight.
Supercalender. To calender paper extensively
until very glossy.
Surprint. Alternate term for Overprint.
Swatch book. Book with small samples
of paper or ink colors.
Plastic or other petroleum-based paper.
Tack. Characteristic of ink making
Tag. Board grade paper used for products
such as tags and file folders.
Text paper. Grade of paper characterized
by textured surfaces.
Thermography. Method of printing using
colorless resin powder and heat applied to wet ink
yielding raised images.
Thumbnail sketch. Rough sketch of a
Tick marks. Alternate term for Crop
Tinning. Method of binding by crimping
a metal strip along edges of sheets.
Tint. Alternate term for Screen
Tip in or on. To glue one edge of a
sheet to another sheet or signature.
Tissue. Thin, translucent paper used
Tonal range. Photographer term for
Toner. Powder forming the image
Toning. Alternate term for Scumming.
Trade bindery. Business specializing
in trimming, folding, binding, and other finishing
Trade camera service. Alternate term
for Camera service.
Trade custom. Business terms and policies
followed by businesses in the same field and often
codified by a trade association.
Trade shop. Printer or other service
working primarily for other graphic arts professionals.
Transfer key. 3M trade name for integral
Translite. Piece of glass or plastic
lit from behind and on which a photographic image
has been reproduced for display.
Transparency. Positive photographic
image, usually in color, on film allowing light to
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 coated.
Undercolor removal. Technique
of making and printing color separations that minimizes
amount of cyan, magenta, and yellow ink in shadow
Underrun. Production run of fewer copies
than the amount specified.
Up. Printing two up or three up means
printing the identical piece twice or three times
on one sheet of paper in one impression.
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 uncoated paper.
Velox. Kodak trade name for
high-contrast photographic paper. Also refers to a
positive made by contact printing a negative to such
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 fountain solution.
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 roll.
Weight. See Basis weight (of
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
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
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
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.
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