Glossary of Printing Terms

Glossary of Printing Terms

Digital Marketing Services
Glossary of Printing Terms

 

All trademarks or product names mentioned are the sole property of their respective owners.

 

 

Digital Marketing provides this comprehensive glossary of printing terms for reference purposes only. While we work hard to provide accurate information, Digital Marketing assumes no liability for the accuracy of the terms listed below.


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Select the first letter of the word from the list above to go to appropriate section of the glossary.


- A -

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 representative.

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 masking material.

Artboard: Alternate term for Mechanical.

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.

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- B -

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 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 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 bindery.

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 paper.

Broker: Agent who supplies printing from many printing companies.

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 cover.

Butt: To join without overlapping or space between.

Butt fit: Ink colors overlapped only a hairline so they appear perfectly butted.

Buyout: Subcontracted service.

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- C -

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 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 stitch.

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.

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 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 about color.

Color process: Alternate term for 4-color process printing.

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 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 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 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.

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 proof.

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 process blue.

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- D -

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 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 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 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.

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- E -

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 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.

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- F -

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 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 quantities.

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.

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- G -

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 (fourth).

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 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 messages.

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, 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 mechanically.

Gusset: Expandable portion of a bag, file folder, or envelope.

Gutter. Space between columns of type where pages meet at the binding.

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- H -

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 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 halftone.

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.

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- I -

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 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 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 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 organization.

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.

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- J -

Job shop: Commercial printing company.

Job ticket: Alternate term for Work order.

Jog: To straighten or align sheets of paper in a stack.

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- K -

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 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 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.

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- L -

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 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 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 (paper).

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 magnifier.

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- M -

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 process.

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 sheet.

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 printer.

Mechanical artist: Alternate term for Production artist.

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 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 size.

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 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 telephone lines.

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.

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- N -

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 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.

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- O -

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 printed image.

Overrun: The number of pieces that were printed in excess of the quantity specified.

Overs. Printed pieces in an overrun.

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- P -

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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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 negatives.

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 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 colors.

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 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 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.

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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.

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Railroad board: Heavy board paper used for posters and signs.

Raised printing: Alternate term for Thermography.

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 transparent.

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, and architects.

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 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 and art.

R print: Color photographic print made from transparency without using internegative.

Rubylith: Ulano trade name for red masking film.

Rule: Line used for graphic effect.

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.

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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 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 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 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 focus.

Sheeter: Device to cut roll of paper into sheets.

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 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 bind.

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 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 each impression.

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 sheet.

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 very glossy.

Surprint: Alternate term for Overprint.

Swatch book: Book with small samples of paper or ink colors.

Synthetic paper. Plastic or other petroleum-based paper.

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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 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 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 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 color proof.

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 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.

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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 areas.

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.

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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 paper.

Verso: Left-hand page of an open publication.

Vignette halftone: Halftone whose background gradually fades into white.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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All trademarks or product names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

Find These Printing Terms & More...

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.

 

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