Sometimes it seems every industry speaks its own unique language, and printing is no exception. Fortunately, you've found the ultimate translation guide. Here's our list of common printing and graphic-arts terms, with simple, straightforward definitions you're sure to understand.
AA Abbreviation for author's alterations. Author's alterations are changes made to a job after it has already been sent to a printer for production. If you (the customer) make changes to your original file, these are AAs and the printer can charge you for making them. If, however, the errors are attributable to the printer, these are PEs (printer's errors) and you don't pay for correcting them. See PE's.
Absorption The property that causes paper to absorb liquids or vapors in contact with it. In optics, the partial suppression of light through a transparent or translucent material.
Accordion fold In binding, a term used for two or more parallel folds that open like an accordion
Acrobat Adobe's Portable Document Format, referred to as PDF.
Additive primaries In color reproduction, red, green, and blue (RGB). When lights of these colors are added together, they produce the sensation of white light.
Addressability The number of spots per inch (spi) or centi-meter (spc). We also use the term "dpi" (dots per inch) as a measure for addressability. SPI is used for output devices, not input devices, where the equivalent term would be sampling count, that is measured in units of samples per image length, width, or area (not samples per inch).
Against the grain Folding or feeding paper at right angles to the grain direction of the paper. Also called crossgrain.
Airbrush A small pressure gun shaped like a pencil that sprays watercolor pigment. Used to correct and obtain tone or graduated tone effects. In offset platemaking, a pumice used to remove unwanted areas. In electronic imaging, a retouching technique. This technique disappeared as film disappeared and is now done with image editing programs.
Alkaline paper Paper made with a synthetic alkaline size and an alkaline filler such as calcium carbonate that gives the paper many times the life (200 years) of acid-sized papers (40-50 years).
AM (Amplitude Modulation) screening (see also FM) Traditional halftone screening, as opposed to FM (Frequency Modulated) screening, has dots of variable size with equal spacing between dot centers. Hybrid screen combines AM and FM screening. See halftone.
AM/FM screening This is an issue to discuss with your printer as to which screen option is more appropriate for your job. The advantage of FM screening is that moiré patterns are no longer an issue.
Analog color proof Off-press color proof made from separation films or files.
Aniloxinking In flexography, two-roll inking system with a smooth fountain roll that transfers inks to an etched metal or ceramic-coated metal roll with cells of fixed size and depth that transfer the ink to the printing plate. Now also being offered with new offset lithographic presses. Also used in keyless offset.
Anti-halation backing In photography, coating applied to the back of film to prevent halation.
Anti-offset or set-off spray In printing, dry spray of finely powdered starch used on press to prevent wet ink from transferring from the top of one sheet to the bottom of the next sheet. This also separates the sheets on a micro level so oxygen can react with the ink to enhance ink drying.
Antique finish A term describing the textured surface, usually on book and cover papers, that has a naturally rough finish to it.
Aperture In photography, lens opening or lens stop expressed as an f/number such as f/22.
Apochromatic In photography, color-corrected lenses that focus the three colors blue, green, and red, in the same plane.
Application files Files used to create a design. These files include the layout file created in programs such as QuarkXpress or Adobe Creative Suite as well as artwork files created in Photoshop, Illustrator, etc., and all font files. Application files are usually needed by a commercial printer when he/she cannot use the PDF file created by a designer.
APR (Automatic Picture Replacement) The automatic replacement of a low-resolution image by a high-resolution image. See OPI.
Aqueous coating A fast-drying, water-based, protective coating which is applied in-line on press using a coating unit. Usually is more economical in price and has higher gloss, satin, and matte properties than varnish.
Art All illustration material used in preparing a job for printing. May also refer to drawings and charts specifically.
Ascender That part of a lowercase letter that rises above the main body, as in "b."
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) A standard means of representing text as numerical data.
Augmented Reality (AR) From Sappi's Standard #5: AR can place a virtual image in a live experience, by pointing a computer or smart phone web camera at a code-embedded, high-contrast image such as one printed on a page which triggers a virtual holographic-type image that comes to life right before the viewer's eyes. ARs can include sound, video, graphics, and GPS data.
Back-trap mottle Non-uniform trapping of previously laid down ink film(s) onto an offset lithographic blanket mostly caused by non-uniform ink setting and/or incorrect ink tack sequencing in multicolor printing.
Backbone The back of a bound book connecting the two -covers; also called spine.
Backing up Printing the reverse side of a sheet already printed on one side.
Bad break In composition, starting a page or ending a paragraph with a single word, or widow.
Basic size In inches, 25 x 38 for book papers, 20 x 26 for cover papers, 221/2 x 281/2 or 221/2 x 35 for bristols, 251/2 x 301/2 for index.
Basis weight The weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that particular grade; e.g., 500 sheets 25" x 38" of 50-lb. book paper weigh 50 pounds.
Beveled Emboss From Sappi's Standard #5: The sides of an embossing or debossing die are typically given beveled edges to allow printers to press harder into the paper and get a deeper impression without breaking the paper fiber.
Bezier curve The description of a character, symbol, or graphic by its digital outline used by drawing programs to define shapes.
Bi-Cubic downsampling Bi-cubic downsampling uses a weighted average value to assign to the pixel area for image compression.
Bimetal plate In lithography, a plate used for long runs in which the printing image base is usually copper and the non-printing area is aluminum, stainless steel, or chromium.
Bit In computers, the basic unit of digital information; a contraction of Binary digiT. A number of bits is a byte.
Bit-depth 1. The number of bits of tonal range capability of the pixels in an image. For example, RGB 24-bit color means a pixel depth of 8 bits per color, or 256 levels per color. 2. The number of bits of tonal range capability of the spots of an output device.
Bitmap In computer imaging, the electronic representation of a page, indicating the position of every possible spot (zero or one).
Black printer In color reproduction, the black plate is generated to increase contrast of dark tones and make them appear neutral.
Black-and-white Originals or reproductions in single color, as distinguished from multicolor. Sometimes called monochrome, but that could also mean any single color ink. Abbreviation: B/W.
Blanket In offset printing, a rubber-surfaced fabric that is clamped around a cylinder, to which the image is transferred from the plate, and from which it is transferred to the paper. Some digital printers use an offsetting blanket or transfer unit.
Bleed An extra amount of printed image that extends beyond the trim edge of the sheet or page.
Blind embossing A design that is stamped without metallic leaf or ink, giving a bas-relief effect.
Blind image In lithography, an image that has lost its ink receptivity and fails to print.
Blowup An image enlargement.
Blueline A form of analog proofing that are still used by many people. They are made from films. The films are exposed to a light sensitive paper. They can be folded and bound.
Body In inkmaking, a term referring to the viscosity, or the fluid consistency, of an ink (e.g., an ink with too much body is described as stiff).
Body type A type used for the main part or text of a printed piece, as distinguished from the headings.
Bold-face type A name given to type that is heavier than the text type (plain or regular style) with which it is used.
Bond paper A grade of writing or printing paper where strength, durability, and permanence are essential requirements; used for letterheads, business forms, copying, and general printing requirements, etc. The basic size is 17" x 22".
Book paper A general term for coated and uncoated papers. The basic size is 25" x 38".
Bpi Bits per inch.
Bps Bits per second.
Break for color In artwork and composition, to separate the parts to be printed into different colors.
Brightness In photography, light reflected by the copy. In paper, the reflectance or brilliance of the paper.
Brochure A multi-page pamphlet bound in booklet form.
Bronzing Printing with a sizing ink, then applying bronze powder while still wet to produce a metallic luster.
Bulk The degree of thickness of paper. In book printing, the number of pages per inch for a given basis weight.
Burnish Burnishing is a condition that occurs when dulling particles are flattened by scraping or when the spaces between them are moistened by oil from fingers during handling. In both cases, a smoother surface is the result, which appears glossy in the affected areas.
Byte In computers, a unit of digital information, equivalent to one character or 8 to 32 bits, 64 bits, etc.
CAD (Computer-Aided Drafting or Design) In graphics, the production of drawings and plans for architecture and engineering systems. CAD systems are specialized workstations or very high-performance personal computers that employ CAD software packages and input devices such as graphic tablets and scanners.
Calender rolls In papermaking, a set or stack of horizontal cast-steel rolls with polished ground surfaces at the end of a paper machine. The paper is passed between the rolls to increase the smoothness and gloss of its surface.
Caliper The thickness of paper, in thousandths of an inch (mils). In board, however, it is expressed as "points."
Camera-ready Copy that is ready to be photographed.
Caps and small caps Two sizes of capital letters made in one size of type, commonly used in most roman typefaces.
Case The covers of a hardbound book.
Cast coated Coated paper dried under pressure against a polished drum to produce a high-gloss enamel finish.
Cast-And-Cure From Sappi's Standard #5: IA holographic effect that uses a polypropylene film embedded with a nano-embossed pattern that is pressed into a wet UV coating and cured by a UV light source. After curing, the reusable film is removed from the substrate, leaving behind a holographic effect.
CCD (Charge Coupled Device) A semiconductor light-sensitive electronic device that emits an electrical signal proportional to the amount of light striking it. Used in scanners and video cameras.
CD-ROM (Compact Disc Read Only Memory) In digital prepress, a laser-encoded optical storage disk that can store 650 mega-bytes to more than 1 gigabyte of data on a disk about the size of a traditional 51/4-inch floppy disk. CDs are being replaced by DVDs.
Cell A small etched or engraved depression in a gravure cylinder or flexo anilox that carries the ink.
Cell volume A measure of a flexo or gravure cell's capacity to carry ink; calculated as theoretical volume, liquid volume.
Cells per inch (cpi) The number of cells per inch on a flexo anilox or gravure cylinder.
CEPS (Color Electronic Prepress System) In digital prepress, a high-end, computer-based system that is used to color correct scanner images and assemble image elements into final pages. They are device-dependent systems.
Chalking In printing, a term that refers to improper drying of ink. Pigment dusts off because the vehicle has been absorbed too rapidly into the paper.
Chemical pulp In papermaking, treatment of groundwood chips with chemicals to remove impurities such as lignin, resins, and gums. There are two types: sulfite and sulfate.
Chemistry In photography and platemaking, a term used to describe the composition of processing solutions.
Choke Used if the overlapping image is darker than the background. If you put a dark letter over a light background, the knockout in the background would be choked, or reduced slightly so the dark letter would overlap the background a little.
Chokes and spreads Overlap of overprinting images to avoid color or white fringes or borders around image detail. Called trapping in digital imaging systems.
CIE color spaces These are three-dimensional color mapping systems such as CIELab, CIEL*a*b*, and CIELUV that are used to plot the three color attributes, X, Y, Z. These systems are not discussed in this book, but are an integral part of color management systems and color workflows.
CIP4 Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press, and Postpress. CIP4 is the committee responsible for turning JDF (Job Definition Format) into a workable specification. CIP4, and its predecessor CIP3, define a set of protocols for automated workflows for printing.
Closed loop system A completely automatic control system that can adjust itself. For example, a densitometer in a digital printer may feedback data for color adjustment.
CMY (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow) Subtractive primary colors, each of which is a combination of two additive primary colors (RGB).
CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) The subtractive process colors used in color printing. Black (K) is added to enhance color and contrast.
Co-mail Combine titles of publications on a pallet going to same destination to save you money when mailing. Typically used for Periodicals.
Co-palletize Combine different companies' trays of letter-size mail onto a pallet going to same destination. Saves you money. Must be done via an authorized consolidation company.
Coated paper Paper having a surface coating that produces a smooth finish. Surface appearances may vary from eggshell to glossy.
Coating An emulsion, varnish, or lacquer applied over a printed surface to protect it.
Cold color A color with a bluish cast.
Collate In binding, the gathering of sheets and signatures.
Collotype A screenless printing process of the planographic ink-water type in which the plates are precoated with bichromated gelatin, exposed to continuous-tone negatives, and printed on litho-graphic presses with special dampening.
Color balance The correct combination of cyan, magenta, and yellow to (1) reproduce a photograph without a color cast, (2) produce a neutral gray, or (3) reproduce the colors in the original scene or object.
Color bar According to the International Paper Knowledge Center, "color bars are rows of different colored patches printed in the trim area of the press sheet. They are used by proofers and press operators to control various things, including trapping, ink density, and dot gain." Color bars are easy to spot: they're solid and tinted blocks of the 4 process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black).
Color correction Any method such as masking, dot-etching, re-etching, and scanning, used to improve color.
Color filter A sheet of dyed glass, gelatin or plastic, or dyed gelatin cemented between glass plates, used in photography to absorb certain colors and transmit others. The filters used for color separation are red, green, and blue (RGB).
Color management is broadly defined as a system of hardware, software, and procedures that are calibrated to best ensure color accuracy and repeatability throughout the design and production process. See ICC.
Color proofs Simulations of the eventual output of a reproduction device. Because it is costly to proof on a press, a number of methods are used to proof off-line. In digital printing, a proof is a run of one. See analog color proof and direct digital color proof.
Color separation The process of separating color originals into the primary printing color components in negative or positive form using RGB filters. Today, color separation is totally electronic.
Colorimeter An instrument for measuring color the way the eye sees color.
Commercial register Color printing on which the misregister allowable is within ± one row of halftone dots.
Commingled mailing Combined mailing of magazines of the same size to the same address to save costs.)
Common impression cylinder press In flexography, letterpress, lithography, and digital printing, a press with a number of printing units around a large impression cylinder.
Computer-to-plate See CTP.
Condensed type A narrow or slender typeface.
Conductivity A property of fountain solutions that must be controlled along with pH.
Continuous tone An image that contains gradient tones from black to white.
Contone Abbreviation for continuous tone.
Contract proof A color proof of the job representing an agreement between the printer and the customer regarding how the printed product will look.
Contrast The tonal gradation between the highlights, middle tones, and shadows in an original or reproduction.
Copy Any furnished material (files, typewritten manuscript, pictures, artwork, etc.) to be used in the production of printing.
Copy preparation Directions for, and checking of, desired size and other details for illustrations, and the arrangement into proper position of various parts of the page to be photographed or electronically processed for reproduction.
Corrigendum Error in a printed work discovered after printing and the separate sheet containing the correction. Plural is corrigenda
Cover paper A term applied to papers mostly used for the covers of catalogs, brochures, booklets, and similar pieces.
Creep Sometimes called "push out," it is the distance margins shift when paper is folded and/or inserted during finishing. The amount of creep will vary depending on both the number and thickness of the sheets and must be compensated for during layout and imposition. See shingling.
Crop To eliminate portions of the copy, usually on a photograph, indicated on the original by cropmarks. Today, it is accomplished by positioning the image in a picture box.
Cross direction In paper, the direction across the grain. Paper is weaker and more sensitive to changes in relative humidity in the cross direction than the grain direction.
Crossmarks Register marks.
CSR Customer Service Rep. Works for a printing company. Often, you'll deal with the CSR, not your sales rep, once you give a printer a job.
CTP (Computer-to-Plate) Computer-to-Plate systems or platesetters eliminate the need for having a separate film-to-plate exposure system.
Curl The distortion of a sheet due to differences in structure or coatings from one side to the other, or to absorption of moisture on an offset press.
Cutoff In web printing, the cut or print length.
Cutscore In diecutting, a sharp-edged knife, several thousandths of an inch lower than the cutting rules in a die, made to cut part way into the paper or board for folding purposes. Scoring reduces paper cracking.
Cyan Hue of a subtractive primary and a 4-color process ink. It reflects or transmits blue and green light and absorbs red light.
Cylinder gap In printing presses, the gap or space in the cylinders of a press where the mechanism for plate (or blanket), clamps, and grippers (sheetfed) is housed.
DCS (Desktop Color Separation) In digital prepress, a data file defined to assist in printing process color separations using desktop color systems. Using DCS, five files are created: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black image data, and a composite color preview of the color image.
Deckle In papermaking, the width of the wet sheet as it comes off the wire of a paper machine.
Deckle edge The untrimmed feathery edges of paper formed where the pulp flows against the deckle frame.
Densitometer A photoelectric instrument that measures the density of photographic images, or of colors. In printing, a reflection densitometer is used to measure and control the density of color inks on the substrate. Densitometry may be built into reproduction devices.
Density The degree of darkness (light absorption or opacity) of a photographic image.
Descender That part of a lowercase letter that extends below the main body, as in "p."
Desktop publishing The process of designing and composing pages using a combination of standard computer, off-the-shelf software, device-independent page description language such as PostScript, and then outputting final pages on a printer, imagesetter, platesetter, or digital printer.
Device-independent The characteristic of a computer program or system that allows different output devices to image the same file more or less the same.
Die-stamping An intaglio process for the production of letterheads, business cards, etc., printing from lettering or other designs engraved into copper or steel.
Diecutting The process of using sharp steel rules to cut special shapes for labels, boxes, and containers from printed sheets. Diecutting can be done on either flatbed or rotary presses, or specialized equipment. Rotary diecutting may be done inline on the printing press.
Diffusion transfer In photography and platemaking, a system consisting of a photographic emulsion on which a negative is produced and a receiver sheet on which a positive of the image is transferred during processing.
Digital Asset Management (DAM) Also known as Media Asset Management, it is a segment of the content management market focused on the systematic cataloging and management of digital media (text, images, video, and audio), and some physical media to enable their efficient storage, retrieval, and reuse.
Digital color proof A color proof produced from digital data without the need for separation films.
Digital inks See toners.
Digital photography Uses a light-sensitive sensor in place of film to capture images electronically. Digital photography is used widely by photojournalists and is being applied increasingly by both professional photographers and consumers.
Digital plates Printing plates imaged using lasers or other high-energy sources driven by digital data in a platesetter.
Digital printing Printing by plateless imaging systems that are imaged by digital data from prepress systems. Includes toner, ink-jet, and other processes. As Steve Suffoletto of RIT said in our Print Buyer Boot Camp session, "digital printing is any process that can regenerate a new image for each impression or print cycle." The key words are "new image for each impression." Traditional offset presses don't do digital - they print static impressions over and over again.
Digitizer A computer peripheral device that converts an analog signal (images or sound) into a digital signal.
Dimensional stability Ability to maintain size; resistance of paper or film to dimensional change with change in moisture content or relative humidity.
Display type Type set larger than the text, as in headings.
Distribute and print Where the job is sent to printers around the country, printed locally, and mailed less expensively.
Dithering A technique for alternating the values of adjacent dots or pixels to create the effect of intermediate values. Dithering refers to the technique of making different colors for adjacent dots or pixels to give the illusion of a third color. Dithering is a substitute for halftone or contone reproduction.
Doctor blade In gravure, a knife-edge blade pressed against the engraved printing cylinder that wipes away the excess ink from the non-printing areas.
DOS (Disk Operating System) An operating system (set of programs) that instructs a disk-based computing system to manage resources and operate peripheral equipment.
Dot Smallest digital imaging or screening element. Common usage does not clearly differentiate between dots and spots. A halftone dot is composed of many spots. The fineness of a halftone screen is measured in "lines per inch" or lpi. In AM screening the dots vary in size; in FM screening all the dots are the same size. Dots per inch (dpi) is a measure of image quality.
Dot gain A defect in which dots print larger than they should, causing darker tones or stronger colors. There are two kinds of dot gain: mechanical and optical. When the plate is exposed, light scatters a bit and can cause 3-5% optical dot gain. Then during the printing process, the paper and the printing process can cause the ink to spread, thus creating mechanical dot gain at a theoretical 50% dot. Dot gain means the difference between a dark print and an acceptable print.
Dots per inch (dpi) A measure of the resolution of a screen image or printed page.
Download Sending information to another computer or to an output device. The term "upload" is used synonymously.
Draw-down A term that is used to describe an ink chemist's method of roughly determining color shade. A small glob of ink is placed on paper and drawn down with the edge of a putty knife or spatula to get a thin film of ink.
Drop-out Portions of originals that do not reproduce, especially colored lines or background areas (often intentionally). White type on a colored background is often called a drop-out.
Dryer A substance added to ink to hasten drying.
DTP Acronym for desktop publishing.
Dummy A preliminary layout showing the position of illustrations and text as they may appear in the final reproduction. A set of blank pages made up in advance to show the size, shape, form, and style of a piece of printing. A dummy presents the look and feel of a printed product prior to production.
Duotone A term for a two-color halftone reproduction from a one-color photograph.
Duplex "Prints duplex" means it's printed on both sides of the sheet. "Perfecting" means the same thing. A perfecting press prints both sides of the sheet at the same time.
Duplex paper Paper with a different color or finish on each side.
DVD (Digital Video or Versatile Disk) A disk that can store audio, video, and computer data at 4.7 or more gigabytes per disk..
Dynamic range Density difference between highlights and shadows of scanned subjects.
Electronic printing In digital printing, any technology that reproduces pages without the use of traditional ink, water, chemistry, or plates. Also known as plateless printing.
Electrophotography Image transfer systems used in copiers and digital printers to produce images using electrostatic forces and toners.
Elliptical dot Elongated dots that give improved gradation of tones particularly in middle tones and vignettes - also called chain dots.
Em In composition, a unit of measurement exactly as wide and high as the point size being set.
Embedded profile A coded tag at the end of the image file data. It allows a Color Management Module to translate the data correctly
Embossed finish Paper with a raised or depressed surface resembling wood, cloth, leather, or some other textured pattern.
Embossing Impressing an image in relief to achieve a raised surface; either overprinting or on blank paper (called blind embossing).
EME (Electromechanical Engraver) In gravure, machine used to make gravure printing cylinders.
En In composition, one-half the width of an em.
Enamel A term applied to a coated paper or to a special coating material on a paper.
End papers The sheets that connect the inside cover to the text block.
English finish A grade of book paper with a smoother, more uniform surface than machine finish.
Engraving From Sappi's Standard #5: A process in which artwork is chemically etched onto a copper plate. The plate is coated with ink filling the incised spaces and then pressed onto paper, leaving the ink slightly raised on the sheet.
EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) In digital prepress, a file format used to transfer graphic images (primarily line art) within compatible applications. A file containing structured PostScript code, comments, and a screen display image. EPS images can be sized without loss of quality at different resolutions. PDF files may be used for the same purpose.
Etch In offset lithography, an acidified gum solution used to desensitize the non-printing areas of the plate; also, an acid solution added to the fountain water to help keep non-printing areas of the plate free from ink.
Expanded type A type whose width is greater than normal. Also called extended type.
Exposure The step in photographic or photomechanical processes during which light or other radiant energy produces the image on the photo-sensitive coating. Light exposes; lasers image.
Fake color Producing a color illustration by using one image as a key and making the other separations from it manually.
Fanout Distortion of paper on the press due to waviness in the paper caused by absorption of moisture at the edges of the paper, particularly across the grain.
Feeder In printing presses, the section that separates the sheets and feeds them in position for printing.
Felt side The smoother side of the paper for printing. The top side of the sheet in paper manufacturing.
File Information in electronic form. A group of related information, such as text, graphics, page instructions, and picture information stored on magnetic disks or other media.
Filling in (or filling up) A condition where ink fills the area between the halftone dots or plugs up (fills in) the type.
Flat The assembly of negatives on goldenrod paper or positives on film, ready for platemaking. A photograph lacking in contrast.
Flatbed scanner A device that scans images in a manner similar to a photocopy machine; the original art is positioned face down on a glass plate.
Flocking From Sappi's Standard #5: The application of fine natural or synthetic particles to an adhesive surface. Like thermographic printing, the fibers stick to the adhesive area and the rest is vacuumed away.
Fluorescent Ink From Sappi's Standard #5: These inks have a phosphorescent pigment that works by adding brightness and luminosity to the ink, which adds a psychedelic effect.
Flush cover A cover that has been trimmed to the same size as the inside text pages as in this book.
Flush left (or right) In composition, type set justified, to line up at the left (or right). This page is set flush left and right.
Flush paragraph A paragraph with no indention.
Flying paster or splicer In web printing, an automatic pasting device that splices a new roll of paper onto an expiring roll, without stopping the press.
FM (Frequency Modulation) screening A computerized method for digital screening. See stochastic screening.
Focal length In photography, the distance from the center of the lens to the image of an object at infinity. At same size, it is the distance from copy to image and measures four times the focal length of the lens.
Foil stamping In this process a piece of colored foil is placed between a piece of paper and a die. The die is the heated and it is pressed against the foil and paper. Through the uses of heat and pressure the color layer from the foil is transferred onto the paper.
Folio A page number.
Font In composition, a complete assortment of letters, numbers, punctuations, etc., of a given size and design.
Form The assembly of pages and other images for printing. Sometimes refers to one side of a signature.
Form rollers The rollers, either inking or dampening, that directly contact the plate on a printing press.
Format The type size, style, typeface, margins, bleed, gutters, printing re-quirements, etc., of a printed piece.
Fountain solution In lithography, a solution of water, a natural or synthetic gum, and other chemicals used to dampen the plate and keep non-printing areas from accepting ink.
Fourdrinier Machine Used to make paper by catching furnish on a wire called Fourdrinier wire (from Getting It Printed by Beach and Kenly). This machine was named for the brothers who invented it.
FPO (For Position Only) In digital imaging, this is typically a low--resolution image positioned in a document to be replaced later with a higher resolution version of the same image.
Free sheet Paper free of mechanical wood pulp.
Front end system In electronic publishing, the workstation or group of workstations containing the applications software for preparing pages of type and graphics.
Fugitive glue Adhesive used to affix items to a printed piece (such as plastic or paper cards, magnets, etc.). Allows for removal of the item without tearing the carrier piece. Sometimes called "booger glue"!
Full-color or process color or 4-C (four-color) Refers to using four specific colors: cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow plus black to reproduce color photos or illustrations. Abbreviated as CMYK. Although a 4-C job usually means using these four process colors, it could mean using 4 spot colors, too. Tricky business.
Galley proof A proof of text copy before being made into pages.
Gamma A measure of contrast in photographic images.
Ganging Make the most out of a sheet of paper by "ganging" jobs; that is, printing multiple jobs on a sheet at the same time. Sure way to save you money. Ask your printer how.
Gapless Plate or blanket cylinders without gaps.
Gathering In binding, the assembling of folded signatures in proper sequence.
GCR (Gray Component Replacement) A technique of replacing gray areas with black, in order to affect the progressively more saturated tones and produce a long, broad black.
Gear streaks In printing, parallel streaks appearing across the printed sheet at the same interval as gear teeth on the cylinder.
Generation Each succeeding stage in reproduction from the original. A copy of an original would be the second generation.
Giclée prints Pronounced "jee-clay" and French for "sprayed ink," these are prints made with inkjet technology. Fine art prints and posters for the most part. The main issue to consider is archival quality. Most of these inks are water-based and may fade over time. Some at least are pigment based and therefore more archival.
Gigabyte (GB) One billion bytes.
Glyph A single letter, symbol, or number from a font.
Grade Every printing paper is classified by its grade, among other qualities. A paper's ingredients help determine its grade, as does the method of manufacturing. Grade takes into account a sheet's brightness and opacity, among other things.
Grain The direction in which most fibers lie that corresponds with the direction in which the paper is made on a paper machine.
Grammage A term in the metric system for expressing the basis weight of paper. It is the weight in grams of a square meter of the paper expressed in g/m2.
Graphical User Interface See GUI.
Gravure printing A specific printing process that is primarily reserved for millions of impressions. Can print on lightweight paper (like magazines and catalogs). Gravure presses have no blankets; the plates are cylinders carrying images made up of millions of cells that are filled with ink. An image is etched on the surface of a metal gravure plate. Also known as rotogravure. Also used for wallpaper, gift wrap and some packaging.
Gray balance The dot values or densities of cyan, magenta, and yellow that produce a neutral gray.
Gray level The number of gray values that can be distinguished by a color separation filter - usually 28 or 256.
Gray scale A strip of standard gray tones (in analog or digital form), ranging from white to black, placed at the side of original copy during photography to measure tonal range and contrast (gamma) obtained.
Gripper edge The leading edge of paper as it passes through a printing press. Also, the front edge of a lithographic or wraparound plate secured to the front clamp of a plate cylinder.
Gripper margin Unprintable blank edge of paper on which grippers bear, usually about 1/2" or 1.5 centimeters.
Grippers In sheetfed printing presses, metal fingers that clamp on paper and control its flow as it passes through.
Groundwood pulp A mechanically prepared wood pulp used in the manufacture of newsprint and other publication grade papers.
GUI (Graphical User Interface) Pronounced "gooey" and used in digital imaging, this is a technical term for a system that lets users manipulate files by pointing to pictures (icons) with a mouse or other pointing device instead of having to type in key commands.
Gum arabic In offset lithography, used in platemaking and on press to protect the non-printing areas of plates.
Gumming In platemaking, the process of applying a thin coating of gum to the non-printing areas of a lithographic plate.
Gutter The blank space between page columns or the inner or outer margin space from printing area to left and right page edges. More space is usually required in the binding fold area.
Hairline register Register within ±1/2 row of dots.
Halftone The reproduction of continuous-tone images, through a special screening process, that converts the image into dots of various sizes and equal spacing between centers (AM or Amplitude Modulated screening), or dots of equal size with variable spacing between them (FM or Frequency Modulated screening), or some combination of them.
Hard copy The permanent visual record of the output of a computer or printer on a substrate. "Soft" copy refers to images displayed on screens.
Hard dot Halftone dot with little or no fringe and prints with little or no dot gain or sharpening. See soft dot.
Hard proof A proof on paper or other substrate as distinguished from a soft proof that is an image on a screen.
Hardware Computer and peripherals as distinguished from software, that is a program for operating hardware.
Head margin The white space above the first line on a page.
Heat seal coating There are water-based and solvent-based versions that are applied similar to a coating on the printed piece. During packaging heat and pressure are then applied that activate the coating converting it into an adhesive. Generally used in blister and pharmaceutical packaging.
Hickeys In offset lithography, spots or imperfections in the printing due to dirt on the press, dried ink skin, paper particles, etc.
High contrast A reproduction with high gamma in which the difference in darkness (density) between neighboring areas is greater than in the original.
High-key colors From Sappi's Standard #5: Tints and middle tones at the light end of the color scale. They usually convey a soft, even, harmonious look with little contrast between light and dark areas of an image.
Highlight The lightest or whitest parts in a photograph or digital image represented in a halftone reproduction by the smallest dots or the absence of dots.
Holdout A property of coated paper with low ink absorption that allows ink to set on the surface with high gloss. Papers with too much holdout may transfer ink to other sheets.
Holographic Foil From Sappi's Standard #5: Different from gold or silver foils, it has a three-dimensional look created through the use of a special type of photographic plate and a laser light source.
Horizontal Line Screen (aka a Straight Line Screen) From Sappi's Standard #5: Once a characteristic of graphic high-contrast black-and-white Kodalith film for printing, horizontal and vertical line screens are simulated today using a software filter.
HSV Acronym for hue, saturation, and value (or brilliance or luminance) - a color space used in some graphic programs.
HTML (HyperText Markup Language) In imaging for the World Wide Web, the coding language that is used to create Hypertext documents for use on the World Wide Web.
Hue In color, the main attribute of a color that distinguishes it from other colors.
Hydrophilic Water receptive; non-image areas, for example, on an offset plate, "love" water. The opposite is hydrophobic.
Hydrophobic Water repellent; image areas, for example, on an offset plate, "hate" water. The opposite is hydrophilic.
Hypertext Links to other documents. Words or phrases in the document that are so defined that they can be selected and then cause another document to be retrieved, opened, and displayed. Links to other websites are also definable.
ICC (International Color Consortium) The ICC was established in 1993 for the purpose of creating and promoting the standardization of an open, vendor-neutral, cross-platform system for managing color in any medium. ICC specifications can be found at www.color.org and other websites.
Image assembly See stripping.
Imagesetter In digital imaging, a generic term that applies to film-output devices for type and graphics. The difference between an imagesetter and a typesetter is in the format of the data that has been converted from discrete-character raster lines to raster data using bitmaps. No longer manufactured.
Imposetter In digital imaging, an imagesetter capable of outputting a film flat with four, eight, or more pages in imposed position. Replaced by CTP (computer-to-plate) systems.
Imposition In image assembly, the positioning of pages on a signature so that after printing, folding, and cutting, all pages will appear in the proper sequence.
Impression cylinder In printing, the cylinder on a printing press against which the paper picks up the impression from the inked plate in direct printing, or the blanket in offset printing.
Ink fountain In printing presses, the device that stores and supplies ink to the inking rollers.
Ink mist Flying filaments or threads formed by long low-tack inks such as newspaper ink. See long ink.
Ink Substitution From Sappi's Standard #5: Substituting one of the CMYK colors in four-color process printing as a way to heighten or alter color impact without the need for more costly touch plates. Typically, this involved substituting cyan, magenta or yellow with a match color that is close in range.
Ink Train Aqueous Aqueous coating that does not require a coating tower. The thick viscosity enables printers to work the coating with an ink knife, while ensuring it won't run through the ink keys. The coating can be run inline or offline with presses that do not have dryers.
Ink-jet printing In digital printing, a plateless printing system that produces images directly on paper from digital data using dots or streams of very fine drops of dyes and pigments that are controlled by digital signals to produce images.
Inkometer In ink testing, an instrument for measuring the tack of printing inks.
Insert A printed piece prepared for insertion into a publication or another printed piece.
Italic The style of letters that slant, in distinction from upright, or roman, letters. Used for emphasis within the text. The opposite is backslanting and is rarely used.
JDF (Job Definition Format) A data exchange standard that will act as a universal electronic job ticket that contains control data from print buying through estimating, customer service, prepress, press, finishing, and dispatch. JDF contains production information rather than content data. See CIP4.
Jog To align sheets of paper into a compact, even pile.
JPEG The Joint Photographic Experts Group was formed to create a standard for color and gray scale image compression. JPEG describes a variety of algorithms (rules), each of which is targeted for a specific type of image application. JPEG is the default format for most digital cameras. JPEG 2000 is the latest version. Compressing a JPEG file, that is already compressed, will affect quality adversely.
Justify In composition, to space lines uniformly to line up left and right. The opposite is ragged right composition.
K In CMYK, the "K" stands for Key or the color blacK. C = cyan. M = Magenta. Y = Yellow. Together, they make up the four colors in four-color process printing.
Kerning In typesetting, subtracting space between two characters, moving them closer together. Negative letterspacing can apply to two letters (kerning) or to any other group of letters.
Key To code copy to a dummy by means of symbols, usually letters. Insertions are sometimes keyed in like manner.
Keyline An outline drawing of finished art to indicate the exact shape, position, and size for such elements as half-tones, line sketches, etc.
Kilobyte (K or kb or KB) 1024 bytes, the most common measure of computer file length.
Kiss impression In printing, a very light impression, just enough to produce an image on the paper.
Kraft A paper or board containing unbleached wood pulp (brown in color) made by the sulfate process.
Lacquer A clear resin/solvent coating, usually glossy, applied to a printed sheet for protection or appearance.
Laid paper Paper with a pattern of parallel lines at equal distances, giving a ribbed effect.
Lamination A plastic film coating bonded by heat and pressure to a printed sheet for protection or appearance.
LAN (Local Area Network) Communication link in a localized area, such as an office, building, complex of buildings, or campus, with technology that provides a high-bandwidth, low-cost medium to which many computer nodes can be connected.
Laser Originally an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, the laser is an intense light beam with very narrow bandwidth used in digital-imaging devices to produce images by electronic impulses from computers or facsimile transmission.
Laser Die-cut From Sappi's Standard #5: Instead of a using a metal die to cut a substrate such as paper, this process uses a laser bean to precisely burn or vaporize the sheet to create highly detailed images that are too complex to do with traditional dies.
Layout The drawing or sketch of a proposed printed piece. In platemaking, a sheet indicating the settings for a step-and-repeat machine.
Leaders In composition, rows of dashes or dots (periods) to guide the eye across the page. Used in tabular work, programs, tables of contents, etc.
Leading Pronounced "ledding" and used in composition, this term refers to the distance between lines of type measured in points.
LED (Light Emitting Diodes) are used in place of lasers for some output systems.
Ledger paper A grade of business paper generally used for keeping records where it is subjected to appreciable wear so it requires a high degree of durability and permanence.
Lenticular From Sappi's Standard #5: A printing technology in which a lenticular lens is used to produce an image with an illusion of depth, or the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles. The process requires having multiple digital images, which are then interlaced using a special software to interact with the lenticular lens and produce the desired effect when printed.
Letterspacing The placing of additional space between each letter of a word.
Line copy Any monochrome copy suitable for reproduction without using a halftone screen.
Local area network See LAN.
Logotype (or logo) The name of a company or product in a special design used as a trademark in advertising.
Long ink An ink that has good flow on ink rollers of a press. If the ink is too long, it breaks up into thin filaments on the press, and causes flying as on a newspaper press.
Lossless compression Lossless compression retains all pixel data for images and image integrity is retained. This type of compression is recommended for high-contrast images, line art, and text. Lossless compression techniques used for PDF files are ZIP, CCITT Group 3 and 4, and Run Length Encoding.
Lossy compression Lossy compression uses algorithms designed to compress the file by selectively removing portions of the images. The portions that are removed are the details that the human eye does not pick out very well, so it usually does a good job of removing data. Some of the image information (detail) is lost in this method however, and artifacts or noise may be picked up in some images. The lossy techniques that are available in Acrobat Distiller when making your PDF are JPEG, Subsampling, Downsampling, and Bi-cubic Downsampling.
Lowercase The small letters in type, as distinguished from the capital letters. The term is derived from the type case.
LPI (lines per inch) Acronym for lines per inch. Used as a measurement of resolution or halftone screening.
M Abbreviation for mega, that is commonly used to mean one million. Megabyte. In computer terminology, however, M refers to the number 1,048,576, and is used to specify the amount of storage available on a disk or in memory. Also, abbreviation for quantity of 1,000.
Machine coated Paper that is coated on one or two sides on a paper machine.
Machine direction Same as grain direction in paper.
Magenta Hue of a subtractive primary and a four-color process ink. It reflects or transmits blue and red light and absorbs green light.
Magnetic storage Any disk, film, tape, drum, or core that is used to store digital information.
Makeover A plate that is remade.
Makeready All work done to set up a press for printing. Happens after prepress. After proofs are checked and plates are made, the printing plates are mounted and the press brought into register: this, my friend, is makeready.
Mask In color separation photography, an intermediate photographic negative or positive used in color correction. In offset lithography, opaque material used to protect open or selected areas of a printing plate during exposure.
Master A plate for a duplicating machine.
Matte finish Dull paper finish without gloss or lustre.
Measure In composition, the width of a line of type, usually expressed in picas. Also called line length or column width.
Mechanical A term for a camera-ready pasteup of artwork. It includes type, photos, line art, etc., all on one piece of artboard. It is photographed in a graphic arts camera and the resultant film is stripped into flats for platemaking.
Mechanical pulp In papermaking, groundwood pulp produced by mechanically grinding logs or wood chips. It is used mainly for newsprint and as an ingredient of base stock for lower grade publication papers.
Megabyte (Mbyte, MB, Meg, or M) One million character codes on the computer. One million bytes or characters, often written MB or Mbyte. A unit of measurement equal to 1,024 kilobytes, or 1,048,576 bytes.
Megahertz (MHz) Frequency equal to one million cycles per second. Measures bandwidth or analog electronic signals.
Menu A method for selecting alternative functions displayed as a list on a workstation screen. Selec-tion via mouse, key, or sequence of keys. Menus may be contextual and change based on the content or function selected.
Metallic Ink From Sappi's Standard #5: This ink contains powdered metallic bits, combined with colored pigments, suspended in an emulsion to simulate the look of metal.
Metric system A decimal system adopted by most countries for solid, liquid, and distance measurements. See grammage.
Middletones The tonal range between highlights and shadows of a photograph or reproduction.
Mirafoil, Liquid Foil, Super Silver From Sappi's Standard #5: This metallic UV-cured coating, used to create a foil- or chrome-like finish, goes by many names–Mirafoil, Liquid Foil, and Super Silver, Essentially it is mixed like an ink but looks like a foil when dry and it is applied inline.
Moiré In color process printing, the undesirable screen pattern caused by incorrect screen angles for printed colors of overprinting halftones.
Monitor A video screen or display on a workstation or any other electronic device or system.
Montage In artwork, several photographs combined to form a composite illustration.
Mottle The spotty or uneven appearance of printing, mostly in solid areas.
Mouse A hand-held device that moves the cursor on a work-station by moving the device on a flat surface.
Mullen tester A machine for testing the bursting strength of paper.
Nanometer A unit in which wavelengths of light and other radiant energy are expressed. One nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.
Nanotechnology In 2012, Benny Landa of the Landa Corporation introduced the nanographic printing press at that year’s drupa exposition in Germany. It was a new digital printing process using very small pigment water-based particles, which combines offset performance with digital versatility. This process uses special inks.
Negative Film containing an image in which the values of the original are reversed so that the dark areas in the subject appear light on the film, and vice versa. See positive.
Network Two or more computers that are linked and share resources to perform related tasks. Group of computers that are connected to each other by communications lines to share information and resources.
Newsprint Paper made mostly from groundwood pulp and small amounts of chemical pulp that is used for printing newspapers.
NFC stands for Near Field Communication, a communication technology that uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) to allow items such as phones, tablets and laptops to share data with other devices similarly equipped with NFC.
Non-impact printer An electronic device such as a copier, laser, or ink-jet printer that creates images on a surface without contacting it.
Object-oriented An approach in drawing and layout programs that treats graphics as line and arc segments rather than individual dots. Also called vector-oriented.
Oblong A booklet or catalog bound on the shorter dimension.
OCR (Optical Character Recognition) An electronic means of scanning (reading) copy, and converting the scanned image to an electronic equivalent. The ability to "read" printed text (characters) and convert it to digitized files that can be saved on disk and edited as a text file.
Off loading Relieving the intensive amount of data processing associated with a specific application (i.e., graphics) from the CPU (Central Processing Unit), by performing those calculations in a dedicated or specialized processor.
Off-press proofs Proofs made by photomechanical or digital means in less time and at lower cost than press proofs.
Offset See set-off. In printing, the process of using an intermediate blanket cylinder to transfer an image from the image carrier to the substrate. Also, short for offset lithography.
Offset gravure Printing gravure by the offset principle. Gener-ally done on a flexographic press by converting the anilox roller to a gravure image cylinder and covering the plate cylinder with a solid rubber plate.
Oleophilic Oil receptive. See hydrophobic/hydrophilic.
Oleophobic Oil repellent. See hydrophobic/hydrophilic.
Opacity That property of paper that minimizes the show-through of printing from the back side or the next sheet.
Opaque In photoengraving and offset lithography, to paint out areas on a negative not wanted on the plate. In paper, the -property that makes it less transparent.
Opaque ink An ink that conceals all color beneath it.
OPI (Open Prepress Interface) An extension to PostScript that automatically replaces low-resolution placeholder images with high-resolution images. See APR.
Orthochromatic Photographic surfaces insensitive to red but sensitive to ultraviolet, blue, green, and yellow rays.
Overhang cover A cover larger in size than the pages it encloses.
Overlay In artwork, a transparent covering over the copy where color break, instructions, or corrections are marked. Also, transparent or translucent prints that, when placed one on the other, form a composite picture.
Overlay proof A hard copy color proof produced with four dyed or pigmented overlay films.
Overprinting Double printing; printing over an area that already has been printed.
Overrun Additional copies printed in excess of the specified quantity.
Overs and unders Only digital presses can literally print the number of pieces you order. Other presses will print extra copies (overs) or even print fewer than you order (unders). Printers can print 10% more or less than the quantity you specify, and charge you accordingly. Just be aware of this common practice, especially if you are printing a huge run and do NOT want 10% over, or if your quantity is dangerously close to what you need (say, for a mailing), in which case you don't want to risk running out. Know that you can specify what percentage of overs/unders you will accept.
Packing On printing presses, material, usually special paper, used to underlay the image or impression cylinder in letterpress, or the plate or blanket in lithography, to get proper squeeze or pressure for printing.
Page buffering The ability to spool an entire image to disk and print at one time for uninterrupted flow.
Page count The total number of pages in a book or other publication including blanks.
Page description language (PDL) In digital prepress, a computer language designed for describing how type and graphic elements should be produced by output devices. PostScript is the most commonly used PDL in printing.
Page makeup Assembly of all elements to make up a page. In digital imaging, the electronic assembly of all page elements to compose a complete page with type, graphics, images, and color in place on a display screen for output to plate or printer.
Pagination The process of performing page makeup automatically.
Palette The collection of colors or shades available to a graphic system or program.
Panchromatic Photographic film sensitive to all visible colors.
PC (Personal Computer) Desktop and laptop computers. Desktop units are sometimes called workstations.
PDF (Portable Document File) Adobe's PDF is a universal electronic file format, modeled after the PostScript language and is device- and resolution-independent. Documents in the PDF format can be viewed, navigated, and printed from any computer to almost any printer regardless of the fonts or software programs used to create the original. Printing industry workflows are now primarily PDF-based.
PDL See page description language.
PE's Abbreviation for printer's errors. PE's are changes made to your job after it's been at the printer's for corrections to something the printer (not you) is responsible for. Author's alterations (AA's) are changes that you, the customer (or author) makes to a job after a printer has already processed it (usually on a proof). Customers pay for AA's, not for PE's. See AA's.
Pearlescent Coating From Sappi's Standard #5: A coating used to add luster and iridescence to an image.
Perfect bind A type of binding that glues the edge of sheets to a wraparound cover.
Perfecting press A printing press that prints both sides of the paper in one pass through the press.
pH A reference number used for expressing the acidity or alkalinity of solutions. A value of 7 is neutral in a scale ranging from 0 to 14. Solutions with values below 7 are acid. Those above 7 are alkaline.
Phosphorescent Coating From Sappi's Standard #5: Essentially absorb daylight and glow in the dark.
Photoconductor In digital imaging, special materials used in electrophotography that are light sensitive when charged by a corona. They then convert light energy (photons) into electrical energy (electrons),
Photopolymer coating In photomechanics, a plate coating consisting of compounds that polymerize on exposure to produce tough abrasion-resistant plates capable of long runs especially when baked in an oven after processing.
Pica Printer's unit of measurement used principally in typesetting. One pica equals approximately 1/6 of an inch.
Picking The lifting of the paper surface during printing. It occurs when the pulling force (tack) of ink is greater than surface strength of paper.
Pigment The fine solid particles used to give inks color, transparency, or opacity.
Piling The building up or caking of ink on rollers, plate, or blanket; will not transfer readily. Also, the accumulation of paper dust or coating on the blanket of an offset press.
Pixel Short for "picture element." A pixel is the smallest resolvable point of a raster image. It is the basic unit of scanning and digital imaging.
Plate cylinder The cylinder of a press on which the plate is mounted. Each cylinder prints one color of ink or may be used for varnish or coating.
Platesetter An image recorder that images directly on plate material. Platesetters currently available use lasers to expose or image paper, polyester, or aluminum plates.
PMS (Pantone Matching System®) Color charts that have more than 1000 preprinted color patches of blended inks, used to identify, display, or define special "branded" colors. The Pantone Goe? system adds another 2000+ brand colors. PMS is the standard ink color system used by commercial printers. Ask to see/use a PMS swatchbook when spec'ing ink colors for your job. If you can't find a color you want among these 3000+ PMS offerings, there's something seriously wrong.
Point Printer's unit of measurement, used principally for specifying type sizes and leading. There are 12 points to a pica and approximately 72 points to an inch.
Poor trapping The press condition in wet printing in letterpress and lithography when less ink transfers to previously printed ink than to unprinted paper. Also called undertrapping.
Porosity The property of paper that allows the permeation of air, an important factor in ink penetration.
Portrait The vertical orientation of a page format as opposed to landscape horizontal orientation.
Position proof Color proof for checking position, layout, and/or color breakout of image elements. Once called a blue line or salt print. Today, PDFs are used in some cases.
Positive An image in which the dark and light values are the same as the original. The reverse of a negative. Negatives and positives are visual opposites.
PostScript A page description language developed by Adobe Systems to describe a page image for printing. It handles both text and graphics. A PostScript file is a purely code-based de-scription of a page.
Pre-press proofs See off-press proofs.
Preflighting The evaluation and analysis of every component in a file needed to produce a printing job. Pre-flight confirms the data being submitted, color gamut, color breaks, and any art required (illustrations, transparencies, photos, etc.), plus layout files, fonts, image files, proofs, page sizes, print driver, crop-marks, etc.
Press proofs In color reproduction, a proof of a color subject made on a printing press, in advance of the production run.
Pressure-sensitive paper Material with an adhesive coating, protected by a backing sheet until used.
Primary colors See additive primaries, subtractive primaries.
Print quality A term describing the visual impression of a printed piece. In paper, the properties of the paper that affect its appearance and the quality of reproduction.
Printer spreads Each page needs to be printed next to it is true opposing page, versus the way it will look in the end after it is bound. Use your mock version as your guide and double check with the printer to make sure you are doing it right before you create the printer spreads.
Printer's Devil A Printer's Devil is a pressman's assistant; an older term referring to the pressman's assistant or helper (sometimes referred to now as a catcher) when a press is being run.
Process colors The subtractive primaries: yellow, magenta, and cyan, plus black in four-color process printing. Referred to as CMYK.
Process printing Printing from a series of two or more plates to produce intermediate colors and shades.
Program A sequence of computer instructions that allows it to perform specific tasks. Same as software.
Progressives UK: Colour separations printed from each plate in relevant colour (C,M,Y,K, + spot if required) then final complete composite image to complete the set of "progressives". Not used much now in CTP repro.
pURLS Personalized URLs. It's a fairly new application that lets you create a separate URL for each person you're targeting - perhaps in a marketing campaign.
QR Code From Sappi's Standard #5: A quick response code is a 2D barcode that may be decoded using a smart phone with a camera and Internet connectivity. Snapping a picture of the QR code will lead viewers to the poster's website, where they can access additional information and images.
Quality control (QC) A program of activities including customer service, process control, and sampling with the objective of eliminating causes of process variability now called Statistical Process Control.
Ragged left In typesetting, type that is justified along the right margin and ragged on the left.
Ragged right In typesetting, type that is justified along the left margin and ragged on the right.
Raised Coating From Sappi's Standard #5: A special flexible plate is required to create a raised coating, similar to the thermography. They are primarily used to add a dimensional quality to fine details and large flat areas.
Raster image processor (RIP) In digital imaging, a combination of computer software and hardware that controls the printing process by calculating the bitmaps of images and instructing a printing or platesetting device to create the images. Most PostScript systems use a hardware RIP built into the printer.
Ream Five hundred sheets of paper.
Recto The right hand page of a book.
Red, green, and blue See RGB.
Register The positioning of two or more printing images in exact alignment with each other. Printing that is correctly positioned on the page is said to be "in register." Four-color printing is in register, for example, when all four successive colors are aligned, one on top of the other, so that they produce a single image with no color gaps or overlaps. When you can see a single color 'hanging out' underneath another, that color is out of register.
Register marks Crosses or other targets applied to original copy prior to photography. Used for positioning films in register, or for register of two or more colors in process printing.
Relative humidity (RH) The amount of water vapor present in the atmosphere expressed as a percentage of the maximum that could be present at the same temperature.
Repeatability The ability to keep photographic film and the images thereon in proper register in imagesetters, film plotters, and plate-setters. Repeatability is usually measured in micrometers.
Reprography Copying and duplicating.
Resolution Ability of an input device to record, or an output device to reproduce the fine detail of an image. There is a difference between resolution and addressability, or sampling rate. Resolution concerns how closely spots can be placed, and also whether gray levels can be distinguished. Resolution for output devices depends on addressability, bit-depth, and mark size.
Reticulation Effect From Sappi's Standard #5: A wrinkled look created by increasing the viscosity of the coating to a point where it cannot be spread evenly on the paper. The surface semi-rejects the coating film, causing it to bead, leaving a granulated look.
Retrofit Backwards integration of advanced capability into a device or program not originally intended for that purpose.
Reverse The opposite of what you see. Type your name on a white sheet of paper in black ink. The reverse of this would be a black piece of paper with a white name.
RGB (red, green, and blue) The primary additive colors used in display devices and scanners. Commonly used to refer to the color space, mixing system, or monitor in color computer graphics.
Right-angle fold In binding, a term used for two or more folds that are at 90° angles to each other.
RIP Raster Image Processor.
River The apparent white space that is produced when poor or random word spacing is used.
Roller stripping A term denoting that the ink does not adhere to the metal ink rollers on a press.
Rub-proof An ink that has reached maximum dryness and does not mar with normal abrasion.
Runaround The term describing type set to fit around a picture or other element of the design.
Runnability Paper properties that affect the ability of the paper to run on the press.
Running footer A page number or other text repeated at the bottom of each page.
Running head A headline or title repeated at the top of each page.
Saddle stitch In binding, to fasten a booklet by wiring it through the middle fold or spine of folded sheets. Also called saddle wire.
Safelight In photography, the special darkroom lamp used for illumination without fogging sensitized materials.
Sample Basic optical image element (analog) taken by the image sensor of a camera or scanner. A sample may be black and white, or it can be for several color channels. The sample is pro-cessed to obtain a pixel. Processing may involve conversion from device RGB to some standardized color space.
Sandpaper Coating From Sappi's Standard #5: Grainy particles are suspended in coating to create a tactile sandpaper texture.
Saturation mailing A delivery by the USPS to every address on one or more carrier routes or an entire ZIP code.
Scaling Determining the proper size of an image to be reduced or enlarged to fit a designated area.
Scanner An electronic device used to convert reflection or transparent materials into digital files that are used in the making of halftones and color and tone-corrected separations of images.
Scented Coating From Sappi's Standard #5: Often called "scratch 'n sniff," this technology involved scents microencapsulated in pigments that are added to coating and applied to the sheet. When rubbed, the microcapsules break, releasing the aroma.
Score To impress or indent a mark in the printed paper to make folding easier and reducing the likelihood of cracking the paper.
Screen angles In color reproduction, angles at which the halftone screens are placed in relation to one another, to avoid undesirable moiré patterns. A set of angles often used is: black 45°, magenta 75°, yellow 90°, cyan 105°.
Screen ruling The number of lines or dots per inch on a halftone screen.
Screening That part of a RIP (Raster Image Processor) that calculates the tonal values of each spot for an output device. The function of a screener is device dependent because it is related to the resolution of the output device.
Sculpted Emboss From Sappi's Standard #5: Requires a multilevel die that will accept shapes, angles, and edges and then produces a slightly carved effect.
Scum A film of ink printing in the non-image areas of a plate where it should not print.
Self cover A cover of the same paper as inside text pages.
Semi-chemical pulp A combination of chemical and mechanical pulping with properties similar to chemical pulp.
Sensitivity guide A continuous-tone gray scale with numbered steps used to control exposures in platemaking and lithfilm photography.
Serif The short cross-lines at the ends of the main strokes of many letters in roman typefaces. Sans serif means no serif.
Server A file server provides file data interchange between compatible peripheral devices on a local area network. Servers are identified by the type of resource they provide (e.g., disk server, file server, printer server, communications server).
Set-off In presswork, when the ink of a printed sheet rubs off or marks the next sheet as it is being delivered. Also called offset.
SGML (Standard Generalized Mark-up Language) One of the coding languages for marking text for a variety of publishing purposes, including typesetting and electronic publishing. A well-designed SGML schema enables the publisher to mark text just once for multiple uses.
Shadow The darkest parts in a photograph, represented in a halftone by the largest dots.
Sharpen To decrease in color strength, as when halftone dots become smaller; opposite of dot spread or dot gain.
Sheetwise To print one side of a sheet of paper with one plate, then turn the sheet over and print the other side with another plate using same gripper and opposite side guide.
Shingling In image assembly and layouts, the center or gutter margin is varied according to the position of the page in the signature and the bulk of the paper. See creep.
Short ink An ink that is buttery and does not flow freely.
Show-through The undesirable condition in which the printing on the reverse side of a sheet can be seen through the sheet under normal lighting conditions.
Side guide On sheetfed presses, a guide on the feed board to position the sheet sideways as it feeds into the front guides before entering the impression cylinder.
Side stitch Binding by stapling along one side of a sheet.
Signature The name given to a printed sheet after it has been folded.
Silhouette halftone A halftone of a subject with all of the background removed.
Simplex When a sheet is printed on one side only, it's a "simplex," as opposed to duplex, meaning the job prints on both sides.
Simulated Split Fountain From Sappi's Standard #5: A way to get a multicolor look using just two inks. This involved putting two colors side-by-side in the same ink fountain on press and printing them off the same plate. The ink colors on the outer edges stay distinct but blend into a third color in the center where they meet. A simulated split fountain can achieve the same look as a split fountain, but allows for consistency from sheet to sheet and doesn't require constant wash0up of the cylinders to keep the inks from getting too muddy.
Sizing The treatment of paper that gives it resistance to the penetration of liquids (particularly water) or vapors.
Skid A platform support for a pile of cut sheets of paper.
Slitting Cutting printed sheets or webs into two or more sections by means of cutting wheels on a press or folder.
Small caps An alphabet of small capital letters is available in most roman typefaces approximately the height of the x-height of the lowercase letters. May also be used in combination with capital letters.
Soft dot Halftone dot with considerable fringe that causes dot gain or sharpening in printing or photography.
Soft ink Descriptive of the consistency of paste inks.
Soft proof A proof viewed on a screen, as opposed to a hard proof, which is a physical proofs you can hold in your hands. See hard proof.
Soft-Touch Coating From Sappi's Standard #5: This special effects coating imparts a unique rubbery to suede-like feel with a matte appearance. It can be applied inline through the coating tower and does not require any secondary or offline treatment.
Software See program.
SPC Statistical Process Control
Specifications A detailed description of a print order.
Spectrophotometer Instrument for measuring color for CIE color spaces. It is more accurate than most color colorimeters.
Spectrum The complete range of colors in the rainbow, from short wavelengths (blue) to long wavelengths (red).
Spectrum Silver Foil From Sappi's Standard #5: This is a foil that contains pigments that change color when moved in the light.
Spine See backbone.
Spiral binding A book bound with wires in spiral form inserted through holes punched along the binding side.
Spool (Simultaneous Peripheral Operations OnLine) Refers to an output data set that is waiting for a print device.
Spot The smallest element of the addressability grid of an output device. Similar to a pixel, a spot is data, not something that can be seen. A spot is what the screener intended to form. A mark is what the marking engine actually placed at a spot location. A spot has a spatial aspect (size and location in the addressability grid), and a tonal and color aspect.
Spot varnish Varnish used to highlight a specific area of the printed sheet.
Spreads and chokes See chokes and spreads.
Star target Film pinwheel used to measure resolution of plates during production and degradation during printing.
Static neutralizer In printing presses, an attachment designed to remove the static electricity from the paper to avoid ink set-off and trouble with feeding the paper.
Step-and-repeat The procedure of multiple exposure using the same image by stepping it in position according to a predetermined layout or program. Now done with electronic imposition programs.
Stet A proofreader's mark, written in the margin, signifying that copy marked for correction should remain as it was.
Stochastic screening A digital screening process that converts images into very small dots (14-40 microns) of equal size and variable spacing. Second order screened images have variable size dots and variable spacing. Also called Frequency Modu-lated (FM) screening.
Stock Paper or other material to be printed.
Stock photography Used widely by creative professionals in need of ready-made images that illustrate a specific lifestyle, scene, mood, or process. Some stock images are royalty-free, but most carry a fee based on usage.
Strike-through See show-through.
Stripping In image assembly, the positioning of film negatives (or positives) on a flat to compose a page or imposed layout for platemaking. In printing, ink stripping on the ink rollers is prevented by plastic- or copper-coated steel rollers in the ink roller train.
Substance The weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to the standard size (17" x 22") for business papers (bond and ledger): e.g., 20 pounds. Similar to basis weight of other grades of paper.
Substrate Any material that can be printed on, such as paper, plastic, and fabric.
Subtractive primaries Yellow, magenta, and cyan, the hues used for process color printing inks.
Sulphate pulp Paper pulp made from wood chips cooked under pressure in a solution of caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) and sodium sulphide. Known as kraft.
Sulphite pulp Paper pulp made from wood chips cooked under pressure in a solution of bisulphite of lime (calcium bisulphite).
Supercalender In papermaking, a calender stack, separate from the papermaking machine, with alternate metal and resilient rolls, used to produce a high finish on paper.
Supercell A combination of subgroups of machine pixels or halftone dots that are handled as a single group.
Surprint In photomechanics, exposure from a second negative or flat superimposed on an exposed image of a previous -negative or flat.
Switch Coating From Sappi's Standard #5: A UV-based coating that provides an iridescent color transformation effect when applied onto a substrate. Microparticles suspended in the coating refract light, allowing the coating to change from one color to another.
SWOP (Specifications for Web Offset Publications) One of the major standards for print quality.
Tack In printing inks, the property of cohesion between particles; the separation force of ink needed for proper transfer and trapping on multicolor printing presses. A tacky ink has high separation forces and can cause surface picking or splitting of weak papers.
Tagged image file format (TIFF) A file format for graphics -suited for representing scanned images and other large bitmaps. TIFF is a neutral format designed for compatibility with all applications. TIFF was created specifically for storing gray-scale images, and it is the standard format for scanned images such as photographs - now called TIFF/IT.
Terabyte (TB) One trillion bytes.
Text The body matter of a page or book, as distinguished from the headings.
The Internet A network of networks that links workstations over telecommunication lines to share files and exchange e-mail internationally.
Thermal dye sublimation Like thermal printers, except pigments are vaporized and float to desired proofing stock. Similar to Thermal Dye Diffusion Transfer, or D2T2.
Thermal transfer printer These printers use a transfer sheet that carries ink and is placed in contact with the paper or plastic transparency, and a heated printhead driven by digital data touches the transfer sheet to transfer images to the right positions on the page.
Thermo-mechanical pulp In papermaking, made by steaming wood chips prior to and during refining, producing a higher yield and stronger pulp than regular groundwood.
Thermochromatic coating From Sappi's Standard #5: A reaction caused by dyes that are heat sensitive. The heat from a finger will cause the color to change.
Thermography From Sappi's Standard #5: A printing technique that results in a look similar to engraving, but does so more economically. First, the ink is printed on the sheet and a heat-sensitive polymer powder is spread on top. The excess is vacuumed from non-imaged and dry-ink areas, leaving residue only on the wet ink. Then the sheet is exposed to high heat, fusing the powder and ink together to create a raised effect.
TIFF See tagged image file format.
Tints Various even tone areas (strengths) of a solid color.
Tolerances The specification of acceptable variations in register, density, dot size, plate or paper thickness, concentration of chemicals, and other printing parameters.
Tone reproduction The tonal relationship between all the elements of a reproduction.
Toner In digital printing, imaging material also called digital inks, used in plateless printing systems such as electrophotography, magnetography, ion or electron deposition, and laser printers. Toner must hold or conduct an electrical charge. In inks, dye used to tone printing inks, especially black.
Toning See scum.
Tooth A characteristic of paper, a slightly rough finish, that permits it to take ink readily.
Touch Plate From Sappi's Standard #5: A means to add extra color to select areas of an image. A touch plate consists of a plate of special match color outside the traditional cyan, magenta and yellow. It often enhances colors that cannot be created in four-color separations alone.
Trade printers Printers who serve other printers, not the general public (as in "we print for the trade).
Transparency Color positive film. In digital imaging, a computer capability to make graphics and images transparent so that underlying graphics and images show through.
Transparent copy In photography, illustrative copy such as a color transparency or positive film through which light must pass in order for it to be seen or reproduced.
Transparent ink A printing ink that does not conceal the color beneath. Process inks are transparent so that they will blend to form other colors.
Transpose To exchange the position of a letter, word, or line with another letter, word or line.
Transpromo A document that is the marriage of a piece of transactional printing with promotional or marketing content - all in the same document.
Trapping In printing, the ability to print a wet ink film over previously printed ink. Dry trapping is printing wet ink over dry ink. Wet trapping is printing wet ink over previously printed wet ink. In prepress, refers to how much overprinting colors overlap to eliminate white lines between colors in printing. See spreads and chokes.
Trim marks Marks placed on the copy to indicate the edge of the page.
Trim size The dimensions of a book (final bound size) or a piece (flat size) exclusive of cover and not including bulk; in inches (US and Canada: width first) or millimetres (Europe and Asia: height first).
Twin-wire machine In papermaking, a fourdrinier paper machine with two wires instead of one producing paper with less two--sidedness.
Two-sidedness The property denoting difference in appearance and printability between its top (felt) and bottom (wire) sides.
Type gauge A printer's tool calibrated in picas and points used for type measurement. Rarely seen nowadays.
UCA (UnderColor Addition) In process color printing, used with GCR, UCA is ink added in shadow areas to increase color saturation.
UCR (UnderColor Removal) In process multicolor printing, color separations are reduced in color in neutral areas where all three colors overprint and the black film is increased an equivalent amount in these areas. This improves trapping and can reduce makeready and ink costs.
UGRA test target A measure of image resolution and dot size on plates and in printing. UGRA is the Swiss Association for the Promotion of Research in the Graphic Arts Industry.
Unit In multicolor presses, refers to the combination of inking, plate, and impression operations to print each color. A 4-color press has four printing units each with its own inking, plate, and impression functions.
UNIX A multiuser, multi-tasking operating system that runs on a wide variety of computer systems from personal computers to mainframes. UNIX was written in the C programming language. It is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.
Uppercase Capital letters in type.
UV coating A protective coating usually applied in-line on press using a coating unit that dries virtually instantaneous when exposed to the correct level of ultraviolet light. Usually more expensive than aqueous coatings, but have higher gloss/satin/matte properties and allow for immediate use in bindery since there is no drying time needed.
UV inks Solventless inks that are cured by UV radiation. They are used extensively in screen printing, narrow web letterpress, and flexographic printing.
Variable Data Printing The buzzword used by the printing industry to describe the way digital presses handle new information for each page. Each page can contain different, names, places, colors, anything you program into the database can be changed. Also known as personalized printing or 1:1 printing.
Varnish A thin, protective coating applied to a printed sheet for protection or appearance.
Vehicle In printing inks, the fluid component that is used as a carrier for the pigment.
Vellum finish A toothy finish that is relatively absorbent for fast ink penetration.
Verso The left hand page of a book.
Vignette An illustration in which the background or image fades gradually away until it disappears by blending into areas of the unprinted paper.
Viscosity A broad term encompassing the properties of tack and flow.
WAN (Wide Area Network) Any Internet or network that covers an area larger than a single building or campus. A collection of disparate, widely located, and geographically isolated networks, connected by private or public communication lines.
Warm color A color with a yellowish or reddish cast.
Washup The process of cleaning the rollers, form or plate, and sometimes the ink fountain of a printing press.
Waste A term for planned spoilage, such as the paper trimmed from a sheet to create bleed.
Waterless plate A printing plate with silicone rubber coating in non-image areas, that is printed on an offset press without dampening solution.
Waterless printing In offset, printing on a press using special waterless plates and no dampening system.
Watermark A distinctive logo or design created in paper at the time of manufacture that can be seen by holding the paper up to light.
Web A roll of paper used in web or rotary printing.
Web press A press that prints on a roll of paper, either roll-to-roll, or with inline folding and cutting to form signatures.
Web printing It has nothing to do with the worldwide web. Web printing refers to work produced on large presses that use rolls (webs) of paper, as opposed to paper that's cut into sheets. Web printing is suitable for very large quantities and/or very long runs. So when you overhear "Is this running sheet or web?" you'll know what it means.
Web tension The amount of pull or tension applied in the direction of travel of a web of paper by the action of a web press.
Widow A single word or part of a word on a line by itself, ending a paragraph, or starting a page, frowned upon in good typography. Sometimes called an orphan.
Wire side The side of a sheet next to the wire in manufacturing; opposite from felt or top side.
Wire-o binding A continuous double series of wire loops run through punched slots along the binding side of a booklet.
With the grain Folding or feeding paper into a press with the grain of the paper parallel to the blade of the folder or the axis of the impression cylinder.
Word processor At one time, a typewriter connected to a computerized recording medium to input, edit, and output digital text data. Today, it is a program that runs in a PC for electronically editing text.
Work-and-tumble To print one side of a sheet of paper, then turn it over from gripper to back using the same side guide and plate to print the second side.
Work-and-turn To print one side of a sheet of paper, then turn it over from left to right and print the second side using the same gripper and plate but opposite side guide.
Wove paper Paper having a uniform unlined surface and a soft smooth finish.
Wrinkles Creases in paper occurring during printing. In inks, the uneven surface formed during drying.
WWW (World Wide Web) The highly inter-connected network of hypertext servers (HTTP servers) that allow text, graphics, sound, and video files to be linked and displayed.
WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Pronounced "wizzywig," this term means that what you see on the computer monitor is generally the same as what appears on the hard copy. However, colors may not match.
Xerography An electrophotographic copying process that uses a corona charged photoconductor surface, electrostatic forces, and dry or liquid toner to form an image.
XML (eXtensible Mark-up Language) A more powerful markup language than the previously popular HTML. XML allows designers and programmers to create tags that can do almost anything they want, hence the term "extensible." XML was created so that richly structured documents could be used over the Web.