Visit Us:  

FAQ & Tips - Glossary of Frequently Used Printing & Graphic Terms


A/W - an abbreviation for Artwork.

Accordion Fold – a bindery term for two or more parallel folds that result in a sheet that opens like an accordion

Acetate - a transparent sheet placed over artwork allowing the artist to write instructions or indicate where second color is to be placed. See Overlay.

Against the grain - At right angles to direction of paper grain.

Aliasing – A defect which occurs when a graphic file does not have enough resolution to reproduce image detail and causes visible jagged lines along the edges.

Align - to line up typeset or other graphic material as specified, using a base or vertical line as the reference point.

Alteration - Change in copy of specifications after production has begun.

Anti-aliasing – technique of filling the edges of an object with pixels to eliminate jagged lines and make it appear smoother

Antique finish - a term describing the surface, usually on cover papers, that has a rough, natural finish.

Aqueous Coating – a fast-drying, water based coating that is applied after printing that gives a glossy finish and protects that print’s surface

Artwork – in printing, this is the original copy which includes all text, graphics, photos and illustrations

Authors corrections - changes made to the copy by the author after typesetting but not including those made as a result of errors in keying in the copy.


Backbone - the back of a bound book connecting the two covers; also known as the spine.

Backup – to print the reverse side of a sheet already printed on one side

Backlit - a clear polyester film with an ink jet receptive coating on 1 side and a cling adhesive reverse side. Great for indoor and window promotional signage

Banding - Method of packaging printed pieces of paper using rubber or paper bands.

Banner - a large headline or title extending across the full page width.

Basis weight - the weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a standard size. Commonly used to indicate the thickness of the paper (i.e. 80# cover stock)

Bind - To fasten sheets or sections into brochures or booklets with the use of wire, thread, glue, staples, etc.

Bindery - The department in a printing company where finishing work is done such as collating, folding and trimming of printed products

Binding - the process by which sheets are fastened together which include cutting, trimming, collating, perforating, and folding to form the finish products

Bitmap - a digital representation of a picture of object using a grid of pixels or dots.

Bitmap Images – computerized image made up of a collection of dots or pixels; these images appear blocky when you zoom in; also known as raster images

Blanket - The thick rubber coated pad of a printing press that transfers ink from the plate to sheet

Bleed - layout, type or pictures that extend beyond the trim marks on a page. Illustrations that spread to the edge of the paper without margins are referred to as 'bled off'.

Blind embossing – a technique in which a design is pressed into a sheet without ink or foil, creating a raised image

Blow up - an enlargement, most frequently of a graphic image or photograph.

Blurb - a short description or commentary of a book or author on a book jacket.

Body size - the height of the type measured from the top of the tallest ascender to the bottom of the lowest descender. Normally given in points, the standard unit of type size.

Body type - a typeface used for the main portion of text in a printed piece.

Bold type - type with a heavier darker appearance. Most typefaces have a bold face.

Bond paper - a common grade of paper which has a "flat", uncoated finish and high durability.

Book paper - a general term for coated and uncoated printing papers.

Border - a continuous decorative design or rule surrounding the matter on the page.

Brightness – the brilliance or reflective quality of paper affecting contrast in printing

Bristol board - a fine board made in various qualities for drawing.

Bullet - a large dot preceding text to add emphasis.


C1S – short for coating on one side of paper

C2S – short for coating on both sides of paper

Calendered finish - produced by passing paper through a series of metal rollers to give a very smooth surface.

Caliper - Paper thickness in thousandths of an inch. Also the name of the tool used to make the measurement.

Camera ready - artwork or pasted up material that is ready for reproduction.

Caps - an abbreviation for capital letters.

Caption - the line or lines of text that refer to information identifying a picture or illustration.

Carbonless - paper coated with chemicals and dye that will produce copies without carbon paper. Also referred to as NCR (No Carbon Required).

Case bound - a hardback book made with stiff outer covers. Cases are usually covered with cloth, vinyl or leather.

Chalking - a powdering effect left on the surface of the paper after the ink has failed to dry satisfactorily due to a fault in printing.

Close up - a proof correction mark to reduce the amount of space between characters or words indicated as (').

CMYK - cyan, magenta, yellow, and black--the subtractive primary colors primarily used in process color printing.

Coated paper - Paper having a surface coating which gives it a smooth finish. Finishes range from neutral matte to heavy gloss. Coated papers generally produce richer, more saturated colors than uncoated papers.

Collate - the gathering of sheets or signatures in the order in which they will be bound.

Color balance – refers to the proper ratio of cyan, magenta, and yellow ink during printing to keep color consistency and produce the desired color of an image

Color bar – strips of color used as a tool to check color accuracy and density

Color correction - methods of adjusting and improving color qualities such as color balance, contrast, etc.

Color filter - Filters uses in making color separations, red, blue, and green.

Color key – a printer’s proof made from 4 acetate or transparent films of various colors, one sheet per process color, which when combined simulates the finished product

Color matching system – color chart in an electronic system used to compare, measure or mix colors

Color Proofs - press color proof made from separation films. Includes overlay (such as Color Key) and laminate (such as PressMatch) proofs.

Color separations - The process of preparing artwork, photographs, transparencies, or computer generated art for printing by separating into the four primary printing colors of yellow, magenta, cyan and black. These should not be confused with the optical primaries; red, green and blue.

Color sequence – the order in which the four-color process inks are printed on the press

Color space - a method of mathematically representing color, including gray scale, RGB, CMYK, and CIELAB

Colorimeter – a light sensitive device used for measuring color with an exact response similar to the human eye

Compose - to set copy into type.

Computer-to-Plate ( CTP ) – a technology that enables transfer of digital data directly to a metal plate for printing, eliminating the use of conventional films

Condensed - a style of typeface in which the characters have an elongated appearance.

Contact print - a photographic print made from a negative or positive in contact with sensitized paper, film, or printing plate

Continuous tone - an image in which the subject has continuous shades of color or gray without being broken up by dots. Continuous tones cannot be reproduced in that form for printing but must be screened to translate the image into dots.

Contrast – the range of difference between the darkest and lightest areas in an image

Copy - any furnished material (text, photographs, line art, etc.) to be used in the production of printed materials.

Copyright - The right of copyright gives protection to the originator of material to prevent use without express permission or acknowledgement of the originator.

Cover paper – a heavyweight paper commonly used for covers of books, brochures, catalogs and folders

Crop marks – lines at the edges of a sheet that show where the page will be trimmed


Cropping - the elimination of parts of a photograph or other original that are not required to be printed. Cropping allows the remaining parts of the image to be enlarged to fill the space.

Crossover - Printing across the gutter or from one page to the facing page of a publication.

Cure – the process of drying inks or coatings through chemical processes to develop strong adhesion

Cyan – shade of blue; one of four basic ink colors used in 4 color printing process


Densitometer – an instrument used to measure the density of colored ink to determine consistency

Density - the degree of darkness of an image.

Die – metal plate cut for impressing a design or image on paper

Die-cutting - the process of using sharp steel dies to cut special shapes in paper, board, or other material.

Digital color proof - an off-press proofing process where a composite color proof is made directly from digital date without the need for separation films. Digital proofing processes include Iris prints and dye sublimation prints.

Digital plates - plates that can be exposed directly from a digital prepress system, without using separation films.

Digital press - a printing press that has a RIP and platemaking functionality (or some alternate technology) built-in, enabling fast, affordable short-run color printing without the expenses of creating films and proofs. Digital presses are generally more cost-effective than traditional offset color printing for print runs under 5,000 pieces. Common digital presses include the Heidelberg GTO-DI and Quickmaster- DI, the Indigo E- Print, and the AGFA Chromapress.

Dot – the individual element of a halftone; also refered to as “ pixels “

Dot gain or spread – the spread of ink on paper; occurrence when dots print larger than they were on the film

Dots per inch (DPI) –a measurement of a resolution of a screen image or printed image defined by the number of dots that fit horizontally and vertically into one inch; the higher the DPI, the sharper the image

Drawdown - A sample of ink and paper used to evaluate ink colors.

Dropout - portions of originals that do not reproduce in copying or printing, especially colored-lines and light backgrounds. Dropout often occurs on purpose, as in the case with bluelines on mechanicals or paste-up boards.

Dummy - A rough layout of a printed piece showing position and finished size.

Duotone – a halftone image made up of two colors.

Duplexing – the ability of a press to print on both sides of a sheet of paper


Emboss - Pressing an image into paper so that it will create a raised relief.

Embossed finish - paper with a raise or depressed surface resembling wood, cloth, or another natural surface.

Emulsion - Light sensitive coating found on printing plates and film.

EPSF (encapsulated PostScript file) - A file format, which allows PostScript information to be stored, edited, and easily transferred between different computer systems.

Exposure - the step in photographic process during which light produces the image on the light-sensitive film coating.


Feeder – section of a printing press that separates the sheets and feeds them into position for printing

Filler - extra material used to complete a column or page, usually of little importance.

Film Proofs - Film proofs are created using the negatives that have been output on an imagesetter. They are highly accurate representations of what the final printed product will look like and are given to clients for final review, approval, and "sign-off" before the printing plates are made and the order is put on the press. Some examples of film proofs are Dylux, Silverprint, Blueline, Chromalin, WaterProof, Color Key and Matchprint.

Flat - in offset lithography, the assembled composite of negatives stripped together, ready for platemaking.

Flexography - a rotary letterpress process printing from rubber or flexible plates and using fast drying inks. Mainly used for packaging.

Flood - To cover a printed page with ink, varnish, or plastic coating.

Flush left - copy aligned along the left margin.

Flush right - copy aligned along the right margin.

Flyer - an inexpensively produced circular used for promotional distribution.

Foil – a thin metal applied to paper used in foil stamping and foil embossing

Foil emboss – to foil stamp or emboss an image on paper using a die

Foil stamping – pressing a design or image on paper without ink using a foil and heated metal die

Folio - the page number.

Font (or fount) - a complete set of characters in a typeface.

Form - in offset printing, the assembly of pages for printing.

Format - the size, style, type page, margins, printing requirements, etc. for a printed piece.

Four color process - the process of printing using the combination of four basic color inks ( cyan, magenta, yellow and black ) to produce a range of colors and create a color image

Four over four ( 4/4 ) – a print job with four color printing on both sides of the paper

Four over One ( 4/1 ) – a print job with four color printing on the front side and one color (usually black ) on the back side

Four over Zero ( 4/0 ) – a print job with four color printing on the front side and no printing on the back side

French fold - a sheet which has been printed on one side only and then folded with two right angle folds to form a four page uncut section.


Gang - Getting the most out of a printing press by using the maximum sheet size to print multiple images or jobs on the same sheet. A way to save money.

Gatefold - an oversize page where both sides fold into the gutter in overlapping layers. Used to accommodate maps into books.

Gathering - the operation of inserting the printed pages, sections or signatures of a book in the correct order for binding.

Generation - Stages of reproduction from original copy. A first generation reproduction yields the best quality.

Ghosting - A faint printed image that appears on a printed sheet where it was not intended. More often than not this problem is a function of graphical design. It is hard to tell when or where ghosting will occur. Sometimes you can see the problem developing immediately after printing the sheet, other times the problem occurs while drying. However the problem occurs it is costly to fix, if it can be fixed. Occasionally it can be eliminated by changing the color sequence, the inks, the paper, changing to a press with a drier, printing the problem area in a separate pass through the press or changing the racking (reducing the number of sheets on the drying racks). Since it is a function of graphical design, the buyer pays for the increased cost.

Gloss – shiny coating applied to paper

Gloss ink - for use in litho and letterpress printing on coated papers where the ink will dry without penetration.

Gothic - typefaces with no serifs and broad even strokes.

Grain - The direction in which the fibers of a paper lie

Graphic Design – the use of visual elements to express a message

Gravure - a rotary printing process where the image is etched into the metal plate attached to a cylinder. The cylinder is then rotated through a trough of printing ink after which the etched surface is wiped clean by a blade leaving the non-image area clean. The paper is then passed between two rollers and pressed against the etched cylinder drawing the ink out by absorption.

Grayscale – an image made up of a range of shades of black and white

Grid - A systematic division of a page into areas to enable designers to ensure consistency. The grid acts as a measuring guide and shows text, illustrations and trim sizes.

Grippers – the metal fingers on printing presses that hold the paper and controls it as it passes through the press

GSM - Grams per square meter. The unit of measurement for paper weight.

Gutter - the central blank area between left and right pages or from printing area to binding


Hairlines - the thinnest of the strokes in a typeface.

Halftone - an illustration reproduced by breaking down the original tone into a pattern of dots of varying size. Light areas have small dots and darker areas or shadows have larger dots.

Halftone screen - a glass plate or film placed between the original photograph and the film to be exposed. The screen carries a network of parallel lines. The number of lines to the inch controls the coarseness of the final dot formation. The screen used depends on the printing process and the paper to be used, the higher the quality the more lines can be used.

Hard copy - The output of a computer printer, or typed text sent for typesetting.

Helvetica - a sans serif typeface.

Hickey – a spot or imperfection on a printed page caused by dust, lint or dried ink

Highlight - the lightest part in an image

Hue - in color, the main attribute of a color, which distinguishes it from other colors.


Icons - pictorial images used on screen to indicate utility functions, files, folders or applications software. The icons are generally activated by an on-screen pointer controlled by a mouse or trackball.

Image area - Portion of page or paper that can be printed on

Imagesetter - a device commonly found at prepress shops or printers that takes digital information from a RIP and renders type, line art, and photographs onto film or photographic paper. Such companies as Linotype-Hell, AGFA, Scitex, and DuPont manufacture Imagesetters.

Imposition – arranging printed pages correctly so they will fold in the proper sequence

Impression – the pressure of a printing press on paper; image caused by pressure of a press plate on paper

Ink fountain – the container on a printing press that holds the ink

Insert - a printed piece prepared for insertion into a publication or another printed piece.

Interface - the circuit, or physical connection, which controls the flow of data between a computer and its peripherals.

ISBN - International Standard Book Number. A reference number given to every published work. Usually found on the back of the title page.

Italic - type with sloping letters.

Ivory board - a smooth high white board used for business cards etc.


Justify - the alignment of text along a margin or both margins. This is achieved by adjusting the spacing between the words and characters as necessary so that each line of text finishes at the same point.


Kerning - the adjustment of spacing between certain letter pairs, A and V for example, to obtain a more pleasing appearance. Not all DTP systems can achieve this.

Keyline – an outline drawing to show the exact size and position of an artwork

Kiss die cut - To cut the top layer of a pressure sensitive sheet and not the backing.

Kraft paper - a tough paper containing unbleached (brown) wood pulp used for packing.


Laid - paper with a watermark pattern showing the wire marks used in the paper making process. Simulating the surface of handmade paper, it is usually used for high quality stationery.

Laid finish – a pattern of parallel lines running across the grain, creating a ribbed and handmade effect

Laminate - a thin transparent plastic coating applied to paper or board to provide protection and give it a glossy finish.

Landscape - work in which the width used is greater than the height. Also used to indicate the orientation of tables or illustrations that are printed 'sideways'. See Portrait.

Laser - The acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A laser is an intense beam with very narrow bandwidth that can produce images by electronic impulses from digital data.

Laser printer (see also Page printer)-a high quality image printing system using a laser beam to produce an image on a photosensitive drum. The image is transferred on to paper by a conventional xerographic printing process. Currently, most laser printers set at 300dpi with newer models operating at up to 600dpi.

Laser Proofs - Laser proofs are black and white or CMYK digital, non-film proofs which can be run out as composites or as color separated sheets. Lasers are used to check spelling, grammar, image placement and photo cropping. Lasers are the least expensive forms of proofing available; however, they are also the least accurate for image detail and color matching.

Layout - a sketch of a page for printing showing the position of text and illustrations and giving general instructions.

Lead or Leading - Space added between lines of type to space out text and provide visual separation of the lines. Measured in points or fractions thereof. Named after the strips of lead, which used to be inserted between lines of metal type.

Legend - the descriptive matter printed below an illustration, mostly referred to as a caption. Also an explanation of signs or symbols used in timetables or maps.

Letterpress - a relief printing process in which a raised image is inked to produce an impression; the impression is then transferred by placing paper against image and applying pressure.

Lightface - type having finer strokes than the medium typeface. Not used as frequently as medium.

Line copy - High contrast copy made up of solids or lines which do not require a halftone screen; also called line art or line work

Line screen - the measure of a halftone screen, usually in lines per inch (LPI).

Lines per inch ( LPI ) – the number of lines of dots per inch in a halftone screen; the higher the LPI., the sharper the image

Lithography – a method of printing where the plates are chemically treated so that the image area accepts ink and non-image areas repel ink

Logo - short for logotype. A word or combination of letters set as a single unit. Also used to denote a specially styled company name designed as part of a corporate image.

Loose leaf - a method of binding which allows the insertion and removal of pages for continuous updating.

Loupe - A magnifying glass used to review a printed image, plate and position film.

Lower case - the small letters in a font of type.


M - abbreviation for 1,000.

Magenta – also known as process red; one of the 4 basic ink colors in process color printing; M in abbreviation CMYK

Magnetic ink - a magnetized ink that can be read both by humans and by electronic machines. Used in check printing.

Make-ready - All the activities required to prepare a press for printing or a binder for binding.

Manuscript (MS) - the original written or typewritten work of an author submitted for publication.

Mask - an opaque material used to protect selected open elements of artwork on a printing plate during exposure.

Matchprint - Trade name for 3M integral color proof.

Matte - dull non-glossy finish.

Mechanical - a term for camera ready paste-up of artwork. It includes type, photos, line art, etc., all on one piece of artboard.

Metallic ink - printing inks that produce an effect gold, silver, bronze or metallic colors.

Micrometer – device used to measure the thickness ( caliper ) of paper

Middle tones - The tones in a photograph between highlights and shadows; must be balanced for accurate reproduction

Mock-up - the rough visual of a publication or design.

Moiré pattern - the result of superimposing half-tone screens at the wrong angle thereby giving a checkered effect on the printed half tone. Normally detected during the stage of progressive proofs.

Montage - a single image formed from the assembling of several images.

Mottle - a spotty or uneven appearance of printed material, mostly in areas of solid color.


Negative – a film in which the white areas of the original image appear black and the black areas appear white

Newsprint - paper made mostly from groundwood pulp and small amounts of chemical pulp; usually the least expensive printing stock for magazines and newspapers.

Nipping - a stage in book binding where after sewing the sheets are pressed to expel air.


Offset Lithography or Offset Printing – a common printing process in which the image to be printed is transferred from a metal plate to a rubber blanket onto paper

Offsetting - Using an intermediate surface used to transfer ink. Also, an unpleasant happening when the images of freshly printed sheets transfer images to each other.

Ok sheet - Final approved color-inking sheet before production begins.

Onion skin - a translucent lightweight paper used in airmail stationery.

Opacity - The amount of show-through on a printed sheet. The more opacity or the thicker the paper the less show-through. (The thicker/heavier the paper the higher the cost-usually.)

Opaque - to paint out areas of a negative not wanted on a plate.

Opaque ink - ink that conceals all color beneath it.

Outline - a typeface in which the characters are formed with only the outline defined rather than from solid strokes.

Outline halftone – a halftone image with the background removed to outline the main image

Overprinting - printing over an area already printed. Used to emphasize changes or alterations.

Overrun - production of larger quantities than ordered


Page count - Total number of pages in a book including blanks.

Pagination - the numbering of pages in a book.

Pantone Matching Systems ( PMS ) - the standard color-matching system used by printers and graphic designers

Parallel fold - a method of folding; e.g. two parallel folds will produce a six-page sheet.

Paste up - the various elements of a layout mounted in position to form camera-ready artwork.

Perfect bind – a binding technique in which pages are collated into a single sheet and then glued together and attached to the cover with an adhesive

Perfecting Press – a printing press that prints both sides of a sheet at the same time

Perforation – process of making holes or a series of cuts to make tearing or folding easy

Picking - the effect of ink being too tacky and lifting fibers out of the paper. Shows up as small white dots on areas of solid color.

Plates - Plates are the carriers of the images that are to be printed on paper. One printing plate is required for each ink color printed. Metal plates are currently the only way to produce high quality close-register printed images. Plates can also be made out of plastic and paper.

Portrait - an upright image or page where the height is greater than the width.

Positive - in photography, film containing the same light and dark values as the original. The reverse of negative.

PostScript - a page description language developed by Adobe Systems that tells a printer how an image is to be printed

Press proofs - in color reproduction, a proof of a color subject made directly on the printing press, in advance of a full production run.

Primary colors - cyan, magenta and yellow. These three colors when mixed together with black will produce a reasonable reproduction of all other colors.

Process blue - The blue or cyan color in process printing.

Process Color Separations - Color separation refers to the breaking down of any full-color image into the four basic ink colors used in printing. The making of a color separation involves the use of a laser light scanner which, through the use of four color filtering systems, can read and record the amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow and black that is present in any particular area of a color original. The recording of this data is converted into digital form and saved to a computer for further processing and placement into page layout programs.

Process colors - The four basic colors of ink used in process color printing are cyan, magenta, yellow and black. These ink colors are transparent and "process" with each other when overprinted in predetermined amounts, i.e. when cyan overprints yellow, it produces green, when yellow overprints magenta, it produces orange. Controlled screen tint combinations of the four basic colors allow nearly the full spectrum of colors to be produced on a printing press.

Progressives - color proofs taken at each stage of printing showing each color printed singly and then superimposed on the preceding color.

Proof - a copy obtained from inked type, plate, block or screen for checking purposes.


Raster – to render an image, pixel by pixel, vertically and horizontally

Raster Image Processor (RIP) – a device that translates data into dots or pixels

Ream – a quantity of paper equivalent to 500 sheets

Reflective copy - Copy that is not transparent.

Register - To position print in the proper position in relation to the edge of the sheet and to other printing on the same sheet especially when printing one color on another.

Register marks - Cross-hair lines or marks on film, plates, and paper that guide strippers, platemakers, pressmen, and bindery personnel in processing a print order from start to finish.

Resolution – refers to the number of pixels an image expressed in pixels per inch ( ppi ) or dots per inch ( dpi ); the higher the number, the sharper the image

Retouching - a means of altering artwork or color separations to correct faults or enhance the image.

Reverse - The opposite of what you see. Printing the background of an image. For example: type your name on a piece of paper. The reverse of this would be a black piece of paper with a white name.

RGB - red, green, and blue - the primary additive colors, which are used to represent colors on computer monitors, television screens, and most scanners.

Roman - type which has vertical stems as distinct from Italics or oblique that are set at angles.


S/S (Same size) - an instruction to reproduce to the same size as the original.

Saddle stitch - a method of binding using staples in the seam or spine of a book or booklet where it folds

Sans serif - a typeface that has no serifs (small strokes at the end of main stroke of the character).

Satin paper – premium paper with low-gloss finish, allows heavy ink coverage and vivid color resolution. It is ideal for photographic reproductions and posters

Scanner - an instrument used to make color separations; also an instrument to scan images or photos in desktop publishing

Score – a mark or crease pressed on paper to make folding easier

Screen angles – the angles at which halftone screens are positioned to avoid unwanted patterns

Screen ruling - the number of lines per inch on a halftone screen. See also line screen.

Self cover – the paper used as cover is the same as that used in the inside pages

Security paper – paper incorporating special features ( dyes , watermarks etc ) for use on checks

Serif - a small cross stroke at the end of the main stroke of the letter.

Set off - the accidental transfer of the printed image from one sheet to the back of another.

Shadow - the darkest areas of a photograph or image

Sheet - a single piece of paper. .

Sheet fed - a printing press that prints single sheets of paper, not reels.

Side guide - The mechanical register unit on a printing press that positions a sheet from the side.

Side stitched - the folded sections of a book are stabbed through with wire staples at the binding edge, prior to the covers being drawn on.

Signature - the name given to a printed sheet after it has been folded. Also a section of a magazine or book printed on a web press. Signatures can be in configurations of 4, 8, 16, 24, or more pages, according to the size of the press.

Slurring - a smearing of the image caused by paper slipping during the impression stage.

Small caps - a set of capital letters which are smaller than standard and are equal in size to the lower case letters for that typesize.

Soft back/cover - a book bound with a paper back cover.

Specifications – a precise description of features of a print order such as paper stock and quantity

Spine - the binding edge at the back of a book or publication - also see Backbone.

Spiral binding - a book bound with wires in spiral form inserted through holes punched through the binding side.

Spoilage - Planned paper waste for all printing operations.

Spot varnish – varnishing a specific part of a sheet

Stamping - Term for foil stamping.

Step-and-repeat - A procedure for placing the same image on plates in multiple places.

Sticker – this stock printed on one side with a sticky back side covered by peel-away paper. It can be coated or uncoated

Stock – the paper or material to be printed on

Stripping – the process of positioning film negatives for plate making

Substrate – any surface or material on which printing is done

Surprint - (see Overprinting) printing over a previously printed area of either text or graphics.

Swatch - a color sample.


Tabloid - a page half the size of a broadsheet.

Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) - a common format for interchanging digital information, generally associated with grayscale or bitmap data.

Template - a standard layout usually containing basic details of the page dimensions.

Tint – a mixture of hue with white

Tissue overlay - a thin transparent paper placed over artwork for protection and may be used for marking printer instructions.

Transparency - A positive photographic slide on film allowing light to pass through.

Transparent copy - A film that light must pass through for it to be seen or reproduced.

Transparent ink - A printing ink that does not conceal the color under it.

Trapping – printing of one ink over the other to prevent gaps from appearing

Trim - the cutting of the finished product to the correct size. Marks are incorporated on the printed sheet to show where the trimming is to be made.

Trim marks - Similar to crop or register marks. These marks show where to trim the printed sheet.

Trim size – the final size of a printed image after trimming

Typeface - the raised surface carrying the image of a type character cast in metal. Also used to refer to a complete set of characters forming a family in a particular design or style.

Typesetting – to arrange or layout artwork and text for printing

Typo - an abbreviation for typographical error. An error in the typeset copy.


Uncoated – paper with no treatment or coating on the surface

Under-run - Production of fewer copies than ordered. See over run.

Up – printing multiple copies of the same on the same sheet

UV coating - Liquid laminate bonded and cured with ultraviolet light. Environmentally friendly.


Varnish - a finishing process whereby a transparent varnish is applied over the printed sheet to produce a glossy finish for looks and protection. (UV coating looks better.)

Vellum - the treated skin of a calf used as a writing material. The name is also used to describe a thick creamy book paper.

Vignette – a halftone or image with those background gradually fades to white


Wash-up - Removing printing ink from a press, washing the rollers and blanket. Certain ink colors require multiple wash-ups to avoid ink and chemical contamination.

Waste - A term for planned spoilage.

Watermark – a distinctive design created in paper during manufacturing that is visible when the paper is held up to the light

Web - a continuous roll of printing paper used on web-fed presses.

Web press – a high speed printing press that print on a continuous roll of paper or web rather than on individual sheets

Weight - the degree of boldness or thickness of a letter or font.

Wire O – a method of binding using double loops of wire through a hole

Wire stitching - see saddle or side stitching.

Wire-O binding - A method of wire binding books along the binding edge that will allow the book to lay flat using double loops. See Wire O.

With the grain – folding or feeding paper into the press parallel to the paper’s grain or fiber

Woodfree paper - made from chemical pulp only with size added. Supplied calendered or supercalendered.

Work and tumble - a method of printing where pages are again imposed together. The sheet is then printed on one side with the sheet being turned or tumbled from front to rear to print the opposite side.

Work and turn - a method of printing where pages are imposed in one form or assembled on one film. One side is then printed and the sheet is then turned over and printed from the other edge using the same form. The finished sheet is then cut to produce two complete copies.

Wove paper - a paper having a uniform unlined surface and a smooth finish

WYSIWYG What-you-see-is-what-you-get ( pronounced "wizzywig") - used to describe systems that preview full pages on the screen with text and graphics. The term can however be a little misleading due to difference in the resolution of the computer screen and that of the page printer.


Yellow - one of the subtractive primary colors, the hue of which is used for one of the four process color printing inks. It reflects or transmits red and green light and absorbs blue light.