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Glossary of Printing & Graphic Terms
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This glossary includes all the technical and business terms in the book, Getting it Printed, copyright © 1993 by Mark Beach. Used by permission of North Light Books, a division of F&W Publications, Inc. (800) 289-0963. In addition, it has many terms not used in the book but which are part of the graphic arts lexicon. Definitions are abbreviated from those in my book Graphically Speaking, which also includes terms about type, design and products.
A transparent sheet placed over originals or artwork, allowing the designer to write instructions andor indicate a second color for placement.
Papermade from pulp containing little or no acid so it resists deterioration from age. Also called alkaline paper, archival paper, neutral pH paper, permanent paper and thesis paper.
An acid-proof protective coating applied to metal plates prior to etching.
Color produced by light falling onto a surface, as compared to subtractive color. The additive primary colors are red, green and blue.
ISO paper size 210 x 297mm used for Letterhead.
Against the Grain
At right angles to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to with the grain. Also called across the grain and cross grain. See also Grain Direction.
Pen-shaped tool that sprays a fine mist of ink or paint to retouch photos and create continuous-tone illustrations.
Any change made by the customer after copy or artwork has been given to the service bureau, separator or printer. The change could be in copy, specifications or both. Also called AA, author alteration and customer alteration.
An offset printing plate having a treated surface in order to reduce wear for extended use.
Fine powder lightly sprayed over the printed surface of coated paper as sheets leave a press. Also called dust, offset powder, powder and spray powder.
Roughest finish offered on offset paper.
Coating in a water base and applied like ink by a printing press to protect and enhance the printing underneath.
All original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, intended for printing. Also called art.
Author's Alterations (AA's)
At the proofing stage, changes that the client requests to be made concerning original art provided. AA's are considered an additional cost to the client usually.
(1) To print on the second side of a sheet already printed on one side. (2) To adjust an image on one side of a sheet so that it aligns back-to-back with an image on the other side.
Copy pasted up on the mounting board of a mechanical, as compared to overlay art. Also called base mechanical.
Negative made by photographing base art.
The standard size of sheets of paper used to calculate basis weight in the United States and Canada.
In the United States and Canada, the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to the basic size. Also called ream weight and substance weight (sub weight). In countries using ISO paper sizes, the weight, in grams, of one square meter of paper. Also called grammage and ream weight.
Usually in the book arena, but not exclusively, the joining of leafs or signatures together with either wire, glue or other means.
Usually a department within a printing company responsible for collating, folding and trimming various printing projects.
Category of paperboard ranging in thickness from 15 to 48 points.
Rubber-coated pad, mounted on a cylinder of an offset press, that receives the inked image from the plate and transfers it to the surface to be printed.
Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming.
A page number not printed on the page. (In the book arena, a blank page traditionally does not print a page number.)
Image debossed, embossed or stamped, but not printed with ink or foil.
Sticking together of printed sheets causing damage when the surfaces are separated.
An enlargement, usually used with raphic images or photographs
Prepress photographic proof made from stripped negatives where all colors show as blue images on white paper. Because 'blueline' is a generic term for proofs made from a variety of materials having identical purposes and similar appearances, it may also be called a blackprint, blue, blueprint, brownline, brownprint, diazo, dyeline, ozalid, position proof, silverprint, Dylux and VanDyke.
A description or commentary of an author or book content positioned on the book jacket.
General term for paper over 110# index, 80# cover or 200 gsm that is commonly used for products such as file folders, displays and post cards. Also called paperboard.
The main text of work not including the headlines.
Blocks of repetitive type used and copied over and over again.
Category of paper commonly used for writing, printing and photocopying. Also called business paper, communication paper, correspondence paper and writing paper.
Folded signatures gathered, sewn and trimmed, but not yet covered.
Category of paper suitable for books, magazines, catalogs, advertising and general printing needs. Book paper is divided into uncoated paper (also called offset paper), coated paper (also called art paper, enamel paper, gloss paper and slick paper) and text paper.
The decorative design or rule surrounding matter on a page.
(1) a repeating registration problem in the printing stage of production. (2) Customer unhappy with the results of a printing project and refuses to accept the project.
General term referring to paper 6 points or thicker with basis weight between 90# and 200# (200-500 gsm). Used for products such as index cards, file folders and displays.
The term used to indicate work printed on one of a large sheet of paper.
A photographic print created on bromide paper.
Carton of paper from which some of the sheets have been sold. Also called less carton.
The effect produced by dusting wet ink after printing and using a metallic powder.
Build a Color
To overlap two or more screen tints to create a new color. Such an overlap is called a build, color build, stacked screen build or tint build.
Thickness of paper relative to its basic weight.
A dot or similar marking to emphasize text.
Burst Perfect Bind
To bind by forcing glue into notches along the spines of gathered signatures before affixing a paper cover. Also called burst bind, notch bind and slotted bind.
Register where ink colors meet precisely without overlapping or allowing space between, as compared to lap register. Also called butt fit and kiss register.
To subcontract for a service that is closely related to the business of the organization. Also called farm out. Work that is bought out or farmed out is sometimes called outwork or referred to as being out of house.
C1S and C2S
Abbreviations for coated one side and coated two sides.
To make the surface of paper smooth by pressing it between rollers during manufacturing.
(1) Thickness of paper or other substrate expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils or points), pages per inch (ppi), thousandths of a millimeter (microns) or pages per centimeter (ppc). (2) Device on a sheetfed press that detects double sheets or on a binding machine that detects missing signatures or inserts.
Mechanicals, photographs and art fully prepared for reproduction according to the technical requirements of the printing process being used. Also called finished art and reproduction copy.
Business using a process camera to make photostats, halftones, plates and other elements for printing. Also called prep service and trade camera service.
Paper coated with chemicals that enable transfer of images from one sheet to another with pressure from writing or typing.
Selling unit of paper that may weigh anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 pounds (9,090 to 45, 454 kilos), depending on which mill or merchant uses the term. Abbreviated CL.
Selling unit of paper weighing approximately 150 pounds (60 kilos). A carton can contain anywhere from 500 to 5,000 sheets, depending on the size of sheets and their basis weight.
Covers and spine that, as a unit, enclose the pages of a casebound book.
To bind using glue to hold signatures to a case made of binder board covered with fabric, plastic or leather. Also called cloth bind, edition bind, hard bind and hard cover.
High gloss, coated paper made by pressing the paper against a polished, hot, metal drum while the coating is still wet.
Coated paper rated #4 or #5 with basis weight from 35# to 50# (50 to 75 gsm) commonly used for catalogs and magazines.
(1) Alternate term for elliptical dot, so called because midtone dots touch at two points, so look like links in a chain. (2) Generic term for any midtone dots whose corners touch.
(1) Widely spaced lines in laid paper. (2) Blemishes on printed images caused by tracking.
Deterioration of a printed image caused by ink that absorbs into paper too fast or has long exposure to sun, and wind making printed images look dusty. Also called crocking.
(1) Production copy of a publication verified by the customer as printed, finished and bound correctly. (2) One set of gathered book signatures approved by the customer as ready for binding.
Technique of slightly reducing the size of an image to create a hairline trap or to outline. Also called shrink and skinny.
Strength of a color as compared to how close it seems to neutral gray. Also called depth, intensity, purity and saturation.
A mark used to indicate closing space between characters or words. Usually used in proofing stages.
Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four process colors.
Halftone screen with ruling of 65, 85 or 100 lines per inch (26, 34 or 40 lines centimeter).
Paper with a coating of clay and other substances that improves reflectivity and ink holdout. Mills produce coated paper in the four major categories cast, gloss, dull and matte.
To organize printed matter in a specific order as requested.
Mostly in the book arena, specific marks on the back of signatures indicating exact position in the collating stage.
Refers to amounts of process colors that simulate the colors of the original scene or photograph.
Press sheets printed with photos or illustrations, but without type. Also called shells.
In multicolor printing, the point, line or space at which one ink color stops and another begins. Also called break for color.
Unwanted color affecting an entire image or portion of an image.
Color Control Bar
Strip of small blocks of color on a proof or press sheet to help evaluate features such as density and dot gain. Also called color bar, color guide and standard offset color bar.
To adjust the relationship among the process colors to achieve desirable colors.
Instructions in computer software that allow users to change or correct colors. Also called HLS and HVS tables.
Color Electronic Prepress System
Computer, scanner, printer and other hardware and software designed for image assembly, color correction, retouching and output onto proofing materials, film or printing plates. Abbreviated CEPS.
The entire range of hues possible to reproduce using a specific device, such as a computer screen, or system, such as four-color process printing.
Brand name for an overlay color proof. Sometimes used as a generic term for any overlay color proof.
Way of categorizing and describing the infinite array of colors found in nature.
(1) Technique of using a camera, scanner or computer to divide continuous-tone color images into four halftone negatives. (2) The product resulting from color separating and subsequent four-color process printing. Also called separation.
Order in which inks are printed. Also called laydown sequence and rotation.
Change in image color resulting from changes in register, ink densities or dot gain during four-color process printing.
Film (transparent) used as art to perform color separations.
To bind by inserting the teeth of a flexible plastic comb through holes punched along the edge of a stack of paper. Also called plastic bind and GBC bind (a brand name).
Printer producing a wide range of products such as announcements, brochures, posters, booklets, stationery, business forms, books and magazines. Also called job printer because each job is different.
The second or additional flat(s) used when making composite film or for two or more burns on one printing plate.
Mechanical on which copy for reproduction in all colors appears on only one surface, not separated onto overlays. Composite art has a tissue overlay with instructions that indicate color breaks.