Graphic Design & Printing Terminology (A to F) - (Next Page)
AA Authors Alterations, changes other than corrections, made by a client after the proofing
process has begun. AAs are usually charged to a client as billable time.
Absorbency The capacity a paper has for accepting liquids, like the inks or water used to run
offset lithographic presses. see also ink absorption, ink holdout.
Actual weight The true weight of any volume of paper. The actual weight of paper is used to
determine both purchase price and shipping costs. see also basic size, basis weight, weight.
Additives Ingredients of paper other than pulp. Additives include clay fillers, dyes, sizing, and
other chemicals. see also clay, ingredients of paper, sizing.
Aqueous Coating A water-based coating applied after printing, either while the paper is still on
press ("in line"), or after it's off press. An aqueous coating usually gives a gloss, dull, or matte
finish, and helps prevent the underlying ink from rubbing off. Unlike a UV coating or a varnish,
an aqueous coating will accept ink-jet printing, making it a natural choice for jobs that require
printing addresses for mass mailings. see also coated paper, finishing, UV coating, varnish.
Archival Paper Paper that's alkaline and won't deteriorate over time. Archival papers must meet
national standards for permanence: they must be acid-free and alkaline with a pH of 7.5 to 8.5;
include 2% calcium carbonate as an alkaline reserve; and not contain any groundwood or
unbleached wood fiber. The expected life of archival paper is more than 100 years.
Art Director The individual responsible for overseeing the creative and production process and
managing other creative individuals.
Basic Size The customary sheet size used to establish the basis weight of a ream (500 sheets)
of a given grade of paper. Standard basic sizes vary by paper grade. For example, the basic
size of book paper is 25"x38", while the basic size of cover stock is 20"x26". see also basis
Basis Weight The weight, in kilograms, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard
(basic size). Each major paper grade, like cover, bond, or offset, has its own basic sheet size,
which determines its basis weight.
Binding Fastening papers together for easy reading, transport, and protection. Papers may be
bound together with a variety of materials, like wire, thread, glue, and plastic combs. types of
binding see also finishing, folding, imposition, scoring, signature.
Blanket see impression cylinder, offset.
Bleed An image or printed colour that runs off the trimmed edge of a page. Bleeding one or more
edges of a printed page generally increases both the amount of paper needed and the overall
production cost of a printed job. Bleeds are created by trimming the page after printing.
Blind Embossing Stamping raised letters or images into paper using pressure and a die, but
without using foil or ink to add colour to the raised areas. Braille is an example of blind
BMP A computer graphics format "Bitmap IBM format" not generally used in professional
Bond Paper A type of office reprographic paper, widely used for letterheads and business
forms. Bond papers are characterized by strength, durability, and performance during electronic
printing. They are manufactured with a basic size of 17"x22". see also basic size, electronic
printing, office reprographic paper, xerography.
Bonding Strength The internal strength of a paper; the ability of the fibers within a paper to hold
to one another. Bonding strength measures the ability of the paper to hold together on the
printing press. Good bonding strength prevents fibers from coming loose ("picking"). see also
picking, pick out, sizing.
Book Paper A type of offset paper with a basic size of 25"x38". The primary applications for
these products are book publishing, commercial printing, direct mail, technical documents, and
manuals. see also basic size, offset papers, text papers.
Brightness The reflectivity of pulp, paper, or paperboard under test conditions, using a specially
calibrated measuring instrument. If paper lacks brightness it will absorb too much light, so little
will reflect back through the ink. see also fluorescent dye, refractiviness, whiteness.
Bristol Paper Solid or laminated heavyweight paper made to a caliper thick- ness of .006" or
higher. Bristols are generally used for tags, covers, and file folders and have a basic size of
24.5"x30.5". see also basic size, cover paper, tag paper.
Bulk The thickness of a stack of paper, technically measured as the thickness of a specified
number of sheets under a specified pressure. For example, using the measurement of an inch,
it may take less that 100 bulky bristol sheets to make an inch- deep pile. On the other hand, it
might take hundreds of sheets to make an inch of a lower-bulk text paper. Where thickness or
the illusion of substance is a desired effect, bulk is a key factor. see also caliper, thickness
Burn To expose photo sensitive media to light. i.e. Burning a negative or Burning a printing
plate. Also, to doge and "burn" a photo print (makes the image darker in an area that is burned,
ads detail to lightly exposed areas)
C1S Paper that is coated on one side only (coated one side).
C2S Paper that is coated on both sides (coated two sides).
Caliper The thickness of a single sheet of paper, as measured with a sensitive tool called a
micrometer, and expressed in units of thousandths of an inch. Caliper is a critical measure of
uniformity. Excessive variation in caliper can lead to print variation, undesirable visual effects,
and uneven stretch or press-feeding problems. It can also create problems in folding and
binding. see also bulk, thickness.
Case Binding see binding.
Choke (Choking) When trapping colour closing in an area that has another colour inside so the
choked colour overlaps, also spreading.
Chromalin A colour proofing system, usually the final colour proof before going on the press. This
is a high quality proof and all corrections and alterations should be made prior to this.
CMYK Abbreviation for the four process colour inks: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.
Coated Paper Paper with an outer layer of coating applied to one of both sides. The coating
may be added while the paper is still moving through the papermaking machine, or after it
comes off the machine. Coated papers are available in a variety of finishes, like gloss, dull, and
matte. They tend to have good ink holdout and minimal dot gain, which can be especially
important for recreating sharp, bright images, black and white halftones, and four-colour process
images. The smooth surface of coated papers also helps to reflect light evenly.
colour Key A printer's proof usually used for viewing the individual layers of C,M,Y & K, four
sheets of coloured acetate, for examining the quality of process colour separations.
colour Separation Literally separating the areas of a piece to be printed into its component spot
and process ink colours. Each colour to be printed must have its own printing plate. Usually
referred to in a photographic sense a colour separation of a photo done either digitally or
traditionally on a scanner.
colourcurve System A colour matching system based on light reflectance curves rather than on
ink formulations. It is intended to coordinate colours across a variety of surfaces and materials
and to reduce metamerism. see also match colour, metamerism, PANTONE MATCHING
colourfastness Having colour that won't run when wet, and won't fade in bright light.
Comp (comprehensive) A complete but prospective example of a design project,
demonstrating size, layout of images and type, use of colour, and paper. see also dummy
Composite Image A photograph or other graphic image, that is made of a combination of
Continuous Tone Having an unbroken range of intensities, as found in black and white
photographs. Continuous tone images have not been screened, and contain gradient tones
from black to white. see also halftone, screen, stochastic.
Contrast The degree of difference between light and dark areas in an image. Extreme lights and
darks give an image high contrast. An image with a wide tonal range has lover contrast.
Conversion The process of creating a three dimensional (3D) item from a flat sheet of paper.
i.e. envelope conversion / box conversion
Copy The written information and other text used in advertising and printed material.
Copyright (©) A group of legal rights granted to the author or creator of written or visual work.
All work appearing with the © symbol or the word "copyright" is protected by its creator or his
heirs. For more information, contact your attorney.
Copy Writer The individual who writes the written information or "copy" for an advertisement,
newsletter, publication or brochure.
Cover Paper Heavier, generally stiffer paper commonly used for book covers, folders, greeting
cards, business cards, and brochures. Uncoated cover papers generally match the colour and
finish of corresponding text papers. The basic size of cover stock is 20"x26". see also basic
size, text paper.
Curl The waviness of a sheet of paper generally seen along its edges. Curling is generally the
result of physical stresses or changes in humidity, and may occur at the paper mill, in the
pressroom, on press, or after binding. Paper tends to curl along, rather than across, the grain of
the paper. Recycled and recycled content papers have less tendency to curl than virgin fiber
papers because their fibers are shorter. see also grain, relative humidity.
Cut-size Writing or business papers that are cut to a finished size of 8.5"x11", 8.5"x14", or
11"x17". Cut-size papers, like Champion Inkjet, are usually packed in reams of 500 sheets
before leaving the mill.
Debossing Pressing letters or illustrations into a sheet of paper using a metal or plastic die to
create a depressed (debossed) image. see also embossing.
Deinking Removing ink and other finishing materials, like coatings, sizings, and adhesives from
printed paper. The complex de-inking process is what makes recycling paper difficult and
ultimately adds to the cost of a recycled sheet of paper. To produce high-quality recycled or
recycled content papers for printing and writing, the de-inking process needs to be thorough.
The goal is to end up with reusable fiber that has few impurities, since impurities lower the
quality of a recycled sheet and can some- times damage equipment in the papermaking and
printing process. Modern offset and flexographic ink, photocopier and laser printing "ink,"
ultraviolet and thermography coatings, and adhesives make it increasingly difficult to de-ink
paper. de-inking process see also bleaching, flotation, pulping wood, recycled paper.
Densitometer An instrument used throughout a print run to measure the optical density of ink
Density The weight of a sheet of paper as compared to its bulk. For example, a paper that
weighs more than another paper but is thinner has a higher density. Compacting the fibers
creates a dense paper. see also bulk, weight.
Desktop Publishing A process for creating camera ready and plate ready artwork on a
Die-cutting Using a formed, metal-edged die to precision cut , or to cut shapes into a piece of
paper. If a printing project requires a custom-made die, the total cost of the job will increase.
Digital Imaging The process of creating a digital output of an illustration, photographic image,
computer file or other computer generated materials. Output media can be film, paper,
transparencies, vinyl and other materials.
Digital Photography The process of recording images using a digital camera or a conventional
camera with a digital adapter, it records on a disk or on microchip which can then be
downloaded directly to a computer in tiff, pict or eps format.
Digital Printing A type of printing which uses digital imaging process that transfers the image
directly onto plain paper immediately, without traditional offset rollers and plates.
Dimensional Stability A measure of paper's tendency to stretch or shrink, especially when
affected by changes in moisture content from humidity, the printing process, or even the
passage of time. Paper that maintains its original dimensions has a high degree of dimensional
stability. see also grain, relative humidity, resilience, runnability.
Dispersion see de-inking
Dot Compensation Adjusting the size of the dots in halftones or four-colour images to allow for
dot gain and to ensure that the colour and detail of the image print as intended. see also dot gain,
four-colour process, halftone, ink holdout, screen.
Dot Gain A printing term which describes wet ink coming in contact with paper and spreading
as it is transfers. As the halftone dots are applied to the paper, the wet ink spreads, causing the
dots to increase in size and halftones to appear darker. Paper weight, type of paper (coated or
uncoated), press type (especially web presses), effect the amount of dot gain in a given printed
piece. You may compensate for dot gain by calculating the dot gain before a print job and
lessen the density of the images to be printed before you output film. See also dot
compensation, four-colour process, halftone.
DPI (dot per inch) The number of dots that fit horizontally and vertically into a one- inch
measure. Generally, the more dots per inch, the more detail is captured, and the sharper the
resulting image. see also halftone, lines per inch, screen.
Dry Trap A layer of wet ink being applied over a previous layer of dry ink in a separate run of
the printing press. Dry trapping usually produces sharper images than wet trapping because
subsequent layers of ink aren't diluted by prior wet or damp layers. Dry trap- ping is also more
expensive because the paper travels through the press more than once. see also trapping, wet
Dull Coated A coated paper finish that falls between glossy and matte. see also coated paper,
gloss, matte coated.
Dummy An unprinted mock-up of a book, brochure, or "to-be-printed" piece. A dummy is made
of the same paper stocks that will be used in the finished piece, and serves as a reference for
the client, designer, printer, mailing, house, or distributor. The printer, paper, merchant, or paper
consultant generally provides the dummy at the request of the designer. see also comp, paper
Duotone A two-colour halftone of the same images created with two screens, two plates, and two
colours. Most halftones are one-colour halftones, printed with black ink on white paper. By
blending the black of the tiny ink dots and the white of the paper, the human eye sees shades of
gray. Duotones are made by printing an image with two colours, generally black and a second
colour. The full range of tones are printed black and the middle range of tones are printed in the
second colour. The result is a striking image with more richness and depth that a one-colour
halftone. The image can be further enhanced by printing a tritone or a quadratone; these are
also reproductions of black and white images, perhaps with a touch of colour. The cost of printing
tritones or quadratones may be as high as or higher than four- colour process printing. see also
four-colour process, halftone, quadratone, screen, tritone.
Dust Tiny, free pieces of fiber, filler, and/or coating on paper. During printing, dust may adhere to
the blanket and create imperfections by not allowing ink to reach the paper surface. see also
Electronic Printing A printing method that creates images using electrostatic charges, rather
than by pressing ink onto a plate. Photocopiers and inkjet or laser printers use electronic
printing. see also electrophotography, printing methods, xerography.
Elctrophotography A printing process that uses principles of electricity and electrically-charged
particles to create images. In photocopiers and laser printers, electric charges create the image
on an electrophographic surface that works as a printing plate. This surface is cleared after
each image or copy is made, and is used over again for the next copy. see also electronic
printing, printing process, xerography.
Electronic Publishing A process by which information is distributed in electronic formats.
The internet is a prime example of electronic publishing. Also books on CD ROM are considered
Em Space A lateral space equal to the width of the lower case letter "m". Likewise, En space, is
the space of the lower case "n". Used in typography and typesetting.
Emboss A process by which a dye is used for raising an area of paper to create letterforms,
shapes and textures. The dye can be made of magnesium, which is created from exposing light
to the magnesium and leaving only the form of the artwork to be pressed into paper, or brass
which is hand done, is more expensive but looks very good with beveled edges and fine detail.
see also blind embossing, debossing.
Emulsion The chemically treated side of photographic film. (The dull side not the shiny side.)
Depending on the printing process involved, film will be requested usually as "right reading
Enamel A general term referring to coated paper that has a higher basis weight than coated
publication (magazine) paper, but a lower basis weight and caliper than coated cover paper.
Engraving A printing process using intaglio, or recessed plates. Made from steel or copper,
engraving plates cost more than plates used in most other printing processes, such as
lithography. Ink sits in the recessed wells of the plate while the printing press exerts force on the
paper, pushing it into the wells and onto the ink. The pressure creates raised letters and images
on the front of the page and indentations on the back. The raised lettering effect of engraving
can be simulated using a less costly process, called thermography. see also intaglio, plate,
printing process, thermography.
EPS (EPSF) Encapsulated Postscript File. A vector based, computer graphics file format
developed by Adobe Systems. EPS is the preferred format for many computer illustrations,
because of its efficient use of memory and fine colour control. The artwork description is "plotted"
by the computer. Example: point "A" has a line that goes to point "B" then continues to point "C",
and is filled with a colour. (bitmapped artwork attributes a colour for every pixel on the computer
screen and is not postscript)
Finishing Preparing printed pages for use. Most printed jobs require one or more finishing
steps, such as trimming, folding, or binding. see also binding, folding, trimming.
Flexography A direct (not offset) printing method that uses relief plates, similar to rubber
stamps, which are made from rubber or photopolymer. The flexible plates are wrapped around a
cylinder on the printing press. "Flexo" works best when printing large areas of solid colour,
making it popular for printing plastic bags, wrapping paper, and milk cartons. It's also used for
the Sunday colour comics and newspaper inserts. Rubber manufactures, eager to find new uses
for rubber, have invested heavily in flexographic research, and improvements have been made
in ink coverage and four-colour registration. see also four-colour process, offset, plate, printing
process, registration, relief.
Fluorescent Inks Printing inks that both emit and reflect light. Generally, these inks are brighter
and more opaque than traditional inks. Using one or more fluorescent inks can actually brighten
a printed image - especially four-colour process printing on uncoated stock. On the down side,
fluorescent inks are not colourfast and will fade in bright light and sunlight over time. They can
also have a negative effect on dot gain and trapping, making the printing less sharp and without
as much detail. see also dot gain, trapping
Focaltone A proprietary colour matching system for process colour.
Foil Stamping To cover paper with a thin, flexible sheet of metal or other material. The foil,
which may be clear or opaque, comes in a range of colours, and is carried on a plastic sheet.
Stamping separates the foil from the plastic and makes it adhere to the paper. Foil stamping
can be combined with embossing or debossing as an added design element. see also
Folding Doubling up a sheet of paper so that one part lies on top of another. Folding stresses
the paper fibers. To create a smooth, straight fold, heavy papers, like cover stocks and bristols,
need to be scored before they're folded. Multiple fold strength is important in printed pieces like
books, maps, and pamphlets. It's far less important in one-fold operations like greeting cards or
envelops, where fold cracking is the vital consideration. Folding strength is negatively affected y
the drying heat of various printing and finishing operations. see also binding, finishing, gatefold,
imposition, scoring, signature.
Form The assembled pages and images as printed on a single large sheet, before trimming.
With the correct imposition, the pages of a form will be in correct order after folding and
trimming. Once folded and trimmed, a form becomes a "signature." see also folding, imposition,
Four-colour Process A method that uses dots of magenta (red), cyan (blue), yellow, and black
to simulate the continuous tones and variety of colours in a colour image. Reproducing a four-colour
image begins with separating the image into four different halftones by using colour filters of the
opposite (or negative) colour. For instance, a red filter is used to capture the cyan halftone, a
blue filter is used to capture the yellow halftone, and a green filter is used to capture the
magenta halftone. Because a printing press can't change the tone intensity of ink, four-colour
process relies on a trick of the eye to mimic light and dark areas. Each halftone separation is
printed with its process colour (magenta, cyan, yellow, and black). When we look at the final
result, our eyes blend the dots to recreate the continuous tones and variety of colours we see in
a colour photograph, painting, or drawing. see also colour separation, continuous tone, dots per
inch, halftone, screen subtractive colour, touch plate.