Graphic Design & Printing Terminology (G to R) - (Next Page)
Gatefold Two or more parallel folds on a sheet of paper with the end flaps folding inward. see
GIF An eight bit (256 colours or shades of grey) or less computer file format by Compuserve.
Commonly used to post photographic images to computer bulletin boards and the internet, GIF
files are almost never used for professional printing.
Gloss The property that's responsible for coated paper's shiny or lustrous appearance; also the
measure of a sheet's surface reflectivity. Gloss is often associated with quality: higher quality
coated papers exhibit high gloss. Champion Kromekote is a paper noted and sold for its
exceptionally high gloss. see also cast coating, coated paper.
Grade A type or class of paper identified as having the same composition and characteristics.
Grade is a generic paper category, such as writing, offset, cover, tag, and index paper. It can
also refer to the quality level of the paper; or to a mill's specific rank of paper.
Grammage Weight in grams of a quantity of paper cut to sheets that measure one square
meter. see also weight.
Graphic A non text item, illustration, photograph or artwork.
Graphic Design A way of communication with visual elements and information to present an
idea or concept.
Graphic Designer The person who puts Graphic Designs together, many of whom now use
computers, drafting and illustration techniques and other tools to create with.
Gravure A printing process that uses intaglio, or recessed, image carriers. The image carrier,
which is flat or cylindrical, moves through an ink pool. A blade scrapes excess ink off the plane
of the plate, leaving ink in the recessed wells. A second cylinder presses the paper onto the
plates, where it picks up ink from the wells. The high speed of gravure presses and the
durability of the metal intaglio plates make gravure an economical printing method suitable for
large print runs (more than two million copies). see also intaglio, plate, printing methods
Greek Usually nonsense words and letterforms that are not legible, used in a design to
approximate the "colour" of a page. Used primarily before final text is available for a client comps.
Gripper The row of clips holding the sheet of paper as it speeds through the press. see also
Gripper Edge The leading edge of paper that moves through a printing press or folding
machine. No printing can take place on the outside 3/8" of the paper on the gripper edge. see
Guillotine A machine used to trim stacks of paper, which works like the original French
guillotine worked. A cutting blade moves between two upright guides and slices the paper
uniformly as it moves downward. see also trimming, trim size.
Halftone A printed picture that uses dots to simulate the tones between light and dark. Because
a printing press cannot change the tone of ink, it will only print the ink colour being used on
press. This works well for printing text or line art: the press simply puts a full dose of ink for each
letter or line on the paper, creating small solid areas of ink. But black-and-white photographs
are continuous tone images, and printing a photograph this way would have the same result:
large solid areas of ink. White areas of the photograph would have no ink; black areas would
have black ink; and gray areas would have black, not gray ink. The halftone mimics the
continuous tone of a black-and-white photograph by converting the picture to dots.
Photographing a continuous tone image through a screen creates a duplicate image made of
dots. Darker areas of the photograph have bigger dots and lighter area of the photograph have
smaller dots. To the human eye, the black of the dots blend with the white of the paper to create
shades of gray. The result is strikingly similar to the continuous tone of a photograph. see also
continuous tone, duotone, four-colour process, quadratone, screen, tritone.
Hexachrome A proprietary colour separation process, developed by Pantone, that uses six (6)
instead of four process colours.
Hickey An irregularity in the ink coverage of a printed area. Hickeys are caused by paper or
pressroom dust, dirt, or pick out on the printing blanket, all of which prevents the ink from
adhering to the paper surface. see also dust, picking, pick out
Illustrator An individual who draws or paints images for use in commercial art. Many new tools
allow a variety of expressions with traditional media or new computer enhanced illustration
Imagesetter A high resolution device that prints directly to plate ready film. Many imagesetters
output film at 2400 DPI (dots per inch).
Imposition Also called image assembly; refers to assembling printed matter in a way that
results in pages appearing in correct sequence. imposition process see also backing up, folding,
form, make-ready, manufacturing order signature.
Impression Cylinder The cylinder or flat bed of a printing press that holds paper while an inked
image from the blanket is pressed upon it. see also offset planographic.
Inch A unit of measurement equal to six (6) picas or seventy two (72) points.
Index Paper A stiff, inexpensive paper with a smooth finish. The high bulk but low weight of this
paper makes it a popular choice for business reply cards. The basic size of index paper is
25.5"x30.5". see also basic size.
Ink A combination of pigment, pigment carrier or vehicle, and additives. Careful ink formulation
by the printer can reduce or prevent smudging, unevenness, picking, and additional printing
problems associated with ink. The ink used for a particular job depends on the paper specified
and the printing process used. see also dry trap, tack, UV ink, vegetable-based ink, wet trap.
Ink Absorption Capacity to accept or absorb ink. see also absorbency, ink holdout.
Ink Holdout Resistance to the penetration of ink. Coated papers tend to have good ink holdout.
The ink pigments sit on the surface of the coating, and are not absorbed into the spaces
between the paper fibers. This minimizes dot spread and results in a sharp image. Uncoated
papers tend to absorb ink into the sheet, but printers can compensate for this and still produce a
very bright, sharp image on uncoated paper. see also coated paper, dot compensation, ink
Jog To shake a stack of papers, either on a machine or by hand, so that the edges line up.
Printers jog the paper to get rid of any dust or particles, and to ensure proper feeding into the
JPEG Joint Photographic Electronic Group. A common standard for compressing image data.
Kern To adjust the lateral space between letters.
Leading The space, measured in points, between consecutive lines of type. (Original name
derived from the strips of lead placed between lines of hot type in the early 1900's.)
Letterpress A relief printing method. Printing is done using cast metal type or plates on which
the image or printing area are raised above the nonprinting areas. Ink rollers touch only the top
surface of the raised areas; the nonprinting areas are lower and do not receive ink. The inked
image is transferred directly to the page, resulting in type of images that may actually be
depressed or debossed into the paper by the pressure of the press. see also printing methods,
Lines Per Inch (lpi) The number of lines in an inch, as found on the screens that create
halftones and four-colour process images (for example, "printed 175-line screen"). The more
lines per inch, the more detailed the printed image will be. With the demand for computer generated
imagery, the term "dots per inch" (which refers to the resolution of the output), is
replacing the term "lines per inch." see also dpi, four-colour process, halftone, screen .
Litho Short for lithography or offset lithography.
Lithography A printing process using flat surface planographic plates that is based on the
principle that oil and water don't mix. The image to be lithographed is created on the plate with
greasy material that repels water. Water is run over the plate, and the non-image areas absorb
it. When the oily ink hits the plate, it's attracted to the similarly greasy image, and repelled by
the rest of the wet plate. When paper is pressed onto the plate, it picks up the ink (and a bit of
the water). This process is now used primarily for limited-edition prints. see also offset,
planographic, plate, printing process.
Lupe From the German word for magnifying glass, a lens used by photographers, printers, and
designers to examine details in printed materials.
M weight The weight in pounds of 1,000 sheets (or two standard 500- sheet reams) or paper.
On the label of a paper ream, the M weight is often given after the dimensions of the paper in
the ream: for example, 23"x29"-42M. The capital letter M, like the Roman numeral M,
designates 1,000; the 42 indicates that the 1,000 sheets weigh 42 lbs. see also basis weight,
ream weight, weight.
Make-ready All the activities involved in preparing a printing press for a print run, such as
setting the registration, balancing the colour, and adjusting the plates and blankets for paper
thickness. see also imposition, impression cylinder, plate, printing methods, registration.
Match colour A custom-blended ink that matches a specified colour exactly. Match colours are
used to print line copy and halftones in one, two, three, or occasionally more colours. The
specified colours are chosen from colour systems. The most widely used systems are the
PATONE MATCHING SYSTEM, colourcurve, and Toyo. see also colourcurve, PANTONE
MATCHING SYSTEM, Toyo.
Match Print A colour proofing system developed by 3M. A high quality proofing system.
Matte Coated A non-glossy coating on paper, generally used to refer to papers having little or
no gloss. A matte coated sheet is often specified when there is a lot of type, since it makes for
easier reading. see also coated paper, dull coated, finish, gloss.
Metamerism The tendency of colour to change with the light source in which it's viewed. For
example, two reds may appear to match under fluorescent light, but clash badly in the light of
Mill The physical site where paper is manufactured; refers to a company that manufactures
Moire A pattern created by printing several repetitive designs on top of each other. In four-colour
process printing, four screens of coloured dots print on top of each other. If the angles of the
halftone screens of each of the four colours are not properly aligned with each other, an
undesirable, blurry pattern, called "moire" appears in the final image; the term is from the watery
or wavy pattern seen on moire silk. see also four-colour process, halftone, rosette, screen.
Offset Printing (Offset lithography) Currently the most common commercial printing method, in
which ink is offset from the printing plate to a second roller then to paper.
Offset An indirect printing process. Ink is transferred to paper from a blanket that carries an
impression from the printing plate, rather than directly from the printing plate itself. Generally,
when we say "offset" we mean "offset lithography," even though other printing processes, such
as letterpress, may also use this indirect technique. The term offset (or "set off") can also refer
to the smudges created when ink from one printed sheet transfers to another. Offset spray is
used to prevent this. see also impression cylinder, lithography, planographic, plate, printing
Opacity A measure of how opaque a paper is. The more fibers or fillers a paper has, the more
opaque it is, and the less it allows "show- through" of the printing on the back side or on the next
page. Opacity isn't always determined by thickness or weight; a thinner paper may have more
opacity than a thicker paper if opacifying thickeners are used. see also calcium carbonate,
fillers, thickness, titanium dioxide, weight.
Pallet A platform with a slatted bottom, used to hold and ship cartons of paper stacked on top of
PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM The most widely used system for specifying and blending
match colours. The PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM identifies more than 700 colours. It provides
designers with swatches for specific colours, and gives printers the recipes for making those
colours. PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM was developed by neither a commercial printer nor an
ink manufacture, leaving the choice of ink brand up to the printer. see also colourcurve, match
Paper A complex matted web of cellulose fibers.
Paper Consultant A representative from a paper mill or merchant who has the expertise to help
designers and printers choose just the right paper for a specific job. see also manufacturing
order, merchant, specifying paper.
Paper-ink Affinity The tendency for paper and ink to attract and stay attracted to each other.
This keeps the ink on the paper and off the reader's hands or the next sheet. An incompatibility
between ink and paper can cause printing problems.
PDF Portable Document file. A proprietary format developed by Adobe Systems for the transfer
of designs across multiple computer platforms.
Perfect Binding A book binding process where pages are glued together and directly to the
cover of the book. The appearance is of a flat spine on the end of the book such as a paperback
Perfecting Press A printing press that simultaneously prints both sides of a sheet of paper as it
passes through the press. On other presses, printing both sides means running the street
through the press to print one side, allowing the ink to dry, turning the paper over, and then
running the sheet through the press again to print the other side. see also imposition, printing
Permanence A paper's ability to resist tears, fading, and general aging over time. The national
standard for permanence requires a pH of 7.5-8.5; at least 2% calcium carbonate; and no
ground wood or unbleached fiber. The standard also has specific fold endurance and tear
resistance requirements. Paper meeting the standard for permanence can be expected to last
more than 100 years. Paper with a pH level of 5.5 or higher can be expected to last up to 50
years. see also alkaline papermaking, archival paper, pH
Petroleum-based Ink An ink using petroleum as the vehicle for carrying the pigment. Ink
manufacturers are seeking new vehicles to reduce the need for petroleum-based solvents,
which may be toxic at high levels. see also ink, vegetable-based ink
pH The measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a material. Paper with a pH below 7.0 is considered
acidic; paper with a pH above 7.0 is considered acid-free, or alkaline. see also acid-free paper,
alkaline papermaking, archival paper.
Photo CD A proprietary format developed by Eastman Kodak for storing photographic images
on a compact disc. Usually 35mm format. Images can be easily accessed for use in
Photocopy A mechanical printing process that uses a light sensitive printing element, magnetic
toner and a heating element to fuse the toner to the paper.
Photo Illustration An image, primarily consisting of a photograph or composite image
containing a photograph.
Photo Plate A light sensitive printing plate. The plate is developed like film, then used on a
Photograph An image or picture made by exposing light sensitive film with a camera.
Pica A unit of measurement equal to twelve (12) points or one sixth (1/6) of an inch. Used by
designers and other graphics professional for its precision.
Pick Out A problem on press caused by unevenly sealed paper, or paper with low bonding
strength. The ink "picks" off weak areas of the paper, lifting coating from a coated stock, or
lifting fibers from an uncoated stock, and transferring them to the printing blanket. These fibers
will eventually be transferred back onto the sheets being printed, causing inking and surface
inconsistencies. see also bonding strength, hickey, picking, sizing
Pick Resistance The ability of paper fibers to hold together during the printing process. see also
bonding strength, pick out sizing
Picking A problem generally resulting from using an ink that's too tacky for the paper it's printed
on. The ink actually pulls tiny pieces of the paper off the surface of the sheet. Two types of
picking are fiber bundles and coating picking. Fiber bundles are caused by weak fiber bond, and
coating picking occurs when the adhesive properties of coating binder aren't strong enough to
hold up the high tack of the offset printing process. see also bonding strength, pick out, sizing
Pigment A material, such as titanium dioxide, added to pulp before it is formed into paper.
White pigments boost brightness and opacity; coloured pigments and dyes control the shade or
change the colour see also fluorescent dye, ingredients of paper, opacity, titanium dioxide
Pixel Depth The amount of data used to describe each coloured dot on the computer screen. i.e.
Monochrome is 1 bit deep. Greyscale is 8 bits deep. RGB is 24 bits deep. Images to be printed
as CMYK separation should be 32 bits deep.
Planographic A method for printing ink onto paper, where the image sits on the same surface
as the printing plate. The image area is greased to attract ink, while the rest of the plate attracts
water and repels ink. As the paper is pressed onto the flat surface of the plate, it picks up ink
from the greasy image areas and a small bit of water from blank areas. This is the printing
process used in lithography and offset lithography. see also lithography, offset, plate, printing
Plate Brief for printing plate, generally a thin sheet of metal that carries the printing image. The
plate surface is treated or configured so that only the printing image is ink receptive. see also
electronic printing, intaglio, letterpress, lithography, offset, planographic, printing methods, relief
PMS colour (Pantone Matching System) A proprietary colour system for choosing and matching
specific spot colours. Almost all printers worldwide use this system for colour matching.
Point In measurements of the thickness of paper, one point is 1/1000 or .001 inches;
measurements of the size of type, one point is 1/72 inch. see also caliper, thickness
Precision Sheeting Converting rolls of paper into finished sheet sizes in a single operation.
PrePress The various printing related services, performed before ink is actually put on the
printing press. (i.e. stripping, scanning, colour separating, etc. . .)
Press Proof A test printing of a subject prior to the final production run. Press proofs are
generally printed on the paper stock that will be used for the finished project. A few sheets are
run as a final check before printing the entire job.
Printability How well a paper performs with ink on press. Absorbency, smoothness, ink holdout,
and opacity all affect printability. see also absorbency, dimensional stability, ink holdout,
opacity, relative humidity
Printing The process of applying images to a variety of surfaces. Some printing processes
include: offset lithography, thermography, la gravure, letterpress, silkscreen, digital, laser, dye
Print Quality The overall excellence of a printed piece. Paper, ink, press, and the skill of the
press operators all affect print quality. see also printability.
Process Colours The four process colours: magenta (process red), cyan (process blue), yellow,
and black used to print four-colour images. see also colour separating, four-colour process,
Process Colour The mechanical process of reproducing a full colour image with the three primary
subtractive colour inks (CMYK/ Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) and black. When viewed
under a lupe, the individual colour halftone dots can be seen in a process colour image.
Production Artist (Paste-up Artist) A skilled laborer who produces finished camera ready or
plate ready artwork from the visual elements and instructions provided by the designer or client.
Pt. Abbreviation for "point." see also point
Pulp A wet slurry of fibers and water that is the basic ingredient of paper. see also cellulose
fiber, pulping wood, slurry, wet end
Quadratone A black and white image printed with four screens and four colours, such as one or
more blacks and different shades of gray, used to enrich the contrast between light and dark
areas. see also continuous tone, duotone, halftone, screen, tritone
Ream A package containing 500 sheets of printing paper.
Ream Weight The actual weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of paper. see also actual
weight, basis weight, weight
Registration The process of alignment of the different elements in a printing job. Such as the
different coloured inks on a print job, so they are correctly printed next to each other or over each
other . (i.e. If the inks can be seen to overlap improperly or to leave white gaps on the page, the
printing is said to be "out of registration" or "poorly registered".)
Relative Humidity Balance the relative humidity of the pressroom compared to the relative
humidity of the paper to be printed. Relative humidity is a mea- sure of how much moisture air
or paper can hold versus how much it is actually holding at a given temperature. Before printing
a job, the printer must "cure" the paper by letting it sit, wrapped, in the pressroom for a
determined amount of time. This will bring the paper to the same temperature and humidity as
the pressroom, helping to prevent several printing problems. For instance, ink on cold paper
takes longer to dry than ink on room-temperature paper. Ink on dry paper may "chalk" if the dry
paper absorbs the liquid in the pigment before the solid pigments adhere to the paper. Paper
with too much humidity will expand, causing it to wrinkle on press. This can cause misalignment
and a lack or registration in the printing. see also registration
Resilience The ability of paper to return to its original form after being stressed by bending,
stretching, or compressing during the printing and finishing processes. see also bonding
strength, dimensional stability, runnability, tensile, strength
RGB Red Green Blue, the colours used by a computer monitor to create colour images on the
screen. When all three colours are combined over each other the colour of light is white.
Rosette The formation created by the dots that make up four-colour images. The dots, in
magenta (red), cyan (blue), yellow, and black, overlap each other in a cluster. Because the dots
are not perfectly round, and because they are turned at angles to each other, this cluster
resembles the arrangement of petals in a rose. see also four-colour process
Runnability The ease with which a paper moves through a printing press. For example, offset
lithography puts more stress on paper than other printing processes because of: how the paper
moves through the press; the great amount of water used in the process; and the tackiness of
the inks that are used. In order to have good runnability, paper for offset printing must be strong,
have great tear resistance, and possess good dimensional stability. It must also be water
resistant and have a strong surface so the paper doesn't pick.