Print Defined.


# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Four over zero is a trade designation for a printed piece with four colours (full-​colour) printed on the front side and none printed on the back side. The printed colours are CYMK, Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and black also known as full colour printing.

Four over one is a trade designation for a printed piece with four colours (full- colour) printed one side and the other with one colour, usually black.

Four over Four is a trade designation for a printed piece with four colours (full-colour) printed on both sides of the sheet. The printed colours are CYMK, Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Black also known as full colour printing.


A transparent sheet placed over originals or artwork, allowing the designer to write instructions and\or indicate a second color for placement.

Acid-free Paper
Paper made from pulp containing little or no acid so it resists deterioration from age. It is also called alkaline paper, archival paper, neutral pH paper, permanent paper and thesis paper.

Against the Grain
At right angles to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to with the grain. Across the grain and cross grain are synonymous terms. 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. AA, author alteration and customer alteration are often used as replacements.

Antique Paper
Roughest finish offered on offset paper.

Aqueous Coating
A clear fast drying water based coating used to protect printed pieces. Aqueous coating is more scuff resistant than varnish and is usually applied at 100% coverage on press.

All original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, intended for printing. Often referred to as 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.


Back Up
(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.

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.

Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming.

An enlargement, usually used with graphic images or photographs

Board Paper/Paperboard
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.

Body is the main text of work not including the headlines.

Bond paper
Category of paper commonly used for writing, printing and photocopying. Bond paper is also called business paper, communication paper, correspondence paper and writing paper.

Book Block
Folded signatures gathered, sewn and trimmed, but not yet covered.

The decorative design or rule surrounding the main message 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.

Bristol Paper
A 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.

Bulk is the thickness of paper relative to its basic weight.

Butt Register
Register where ink colors meet precisely without overlapping or allowing space between, as compared to lap register. Also called butt fit and kiss register.


C1S and C2S
Abbreviations for coated one side and coated two sides.

The process of making 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 sheet fed press that detects double sheets or on a binding machine that detects missing signatures or inserts.

Camera-ready Copy/Finished Art/Reproduction Copy
Mechanicals, photographs and art fully prepared for reproduction according to the technical requirements of the printing process being used.

A 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.

Cast-coated Paper
High gloss, coated paper made by pressing the paper against a polished, hot, metal drum while the coating is still wet.

Catalog Paper
Coated paper rated #4 or #5 with basis weight from 35# to 50# (50 to 75 gsm) commonly used for catalogs and magazines.

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.

Check Copy
(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.

Choke is the technique of slightly reducing the size of an image to create a hairline trap or to outline. Choke is referred to as Shrink and Skinny too.

Strength of a color when compared to how close it seems to neutral gray. Chrome is also referred to depth, intensity, purity and saturation.

Close Up
A mark used to indicate closing space between characters or words usually used in proofing stages.

The abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four colours used in process printing.

Coated Paper
Coated paper has 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.

The term used to describe the hue, lightness, brightness and saturation of an object.

Colour Balance
The amount of process colours that simulate the colours of the original scene or photograph is referred to as colour balance.

Colour Break
In multi-colour printing, colour break is the point, line or space at which one ink colour stops and another begins. Also called break for colour.

Colour Correct
To adjust the relationship among the process colours to achieve desired colour.

Colour Key
Colour key, the brand name for an overlay colour proof. Sometimes used as a generic term for any overlay colour proof.

Colour Model
Way of categorizing and describing the infinite array of colours found in nature.

Colour Proofs
Image reproduced for reference and accuracy prior to printing on a press. A colour proof is made using a photomechanical or digital printer in less time and at a lower cost than a press proof.

Colour Saturation
Term used to describe the perceived intensity of a specific colour.

Color Separation
(1) Technique of using a camera, scanner or computer to divide continuous-tone colour images into four halftone negatives.
(2) The product resulting from colour separating and subsequent four-colour process printing.

Colour Curve
In image editing, a colour curve is a remapping of image tonality, specified as a function from input level to output level, used as a way to emphasize colours or other elements in a picture.

Colour Sequence
The order in which inks are printed is also called lay down sequence or rotation.

Colour Shift
Change in image color resulting from changes in register, ink densities or dot gain during four-color process printing.

Colour Swatch
Small sample of a colour used for reference and example.

Color Transparency
A positive colour image photographically produced on transparent film or glass and viewed by transmitted light. A colour transparency is used to perform colour separations.

Commercial Printer
Printer producing a wide range of products such as announcements, brochures, posters, booklets, stationery, business forms, books and magazines. Commercial printer is also called a job printer because each job is different.

Comprehensive Dummy
Simulation of a printed piece complete with type, graphics and colors. Also called color comprehensive and comp.

Paper kept in the pressroom for a few hours or days before printing so that its moisture level and temperature equal that in the pressroom. Conditioned, cured, mature or seasoned are alternate terms.

Continuous Tone
A printing term describing a gradient toned image that has not been screened with tone gradations between highlight and shadows.

Contrast is the degree of tones in an image ranging from highlight to shadow.

Converter is a term used for a business that makes products such as boxes, bags, envelopes and displays

Surface or frame on a process camera that holds copy in position to be photographed.

Thick paper that protects a publication and advertises its title. Parts of covers are often described as follows: Cover 1=outside front; Cover 2=inside front; Cover 3=inside back, Cover 4=outside back.

Is the extent to which ink covers the surface of a substrate. Ink coverage is usually expressed as light, medium or heavy.

Cover Paper
Category of thick paper used for products such as posters, menus, folders and covers of paperback books.

Crop Marks
Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks and tic marks.

Is the process to dry inks, varnishes or other coatings after printing to ensure good adhesion and prevent set off.

Customer Service Representative/CSR
Employee of a printer, service bureau, separator or other business who coordinates projects and keeps customers informed.

Abbreviation for hundredweight using the Roman numeral C=100.

Cyan (C)
C is the abbreviation for cyan in four process printing. It is the ‘C’ in CYMK, and is also known as process blue.


Data Compression
Technique of reducing the amount of storage required to hold a digital file reducing the disk space the file requires and allowing it to be processed or transmitted more quickly.

Instrument used to measure density. Reflection densitometers measure light reflected from paper and other surfaces; transmission densitometers measure light transmitted through film and other materials.

(1) Regarding ink, the relative thickness of a layer of printed ink.
(2) Regarding color, the relative ability of a color to absorb light reflected from it or block light passing through it.
(3) Regarding paper, the relative tightness or looseness of fibers.

Density Range
Density Range is the difference between the darkest and lightest areas of copy. Also called contrast ratio, copy range and tonal range.

Desktop Publishing/DTP
The technique of using a personal computer to design images and pages, assemble type and graphics, then using a laser printer or image setter to output the assembled pages onto paper, film or printing plate.

A specialized tool used in manufacturing for the purpose of cutting shapes, scoring, stamping, embossing and de bossing paper, paperboard and thin plastics using a press. Cutting irregular shapes in paper, paperboard or thin plastic using a die is the process of die cutting.

Digital Printing
Digital printing refers to methods of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers. It also allows for on-demand printing, short turnaround time, and even a modification of the image (variable data) used for each impression.

Digital Proofing
Page proofs produced through electronic memory transferred onto paper via laser or ink-jet.

Direct Digital Color Proof/DDCP
Color proof made by a laser, ink jet printer or other computer-controlled device without needing to make separation films first.

DPI/Dots Per Square Inch
The measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, image setters, monitors and scanners.

Dry Back
Phenomenon of printed ink colors becoming less dense as the ink dries.

Dry Trap
To print over dry ink, as compared to wet trap.

Dual-purpose Bond Paper/DP Bond Paper
A paper suited for printing by either lithography (offset) or xerography (photocopy).

Dull Finish
Flat (not glossy) finish on coated paper; slightly smoother than matte. Dull finish is also referred to as suede, velour and velvet finish.

A represenative sample of what the final product will look like.

Black-and-white photograph reproduced using two halftone negatives, each shot to emphasize different tonal values in the original.

Duplex Paper
Duplex paper is also called double-faced paper and two-tone paper. Duplex paper is any type of paper produced—typically via lamination—with a different color on each side.


Electronic Publishing
Publishing by printing with device, such as a photocopy machine or ink jet printer, driven by a computer that can change the image instantly from one copy to the next. (2) Publishing via output on fax, computer bulletin board or other electronic medium, as compared to output on paper.

To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface. Emboss is also referred to as cameo and tool. 1. To mold or carve in relief: emboss a design on a coin. 2. To decorate with a raised design: emboss leather. 3. To adorn; decorate.

The art of forming designs by cutting, corrosion by acids, a photographic process etc., on the surface of a metal plate, wood, plastic or the like.

EP is the abbreviation for envelope.

EPS/Encapsulated PostScript file.
Encapsulated Post Script, a known file format usually used to transfer post script information from one program to another.

Equivalent Paper or Comparable Stock
Paper that is not the brand specified, but looks, prints and may cost the same.

A price that states what a job will probably cost. Also known as bid, quotation and tender.

The individual performing or creating the “estimate.”

To use chemicals to carve an image into metal, glass or film.


Fast Color Inks
Inks colours that retain their density and resist fading as the product is used and washed.

Felt Finish
A soft woven pattern in text paper.

Fifth Color
The ink colour used in addition to the four CYMK colours in four-colour process

Film Laminate
Thin sheet of plastic bonded to a printed product for protection or increased gloss.

Fine Papers
Papers made specifically for writing or commercial printing. Cultural papers and graphic papers are other terms for fine papers.

(1) Surface characteristics of paper.
(2) General term for trimming, folding, binding and all other post press operations.

Finished Size/Trimmed Size
Size of product after production is completed, as compared to flat size.

Fixed Costs
Costs that remain the same regardless of how many pieces are printed. Copyrighting, photography and design are fixed costs.

Flat Colour
(1) Any colour created by printing only one ink, as compared to a colour created by printing four-colour process. Also called block colour and spot colour.
(2) colour that seems weak or lifeless.

Flat Size
Flat size is the product size after printing and trimming, but before folding as compared to Finished size.

Method of printing on a web press using rubber or plastic plates with raised images. Flexography is also called Aniline printing because flexographic inks originally used aniline dyes.

Foil Emboss/Heat Stamp
To foil stamp and emboss an image on the surface of a material.

Foil Stamp
Method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with the heated die. Also called block print, hot foil stamp and stamp.

A bindery machine dedicated to folding printed materials

Format refers to the size, style, shape, layout or organization of a printed product.

Four-color Process Printing
Technique of printing that uses black, magenta, cyan and yellow to simulate full-color images. Also called color process printing, full color printing and process printing.


(1) To halftone or separate more than one image in only one exposure.
(2) To reproduce two or more different printed products simultaneously on one sheet of paper during one press run. Also called combination run.

Ghost Halftone
It is a normal halftone whose density has been reduced to produce a very faint image.

(1) Phenomenon of a faint image appearing on a printed sheet where it was not intended to appear. Chemical ghosting refers to the transfer of the faint image from the front of one sheet to the back of another sheet. Mechanical ghosting refers to the faint image appearing as a repeat of an image on the same side of the sheet.
(2) Phenomenon of printed image appearing too light because of ink starvation.

Gloss is the reflectivity of light on various surface finishes.

Gloss Ink
Ink used and printed on coated stock (mostly litho and letterpress) such as the ink will dry without penetration.

General term used to distinguish between or among printing papers, but whose specific meaning depends on context. Grade can refer to the category, class, rating, finish or brand of paper.

Graduated Screen Tint
Screen tint that changes densities gradually and smoothly, not in distinct steps. Also called degrade, gradient, ramped screen and vignette.

Grain Direction/Machine Direction
Is the predominant direction in which fibers in paper become aligned during manufacturing.

Grain Long
When the fibers in paper run parallel to the long dimension of the paper. For 8 1/2″ x 11″, long grain would mean the grain runs the 11″ direction. Also referred to as long grain.

Grain Short
When the fibers in paper run perpendicular to the long dimension of the paper. For 8 1/2″ x 11″, grain short would mean the grain runs the 8 1/2″ direction. Also referred to as short grain.

Graphic Arts
Graphic arts, the crafts, industries and professions related to designing and printing on paper and other substrates.

Graphic Design
Arrangement of type and visual elements along with specifications for paper, ink colors and printing processes that, when combined, convey a visual message.

The visual elements that supplement type/copy to make printed messages more clear or interesting are referred to as graphics.

Gray Balance
Printed cyan, magenta and yellow halftone dots that accurately, reproduce a neutral gray image.

Gray Scale
1)The neutral shades of gray that are produced in color printing when cyan, magenta and yellow are combined.
2) The strip of gray values ranging from white to black used by process camera and scanner operators to calibrate exposure times for film and plates. Also called a step wedge.

The unit of measurement for paper weight (grams per square meter).


The reprographic technique that simulates continuous tone imagery through the use of dots, varying either in size, shape or spacing, thus generating a gradient like effect. “Halftone” can also be used to refer specific image that is produced by this process.

Halo Effect/Halation
A faint shadow sometimes surrounding halftone printed dots. The halo itself is also called a fringe.

At the top of a page, the margin.

A spot or imperfection on the print surface most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage, caused by dirt on the plate or blanket. Also called bull’s or fish eye.

Highlights are the lightest portions of a photograph or halftone compared to mid tones and shadows.

HLS/Hue, Lightness, Saturation
One of the colour-control options often found in software, for design and page assembly.

Hot Spot
Printing defect caused when a piece of dirt or an air bubble caused incomplete draw-down during contact plate making, leaving an area of weak ink coverage or visible dot gain.

Hue is one of the main properties of a colour, defined technically as “the degree to which a stimulus can be described as similar to or different from stimuli that are described as red, green, blue, and yellow,”[1] (the unique hues). Orange and violet (purple) are the other hues, for a total of six, as in the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet.


Image Area
The area on the printed matter that is not restricted to ink coverage,

(1) Referring to an ink color, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through a printing unit.
(2) Referring to speed of a press, one impression equals one press sheet passing once through the press.

To print new copy on a previously printed sheet, such as imprinting an employee’s name on business cards.

Ink Adhesion
The term refers to an ink’s ability to stick to a substrate’s surface.

Ink Balance
Relationship of the densities and dot gains of process inks to each other and to a standard density of neutral gray

Ink Jet Printing
The process of spraying droplets of ink through computer-controlled nozzles is referred to as Ink Jet or Jet Printing.

In-Plant Printer
An agency, business or association that does printing for a parent organization. Also called captive printer and in-house printer.

Within a publication, an additional item positioned into the publication loose (not bound in).

Integral Proof
Color proof of separations shown on one piece of proofing paper, as compared to an overlay proof. Composition proof, laminate proof, plastic proof and single-sheet proof are terms that may be substituted for integral proof.

ISBN/International Standard Book Number
A number assigned to a published work and usually found either on the title page or the back of the title page.


Job Number
A number assigned to a specific printing project in a printing company for use in tracking and historical record keeping.

Job Ticket
Form used by service bureaus, separators and printers to specify production schedule of a job and the materials it needs. Other common terms are docket, production order and work order.


K is the abbreviation for black in four-color process printing. It is the ‘K’ in CMYK.

Lines on a mechanical or negative showing the exact size, shape and location of photographs or other graphic elements. Also called holding lines.

Kiss Die Cut
To die cut the top layer, but not the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper. Also called face cut.

Kiss Impression
The lightest possible impression that will transfer ink to a Substrate.

Kraft Paper
Strong paper used for wrapping and to make grocery bags and large envelopes.


A thin transparent plastic sheet (coating) applied to stock (covers, post cards, etc.) providing protection against liquid and heavy use, and usually accents existing color, providing a glossy (or lens) effect.

Landscape is an artist style where the width is greater than height. Portrait is opposite.

Lap Register
Register where ink colors overlap slightly, as compared to butt register.

Laser Bond
Bond paper made especially smooth and dry to run well through laser printers.

Laser-imprintable Ink
Ink that will not fade or blister on paper used in a laser printer.

A sample of the original showing position of printed work and includes directions and instructions pertaining to the work.

Letter fold
Two folds creating three panels that allow a sheet of letterhead to fit a business envelope. Also called barrel fold and wrap around fold.

Letter Paper
In North America letter paper is sized 8 ½” x 11”.

A legend includes directions about a specific matter (illustrations) and how to use information. In regard to maps and tables, an explanation of signs (symbols) used.

Letterpress printing is a technique of relief printing using a printing press. A worker composes and locks movable type into the bed of a press, inks it, and presses paper against it to transfer the ink from the type which creates an impression on the paper.

Lightweight Paper
Book paper with basis weight less than 40# (60 gsm).

Line Copy
Any document, drawing, or the like, consisting of two tones, as black and white, without intermediate gradations. Line copy is sometimes referred to as line art and line work.

Linen Finish
Embossed finish on text paper that simulates the pattern of linen cloth.

Method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose non image areas repel ink. Non image areas may be coated with water to repel the oily ink or may have a surface, such as silicon, that repels ink.

Logo (Logotype)
A logo is a company, partnership or corporate creation (design) that denotes a unique entity. A possible combination of letters and art work to create a “sole” entity symbol of that specific unit.

A loupe is a tool used to inspect copy, film, proofs, plates and printing and is also called glass and linen tester.


M is the abbreviation for magenta in four-colour process printing. It is the ‘M’ in CMYK.

(1) All activities required to prepare a press or other machine to function for a specific printing or bindery job, as compared to production run. Setup is another term for makeready.
(2) Paper used in the makeready process at any stage in production. Makeready paper is part of waste or spoilage.

The imprinted space around the edge of the printed material is referred to as the margin.

Detailed instructions, usually written on a manuscript to be typeset and concerns style of type, makeup of pages, and the like.

To prevent light from reaching part of an image, therefore isolating the remaining part. Also called knock out.

Paper or plastic plate used on a duplicating press.

Match Print
Match print or Contract Proof usually serves as an agreement between customer and printer and as a colour reference guide for adjusting the press before the final press run.

Matte Finish
Flat (not glossy) is the finish on photographic paper or printed materials as opposed to gloss and semi-gloss.

Camera-ready assembly of type, graphic and other copy complete with instructions to the printer. A hard mechanical consists of paper and/or acetate, is made using paste-up techniques, and may also be called an art board, board or paste-up. A soft mechanical, also called an electronic mechanical, exists as a file of type and other images assembled using a computer.

Mechanical Bind
To bind using a comb, coil, ring binder, post or any other technique not requiring gluing, sewing or stitching.

Metallic Ink
Ink containing powdered metal or pigments that simulate metal.

Metallic Paper
Paper coated with a thin film of plastic or pigment whose color and gloss simulate metal.

In a photograph or illustration, tones created by dots between 30 percent and 70 percent of coverage, as compared to highlights and shadows.

Mil 1/1000 Inch
The thickness of plastic films used as printing substrates are expressed in mils. 1/1000” is equal to 21.4 microns.

Mock Up
(1) Usually a full-sized scale model of a structure, used for demonstration, study, or testing.
(2) A layout of printed matter or digital content.

Term to describe spotty, uneven ink absorption is also referred to a sinkage or mealy.

Multi-colour Printing
The use of more than one ink color (but not four-color process) for printing. Polychrome is another term for multi-colour printing.

M Weight
The weight of 1,000 sheets of paper in any specific size.


Natural Colour
Natural Colour is very light brown paper also referred to as antique, cream, ivory, off-white or mellow white.

Neutral Gray
Gray with no hue or cast.

News Print
A low quality and short life use paper used in printing newspapers.

Nonimpact Printing
Printing using lasers, ions, ink jets or heat to transfer images to paper.

Novelty Printing
The printing of products such as coasters, pencils, balloons, golf balls and ashtrays for advertising premiums and promotional products.


Offset Printing
A printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.

(1) Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents printing on one side from showing through the other side.
(2) Characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.
(3) The degree to which light is not allowed to travel through.

(1) Not transparent.
(2) To cover flaws in negative with tape or opaquing paint. Also called block out and spot.

Open Pre-press Interface
Hardware and software linking desktop publishing systems with color electronic prepress systems is an open pre-press interface.

Outline Halftone
Halftone in which background has been removed or replaced to isolate or silhouette the main image. Other names used include knockout, halftone and silhouette halftone.

Layer of material taped to a mechanical photo or proof. Acetate overlays are used to separate colors by having some type or art on them instead of on the mounting board. Tissue overlays are used to carry instructions about the underlying copy and to protect the base art.

To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint.

Over Run
Additional printed matter beyond order. Overage policy varies in the printing industry. Advance questions avoid blind knowledge.


Each side of an 8 ½” x 11” page is considered one panel. As an example a letter-folded sheet has six panels, not three.

Parallel Fold
A method of folding where two parallel folds to a sheet produces 6 panels.

Chipboard with another paper pasted to it.

Perfecting Press/Duplex Press
A type of printing press capable of printing both sides of the paper during a single pass.

Perf Marks
On a “dummy” marking where the perforation is to occur.

Small vertical or horizontal line of holes in paper or vinyl making it easy to tear off a portion or position the material on a press, binder machine or cutting equipment.

Pickup Art
Art work, used in a previous job, to be incorporated in a current job.

Small holes (unwanted) in printed areas because of a variety of reasons.

Short for picture element, a dot made by a computer, scanner or other digital device.

Plate is piece of paper, metal, plastic or rubber carrying an image to be reproduced using a printing press.

Pleasing Colour
Colour that the customer considers satisfactory even though it may not precisely match original samples, scenes or objects.

PMS/Pantone Matching System
Obsolete reference to Pantone Matching System. The correct trade name of the colours in the Pantone Matching System is Pantone colors, not PMS Colors.

(1) Regarding paper, a unit of thickness equating 1/1000 inch.
(2) Regarding type, a unit of measure equaling 1/12 pica and .013875 inch (.351mm).

An art design in which the height is greater than the width. Landscape is the opposite design.

Positive Film/Knockout Film
Film that prevents light from passing through images, as compared to negative film that allows light to pass through.

Post Bind
To bind using a screw and post inserted through a hole in a pile of loose sheets.

Camera work, color separations, stripping, plate making and other prepress functions performed by the printer, separator or a service bureau prior to printing are prepress or preparation functions.

Prepress Proof
Any color proof made using ink jet, toner, dyes or overlays, as compared to a press proof printed using ink. Dry proof and off-press proof are alternative terms.

Press Check/Press Approval
A meeting the purpose of which is to examine make ready press sheets before authorizing full production to begin.

Press Proof
A proof made on press using the plates, ink and paper specified for the job is referred to a press proof, strike off or trial proof.

Press Time
(1) Amount of time that one printing job spends on press, including time required for make ready.
(2) Time of day at which a printing job goes on press.

Price Break
Quantity at which unit cost of paper or printing drops.

Any process that transfers to paper or another substrate an image from an original such as a film negative or positive, electronic memory, stencil, die or plate.

Printing Plate
The surface carrying an image to be printed. Quick printing uses paper or plastic plates; letterpress, engraving and commercial lithography use metal plates; flexography uses rubber or soft plastic plates. Gravure printing uses a cylinder. The screen printing is also called a plate.

Process Color (Inks)
The colors used for four-color process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.

Production Run
Press run intended to manufacture products as specified, as compared to make ready.

Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.

Proofreader Marks
Standard symbols and abbreviations used to mark up manuscripts and proofs. Also called correction marks.

Proportion Scale
Round device used to calculate percent that an original image must be reduced or enlarged to yield a specific reproduction size. Also called percentage wheel, proportion dial, proportion wheel and scaling wheel.


Subjective term relating to expectations by the customer, printer and other professionals associated with a printing job and whether the job meets those expectations.

Price offered by a printer to produce a specific job.


Rag Paper
Stationery or other forms of stock having a strong percentage content of “cotton rags.”

Raster Image Processor
Device that translates page description commands into bitmapped information for an output device such as a laser printer or image setter.

Ream is equivalent to 500 sheets of paper.

Recycled Paper
New paper made entirely or in part from old paper.

Reflective Copy/Reflex Copy
Products such as fabrics, illustrations and photographic prints, viewed by light reflected from them, as compared to transparent copy.

The proper placement of printing with regard to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet is deemed to be in register.

Register Marks
Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register. Also called cross marks and position marks.

Register or Registration
Registration is the method of aligning overlapping colors on one single image.

Resolution is the sharpness of an image on film, paper, computer screen, disc, tape or other medium.

Type, graphic or illustration reproduced by printing ink around its outline thus allowing the underlying color or paper to show through and form the image. The image ‘reverses out’ of the ink colour. Reverse is also known as knockout and liftout.

The abbreviation for the additive colour primaries, red, green, and blue.

Line used as a graphic element to separate or organize copy.

Rule up
Map or drawing given by a printer to a stripper showing how a printing job must be imposed using a specific press and sheet size. Also called press layout, printer’s layout and rule out.


Satin Finish
Alternate term for dull finish on coated paper.

To identify the percent by which photographs or art should be enlarged or reduced to achieve, the correct size for printing.

Electronic device used to scan an image.

To compress paper along a straight line so it folds more easily and accurately. Score is also referred to as crease.

Screen Printing:
A printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-​blocking stencil. The attached stencil forms open areas of mesh that allows the transfer of ink onto substrate creating a clean sharp image.

Screen Ruling
The Number of rows, lines of dots per inch or centimeter in a screen for making a screen tint or halftone. Also called line count, ruling, screen frequency, screen size and screen value.

Screen Tint
Colour created by dots instead of solid ink coverage and is also called benday, fill pattern, screen tone, shading, tint and tone.

In four colour printing separations are the individual films holding images of one specific colour per piece of film. The film can also be used to separate specific pantone colours.

Serigraphic Printing
A printing method whose image carriers are made of woven fabric, plastic or metal. The carriers allow ink to pass through some portions and block ink from passing through other portions. Serigraphic printing includes screen and mimeograph.

Slip Sheets
Separate sheets (stock) independent from the original run positioned between the “printed run” for a variety of reasons.

Solid is the area of the sheet receiving 100 percent ink coverage.

Soy-based Inks
Inks using vegetable oils instead of petroleum products as pigment carriers and as a result are easier on the environment.

Specialty Printer
Printer whose equipment, supplies, work flow and marketing is targeted to a particular category of products.

Complete, precise written description of features of a printing job such as type size and leading, paper grade and quantity, printing or binding method.

Instrument used to measure the index of refraction of color.

Paper that, due to mistakes or accidents, must be thrown away instead of delivered printed to the customer, as compared to waste.

Spot Color or Varnish
One ink or varnish applied to portions of a sheet, as compared to flood or painted sheet.

Standard Viewing Conditions
The background of 60 percent neutral gray and light that measures 5000 degrees Kelvin, the color of daylight on a bright day. The term is also called lighting standards.

Statistical Process Control/SPC
Method used by printers to ensure quality and delivery times specified by customers.

Stocking Paper
Stocking paper is the popular sizes, weights and colors of paper available for prompt delivery from a merchant’s warehouse.

Stock Order
Order for standard stock paper shipped from a supplier’s inventory as compared to an order shipped from the mill.

Refers to the process based on the random distribution (frequency modulation) of dots to achieve the desired gray level.

Subtractive Colour
Colour produced by light reflected from a surface as compared to additive colour. Subtractive colour includes hues in colour photos and colours created by inks on paper.

Subtractive Primary Colours
Yellow, magenta and cyan are primary substractive colours. In graphic arts these are known as process colours because along with black they are the ink colours used in colour process printing.

Supercalendered Paper/SC Paper
Paper calendered using alternative chrome and fiber rollers to produce a smooth, thin sheet.

Substrate is any surface or material to which graphics or print is applied.

Swatch Book
A sample book created to display specific materials in specific colors and thickness.

Abbreviation for specifications for web offset publications, specifications recommended for web printing of publications.


Grade of dense, strong paper used for products such as badges and file folders.

Tagged Image File Format/TIFF
Computer file format used to store images from scanners and video devices.

Target Ink Densities
Densities of the four process inks as recommended for various printing processes and grades of paper. See also Total Area Coverage.

A stencil, pattern or overlay used in graphic arts (drawing, painting, etc.) and sewing to replicate letters, shapes or designs.

Text Paper
Designation for printing papers with textured surfaces such as laid or linen. Some mills also use ‘text’ to refer to any paper they consider top-of-the-line, whether or not its surface has a texture.

Method of printing using colorless resin powder that takes on the color of underlying ink. Also called raised printing.

Initial ideas jotted on virtually anything in regard to initial concept of a future project.

The process of screening or adding white to a solid color resulting in the lightening of the colour.

Total Area Coverage/TAC
TAC is the total of the dot percentages of the process colors in the final film. Density of tone, maximum density, shadow saturation, total dot density and total ink coverage are acceptable terms.

Trade Shop
A Trade Shop is a service bureau, printer or bindery company working primarily for other graphic arts professionals, not for the general public.

A Positive photographic image on film allowing light to pass through. Also called chrome, colour transparency and tranny. Transparencies are often used for posters and menu boards.

To print ink over ink, or to print a coating such as varnish over an ink is called trap. The first liquid traps the second liquid. See also Dry Traps and Wet Traps.

Trim Size
The size of the printed material in its finished stage (e.g., the finished trim size is 5 1\2 x 8 1\2).


Uncoated Paper
Paper that has not been coated with clay is uncoated and also referred to as offset paper.

Term to indicate multiple copies of one image printed in one impression on a single sheet. “Two up” or “three up” means printing the identical piece twice or three times on each sheet.

UV Coating
Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

UV Ink
Ink specially formulated to dry quickly with ultraviolet light while still on press. Eliminates need to wait for drying before additional printing can be completed and is used extensively in screen, digital, narrow web letterpress and flexographic printing.


Value is the shade (darkness) or tint (lightness) of a colour. Brightness, lightness, shade and tone are often used terms to describe value.

A clear liquid applied as a coating for protection and appearance.

Vellum Finish
Vellum is a rough, toothy finish.

The brand name for high-contrast photographic paper.

Viewing Booth
Small area or room that is set up for proper viewing of transparencies, color separations or press sheets. Also called color booth. See also Standard Viewing Conditions.

Virgin Paper
Paper made exclusively of pulp from trees or cotton, as compared to recycled paper.

VOC/Volatile Organic Compounds
Petroleum substances used as the carriers for many printing inks.


Wash Up
To clean ink and fountain solutions from rollers, fountains, screens, and other press components.

Unusable paper or paper damage during normal make ready, printing or binding operations, as compared to spoilage.

Translucent logo in paper created during manufacturing by slight embossing from a dandy roll while paper is still approximately 90 percent water.

Web Press
A machine that prints from rolls of paper, usually cutting it into sheets after printing. Web press is also called reel-fed press. Web presses come in many sizes, the most common being mini, half, three quarter (also called 8-pages) and full (also called 16-pages).

With the Grain
Parallel to the grain is printing in the same direction as the grain of the paper being used, as compared to printing against or cross the grain. See also Grain Direction.

Woodfree Paper
Woodfree paper is made with chemically modified wood chips, and is usually classified as calendered or super calendered.

Working Film
Working film refers to the intermediate film that will be copied to make final film after all corrections are made.


Yellow (Y)
Y is the abbreviation for yellow in four-colour process printing. It is the ‘Y’ in CMYK.

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