To list all terms connected with the Graphic Arts would fill a book. Many would be too technical and would be of little value to anyone other than a skilled craftsman. Only the common terms used in advertising and printing today are defined:

Absorption - In paper, the property which causes it to take up liquids or vapors in contact with it. In optics, the partial suppression of light through a transparent or translucent material.

Accordion fold – In binding, a term used for two or more parallel folds which open like an accordion. Also called concertina fold.

Against the grain – Folding or feeding paper at right angles to the grain of the paper.

Agate line – A standard of measurement for depth of columns of advertising space. Fourteen agate lines make one column inch.

Airbrush – In artwork, a small pressure gun shaped like a pencil that sprays watercolor pigment by means of compressed air. Used to correct and obtain tone or graduated tonal effects.

Alterations –In composition, changes made in the copy after it has been set in type.

Antique finish – A term describing the surface, usually on book and cover papers, that has a natural rough finish.

Aqueous coating – A water-based coating that is applied at the end of a press run to protect a printed piece against moisture, dirt, and scuffing.

Ascender – That part of the letter which rises above the main body, as in “b”.

Backbone – The back of a bound book connecting the two covers; also called spine.

Backing up – Printing the reverse side of a sheet already printed on one side.

Back lining – A paper or fabric adhering to the backbone or spine in a hard cover book.

Bad break – In composition, the setting of a hyphenated line as the first line of a page. Also, starting a page with a ‘widow’.

Barrel fold – Fold style where the outer edge of each panel or page is folded in toward the other resulting in six panels or pages. Also called roll fold.

Base – In composition, all the metal below the shoulder of a piece of type. In letterpress, the metal or wood block on which printing plates are mounted to make them type high.

Basis weight – The weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that grade: 25” x 38” for book papers, 22 ½” x 28 ½” for bristols. Example: 500 sheets 25” x 38” of 80 lbs. coated will weigh eighty pounds.

Bitmap – A computer image comprised of pixels.

Blanket –In offset lithography, a rubber-surfaced fabric which is clamped around the cylinder, and transfers the image from plate to paper.

Bleed – If the printed image extends to the trim edge of the sheet or page, it is called bleed.

Blind embossing – Using pressure and shaped dies to press unprinted areas of the paper into a three-dimensional relief. Embossing raises the surface on the finished side. Debossing indents the paper on the finished side. 

Blind image – In lithography, an image that has lost its ink receptivity.

Blister Pack – Packaging mounted on a card and encased under a plastic dome.

Body – In inkmaking, a term referring to the viscosity, or consistency of an ink. E.g. an ink with too much body is stiff.

Body type – A type used for the main part or text of a printed piece, as distinguished from the headings.

Bold-face type – A name given to type that is heavier than the text type with which it is used.

Bond paper – A grade of writing or printing paper where strength, durability, and permanence are essential requirements; used for letterheads, business forms, etc.

Book paper – a general term for coated and uncoated papers. The basic size is 25” x 38”.

Brightness – In photography, light reflected by the copy. In paper, the reflectance or brilliance of the paper.

Bristol – The general term for stock with a basis weight between 90# and 200# (200 - 500 gsm). Used for index cards, file folders, and postcards.

Broadside – Any printed advertising circular.

Brochure – A pamphlet bound in booklet form.

Bronzing – Printing with an adhesive ink, then hand-dusting bronze powder while still wet to produce a metallic luster. Gives a better result than printing with a metallic ink.

Buckram – A heavy binders’ cloth made from coarse thread and used in legal and library bindings.

Bulk – The degree of thickness of paper. In book printing, the number of pages per inch for a given basis weight.

Burst binding - is a hot melt adhesive process like Perfect binding. The difference between Perfect Binding and Burst Binding is in the spine preparation. Burst binding requires the spine to be notched, done during the folding process using a special burst notching attachment. During the binding process, the glue penetrates the notches into the centre of the section. The important part of the Burst binding process is that the cut away slot from the spine is done accurately and done consistently.

Calender rolls – A set or stack of horizontal cast-iron rolls at the end of a paper machine. The paper is passed between the rolls to increase the smoothness and gloss of its surface.

Caliper – The thickness of paper, usually expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils). Also the device used to measure thickness.

Cap height – The vertical space taken up by a capital letter from top to bottom.

Caps and small caps – Two sizes of capital letters made in one size of type, commonly used in most roman type faces.

Carbonless paper – A sheet coated on one or two sides with microscopic capsules containing chemicals that mix and react with each other when they are burst by the pressure of a pen or computer printer to give a blue or black image.

Case – In bookbinding, the covers of a hard-bound book.

Case binding –  Binding that uses glue to hold signatures to a case made of binder board covered with plastic, fabric, or leather.

Cast coated – Coated paper dried under pressure against a polished cylinder to produce a high-gloss enamel finish.

Catching up – In lithography, a term which indicates that the non-image areas of a plate are taking ink or scumming.

Chalking – In printing, a term which refers to improper drying of ink in some ink/paper combinations. Pigment dusts off because the vehicle has been absorbed too rapidly into the paper.

Chase – In letterpress, a rectangular metal frame in which type and plates are locked up.

China Clay – Material used for coating in most papers.

Choke – Slightly reducing an image to create a trap.

CMYK – Stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black). The primary ink colors that are combined on press or as a printed digital output to produce a full range of colors.

Coated paper – Paper having a surface coating which produces a smooth finish. Surfaces vary from eggshell to glossy.

Cold color – In printing, a color which is on the bluish side.

Collate – In binding, the gathering of sheets or signatures into the proper sequence and pagination.

Collateral – Ancillary print material used to support an advertising campaign.

Color break – Where one color stops and another begins.

Color control bar – A colored strip in various densities on the tail end of the sheet which enables the platesetter or printer to check by eye or densitometer the nature of each ink film.

Color correction – Any method used to improve color rendition.

Color separation – In color reproduction, the process of separating the various original colors of an image in a scanner so that the color separated plates can be produced.

Color sequence – The order in which the four color process is printed.

Column – Blocks of type set at the same width.

Condensed type – A narrow or slender type face.

Continuous tone – A photographic image which has not been screened and contains gradient tones from black to white.

Contract proof – A proof intended to represent the appearance of the final printed piece. Contract proofs are used for color and content matching on press. Signing a contract proof constitutes an agreement between printer and client. The client's signature indicates that the proof shows correct color and final content. The printer is obliged to match the proof on press.

Contrast – The level of variation in tone or density between highlights and shadows in an original or reproduction.

Converter – A business that does finishing work on a printed piece, such as making boxes, bags, or envelopes.

Copy – Any furnished material (manuscript, photos, artwork, etc.) to be used in the production of printing. Usually supplied in electronic form.

Copyfitting – In composition, to determine the amount of manuscript copy that can fit into a given area for a specified size and style of type.

Creasing – See Scoring

Creep – The tendency of inner pages of a book (or large signature) to push outward, pushing the edges of inner pages beyond the edges of outer pages. Compensation must be performed during imposition to minimize unwanted cropping of page content. Also called push out or thrust.

Crop – To eliminate portions of the copy, usually on a photograph, indicated on the original by cropmarks.

Crossmarks – Register marks for accurate positioning of images in multicolor printing.

CTP (Computer-to-Plate) – Direct imaging of a printing plate from digital information. CTP replaces previous methods of generating intermediate film and exposing plates. The imposition is digitally created, and then the printing plate is directly exposed in a large imaging device using no intermediate film, then baked briefly to harden the surface.

Cure – To dry or harden an ink or other applied material. Heat, pressure, air, or UV (ultraviolet) light may be used, depending on the material and the substrate to which it is applied. The purpose of curing is to avoid smearing or scuffing of the printed piece.

Curl – In paper, the distortion of a sheet due to differences in structure or coatings from one side to the other, or to absorption of moisture on an offset press. The curl side is the concave side of the sheet.

Dampeners – In lithography, cloth-covered or rubber (bare back) rollers that distribute the dampening solution to the press plate.

Deckle edge – The untrimmed feathery edges of paper formed where the pulp flows against the deckle.

Densitometer - A pressroom densitometer, the traditional and, until recently, the most widely used control element on press - measures light reflected off the press sheet. It measures ink density on a color bar, providing feedback to the press operator as to how to adjust ink levels should density readings be too high or low and to determine whether it is consistent throughout the press run. Proper density values are checked in each ink zone using a color bar or other areas of solid single-color ink.

Descender – That part of the letter which extends below the main body, as in ‘p’.

Die cutting – The use of sharp steel rules to cut special shapes like labels, boxes and containers, from printed sheets. Die cutting can be done on either flat bed or rotary presses.

Dimensional stability – Ability to maintain size and the resistance of paper or synthetic substrates to dimensional change with change in moisture content or relative humidity.

Display type – In composition, type set larger than the text, used to attract attention.

Distributing rollers – Rubber covered rollers which convey ink from the fountain onto the ink drum of a printing press.

Doctor blade – In gravure, a knife-edged blade pressed against the engraved printing cylinder which wipes away the excess ink from the non-printing areas.

Dot – The individual element of a halftone.

Dot gain – In printing, a defect in which dots print significantly larger than they should, causing darker tones or colors which result in a ‘muddy’ image. In the color reproduction chain, from original to printed image, there is a tendency for the size of halftone dots to grow. This leads to inaccurate results, but if a particular press’s dot gain characteristics are known, it can be compensated for during pre-press.

Draw-down – In inkmaking, a term used to describe an ink chemist’s method of roughly determining color shade. A small glob of ink is placed on paper and drawn down with the edge of a putty knife spatula to get a thin film of ink.

Drier – In inkmaking, any substance added to hasten drying.

Ductor roller – In lithography, the roller in both inking and dampening mechanisms on a press which alternately contacts fountain roller and vibrating drum roller.

Duotone – A term for a two-color halftone reproduction from a one-color photograph.

Duplex paper – Paper having a different color or finish on each side.

Embossing – Impressing an image in relief to achieve a raised surface; either over printing, or on blank paper (which is called blind embossing).

Emulsion side – The matt side of a film that is placed in contact with the emulsion of another film or plate when printing down to ensure a sharp image.

Engraving – A fine-art intaglio printmaking process, derived from goldsmith engraving techniques. Engraving involves the incision of a design onto a metal surface (usually copper), by making grooves using a steel tool with a square or diamond-shaped end, called a burin. This produces a high-quality sunken area with a clean edge. It is the direct opposite of a relief print.

Once the lines of the drawing have been cut out of the copper, the plate is inked. Then the surface is wiped clean, leaving only the incisions containing ink. The plate is then put into a printing press, along with a sheet of paper. The paper picks up the impression of the ink from the grooves, thus completing the print.

Extended type – A type whose width is greater than normal.

Feeder – The section of a press which separates the sheets and feeds them in position for printing.

Feet/foot margin – The white area at the bottom of a page between the image and the trimmed edge.

Felt Side – The side of the paper exposed to the felt blanket during the papermaking process. The felt side is considered the smoothest side of the paper.

Filling in – A condition where ink fills the area between the halftone dots or plugs up the type.

Finishing – All operations that take place after printing. Finishing can include such processes as folding, gluing, binding, trimming, die cutting, embossing, UV coating, laminating, foil stamping and others. Also called post-press.

Flexography – Method of printing on a web press with rubber or soft plastic plates.

Flier – An advertising medium that is usually a single page.

Flood – To print a sheet completely with an ink or varnish.

Flow – In printing, the ability of an ink to spread over the surface of the rollers of a press.

Flush left or right – In composition, type set to line up at the left (or right).

Flush paragraph – A paragraph with no indention.

Foil Stamp – Where foil and a heated die is stamped onto paper to form a decorative printed impression.

Font – In composition, the complete assortment of type face.

Form – In letterpress, type and other matter locked in a chase for printing.

Fountain solution – In lithography, a solution of water and other chemicals used to dampen the plate and keep non-printing areas from accepting ink.

FPO – Stands for "For Position Only". FPOs are stand-in replicas of imagery that will be printed. They are typically low-resolution (low-res) versions of high resolution (high-res) images that are temporarily placed in a digital document to show how an image should be sized and cropped. When the job is printed, the low-res images are replaced by their high-res counterparts.

French Fold – Multiple fold where the paper is first folded in half in one direction, then folded in half again, perpendicular to the first fold.

Ganged – Simultaneous printing of similar or different jobs and then separated when the printed sheet is trimmed apart. Ganging saves time, material and labor.

Gate fold – Two parallel folds toward each other in which the fold can be opened like a double gate.

Gathering – The assembling of folded signatures in proper sequence.

Gear streaks – In printing, parallel streaks appearing across the printed sheet at same interval as gear teeth on the cylinder.

Generation – Each succeeding stage in reproduction from the original copy.

Giclée - (pronounced zhee'-clay) is an individually-produced, high-resolution, high-fidelity, high-tech reproduction done on a special large format printer. It uses inkjet technology, but far more sophisticated than an ordinary desktop printer. No screens or other mechanical devices are used and therefore there is no visible dot screen pattern. The image has all the tonalities and hues of the original painting.

GIF or .gif (Graphics Interchange Format) – An 8-bt, low-memory option for posting images online.

GRACoL (General Requirements for Applications in Commercial Offset Lithography) – The GRACoL committee produces guidelines and recommendations that are used as references throughout the printing industry.

Grain – In papermaking, the direction in which most fibers lie which corresponds with the direction the paper is made on paper machines. Grain determines the direction in which folding is best performed.

Grammage – The European and Asian method of measuring paper weight by representing the gram weight of one square meter of paper, expressed as grams per square meter or gsm.

Graphic Arts – The trades, industries, and professions related to designing and printing on paper and other substrates.

Gravure printing – A highly-specialized printing method using engraved metal cylinders. Chrome-plated gravure cylinders are capable of extended printing runs, making gravure appropriate for catalog, publication, and packaging applications. After printing, the chrome plating can be stripped off and replaced so the cylinder can be reused. Also called intaglio.

Greaseproof – A woodfree paper, made translucent by extra beating of the pulp and subsequent treatment, and used for food wrapping.

Grippers – In printing presses, metal fingers that clamp on paper and control its flow as it passes through the machine.

Gripper edge – The leading edge of a sheet of paper used to pull the paper through a printing press. Also, the front edge of a lithographic plate that is secured to the front clamp of the plate cylinder.

Gripper margin – Unprintable blank edge of paper on which grippers bear, usually, 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) or less.

Gsm – Abbreviation of grams per square meter. A method of indicating the substance of paper on the basis of its weight, regardless of its sheet size.

Gum Arabic – In offset lithography, used in platesetting and on press to desensitize the non-printing areas of plates.

Gutter – The blank space or inner margin, from printing area to binding. Also, the white space between columns or type.

Hairline – Minute amount of space used to describe a thin rule or close register.

Halftone – The reproduction of continuous tone artwork, such as a photograph which converts the image into dots of various sizes.

Headline – A sentence, phrase, word, or group of words set in large, bold type above the text on a page.

Head margin – The white space above the first line on a page.

Head/tail band – A narrow band of plain or striped sewing round a strip of cane glued to the top and/or bottom of the spine of a cased book, covering up the ends of the sections. They add to the strength of the binding as well as its appearance.

Hickeys – In offset lithography, spots or imperfections in printing due to such things as dirt on the press, dried ink skin, paper particles, etc.

Highlight – The lightest or whitest parts in a photograph represented in a halftone reproduction by the smallest dots or the absence of all dots.

High-res – A digital image with a resolution of 200 dpi or more.

Holographic print - is a rendition of a hologram on a flat surface, producing 3-D (three-dimensional) effects when viewed. A holographic print differs from a traditional hologram in that the print does not require any special lighting arrangements to yield the 3-D effect. The viewer does not need any task-specific eyewear to view the image.

Hot melt – An adhesive, usually EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) used in bookbinding. At normal temperatures, they are flexible, but solid. In the binding process, they are heated to melt them before application. Hot melt glue cures rapidly but the bound piece cannot lay flat and is not as durable as compared to binding with PUR (Polyurethane Reactive) glue. The end use of the product determines which glue is more appropriate to use.

House corrections – Corrections to proofs other than those made by the author/client, which should be marked before the proofs are sent out.

Hue – A specific color.

Hydrophilic – Water-loving; preferring to be wet by water.

Hydrophobic – Water-repelling.

Image – A visual counterpart or likeness of an object, person, or a scene produced as an illustration or photograph.

Imagesetter – A device for outputting film.

Imposition – The laying out of pages in a press form so that they will be in the correct order after the printed sheet is folded. They are agreed upon between the pre-press and the post-press departments.

Impression – In printing, the pressure of type, plate or blanket as it comes in contact with the paper.

Impressions per hour (iph) – A means of measuring the speed of a press.

Imprint – To print new copy on a previously printed sheet.

Ink fountain – In printing presses, the device which stores and supplies ink to the inking rollers.

Ink holdout – The characteristic of a paper that prevents it from absorbing ink, allowing ink to dry on the paper's surface. Also called holdout.

In-line – Any operation tied to the printing process and done on press such as varnishing or folding.

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

International paper sizes – The standard range of metric paper sizes laid down by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and British Standards Institution.

Italic – The style of letters that slope forward, in distinction from upright, or roman letters. Used for words requiring emphasis.

Jog – To align sheets of paper into a compact pile.

JPEG – File format designated by the Joint Photographic Experts Group for image compression. JPEGs are frequently used for placing imagery in websites and online applications.

Justify – In composition, to space out lines uniformly to the correct length.

Kerning – In typesetting, adjusting the spacing between two characters closer, so that letter spacing appears to be in balance.

Kiss die cut – A process used for peel-off labels where a die cut is made through the face materials but not the backing. Also known as Kiss Cut.

Knock out – In printing, an area where no ink prints. For example, white text knocks out of an area of black ink, leaving unprinted paper. The term is also used to refer to creating a silhouette of a portion of an image, as in knocking out an object so that its background disappears.

Kraft – A paper or board made from unbleached woodpulp (brown in color) by the sulphate process.

Lacquer – A clear coating, usually glossy, applied to a printed sheet for protection or aesthetics.

Laid paper – Paper with a pattern of parallel lines at equal distances, giving a ribbed effect.

Lamination – A plastic film bonded by heat and pressure to a printed sheet for protection or appearance.

Leaders – In composition, rows of dashes or dots used to guide the eye across the page. Used in tabular work, programs, tables of contents, etc.

Leading – The amount of vertical space between lines of type.

Letterpress printing – The original printing process. The inked printing surface of metal, rubber or plastic is above the non-printing surface. The inking rollers touch only the raised printing surface which is then impressed onto the paper. The pressure of letterpress printing creates a slight indentation, especially in heavy stock. It is a slow, mechanical, hand-intensive process, but creates unique pieces. Used by Gutenberg to print his famous Bibles, letterpress was once the standard printing process before offset printing began to replace it in the 1950s. It is now being revived and is used mainly for invitations, announcements, and fine-art printing.

Letterset (dry offset) – The printing process which uses a blanket (like conventional offset) for transferring the image from plate to paper, Unlike lithography, it uses a relief plate and requires no dampening system.

Letterspacing – The placement of additional space between each letter of a word. Also called tracking or kerning.

Line Art – A black-and-white image that is not continuous tone or does not include any grays. Also called line drawing or line copy.

Logo – A unique design, symbol or typographic treatment that represents a company or brand.

Logotype – A logo comprising typographic forms, usually a unique typographic treatment of a company's name.

Long ink – An ink that has good flow on ink rollers of a press. If the ink is too long, it breaks up into filaments on the press, and causes ‘flying’ as on a newspaper press.

Lower case – The small letters in type, as distinguished from the capital letters.

Lpi (lines per inch) – A means of measuring the fineness of a halftone screen by measuring the number of dots per inch in a halftone screen.

M – Abbreviation for a quantity of 1,000.

Makeready – The sequence of procedures in setting up the press before a production run, setting it up for color, size, thickness of paper, mounting of plates, paper feed settings, registration, ink density settings, and so on.

Margin – White space at the top, bottom, and to the left and right of a body of type.

Mask – A means of isolating a portion of an image from its surrounding area so that it becomes a silhouette or outline image.

Masthead – The name of a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical displayed on the cover. Also used to describe the area where a periodical and its publisher's name, address, and staff credits appear.

Matt finish – Dull paper finish without gloss or luster.

Mechanical – A document with type, graphic elements, and imagery in position.

Metallic inks – Inks in which the normal pigments are replaced by very fine metallic particles, typically gold or silver in color.

Middletones – The tonal range between highlights and shadows of a photograph or reproduction.

Moiré – In color process printing, the undesirable screen pattern caused by incorrect screen angles of halftones.

Molleton – In offset lithography, a thick cotton fabric similar to flannel used on the dampening rollers of a press.

Mottle – The spotty or uneven appearance of printing. Most pronounced in solid areas.

Native file format – A file saved in the application in which it was created. Native file formats can't be transferred from one application to the next.

Negative – In photography, film containing an image in which the values of the original are reversed so that the dark areas appear light and vice versa.

Nested signature – Where signatures are assembled inside one another before binding.

Oblong – In binding, a booklet or catalog bound on the shorter dimension.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition) – Automatic computer input process where a scanner reads printed characters and symbols and converts them to electronic data.

Offset Printing – A method of printing in which the ink is transferred (offset) from the printing plate to a rubber blanket and then to the sheet of paper.

Offsetting – In printing, an undesirable effect when the ink of a printed sheet rubs off or marks the next sheet as it is being delivered.

Opacity – That property of paper which minimizes the “show-through” of printing from the back side or the next sheet.

Opaque ink – An ink that conceals all color beneath it.

Overhang cover – A cover larger in size than the pages it encloses.

Overprinting – Double printing; printing over an area that has already been printed.

Overrun – In printing, copies printed in excess of the specified quantity to compensate for expected spoilage, future requests for materials, and other unanticipated needs.

Packing – In printing presses, paper used to underlay the image or impression cylinder in letterpress, or the plate or blanket in lithography to get the proper squeeze or pressure for printing.

Pantone – Pantone Inc.’s check-standard trademark for color reproduction and color reproduction materials. Each color bears a description of its formulation (in percentages) for subsequent use by the printer.

PDF (Portable Document Format) – A format originated by Adobe Systems to contain artwork and text in a form that is faithful to the original work, which can be viewed and printed by anyone with the free Adobe Reader or a Third Party PDF viewer.

Perfect binding – Style of unsewn binding in which the backs of gathered sections are cut off and the leaves are held together at the binding edge by glue or synthetic adhesive.

Perfecting press – A printing press that prints both sides of the paper in one pass.

pH – A number used for expressing the acidity or alkalinity of solutions A value of 7 is neutral in a scale ranging from 0 to 14. Solutions of a lower value are considered acid while those higher are alkaline.

Pica – Printers’ unit of measurement used principally in measuring lines. One pica equals approximately 1/6 of an inch.

Picking – The lifting of the paper surface during printing. It occurs when the pulling force (tack) of ink is greater than the surface strength of the paper.

Pigment – In printing inks, the fine solid particles used to give color, body or opacity.

Piling – In printing, the building up or caking of ink on rollers, plate or blanket; it will not transfer readily. Also, the accumulation of paper coating on the blanket of  the offset press.

Platesetter – An output device that uses a laser or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to expose the photosensitive surface of a printing plate by using digital information.

PNG – (pronounced "ping") Portable Network Graphics is a format  for storing bitmapped (raster) images on computers. This raster graphics file format supports lossless data compression. PNG was created as an improved non-patented replacement for GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), and is the most used lossless image compression format on the Internet. 

Point – Printers’ unit of measurement, used principally for designating type sizes. There are 12 points to a pica; approximately 72 points to an inch.

Porosity – The property of paper that allows the permeation of air, an important factor in ink penetration.

Positive – In photography, film containing an image in which the dark and light values are the same as the original. The reverse of negative.

Prepress – Preparing a job for print reproduction by performing necessary functions such as separating, color correcting, and impositioning of the pages, as well as setting plates.

PMS – Stands for Pantone matching System, a means of specifying match or spot colors and their ink formulations.

Press proofs – A proof of a color subject run on a printing press, in advance of the production run.

Pressure-sensitive paper – Material with an adhesive coating, protected by a backing sheet that can be peeled off, and the label applied to another surface by pressure.

Primary colors – In printing inks, yellow, magenta (process red) and cyan (process blue). In light, red, green and blue.

Printed electronics - is a set of printed methods used to create electrical devices on various substrates. Printing typically uses common printing equipment suitable for defining patterns on material, such as screen printing, flexography, gravure, offset lithography, and inkjet. By electronic industry standards, these are low cost processes. Electrically functional electronic or optical inks are deposited on the substrate, creating active or passive devices, such as thin film transistors or resistors. Printed electronics is expected to facilitate widespread, very low-cost, low-performance electronics for applications such as flexible displays, smart labels, decorative and animated posters, and active clothing that do not require high performance.

Printer's spreads – Pages that are set up so they are impositioned exactly where they will be when a publication is folded and printed.

Printing plate – A surface carrying an image to be printed.

Process printing – The printing from a series of two or more halftone plates to produce intermediate colors and shades. In four color process: yellow, magenta, cyan, and black.

Proof – A test sheet made to represent how a final printed product will look so that flaws may be corrected before the piece is printed.

Quadratone – A halftone comprising four colors, usually to create a rich tonal range but not comprising the four process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black).

Quality control – In printing, the process of pulling random sheets during the run to check the consistency of quality.

Ream – Five hundred sheets of paper.

Reducers – In printing inks, varnishes, solvents, oily or greasy compounds used to reduce the consistency for printing.

Registration – In printing, the fitting of two or more printing images on the same paper in precise alignment with each other.

Register marks – Crosses, bulls eyes or other devices applied to the plates to register two or more colors in process printing.

Relative humidity (RH) – The amount of water vapor present in the atmosphere expressed as a percentage of the maximum that could be present at the same temperature.

Resampling – the process of changing the amount of data in an image when the dimensions or resolution of an image are altered. When you scale down an image, pixels are discarded during the resampling process. When you scale up, new pixels are created to fill in the space between the original pixels.

Resolution – The quantification of print quality using the number of dots per inch in electronic imaging.

Reverse – A white or noncolor image against a dark, inked, or colored background.

RGB – Stands for red, green, and blue, additive primary colors that are used to create a full range of color as projected light on a computer screen.

Rich Black – refers to the creation of a multicolor process build to strengthen the coverage of black over large areas when printing on an offset or digital press. This is necessary because offset inks are not opaque, and process black ink can look anemic when printed alone especially in large areas. Recipes for rich black vary according to the printer's preferences; some like a cool black (C-60%, K-100%), some like a warm black (M-50%, K-100%). Some prefer a four color black to ensure a neutral rich black (C-60%, M-40%, Y-40%, K-100%).

Right angle folds – In post-press, a term used for two or more folds that are at 90 degree angles to each other.

RIP (Raster image Processor) – A specialized computer that uses a combination of proprietary software and hardware to translate Postscript or PDF input to a very high resolution bitmap image  that drives the marking engine of an output device such as a platesetter or desktop printer. The process is described as "ripping a file."

Roller stripping – In lithography, a term denoting that the ink does not adhere to the metal ink rollers on a press.

Roll fold – See Barrel fold.

Saddle stitching – In post-press, to fasten a booklet by wiring it through the middle fold of the sheets.

Saturation – The degree to which a color is pure and free of dilution from black, white, or gray.

Scanner – A device that converts images on film or paper into digital information.

Score – To impress or indent a mark with a steel rule in the paper so that it folds on the intended line and also to make folding easier.

Screen angles – In pre-press, the angle to which the halftone screen is placed in relation to one another, to avoid the formation of an undesirable moiré pattern. A set of angles often used are: black 45 degrees, magenta 75 degrees, yellow 90 degrees, cyan 105 degrees.

Screen printing – Formerly called silk screen. A stencil is prepared by hand or photographically on a screen or mesh, Ink is then forced through the screen and onto the substrate. Very thick ink films can be printed and printing is possible on difficult surfaces.

Screw and post binding – Binding that secures pages with a bolt that is inserted through a drilled hole and secured with a post on the opposite side.

Scum – In offset lithography, a film of ink printing in the non-image areas of a plate where it should not print.

Self cover – A cover of the same paper as inside text pages.

Separations – Reproducing a color image by dividing it into four negatives, or four plates, one each for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

Serif – The short cross-lines at the ends of the main strokes of many letters in some type faces.

Shadow – The darkest parts in a photograph, represented in a halftone by the largest dots.

Sharpen – To decrease in strength, as when halftone dots become smaller; opposite of “thicken” or “dot spread”.

Sheetfed – A printing process utilizing sheets of paper rather than rolls.

Shingling – The allowance made during page impositioning to compensate for creep. Also called stair stepping or progressive margins.

Short ink – An ink that is buttery and does not flow freely.

Show-through – in printing, the undesirable condition in which the printing on the reverse side of a sheet can be seen through the sheet under normal lighting conditions.

Side stitching – In binding, to wire the sheets or signatures of a magazine or booklet on the side near the spine or backbone.

Signature – In binding, the name given to a printed sheet after it has been folded at least once, possibly many times, to become part of a book, magazine, or other publication. Signatures are commonly made up of four, eight, sixteen, or thirty two pages. Also called a form.

Silk Screen – A method of printing where ink is forced through a stencil adhered to a screen. Also called serigraphy or screen printing.

Sizing – The treatment of paper which gives it resistance to the penetration of liquids (particularly water) or vapors.

Small caps – An alphabet of SMALL CAPITAL LETTERS available in most roman type faces approximately the size of the lower case letters. Used in combination with larger capital letters.

Spectrophotometer - Measuring spectral data provides a higher level of color accuracy than densitometry alone. Spectrophotometers measure reflected or transmitted light across a light spectrum. The resulting data creates a visual curve. Spectral measurements ensure that color is consistent across varying substrates and production processes. A densitometer checks density but does not see color, and this can often result in color variations that might not meet customer expectations.

Spiral binding – A book bound with wires in spiral form inserted through holes punched along the binding side.

Spoilage – Paper that is recycled as a result of on-press mistakes and accidents.

Spread – Slightly enlarging an image intentionally to create a trap. Opposite of choke.

Static eliminator – In printing presses, an attachment designed to remove the static electricity from the paper to avoid ink set-off and trouble with paper feeding.

Step-and-repeat – The procedure of multiple exposure using the same image by stepping it in position according to a predetermined layout.

Stet – Latin for "let it stand". A proofreader’s mark, (stet) written in the margin, signifying that corrections marked on the copy should be ignored and should remain as it was. 

Stitch – To sew, staple or otherwise fasten pages together by a thread or wire in binding.

Stochastic screening – A method of placing ink dots in a seemingly random pattern rather than using conventional halftone screen patterns. Stochastic screening can eliminate moiré patterns and create smoother appearing fleshtones. you can look at the output of any inkjet printer (even that one next to your computer) under a magnifying glass and see what a stochastic pattern looks like.

Stock – Paper or other substrate to be printed.

Stream feeder – In printing presses, a type of high-speed feeder that feeds several sheets overlapping or shingling each other toward the grippers.

Sulphate pulp – Paper pulp made from wood chips cooked under pressure in a solution of caustic soda and sodium sulphide. Known as kraft.

Sulphite pulp – Paper pulp made from wood chips cooked under pressure in a solution of bisulphite of lime.

Supercalender – In papermaking, a calendar stack, separate from the papermaking machine, with alternate metal and resilient rolls, used to produce a high smooth and glossy finish on paper.

SWOP (Specifications for Web Offset Publications) – Recommended printing specifications published every few years by a committee of graphic arts professionals.

Tack – In printing inks, the property of cohesion between particles; the pulling power or separation force of ink.A tacky ink has high separation forces and can cause picking or splitting of weak papers.

Text – The body matter of a page or book, as distinguished from the headings.

Thermography – Obtaining a raised image by printing with a sticky ink or varnish, then dusting with  a fine powder, which may be pigmented, and which is then heated to fuse it to the paper in a relief pattern.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) – Used for placing images or graphics in documents created in word processing, page layout, or drawing programs.

Tints – Various even tone areas (strengths) of a solid color.

Tonal compression – The reduction of the tonal range in an image to facilitate image reproduction.

Tonal range – Difference between the darkest and lightest area of a continuous tone image.

Tooth – A characteristic of paper, a slightly rough finish, which permits it to take ink readily.

Tracking – See letterspacing.

Transparent ink – A printing ink which does not conceal the color beneath. A transparent ink allows the undercolors to show through. Process inks are transparent so that they will blend to form other colors.

Transpose – To exchange the position of a letter, word, or line with another letter, word, or line.

Trapping – The ability of an already printed ink film to accept a succeeding or overprinted ink film. Also, printing one ink over another so there is a slight overlap of colors in order to prevent a colorless gap between adjacent colors to compensate for slight misregistration.

Tray – In packaging, a relatively shallow folding carton with a bottom hinged to the wide side and end walls.

Trim marks – In printing, marks placed on the copy to indicate the edge of the page to guide the guillotine operator exactly where to trim.

Tri-tone – A halftone made from three colors.

Typeface – Design of alphabetic letters, numerals, and symbols unified by consistent visual properties. Typeface designs are identified by name, such as Helvetica or Garamond.

Type family – A range of style variations based on a single typeface design.

Type high – 0.918 inch; the standard in letterpress.

Type style – Modifications in a typeface that create design variety while maintaining the visual character of the typeface. These include variations in weight (light, medium, bold, extrabold), width (condensed or extended), or angle (italic or slanted versus roman or upright).

Typo – Commonly used term for a typographical error.

UCR (Undercolor Removal) – Technique of removing unwanted color in separations either to reduce the amount of ink to be used for economy or to reduce ink density and the problems inherent with high ink coverage.

Uncoated paper – Paper that has not been coated with clay.

Undercut – In printing  presses, the difference between the radius of the cylinder bearers and the cylinder body, to allow for plate (or blanket) and packing thickness.

Unsharp masking – Adjusting an image digitally to make it appear as though it is in better focus.

Up – In printing, two-up, three-up, etc. refers to imposition of material to be printed on a larger size sheet to take advantage of full press capacity.

UV or Ultraviolet coating – Liquid applied to a sheet of paper that is heat cured with ultraviolet light, resulting in a hard, durable finish.

Value – The lightness or darkness of a color. Darker values where black is added are called shades. Lighter values where white is added are called tints or pastels.

Varnish – A thin, protective coating applied to a printed sheet to give it a matt or glossy appearance and to provide protection against scuffing and fingerprints. Also, in inkmaking, it can be all or part of the ink vehicle.

VDP (variable data printing) – At its most basic, VDP can be the personalization of a printed piece by inserting the recipient's name and address. Since each impression on a toner-based digital press is unique anyway, a database-driven process can insert custom text – even images – to narrowly target the printed piece to the recipient's demographic or buying history. While variable data printing is more expensive because of the programming and planning involved, as well as the cost of demographic information and mailing lists,  the response rate from such targeted mailings is substantially higher than for generic mass mailings.

Vehicle – In printing inks, the fluid component which acts as a carrier for the pigment.

Vellum finish – In papermaking, a toothy finish which is relatively absorbent for fast ink penetration.

Vignette – An illustration in which the background fades away gradually until it blends into the unprinted paper.

Viscosity – In printing inks, a broad term encompassing the properties of tack and flow.

VOC (volatile organic compounds) – Petroleum-based substances found in many printing inks.

Warm color – In printing, a color which is on the reddish side.

Wash-up – The process of cleaning the rollers, form or plate, and sometimes the ink fountain of a press.

Watermark – In papermaking, a translucent design impressed on paper by the raised pattern of the dandy roll during manufacture.

Web – A roll of paper used in web or rotary printing.

Web press – A press which prints from rolls (or webs) of paper.

Wet trapping – Printing an ink or varnish over another layer of ink or varnish while the bottom layer is still wet.

Widow – In composition, a single word in a line by itself, ending in a paragraph; frowned upon in good typography.

Wire-O binding – A continuous double series of wire loops run through punched slots along the binding side of a booklet.

Wire side – In papermaking, the side of the paper that is formed against the wire. The wire side of paper made on a fourdrinier machine is generally rougher. For paper made on a cylinder machine, the wire side is generally smoother.

With the grain – Folding or feeding paper parallel to the grain of the paper.

Work and tumble – To print one side of a sheet of paper, then turn the sheet over from gripper to back using the same side guide and plate to print the second side.

Work and turn – To print one side of a sheet of paper, then turn the sheet over from left to right and print the second side. The same gripper and plate is used for printing both sides.

Wove paper – Paper having a uniform unlined surface and a soft, smooth finish.

Wrinkles – Undesirable creases in paper occurring during printing. In inks, the uneven surface formed during drying.

Wrong font – In proofreading, the mark “WF” indicates a letter or figure of the wrong size or typeface.

Wrong reading – An image that is backwards when compared to the original.


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About Us

Established in 1989, Nitto Printing is a dynamic, full service commercial printing company, well recognized in industry circles for its commitment to premium quality, prompt delivery, honest service and outstanding value.

The company specializes in offset lithography, digital offset, letterpress and large format printing with powerful pre-press and post-press capabilities.

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