Glossary of design terms |

Achromatic: Without color. A lens which refracts light of all colors equally is said to be achromatic.

Accordian Fold (Z-fold): A bindery term for two or more parallel folds that open like an accordion.

Additive Primaries: Are red, blue and green. In color reproduction, equal parts of red, blue, and green light give us the sensation of white light. These colors are used in the form of filters in order to create the complementary colors, cyan, yellow and magenta.

Alkaline Paper: A stable, acid free paper used for printing projects that must last as long as possible.

Aliasing: Condition when graphics, either constructed with lines (vectored) or dots (bitmapped), show jagged edges under magnification.

Ascender: A typographic term for the portion of lowercase characters that rises above the main body of the letter. The lowercase letters b, d, f, h, k, l and t have ascenders.

Base Alignment: The imaginary horizontal line upon which typeset characters appear to rest, regardless of varying sizes of the elements in the columns.

Base Color: A first color used as a background on which other colors are printed.

Base Font: Typeface that graphics software defaults to if no other font is specified.

Bidirectional Printing: A typewriter always prints from left to right. So did the early computer printers. That's unidirectional printing. The newer computer printers will print from left to right, drop down a line, then print from right to left. Bidirectional. This increase the printer's speed.

Binder's Creep: The slight but cumulative extension of the edges of each inserted spread or signature beyond the edges of the one that encloses it in a saddle stitch bind.

Bit: Contraction for Binary DigiT. The smallest unit of data a computer can process. Represents one of two conditions: on or off; 1 or 0, mark or space; something or nothing. Bits are arranged into groups of eight called bytes. A byte is the equivalent of one character.

Bitmap: A computerized image made up of dots or pixels. Line art and photos are often saved as bitmaps. To keep art work from looking jagged, bitmaps should be saved at a minimum of 1200 dots per inch (dpi).

Bit-mapped Graphics: Graphic images which are formed with sets of pixels, or dots, with a specific number of dots per inch. Also called raster graphics and paint-type graphics. Contrast with vector graphics.

Black and White: Originals or reproductions in a single color, as distinguished from multicolor. When color separations are made, the result is four black and white negatives, each representing a process printing color.

Black Printer: The plate used with the cyan, magenta and yellow plates; often used to enrich the contrast of the final reproduction.

Blade Coating: A paper coating method which results in a very smooth surface.

Blanket: This fabric reinforced rubber sheet is used on our presses to transfer the image from the printing plate to the paper.

Bleed: When the printed inks run all the way to the edge of the paper. To accommodate the bleed, we must make the bleed area larger than the final trim size. The page is then trimmed right through the bleed area.

Brightness: In color, the difference in range from white when compared to dark tones and colors. Could also be considered to be contrast. In photography, brightness is dependent upon correct exposure. Overexposures will be very bright but will have lost highlight density details. Underexposures will be very dense and show little brightness. In paper, the reflectance or brilliance of the paper.

C1S: Describes paper stock that is coated on one side.

C2S: Describes paper stock that is coated on two sides.

Card Stock: Also called cover stock. This paper is used for postcards, business cards, catalog covers and other items that need a heavier stock.

Case Sensitive: Knows the difference between capital letters and lower case letters. A case-sensitive search for ""CASE" would not find "case".

Chromatic Aberration: In a photographic lens, the result of the unwanted dispersion of light so that colors of the white light spectrum are focused on slightly different distances on a single plane. Lenses which have been corrected for this problem are said to be achromatic.

CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. The four process colors (technically, they are "subtractive" colors) that are used in four-color printed reproduction. In desktop publishing it's one of the color models; the others being HSB, PMS and RGB.

Coated Paper: Also called enamel and can be glossy or dull. This paper is coated with clay, white pigments and a binder. It reproduces fine detail and photographs better than uncoated paper. it contains less than 10% groundwood pulp.

Cold Color: In printing and separations, colors which are on the bluish or greenish side. By using a print viewing filter kit an additive or subtractive solution may be found if a color correction is required.

Color gamut: Range of colors that can be formed by all combinations of a given set of light sources or colorants of a color reproduction system.

Color Model: How you describe a color. Imagine trying to explain "red" to a blind person. You can't, without a prearranged "language." Color models are those languages. Eg. CMYK, HSB, PMS and RGB.

Color proof: Image created using process color inks, pigments or dyes to predict the appearance of the final printed sheet.

Color Separations: The photographic or electronic means of separating artwork into cyan, magenta, yellow and black components. Two or three color jobs also need to be color separated before printing.

Color space: Scheme for representing color as data. Most color space models define color in three dimensions.

Commercial Registration: Color printing on which misregistration is allowable within +/- one row of dots.

Composed Files: A PostScript file that represents color pages containing picture elements specified in terms of red, green, and blue (RGB) or cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CYMK) color space, as opposed to black and white "gray level" pages which represent separations.

Compression: A software or hardware process that "shrinks" images so they occupy less storage space, and can be transmitted faster and easier. Generally accomplished by removing the bits that define blank spaces and other redundant data, and replacing them with a smaller algorithm that represents the removed bits.

Computer To Plate (CTP): CTP is a process where we can take your computer file and output it directly onto a printing plate.

Cones: Photoreceptors in the retina of the human eye that are sensitive to high light levels. The eyes have three sets of cones, each sensitive to a portion of the visible color spectrumred light, green light and blue light.

Contact Print: A photographic same size copy made by exposure of a sensitized emulsion in contact with the transparency, negative or positive with the exposing light passing through the master image.

Contiguous: Placed adjacently; one after another.

Continuous-tone image: Photographic image that shows a continuous density range between the lighter and darker areas without screening dots.

Contrast: The tonal gradation between highlights, middletones, and shadows in an original or a reproduction. The visual relationship of the original to the reproduction when comparing white to black ranges.

Convergence: In an RGB monitor, where red, green and blue signals all "converge" in one pixel. At full brightness, the RGB pixel in convergence would be white.

CPI: Characters Per Inch. The density of characters per inch on paper.

Crop Marks: Lines positioned outside the corners of the sheet showing where you want the job to be trimmed or folded.

Cyan: One of the colored inks used in four-color printing. One of the subtractive process colors; reflects blue and green and absorbs red.

Data Shift: In color process printing, it describes a shift in one of the channels of data that comprise the image file and could cause inconsistent color in some area of the image.

DCS: Desktop Color Separation is composed of five files. The main file is a composite with pointers to separation files and a low-resolution PICT preview file. There are four separations files, one for each process color.

Decrement: In color process printing, it describes the decrease of a brightness, hue, or saturation value in an image.

Density: Measurement of the light-absorbing quality of a photographic or printed image.

Descenders: A typographic term for the portion of lowercase characters that falls below the main body of the letter. The lower case letters g, j, p, q and y have descenders.

Detail Contrast: In electronic scanning, the ability to increase the apparent detail contrast from light to dark and from dark to light by simple electronic manipulation. This produces an increased visual contrast on edge sharpness, thereby enhancing the image. The particular control section of a scanner that carries out this particular function is the unsharp masking area (USM).

Die: Sharp metal rule used for die cutting, or block or metal used for embossing or foil stamping.

Die Cutting: Cutting irregular shapes in paper using metal rules mounted on a letter press.

Differential Spacing: In typography, allowing letters to take up varying horizontal space in relation to their widths.

Digital Proof: A proofing system that does not include the use of film. Data is sent to a printer and imaged directly onto a paper-based material. There are several limitations of a digital proof: 1) they do not use the film that will be used to produce plates, and thus are open to interpretation of the output device, 2) few of these devices print in the same dot pattern as is utilized in the printing process, and 3) the ink utilized in these printers is not representative of the inks used in the printing process and can show a vast color range and density not attainable on a printing press.

Dipthong: In typesetting, two vowels which are joined to form a single character, also known as digraph. A special form of ligature.

Display Type: Used for headlines and advertising copy, it is larger than 14 points.

Dithering: Simulating gray tones by altering the size, arrangement or shape of background dots.

Dot: The individual element of a halftone. Its size (density) can be related to the density of the original used to produce the halftone dot. The size of the dot is indicated by the percentage of the area it occupies from zero to on hundred percent. It may be several shapes including round, square or elliptical.

Dot Gain: An increase in the size of halftone dots that may occur as a result of errors or imperfections in any of the steps between screening an image and printing it onto paper. Common causes of mechanical dot gain are incorrect plate exposure, excessive tack or incorrect viscosity of printing ink, excessive ink film thickness, internal reflection of the ink, or too much pressure between the blanket roller and the impression cylinder.

Dot Spread: In printing, a defect in which dots print larger than they should, causing darker tones or colors. (See dot gain)

DPI: Dots Per Inch. A measurement of output device resolution and quality. Measures the number of dots a printer can print per inch both horizontally and vertically. A 600 dpi printer can print 360,000 (600 by 600) dots on one square inch of paper.

Drop Cap: At the beginning of a paragraph, the initial capital letter can be modified to make a drop capital by descending the letter below the baseline of the first line of text.

Dummy: a preliminary layout showing the position of illustrations and text as they are to appear in the final reproduction. A set of blank pages made up in advance to show the size, shape, color, form and general style of a piece of printing.

Duotone: Color reproduction from a monochrome original, such as a black and white photograph. Two halftones with different screen angles are made from the same original and printed in register with two colors.

Ellipsis: Three equally spaced periods, used to indicate omitted or missing material, especially in quoted text.

Elliptical Dot: Also called a chain dot. Used in a halftone to achieve some of the smoothness of a round dot without sacrificing the sharpness of the square dot. This dot shape improves the gradation of middletones and especially skin tones. Most useful in reproducing color for cosmetic and fashion illustrations.

Em: A relative measurement of horizontal space _ it's a measurement because it is equal to the width of a capital "M". It's "relative" because it's the width of the capital "M" in whatever font and size you're dealing with.

Embossing: Raised letters or designs created by squeezing the paper between two metal dies.

Emulation Mode: A mode in which a device such as a printer can imitate the behavior of a different device.

Emulsion Side: In photography, the side of the film coated with the silver halide emulsion which faces the lens during exposure. It is the most susceptible to scratches. In photographic sheet film, there is usually a code notch indicating what type of film it is as well as which side the emulsion is on.

En: Half the width on an em.

Encapsulated PostScript (EPS): An image description format which allows your graphics to be imaged at the resolution of the final output device. EPS translates graphics and text into descriptions to a printer of how to draw them. The font and pictures themselves need not be loaded into the printer; they've been "encapsulated" into the EPS code.

End Caps: Symbols, such as an arrowhead or bullet, used to cap the end of a line of text.

Exposure: The step in photographic processes during which light produces an image on the light-sensitive film coating.

Face: One of the styles of a family of faces. For example, the italic style of the Garamond family is a face.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP): The standard method of transferring files using TCP/IP. FTP allows you to transfer files between dissimilar computers, with preservation of binary data, and optional translation of text file formats.

Film: A negative or positive, photographic or lithographic record made on a light sensitive material.

Filter: In color separations and photography, a colored piece of gelatin used over or between the lens to alter the hue, color or to correct for spectral imbalances.

Finish Size: Size of printed product after production is complete.

Folio: A page number.

Four-color process printing: Process of reproducing a full-color image by overprinting screened separations for each of the three process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow) and black using process color inks.

Frequency: The lines per inch (lpi) in a halftone screen.

Galley Proof: A proof of text copy before it is formatted for the page.

Gamma: A measure of contrast in photographic images. A densimetric evaluation of graph paper indicating highlight to shadow contrast in terms of density values, plotted on a graph to establish the maximum and the minimum, the difference between them being the gamma.

Gamut: Every color combination that is possible to produce with a given set of colorants on a given device or system.

GIF: This file format is mainly used for Web graphics. It makes a very small file, but is not extremely accurate. GIF is not acceptable for quality reproduction in printing.

Giga: Meaning billion or thousand million. In computers, it is actually 1,024 times mega and is actually 1,073,741,824. One thousand gigas is a tera.

Gloss: A shiny coating on paper. Gloss coatings allow very little ink absorption, providing excellent color definition and contrast.

Glyph: The word glyph is used differently in different contexts. The most common example of a glyph is a letter, but the symbols and shapes in a font like ITC Zapf Dingbats are also glyphs.

Gradation: In photographic originals and lithographic reproductions, the range of tones from the brightest highlights to the deepest shadows.

Grain: In photography, the grain is the granular particles in photographic emulsion of an original print or negative. The printing process causes the grain to become more apparent than in the original. In paper, grain is the direction in which most wood pulp fibers lie within the sheet as the paper is made. Folding paper against the grain breaks more wood fibers than folding with the grain, resulting in an uneven, less precise fold.

Gray Balance: In four-color process printing, proper proportions of the three-process colors (yellow, magenta and cyan) create the appearance of neutral gray with no apparent hue.

Gray Component Replacement (GCR): A technique for removing some or all of the cyan, magenta and yellow from color separations. If properly executed, the reproduction will appear the same or better than one that used conventional color reproduction without GCR.

Gray scale: The spectrum, or range, of shades of black an image has. Scanners' and terminals' gray scales are determined by the number of gray shades, or steps, they can recognize and reproduce. A scanner that can only see a gray scale of 16 will not produce as accurate an image as one that distinguishes a gray scale of 256.

Gray Value: The number (usually between 0 and 256) that specifies a particular shade of gray.

Gripper Margin: The unprintable blank edge on which the paper is gripped as it passes through a printing press. Usually measures a half inch or less.

Gutter: The two inner margins of facing pages of a publication, toward the binding edge of a book or booklet.

H&J: Hyphenation and Justification. The arrangement of text evenly in a column (justification), usually requiring the breaking of words at their appropriate syllable breaks (hyphenation). For this feature, desktop publishing programs include large dictionaries which instruct where hyphens can be correctly placed.

Hairline: A .25-point rule.

Halftone: The process of converting a continuous tone photograph into a pattern of different size dots that simulate shades of gray. When viewed with a magnifying glass you will see a series of dots but at normal viewing distances it creates the illusion of continuous tone.

Hanging Indent: The first line of a paragraph specified to start to the left of the other lines in the paragraph. This is sometimes referred to as outdenting.

High Resolution: Basically, any image that is displayed in better quality by increasing the number of dots, or pixels, per inch than normal. Usually refers to better quality computer displays, but can describe printer quality as well. Called hi-res, for short.

Highlights: Area of an original image or reproduction with the smallest printing dots and/or the least density. On a printed sheet, the area with minimum ink coverage.

Horizontal Scale: The alteration or horizontal dimension in characters without changing height.

HSB: Hue Saturation Brightness. To artists, it is an abbreviation for all of a color's characteristics: hue (the pigment); the saturation (the amount of pigment); and brightness (the amount of white included). With the HSB model, all colors can be defined by expressing their levels of hue, saturation and brightness in percentages.

Hue: Attribute of a color that describes its dominant wavelength (such as red, yellow, green, blue) and distinguishes it from other colors. The wavelength of a color in its purest state without the addition of white or black. In color space, hue is arrayed around the center axis.

Hue Error: The difference between the printed color and the ideal color which it is supposed to represent. For example, cyan ink used in four-color process work should ideally reflect all the green and blue frequencies of light that fall on it, while it should absorb all of the red frequencies. In reality, the ink will not achieve this state of perfection.

Hyphenation: Two classes of hyphenation are used in preparing documentation: editorial and typesetting. Editorial hyphenation considers hyphenation for compound words and prefixes; judgements are made on context and standard use of the language at a given time. Typesetting hyphenation considers the breaking of words by syllable at the end of lines to create an elegant text design.

Image Resolution: The fineness or coarseness of an image as it was digitized, measured as dots-per-inch (DPI).

Imposition: Laying out pages in a press form so that they will be in the correct order after the printed sheet is folded. In color reproduction, laying out originals in position in order that all components of a page can be gang scanned in position in one scan (See gang separation).

Indents: The positions where lines of text begin and end within the specified margins.

Indicia: Refers to printing on the upper right corner of an envelope-usually the postage-paid notice or a box for placement of a stamp.

In-line Graphic: A graphic that is embedded in a text block or line of text.

Inside Tint (Security Screen): Envelope has a dark tint printed on its inside to keep contents protected from snooping. Custom designs are readily available.

JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group. A file format used for good quality photographic reproduction on the Web. JPEG graphics are capable of reproducing a full range of color while still remaining small enough for Web use. Most of the photographs you see on the Web are JPEG format.

Justify: The process by which a line of text is spaced between specified right- and left-hand margins. Full Justified text has a more formal appearance, but may be harder to read.

Kbs: Kilobytes per second.

Kbyte (K): Kilobyte. One thousand bytes. To a computer, it's actually 1,024 bytes.

Kelvin, 5000 degrees: Color temperature is frequently used to describe the color quality of light in terms of degrees of Kelvin. The lower the temperature the more yellow and red are found the higher the temperature and the bluer the light will look. 5000 degrees is an average. Fluorescent lights which are 5000 degrees Kelvin with a CRI index of 90 or more are required.

Kerning: The adjustment of horizontal space between individual characters in a line of text. The objective of kerning is to create visually equal spaces between all letters so that the eye can move smoothly along the text.

Keyline: A black lined area on a layout or art board indicating a precise area for the placement of a color or black and white reproduction. It is generally noted specifically to use the black line to "trap" the photo to the background or to drop the black line and simply use the keyline to create the window for a halftone placement.

Knockout: An area on a printer's spot-color overlay in which the overlapping color is deleted so the background color shows through.

L*A*B*: A system for describing, measuring, and controlling color, using hue, luminance, and brightness established by the International Committee on Illumination (CIE).

LCD: Liquid Cyrstal Display. An electronic component containing a tiny quantity of liquid that crystallizes (turns black) when a small electrical current passes through it, and returns to a liquid state when the current is switched off.

Leaders: Dashes or dots arranged in a row to guide the eye across the page. Leaders are commonly used in tabular work.

Leading: The amount of space added between lines of text to make the document legible. The term originally referred to the thin lead spacers that printers used to physically increase space between lines of metal type. Most applications automatically apply standard leading based on the point size of the font.

Letterspacing: Adjusting the average distance between letters in a block of text to fit more or less text into the given space or to improve legibility. Kerning allows adjustments between individual letters; letterspacing is applied to a block of text as a whole. Letterspacing is sometimes referred to as tracking or track kerning.

Ligature: Two or more letters tied together into a single letter. In some typefaces, character combinations such as fi and fl overlap, resulting in an unsightly shape. The fi and fl ligatures were designed to improve the appearance of these characters. Letter combinations such as ff, ffl and ffi are available in all Adobe OpenType Pro fonts.

Lightness: Property that distinguishes white from gray or black, and light color tones from dark color tones. In color space, lightness/darkness is the center axis. Also called value.

Line Screen: The resolution of a halftone, expressed in lines per inch.

Line Art: Artwork that, unlike a continuous-tone image, has no gradations of tone and, therefore, does not require screening for reproduction in print.

Lo-res: Short for low resolution. Low quality reproduction because of a small number of dots or lines per inch.

Lines per Inch (lpi): Halftone screens are measured in lpi. Newspapers print photos at 65 to 85 lpi producing coarse looking screens. Our normal printing process used 133 to 150 line screens. The industry rule of thumb is to scan your photos at two times the lpi they are going to be printed at. This means for best quality, we scan our photos at 250-300 dpi. Any higher dpi than twice the lpi will just increase the file size with very little effect on the quality of the image.

Luminance: One of the components of an HSL (hue, saturation, luminance) RGB (red, green, blue) image on a video monitor. It is the highest of the RGB values plus the lowest of the RGB values, dived by two.

M: One Thousand.

M Weight: The weight of one thousand sheets of paper measured in that sheets basic size.

Magenta: One of the subtractive primaries the hue of which is used for one of the 4 color process inks. It reflects blue and red light and absorbs green light. Often confused with the additive primary color or red, especially when requesting color corrections.

Mask: In color separations, an intermediate lithographic negative or positive used in color correction and employed during the direct screening method. For use in making color corrections, a mask made from rubylith or film is used to alter precise areas of tone or color on litho dupe film.

Matte Finish: In printing paper - a dull finish without any gloss or luster. In photography - a color or black and white paper with low gloss or luster which is most ideal for retouching.

Maximum Density: The measurement of the blackest or darkest area of an image on film; that is, the area with the maximum ability to stop light.

Megabyte: Approximately one million bytes.

Metamerism: The tendency for color to shift in hue as it is viewed under different lighting conditions.

Midtones: Tonal values of an original or reproduction that fall midway between the highlight and shadow tones.

Mil: One one-thousandth (1/1000) of an inch; used to describe paper and tape thickness.

Minimum Density: The measurement of the whitest, or lightest area of an image on film.

Moire: In color process printing, the pattern which exists because of one screen angle overprinting another or several other screen angles. Sometimes the moire pattern becomes objectionable because the screen angles are less than 30 degrees, creating an "interference effect." However, the yellow screen in process color is always less than 30 degree angle from other colors but since the yellow dots are virtually invisible to the eye these patterns are unseen.

Monospaced: A type font where all characters have the same width.

Parent Sheet: Original sheet from which press size sheets are cut.

Plate: Reproduction of type and images on a polyester based material to form a printing surface where ink is attracted to the printing areas and repelled from the non-printing areas.

PMS (Pantone Matching System): This is a system of color formulas where we can reproduce over 1000 different shades and colors by accurately mixing several "standard" inks. We can print any color listed in the Pantone Matching System so that you will get the exact color you want.

Point: In measuring type, 1 point is 1/12 of a pica or 1/72 of an inch. In measuring heavy paper stock, 1 point is equivalent to 1/1000 of an inch. Thus 10 point stock is 10/1000 of an inch, or 0.010 inches thick.

Postscript: A page description language for medium to high resolution printing devices. Since Postscript images are made up of mathematical calculations, they can be resized and still maintain their quality unlike bitmap images.

Preflight: The test used to evaluate or analyze every component needed to produce a printing job. Preflight confirms whether correct colour space has been used e.g. CMYK for print, if spot colours are present and that all images and fonts are linked and intact.

Raster Image Processor (RIP): The process of interpreting a page description language, such as Postscript, to a raster format at the resolution and in the format required for a printer or imagesetter. May also refer to the hardware and/or software used in the process of ripping a file.

Registration: In printing, the fitting of two or more colors or images in alignment with each other. Hairline register is the fitting of two or more colors in exact alignment with each other.

Registration Marks: Marks outside the printing area that help us make sure colors are lined up or "registered" together.

Resolution: The degree of image sharpness that can be reproduced by a piece of equipment. Resolution is measured in dots per inch (dpi). Most laser printers image at 600 dpi.

RGB: Red, green and blue. These are the primary colors which make white light. For printing, secondary colors (cyan, magenta and yellow) are used to simulate the colors required. Black (K) is added to help CMY reproduce rich blacks and shadows. When preparing color files for output, please ensure that all placed graphics and colors are separated for four-color CMYK and not RGB.

Right Angle Fold: A term used for two or more folds that are at 90 degree angles to each other.

Saddle Stitching: A binding method where multiple folded sheets are stapled at the center. Booklets, magazines and manuals are some of the projects which get saddle stitched.

Score: To impress or indent a mark in the paper to make folding easier.

Screen Tint: Area of image printed with dots so ink coverage is less than 100% and simulated shading or a lighter color.

Side Stitching: A binding method where two or three staples are inserted usually on the left side of the book. Our high volume copier can copy, collate and side stitch automatically.

Tracking: The average space between characters in a block of text. Sometimes also referred to as letterspacing.

Trapping: A technique in which touching colors are slightly overlapped to minimize any misregister of the printing plates.

Uncoated Paper: Paper that has not had a final coating applied for smoothness. Uncoated paper is absorbent and soft in appearance.

Unjustified: Depending on alignment, this term refers to text which is set flush left, flush right, or centered.

Varnish: A clear, liquid coating, either matte or glossy, that is applied to a printed product for protection and appearance.

Watermark: Distinctive design created in paper during manufacture.

Weight: The relative darkness of the characters in the various typefaces within a type family. Weight is indicated by relative terms such as thin, light, bold, extra-bold, and black.

WYSIWYG: An acronym for What You See Is What You Get. Macintosh, Windows, and some UNIX environments provide a WYSIWYG screen display. What you see on the screen is what you will get on printed output, as accurately as the screen can render it.

X-Height: Traditionally, x-height is the height of the lowercase letter x. It is also the height of the body of lowercase letters in a font, excluding the ascenders and descenders.