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Graphic Design Glossary


A Sizes
Series of finished trimmed sizes in the ISO international paper sizes range.

Acid-Free Paper
Paper having no residual acid-producing chemicals, and a pH of 7 or slightly above 7.

Accordion Fold
Two or more parallel folds that open like an accordion.

Adhesive 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 and (in case binding) a suitable lining.

In typesetting the ability of the output device to ensure that each character is perfectly aligned on the baseline. In justification the variable spaces inserted between words so that left and/or right hand margins are vertically aligned to form a straight line.

Art Paper
Paper that hase received a coating of china clay and size. It has a very smooth surface, which may be matt, but is usually shiny.

Usually material (other than text only) for reproduction. Finished artwork or mechanicals are usually completed camera ready and include and type matter in position, as well as halftones in the form of pre-screened prints.

More accurately US ASCII, USA Standard Code for Information Interchange. A more or less standard interpretation of the ISO data codes, it gives 128 seven-bit codes.

Author's Alterations/Corrections.
Corrections, made by the author on proofs, that alter it from the original copy. The cost of them is normally charged, contrast to printer's errors or house corrections.

Author's Proof
The proofs sent to the customer. Traditionally this set should have a copy of any proof correction marks.


B Sizes
The ISO international paper sizes intended primarily for posters, wall charts, and similar items where the difference between each A size represents too large a jump.

Back to Back/Back Up
The process of backing a printed sheet, otherwise known as perfecting.

The notional line at the foot of the X-height on which different type designs align.

To fasten sheets or signatures with glue, wire, thread, or other means.

Printed matter designed to run off the edge of the paper. Also used by bookbinders to describe over-cut margins.

Blind Emboss
Impression of an uninked image on the back of a sheet, producing a raised image on the front of the sheet.

A cellulose-based material which is usually above 200 g/m.

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

Relative thickness of a sheet or sheets.


C Sizes
The C series within the ISO international paper size range, used for making envelopes or folders to take the A sizes.

Any letter, figure or symbol in typesetting.

Cleat Bind
Alternate term for Side Stitch.

Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black. See 'Four Colour Process'.

Coarse Screen
Screen with ruling of fewer than 133 lines per inch.

Coated Paper
Paper that has received a coating on one or both sides, such as art paper and cast coated papers.

To check through the sections or pagination of a book after gathering to ensure that it is complete and in correct sequence for binding.

Colour Control Bar
A coloured strip in various densities on the back edge of the sheet which enables the platemaker and printer to check by eye or instrument the nature of each ink film.

Colour Correction
Alteration to the colour values of an illustration either by the original photographer using colour balancing filters, or by adjusting the colour scanner to produce the correct results.

Colour Separation
Set of four halftone negatives for making plates for 4-color process printing.

Comb Bind
To bind by inserting teeth of a flexible plastic comb through holes in a stack of paper.

Composite Proof
Proof of color separations in position with graphics and type.

Cover Stock
Grade of paper made for covers and postcards.

Phenomenon of middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages.

DuPont trade name for integral color proof.

Crop Marks
Lines near the margins of artwork or photos indicating where to cut, perforate, or fold.

One of the four process colors; also known as process blue.


To press an image into paper so it lies below the surface.

Die Cutting
Using a die to cut holes or irregular outlines in display work or book covers.

To bore holes in paper so sheets fit over posts of loose-leaf binders.

Dry Gum Paper
Label paper with glue on one side that can be activated by water.

A sample for a job made up with the actual materials and to the correct size to show bulk, style of binding and so on.

An image produced in two different tone ranges so that when printed a greater tone range is produced than possible with one colour.

Printing on both sides of the paper.

Duplex Paper
Paper with a different color or finish on each side.


To press an image in relief to achieve a raised surface.

A method of coating paper/board in plastic - the sheet is sandwiched between two sheets of plastic and passed through a set of heated rollers.


Fine Screen
Screen with ruling of more than 150 lines per inch.

Finish Size
Size of printed product after production is complete.

Method of printing on a web press using rubber plates with raised images.

To cover a sheet with ink or varnish.

Fly Fold
A single fold to give a four page leaflet.

Foil Emboss
To foil stamp and emboss an image.

Foil Stamping
Method of printing on a letterpress using thin metallic or pigmented film and die.

Four-Color Process
Technique of printing that uses the four "process" colors of ink to simulate color photographs or illustrations.

French Fold
Two folds at right angles to each other.


Artworks mounted together so that they can be reproduced/printed together.

Abbreviation for grammes per square metre. A method of indicating the substance of paper on the basis of indicating its weight, regardless of the sheet size.

In paper, the direction in which fibers are aligned. In photography, crystals that make up emulsion on film.


H&J (Hyphenation and justification)
Software to correctly distribute spaces in a line of type for justification, and hyphens in words for hyphenation.

A photograph of continuous-tones through a screen to convert the image into dots. The result may be either positive or negative and on film or paper.

Horizontal Format
Rectangular page, printed to appear landscape.

Hot Melt
An adhesive used for binding.


Arrangement of pages on mechanicals or flats so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.

A short line of type set to the right or left of the standard margin.

Ink Jet
A printer that uses jets of ink to create the image on the paper.

International Paper Sizes
The standard rage of metric paper sizes laid down by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).


See H&J.


Used to indicate black in the four colour process.

The adjusting of the space between individual letters sp that part of one extends over the rectangular area covered by its neighbour.

The outline on artwork that when printed will give the register with the other colours.

Kiss Die Cut
To die cut, but not all the way through the paper.

Kiss Impression
A very light printing impression, just enough to produce an image on the paper.


A plastic film bonded by heat and pressure for protection and appearance.

Landscape Format
Rectangular page with long sides at the top and bottom.

Leading (pronounced ledding)
The space between lines of type - comes from the thin strips of lead that were used in hot metal setting.

Line Art
Artwork entirely in black on white with no intermediary tones.

Method of printing using a chemically-coated plate whose image areas attract ink and whose non-image areas repel ink.


Machine Coated
Paper which is coated one or two sides on a paper machine.

All activities required to set up a press before production begins. Also refers to paper used in the process.

One of the four process colors; also known as process red.

3M trade name for integral color proof.

Matte Finish
Slightly dull finish on coated, lightly-calendered paper.

A pattern, like that in watered silk, which is created when a photograph that already has a halftone screen has to be rescreened. It can also happen when screen angles are set incorrectly.


Non justified.


Offset Printing
Printing process using an intermediate blanket cylinder to transfer an image from the image carrier to the paper.

To print a second image on a previously printed sheet.

The quantity allowance delivered to the finisher or customer above the quantity ordered to cater for losses during production. These may be chargeable, but are less relevant in digital printing as the losses are minimal.


Pantone Inc's check standard trademark for colour preproduction and colour reproduction materials. Numbers preceded with PMS e.g. PMS288.

Parallel Folds
More than one fold on the same axis as in an accordion or gate fold.

Perfect Bind
To bind sheets by trimming at the binding edge and gluing them to a paper cover.

Unit of measure equalling 1/6 of an inch often used to express line measure or column width.

The individual picture elements that form the smallest visible and manipulable part of a colour image on a computer.

Pantone Matching System. A color match system for printing inks.

1/1000 of an inch.

Point System
Type measurement system in which the point is 1/72 of an inch.

Process Blue
Alternate term for Cyan.

Process Colour
Synonymous with four colour process.

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

Press Proof
Proof made on press using the plates, paper, and ink specified for the job.


Quarter Bound
A book whose back covering is of one material while the sides are of another.

A page size, typically about A4, and obtained by folding a sheet once in each direction.


International paper sizes.

Ragged Right/Left
Use of fixed word space so that the type does not align on one side.

500 sheets of paper.

Register Marks
Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and negatives that guide strippers and printers.

Any printing of work subsequent to the first print.

Right Reading Emulsion Down (RRED)
Copy reading correctly from left to right with the film emulsion down.

Right Reading Emulsion Up (RREU)
Copy reading correctly from left to right with the film emulsion up.

Right-Angle Fold
In binding, a term used for two or more folds that are at 90° angles to each other.

Rough Proof
A proof that is not necessarily in position or on the correct paper.

To print.

Run On
Sheets printed in addition to the basic quantity.


Saddle Stitch
To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine.

Sans Serif
A class of typeface without serifs.

A rough layout.

To make a crease in a board so that it folds on the intended line.

Paper folded to form a part of a book or booklet.

Publication made entirely from the same paper so that cover is printed simultaneously with inside pages.

Alternate term for Color Separation.

Undesirable transfer of wet ink from the top of one sheet to the underside of another as they lie in the delivery stack of the press. Also called offset.

Slip Sheet
Blank sheet placed between printed products to prevent setoff or scuffing during handling and shipping. Also, a blank sheet of colored paper placed between unbound collated publications to indicate separation.

Soft Cover
Bound without a case; usually perfect bound, but also sewn and bound with a paper cover.

Spot Varnish
Varnish applied to specific portions of a sheet.

International paper sizes.

Stitch Bind
To bind with wire staples.


Method of printing using colorless resin powder and heat applied to wet ink yielding raised images.

The overlap allowed for two colors to print on the same sheet; used to compensate for misregister and to avoid white space between colors.

Trim Marks
Lines on a mechanical, negative, plate, or press sheet showing where to cut edges off of paper or cut paper apart after printing.

Trim Size
Size of the printed product after last trim is made.


UCR (Undercolour removal)
Technique of removing unwanted colour in separations either to reduce the amount of ink to be used, or where these colours cancel each other out in the various achromatic systems.

Uncoated Paper
Paper that is not coated.

Upper Case
A name for the capital letters or caps.


Clear liquid applied like ink on press for beauty and protection.

Vellum Finish
Relatively rough finish on uncoated paper.


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 using the same gripper edge to print the second side.


That part of a letter with no ascender or descender - an 'a' or an 'x' for example.


Two folds,parallel to one another but in opposite directions. Also known as 'concertina fold.' Commonly used to produce small flyers/mailers from A4 paper.created to fit an existing identity.


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