Glossary Of Terms

Glossary Of Terms

PDI takes great pride in making our clients feel confident about their jobs during the production process. To help you gain a better understanding of what’s happening to your project, we’ve compiled a glossary of terms that we commonly use in our industry.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W
  • Absorbency

    The ability of a material to take up moisture

  • AC

    Author's Correction

  • Accordion Fold

    A type of paper folding in which each fold runs in the opposite direction to the previous fold creating a pleated or accordion effect.

  • Achromatic

    The non-colors... black, white and gray.

  • Additive Colors

    In photographic reproduction, the primary colors of red, green and blue which are mixed to form all other colors.

  • Air

    Large white areas in a design layout.

  • Alignment

    The condition of type and or art materials as they level up on a horizontal or vertical line.

  • Arrowhead

    A symbol shaped like an arrowhead that is used in illustration to direct a leader line. Reference, leader line

  • Artwork

    All illustrated material, ornamentation, photos and charts etc., that is prepared for reproduction.

  • Ascender

    Any part of a lower case letter which rises above the main body of the letter such as in "d", "b" and "h".

  • Author's Alterations (AA's)

    Changes made after composition stage where customer is responsible for additional charges.

  • Backbone

    That portion of the binding, which connects the front of the book with the back of the book; also called "back".

  • Background

    That portion of a photograph or line art drawing that appears furthest from the eye; the surface upon which the main image is superimposed.

  • Backslant

    Any type that tilts to the left or backward direction; opposite of italic type.

  • Balance

    A term used to describe the aesthetic or harmony of elements, whether they are photos, art or copy, within a layout or design.

  • Balloon

    In an illustration, any line which encircles copy, or dialogue.

  • Banker's Flap Envelope

    Also called wallet flap; the wallet flap has more rounded flap edges.

  • Banner

    The primary headline usually spanning the entire width of a page.

  • Base Line

    This is a term used to describe the imaginary horizontal line upon which stand capitals, lower case letters, punctuation points etc.

  • Basic Size

    This term refers to a standard size of paper stock; even though the required size may be smaller or larger.

  • Basis Weight

    Basis or basic weight refers to the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that particular paper grade.

  • BF

    An abbreviation for boldface, used to determine where boldface copy is to be used. Reference, boldface.

  • Bible Paper

    A thin but strong paper (opaque), used for Bibles and books.

  • Binding

    Various methods of securing folded sections together and or fastening them to a cover, to form single copies of a book.

  • Bleed

    Extra ink area that crosses trim line, used to allow for variations that occur when the reproduction is trimmed or die-cut.

  • Block In

    To sketch the primary areas and points of reference of an illustration in preparation for going to final design or production.

  • Blow-up

    Any enlargement of photos, copies or line art.

  • Body Size

    The point size of a particular type character.

  • Boiler Plate

    Repetitive blocks of type that are picked up and included routinely without recreating them.

  • Boldface

    Any type that has a heavier black stroke that makes it more conspicuous.

  • Bond

    A grade of durable writing, printing and typing paper that has a standard size of 17x22 inches.

  • Brace

    A character " }" used to group lines, or phrases.

  • Brochure

    A pamphlet that is bound in booklet form.

  • Bullet

    A boldface square or dot used before a sentence to emphasize its importance.

  • Caliper

    The measurement of thickness of paper expressed in thousandths of an inch or mils.

  • Caps & Lower Case

    Instructions in the typesetting process that indicate the use of a capital letter to start a sentence and the rest of the letters in lower case.

  • Caps & Small Caps

    Two sizes of capital letters made in one size of type.

  • Case Binding

    Books bound using hard board (case) covers.

  • Cast Coated

    A paper that is coated and then pressure dried using a polished roller which imparts an enamel like hard gloss finish.

  • Coated (Paper)

    Paper coated with clay, white pigments and a binder. Better for printing because there is less picking.

  • Coated Stock

    Any paper that has a mineral coating applied after the paper is made, giving the paper a smoother finish.

  • Cold Color

    Any color that moves toward the blue side in the color spectrum.

  • Collate

    To gather sheets or signatures together in their correct order. (see Gather)

  • Column Gutter

    Space between two or more columns of type on one page.

  • Composition

    The assembly of characters into words, lines and paragraphs of text or body matter for reproduction by printing.

  • Condensed Type

    A narrow, elongated type face.

  • Continuous Tone

    Image made of non-discernable picture elements which give appearance of continuous spectrum of grey values or tones.

  • Contrast

    The degree of tonal separation or gradation in the range from black to white.

  • Copy

    Refers to any typewritten material, art, photos etc., to be used for the printing process.

  • Cover

    A term describing a general type of papers used for the covers of books, pamphlets etc.

  • Crop

    To eliminate a portion of the art or copy as indicated by crop marks.

  • Crop Mark

    Markings at edges of original or on guide sheet to indicate the area desired in reproduction with negative or plate trimmed (cropped) at the markings.

  • Cross-over

    Elements that cross page boundaries and land on two consecutive pages (usually rules).

  • Crossover

    A term used to describe the effect of ink from an image, rule or line art on one printed page, which carries over to another page of a bound work.

  • Cutter

    Machine for accurately cutting stacks of paper to desired dimensions...can also be used to crease. Also trims out final bound books' top size (soft cover).

  • Cyan

    A shade of blue used in the four-color process; it reflects blue and green and absorbs red.

  • Delete

    An instruction given to remove an element from a layout.

  • Descender

    A term that describes that portion of lower case letters which extends below the main body of the letter, as in "p".

  • Die

    Design, letters or shapes, cut into metal (mostly brass) for stamping book covers or embossing. An engraved stamp used for impressing an image or design.

  • Die Cutting

    A method of using sharp steel ruled stamps or rollers to cut various shapes i.e. labels, boxes, image shapes, either post press or in line. The process of cutting paper in a shape or design by the use of a wooden die or block in which are positioned steel rules in the shape of the desired pattern.

  • Die Stamping

    An intaglio process for printing from images engraved into copper or steel plates.

  • Display Type

    Any type that stands out from the rest of the type on a page which attracts attention of the reader.

  • Dot

    The smallest individual element of a halftone.

  • Drill

    The actual drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding.

  • Drop Shadow

    A shadow image placed strategically behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page.

  • Dull Finish

    Any matte finished paper.

  • Dummy

    A term used to describe the preliminary assemblage of copy and art elements to be reproduced in the desired finished product; also called a comp.

  • Duotone

    Color reproduction from monochrome original. Keyplate usually printed in dark color for detail, second plate printed in light flat tints. A two-color halftone reproduction generated from a one-color photo.

  • Em

    A unit of measurement equaling 12 points or 4.5mm.

  • Embossed

    A method of paper finishing whereby a pattern is pressed into the paper when it is dry.

  • Embossing

    To raise in relief a design or letters already printed on card stock or heavy paper by an uninked block or die. In rubber and plastic plate making the process is usually done by heat.

  • Enamel

    A term that describes a glossy coating on paper.

  • Estimate

    The form used by the printer to calculate the project for the print buyer. This form contains the basic parameters of the project including size, quantity, colors, bleeds, photos etc.

  • Expanded Type

    Type with width greater than normal producing a rectangular effect.

  • Fan Fold

    Paper folding that emulates an accordion or fan, the folds being alternating and parallel.

  • Fold Marks

    Markings at top edges that show where folds should occur.

  • Folder

    Machine used to fold signatures down into sections.

  • Folio or Page Number

    Number of page at top or bottom either centered, flushed left or flushed right often with running headline.

  • Font

    The characters which make up a complete typeface and size.

  • Gang

    Group of frames or impositions in the same forme of different jobs arranged and positioned to be printed together.

  • Gigo

    Garbage in, garbage out.

  • Grain

    Direction of fibers in a sheet of paper governing paper properties such as increased size changes with relative humidity, across the grain, and better folding properties along the grain.

  • Gutter

    Space between pages in the printing frame of a book, or inside margin towards the back or binding edge. The blank space or margin between the type page and the binding of a book.

  • Halftone

    Tone graduated image composed of varying sized dots or lines, with equidistant centers.

  • Highlights

    The lightest tones of a photo, printed halftone or illustration. In the finished halftone, these highlights are represented by the finest dots.

  • House Sheet

    This is a term that refers to a paper that a printer keeps on hand in his shop.

  • Image Area

    That portion of the printing plate that carries the ink and prints on paper.

  • Imposition

    Arrangement of pages so that they print correctly on a press sheet, and the pages are in proper order when the sheets are folded.

  • Indicia

    Markings pre-printed on mailing envelopes to replace the stamp.

  • Inserts

    Extra printed pages inserted loosely into printed pieces.

  • Italic

    Text that is used to denote emphasis by slanting the type body forward.

  • Job Number

    A number assigned to a printing project used for record keeping and job tracking. Also used to retrieve old jobs for reprints or reworking by customer.

  • Jog

    To vibrate a stack of finished pages so that they are tightly aligned for final trimming.

  • Jogger

    Vibrating, sloping platform that evens up the edges of stacks of paper.

  • Kerning

    The narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page.

  • Laid Finish

    A parallel lined paper that has a handmade look.

  • Layout

    A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, roughs, thumbnails etc., of the final printed piece before it goes to print.

  • Leaders

    The dots or dashes used in type to guide the eye from one set of type to the next.

  • Leading

    Space between lines of type; the distance in points between one baseline and the next.

  • Letterpress

    Printing that utilizes inked raised surfaces to create the image.

  • Letterspacing

    The addition of space between typeset letters.

  • Line Copy

    Any copy that can be reproduced without the use of halftone screens.

  • Logotype

    A personalized type or design symbol for a company or product.

  • M weight

    The actual weight of 1000 sheets of any given size of paper.

  • Margin

    Imprinted space around edge of page.

  • Mark-up

    To write up instructions, as on a dummy.

  • Matte Finish

    A coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring. Reference, calendaring.

  • Midtone Dot

    Commonly taken as the area between highlight and shadow area of a subject's face in halftone image.

  • Natural

    A term to describe papers that have a color similar to that of wood; also called cream, off-white or ivory.

  • Newsprint

    A light, low cost groundwood paper made especially for newspapers. Reference, groundwood.

  • Opaque

    A quality of paper that allows relatively little light to pass through.

  • Over Run

    Surplus of copies printed.

  • Overprinting

    Any printing that is done on an area that has already been printed.

  • Overset

    Type that is set in excess of the allotted space.

  • Page Makeup

    The assemblage of all the necessary elements required to complete a page.

  • Page Proofs

    Proofs made up from pages.

  • Parent Sheet

    A sheet that is larger than the cut stock of the same paper.

  • Perf Marks

    Markings usually dotted lines at edges showing where perforations should occur.

  • Perfect Binding

    Binding process where backs of sections are cut off, roughened and glued together, and rung in a cover.

  • Perforating

    Punching small holes or slits in a sheet of paper or cardboard to facilitate tearing along a desired line.

  • Pica

    Standard of measurement, 1/6 inch. 1 pica = 12 points 72 points = 1 inch

  • Plastic Comb

    A method of binding books whereby holes are drilled on the side closest the spine, and a plastic grasping device is inserted to hold the pages together.

  • Point

    A measurement unit equal to 1/72 of an inch. 12 points to a pica, 72 points to an inch.

  • Press-Proof

    Actual press sheet to show image, tone values and colors as well as imposition of frame or press-plate.

  • Printability

    The quality of papers to show reproduced printed images.

  • Process Inks

    Printing inks, usually in sets of four colors. The most frequent combination is yellow, magenta, cyan, and black, which are printed, one over another in that order, to obtain a colored print with the desired hues, whites, blacks, and grays.

  • Ragged Left

    The term given to right-justified type that is uneven on the left.

  • Ragged Right

    The term given to left-justified type that is uneven on the right.

  • Readers Pairs

    Two consecutive pages as they appear in printed piece.

  • Ream

    500 sheets of paper.

  • Register

    The arrangement of two or more images in exact alignment with each other.

  • Register Marks

    Any crossmarks or other symbols used on layout to assure proper registration.

  • Right Angle Fold

    A term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other.

  • Run-Around

    A term given to copy that accommodates the lines of a picture or other image or copy.

  • Runability

    A term used to describe how well a paper runs on a printing press.

  • Saddle Stitching

    Stitching where the wire staples pass through the spine from the outside and are clinched in the center. Only used with folded sections, either single sections or two or more sections inset to form a single section.

  • Scaling

    The enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area.

  • Score

    Impressions or cuts in flat material to facilitate bending or tearing.

  • Self Cover

    A cover made out of the same paper stock as the internal sheets.

  • Shadow Dot

    The lowest density of a halftone image.

  • Sharpen

    To decrease the dot size of the halftone which in turn decreases the color strength.

  • Show Through

    A problem that occurs when the printing on one side of a sheet is seen from the other side.

  • Signature (Section)

    Printed sheet (or its flat) that consists of a number of pages of a book, placed so that they will fold and bind together as a section of a book. The printed sheet after folding.

  • Spine

    Back edge of a book.

  • Spiral Bind

    A binding whereby a wire or plastic is spiraled through holes punched along the binding side.

  • Spot Color

    Small area printed in a second color.

  • Stet

    A proofreader's symbol that is usually written in the copy margin, that indicates that the copy, which was marked for correction, should be left as it was.

  • Stock

    A term for unprinted paper or other material to be printed.

  • Synthetic Papers

    Any petroleum based waterproof papers with a high tensile strength.

  • Text

    A high quality printing paper.

  • Trim Marks

    Marks placed on the sheet to indicate where to cut the page.

  • Up

    A term used to describe how many similar sheets can be produced on a larger sheet; two up, four up, etc.

  • Varnish

    A clear shiny ink used to add gloss to printed pieces. The primary component of the ink vehicle. Reference, vehicle.

  • Vignette

    Fade to white or small decorative design or illustration. A photo or illustration etc., in which the tones fade gradually away until they blend with the surface they are printed on.

  • Watermark

    A translucent logo that is embossed during the papermaking process while the paper slurry is on the dandy roll. Reference, dandy roll

  • Widow

    A single word or two left at the end of a paragraph, or a part of a sentence ending a paragraph, which loops over to the next page and stands alone. Also, the last sentence of a paragraph which contains only one or two short words.

  • Wire Stitching Or Stapling

    To fasten together sheets, signatures, or sections with wire staples. 3 methods... saddle stitching, side stitching, and stabbing.