Resources: Glossary

Similar to everyday life, the graphic arts and print sectors are awash with acronyms and technical terms. We hope that our glossary will help you but please feel free to call us as we ‘re only too happy to help!


‘A’ sized paper
Paper sizes are based on dimensions of a large A0 sheet. Letterheads are commonly produced on A4 sized paper.

the drying characteristics of ink when printed on porous material.

Acid-free paper
paper which is made by a special process to eliminate acid and increase longevity.

the bond between the ink and the material on to which it is printed.

Archival paper
paper with a high specification in terms of its strength and chemical properties, and used for storing documents that need to withstand the test of time.

Art-lined envelope
an envelope that is lined with fine paper, sometimes coloured or foiled.

Art Paper
a generic term for wood-free coated papers of high quality.

original copy ready for the printer or studio.

Artwork on disk
finished complete copy ready for output and prepared in commercial graphics software such as Illustrator, InDesign, Freehand, QuarkXpress or PDF format.

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Basis weight
the weight of paper in grams per square metre (gsm).

the process of fixing sheets of paper together.

a characteristic of type that uses thick lines to make it stand out.

a grade of paper often used in business correspondence.

the part of a printed image which extends outside the area to which the finished sheet will be cut.

a smooth transition between two colours. Also known as a graduated tint.

thick paper or card, usually from around 200gsm upwards.

the substance and thickness of paper.

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Cartridge paper
rough or uncoated paper with high opacity and bulk, used for a variety of purposes such as envelopes.

Clipping Path
An outline, embedded into the file, that tells an application which areas of a picture should be considered transparent.

abbreviation for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black), which make up the 4 process colours used as a basis for printing in full colour.

to arrange printed sheets in order.

Colour separation
a process of separating one colour image into its four process (CMYK) colours ready for print.

Coated paper or board
material that is coated on one or both sides with a mixture of china clay, latex and/or other materials to give it a smooth surface that ensures high quality printing.

a series of folds that can extend, compress or collapse.

Continuous stationery
paper that is supplied on a reel ready for finishing techniques such as perforation and folding.

Crop marks
marks put into the artwork to show the proportion of the image to be printed and where the edges should be cut.

abbreviation of computer-to-plate; a process of printing directly from a computer onto the plate used by a printing press.

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Die cut
a method of cutting board or paper into customised shapes using a ‘die’.

Digital printing
a process where the artwork is applied directly to the material from the digital file instead of via plates or film.

Digital proofing
proofing directly from digital files instead of outputting film.

Dot Gain
the amount that each dot within the artwork increases when it is printed.

Dots Per Inch. The greater the DPI, the finer the print.

the piece of machinery used to create holes in paper ready for ring or comb binding.

a mock-up made in the same weight and finish of materials as will be used in the final product.

a two-colour halftone reproduction generated from a one-colour photo.

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Elliptical dot
dots that are elongated to produce an improvement in the mid-range tones when printed.

Implies the inclusion of elements and data into a computer file necessary to maintain or change the elements when used remotely.

Embossed paper
paper on which a raised or depressed design has been produced by the application of pressure.

an acronym for Encapsulated PostScript, a computer file format widely used by the printing and graphics industries.

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Foil stamping
a process where foil is transferred on to the paper or board via pressure and heat.

even (as in flush margins).

Fold / Folding
Z fold, concertina, roll fold, gatefold, double gatefold, parallel fold – are all types of combination folding.

the numbering of pages.

a set of letters, numbers, punctuation marks and symbols that share a unified design. The design is called a typeface.

Four-colour process
the reproduction of full-colour images or artwork with the four process colours of yellow, magenta, cyan and black.

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a process where foil is transferred on to the paper or board via pressure and heat.

the measurement of size of computer files. Abbreviation of Gigabyte, each gigabyte contains approximately 1024 megabytes.

a fault where the density of ink is inconsistent due to uneven capacity of ink on the rollers during the printing process.

a shiny reflective paper or finish.

Graduated screen
a variation of the DPI in order to obtain a faded or more saturated print.

the direction of fibres in paper.

shades of gray ranging from black to white. In printing, grayscale uses only a black halftone plate.

an abbreviation for grams per square metre. Used to denote the thickness of paper or board.

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Half perf
a perforation line that extends across only part of the paper width.

a tonal gradation made up of dots of varying sizes.

Halftone Screen
a grid of equidistant lines and spaces used in plate or block making.

irregular ink patterns that are printed on top of text or on the inside of an envelope to make the contents unreadable, usually for confidentiality reasons.

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Inside Back Cover.

Inside Front Cover.

a device that outputs high-resolution images to film or directly on to plate material.

Inkjet printer
a type of printer that uses a spray of ink droplets.

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text that is flush on both left and right hand margins.

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the adjustment of space between letters.

the measurement of size of computer files. Equal to 1024 bytes. Kilobyte is often abbreviated a ‘K’ or ‘KB’.

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Laid paper
a paper with a slightly ribbed, textured appearance that is created in the manufacturing process.

a product made by joining various papers and/or boards together, sometimes using plastics or foil.

a process of strengthening paper or board and giving it certain properties.

Laser printing
a method of printing that uses an intense beam of focused light to produce images.

a term used to describe the overall appearance of artwork.

the space between two lines of text, usually measured from baseline to baseline. Adjustments can make text more readable and pleasing to the eye.

Light fast
inks that will are guaranteed to have certain properties against fading when placed in direct light.

Line perf
a perforated line which runs across the width of the paper.

Listing paper
continuous paper with punched holes at the edges, often used for computer output.

Lithography (Litho Printing)
the art of producing printed matter from a metal plate on which the design to be printed accepts printing ink and the other parts of the plate being ink repellent.

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a light brown paper made of wood pulp, often used for envelopes.

Matt paper
a paper with a dull even finish.

the measurement of size of computer files. Abbreviation of Megabyte, each megabyte contains approximately 1024 kilobytes.

a very finely perforated cut.

the appearance of a printed image just outside of its correct position. Sometimes just one colour out of the four colour process can be mis-registered on the press, resulting in a slightly blurred image.

Moiré pattern
an undesirable grid-like pattern caused by the misalignment of dots on a printed document. This can occur both when printing or sometimes when scanning from pre-printed material.

business forms that contain more than one leaf of paper per form to provide duplicates.

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NCR (No Carbon Required)
commonly used in form sets for duplicate copies.

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Outside Back Cover.

Outside Front Cover.

a common printing method, which transfers (or offsets) the image from the plate to the impression cylinder and on to the printing material.

Offset paper
uncoated paper.

Outline Paths
a term used when converting a font or graphic into a mathematical vector format. May also be called ‘curves’.

copies produced in excess of the customer’s stipulated requirement.

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Pantone® colours
premixed ink colours that are often specified for printing as a spot colour. Can be matched using CMYK but will not be exactly the same colour as its spot colour counterpart.

a standard of measurement for text: 1 pica = 12 points, 72 points = 1 inch.

Perfect binding
a method of binding that fixes pages together with glue.

Pantone Mixing System. The Pantone ink system uses eight primary colours from which many shades are produced. These are individually numbered with a Pantone Reference. Using this system allows printers to mix inks accurately to match the colour specified by the customer.

a measurement used in text: 12 points to a pica, 72 points to an inch.

a page description language developed by Adobe Systems Inc., that describes fonts, graphics and page layout. It is designed to be more precise with graphics than most other systems.

pixels per inch.

Primary colours
standard ink colours that are supplied by ink manufacturers ready for printers to use without mixing. Primary colours extend beyond the eight Pantone primaries.

Process colours
the reproduction of a full colour image using the four process colours of red, cyan, yellow and black. Each colour is printed separately on the press, one on top of another, to achieve the full range of colour and tonality in the original artwork.

a pre-production print used to check for errors and colour reproduction.

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There are currently no definitions under Q

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RA (Raw Format A)
used to define paper sizes.

an abbreviation of ‘Random Access Memory’. Used in a computer to temporarily store applications and data that is being accessed by the user and is erased when the computer is shut down. Generally the more RAM a computer has, the more data it can hold temporarily, which doesn’t make it faster but can speed-up some applications and processes.

500 sheets of paper.

Registration marks
marks put into artwork to ensure perfect alignment or registration during the print process.

the number of dots per inch (DPI) in an image or photograph. The higher the DPI, the better the resolution and print detail.

an acronym for Red, Green and Blue. RGB is a colour model used for computer monitors and colour video output systems. Colour separations for Litho Printing can not be made directly from RGB files and need to be converted to CMYK first. Digital printing can perform an automatic conversion of RGB files while printing.

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Saddle stitch
the binding of a book or brochure through the centre fold using saddle wire.

Satin finish
a smooth paper with a finish that is slightly more reflective than that classed as ‘matte’.

a series of ink dots that appear as a solid colour when printed. The depth of screen colour can be deepened by increasing the dot frequency or vice versa.

Screen angle
a method of halftone screen printing that avoids unwanted patterns when printing solid or graduated colours. The following angles are widely used: black 45 degrees, magenta 75 degrees, yellow 90 degrees, and cyan 105 degrees.

Screen ruling
the number of lines per inch (or centimetre) on a half-tone or tint screen, equal to the number of dots per inch on the printed image.

a mark or cut made part way through a sheet of paper or board to make folding easier and prevent the material cracking.

Show through
the extent of print that is visible through the paper. Lower opacity papers have more show through.

an area completely covered by ink.

Spot colour
is not made using the process colours. Instead the colour is printed using an ink made exclusively, as usually refered to by a Pantone® number. Each spot colour therefore requires its own separate printing plate. Spot colours do not apply to Digital Printing as the printing devices can only reproduce from the four process colours; cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

two or more adjoining pages.

SRA (Supplementary Raw Format A)
used to define paper sizes.

a proof-reader’s symbol to indicate that the manual correction should be ignored and the copy should revert to the original.

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acronym for Tagged Image File Format. TIFF (.TIF) pictures can be black-and-white line art, grayscale or colour. This is a widely used format for image/photographic files but is unsuitable for text unless its is created at a very hi-resolution.

a tonal area that lightens the density of the colour being used.

a chemical used in photocopying and laser printing.

a film negative which can be projected on to a screen or scanned to create artwork for printing.

a slight overlapping between two touching colours that prevents gaps from appearing along the edges of an object because of misalignment or movement on the printing press.

the art of arrangement, style, appearance and printing of type and typefaces.

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UV varnish
a varnish applied after printing and set with ultra violet light to give a high gloss finish.

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Vector Graphic
a graphic image formed by a series of points joined by angles and curves, which can be filled with colours and blends. As the picture is made from mathematical formula, it is not dependent on resolution therefore it can be scaled to infinity as a computer can recalculate the mathematical formula for any size.

(Computer Virus) Unauthorised and unwanted instructions in a computer that disrupt its normal operation, often acquired from downloaded files off the internet, emails or unconventional sources such as pirated software.

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a design or a pattern in paper which is visible when the material is held up to the light.

one or two words left on a separate line at the end of paragraph, especially where page breaks occur.

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There are currently no definitions under X

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There are currently no definitions under Y

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Z fold
a type of three fold that creates a Z pattern.

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