Welcome to the graphic design, prepress & print dictionary. Stan Schwartz supplied most of the printing and finishing terms of this online glossary. I added the publishing and computer related terminology. Click a letter to go to that page.
Ghost bar – A ghost bar of take-off bar is a rectangular solid line or pattern that is added to a press sheet and trimmed away after printing. It helps equalize ink-laydown on the sheet by extending and evening out the printed area, thus avoiding ink starvation in any one place.
American Quarto – The name for the ‘Letter’ page size outside of North America.
Ink knife – A tool that a pressman uses to dig the ink out of a can or mix a special color.
Weeding – The process of removing excess vinyl on peel-and-stick vinyl stickers.
Lightfastness – In printing lightfastness refers to the rate at which inks change color or get lighter as a result of being exposed to daylight, UV light, heat and acids or alkalis.
Circulation-builder – A book given as a reward to subscribers or for renewing the subscription to a newspaper or magazine.
Flocking or flock printing – A printing process in which short fibers are applied to an adhesive-coated surface to create a (colored) velvet-like texture.
Xylography – An ancient relief printing technique, also called block printing or woodcut.
Leaflet – A folded sheet of paper which contains advertising or information about a specific topic such as politics or a local tourist attraction.
Perfect binding – A method of holding the pages of a publication together by applying a glue to the spine of the gathered pages.
Appendix – The additional information provided at the end of a book or article.
Adshel – A poster that is integrated into the structure of a bus shelter.
PDF/VT – A special flavor of the PDF file format that is specifically geared towards variable data printing (VDP).
Other reference pages
These are popular reference pages on this site:
- Paper sizes – list of common American and European paper sizes, including the ISO standards.
- Character names – 70 frequently used characters, punctuation symbols and signs, their name and the keystroke that is needed to type them.
- Interesting typefaces – short descriptions of 30 fonts that I happen to like.
Other dictionaries or reference sites that can be useful for printing or graphic arts in general:
- Printwiki.org – 7000 pages of items specific to the printing and publishing industries
- Merriam-Webster dictionary – my preferred dictionary
- Wikipedia – a bit weak on prepress stuff and often too elaborate but still useful
- About.com DTP dictionary
- Quinn Printing dictionary
- Printindustry.com glossary