This dictionary covers graphic design, prepress and print terminology.
Stan Schwartz supplied most of the terms of this online glossary.
Not justified. Text that is set flush left can be described as ragged right, or just ragged, and text that is set flush right can be described as ragged left.
High quality paper made completely or partially from cotton fibers.
Abbreviation for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. RAID is a storage technology that uses two or more disks working in parallel. They appear as one drive to the user, and offer enhanced performance and/or security.
A thick, coated paper used for signs; usually waterproof.
Abbreviation for Random Access Memory. This is the memory your computer uses to store the programs and data you are currently working with. Random Access Memory loses its content as soon as power is switched off.
A color proof consisting of many images ganged on the substrate, randomly positioned no relation to the final page imposition. It is a cost-effective way to verify the correctness of completed scan prior to further stripping or color correction work.
Abbreviation for Remote Access Server
The act of converting a document from a page definition language (e.g. PostScript) to an arrangement of pixels on the page or screen.
Abbreviation for Resin-Coated paper, the photosensitive paper generally used to record the output of typesetters and imagesetters. RC paper is more permanent than stabilization paper, another type of typesetting paper.
readers pair or readers spread
Two consecutive pages as they appear in a printed piece.
ready for press
The signed acceptance of a press sheet (OK sheet) by the client which establishes the standard for all of the other prints in the edition.
Responding to digital signals as they are received. For example, an image processing device is said to work in real time when it instantly responds to changes in the high resolution file during an operator’s manipulations, rather than processing the changes at a later time.
500 sheets of paper.
The right-hand page of a bound publication such as a book or magazine. Page 1 is always a recto page, and recto pages always bear the odd numbered folios. Recto can also be referred to as the front or obverse. The page on the left-hand side is called the reverse or verso.
- Describes the color of apples and cherries. – The portion of the color spectrum between orange and russet (a reddish brown). – The portion of the visible spectrum with the longest wavelengths. – In printing, a secondary color resulting from overprinting dots of magenta and yellow process color inks.
red, green & blue
- The three additive primary colors blended to create the spectrum of colors displayed on a color monitor. – In printing, red, green, and blue are colors made from a combination of cyan, magenta and yellow dots. Magenta and yellow dots make red; cyan and yellow dots make green; cyan and magenta dots make blue.
Any substance that softens and reduces the tack of ink.
The master roll of paper as it comes off the papermaking machine. It is in its original width and is then cut into smaller rolls.
The ratio of reflected light to incident light. It is measured with a reflection densitometer and expressed as a percentage.
Abbreviation for Registry Editor, an application for Windows computers to manipulate the registry, a database that stores settings of the operation system and applications.
The arrangement of two or more images in exact alignment with each other.
Any crossmarks or other symbols used on layout to assure proper registration. Also called a registration mark.
The exact positioning of images with reference to each other or to margins, folds, etc., by the use of precision visual reference lines (register marks) on the copy but outside the trimmed area or by a mechanical system using pins and dies.
A cross-hair target outside the page or image area that is used to help align film separations or to align the printed images on the press sheet. The mark should appear on all separations. Apparently in some countries, registration marks without a cross in them are used because of religious reasons.
Abbreviation for Recorder ELement, the minimum distance between two recorded points (spots) in an imagesetter
The process of creating three-dimensional images on a computer system.
Paul Renner (1878-1956) was a German graphic designer, typographer, type designer, painter, and teacher. In the late 20′s, he created Futura, one of my favorite fonts.
Degree to which repetitive measurements on one system agree with those on another when used to describe imagesetters and film plotters, a measure of the variance of the film to the next.
A term used in the publishing and printing industry to indicate a new printing of a book or other type of publication.
reragging, to rerag
Type appearing to take on a different set of tracking & kerning attributes
A term used to define image resolution. Res 12 indicates 12 pixels per millimeter.
The process of converting a printed halftone image to another halftone screen for reproduction.
Abbreviation for RESource EDITor, a small program that runs on older Macs and lets you edit the header information as well as the resource fork of files.
- Minimum controllable motion interval a device can produce; smallest achievable change of detectable motion. – In imagesetting, resolution refers to the number of discrete dots an imagesetter can record within a fixed area. Typically, imagesetters can record between 1200 and 2540 dots per inch.
The ability of a photographic material to record fine detail. Larger numbers mean better image resolution.
To return a computer or other device to its default state and settings.
Abbreviation for Resolution Enhancement Technology, a technology used by Hewlett-Packard printers which increases the apparent resolution of a document by using microfine toner to add partial pixels around the edges of images and text.
Adjusting an image digitally to make changes or to correct faults in the original photograph or scan.
- The negative of an image, or the process or creating a negative of an image.
- The even-numbered left-hand page of a bound publication such as a book or magazine. It can also be referred to as the verso. The page on the right-hand side is called the front or recto.
A lighter typeface on a darker background, also referred to as knockout type.
reverse tuck end box
In packaging an RTE box is a type of end opening box that is glued on one side. The top and bottom flaps close on opposite sides of the box, whereas with straight tuck end boxes the opposite ends tuck in the same direction. At the company that packages goods they pop open the box and close the bottom and top flaps after inserting the product.
Indication of the stages at which corrections have been incorporated, e.g. first revise, second revise.
Abbreviation for Request For Comment.
Abbreviation for Request For Quote.
Abbreviation for Red Green Blue. These are the three primary colors used for additive color mixing. Below you see these 3 colors as well as the resulting colors when they get mixed. The retina in our eyes contains receptors that are sensitive to red, green and blue. Televisions and monitors use these colors to create an image. A lot of applications also use RGB values to define the colors of images and objects. Unfortunately we cannot print using red, green and blue. That is done using cyan, magenta, yellow and black instead.
The magenta pigment that is used to make magenta ink for color process printing. This magenta ink is nearly ideal as it appears as a bluish magenta. It is higher quality and more expensive than rubine magenta.
- In some types of printers as well as typewriters a ribbon is the strip or band that holds the ink that will be transferred to paper.
- On web presses the wide roll of paper may get cut into 2 or more strips after printing. Such a strip is called a ribbon.
Black with a percentage of cyan, magenta and/or yellow added to it. This is often done to avoid that black text or rectangles which partially overprint other objects appear ‘more black’ where they do. The black bar in the example below shows the problem. Rich black can also be used to print a denser, less grayish black.
Usually rich black consists of 40 C, 40 M, 40 Y and 100 K (sometimes yellow is left out). Experienced operators adapt the mixture of colors to the content of the page. On pages that have a lot of cool colors like blue in them, they use a cool rich black which mainly adds cyan to the black. On pages containing a lot of warm brown colors, a warm rich black is used which contains more magenta and yellow than cyan.
The result of adding additional information to plain text. Examples of information that can be added include font data, color, formatting information, phonetic annotations, interlinear text, and so on. The Microsoft RTF file format is probably the prevalent standard for exchanging rich text.
Acronym for Raster Image File Format, an expanded version of TIFF that was developed by Letraset and is used primarily in its software, such as ImageStudio and ColorStudio. RIFF was designed to handle CYMK and RGB make data at a time when TIFF could not.
Reading from left to right, as opposed to wrong reading, reading from right to left.
An image that is viewed as ‘normal,’ i.e., reading naturally from left to right. Films are made with the image right-reading on the emulsion side (wrong reading on the base side) for letterpress and flexographic platemaking.
right angle fold
A term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other.
Ability to follow changes in motion without lag.
- Abbreviation for Raster Image Processor – a device or computer program that receives a description of the content of a page and converts it into information that can be output on paper, film, plates, slides or any other medium. Click here for more information.
- Abbreviation for Rest In Proportion – an instruction when giving sizes to artwork or photographs that other parts of the artwork are to be enlarged or reduced in proportion.
Abbreviation for Reduced Instruction Set Computer, a design strategy for processors (CPUs) that uses a limited set of instructions to simplify the processor’s design so it can run at a higher speed. This is the opposite of CISC designs in which a large instruction set complicates the design of the CPU so it can only run at a (relatively speaking) lower speed. Well, that is the theory at least. In reality RISC processors funnily enough do not necessarily use a reduced set of instructions. The PowerPC processor, which is an example of a RISC design, even has a larger instruction set than the CISC-based Pentium processor. RISC designs are usually characterized by the use of short pipelines, a large set of registers and strong floating point performance.
Abbreviation for Rochester Institute of Technology, a technical university in the USA that is well-known for its School of Print Media.
An irregular ‘river’ of white space that runs through a column of text.
Abbreviation for Run Length Encoding, a compression algorithm that replaces a number of identical bytes with 2 bytes.
Abbreviation for Run Length Limited, a compression algorithm that is used in some image file formats.
Rotation about the x axis, known as 0.
In paper manufacturing the process in which a coating color is applied to one or both sides of a paper web. It may be carried out on or off the paper machine.
roll to roll
A printing process where the roll of paper is printed and stored on a roll to be shipped.
The basic style of upright type within a particular font family. Roman type is usually contrasted to italic and bold italic type.
Abbreviation for Rip Once, Output Many, an architecture used in prepress workflow which allows operators to RIP a page one single time and output both proofs and plates or films from those ripped data. This is done to assure that there are no differences between proofs and the printed result.
The pattern created by the color halftone screens used in four color printing.
A printing press which passes the substrate between two rotating cylinders when making an impression.
Turning an image by a specified number of degrees, to fit a preset frame or design.
A hasty preliminary drawing that is used to visualize a graphic design idea or layout.
A device that directs the flow of data among different computer devices.
A paper size measuring 508 x 635 millimeters or 20 x 25 inches.
Page description language used by Ricoh for their printers.
Abbreviation for Reprinting, No Date.
Abbreviation for reverse tuck end box.
Abbreviation for Rich Text Format: a file format defined by Microsoft that is used for transferring formatted text documents between applications or platforms.
Abbreviation for Read The F**** Manual – polite reminder that you should read the manual before asking stupid questions.
Abbreviation for Rational Tangential screening, a Linotype-Hell patented screening algorithm, which has been licensed to Adobe for use in Postscript. RT screening uses rational, tangential values for screening angling, such as 18.4 degrees in place of the traditional 15 degree screen angle.
In color software, the ability to grab hold of a tone line or gradation curve, display on the video monitor, at any point and pull it to a new position while keeping the two end points fixed.
A printing process in which ink is transferred to an object by means of a tampon in rubber.
The stage of printed ink where the maximum dryness is achieved and the ink will not smudge.
A translucent, red colored, self adhesive masking film that is used mainly in screen printing and plate making. Originally invented by the Ulano Corporation, the name is now used for all types of colored masking films from any vendor. To use rubylith, cut the film with a sharp knife into the shape needed, strip it from the carrier and apply it where needed.
A horizontal or vertical line.
A map or drawing given by a printer to a stripper showing how a printing job must be imposed using a specific press and sheet size. Also called press layout, printer’s layout and ruleout.
A term used to describe how well a paper runs on a printing press.
- Type in text copy set to fit around a photo or illustration. Usually a different measure than the rest of the text. – Type set so that it flows around an illustration to fit its contour or flows around another block of type.
A heading that is set on the same line as the text, usually in bold or italic.
The paper wasted in order to obtain proper registration, inking balance,… on the press. Sometimes referred to as ‘run ups’ or ‘run ins’.
running heads or running feet
A title at the top or bottom of a page that appears on all pages of a book or chapter of a book. It often includes the page number.
Unwanted motion other than motion in a straight line for a linear stage