This dictionary covers graphic design, prepress and print terminology.
Stan Schwartz supplied most of the terms of this online glossary.
A device used in the platemaking process to hold materials in tight contact during exposure. It is also called a contact frame.
A measure of the color lightness or darkness attribute rate 0-10 in the Munsell system.
Software that doesn’t exist, may never exist, or is incapable of performing as promised.
Abbreviation for Value-Added Reseller: An organization that sells equipment but also takes care of aspects like assembly, integration, training or service.
Changing data on one or more impressions of a print job to enable some change in data depending on audience segment.
Highly customized (text, graphics, and images), high-quality print pieces with a specific message targeted to a specific individual or group.
A transparent liquid coating that is applied to a printed product to either protect it or make it visually more pleasing. Varnish can be either matte or glossy and is sometimes only applied to certain elements of a page to make them stand out.
Abbreviation for Variable Data Printing – a form of printing in which text, graphics or images are changed from one printed copy to another. The variable data are retrieved from a database or an external file.
A line between two points of a drawing
A file created on a page makeup system containing page design commands that specify the start, the end, and the length of each line. A vector file might also specify geometric shapes and their dimensions, e.g. a circle is defined by three pieces of discrete data, the circle center point x, y location and the circle radius.
Drawing software that processes drawings and illustrations as a series of points and connections, which are compact for a computer to store and manipulate. Most drawing and illustration software employ vector graphics.
The fluid in printing ink that carries the pigment. The solvent of an ink into which the pigment is added.
- A fairly even uncoated and creamy paper finish.
- The treated skin of a calf used as a writing material.
A term given to papers that are coated with an adhesive and then flock dusted.
A paper type imaging material that was used on graphic cameras for camera ready logos and halftones
The left-hand page of a bound publication such as a book or magazine. The verso always carries an even numbered folio. It is also referred to as the reverse side of the sheet. The page on the right-hand side is called the front or recto.
The process of aligning a block of text vertically within a preset area.
A raster or pixel-based image that imitates the look of vector-based art. The technique is used to create attention-grabbing realistic images that have an artificial and sharpened look to them. The word is a combination of ‘vector’ and ‘pixel’. Background information is available in this article.
A gradation change of only one color that varies only in strength or lightness. A vignette can also refer to an illustration or image that gradually fades away, blending into the unprinted paper. It is sometimes referred to a graduated background tone.
Abbreviation for Visionary Interpreter for PostScript, a Scitex proprietary desktop-to-prepress system that allowed any PostScript file to be interpreted into a Scitex Visionary CEPS. It used an Adobe interpreter to convert PostScript files into the Scitex linework format.
A technique that fools a computer or application into thinking it has more memory (RAM) than is physically available by using disk space on a hard disk as an extension of RAM. All modern operating systems support virtual memory. Some memory-hungry applications like Photoshop or PostScript RIPs have their own virtual memory manager.
A device that measures viscosity.
Thickness or thinness of a fluid as measured by its resistance to flow.
Light that is visible to the human eye and is perceived as different colors. The visible spectrum is the 400 to 700 nanometer portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which is the entire range of wavelengths from gamma rays to the longest radio waves. Infrared wavelengths are longer, and ultraviolet wavelengths are shorter than the visible spectrum.
A Scitex proprietary desktop-to-prepress system that used a Macintosh and a version of QuarkXPress software to send page geometry information to a Scitex CEPS.
Numbering system for repeat publications like magazines (for instance volume 3 number 10.) Volume numbering is based on the practice of binding a large collection of a publication into a single volume for reference purposes. If 12 issues of a publication would fit into a single binding, the fifth issue in the third book would be Vol. 3 No. 5. As a result, the number of editions in a volume can change per publication. Since many publishers are unaware of how the practice started, they may use a numbering convention that has no relation to any actual binding, and often it is chronologically based.
Abbreviation for Virtual Reality Modelling Language: a defunct file format designed to display three dimensional objects and environments on the world wide web.