F – ‘face’ to ‘fuzzy font’

This dictionary covers graphic design, prepress and print terminology
Click a letter to see more layout, printing and binding terms of this glossary



– Abbreviation for typeface referring to a family in a given style.
– The part of the typeface that prints.

facing pages

The two pages that appear as a spread when a double-sided publication is opened. The page on the right-hand side is called the recto, the left-hand page is often referred to as the verso.


A reproduction of an old book, manuscript, map, art print, or another item that is as true to the original source as possible.


Abbreviation for Full Auto Frame, an entirely raster-based trapping engine used in Scitex systems.

fan book

In a color matching system, a set of small color charts, similar to a deck of cards that have been fastened together with a clasp in one corner. The user can spread the charts and match a sample to the correct color patch.

fan fold

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

fancy text

See rich text

fan out

See web growth


Abbreviation for Frequently Asked Questions: a document containing a collection of questions and answers about a particular topic.

fat face

Type that is quite varied in its use of very thin and very wide strokes.


A spread (a skinny is a choke, both terms relate to trapping).

faux bold or italic

A faux bold is a typeface that is set to bold even though a true bold version does not exist. It is typically achieved by adding a thin stroke to the font outline. Faux italic is created by skewing the font slightly. Faux styles are also referred to as synthetic fonts.


Abbreviation for Frequency Doubled YAG (laser).


– In typography, inserting a bit of additional leading (space) between heading, lines and/ or paragraphs to equalize the baselines of columns on a page.
– In image editing, the softening of the edge of an image or image mask.


A cloth conveyor belt that receives papers from the Fourdrinier wire and delivers it to the drier.

felt finish

The smoother side of paper, usually a soft weave pattern used for book papers.

felt side

In paper manufacturing, the top side of a sheet or a web; the smoother side.


FESPA is a federation of trade associations and an organizer of exhibitions and conferences for the screen and digital printing industry. Its objective is the promotion of screen printing and digital imaging.


Abbreviation for Folding and Gathering (binding signatures).


A proprietary graphics file format developed at Iterated Systems. It is commonly used in such products as Microsoft Encarta ’94.


Abbreviation for First In – First Out: a method of handling data in which the first element stored in a list or stack is also the first one to be retrieved.


The process of inserting a specified tint or pattern within an enclosed geometric shape.


The extra material used to complete a column or page, usually of little importance.


One of several types of dot gain caused by a reason other than doubling or slur.

film coat

Any thinly coated paper stock also called wash coat

film flat

Positive or negative films assembled onto a carrier film or mask ready for film contacting or plate making.

film processor

A machine used to develop photographic film which has been exposed in an imagesetter, film plotter, or film recorder.

film recorder

– By definition, the same as an imagesetter, but in practice, the term usually refers to higher quality imagesetters that are used primarily for recording color separation film.
– A device that is used to record an image file as a 35mm or 4″x5″ color transparency, which is usually used for second-generation originals or presentation graphics.


A device that can separate one device from another by allowing only portions of the visible spectrum to pass through.


A method testing a printing press to determine its exact printing characteristics, such as its dot gain, ink density, and trapping, for the purpose of customizing color separations for those printing conditions.


– The surface quality of paper.
– Dull – (low gloss) also matte or matte gloss.


Finishing refers to all the activities that are performed on printed material after printing. This includes binding, the fastening of individual sheets together, and decorative processes such as die-stamping, embossing or laminating.


The European specifications for offset printing on coated paper, the International Federation of Publishers Press developed these guidelines for color proofing and printing of periodicals. SWOP is the equivalent U.S. specifications; SNAP is the U.S. specifications for printing on newsprint.


A spot or imperfection in printing caused by dirt or hardened specks of ink. The problem is most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage. A fisheye is also called a bull’s eye or hickey.


A symbol used in printing to indicate the index; seen as a pointing finger on a hand.


The registration of items within a given page.


The designed title of a newspaper as it appears at the top of page 1.


– A collection of properly imposed negatives and positives attached to a goldenrod or film carrier sheet from which the plate will be exposed.
– Properly imposed pages that will result in a signature.
– A term that is used to describe a photograph that is lacking in contrast.

flat tint

A printed area containing halftone dots that are all the same size, as opposed to a halftone or a vignette. Flat tints are usually just called tints.


An adjective describing an optical input or output device that utilizes a flat plane for the image input or recording rather than a revolving cylinder. There are both flatbed scanners and flatbed imagesetters.

flatbed imagesetter

An imagesetter or platesetter in which the media remains flat during the imaging process, this in contrast to drum based system in which the media are wrapped around or inside a drum.
Below is an animation that shows how plates are imaged in a flatbed platesetter that is made by Strobbe, a Belgian manufacturer of prepress equipment. In the newspaper market, this machine is sold by Agfa as the Polaris.

To the right in the machine you see a trolley that contains either panorama plates or single plates. These are picked up and put on a table that moves the plates towards the imaging unit. A rotating polygon mirror makes the laser beam sweep from the left to the right and a second fixed mirror reflects the laser light onto the plates. After being exposed, the plates are dropped on a belt that moves them to the online processor on the left.

flatbed scanner

A type of scanner in which an original is placed face-down on a glass plate. To scan the image an arm equipped with a light and an electronic sensor sweeps under the glass and digitizes the original. This is the most popular type of scanner for home and prepress use. More costly and cumbersome to use are drum scanners which usually offer a better resolution and dynamic range.


The process by which overlapping, non-opaque objects are remapped into opaque objects that render with the same look as the original non-opaque objects. This technique is used to support the transparency effects that many current applications offer, on RIPs that do not have native support for this effect.

flexo (printing)

A printing process in which flexible printing plates made of rubber or a photopolymer are used to transfer ink directly to paper or another substrate. It is used a lot in the packaging industry to print on cardboard or plastics. Flexo is also frequently used in the label printing market and to a limited extent for newspaper printing.


See flexo.

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.

flock paper

Paper that is patterned by sizing, and then coated with powders of wool or cotton (flock).


Excessive ink from the printing plate or blanket.


To turn an image so that the left side is on the right side, and the right side is on the left side. The top-bottom orientation remains unchanged.

fluid ink

Also called liquid ink; ink with a low viscosity.

flush cover

A bound book or booklet etc. having the cover trimmed to the same size as the text.

flushed pigment

The results of combining a wet ink pigment with a varnish and having the wet pigment mix or transfer over to the varnish.

flush left

A block of text set so that each line begins at the same left-hand point, but ends at a different right-hand margin.


An inexpensively produced circular used for promotional distribution.

flush right

Typeset lines with an even margin on the right, but uneven on the left.


– Abbreviation for Frequency Modulation.
– Abbreviation for Front Matter.


A color matching product that utilizes an array of printed color swatches. Focoltone is used to specify process color.


– A point in an optical system through which all light rays pass.
– The act of adjusting the elements of an optical system to capture the sharpest image with the most detail.

fogging back

Lowering density of an image in a specific area, usually done to make type more legible while still letting the image show through.


Papers that have a surface resembling metal.

foil stamping

In finishing the process of applying a thin film of colored foil to paper for decorative purposes.

fold marks

Short, straight (usually broken) lines outside the trimmed area indicating the position of intended folds.


– In publishing a folder is a printed sheet that has been folded.  Examples are timetables or tourist brochures.
– In printing and binding a folder is a machine that is used for folding printed sheets.
– In computer technology, a folder refers to a file program organization method in which individual files and programs are stored within folders, making it easier to keep them organized on a disk. Also called a directory.


In finishing the process of bending over a press sheet once or more until it has the size of a single page.


– A page number.
– A sheet of paper folded once to form two leaves.
– The size of each of the two leaves formed from a folio.
– A book format in which a folded sheet forms two leaves; also a book in this format.
– A book of the largest size.


Traditionally a set of characters in a specific typeface at a specific point size and in a specific style, for instance, 32 point Avant Garde Black. Nowadays font is often used as a synonym for typeface, a collection of glyphs (character shapes) used for the visual depiction of character data.

foot candle

A standard unit of illumination, the light given off by one lit candle measured at a distance of one foot. For example, the illumination level in a standard viewing booth is 200 foot candles.


A line of text that appears on each page of a book listing the name of the publication and date of issue.


– An exact geometric arrangement of organization of file data or computer command codes.
– (verb) To prepare a magnetic floppy disk so that data can be stores in it.
– The shape, size, type area, margins, and overall visual design and appearance of a page, book, magazine or other publication.
– The arrangement or sequence of typesetting parameters and commands into format codes that can be assessed with a simple keyboard command or keystroke.

form rollers

The rollers that come into direct contact with the plate of a printing press.


In Binding, the process between folding sheets and casing in, such as rounding and backing, putting on headbands, reinforcing backs, etc.


See blend.


A machine with a copper wire screen that receives the pulp slurry in the paper-making process which will become the final paper sheet.


Abbreviation for For Position Only.

  • On a mechanical, a designation that an image has been added only to indicate its position within the layout. The artwork or transparency to be reproduced in the same position is sent separately.
  • Nowadays an FPO is a small low-resolution image that is used to indicate the position of a larger image. In OPI systems the low-resolution image is also called the FPO.

frame buffer

A video monitor card that is used to store a single frame from a video image.

frame grabbing

The act of electronically capturing a single picture element, or frame, from a videotape or an optical disk for the purpose of viewing it, manipulating it, or outputting it for reproduction with ink on paper or on photographic material.


In some page layout software, a rectangular area defined by the user and then filled with text and/or graphics. A frame is used in grid-oriented page make-up software such as QuarkXPress.

free sheet

Paper that is free of mechanical groundwood pulp.

French fold(er)

Folder with printing on one side so that when folded once in each direction, the printing is on the outside of the folds.

frequency histogram

A graphical analysis or organization of data in the form of a bar graph or a chart that describes how many times each occurrence of a variable took place for a given sampling. Some color scanners create an electronic frequency histogram to automatically adjust the midtone placement for each original.


The number of times something happens over a given time or space, such as dots per inch, lines per inch or millimeters, and cycles per second.


A halo that appears around halftone dots.


See Sheetwise


The new books a publisher is offering for sale in the current or upcoming season.


A certificate that guarantees that the wood pulp used to produce paper is from sustainably managed forests.

fugitive inks

Colors that lose tone and permanency when exposed to light.

full duplex

A modem or network adapter with the capability to send and receive information at the same time.

full measure

A line of type set to the entire line length.

full-scale black

A black printer separation that contains picture elements ranging from the whitest highlight to the darkest shadow, and prints dots in every part of the picture. Half-scale black only prints dots in the darker area of a reproduction

full web

Type of web press that can print sixteen-page signatures. The flat trim size is typically 23 by 35 inches. This type of press uses rolls that are 35 to 40 inches wide. It is sometimes referred to as a sixteen-page web.


A term for the fibers that project from the paper surface.

fuzzy font

A font in which gray pixel values are used to smooth edges of type by filling in the spaces between dense pixels on the edge of jaggies – a form of anti-aliasing.

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