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 the Gravure Association of America, an organization dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of information for the gravure industry.
A long shallow tray that held metal type composition back in the days of Linotype machines.
A proof taken from a galley of metal type.
A continuous roll of typeset text that was used for proofreading and is not yet assembled into pages. Now that layout applications are able to compose complete pages, galleys in the true form have become extinct. However, sheets of text output from a device, such as a laser printer, used for proofreading and not yet assembled into final pages are sometimes called galley sheets or galleys.
An old term for a compositor.
– The computer number that denotes contrast, represented by the Greek letter y.
– The contrast in photographic images.
A modification of the tone curves to change the contrast of a reproduction. Gamma correction does what some people misinterpret as color correction because it changes middletones and cleans up the picture.
The range of colors that a device can reproduce or capture. The human eye has the widest gamut, printing presses have a far narrower gamut.
The process of squeezing the color space represented in an image to one that can be reproduced in a second image generation, such as ink on paper, a direct digital color proof, etc.
The process of color matching in which differences in color gamuts between the source device and the target device are taken into consideration. There are different types of gamut mapping:
- perceptive mapping in which most or all of the colors are altered but the relationship between the colors is maintained. Because the human eye is very sensitive to the relationship between colors, such a remapping does not give the visual impression that all colors changed.
- absolute colorimetric mapping in which colors that cannot be mapped to the target color gamut (because they do not exist in that model) are lost. These colors are simply clipped.
- relative colorimetric mapping in which colors that cannot be mapped to the target color gamut (because they do not exist in that model) are replaced within the target gamut, preserving the lightness and hue of the colors
- saturation mapping, in which all colors are scaled to the brightest saturation possible
ganging or gang printing or gang run printing
Running off any number of different jobs on the same sheet. After printing, the sheet is cut into individual jobs and the cost pro-rated.
An oversize page where both sides fold into the gutter in overlapping layers. This folding technique is typically used to accommodate maps into books.
Abbreviation for the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, an organization located in Pittsburgh, PA, dedicated to improving quality in the graphic arts through testing and education. GATF distribute a range of color quality control devices and publications.
To assemble or collect sections into single copies of complete books for binding.
In finishing assembling sheets of paper or signatures into their proper sequence; collating.
abbreviation for GigaByte or GigaBit. A lower case b should indicate gigabit but not everybody sticks to this convention. A gigabyte is 1073741824 bytes.
Abbreviation for Graphic Communications Association, a subgroup of the Printing Industries of America. It is now called IDEAlliance (International Digital Enterprise Alliance), a non-for-profit membership organization whose mission it is to advance user-driven, cross-industry solutions for all publishing and content-related processes by developing standards, fostering business alliances, and identifying best practices.
Abbreviation for Gray Component Replacement: a technique that replaces black ink by its equivalent portion of cyan, magenta and yellow, mainly in the neutral or desaturated parts of an image.
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.
An image which appears as a lighter area on a subsequent print due to local blanket depressions from previous image areas on a letterpress rotary machine as well as on an offset press.
Abbreviation for Garbage in, garbage out.
The process of making fine art prints from a digital source using ink-jet printing. The word is derived from the French ‘gicler’ which means ‘to squirt or spray.’
Abbreviation for Graphics Interchange Format, a popular file format for LZW compressed raster graphics data, developed by CompuServe. This site has a page dedicated to the GIF file format.
The process of applying a metallic foil as a decorative element. Silver or gold foil are sometimes applied to the outer edges of books, business cards or invites to conjure up luxury and elegance. Book covers or cosmetics packaging can feature gilded text to make the product stand out. Gilding is also called gilt edging.
Mount whose axes of rotation are orthogonal and fixed in space.
A strong transparent paper.
A color correction technique that is applied to an entire image area. While global correction makes the same correction everywhere in the image, local color correction is only applied to a given area of the image that is localized through a mask.
Quick drying oil based inks with low penetration qualities, used on coated stock.
A finishing process in which a moistenable adhesive is applied to products like envelopes or stamps.
A character shape or a graphic symbol that provides the appearance or form for a character. A glyph is the visual representation of a character. A font is actually a collection of glyphs. The word is derived from the Greek word for “carving”.
A carved as opposed to scripted typeface.
Pantone GOE is a color specification system for the graphic arts industry. It consists of 2058 colors that all are identified using a unique name. When you buy the GOE kit from Pantone, you get software as well as the GoeGuide, a thick bundle of strips that show all of these colors. GOE is based on 10 Pantone mixing bases, plus Pantone Clear. This makes it cheaper for printers to create those 2058 colors on demand.
An orange colored paper with gridlines used to assemble materials for exposure for plate making.
A measurement device to analyze light that is reflected at different angles. This is particularly important for glossy and pearlescent surfaces.
Refers to sans serif typefaces with broad even strokes. – see blackletter
Abbreviation for General Purpose Interface Bus, an industry-standard interface used to connect peripherals devices, such as color scanners, to desktop computers. Nowadays completely replaced by SCSI and FireWire.
Abbreviaton for General Requirements for Applications in Commercial offset Lithography, general guidelines and recommendations that can be used as a reference source across the US print industry for quality color printing.
An area of image where halftone dots range continuously from one density to another.
Direction of fibers in a sheet of paper governing paper properties such as increased size changes with relative humidity, across the grain, and better folding properties along the grain.
A paper embossed to resemble various textures, such as leather, alligator, wood, etc.
A measure of the non-uniformity seen in a large, evenly exposed image. This granularity pattern is caused by the microstructure of processed silver halide emulsions and is generally seen on continuous tone images. Smaller numbers mean less grainy images
A highly cost-effective printing method, ideally suited to high-volume printing with relatively inexpensive paper. A gravure press uses plate cylinders that have millions of small cells. These will fill with ink that is subsequently transferred to the printing paper. The cells are carved into the plate using lasers or diamond styluses. By varying the depth of these cells, great control over the range of ink tones can be achieved. Gravure presses can be huge, ideally suited to print runs that have millions of impressions. The paper used in the gravure process needs to be relatively soft and have an extremely smooth surface. Contrary to offset printing in which a rubber blanket can conform to paper irregularities, gravure presses have unyielding plates that come into direct contact with the paper. Any irregularities in the paper surface, when used on a gravure press, will miss contact with the cells carrying the ink. The tiny dots that create gravure printing can create excellent images, but without the depth and final image quality of offset printing.
Combinations of cyan, magenta and yellow colorants that appear similar to shades of gray. It is important to maintain the neutrality of the gray throughout the proofing and printing process.
With image input and processing, a given amount or value related to an original image as seen through a color separation filter. Older scanners only stored 64 gray levels; today it is common to stare 256 gray levels. Although 256 levels are considered more than sufficient to render smooth transitions, some systems offer up to 1,024 gray levels.
With image output, the number of differentiation’s that can be recorded on film or paper. The number of gray levels possible depends upon the output resolutions and the halftone screen ruling.
– A narrow strip of paper containing an orderly progression in definite steps or patches of gray densities or printing halftone steps ranging in dot size from 0 to 100%. A gray scale is used to analyze and optimize the contrastive black and white and colored reproductions.
– A strip of light to dark gray tones placed at the side of original copy when photographed to measure tonal range contrast.
– The capability of maintaining neutral gray balance during color reproduction. The use of GCR helps to stabilize neutrals. Gray stabilization was introduced by System Brunner to explain the importance of maintaining the neutral grays.
‘greater than’ sign
The technique used in software applications to simulate lines of small text by areas of gray. This is typically done to speed up the rendering of the screen when text is too small to read.
– Describes the color of grass and lettuce.
– A primary color of light.
– The portion of the color spectrum that is aligned between blue and yellow.
– In printing, a secondary color resulting from overprinting dots of cyan and yellow process color inks.
A systematic division of a page into smaller areas to enable designers to maintain consistency in their layout. The grid acts as a measuring guide and helps to position and align text and illustrations.
A series of metal fingers that hold each sheet of paper as it passes through the various stages of the
– The edge of a press plate (or of the flat) corresponding to the lead edge of the press sheet clamped by the grippers during the printing cycle.
– The grippers of the printing press move the paper through the press by holding onto the leading edge of the sheet; this edge is the gripper edge.
Low-cost papers such as newsprint made by the mechanical pulping process as opposed to chemical pulping and refining.
A software program that can used at the same time over a network by different people working on the same file.
Abbreviation for Grams per Square Meter – a unit of measurement for paper weight.
A narrow strip of paper or linen pasted to a single leaf to allow sewing into a section for binding.
Punctuation marks resembling small less-than and greater-than signs, used as quotation marks in French and other languages.
In finishing a machine to cut or trim printed matter. Guillotine cutters can be automatic or manual devices that are available in a wide range of sizes. They can cut paper and other substrates. The material to be cut is placed on a flat bed made of metal. A steel or steel-carbide knife which is mounted to a bar located near the front of the machine cuts the substrate.
The application of gum arabic to the non-printing areas of a plate.
The inside space between pages, usually the inside margin toward the back or binding edge of a book is meant but for impositioning programs any space between pages is a gutter.