K – ‘kanji’ to ‘KS/KSSM’

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 Kilo, which is 1000 units.
– Abbreviation for Kilobyte, a measure of data quantity (1024 bytes)


– Abbreviation for black (comes from Key because black is the key color used as a reference to achieve perfect registration)
– Abbreviation for Kelvin, which is a unit of measurement for color temperature.


The Japanese name for Han characters derived from the Chinese word hanzi. Also romanized as kanzi.


Abbreviation for Kilobit, a measure of data quantity (1024 bits)


Abbreviation for Kilobyte, a measure of data quantity (1024 bytes)


Abbreviation for KiloBits per Second, (1024 bytes per second) that is used as a unit of measurement of data transfer rates.


– The scale of absolute temperature in which the zero is approximately -273 degrees Celsius.
– A unit of measurement for printing that is used to describe the color of a light source, such as 5000 degrees K standard viewing conditions.


The narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page. Typical examples of combinations that require subtle kerning are an ‘r’ following a ‘T’ (the ‘r’ has to nestle underneath the right-hand bar slightly) or an ‘LY’ pair that has to nudge closer together. You can control kerning manually, or you can turn on the kerning built into a font by the font designer.

kerning pairs

In typesetting, certain pairs of letters, by nature of their design, require kerning to improve their typeset appearance. Most digital typefaces have a series of predefined kerning pairs, such as A and W. The system user can make adjustments to the preset amount of space for a specific kerning pair.


Another name for the black printer. When letterpress was the popular printing method, black was printed first. The other colors were then aligned visually to the black image, which was considered the key color. The ‘K’ in CMYK stands for ‘key’.


The use of symbols, usually letters, to code copy that will appear on a dummy.


– Lines that are drawn on artwork that indicate the exact placement, shape, and size of elements including halftones, illustrations, etc.
– The border you put around a picture.


The process of bringing text and graphic elements together into a coherent piece.

key plate

In multi-color printing, the plate is used as a guide for registering other plates.


The striking of one character on a computer’s keyboard.


A short sentence that is used as a lead-in or opening to a story or chapter. A kicker is usually set smaller than the headline or chapter title, but larger than the body type.


1024 bits or 128 bytes

kiss cutting

In finishing kiss cutting is a die-cutting method that is typically used for self-adhesives: the face stock is die-cut but the backing sheet is not, so that users can easily peel off the sticker

kiss impression

A delicately printed impression, just heavy enough to be seen.

knife folder

In finishing a machine that is used to fold press sheets.


The opposite of overprint: a shape of an object (e.g. text or a logo) that is printed by eliminating (knocking out) all background colors or objects that it covers.

knockout mask

A mask created to prevent an area of an image from recording. When one image is laid over another, the base image can be reproduced right on the paper and not on top of the first image.

knockout type

A lighter typeface on a darker background

kraft paper

A coarse unbleached brown paper used for printing and industrial products.


A page description language used by the Korean government.

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