O – ‘OBC’ to ‘Ozalid’

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 Outside Back Cover.


Roman typeface characters that are slanted to the right.


Books, catalogs,… that are bound on their shorter side; also referred to as album bound.


The odd-numbered page on the right-hand side of a bound publication such as a book or magazine. It is usually referred to as the front or recto. The page to the left-hand is called the reverse or verso. The term obverse is more frequently used for coins and medals to refer to the side that bears the main design and date.


Abbreviation for Optical Character Recognition, a system that scans text as an image and turns it into text that may be edited.


A numbering system with a base of eight.


Abbreviation for Open Font Architecture: an enhancement in MacOS 8.5 to handle fonts besides the classic TrueType and PostScript type 1 fonts. Prior to MacOS 8.5, OFA was only available when QuickDraw GX was installed.


Abbreviation for Outside Front Cover.


A run-on or reprint of an article first published in a magazine or journal.


– A common term used for offset-lithography. The most commonly used printing method, whereby the printed material does not receive the ink directly from the printing plate but from an intermediary cylinder called a blanket which receives the ink from the plate and transfers it to the paper.
– Smudges of ink transferred from one printing sheet to another.

offset gravure

A complex offset process involving multiple transfers between the gravure plate, the plate cylinder, and a solid rubber plate.

offset paper

Uncoated book paper.

OK book

A set of signatures gathered from the press to use as a sample in the bindery

OK sheet

The final color inking sheet that is signed off by the customer before the production run starts.

Old English

See blackletter

Old style numeral

Oldstyle figures are also known as non-lining numerals. These are numerals that do not all line up on the baseline as do regular, or lining, numerals.

Adobe Garamond Pro old style numerals (below)
Adobe Garamond Pro regular & old style numerals


The printing of single copies or low volumes of a publication only after an order for them has been received. Also called ‘print on demand’ or POD. On-demand printing is typically associated with a digital printing process.

onion skin

A light bond paper used for typing and used with carbon paper because of its thinness.


Abbreviation for Out Of Print.


The objective measure of opacity.


The property of a paper that limits show-through from printing on the opposite side or from another printing sheet.


– Material (colloidal graphite) of sufficient optical density applied to a film base to simulate solid areas.
– To apply such material.
– To paint out areas on a negative so that they will not appear as image areas on the plate.

opaque ink

Ink that completely covers any ink under itself.


Abbreviation for Out Of Print, Canceled.

open up

In preparing a flat, to remove mask material around an image or part of an image to permit its exposure in film contacting or platemaking


OpenType is a recent font format that is jointly developed by Adobe and Microsoft. It resembles TrueType but can contain both TrueType and PostScript Type 1 font data. This site has a page dedicated to the  OpenType font format.


Abbreviation for Open Prepress Interface (actually a pretty useless abbreviation because it doesn’t tell you anything at all about its meaning). OPI is a mechanism in which high-resolution images (scans) are placed on a server, which automatically creates low-resolution versions of those images. These smaller images are referred to as low-res images, proxies or lay-files. They are between 70 to 90% smaller than the original images. It are these small images that can be placed in a page layout application easily and quickly. When the page is ready for final output, it is printed through a spooler on the same server computer, and the server computer automatically replaces the low-res images by their high-resolution equivalent, prior to sending the data to the output device. Apart from having a central place to store and manage images, OPI also offers the advantage of speeding up the handling and printing of images on layout systems.


Abbreviation for Out Of Print At Present.


Abbreviation for Out Of Print, Searching.

optical center

A vertical point that is approximately 10% above the mathematical center of a page or layout.


A line of type on its own at the top or bottom of a page, such as for instance the first line of a paragraph set as the last line of a page. The presence of orphans is considered bad typographic technique.


Any light-sensitive surfaces (such as film) that are not sensitive to red light. Panchromatic film is sensitive to all colors of light.


How accurately multi axis-system axes maintain a 90-degree relationship.


– Abbreviation for Operating System.
– Abbreviation for Out Of Stock.


Abbreviation for Out Of Stock, Canceled.


Abbreviation for Out Of Stock, To Follow.


– Abbreviation for Open Systems Interconnection (model)
– Abbreviation for Out Of Stock Indefinitely.


Abbreviation for Out Of Stock Temporarily.

outline font

A font that consists of mathematical equations that describe what each letter shape (glyph) should look like. Outline fonts can be printed at any size and at any resolution without “jaggies” or loss of quality. TrueType fonts are typical examples of outline fonts.

outside focus

That part of an image forming optical system where light rays diverge from the focus

over-and-over fold

A type of fold that consists of two or more parallel folds, creating a kind of ‘spiraling’ effect in which one or more panels only become visible after unfolding.

overhang cover

A cover of a book that extends over the trimmed signatures it contains.


A transparent sheet (acetate) placed over artwork, in register with the work it covers; this is used to call out other color components of the work, instructions or corrections.


The opposite of knockout: a shape of an object (e.g. text or a logo) that is printed on top of background colors or objects that it covers.

overrun or overs

Copies printed in excess of the specified quantity.


Type set in excess of available space.


Creating a character that is not available in a typeface by superimposing two separate characters, e.g. creating $ using s and l.


A trade name for a method of copying page proofs from paper or film.

4 thoughts on “O – ‘OBC’ to ‘Ozalid’

    1. Hi Miguel, long time no see! I have no idea what an overfold is, but it seems logical that it has to do with binding. Either a regular fold is meant or maybe you mean an ‘over-and-over fold’?

  1. An orphan is actually the first or last line of a paragraph on it’s own at the beginning or end of a column of text. The definition you have here is of a widow

    1. You’re right and it took me a mere 18 month to discover that I overlooked your comment. Ooops… but at least it is fixed now.

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