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 Work and Back, a printing method in which the front and back of pages are assembled on two different plates. The printing is done by turning the page over after the first side is printed and using the same gripper and side guides. This technique is also called sheetwise.
Abbreviation for Work and Turn, a printing method in which both sides of a sheet can be printed using a single plate. The paper is turned over after the first side is printed, using the same edge of the first printing as the gripper edge for the second printing. Different side guides are used for each pass.
Curling of printed paper in areas with heavy ink density, caused by mechanical stress on the paper when it is peeled from the blanket on an offset press.
A term given to the occurrence of plate deterioration of the image area during the printing process. It usually occurs on long runs.
The procedure of cleaning a particular ink from all of the printing elements (rollers, plate, ink fountain etc.) of a press. Certain ink colors require multiple wash-ups to avoid ink and chemical contamination.
Planned spoilage. In a print run a certain number of sheets are wasted while getting the colors and registration set up correctly.
A design impressed or embedded in the paper during the manufacturing process. It can easily be seen by holding the paper up to a light.
Abbreviation for Windows Color System, the color management engine that is included in Microsoft operating systems such as Vista and Windows 7. Its goal is to achieve color consistency across various software and hardware solutions, including cameras, monitors, printers and scanners.
A roll of paper stock used in web or rotary printing. For more information on web presses, check the printing section of this site.
A tear in a web roll during the printing process.
The deformation of the paper printed on a web press. The physical deformation occurs as the paper absorbs ink and water and is accelerated with pressure and tension. Factors contributing to web growth include the type of press, press configuration, paper stock, humidity, ink coverage, and the conditions of the blankets. Web width changes also happen with wide web flexo and gravure. With flexo and gravure presses that have interunit hot air dryers, the web width will shrink as it goes through the press because of the moisture loss of the paper due to the hot air drying. Web growth in the web width direction was called fan out. Fan-out rollers or spiral taped rollers help minimize this problem. Some web presses used a Fife system or series of “S” rollers to minimize the problem.
A printing lithographic process that prints on paper from a continuous roll and delivers onto another roll or as folded signatures. This site has a dedicated page about printing.
A printing press that prints on rolls of paper. This type of press is typically used to print newspapers, magazines, large catalogs or other jobs where the number of impressions exceeds 25,000 copies. Because web presses ‘pull’ a continuous piece of paper through the press, lighter weight papers can be used. Many web presses have the ability to do folding for complicated direct mailers and brochures.
The term given to the tension or pull exerted by the web press on the web roll.
A system or process that allows customers to order and possibly create & edit a printed publication using an internet connection. Web-to-print or online print order procurement are used for a wide variety of applications, including business cards, stationery, posters and photo books. The technology is also known as Web2Print or remote publishing.
A soft paper that is thick and holds up well under embossing.
The process of removing excess vinyl on peel-and-stick vinyl stickers or vinyl-cut-decals.
The comparative amount of blackness of a type style. Typefaces of different weights have names such as light, semi, bold or ultra bold.
Printing one process color over the other while still wet.
The ability of an ink film to accept subsequent ink films.
Abbreviation for Wrong Font – used to indicate on a proof where a character is in the wrong typeface.
The balancing of colors to create a pure white while scanning or retouching an image
Illumination, such as sunlight, composed of all the colors of light in the spectrum. The visible spectrum components can be seen in a rainbow or in sunlight shining through a prism.
white space or whitespace
In layout, white space is the blank area between characters or graphic regions.
The last line of a paragraph that appears at the top of a page all by itself. In Dutch, this is called a ‘hoerenjong’ (a son of a whore).
Torsional effect of torque driving a lead screw further than the output signal.
– A clear, usually rectangular or square, open panel in litho negative for stripping halftone negatives into position with tape.
– A part of the computer screen that is used to show a message or picture. Windows can be opened and closed, resized and reorganized.
An envelope with a hole in the front that is covered with a transparent film. Through this window, an address printed on the paper within can be seen.
wipe on plate
A plate on which is wiped a light sensitive coating by a coating device; usually the first step in this type of platemaking.
The wire mesh used at the wet end of the papermaking process. The wire determines the textures of the paper.
A bindery name for binding books using double loops of wire through a hole.
The underside of the paper that rests on the wire as it is carried along during manufacture. Opposed to the top, felt side.
To fasten together sheets, signatures, or sections with wire staples.
with the grain
Folding or feeding paper into a press or folder parallel to the grain of the paper.
Abbreviation for Windows Metafile Format: the native file format for images on the Windows platform.
Tilt of the axis during rotation.
An ancient relief printing technique, also called block printing or xylography.
Paper made from chemical pulp only.
Computer programs that capture keystrokes for retrieval and editing data or text.
The ability of a word processing program to automatically end a line and wrap the next words to the following line.
A layout in which both sides of a sheet can be printed using a single plate. The paper is flipped after the first side is printed so that the trailing edge of the first printing becomes the gripper edge for the second printing. The same side guide is used for both passes.
A layout in which both sides of a sheet can be printed using a single plate. The paper is turned over after the first side is printed, using the same edge of the first printing as the gripper edge for the second printing. Different side guides are used for each pass.
In prepress, a workflow refers to the software that is used to handle all of the processes that are needed to make digital files ready for printing.
A computer that is more powerful than personal computers (such as the PCs or Macs).
Abbreviation for Write Once, Read Many. A WORM optical disc can only be imaged once and the data cannot be erased. There is no limit to the number of times the data can be read.
A smooth paper made on finely textured wire that gives the paper a gentle patterned finish.
Abbreviation for Windows Printer Description: Microsoft’s version of the standard PostScript Printer Drive (PPD).
wratten gelatin filter
A thin colored plastic that is optically pure and is used to separate colors in photographic systems. The Wratten filter number specifies the filter color.
The unevenly dried surface of printed inks.
Another name for bond paper.
Proofreader’s mark to indicate that type uses a wrong face or an incorrect font.
A mirror image (lateral reversal) of a right-reading image. Films are made wrong-reading on the emulsion side (right reading on the base side) for offset platemaking.
Abbreviation for What you see is what you get (pronounced “wizzy-wig”): a system or application that is capable of displaying pages or images consistent with the printed result