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Print Glossary for Mesa Print Customers




Alignment -
Orientation of type with regard to edges of the column or paper, such as aligned right (flush right), aligned left (flush left), and aligned on center (centered).
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Bindery -
Place where printed products are collated, trimmed, folded, and/or bound. A bindery may be a department within a printing company or a separate business.
Bleed -
Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming.
Blueline Proof -

A blue colored photoprint made to proof type, image position and pagination. Also called a blueprint.
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Camera-ready -
Text or artwork which is black and white and ready to be photographed by a process camera, typically for a newspaper. Digital files have largely replaced this method.
Character -
Any letter, numeral, punctuation mark, or other alphanumeric symbol.
Clip Art -

Copyright-free drawings available for purchase for unlimited reproduction. Clip art illustrations are printed on glossy paper or stored on computer disks. They are ready for placement on mechanicals or pages designed on computer screens. Also called standard Artwork.

The four process colors used in offset lithography printing. They are cyan, magenta, yellow and black (the key color). When these four colors are printed with halftone screens of various angles in this subtractive print method, they create oranges, reds, violets, and so on. The color gamut of CMYK is fairly limited, causing loss of color when a continuous tone photograph is reproduced using only 4 colors.
Coated Paper -
Paper with a coating of clay and other substances that improves reflectivity and ink holdout. Mills produce coated paper appropriate for publications in three major categories of surface shine: gloss, dull, and matte.
Color Gamut -
Gamut is the term used to describe the range of colors which can be seen by the human eye, reproduced on a monitor, or printed on paper using various output devices. The gamut of our eyes is huge and represents everything we see. Early computer monitors only reproduced 256 colors, but today's monitors can display thousands or even millions of colors using an additive red, green, blue (RGB) color model. A four color offset print job is printed in cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). The subtractive process of printing combines these colors to create other colors such as orange, green or red. This process produces a fairly limited color gamut. To make matters more difficult, some colors which can be printed can not be displayed on the monitor and vice versa. Recent print technology aims to enlarge the color gamut by printing additional colors along with CMYK. Pantone has developed "Hexachrome", a 6 color offset print process which comes close to the RGB gamut. Newer large format printers such as the DisplayMaker print with up to 8 print color heads for greatly improved midtones. Color photographic images have a wider range of color than offset printing and richer tones than a monitor can display. There is a loss of color data when a photograph is scanned and converted to CMYK or Hexachrome for offset printing.
Color Separations -
Separating a multicolor image (digital file) into individual monochrome halftone sheets of film. A CMYK print job requires 4 sheets of film. The separate film sheets are used to make a matchprint proof and printing plates. Separations are processed by an imagesetter.
Continuous Tone Photograph -
This is traditional photography in either black and white or in color. This process creates superior images with a tremendous range of tonal values and color saturation. When these same images are converted into halftone screens for offset lithography printing it results in loss of color data.
Crop -
To eliminate portions of an image so the remainder is more useful, pleasing, or able to fit the layout.
Crop Marks -
Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called Cut Marks and Tick Marks.
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Die -
A stamping tool used for embossing or die-cutting.
Direct-to-plate -
This is the newest trend in 4 or more color printing. The digital file is imaged and separated directly to the printing plate. This skips the processing of color separated film and the making of a matchprint. Proofing is done using a high quality and accurate inkjet print. The plates are ready immediately for the printing press.
Drop Shadow -
Screen tint or rule touching an illustration, box, or type to give a three-dimensional shadow effect. Also called Flat Shadow.
Duotone -
A duotone begins as a black and white photograph. Duotones are created by generating two halftones of the same image. This will make two separate printing plates for a two color print job. The two plates are printed together and the resulting printed image is rich in tonal values. Duotones are often printed with black and a spot color, but any two colors can be combined. Unusual color combinations will require a press check.
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Element -
One part of an image or page. Elements of an image may include subject, background, and foreground. Elements of a page may include headlines, body copy, and halftones.
Estimate -
Price that states what a job is likely to cost. Also called bid, quotation, and tender. Printers base estimates on specifications provided by customers.
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Finished Size -
Size of product after production is complete, as compared to flat size. Also called Trim Size.
Flat Size -
Size of product after printing and trimming, but before folding, as compared to finished size.
Flush Left -

Type aligning vertically along the left side of the column. Also called Left Justified or Ranged Left.
Flush Right -
Type aligning vertically along the right side of the column. Also called Right Justified or Ranged Right.
Fold Marks -
Lines on a mechanical, film, printing plate, or press sheet indicating where to fold the final product.
Font -
In early printing the ink was applied to rows of either wooden or metal letters and the letters were pressed against the paper. The wood or metal letters are called fonts. After printing the fonts were wiped clean and stored away in drawers. Fonts might be large individual letters (wood), or words or groups of words in metal type. In the computer age fonts are the required file to display and print any given typeface. Most commercial printers require Postscript Type 1 fonts, though TrueType scalable fonts are becoming more common. Fonts files must be supplied with every print job.
Footer -

Information, such as page number or chapter title, that appears at the bottom of every page. Also called running foot.
Format -
Size or layout, depending on context. A publication may have an 8 1/2 x 11 format or a one-column format.
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Gloss Finish -
Paper with a coating that reflects light well, as compared to dull or matte-coated paper.
Grainy -
Appearance of a photograph or halftone that has been enlarged so much that the pattern of crystals in the emulsion can be seen in the photo or its reproduction.
Graphic Design -
Arrangement of type and visual elements along with specifications for paper, ink colors, and printing processes that, when combined, convey a visual message.
Graphic Designer -
Professional who designs, plans, and may coordinate production of a printed piece.
Graphics -
Visual elements that supplement type to make printed messages clearer or more interesting.
Gutter -
Line or fold at which facing pages meet.
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Hairline -
Thinnest visible space or rule. Because visibility is determined by factors such as contrast between ink and paper, hairline has no precise measure.
Halftone -
Method of converting a continuous-tone photograph into a grid of larger and smaller dots. This pattern makes it possible to make film and/or printing plates. A halftone screen is the actual grid pattern. In offset printing, each of the CMYK color screens has a different screen angle so the printed dots will create a perfect rosette, which the human eye merges into a continuous tone. Misaligned screens create a moire pattern. It is the halftone screen pattern which makes it difficult to scan a previously printed image.
Hard Copy -
Copy on a substrate, such as film or paper, as compared to soft copy.
Header -
Information, such as page number or chapter title, that appears at the top of every page.
Hexachrome -
Pantone has developed hexachrome printing as a solution to the color color gamut limitations of CMYK process printing. Hexachrome printing comes closer to the RGB gamut.
Highlights -
Lightest portions of a photograph or halftone, as compared to midtones and shadows.
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Image -
Type, illustration, or other original as it has been reproduced on computer screen, film, printing plate, or paper.
Imposition -

The arrangement of individual pages onto a larger sheet, front and back, so that when the printed sheet is folded the pages will be front and back and paginated properly. This printed sheet is called a signature. Books, catalogs and magazines are made of a series of folded signatures which are all bound together. Printers use special software for the imposition of digital files from a page layout program.
Indicia -
Postal permit information printed on objects to be mailed and accepted by U.S. Postal Service in place of stamps.
Italic Type -
Type slanted to the right, as compared to Roman type.
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Joint Photographic Experts Group. A highly compressed graphics format designed to handle computer images of high resolution photographs as efficiently as possible.
Justified -
Type Type set to extend across the entire width of a column, making it flush right and left.
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Lap -
The slight overlapping of printed colors, usually the result of trapping. Trapping is a method used to allow for slight faults in color registration.
Layout -
Sketch or plan of how a page or sheet will look when printed.
Line Art -
Artwork that is black and white, without middle gray tones. Logos are often line art.
Logo -
Abbreviation for logotype, an artistic assembly of type and art (or mark) into a distinctive symbol unique to an organization, business, or product. Also called Emblem.
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Mailing Service -
Business specializing in addressing and mailing large quantities of printed pieces. Also called Lettershop or Fulfillment House.
Makeover -
1) New design replacing an old design; 2) Printing job done over again-made over without changes-because of unacceptable flaws in the previous production run.
The steps it takes to prepare a printing press and/or binding equipment for the next project. This is actually one of the more expensive parts of a print job. Use of specialty papers or metallic inks can increase the cost of makeready.
Mark Up -
To write, on a manuscript or proof, instructions about matters such as typesetting, color correcting, or printing.
Matte Finish -
Flat (not glossy) finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper.
Matchprint Proof -

Also called a Rainbow, this is a high quality color proof made from the actual film separations which will be used to make the printing plates. This is the final proof prior to color printing. The printing press operator will use the client approved matchprint for quality control during printing.
Moire Pattern -
This is an undesirable result of misaligned screen angles in CMYK printing. Proper alignment of common halftone screens should create a perfect rosette.
Monitor Colors (RGB) -
Monitors display color using an additive process combining red, green and blue. These colors create orange, blue, violet and so on. The Windows platform displays a slightly different gamut of colors than Macintosh computer. The base for both systems is 216 colors. Windows monitors display colors darker and with less saturation than Macintosh systems. Due to these limitations you should expect some color shift as you view images or Web pages on different monitors. Monitors are also not a reliable indicator of what colors will actually be printed on paper. Even expensive calibrated monitors using the newest software can only approximate your final print. A color proof produced by a print shop is the only true indicator of what any finished print job will look like.
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Newsletter -
Short, usually informal periodical presenting specialized information to a limited audience.
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Offset Lithography Printing -
Printing that uses an intermediary surface, a rubber blanket, to transfer the image from the inked plate surface onto the paper. An offset press can print from 1 to 6 colors, depending on the number of print heads.
Opacity -
Characteristic of paper that prevents printing on one side from showing through to the other.
Original Art -
Initial photo or illustration prepared for reproduction.
Overprint -
To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint. Also called Surprint.
Overrun -
Number of pieces printed or paper made in excess of the quantity ordered.
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Page -
One side of a leaf in a printed piece. One sheet folded in half yields four pages. An eight-page signature has four pages printed on each side of the sheet.
Page Count -
Total number of pages that a printed piece has. Also called Extent.
Page Proof -
Proof of type and graphics as they will look on the finished page complete with elements such as headings and rules.
Pantone Matching System (PMS)® -

The registered trade name of a brand of color matching system commonly used in commercial printing. Pantone colors can be specified for ink, papers, plastics, and fabrics. Pantone chips are available for solid spot colors and for process ink mixes. Specifying Pantone colors is the only accurate and predictable way to know that the color in the imaging application is the color that will be printed (your monitor is NOT a predictable indication of printed colors).
Prepress -
Camera work, color separating, stripping, platemaking, and other prepress functions performed by the printer, separator, or a service bureau prior to printing. Also called Preparation.
Press Proof or Press Check -
This is an actual printed proof from the press itself before the entire print run is completed. A good press operator always does a press proof and matches the print output with the client approved color proof. Press check usually refers to the client and designer going to the print shop at printing time and approving the press proof. This is seldom done because of the added costs involved.
Proof -
Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press, and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.
Proofread -
To examine a manuscript or proof for errors in writing or typesetting.
Proofreader Marks -
Standard symbols and abbreviations used to mark up manuscripts and proofs. Most dictionaries and style manuals include charts of proofreader marks. Also called Correction Marks.
Proof Sheet -
1) Photographic term for sheet of images made by contact printing negatives (also called contact sheet); 2) Printing term for any proof or press sheet used as a proof.
Proportion Scale -
Device used to calculate percentage that an original image must be reduced or enlarged to yield a specific reproduction size. Also called Percentage Wheel, Proportion Dial, Proportion Wheel, and Scaling Wheel.
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Quality -
Subjective term relating to expectations by the customer, printer, and other professionals associated with a printing job and whether the job meets those expectations.
Quotation -
Price offered by a printer to produce a specific job, thus alternate for estimate. The quoted price is the printer's side of the contract based on specifications from the customer.
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Raster Image -
Digital scanners and digital cameras produce raster images. A raster image can also be created new with a raster based application such as Photoshop® or Painter® or Canvas®. Raster images are pixel resolution dependent and can not be greatly increased in size without loosing picture quality. These are typically large files and are more demanding of RAM and processor speed. See also Vector Graphics.
Ream -
Five hundred sheets of paper.
Register -
The correct alignment of colors on paper during printing.
Register Marks -
Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register. Also called Crossmarks and Rosition Marks.
Resolution -
Sharpness of an image on film, paper, computer screen, disk, tape, or other medium.
Reverse -
Type, graphic, or illustration reproduced by printing ink around its outline, thus allowing the underlying color or paper to show through and form the image. Also called knockout or liftout. The image "reverses out" of the ink color.
Rough Layout -
Sketch giving a general idea of size and placement of text and graphics in the final product. Also called Esquisse or Rough.
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Saddle-stitching -
A type of book binding that uses several metal staples along the spine to gather and bind pages for a booklet. This is the least expensive method of quality binding.
Scale -
To identify the percentage by which photographs or art should be enlarged or reduced to achieve the correct size for printing. An 8" x 10" photo to be reproduced as a 4" x 5" image should be scaled to 50 percent.
Self-cover -
Using the same paper for the cover as that used on the inside pages of a booklet. Higher quality booklets will use a cover weight paper on the outside.
Self-mailer -
Printed piece designed to mail without an envelope.
Shadows -
Darkest areas of a photograph or illustration, as compared to midtones and highlights.
Sheet-fed Press -
A offset printing press which prints individual sheets of paper. In contrast, a web-fed press runs paper through on a continuous strip off a roll, like at a newspaper. Interestingly, newer digital presses of all sizes run paper on rolls.
Show Through -
Printing on one side of a sheet that is visible from the other side due to insufficient opacity of the paper, as compared to strike through.
Specifications -
Complete and precisely written description of features of a printing job, such as type size and leading, paper grade and quantity, printing quality, or binding method. Abbreviated specs. Specifications typically include the following:
     - type specs define typeface, size, line measure, indentations, headlines, and other features of typography.
     - printing specs concentrate on press work, such as quantities, inkcolors and dot gains, but often include prepress,    
       paper, and finishing.
     - finishing specs tell folding requirements and trim size.
Spot Color -

This is a mixed ink of a specific color. Spot colors are used most commonly in logo design or to print a specific color which standard CMYK offset printing can not produce. Depending on your goals and your budget, you could specify 1 or more spot colors by themselves, or in combination with the regular CMYK colors. Anvil Graphics specifies spot colors from the Pantone Matching System, though there are other selections world wide.
Spread -
A pair of facing pages. Sometimes called a two-page spread or double-truck.
Stock Photography -
There are two kinds of stock photography. The most common is "royalty free". Royalty free photos are available in a wide range of prices depending on the source. Royalty free photos are still licensed, but the end user can typically use the pictures for a wide variety of editorial and promotional uses at anytime. "Rights Protected" photos are handled by traditional photo stock agencies and are licensed to a specific client for a particular project for a predetermined time. Rights protected pictures often cost several hundred dollars for the license (not ownership). High quality rights protected photos may be delivered as a transparency and will need to be scanned professionally. All these pictures should carry a photo credit and are copyrighted.
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Tag Line -
Alternate term for subtitle. Also used with logos, often a slogan, description of the business, or the full name.
Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) -
A common format for interchanging digital information, generally associated with greyscale or bitmap data.
Template -
Pattern used to draw illustrations, make page formats, or lay out press sheets. A template may be a physical object that guides a pencil, an underlay for a light table, or a computer file with preset formats or outlines for the final printed piece.
Text -
Main portion of type on a page, as opposed to such elements as headlines and captions.
Text Paper -
Designation for printing papers with textured surfaces, such as laid or linen.
Text Type -
Type used for text and captions, as compared to display type. Also called Body Type and Composition Type.
Thermography -

The use of a special powder on top of wet ink, then fusing with a heat treatment. The result is an embossed effect which does not add greatly to the cost of the print job. This is commonly done on business cards and letterheads of one or two colors.
Tight Register -
Subjective term referring to nearly exact register.
Toner -
1) Powder forming the images in photocopying and laser printing; 2) Powder or liquid forming the images in some color proofing systems.
Type -
Letters, numerals, punctuation marks, and other symbols produced by a machine and that will be reproduced by printing.
Typeface -
Set of characters with similar design features and weight. Garamond Light is a typeface. Also calledFace.
Type Family -
Group of typefaces with similar letter forms and an unique name. Garamond, including all weights and styles, such as light, semibold, and bold italic, is a type family.
Type Size -
Height of a typeface measured from the top of its ascenders to the bottom of its descenders, expressed in points.
Type Style -
Characteristic of a typeface, such as bold, italic, or light.
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Ultrabold Type -
Type that is heavier than bold. Also called Black Type.
Uncoated Paper -
Paper that has not been coated with clay. Also called Offset Paper.
Underrun -
Quantity of printing delivered that is less than the quantity ordered.
Unit Cost -
The cost of one item in a print run. Unit cost is computed by dividing the total cost of the printing job-variable costs plus fixed costs-by the quantity of products delivered.
Uppercase Letters -
Alternate term for capital letters.
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Variable Costs -
Costs of a printing job that change depending on how many pieces are produced, as compared to fixed costs. Costs for paper, printing, and binding are examples of variable costs.
Vector Graphics -
Created from illustration programs such as Freehand® or Illustrator® , vector graphics are defined by points on the canvas and complex mathematical computations. Simple or complex shapes are created which can be overlapped, combined, aligned, etc. The shapes can be filled with color or gradients. Vector graphics have the advantage of creating small files and the artwork is always scalable to any size with out lose of picture quality. Programs such as Illustrator also allow the placement of raster images on the canvas. In fact, the most recent versions of Photoshop and Illustrator really blur the line between the two programs.
Vellum Finish -
Somewhat rough, toothy paper finish.
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Washed Out -
Characteristic of printing or a photograph whose images appear faded.
Waste -
Unusable paper or paper damaged during normal make-ready, printing, or bindery operations.
White Space -
Area of a printed piece that does not contain images or type. Also called Negative Space.
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