Glossary of Terms

Like any industry, ours uses a variety of terms. If you want to find out what they mean, you are in the right place! Simply click on a letter to see its list of terms. If the term you are looking for isn't listed in our glossary feel free to contact us so that we may help you as well as add it to our list.

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Back Lining

The fixing of a material, either paper or cloth, to the back of a book before it is bound. Reference: case binding.

Back Margin

1. The space between the edge of the text matter and the fold edge. 2. A term referring to the margin which lies closest to the back of the book. Alternative terms: binding margin, gutter margin.

Back Matter

The material printed at the back of a book (e.g., agenda, appendix, bibliography, glossary, index, etc). Alternative term: end matter.

Back Printing

Printing on the underside of transparent paper or film. Alternative terms: reverse printing; second-surface printing.

Back Step Collation

The collation of book signatures according to reference marks which are printed on the back fold of each section.

Back To Back

Print applied to both sides of a sheet of paper.


The part of a book connecting the front cover to the back cover. Also called "back" Alternative term: spine. See also: rounding and backing.


1. The area appearing behind the main subject or upon which the main subject is placed. 2. That portion of a photograph or line art drawing that appears furthest from the eye; the surface upon which the main image is superimposed.


See rounding and backing.


The material that strengthens the back of a book after it's been rounded and backed (e.g., paper, muslin, etc.).


Any type that tilts to the left or backward direction; opposite of italic type.

Backstep Marks

Marks printed on signatures that indicate where the final fold will occur. When gathering and initial folding is completed, these marks appear as a stepped sequence.


Mottle blotchy spots or streaks in an overprinted ink.


Creating an archive copy of digital information as insurance in the event the original information is lost or damaged.

Backward Broadside

A page on which the text is printed sideways.

Bad Break

Awkward visual composition resulting from ending a page with a single word; ending a page with a hyphenated word; ending a page with the first line of a paragraph; using a hyphenated line of text in the first line of a page; or dividing a word incorrectly See also: orphan; widow.


A term given to the procedure of drying coatings onto papers.


A term used to describe the aesthetic or harmony of elements, whether they are photos, art or copy, within a layout or design.


In an illustration, any line which encircles copy, or dialogue.

Bank Paper

A thin uncoated stock used for making carbon copies.

Banker's Flap Envelope

Also called wallet flap; the wallet flap has more rounded flap edges.


The primary headline usually spanning the entire width of a page.

Barn Doors

A device with two sets of thin metal doors (horizontal and vertical) placed before a light source to control the direction of light.

Barrier Coat

A coating that is applied onto the non-printing side of paper to add to the opacity of that paper. Reference, opacity.

Baryta Paper

A coated stock (barium sulfate compound) used for text impressions on typesetting machines.

Bas Relief

A three dimensional impression is which the image stands just slightly out from the flat background. References, blind emboss.


The support onto which printing plates is fixed.

Base Film

The foundation material onto which the film positives are stripped for making printing plates. Reference, photomechanical.

Base Line

This is a term used to describe the imaginary horizontal line upon which stand capitals, lower case letters, punctuation points etc.

Base Material

See face material Alternative terms: body stock; face stock.

Basic Size

This term refers to a standard size of paper stock; even though the required size may be smaller or larger.

Basis Weight

Basis or basic weight refers to the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that particular paper grade.


A design school in Germany where the Sans Serif font was originated.


The adjusting of spacing of type in order to correct the justification.


The steel flat table of a cylinder printing press upon which the type sits during the printing process.

Bending Chip

A recycled paperboard product used for making folding cartons.

Bible Paper

A thin but strong paper (opaque), used for Bibles and books.

Bimetal Plate

A plate which is used in long print runs; the printing image is copper or brass, and the non-printing area is aluminum or stainless steel.

Binder's Board

A heavy paperboard with a cloth covering that is used for hardback binding of books.


Various methods of securing folded sections together and or fastening them to a cover, to form single copies of a book.

Binding Margin

The space between the text matter and the fold edge. Alternative terms: back margin, gutter margin.


The etching process in photoengraving requires the application of an acid; the length of time this acid is left to etch out an image is referred to as its bite. The more bites, the deeper the etched area.


An image that is digitally produced using dots rather than a mathematical formula.
See Also: Bitmap Graphics Editor, Line Art, Object-oriented, Raster Graphics, Vector Graphics, Vectors

Bitmap Graphics Editor

A bitmap graphics editor is a computer program that allows users to paint and edit pictures interactively on the computer screen and save them in one of many popular "bitmap" or "raster" formats such as JPEG, PNG, GIF and TIFF.


Black is one of the four process colors commonly used in four-color printing, along with cyan, magenta and yellow; this set of colors is referred to as CMYK, with K standing for black.

Black Letter

An old style of typeface used in Germany in the 15th century, also referred to as Old English (US) and Gothic (UK).

Black Out

Also referred to as black patch; a piece of masking material which is used in layout to mask an area leaving a window into which another element can be stripped.

Black Photo Paper

A black paper used to protect photosensitive materials.

Black Printer

Refers to the film portion of the color separation process that prints black; increases the contrast of neutral tones.


Darkening a portion of a sheet of paper due to the excessive pressure of the calendar roll. Reference, calendar.


On offset presses a fabric-reinforced sheet of rubber to transfer the impression from the plate onto the paper.

Blanket To Blanket Press

A printing method in which there are two blanket cylinders through which a sheet of paper is passed and printed on both sides.


  1. Used when an image is meant to extend completely to the edge of the finished sheet. Printing a color beyond the trim edge of a sheet to ensure that there is no white space at the edge after the substrate on which the image is printed is trimmed to finish size.
  2. Adding a small border of the same color to an image detail so the color overlaps a different, adjacent color. The intention is to ensure that no white space is visible where the two colors meet even if there are slight variations in registration (x-y positioning) of the two colors.

Blind Emboss

A design or bas relief impression that is made without using inks or metal foils.

Blind Embossing

Embossed forms that are not inked, or gold leafed.

Blind Folio

Page number not printed on page.

Blind Image

A problem that arises in the lithography process when an image loses its ink receptivity and fails to print.


Although seemingly dry, paper does contain approximately 5% moisture. In cases where there is excessive moisture, and the paper is passed through a high heat-drying chamber, the moisture within the paper actually boils and causes a bubble or blistering effect.


Illustrations or line art etched onto zinc or copper plates and used in letterpress printing.

Block In

To sketch the primary areas and points of reference of an illustration in preparation for going to final design or production.

Block Resistance

The resistance of coated papers to blocking.


The adhesion of one coated sheet to another, causing paper tears or particles of the coating to shed away from the paper surface.

Blocking Out

To mask a section of an art layout before reproduction.


Any enlargement of photos, copies or line art.


Blue is one of the three additive primary colors. Blue light has the shortest wavelength range (about 420-490 nanometres) of the three primary colors. The English language commonly uses "blue" to refer to any color from blue to cyan.
See Also: Additive Color Process, RGB Color Model


1. A proof made on special paper producing a blue on white print when exposed to a negative overlay. The paper used has been treated with iron. See also: brownprint; silverprint; Van dyke. 2. A blue colored print created from an offset printing plate and used in the production process. 3. A line or image created with special blue ink that is not reproduced in photographic negatives or positives. Often used for positioning, notes, or instructions. 4. Photographic proof made from flats for checking accuracy, layout and imposition before plates are made. Also known as a dylux.


  1. The main shank or portion of the letter character other than the ascenders and descenders.
  2. A term used to define the thickness or viscosity of printer's ink.

Body Size

The point size of a particular type character.

Body Stock

1. The paper on which coatings are laid down to create coated printing papers. 2. Any material such as paper suitable for converting into sheet goods. Alternative terms: base material; face material; face stock.

Boiler Plate

Repetitive blocks of type that are picked up and included routinely without recreating them.


  1. A heavier weight version of typeface, generally used for emphasis.
  2. A type style that is heavier, thicker and blacker than the regular typeface that makes it more conspicuous, generally used for emphasis. Bold can be in italic format as well as roman.

Alternative Term: Bold Type
Abbreviation: BF


The edges of folded sheets of paper, which are trimmed off in the final stages of production.


A grade of durable writing, printing and typing paper that has a standard size of 17x22 inches.


  1. A general classification to describe papers used to print books; its standard size is 25x38 inches.
  2. A printed work which contains more than 64 pages.

Book Block

A term given the unfinished stage of bookmaking when the pages are folded, gathered and stitched-in but not yet cover bound.

Bounce 1

A registration problem, usually on copiers, where the image appears to bounce back and forth. A bounce usually occurs in one direction depending on how the paper is passing through the machine. This is usually accented by card stock (especially if it's over the machine's spec).


A pressure sensitive color film that is used to prepare color art.

Box Cover Paper

A lightweight paper used expressly for covering paper boxes.

Box Enamel Paper

A glossy coated paper used to cover paper boxes.

Box Liners

A coated paper used on the inside of boxes, which are used for food.


A "{" or "}" character used to group lines, or phrases.

Break For Color

In layout design, the term for dividing or separating the art and copy elements into single color paste-up sheets.


A continuous image that covers two facing pages without any visible gutter.


A board paper of various thickness; having a smooth finish and used for printing and drawing. The paper's thickness can range from 6 points or higher.

Broad Fold

A term given to the fold whereby paper is folded with the short side running with the grain.


A heavily embossed paper.


A pamphlet that is bound in booklet form.


A printing method whereby special ink is applied to sheets and then a powder is applied producing a metallic effect.

Brownline Proof

A photographic proof made by exposing a flat to UV light creating a brown image on a white background.


A brown colored print made by contacting a negative on a special sensitized paper. The paper used has been treated with silver and iron. Not to be confused with sepia prints or black colored photographs. See also: blueline; silverprint; Van dyke.

Buckle Folder

A portion of the binding machinery with rollers that fold the paper.


A coarse sized cloth used in the bookbinding process.


A term used to define the number of pages per inch of a book relative to its given basis weight.


A term given to paper to describe its thickness relative to its weight.


A boldface square or dot used before a sentence to emphasize its importance.

Bump Exposure

A process used in halftone photography that entails the temporary removal of the screen during exposure. This increases the highlight contrast and diminishes the dots in the whites.


A term used in plate making to describe the amount of plate exposure time.


A term used for the process of "rubbing down" lines and dots on a printing plate, which darkens those rubbed areas.


Creating a polished finish on paper by rubbing with stone or hand smoothing a surface.

Burst Binding

A binding technique that entails nicking the backfold in short lengths during the folding process, which allows glue to reach each individual leaf and create a strong bond.

Business Paper

A general category of paper used for everyday business purposes (e.g., copy paper, bond letterhead paper, etc.).

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