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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Cable Paper

A strong paper used to wrap electrical cables.

Cadmium Yellow

A pigment made from cadmium sulfide and cadmium selenide.

Calendar Board

A strong paperboard used for calendars and displays.

Calendar Rolls

A series of metal rolls at the end of a paper machine; when the paper is passed between these rolls it increases its smoothness and glossy surface.


Making paper smooth by pressing it between highly polished metal rollers.

Calibration Bars

A strip of tones printed on paper or film and used for quality control.


The measure of a sheet of paper's thickness, usually expressed in thousandths of an inch (referred to as "mils" or "points"). A micro meter is used to take this measurement. Normally a sheet won't have a variance of more than + or − 5%. Generally, the relation between caliper and basis weight.... the greater the caliper (e.g. the thicker the paper), the greater the paper weight.

For additional information see our Caliper to Equivalent Weight page.


A distinctive style of artistic handwriting created by using special pen nibs that allow a calligrapher to vary the thickness of a letter's line elements. The art flourished from the fourteenth through eighteenth centuries.


A quotation, often surrounded by a box, that uses large text to set it apart from the rest of the page. The effect is to draw attention to the page contents.


A dull coated paper, which is particularly useful in reproducing halftones and engravings.

Camera Ready

A term given to any copy, artwork etc., that is prepared for photographic reproduction.

Camera-ready Copy

The final image composition of line art, photographs, text and other graphic elements laid out in the size, position, and color they will be when reproduced on film or paper. Camera-ready copy can be created digitally with a computer system or manually with a pasteup board. Other Term: camera-ready art.

Canvas Board

A paperboard with a surface of simulated canvas, used for painting.

Cap Height

A measurement from the bottom of a capital letter to it's top. See Also: Cap Line

Cap Line

An imaginary horizontal line running across the tops of capital letters. See Also: Cap Height

Caps & Lower Case

Instructions in the typesetting process that indicate the use of a capital letter to start a sentence and the rest of the letters in lower case. See Also: Caps & Small Caps

Caps & Small Caps

1. Capital or uppercase letters that are about the same height as the lowercase version of the font. 2. Two sizes of capital letters made in one size of type. See Also: Caps & Lower Case

Carbon Black

A pigment made of elemental carbon and ash.

Carbon Tissue

A color printing process utilizing pigmented gelatin coatings on paper, which become the resist for etching gravure plates or cylinders.

Carbonate Paper

A chemical pulp paper (calcium carbonate), used mostly for the printing of magazines.


A rough finished paper used for wrapping.


The stiff covers of a hardbound book.

Case Binding

Creating hardcover books by gluing cover material to a stiff, board-like substrate which is then attached to the book's endpapers. Other Term: edition binding.


A milk byproduct used as an adhesive in making coated papers.

Casing In

The process of placing in and adhering a book to its case covers.

Cast Coated

A paper that is coated and then pressure dried using a polished roller which imparts an enamel like hard gloss finish.

Catching Up

A term to describe that period of the printing process where the non-image areas can take on ink or debris.

Center Justification

Center justification is where text is centered in the middle of a column or page. This is often used to clearly show the title of a work, and can be used when quoting poems and songs. However, quotations are also frequently indented. Like with right justification, center-justified text is often used to present data in tables. Centered text is considered less readable for multiple lines of uneven text because of the lack of a regular edge line for the eye to follow.
See Also: Justification

Center Spread

The two pages that face each other in the center of a book or publication.


Centi is an SI prefix in the SI system of units denoting 10-2 or 1/100.
Adopted in 1795, the prefix comes from the Latin centum, meaning hundred.
Abbreviation: c

Chain Lines

Lines that appear on laid paper as a result of the wires of the papermaking machine.


A term used to describe the quality of print on paper where the absorption of the paper is so great that it breaks up the ink image creating loose pigment dust.

Chancery Italic

A 13th century handwriting style which is the roots of italic design.


(old) Frame of steel, or cast or wrought iron, in which images are locked up for printing.

China Clay

1. A white clay used to coat papers or as an ink additive. 2. An aluminum silica compound used in gravure and screen printing inks. Other term: kaolin.


A photographic process that creates a thinner image of the subject without changing its position or shape. The result is similar to removing a thin line from the subject's outline. A choke allows the background color to slightly overlap the subject thereby preventing any unwanted white space between the two areas.

Chrome Green

The resulting ink pigment attained from the mixture of chrome yellow and iron blue.

Chrome Yellow

A lead chromate yellow ink pigment.

Circular Screen

A screen that utilizes a concentric circle pattern as opposed to dots used for halftones and to allow the platemaker to set exact screen angles.

Clay-Coated Boxboard

A strong, easily folded boxboard with clay coating used for making folding boxes.

Clip Art

Graphic images, designs, and artwork in digital form that can be copied and pasted into a digital document or image. Clip art can be obtained on diskette, CD-ROM, or as a download from the Web with pricing that ranges from free to pay.

Coarse Screen

Halftone screens commonly used in newsprint; up to 85 lines per inch.

Coated (Paper)

Paper coated with clay, white pigments and a binder. Better for printing because there is less picking.

Coated Art Paper

Printing papers used for printing projects that require a special treatment of detail and shading.

Coated Stock

Any paper that has a mineral coating applied after the paper is made, giving the paper a smoother finish.

Cold Color

Any color that moves toward the blue side in the color spectrum.

Cold-Set Inks

A variety of inks that are in solid form originally but are melted in a hot press and then solidify when they contact paper.


  1. Assembling the pages of a document in correct order.
  2. To gather sheets or signatures together in their correct order.

See Also: Gathering, Inserting

Collating Marks

Black step-marks printed on the back of folded sheets, to facilitate collating and checking of the sequence of book signatures.


A printers or publishers identifying symbol or emblem.

Color Bars

This term refers to a color test strip, which is printed on the waste portion of a press sheet. It is a standardized (GATF-Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) process which allows a pressman to determine the quality of the printed material relative to ink density, registration, and dot gain. It also includes the Star Target, which is a similar system designed to detect inking problems.

Color Separating

The processes of separating the primary color components for printing.

Color Strength

A term referring to the relative amount of pigmentation in an ink.

Color Transparency

Transparent film containing a positive photographic color image.

Column Gutter

Space between two or more columns of type on one page.

Commercial Register

Color registration measured within plus or minus one row of dots.

Comp Image

Low resolution image that is temporarily used in a layout to check if it fits the style and content of the document.


1. Positioning, formatting or gathering type prior to printing. 2. The assembly of characters into words, lines and paragraphs of text or body matter for reproduction by printing.. See also: pagination; page makeup phototypesetting; typesetting.

Comprehensive Design

  1. A layout or dummy that is carefully drawn or proofed to size showing all elements in correct size and position. Rendering to present a close approximation of the finished printed piece.
  2. A preliminary sketch or mock-up of a design. It is also called a composite.
  3. A proof that includes all the text, images and artwork as they will appear on the final printed piece.

See Also: Comp Image, Dummy Model

Abbreviation: Comp


See data compression.

Computer Graphics

Computer graphics is the field of visual computing, where one utilizes computers both to generate visual images synthetically and to integrate or alter visual and spatial information sampled from the real world.
This field can be divided into several areas: real-time 3D rendering (often used in video games), computer animation, video capture and video creation rendering, special effects editing (often used for movies and television), image editing, and modeling (often used in the printing, engineering and medical fields). Development in computer graphics was first fueled by academic interests and government sponsorship. However, as real-world applications of computer graphics in broadcast television and movies proved a viable alternative to more traditional special effects and animation techniques, commercial parties have increasingly funded advances in the field.
Abbreviation: CG

Condensed Type

A narrow, elongated type face.

Contact Negative

A photographic image with tones that are the reverse of the original. White is black and black is white for example. A contact negative is created by placing a film positive against unexposed film in a vacuum frame and exposing it to light.

Contact Positive

A photographic image with tones that are the same as the original. White is white and black is black for example. A contact positive is created by placing a film negative against unexposed film in a vacuum frame and exposing it to light.

Contact Print

A print made from contact of a sensitive surface to a negative or positive photograph.

Contact Screen

A clear film with a small dot pattern that is overlayed on film during the developing process to create a halftone from a continuous-tone image. See also: halftone screen

Continuous Tone

Image made of non-discernable picture elements which give appearance of continuous spectrum of grey values or tones.


The degree of tonal separation or gradation in the range from black to white.

Contre Jour

Taking a picture with the camera lens facing the light source.


Refers to any typewritten material, art, photos etc., to be used for the printing process.


A board upon which the copy is pasted for the purpose of photographing.


Making adjustments to text size, text leading or otherwise editing the text so it fits in a given space.

Corner Marks

Marks on a final printed sheet that indicate the trim lines or register indicators.


A term describing a general type of papers used for the covers of books, pamphlets etc.




When the rubber blanket on a cylinder moves forward due to contact with the plate or paper. Result of added thickness of folded sheets being behind one another in a folded signature. Outer edges of sheets creep away from back most fold as more folded sheets are inserted inside the middle.


To eliminate a portion of the art or copy as indicated by crop marks.

Crop Mark

Markings at edges of original or on guide sheet to indicate the area desired in reproduction with negative or plate trimmed (cropped) at the markings.

Crossline Screen

A halftone screen created on plate glass. The screen is in the form of an opaque grid of lines that frame transparent squares. See also: halftone screen.


Marks of fine lines, which intersect to indicate accurate alignment of art elements.


  1. A term used to describe the effect of ink from an image, rule, or line art on one printed page, which carries over to another page of a bound work.
  2. An illustration that covers part of two facing pages in a book or magazine. It gets its name from the fact that it crosses over the binding edge. It is important that both parts of a color illustration line up on both pages when the book is assembled and the colors match on both halves of the reproduction.
  3. In printing the crossover denotes the number of impressions at which there is a cost advantage to switching a job from one process to another.


Elements that cross page boundaries and land on two consecutive pages (usually rules).


Not lying flat and tending to form into cylindrical or wavy shapes. A term to describe the differences of either side of a sheet relative to coatings, absorbency etc.; the concave side is the curl side.

Cut Sheet

Paper cut into standard dimensions (e.g., 8.5x11 in., A3, etc.).


A term used in web press printing to describe the point at which a sheet of paper is cut from the roll; usually this dimension is equal to the circumference of the cylinder.


A machine used for:

  1. Accurately cutting stacks of paper to the desired dimensions.
  2. Crease paper.
  3. Accurately trim out final bound books' top size (soft cover).

Cutting Die

Sharp edged device on a printing press, usually made of steel, to cut paper, cardboard, etc.


Cyan is one of the four process colors commonly used in four-color printing, along with magenta, yellow, and black; this set of colors is referred to as CMYK, with C standing for cyan. Cyan, together with magenta and yellow, is also one of the three subtractive primary colors. Cyan is a pure spectral color, but the same hue can also be generated by mixing equal amounts of green and blue light. As such, cyan is the complement of red: cyan pigments absorb red light while reflecting blue and green lights. Cyan is sometimes called blue-green or turquoise and often goes undistinguished from light blue. Cyan is often referred to as "Electric Blue".

Cylinder Gap

The gap in the cylinders of a press where the grippers or blanket clamps is housed.

Cylinder Press

A device were the substrate to be printed is wrapped around a roller and then brought into contact with the inked plate or screen.

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