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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Hairline Register

The precision of alignment between colors meant to touch on a printed piece. The comparison standard is a gap of no more than 0.003 inches or 0.08 mm.


1. Using small dots or thin lines to produce the impression of a continuous-tone image. The effect is achieved by varying the dot size (or line width) and the number of dots (or lines) per square inch or centimeter (e.g., newspaper photographs). 2. The method and plate material used to create the image. The greater the number of dots or lines per inch the higher the resulting image resolution.

Halftone Mottle

A blotchy appearance in halftone tints instead of an even, consistent appearance.

Halftone Paper

A high finish paper that is ideal for halftone printing.

Halftone Screen

1. A transparent material containing an opaque pattern of dots or lines. The screen is placed between a photosensitive material and a continous-tone image to create a halftone image. The greater the number of dots or lines per inch the higher the resulting image resolution. See also: halftone contact screen; crossline screen. 2. A sheet of film or glass containing ruled right-angled lines, used to translate the full tone of a photo to the halftone dot image required for printing.

Halftone Step Scale

An image used to test the accuracy of printing process. The image is composed of a sequence of uniform tints, each with progressively larger dots. In practice, the test is printed within the trim margin of the sheet or on a film flat. Other Term: step wedge; gray scale; step tablet.

Halftone Tint

A halftone composed of a single dot size (or line width) and frequency. The result creates the appearance of a single color or tone. See also: screen tint; tint.

Hard Dot

The effect in a photograph where a dot has such a small degree of halation that the dot shows quite sharp.

Head Margin

That space which lies between the top of the printed copy and the trimmed edge.


Hecto is an SI prefix in the SI system of units denoting 102 or 100.
Adopted in 1795, it comes from the Greek εκατόν, meaning hundred.
Abbreviation: h


Imperfections in presswork due to dirt on press, trapping errors, etc.

High Bulk Paper

Paper stock that is comparatively thick in relation to its basis weight.

High Key Halftone

A halftone that is made utilizing only the highlight tones down through the middle tones.

Highlight Dot

The highest density of a halftone image.


The lightest tones of a photo, printed halftone or illustration. In the finished halftone, these highlights are represented by the finest dots.


See joint.


The degree to which a substrate does not absorb an ink.


That space on the spine of a case bound book between the block of the book and the case binding.

Hot melt

An adhesive used in the binding process, which requires heat for application.

House Sheet

This is a term that refers to a paper that a printer keeps on hand in his shop.


A particular shade of color determined by the primary light waves reflected from a surface.


The process of dividing a word between syllables when the word must be split between to lines of text.

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