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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See embossing.


A term given to the occurrence of plate deterioration of the image area during the printing process; usually occurs on long runs.

Warm Color

A red tone rather than a blue tone. Orange, red, and yellow are generally considered to be "warm" colors.

Wash Drawing

A black and gray watercolor with black line art which will be reproduced as a halftone.

Wash Marks

An uneven or lighter density on a print's leading edge created when the printing plate has too much water. Other Term: water streaks.


The procedure of cleaning a particular ink from all of the printing elements (rollers, plate, ink fountain etc.) of a press.

Water Finish

A gloss created on paper by applying water to the paper web as it passes through rollers that "iron" and compress the paper fibers.

Water Streaks

See: wash marks.

Water-based Ink

An ink that uses water as the drying agent rather than a solvent.


Artwork created by applying translucent water soluble paint or dyes to a paper substrate.


A highly absorbant paper.

Waterless Printing

See lithography (waterless).


A translucent mark or image that is pressed into fine paper during the papermaking process and which is visible when the paper is held up to a light.


A translucent logo that is embossed during the papermaking process while the paper slurry is on the dandy roll. Reference, dandy roll

Wavy-edged Paper

Paper with wrinkled or wavy edges caused by water damage.


A machine that melts and applies a thin coating of adhesive wax to a paper. Once often used to create camera ready artwork, this process has been largely replaced by computerized film, paper, or plate devices.


A roll of paper or other material that is fed by rollers through a printing or converting process. Used in web or rotary printing.

Web Break

A tear in a web roll during the printing process.

Web Offset

A continuous band of substrate fed from a wound roll through an offset printing press.

Web Press

A rotary press that prints on a continuous web, or ribbon, of paper fed from a roll and threaded through the press. See also: sheetfed press.

Web Tension

The term given to the tension or pull exerted by the web press on the web roll.


A printing press that uses a web, not cut sheets. See also: sheetfed.

Wedding Paper

1. An elegant, refined paper with minimum glare. 2. A soft paper that is thick and holds up well under embossing.


1. (Character) A description of typographic forms or variations (e.g., light, regular, bold, extra bold). 2. See: basis weight.


An individual etched gravure pit.

Wet Printing

Printing on ink that is still wet with a second or different color. See also: trapping.

Wet Rub

A measure of a material's resistance to rubbing while it is wet. See: abrasion resistance.

Wet Strength

A measure of a wet paper's resistance to pulling or bursting.

Wet Trapping

Overlapping an ink that is still wet with a second or different color. See also: trapping.


See wet trapping.


A water and tear resistant paper that when wet retains a minimum of 15% of it's dry tensil strength.

Wetting Up

A screen printing term referring to placing ink in the screen and distributing it evenly with the squeegee in preparation for production.

What You See Is What You Get

Used when a computer application shows an image's position, size, elements, etc. on screen as it will be printed.


A combination of all the color wave lengths. A color visually equivalent to natural sunlight. See also: white light.

White Light

Natural sunlight or light created by combining equal portions of each light wavelength from 400 to 700 nm. See spectrum; visible spectrum.

White Space

That part of an image that is free of text or images.


A word, partial word or short line of text at the end of a paragraph, or a single line of text at the top of a page. See also: bad break; orphan.

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.

Wire Side

That side of the paper which lies on the wire screen side of the papermaking machine.

Wire Stitch

No Definition

Wire Stitching

To fasten together sheets, signatures, or sections with wire staples. 3 methods... saddle stitching, side stitching, and stabbing.

Wood Cut

A printing method that uses a carved wood block or surface as the printing plate. The non-image areas are carved away, and ink is applied to the remaining raised areas. Other Term: wood engraving.

Wood Engraving

See: wood cut.

Wood Free

Paper made without groundwood or mechanical pulp. Other Term: groundwood free.

Wood Type

Letters carved into blocks of wood. See also: wood cut.

Word Processor

A software application used to create text documents (e.g., Microsoft Word).

Word Spacing

Word spacing in conventional typographic terms is the process of uniformly increasing or decreasing the space between words. Typographers often modify the default space setting in a font to facilitate legibility and copy fit, or for esthetic reasons.

Word Wrap

The process by which a computer application automatically moves a word to the next line down when the available line space for text has been used up. This occurs without the person using the application pressing the "return" key. This feature can also create problems for those printing someone else's file, since the words may also automatically "shift" when opened on a machine other than the one that created the document. As a result, some words may move to a location that is unacceptable to the original document's creator. This is why printers request all the image and font files together with a document, or, as an alternative, a PostScript or PDF file.


In a prepress department, a workflow refers to the software used to handle all the processes needed to make digital files ready for printing.

World Wide Web

The World Wide Web is an information space in which the items of interest, referred to as resources, are identified by global identifiers called Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs). The term is often mistakenly used as a synonym for the Internet, but the Web is actually a service that operates over the Internet.
Abbreviation: WWW, W3, Web


A smooth paper made on finely textured wire that gives the paper a gentle patterned finish.


The unevenly dried surface of printed inks.

Writing Paper

Another name for bond paper.

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