Glossary of Terms


Explore our comprehensive glossary of terms below for reference at your leisure.

4-Color Process: The technique of blending four primary colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to produce a printed image or hues formed from these fundamental colors.

Artwork: In graphic design, this includes all content except text, such as illustrations and photographs.

Bind: To secure sheets or signatures together using wire, thread, adhesive, or other methods.

Bitmap: A display area representation where each pixel (or "bit") is assigned a color. File formats like GIF and JPEG contain bitmaps.

Further information about Bitmaps:

  • Bitmaps don't need color-coded information for every pixel; they just need enough data to indicate color changes horizontally.

  • Unlike vector graphics, which can be easily resized, bitmap images use a fixed raster graphics approach, losing definition when rescaled. Images are often designed as vector graphics before being converted to bitmaps.

Bleed: Printing that extends to the edge of the sheet after trimming.

Blueline: A blue-toned photographic proof used to check the positioning of all page elements.

Body: The main text of a piece, excluding headlines.

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black): A color model commonly used in both digital and offset printing for producing brochures, magazines, and other printed materials. In CMYK printing, these colors are combined in various proportions to produce a wide spectrum of colors by layering tiny dots of each color on the paper.

Camera-Ready: Artwork and text ready for printing.

Collate: To organize separate sections of a publication in the correct sequence for binding.

Copyright: Legal protection granted to the creator of original work, preventing unauthorized use or reproduction.

Copy: The textual content of a work.

DPI (Dots Per Inch): A measure of resolution for printers, phototypesetting machines, and screens.

Deadline: The designated time by which something must be completed.

Design: To conceive and plan through sketches or drawings. Also, the arrangement of text and artwork on a page.

Drop Cap: A large initial letter at the beginning of text that extends into the lines below.

Embossing: Creating a raised relief image by pressing into paper.

Flush Left: Text aligned along the left margin (opposite of ragged right).

Flush right: Text aligned along the right margin (opposite of ragged left).

Flyer: Or "flier", a cost-effective circular used for promotional distribution.

Foamcore: Lightweight mounting material consisting of foam sandwiched between paperboard.

Font: A set of printable or displayable text characters in a specific style and size.

Galley Proof: A preliminary version of a document or publication that is created for review and correction before final printing. This is usually provided to stakeholders for review and feedback to ensure accuracy and quality before the document is sent to print.

GIF (Graphic Interchange Format): A common raster file format for web graphics.

Graphic design: Using design elements (typography, images) to convey information.

Greyscale: A range of luminance values from white to black for shading.

Halftone: Converting continuous tone images to dots for printing.

Illustration: A picture, diagram, or chart used for clarification, explanation, or decoration.

Imposition: Arranging printed pages for proper folding.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): A raster graphic file format with compression options.

Justify: Text alignment along one or both margins by adjusting word and character spacing.

Laminate: To cover with film or bond/glue one surface to another.

LPI (Lines Per Inch): The number of dot rows in a halftone.

Margins: Non-printing areas of a page.

Mount: To affix or attach materials, such as photographs, posters, or artwork, onto a supportive backing for display or presentation purposes.

PMS (Pantone Color Matching System): A standardized system used in various industries for consistent color reproduction.

Page Count: Total number of pages in a book, including blanks.

Page Proof: A revised version of a document or publication that has undergone corrections and adjustments based on feedback received during the galley proof stage. Page proofs closely resemble the final layout of the printed document, including images, graphics, and page design elements.

Pagination: The numbering of pages in a book.

Pantone: A registered name for the standardized colors in the PMS (Pantone Color Matching System). These colors are created and identified using a specific alphanumeric code assigned by Pantone.

Perfect Binding: A common method of binding paperback books. After the printed sections have been collated, the spines will be ground off and the cover glued on.

Point: A unit of measurement used to determine the size of typefaces and the thickness of paper.

Further information about Points:

  • In typography, a point is used to measure the height of typefaces. One point is equal to 1/72 of an inch. Therefore, a 12-point font means that the height of the letters is 1/6 of an inch.

  • In the paper industry, a point is used to measure the thickness of paper. It represents one-thousandth of an inch (0.001 inches). For example, a paper described as "10-point cardstock" means that the thickness of

PostScript – PostScript is a programming language developed by Adobe in 1985 to describe the appearance of a printed page. It has become an industry standard for printing and imaging, running on major operating systems.

Further information about PostScript:

  • PostScript files are identified by their ".ps" suffix and describe text and graphic elements for printing or display devices like printers, imagesetters, or screens.

  • PostScript supports scalable typefaces like Type 1 and TrueType, and files can be converted to PDF using Adobe Acrobat for accurate on-screen representation.

Prepress: The process of preparing digital files for printing.

Raster Graphics: Digital images created or captured as a grid of x and y coordinates, where each coordinate corresponds to a color value. Raster graphics are often larger and harder to modify than vector graphics. Examples include BMP, TIFF, GIF, and JPEG files.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue): A color model representing colors on electronic displays, such as computer monitors, television screens, and digital cameras. It works by combining varying intensities of red, green, and blue light to create a wide range of colors.

Reverse Out: Refers to the technique of creating a white or light-colored image or text on a solid background, typically a darker color. This is used to create contrast and emphasis by allowing the background color to show through the letters or shapes, forming the image or text.

Saddle Stitching: The binding method where folded pages are stapled through the spine from the outside.

Sans Serif: Typeface without the small decorative strokes at the end of letters. They're known for their clean, modern look and are often used for a sleek, contemporary feel.

Scanner: A device that converts images or text into digital format using light sensitivity.

Score: A small groove or crease made on paper to help it fold neatly.

Serif: Typeface with small decorative strokes at the end of letters. These strokes give the text a more traditional or classic appearance, often associated with books and newspapers.

Signature: A printed sheet that, when folded, becomes part of a book or publication.

Small Caps: Capital letters that are smaller in size but still match the height of lowercase letters in a font. They're often used for headings or to add emphasis to specific words or phrases while maintaining a consistent look with the rest of the text.

Spine: The bound edge of a book or publication.

Spot Varnish: A special technique where a clear, shiny coating (varnish) is applied to specific areas of a printed piece to create contrast and draw attention. It makes those areas stand out by adding a glossy or matte finish, enhancing the visual appeal and tactile experience.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format): A common raster file format typically associated with greyscale or bitmap data.

Text: The written or printed material that constitutes the main body of a publication.

Typeface: Refers to the design of fonts, with variations forming the typeface family.

Further information about Typeface:

  • For example, Helvetica is a typeface family, Helvetica italic is a typeface, and Helvetica italic 10-point is a font.

  • Font and typeface are often used interchangeably but can also refer to outline fonts (scalable) and bitmap fonts (fixed size). TrueType and Adobe’s Type 1 are popular outline font programs.

Typesetting: The process of arranging material in type or preparing it for printing, including the creation of graphic elements through computer systems.

Typography: The style, arrangement, or visual appearance of typeset material.

Vector Graphics: Digital images created using mathematical formulas that define shapes, lines, and curves. Unlike raster graphics, which are made up of pixels, vector graphics are composed of paths.

Further information about Vector Graphics:

  • Vector graphics are ideal for logos, icons, and other designs that require precise lines and shapes and need to be scalable to various sizes. They are often created using software like Adobe Illustrator, Free-Hand, CorelDRAW, or Inkscape since they are easier to modify than raster image files.

  • Each path is defined by a start and end point, along with other points, curves, and angles. Because of this, vector graphics have several key characteristics:

    • Scalability: Vector graphics can be resized to any dimension without losing quality. This means they can be scaled up to the size of a billboard or down to the size of a business card, and they will remain sharp and clear.

    • File Size: Generally, vector files are smaller than raster files because they store information about paths and shapes rather than individual pixels.

    • Editability: Vector graphics are easier to edit and manipulate, as each element (such as a line or shape) can be individually adjusted.

    • Common Formats: Common vector file formats include SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), AI (Adobe Illustrator), EPS (Encapsulated PostScript), and PDF (Portable Document Format) when saved in a vector format.