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Printing Terminology

  • Bleed

    • Bleed — The result of placing a graphic on the page so that the printing on one of more sides extends off the page edge.  Use of bleeds in design requires the use of stock that is wider than the finished size to which the publication will be trimmed.  The image should extend 1/8” beyond the final trim.
  • Camera-ready/output ready

    • Camera-ready/output ready – A publication that is ready for offset reproduction without modification.  Camera-ready copy is ready to be Raster Image Processed to create printing plates for an offset press or to generate laser printed copies.
  • Case

    • Case – Text can be lower- or upper-case, referring to whether a letter is capitalized.  Historically, typesetters kept lead characters for capital letters in the upper type case and the others in the lower type case.
  • Color Space

    • color space is a specific organization of colors and is a useful conceptual tool for understanding the color capabilities of a particular device or digital file. Lackawanna Printing Company uses digital reproduction and prefers CMYK or Pantone Matching System (PMS). When preparing artwork for analog (screen, web ect) RGB color space is used.
  • Crop marks

    • Crop marks – The fine, intersecting lines that mark where an oversize press sheet will be trimmed to achieve final page size.
  • Desktop Publishing

    • Desktop Publishing – Is neither “desktop” nor “publishing.”  The term is used to describe the use of computer hardware and software to generate files to be printed on offset or digital presses that will become brochures, booklets, etc. Lackawanna Printing Company uses PC  with Adobe Creative Suite software and a variety of peripheral software.
  • Document

    • Document – Whatever you create with application programs – a file you can open, modify, view or save.  Compare File.
  • File / File Format

    • File – Any named, ordered collection of information stored on a disk.  Application programs and operating systems are files.  You also make a file when you create a document, give it a name, and save it on a storage medium. Format refers to the type of file you are using/sending. Lackawanna Printing prefers PDF format, but can use Word, Publisher, Pagemaker, Excel, Powerpoint, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop and supporting files of tif, tiff, jpg,  eps and png. 
  • Font

    • Font – The same meaning as Typeface to traditional typesetters:  collection of letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and other typographical symbols with a consistent appearance, size and style.  The size and style can be changed readily.
  • Font size

    • Font size – Normally, font size reflects the space between the tallest ascender and the lowest descender of a given font.  Exact font description criteria vary according to the font designer.  Font sizes are measured and described in points, with each point equal to 1/72 of an inch. 
  • Format

    • Format – Format refers to the overall ordering and layout of material.  Paragraph formats usually include alignment, margins and tab settings.  Character formats include font, typestyle, font size and other style attributes.
  • Graphics

    • Graphics – Information presented in the form of pictures, line art or other non-text images.  Compare Text.
  • Gutter

    • Gutter – The white space between columns.  A standard gutter width is one pica, or 12 points (0.167”).
  • Hard return

    • Hard return – Made by pressing the return key.  A hard return, or carriage return, normally creates a line break and identifies the end of a paragraph.
  • Justify

    • Justify – To justify a line of text is to fit the line to a box of column width, so that the text will have uniform left and/or right margins.
  • Leading

    • Leading – Pronounced “ledding” – the space between lines.
  • Linespacing

    • Linespacing – A traditional typesetting term for Leading.
  • Orientation

    • Orientation – The position of text on a page.  Portrait orientation means the text is taller than it is wide.  Landscape orientation means the text is wider than it is tall.
  • Pica

    • Pica – Pica is a base unit of measurement in American typography equal to 1/6th of an inch, used in composition and typesetting for describing sizes other than type characters, e.g., page width, gutters, margins, etc.  See also Point.
  • PMS Color

    • PMS Color – Pantone Matching System (PMS) is the most popular standard for describing the rainbow of ink colors that can be produced for publications.  Each varying shade of a color is identified by its corresponding number. 
  • Point

    • Point – Standard unit of measure used to specify type sizes.  One point is 1/72 of an inch (approximately .013837 inch).  Type that is one inch high is 72-point type.  See also Pica.
  • Production Proof

    • Production Proof – A copy of a document to be printed that is produced by making a print from the processed file. Production proofs are the final proof available before production begins.  They are produced to verify the correct placement of graphics, to check the correct separation of ink colors, to verify layering and font techniques, and the instructions for folding, binding, and other finishing processes. 
  •  Raster graphics

    • Raster graphics – Raster graphics are bitmaps. A bitmap is a grid of individual pixels that collectively compose an image. Raster graphics render images as a collection of countless tiny squares. Each square, or pixel, is coded in a specific hue or shade. Resolution in raster graphics is measured in dpi, or dots per inch. The higher the dpi, the better the resolution.
  • Registration marks

    • Registration marks – Printed on the margins of the press sheet, registration marks are use to verify alignment of the printing heads on the press.
  • Resolution

    • Resolution – Refers to the fineness of reproduction and the distinctness of visual elements defined in dots per inch (dpi).  The more dots per inch, the finer/higher the resolution.  The resolution of a computer screen is 72 dpi and usually images taken from the web, these are low quality and do not reproduce well. Typical quality resolution is 300 dpi.
  • Rules

    • Rules – Vertical and horizontal rules are lines that are used as graphic elements on a typeset page.  Rules smaller than one-half point should not be set unless the document will be printed on a high-resolution output device.
  • Saddle stitching

    • Saddle stitching – Stapling at the fold that creates a bound set of sheets, as in a newsletter of more than four pages.
  • Sans serif

    • Sans serif – Without Serif.  Helvetica is an example of a sans serif font family.  See also Serif.
  • Scanned graphic

    • Scanned graphic – A bit-mapped graphic created using hardware that converts a two- or three-dimensional image into a collection of dots and stores it in a file format such as TIFF, JPEG, etc., so that an electronic publishing application can read the graphic documents directly from the file.
  • Screens

    • Screens – Screens of varying percentages (size and density of dots) are often used to highlight text areas through overprinting.  Also called Shading.
  • Serifs

    • Serifs – Serifs are the short strokes that project from the main strokes of a character.  The “feet” at the bottom of this letter “M” are serifs.  Times New Roman is an example of a serif font family. See also Sans Serif.
  • Typeface

    • Typeface – See Font and Font Size.
  •  Vector graphics

    • Vector graphics – Unlike pixel-based raster images, vector graphics are based on mathematical formulas that define geometric primitives such as polygons, lines, curves, circles and rectangles. Because vector graphics are composed of true geometric primitives, they are best used to represent more structured images, like line art graphics with flat, uniform colors. Most created images (as opposed to natural images) meet these specifications, including logos, letterhead, and fonts. Vector images are not resolution-dependent. The biggest advantage of vector images over raster graphics is that vector images can be sized and scaled without loosing quality.

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