Here are some terms commonly used in the graphic design and printing industries. You might find them helpful when talking to your design and printing professionals.

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Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Acrobat is a cross-platform portable document format file for sharing visuals via email and the internet. Documents in this format have a .pdf filename extension.

Labels, captions or numbers, used on illustrative work.

The entire document, both printed text and illustrations which is to be reproduced by the printer. Also known as camera-ready artwork (from the pre-computer process of photographing the artwork prior to plate-making). See also: Finished artwork.

Artwork Approval
The final draft version that is completely correct is approved in writing by the client. This step signifies that film artwork can be made and that further costs will be incurred as films, proofs or other outputs are created.

That part of the letter which extends above the main body, as in the letter b.
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Backing up
Printing the reverse side of a sheet. Also called double-sided or duplex printing.

The position upon which rests the main body of type characters.

Base stock
A term which refers to a pre-printed piece of stationery which can be overprinted a second time either using the offset process or an in-house laser printer. It is usually done to achieve economies of scale by printing a large number of 'generic' sheets, which can then be overprinted with more specific information.

Body type (body text)
Typeface used for the main body of a publication. The continuous body copy of a page or book, as opposed to the headings.

Type which has a heavy black appearance.

Brief (Design Brief)
The major piece of communication of the scope and intent of the task from the client to the designer. The Design Brief should communicate a reasonably detailed plan of the document or project and may include printing specifications. A good design brief is the means by which a designer will estimate or cost a task. The final design solution may evolve or change as the project progresses due to a variety of factors, including timeline, physical limitations, budgetary constraints, changing requirements and so on.

Dot of any size, used as an ornamental or organisational device.
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Capital or upper case letters.

It is usual to refer to descriptive matter printed underneath an illustration as a caption.

The symbol used in proof reading and markup to indicate an insertion.

A single letter, punctuation mark or space used in type.

Colour (reproduction)
Full colour printing or output is achieved using the four-colour process - a process in which three subtractive primary colours (Cyan, Magenta and Yellow) are combined with Black to mimic the full range of visible colours. In offset printing, for each page or set of pages, a piece of film and a printing plate is made for each of the four colours. This is one reason why full colour printing is the most expensive type of printing. Documents may also be printed in one, two or three ink colours - sometimes referred to as 'spot colour' printing.

Colour of type
The appearance of type on the page, seen as a shade of grey. The 'colour' of type results from the amount of letter, word and line spacing. The more space, the paler the type will look.

Any material (typewritten manuscript, pictures or artwork) to be used in the production of printing.

To eliminate unnecessary portions of illustrations.
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That part of the letter which extends below the main body, as in the letter p.

Type design: The size, shape and width of alphabetic characters combined with good line spacing to gain the best typographic effect on the page.

Page design: Illustrations and text arranged on a grid to maximise presentation, comprehension and readability.

Document design: All the elements of page and type design applied in an overall style and combined with formatting, covers and binding to make a document of publishable quality.

DL (and DL brochure)
An ISO (International paper size) envelope measuring 110 mm x 220 mm. The DL envelope is made to enclose A4 pages folded into 3. The DL format is also used for brochures which are designed to be folded and mailed in DL envelopes.
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The person who coordinates the preparation of a manuscript or the text of a document for publishing. The editor is the final arbiter of the various contributions made by contributing writers and proofreaders and resolves many changes or comments into one final document.

Three dots (...) indicating an omission, often used when omitting copy from quoted matter.

Extended type
Type whose width is greater than normal. Also known as expanded type.
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Final (Finished) Artwork
Final artwork is the technically correct, accurately constructed, colour separated artwork which is ready for production. It includes production specifications such the as colours used, trimming and folding and any special finishing requirements.

Finishing (Print finishing)
The processes other than putting ink on paper which may also be carried out by a printing company. These include: folding, binding, hole punching, varnishing, laminating and foiling.

Traditionally, a Font (or Fount) refers to a collection of all the characters of a particular size and style of typeface (ie. The complete alphabet of one size of typeface). For example, 10 point Helvetica is one of the family of typefaces from the Helvetica font.

Page number or subject information repeated at the bottom of each page.

In reference to word processing - organising and preparing information, its structure and heading hierarchy.

Four-colour process: see Colour reproduction
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Greyscale reproduction
Greyscale reproduction uses only one colour of ink (black) on white paper. Unlike monotone printing, greyscale printing can be used for photographic images which have a range of tones (shades of grey). This is the type of printing you see in a newspaper. If you look carefully, you will see this is achieved by using different sized dots instead of a solid ink colour.

A guide used by designers to organise the elements on a page in a consistent manner. It shows margins, column widths and image areas.

Grams per square meter. The unit of paper thickness (weight).

Hard copy
A term referring to a physical printout on paper or photographic paper.

Title or subject information repeated at the top of each page.

House Style
A style of which combines typographical layout with editorial and corporate style. A house style is a combination of elements, which, when consistently applied across a number of documents, presents the corporate image of an organisation. The house style is used by a design, printing or publishing company to ensure consistent treatment of copy and images during typesetting and page layout.
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General term for any form of drawing, diagram, or photograph included within a piece of print.

An illustration used in a document. It may be a photograph, a diagram, a graph or chart or a drawing. See also: Logo, Resolution, Print technology, Greyscale reproduction and Film.

Name and address of the printer or publisher, along with the date and place of printing. The imprint page may also show the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and other library cataloguing data. The editor and designer may also be listed.

Inferior letters or numerals
Small letters or figures usually printed on or below the baseline as for example in the chemical formula H20. Also known as subscript.

Letters which slope forward are called Italic.
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Spacing of words so that lines in a column of type are vertically aligned on the right as well as the left.

The adjustment of space between characters so that part of one extends over the body of the next. Kerned letters produce uniform letter spacing, which closes up any excessive space between such combinations as LY and Te.

Rows of dots or dashes used to guide the eye across the page. Used in tabular work, programs and tables of contents.
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Legibility describes the characteristics that enable a typeface or page to be read or deciphered. A legible typeface is one in which the character shapes are easily recognised and deciphered. Not all typefaces are legible. Some of the display or decorative typefaces on your computer have character shapes which are purposely obscured or distorted. These typefaces are not suitable for conveying information to readers.

Line spacing or 'Leading'
Pronounced "ledding", the term refers to the spaces between lines of type. Traditionally the spaces were created by a strip of lead inserted between lines of metal type. Leading is usually measured in points.

Logo and logotype
A distinctive image or arrangement of letters which proclaim the identity of, or are associated with, a product or organisation. When images and type are combined, the image is generally called a 'logo'. When the identity consists only of letters, it is generally known as a 'logotype'.

Lower-case is also known as small letters. Indicated as l.c.
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Space between the text or illustrative matter and the edge of the page.

The simplest (and cheapest) form of reproduction. Only two tones (colour values) exist - black and white. In printing, white is generally the colour of the sheet of paper, so only one printing plate is required. An example of monotone printing is a faxed page. Monotone reproduction is limited in its ability to reproduce photographic images well (see greyscale).

Offset printing
The most common technology used for mass production printing. Offset printing starts to become economical per unit around 1000 copies. See also: Print technology - Offset Lithography

Last word of a paragraph that stands at the top of the following page by itself. To be avoided.
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The numbering of the pages in a book.

Pantone (PMS) colours
The Pantone Matching System® is an industry standard colour matching system for the printing and publishing (including web) industries.

Paper Stock see: Stock

The unit of measurement used in typesetting. Used principally for measuring lines. One Pica equals 12 points.

The standard unit for measuring type size and spacing, equal to about 0.35 mm. (72 points to the inch).

A term which refers to the production stages of printing plate creation and proofing as a preparation for printing or output.
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Print technology
The technology used to create the character on a sheet of paper has changed radically over the years. The Letter press printed using type which was cast or punched from metal. Ink was transferred by the raised metal type to the paper. The ink rollers only touched the top surfaces of the raised areas of the type. This is called relief printing.
The Gravure process used a sunken or depressed surface in a metal plate to transfer ink images onto paper (the opposite of relief printing).
Offset Lithography uses a thin, flat metal or paper plate to transfer ink to paper. The printed image is separated from the non-printed areas by a chemical method based on the principle that grease and water do not mix.
Laser Computer printing is a further development of the photocopier which uses a laser to sensitise plain paper with tiny dots which make up the image or characters. The pattern of dots or pixels is stored in computer memory. This system lends itself to small operation desktop publishing and produces high quality results.

Proof (printer's proof)
An impression or visual reproduction made from film or digital artwork which is used to check the progress and accuracy of a document prior to printing. The type of proof may vary according to needs.


Person who reads the type, checking it for spelling, punctuation and accuracy.
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Capable of being read and comprehended easily. The number of words on a page and therefore the number of pages in a book varies according to the typeface and point size selected. This combined with the amount of space between the lines and the area of the page used for type, will determine the size, appearance and readability of a publication. See also: legibility.

500 sheets of paper.

The fineness of detail of an image. In computer terms, resolution is related to the number of or density of pixels used to reproduce a digital image. Computer resolution is measured in dots-per-inch (dpi). For publishing, images for web work can be very low (72–96 dpi) but they need to be much higher for offset printing (240–300 dpi).

Streaks of white spacing in the text, produced when spaces in consecutive lines of type coincide. To be avoided.

Letters which stand up straight are called Roman.
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Sans Serif
The Sans Serif letters do not have serifs or strokes. The name comes from the French word sans, meaning without.

Device for digitising text or drawings on to computer disc.

The serif letter has short cross strokes that project from the ends of the main strokes of a character. The short stroke is called a serif. It is generally thought that typefaces with serifs are more readable when used in extended passages of text.

The collection of programs which cause a computer to perform a desired operation or series of operations.

A proofreader's mark, written in the margin, signifying that copy marked for corrections should remain as it was.

Paper, card or other material (eg. cloth or plastic) used for printing or binding. See also: GSM.
Superior letters or numerals

Small letters or figures usually printed above the main character as for example in the unit m2. Also known as superscript.
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Tabular work (tables)
Type matter set in columns.

Title page
Right hand page at the front of a book that bears the title, the names of the author and publisher, and sometimes the place of publication and other relevant information. Not the cover of a book.

Text: see body text or type

A typeface is a set of characters which share a common design. For example, the Times typeface was designed by an Englishman, Stanley Morison in 1931 for use in the Times newspaper. He created a face which, in small sizes, can be easily read in columns of newsprint. For this reason, it is still in common use today. Most type terminology comes from the original setting in metal type.

Type size
The height of type is most commonly measured in points (abbreviated pt). A point is approximately 0.35 mm. Be aware that type sizes (eg. 12 points) in one typeface may not appear exactly the same size as another typeface. This is because, in traditional metal type, the type character was placed on a metal block. The point size applied to the height of the block, not the character. The visual height of the characters could vary within the block area.

The art, general design and appearance of printed material using type.
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Upper-case letters are also known as capital letters. Indicated as caps.

Vector (illustration)
A high end publishing industry computer based illustration method in which the shapes are described as mathematical points in space rather than pixels. This makes the image scalable without any loss of sharpness or detail. Only certain types of printing devices can utilise this format.

Also known as a 'dummy' or 'progressive'. Sketches or samples of the work prepared before printing which show the progressive development of the design and layout of a document. Visuals may be presented as printouts or in digital form. A popular form of digital visual is Adobe's Acrobat format which can be emailed and viewed on screen. In book work, a binder's dummy is a set of blank sheets of paper bound as in the final document to establish the exact dimensions.
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White space
Unoccupied space on the page. A desirable characteristic.

A single word in a line by itself, ending a paragraph; frowned upon in good typography.
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