Graphics Glossary

The finished composition or the graphical elements used in printing or electronic publishing.


Authors Alterations, changes other than corrections, made by a client after the proofing process has begun. AAs are usually charged to a client as billable time.


The process of attaching loose sheets of paper into a book or other multi page document.


To expose light sensitive media to light. i.e. Burning a negative; burning a printing plate; or burning a CD.

Camera Ready

Type and/or artwork that has been pasted into position to be photographed for plate ready film. SPECIAL NOTE: Most printers prefer digital files over camera ready artwork.


The acronym for the four process color inks: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

Color Separation

Literally separating the areas of a piece to be printed into its component spot and process ink colors. Each color to be printed must have its own printing plate.


A group of legal rights granted to the author or creator of written or visual work. All work appearing with the © symbol or the word "copyright" is protected by its creator or his heirs. For more information, contact your attorney.

Desktop Publishing

A process for creating camera ready and plate ready artwork on a personal computer. Though once in vogue, this term is now usually associated with low end, less professional design.

Digital Imaging

The process of creating a digital copy of an illustrated or photographic image.

Digital Printing

A system of printing, which involves linking printing presses and computers, bypassing the traditional route of making printing plates.

Dot Gain

A phenomenon, which occurs when wet ink comes in contact with paper. As the halftone dots are applied to the paper, the wet ink spreads, causing the dots to increase in size and halftones to appear darker. A number of factors affect dot gain.

Electronic Publishing

A process by which information is created and/ or distributed in electronic or magnetic formats. (i.e. CD ROM or web.) The usage of this term has expanded to include digitally created designs that are reproduced on conventional printing presses.


Encapsulated Postscript File. A vector based, computer graphics file format developed by Adobe Systems. EPS is the preferred format for many computer illustrations, because of its efficient use of memory and fine color control.


An eight bit (256 colors or shades of grey) or less computer file format. Though commonly used in web sites, GIF files are almost never used for professional printing.


A reproduction of a continuous tone image (i.e. a photograph or painting) using fine dots of varying size and spacing to reproduce the shades and textures of the original.


A high resolution device that prints directly to plate ready film.


The process of positioning multiple pages on a flat sheet of paper to be printed at one time.


Joint Photographic Electronic Group.A common standard for compressing image data for electronic delivery (CD ROM Digital Cameras or Web). JPEG is not commonly used in printing because of data loss which leads to degraded images.


The space, measured in points, between consecutive lines of type. (Originally from the strips of lead placed between lines of hot type.)

Offset Printing (Offset Lithography)

Currently the most common commercial printing method, in which ink is offset from the printing plate to a rubber roller then to paper.

PDF (Portable Document Format)

A proprietary format developed by Adobe Systems for the transfer of designs across multiple computer platforms.

Perfect Binding

A book binding process where pages are glued together and directly to the cover of the book.


A mechanical printing process that uses a light sensitive printing element, electrostatic toner and a heating element to fuse the toner to the paper.


A unit of measurement equal to twelve (12) points or one sixth (1/6) of an inch. Used by designers and other graphics professional for its precision.


A picture element or dot describing a single color. Many pixels together create an image on your screen.

Pixel Depth

The amount of data used to describe each colored dot on the computer screen. i.e. Monochrome is 1 bit deep. Greyscale is 8 bits deep. RGB is 24 bits deep. Images to be printed as CMYK separation should be 32 bits deep.

Plate Ready Film

Final photographic film or other artwork used to "burn" printing plates. No additional paste-up or stripping should be required if artwork is actually plate ready.

PMS Color (Pantone Matching System)

A proprietary color system for choosing and matching specific spot and process colors.


The various printing related services, performed before ink is actually put on the printing press (i.e. stripping, scanning, color separating, etc.).


The process of applying ink to paper.

Process Color

The mechanical process of reproducing a full color image with the three primary subtractive color inks (CMYK/ Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) and black. When viewed under a loupe, the individual color halftone dots can be seen in a process color image.


The quality of alignment of the different colored inks as they are applied to paper (i.e. If the inks can be seen to overlap improperly or to leave white gaps on the page, the printing is said to be "out of registration" or "poorly registered").


Red Green Blue, the colors used by a computer monitor to create color images on the screen.

Saddle Stitch

A book binding process where pages are stapled together through the spine of the book. Traditionally performed on V shaped saddle.

Sans Serif

A type face that has no tails or curled points (serifs) at the ends.


To imprint a crease. It is preferable to score heavy paper before folding it, in order to avoid cracking.


A type face that mimics the appearance of hand written text.


The curls and points that appear as adornments on some type faces.

Signature (Sig)

All pages of a book or other bound print job, to be printed on a single pass through a printing press. On small presses 2 pages, on larger presses always a number divisible by 4 or 8 pages. (Bound pages are always in groups divisible by four, 2 outside and 2 inside pages.)

Spot Color

Single colors applied to printing when process color is not necessary (i.e. one, two and three color printing), or when process colors need to be augmented (i.e. a fluorescent pink headline or a metallic tint).


A printing process that results in raised type similar to engraved printing.


Tagged Image File Format, a bitmapped file format used for the reproduction of continuous tone images such as photographs and illustrations.


The process of closing gaps between different color inks as they appear on the printed page. Trapping color is achieved by use of chokes and spreads.

Vector Graphics

Any of a number of graphics formats including EPS(F) and DXF which describe objects on the screen not as colored pixels but as mathematically defined shapes. Vector graphics can be rescaled to any size without any effect to file size. Typically, vector graphics occupy less disk space than their bitmapped (rasterized) counterparts.