FAQs

We take great pride in making our clients feel confident about their jobs during the production process. To help you gain a better understanding of what’s happening to your project, we’ve compiled a glossary of terms that we commonly use in our industry.

  • AC

    Author's Correction

  • ASA

    A number set by the American Standards Assoc., which is placed on film stock to allow calculation of the length and "F" number of an exposure. Reference, "F" numbers.

  • Abrasion Resistance

    The resistance to scratching of a surface of paper by other paper surfaces or other materials.

  • Absorbency

    The ability of a material to take up moisture

  • Accordion Fold

    A type of paper folding in which each fold runs in the opposite direction to the previous fold creating a pleated or accordion effect.

  • Acetate

    A transparent or translucent plastic sheet material of a variety of colors, used as a basis for artwork and overlays.

  • Achromatic

    The non-colors... black, white and gray.

  • Acid Resist

    An acid-proof protective coating applied to metal plates prior to etching designs thereon. Bichromated solutions employed in photoengraving as sensitizers provide acid resist through the action of light on sensitized surface.

  • Acrylic

    A water-soluble polymer used in paints to make them dry both tough and flexible.

  • Actinic Rays

    Light exposure that affects chemical changes in paper.

  • Additive Colors

    In photographic reproduction, the primary colors of red, green and blue which are mixed to form all other colors.

  • Aerate

    This refers to a manual process whereby an air stream is blown onto paper sheets to create a riffling effect that separates the sheets as they are fed to the printing press.

  • Aesthetics

    A critical reflection on an item’s beauty or artistic value. A design permit for a sign may take into consideration the aesthetics, including how the sign fits into its proposed surroundings.

  • Agate

    A type size of 5 1/2 points. Reference, agate line.

  • Agate Line

    In newspaper classifieds, a measurement denoting 1/4 inch depth by one column width. 14 agate lines = one column inch.

  • Air

    Large white areas in a design layout.

  • Airbrush

    A compressed air tool that dispenses a fine mist of paint or ink; used in illustration and photo retouching.

  • Albion Press

    A hand operated printing press made of iron.

  • Album Paper

    A wood pulp paper with an antique finish used for pages of photo albums.

  • Albumen Plate

    A surface plate used in the lithography process; it has a photosensitive coating.

  • Albumin Paper

    A coated paper used in photography; the coating is made of albumen (egg whites) and ammonium chloride.

  • Alignment

    The condition of type and or art materials as they level up on a horizontal or vertical line.

  • Alkali Blue

    Also called reflex blue. A pigment used in carbon black inks and varnishes to improve luster.

  • Alley

    A term for a random, coincidental path or a row of white space within a segment of copy.

  • Alphabet Length

    The measured length (in points) of the lowercase alphabet of a certain size and series of type.

  • Amberlith

    Red-orange acetate used for masking mechanicals when photographing for plates. The amberlith area appears black to the camera, and prints clear on the resulting film.

  • American Paper Institute

    An organization that correlates all paper related information.

  • Amortization

    : In accounting, this term means the time in which an asset has been depreciated. As it relates specifically to signage, this term also applies to the “grace” period in which a sign must be replaced or removed. In this instance, a sign was following zoning laws or codes that were then changed; the no-longer compliant sign must be replaced after the amortization period ends.

  • Angle Bar

    In "web-fed" printing (printing on rolls of paper as opposed to single sheets), an angle bar is a metal bar that is used to turn paper between two components of the press.

  • Aniline

    Oil-based solvent (quick drying) used in the preparation process of dyes and inks.

  • Animal Sized

    A technique of paper making which hardens the surface by passing the paper through a bath of animal glue or gelatin.

  • Animated Sign

    A sign depicting action, motion, lights, or color change. Like a flashing sign, an animated sign features graphics and illustrations rather than words.

  • Anodized Plate

    In lithography, a plate manufactured with a barrier of aluminum oxide, which prevents chemical reactions that break down the plate; it provides optimum press performance.

  • Antigua

    An eleventh century Italian script typeface.

  • Antiquarian

    A handmade paper (53 x 31 inches), largest known handmade paper.

  • Antique Finish

    Paper with a rough, sized surface used for book and cover stock.

  • Antiskinning Agent

    An antioxidant agent used to prevent inks from skinning over in the can.

  • Apron

    The white area of text (or illustrations) at the margins which form a foldout.

  • Aqua Tint

    A printing process that uses the recessed areas of the plate; ideal for graded and even tones.

  • Aquarelle

    The hand application of color, through stencils onto a printed picture.

  • Aqueous Plate

    Water soluble plate coatings, which are less toxic and less polluting.

  • Arc Light

    A light source produced by the passing of electric current between two electrodes; used in the production of plates in photolithography.

  • Arms

    Those elements of letters that branch out from the stem of a letter, such as: "K" and "Y".

  • Arrowhead

    A symbol shaped like an arrowhead that is used in illustration to direct a leader line. Reference, leader line

  • Art Paper

    A paper evenly coated with a fine clay compound, which creates a hard smooth surface on one or both sides.

  • Art Work

    Any materials or images that are prepared for graphic reproduction.

  • Art-Lined Envelope

    An envelope that is lined with an extra fine paper; can be colored or patterned.

  • Artwork

    All illustrated material, ornamentation, photos and charts etc., that is prepared for reproduction.

  • As To Press

    In gravure printing, (recessed areas of plate hold ink), a term used for proofs showing the final position of color images.

  • Ascender

    Any part of a lower case letter which rises above the main body of the letter such as in "d", "b" and "h".

  • Assembled negative

    Film negatives consisting of line and halftone copy which are used to make plates for printing.

  • Assembled view

    In illustration, a term used to describe a view of a drawing in its assembled or whole format.

  • Author's Alterations (AA's)

    Changes made after composition stage where customer is responsible for additional charges.

  • Autochrome paper

    Coated papers that are regarded as exceptional for multi-colored printing jobs.

  • Autolithography

    A printing method whereby the image is hand drawn or etched directly onto lithography plates or stones.

  • Autopositive

    Any photo materials which provide positive images without a negative.

  • Awning

    A building mounting sign that provides shelter.

  • Azure

    The light blue color used in the nomenclature of "laid" and "wove" papers.

  • BF

    An abbreviation for boldface, used to determine where boldface copy is to be used. Reference, boldface.

  • Back Lining

    The fixing of a material, either paper or cloth, to the back of a book before it is bound. Reference: case binding.

  • Back Margin

    A term referring to the margin which lies closest to the back of the book.

  • Back Step Collation

    The collation of book signatures according to reference marks which are printed on the back fold of each section.

  • Back To Back

    Print applied to both sides of a sheet of paper.

  • Backbone

    That portion of the binding, which connects the front of the book with the back of the book; also called "back".

  • Background

    That portion of a photograph or line art drawing that appears furthest from the eye; the surface upon which the main image is superimposed.

  • Backlighted Letter

    A channel letter, with an open or translucent back, that is illuminated. Light is directed against a surface behind the letter, producing a halo effect. Also known as a silhouette or halo lighted.

  • Backslant

    Any type that tilts to the left or backward direction; opposite of italic type.

  • Backstep Marks

    Marks printed on signatures that indicate where the final fold will occur. When gathering and initial folding is completed, these marks appear as a stepped sequence.

  • Baking

    A term given to the procedure of drying coatings onto papers.

  • Balance

    A term used to describe the aesthetic or harmony of elements, whether they are photos, art or copy, within a layout or design.

  • Ballast

    An electrical device used in fluorescent lights to stabilize the flow of the electrical current.

  • Balloon

    In an illustration, any line which encircles copy, or dialogue.

  • Bank Paper

    A thin uncoated stock used for making carbon copies.

  • Banker's Flap Envelope

    Also called wallet flap; the wallet flap has more rounded flap edges.

  • Banner

    The primary headline usually spanning the entire width of a page.

  • Barn Doors

    A device with two sets of thin metal doors (horizontal and vertical) placed before a light source to control the direction of light.

  • Barrier Coat

    A coating that is applied onto the non-printing side of paper to add to the opacity of that paper. Reference, opacity.

  • Baryta Paper

    A coated stock (barium sulfate compound) used for text impressions on typesetting machines.

  • Bas Relief

    A three dimensional impression is which the image stands just slightly out from the flat background. References, blind emboss.

  • Base

    The support onto which printing plates is fixed.

  • Base Film

    The foundation material onto which the film positives are stripped for making printing plates. Reference, photomechanical.

  • Base Line

    This is a term used to describe the imaginary horizontal line upon which stand capitals, lower case letters, punctuation points etc.

  • Basic Size

    This term refers to a standard size of paper stock; even though the required size may be smaller or larger.

  • Basis Weight

    Basis or basic weight refers to the weight, in pounds, of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to a given standard size for that particular paper grade.

  • Bauhaus

    A design school in Germany where the Sans Serif font was originated.

  • Bearoff

    The adjusting of spacing of type in order to correct the justification.

  • Bed

    The steel flat table of a cylinder printing press upon which the type sits during the printing process.

  • Bench Sign

    A sign located on the back of a bench that is placed near the public right of way, such as at a bus stop.

  • Bending Chip

    A recycled paperboard product used for making folding cartons.

  • Bible Paper

    A thin but strong paper (opaque), used for Bibles and books.

  • Bimetal Plate

    A plate which is used in long print runs; the printing image is copper or brass, and the non-printing area is aluminum or stainless steel.

  • Binder's Board

    A heavy paperboard with a cloth covering that is used for hardback binding of books.

  • Binding

    Various methods of securing folded sections together and or fastening them to a cover, to form single copies of a book.

  • Bite

    The etching process in photoengraving requires the application of an acid; the length of time this acid is left to etch out an image is referred to as its bite. The more bites, the deeper the etched area.

  • Black Letter

    An old style of typeface used in Germany in the 15th century, also referred to as Old English (US) and Gothic (UK).

  • Black Out

    Also referred to as black patch; a piece of masking material which is used in layout to mask an area leaving a window into which another element can be stripped.

  • Black Photo Paper

    A black paper used to protect photosensitive materials.

  • Black Printer

    Refers to the film portion of the color separation process that prints black; increases the contrast of neutral tones.

  • Blackening

    Darkening a portion of a sheet of paper due to the excessive pressure of the calendar roll. Reference, calendar.

  • Blade Sign

    A sign normally mounted with a bracket on the side of a building that projects perpendicular to the normal flow of traffic.

  • Blanket

    On offset presses a fabric-reinforced sheet of rubber to transfer the impression from the plate onto the paper.

  • Blanket To Blanket Press

    A printing method in which there are two blanket cylinders through which a sheet of paper is passed and printed on both sides.

  • Bleed

    Extra ink area that crosses trim line, used to allow for variations that occur when the reproduction is trimmed or die-cut.

  • Blind Emboss

    A design or bas relief impression that is made without using inks or metal foils.

  • Blind Embossing

    Embossed forms that are not inked, or gold leafed.

  • Blind Folio

    Page number not printed on page.

  • Blind Image

    A problem that arises in the lithography process when an image loses its ink receptivity and fails to print.

  • Blistering

    Although seemingly dry, paper does contain approximately 5% moisture. In cases where there is excessive moisture, and the paper is passed through a high heat-drying chamber, the moisture within the paper actually boils and causes a bubble or blistering effect.

  • Block

    Illustrations or line art etched onto zinc or copper plates and used in letterpress printing.

  • Block In

    To sketch the primary areas and points of reference of an illustration in preparation for going to final design or production.

  • Block Resistance

    The resistance of coated papers to blocking. Reference, blocking.

  • Blocking

    The adhesion of one coated sheet to another, causing paper tears or particles of the coating to shed away from the paper surface.

  • Blocking Out

    To mask a section of an art layout before reproduction.

  • Blow-up

    Any enlargement of photos, copies or line art.

  • Blue-Line

    Photographic proof made from flats for checking accuracy, layout and imposition before plates are made. Also known as a dylux.

  • Body

    The main shank or portion of the letter character other than the ascenders and descenders. Also: A term used to define the thickness or viscosity of printer's ink.

  • Body Size

    The point size of a particular type character.

  • Boiler Plate

    Repetitive blocks of type that are picked up and included routinely without recreating them.

  • Boldface

    Any type that has a heavier black stroke that makes it more conspicuous.

  • Bolts

    The edges of folded sheets of paper, which are trimmed off in the final stages of production.

  • Bond

    A grade of durable writing, printing and typing paper that has a standard size of 17x22 inches.

  • Book

    A general classification to describe papers used to print books; its standard size is 25x38 inches. A printed work which contains more than 64 pages.

  • Book Block

    A term given the unfinished stage of bookmaking when the pages are folded, gathered and stitched-in but not yet cover bound.

  • Bounce 1

    A registration problem, usually on copiers, where the image appears to bounce back and forth. A bounce usually occurs in one direction depending on how the paper is passing through the machine. This is usually accented by card stock (especially if it's over the machine's spec). When a customer refuses a job for whatever reason.

  • Bourges

    A pressure sensitive color film that is used to prepare color art.

  • Box Cover Paper

    A lightweight paper used expressly for covering paper boxes.

  • Box Enamel Paper

    A glossy coated paper used to cover paper boxes.

  • Box Liners

    A coated paper used on the inside of boxes, which are used for food.

  • Brace

    A character " }" used to group lines, or phrases.

  • Brand

    The mark, label, or image that makes a company recognizable.

  • Brand Equity / Branding

    The intangible value of a product or service in the marketplace, based on the way the business is perceived by consumers.

  • Break For Color

    In layout design, the term for dividing or separating the art and copy elements into single color paste-up sheets.

  • Bristol Board

    A board paper of various thickness; having a smooth finish and used for printing and drawing.

  • Broad Fold

    A term given to the fold whereby paper is folded with the short side running with the grain.

  • Brocade

    A heavily embossed paper.

  • Brochure

    A pamphlet that is bound in booklet form.

  • Bronzing

    A printing method whereby special ink is applied to sheets and then a powder is applied producing a metallic effect.

  • Brownline Proof

    A photographic proof made by exposing a flat to UV light creating a brown image on a white background. Also referred to as silverprint.

  • Buckle Folder

    A portion of the binding machinery with rollers that fold the paper.

  • Buckram

    A coarse sized cloth used in the bookbinding process.

  • Building Code

    A governmental regulation of a structure’s construction or maintenance.

  • Building Fascia

    The part of a building that extends vertically from the grade to the top wall or eaves and horizontally across the width of the building. Signs may be affixed to the fascia.

  • Building-Mounted Sign

    The broad category for signs that are attached to a building; within this category are a number of other signs, which more specifically label where the sign is mounted (fascia, wall, roof, etc.)

  • Bulk

    A term used to define the number of pages per inch of a book relative to its given basis weight.

  • Bulk

    A term given to paper to describe its thickness relative to its weight.

  • Bullet

    A boldface square or dot used before a sentence to emphasize its importance.

  • Bump Exposure

    A process used in halftone photography that entails the temporary removal of the screen during exposure. This increases the highlight contrast and diminishes the dots in the whites.

  • Burn

    A term used in plate making to describe the amount of plate exposure time.

  • Burnish

    A term used for the process of "rubbing down" lines and dots on a printing plate, which darkens those rubbed areas.

  • Burnishing

    Creating a polished finish on paper by rubbing with stone or hand smoothing a surface.

  • Burst Binding

    A binding technique that entails nicking the backfold in short lengths during the folding process, which allows glue to reach each individual leaf and create a strong bond.

  • Cabinet Sign

    A sign structure comprised of a frame and face or faces. Though a cabinet sign may include electrical components or support structure, the cabinet sign refers only to the frame and face.

  • Cable Paper

    A strong paper used to wrap electrical cables.

  • Cadmium Yellow

    A pigment made from cadmium sulfide and cadmium selenide.

  • Calendar Board

    A strong paperboard used for calendars and displays.

  • Calendar Rolls

    A series of metal rolls at the end of a paper machine; when the paper is passed between these rolls it increases its smoothness and glossy surface.

  • Caliper

    The measurement of thickness of paper expressed in thousandths of an inch or mils.

  • Cameo

    A dull coated paper, which is particularly useful in reproducing halftones and engravings.

  • Camera Ready

    A term given to any copy, artwork etc., that is prepared for photographic reproduction.

  • Canopy

    A permanent fixture, often made of metal or glass, that is attached to a structure. It differs from an awning in that its aim is not to provide shelter.

  • Canopy Sign

    This term refers to either a building-mounted sign that serves as a marquee or a sign mounted on a canopy or marquee.

  • Canvas Board

    A paperboard with a surface of simulated canvas, used for painting.

  • Cap Line

    An imaginary horizontal line running across the tops of capital letters.

  • Caps & Lower Case

    Instructions in the typesetting process that indicate the use of a capital letter to start a sentence and the rest of the letters in lower case.

  • Caps & Small Caps

    Two sizes of capital letters made in one size of type.

  • Carbon Black

    A pigment made of elemental carbon and ash.

  • Carbon Tissue

    A color printing process utilizing pigmented gelatin coatings on paper, which become the resist for etching gravure plates or cylinders.

  • Carbonate Paper

    A chemical pulp paper (calcium carbonate), used mostly for the printing of magazines.

  • Cartridge

    A rough finished paper used for wrapping.

  • Case

    The stiff covers of a hardbound book.

  • Case Binding

    Books bound using hard board (case) covers.

  • Casein

    A milk byproduct used as an adhesive in making coated papers.

  • Casing In

    The process of placing in and adhering a book to its case covers.

  • Cast Coated

    A paper that is coated and then pressure dried using a polished roller which imparts an enamel like hard gloss finish.

  • Catching Up

    A term to describe that period of the printing process where the non-image areas can take on ink or debris.

  • Chain Lines

    Lines that appear on laid paper as a result of the wires of the papermaking machine.

  • Chalking

    A term used to describe the quality of print on paper where the absorption of the paper is so great that it breaks up the ink image creating loose pigment dust.

  • Chancery Italic

    A 13th century handwriting style which is the roots of italic design.

  • Changeable Copy Panel

    A sign composed of individual letters or numbers that are mounted on or in a track system. Also known as a readerboard.

  • Channel Letter

    A three-dimensional letter that may include a light source.

  • Chase

    (old) Frame of steel, or cast or wrought iron, in which images are locked up for printing.

  • China Clay

    An aluminum silica compound used in gravure and screen printing inks. Also called kaolin.

  • Chrome Green

    The resulting ink pigment attained from the mixture of chrome yellow and iron blue.

  • Chrome Yellow

    A lead chromate yellow ink pigment.

  • Circular Screen

    A screen that utilizes a concentric circle pattern as opposed to dots used for halftones and to allow the platemaker to set exact screen angles.

  • Clay-Coated Boxboard

    A strong, easily folded boxboard with clay coating used for making folding boxes.

  • Coarse Screen

    Halftone screens commonly used in newsprint; up to 85 lines per inch.

  • Coated (Paper)

    Paper coated with clay, white pigments and a binder. Better for printing because there is less picking.

  • Coated Art Paper

    Printing papers used for printing projects that require a special treatment of detail and shading.

  • Coated Stock

    Any paper that has a mineral coating applied after the paper is made, giving the paper a smoother finish.

  • Coated Tubing

    Clear glass tubing that is coated with a phosphorous powder on its interior. This produces a variety of different light colors, depending on the mixture of the powders used.

  • Cold Cathode

    A generic term referring to custom interior lighting using a large-diameter tube. It also refers to lighting that uses an electrode to emit electrons, such as neon tubing.

  • Cold Color

    Any color that moves toward the blue side in the color spectrum.

  • Cold-Set Inks

    A variety of inks that are in solid form originally but are melted in a hot press and then solidify when they contact paper.

  • Collate

    To gather sheets or signatures together in their correct order. (see Gather)

  • Collating Marks

    Black step-marks printed on the back of folded sheets, to facilitate collating and checking of the sequence of book signatures.

  • Colophon

    A printers or publishers identifying symbol or emblem.

  • Color Bars

    This term refers to a color test strip, which is printed on the waste portion of a press sheet. It is a standardized (GATF-Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) process which allows a pressman to determine the quality of the printed material relative to ink density, registration, and dot gain. It also includes the Star Target, which is a similar system designed to detect inking problems.

  • Color Separating

    The processes of separating the primary color components for printing.

  • Color Strength

    A term referring to the relative amount of pigmentation in an ink.

  • Color Transparency

    Transparent film containing a positive photographic color image.

  • Colored Tubing

    Transparent glass, that is manufactured with color, mostly in primary colors.

  • Column Gutter

    Space between two or more columns of type on one page.

  • Commercial Register

    Color registration measured within plus or minus one row of dots.

  • Composition

    The assembly of characters into words, lines and paragraphs of text or body matter for reproduction by printing.

  • Condensed Type

    A narrow, elongated type face.

  • Conforming Sign

    A sign that meets federal, state, and local laws and ordinances.

  • Conspicuity

    What sets a sign apart from its surroundings, or makes it more conspicuous.

  • Contact Print

    A print made from contact of a sensitive surface to a negative or positive photograph.

  • Contact Screen

    A halftone screen made on film of graded density, and used in a vacuum contact with the film.

  • Content Neutral

    Sign regulations that are made without reference to the content of the sign, including where, when and how a sign can be displayed. This may include height, size and location limits.

  • Continuous Tone

    Image made of non-discernable picture elements which give appearance of continuous spectrum of grey values or tones.

  • Contrast

    The difference between things having similar or different colors. High-contrast signs are easier to read whereas combinations with lower contrast – such as yellow on white—are more difficult.

  • Contrast

    The degree of tonal separation or gradation in the range from black to white.

  • Contre Jour

    Taking a picture with the camera lens facing the light source.

  • Copy

    Refers to any typewritten material, art, photos, etc., to be used for the printing process.

  • Copy Area

    The area that contains the words on a sign.

  • Copyboard

    A board upon which the copy is pasted for the purpose of photographing.

  • Corner Marks

    Marks on a final printed sheet that indicate the trim lines or register indicators.

  • Corrugated Plastic (Coroplast)

    A lightweight twin-wall plastic-sheet, similar to cardboard or fiberboard, refers to a wide range of extruded twin-wall plastic-sheet products produced from high-impact polypropylene. Commonly used for outdoor signage such as yard signs. Available in a variety of colors and thicknesses.

  • Cost Approach (Valuation)

    A method of determining how much a property is worth, minus depreciation. This will include the costs of construction as well as softer costs such as interest paid and permitting fees. In signage, this also includes the message delivered to viewers and the costs of replacing it.

  • Cost Per Thousand (CPM)

    The costs for an advertiser to reach 1,000 readers or viewers. This is determined by the amount of money spent on the advertisement divided by the number of people it reaches. Signs typically have a lower CPM, meaning they cost less for every 1,000 people they reach.

  • Cover

    A term describing a general type of papers used for the covers of books, pamphlets etc.

  • Coverage

    A marketing term that applies to the percentage of the total population reached with a particular advertising message. This is measured monthly.

  • Cracking

    Delamination.

  • Creep

    When the rubber blanket on a cylinder moves forward due to contact with the plate or paper. Result of added thickness of folded sheets being behind one another in a folded signature. Outer edges of sheets creep away from back most fold as more folded sheets are inserted inside the middle.

  • Crop

    To eliminate a portion of the art or copy as indicated by crop marks.

  • Crop Mark

    Markings at edges of original or on guide sheet to indicate the area desired in reproduction with negative or plate trimmed (cropped) at the markings.

  • Cross-over

    Elements that cross page boundaries and land on two consecutive pages (usually rules).

  • Crossmarks

    Marks of fine lines, which intersect to indicate accurate alignment of art elements.

  • Crossover

    A term used to describe the effect of ink from an image, rule or line art on one printed page, which carries over to another page of a bound work.

  • Curl

    Not lying flat and tending to form into cylindrical or wavy shapes. A term to describe the differences of either side of a sheet relative to coatings, absorbency etc.; the concave side is the curl side.

  • Custom Sign

    A sign designed to meet the requirements of a specific location.

  • Customer Acquisition Costs

    A calculation that measures the total cost versus the potential return, or how much it costs to bring in a new customer.

  • Cut-off

    A term used in web press printing to describe the point at which a sheet of paper is cut from the roll; usually this dimension is equal to the circumference of the cylinder.

  • Cutter

    Machine for accurately cutting stacks of paper to desired dimensions...can also be used to crease. Also trims out final bound books' top size (soft cover).

  • Cutting Die

    Sharp edged device, usually made of steel, to cut paper, cardboard, etc., on a printing press.

  • Cyan

    A shade of blue used in the four-color process; it reflects blue and green and absorbs red.

  • Cylinder Gap

    The gap in the cylinders of a press where the grippers or blanket clamps is housed.

  • Dahlgren

    A dampening system for printing presses which utilizes more alcohol (25%) and less water; this greatly reduces the amount of paper that is spoiled.

  • Daily Effective Circulation (DEC)

    A method of calculating the cost per thousand (CPM) of a sign. This is calculated by averaging the number of daily potential exposures to a sign, counting only the vehicles traveling towards a sign’s face, then multiplying that figure by the average number of passengers in a vehicle.

  • Dampening

    An essential part of the printing process whereby cloth covered rubber rollers distributes the dampening solution to the plate.

  • Dandy Roll

    During the paper making process while the paper is still 90% water, it passes over a wire mesh cylinder (dandy roll), which imparts surface textures on the paper such as wove or laid. This is also the stage where the watermark is put onto the paper.

  • Deck Cabinet

    An electrical enclosure that provides mounting and a background for a sign.

  • Deckle Edge

    The rough or feathered edge of paper when left untrimmed.

  • Deep Etching

    The etching or removal of any unwanted areas of a plate to create more air or white space on the finished product.

  • Delete

    An instruction given to remove an element from a layout.

  • Demy

    A term that describes a standard sized printing paper measuring 17.5 x 22.5 in.

  • Densitometer

    An optical device used by printers and photographers to measure and control the density of color.

  • Density

    The lay of paper fibers relative to tightness or looseness which affects the bulk, the absorbency and the finish of the paper.

  • Density

    The degree of tone, weight of darkness or color within a photo or reproduction; measurable by the densitometer. Reference, densitometer.

  • Descender

    A term that describes that portion of lower case letters which extends below the main body of the letter, as in "p".

  • Diazo

    A light sensitive coal tar product used as a coating on presensitized plates, as well as overlay proofs.

  • Die

    Design, letters or shapes, cut into metal (mostly brass) for stamping book covers or embossing. An engraved stamp used for impressing an image or design.

  • Die Cutting

    A method of using sharp steel ruled stamps or rollers to cut various shapes i.e. labels, boxes, image shapes, either post press or in line. The process of cutting paper in a shape or design by the use of a wooden die or block in which are positioned steel rules in the shape of the desired pattern.

  • Die Stamping

    An intaglio process for printing from images engraved into copper or steel plates.

  • Digital Proof

    Color separation data is digitally stored and then exposed to color photographic paper creating a picture of the final product before it is actually printed.

  • Dimensional Letter

    A letter, logo, or symbol that has been cut-out, cast, fabricated, or molded from material such as metal or plastic.

  • Dimensional stability

    The qualities of paper to stabilize its original size when undergoing pressure or exposed to moisture.

  • Diploma

    A fine paper made specifically for the printing of diplomas, certificates and documents.

  • Direct Screen Halftone

    A color separation process using a halftone negative made by direct contact with the halftone screen.

  • Directional Sign

    Points the way for pedestrians or drivers and can be especially useful when a business is not clearly seen from the entrance to a complex.

  • Directory Sign

    Used in an office complex or building to identify the tenants.

  • Display Type

    Any type that stands out from the rest of the type on a page which attracts attention of the reader.

  • Distribution Rollers

    In the printing process, the rubber coated rollers responsible for the distribution of ink from the fountain to the ink drum.

  • Doctor Blade

    A term in gravure printing which refers to the knife-edge that runs along the printing cylinder; its function is to wipe the excess ink away from the non-printing areas.

  • Dog Ear

    Occurs when you fold into a fold (such as a letter fold). At the side of one of the creases you get an indentation. It may look like a small inverted triangle.

  • Dot

    The smallest individual element of a halftone.

  • Dot Gain

    Darkening of halftone image due to ink absorption in paper causing halftone dots to enlarge. Terms to describe the occurrence whereby dots are printing larger than they should.

  • Double-Faced Sign

    A sign with back-to-back faces.

  • Downsizing

    A change in law or regulation that requires an alteration in size or height of any existing sign. Downsizing of an outdoor advertising structure (or "billboard") requires compensation as a regulatory taking.

  • Draw-down

    A method used by ink makers to determine the color, quality and tone of ink. It entails the drawing of a spatula over a drop of ink, spreading it flat over the paper.

  • Drier

    A term that describes any additives to ink which encourages the drying process.

  • Drill

    The actual drilling of holes into paper for ring or comb binding.

  • Drop Folio

    Page number printed at foot of page.

  • Drop Shadow

    A shadow image placed strategically behind an image to create the affect of the image lifting off the page.

  • Dry Mount

    Pasting with heat sensitive adhesives.

  • Dry Offset

    Process in which a metal plate is etched to a depth of 0.15 mm (0.006 in), making a right-reading relief plate, printed on the offset blanket and then to the paper without the use of water.

  • Ductor Roller

    The roller between the inking and the dampening rollers.

  • Dull Finish

    Any matte finished paper.

  • Dummy

    A term used to describe the preliminary assemblage of copy and art elements to be reproduced in the desired finished product; also called a comp.

  • Dummy Model

    Resembling finished piece in every respect except that the pages and cover are blank, used by the designer as a final check on the appearance and +feel+ of the book as a guide for the size and position of elements on the jacket.

  • Duotone

    Color reproduction from monochrome original. Keyplate usually printed in dark color for detail, second plate printed in light flat tints. A two-color halftone reproduction generated from a one-color photo.

  • Duplex Paper

    Paper which has a different color or finish on each side.

  • Dutch

    Any deckle edged paper, originally produced in the Netherlands. Reference, deckle edge

  • Dye-Based Ink

    Any ink that acquires its color by the use of aniline pigments or dyes. Reference, aniline

  • Dynamic Digital Signage

    A large screen or series of screens that display a message, image, or series of images.

  • Eggshell Finish

    The finish of paper surface that resembles an eggshell achieved by omitting the calendar process. Reference, calendar rolls.

  • Electric Sign

    Any sign that contains electrical wiring.

  • Electronic Composition

    The assembly of characters into words, lines and paragraphs of text or body matter with graphic elements in page layout form in digital format for reproduction by printing.

  • Electronic Message Center

    A sign that uses computer-generated messages or some other means of changing the words. These signs also include lamps, LEDs, LCDs, or flipper matrix.

  • Electronic Proof

    A process of generating a prepress proof in which paper is electronically exposed to the color separation negatives; the paper is passed through the electrically charged pigmented toners, which adhere electrostatically, resulting in the finished proof.

  • Elliptical Dot

    Halftone screens in which the dots are actually elongated to produce improved middle tones.

  • Em

    A unit of measurement equaling 12 points or 4.5mm.

  • Embellishment

    Anything—ranging from an image to vicinity landscaping—that enhances the appearance of a sign’s ability to convey its message.

  • Embossed

    A method of paper finishing whereby a pattern is pressed into the paper when it is dry.

  • Embossing

    To raise in relief a design or letters already printed on card stock or heavy paper by an uninked block or die. In rubber and plastic plate making the process is usually done by heat.

  • Eminent Domain

    The power of a governmental agency to take property for public use.

  • Emulsion

    A light sensitive substance used as a coating for film; made from a silver halide compound. This side should face the lens when the film is exposed.

  • Enamel

    A term that describes a glossy coating on paper.

  • Endsheet

    Attaching the final sheet of a signature of a book to the binding.

  • English Finish

    A grade of uncoated book paper with a smooth uniform surface.

  • Engraving

    A printing process whereby images such as copy or art are etched onto a plate. When ink is applied, these etched areas act as small wells to hold the ink; paper is forced against this die and the ink is lifted out of the etched areas creating raised images on the paper.

  • Estimate

    The form used by the printer to calculate the project for the print buyer. This form contains the basic parameters of the project including size, quantity, colors, bleeds, photos etc.

  • Estimator

    One who computes or approximates the cost of work to be done on which quotation may be based.

  • Etch

    The process of producing an image on a plate by the use of acid.

  • Even Smalls

    The use of smaller sized capitals at the beginning of a sentence without the use of larger sized caps.

  • Expanded Type

    Type with width greater than normal producing a rectangular effect.

  • Exposure

    That stage of the photographic process where the image is produced on the light sensitive coating.

  • Extender

    A white pigment added to a colored pigment to reduce its intensity and improve its working qualities.

  • Extensions

    An area cut out of a design that extends beyond the basic rectangular space of a sign face or message.

  • Exterior Illuminated Sign

    A sign that is illuminated by a light that is directed towards and shines on the face of a sign; also called direct illumination.

  • F&G

    A term in the binding process referring to folding and gathering.

  • Face

    The surface of the sign where a company’s message is displayed.

  • Fan Fold

    Paper folding that emulates an accordion or fan, the folds being alternating and parallel.

  • Fascia Sign

    A sign installed on a building’s fascia, the vertical surface that runs from the grade to the roofline and horizontally the width of the building.

  • Fat Face

    Type that is quite varied in its use of very thin and very wide strokes.

  • Felt

    A cloth conveyor belt that receives papers from the Fourdrinier wire and delivers it to the drier.

  • Felt Finish

    The smoother side of paper, usually a soft weave pattern used for book papers.

  • Felt Side

    It is the top side of the sheet in the paper making process that does not lie on the Fourdrinier wire.

  • Filling In

    A fault in printing where the ink fills in the fine line or halftone dot areas.

  • Film Coat

    Also called wash coat; any thinly coated paper stock.

  • Finish

    The surface quality of paper.

  • Finish (Paper)

    Dull - (low gloss) also matte or matte gloss.

  • Fist

    A symbol used in printing to indicate the index; seen as a pointing finger on a hand "+".

  • Fit

    The registration of items within a given page.

  • Flash Point

    A term given to the lowest temperature of ignitibility of vapors given off by a substance.

  • Flashing Sign

    A sign with an intermittent flashing light source. Generally, a message is continuously repeated, with the sign used as an attention-getting device. One common example would be signage used by a state’s highway department to catch a driver’s eye.

  • Flat

    In lithography, the assembly of photographic negatives or positives on vinyl acetate for exposure in vacuum frame in contact with sensitized metal press plate.

  • Flat Cutout Letter

    A one-dimensional letter cut from a sheet.

  • Flock Paper

    Paper that is patterned by sizing, and than coated with powders of wool or cotton, (flock).

  • Fluid Ink

    Also called liquid ink; ink with a low viscosity.

  • Fluorescent Lamp or Tube

    A lighting system that uses glass tubing manufactured in standard lengths.

  • Flush Cover

    A bound book or booklet etc. having the cover trimmed to the same size as the text.

  • Flushed Pigment

    The results of combining a wet ink pigment with a varnish and having the wet pigment mix or transfer over to the varnish.

  • Fogging Back

    Lowering density of an image in a specific area usually to make type more legible while still letting image show through.

  • Foils

    Papers that have a surface resembling metal.

  • Fold Marks

    Markings at top edges that show where folds should occur.

  • Folder

    Machine used to fold signatures down into sections.

  • Folio or Page Number

    Number of page at top or bottom either centered, flushed left or flushed right often with running headline.

  • Font

    The typeface, or set of letters and characters that conform to a standard design.

  • Form Rollers

    The rollers that come into direct contact with the plate of a printing press.

  • Forme

    (old) type matter or type and block with its accompanying spacing material secured in the forme called a chase.

  • Forwarding

    In Binding, the process between folding sheets and casing in, such as rounding and backing, putting on headbands, reinforcing backs, etc.

  • Fourdrinier

    A machine with a copper wire screen that receives the pulp slurry in the paper making process which will become the final paper sheet.

  • Free sheet

    Any paper that is free from wood pulp impurities.

  • Freestanding Sign

    A sign that is not attached to a building.

  • French Fold(er)

    Folder with printing on one side so that when folded once in each direction, the printing on outside of the folds.

  • Frequency

    The average number of times a potential customer has the chance to see an advertising message over a set period of time, typically measured every four weeks.

  • Fringe

    A halo that appears around halftone dots.

  • Front Lighted Letter

    An illuminated letter with a translucent face; typically used with channel letters.

  • Fugitive inks

    Colors that lose tone and permanency when exposed to light.

  • Full Service Sign Company

    A sign company that handles the entire signage project, including design, surveys, permitting, engineering, manufacturing, installation, and maintenance.

  • Furnish

    The slurry mixture of fibers, water, chemicals and pigments, that is delivered to the Fourdrinier machine in the paper making process.

  • Fuzz

    A term for the fibers that project from the paper surface.

  • Galley

    (old) flat oblong tray into which composed type matter is put and kept until made up into pages in the forme. Also a similar tray on a slug composing machine which receives the slugs as they are ejected. Also a long column of composed text matter

  • Galley Proof

    A proof of text copy before it is pasted into position for printing.

  • Galley Slave

    Old term for compositor.

  • Gang

    Group of frames or impositions in the same forme of different jobs arranged and positioned to be printed together.

  • Ganging

    The bundling of two or more different printing projects on the same sheet of paper.

  • Gather

    To assemble or collect sections into single copies of complete books for binding.

  • Gathering

    Assembling sheets of paper and signatures into their proper sequence; collating.

  • Ghosting

    Image which appears as a lighter area on a subsequent print due to local blanket depressions from previous image areas on a letterpress rotary machine as well as on an offset press.

  • Ghosting

    Marring a print by the placement of an image of work printed on the reverse side which has interfered with its drying so that differences in the trapping frame colors or glass variations are apparent.

  • Gigo

    Garbage in, garbage out.

  • Gilding

    Sticking on gold leaf to edges of books with a liquid agent and made permanent with burnishing tools.

  • Glassine

    A strong transparent paper.

  • Gloss Ink

    Quick drying oil based inks with low penetration qualities, used on coated stock.

  • Glyphic

    A carved as opposed to scripted typeface.

  • Goldenrod

    An orange colored paper with gridlines, used to assemble materials for exposure for platemaking.

  • Graduated Screen

    An area of image where halftone dots range continuously from one density to another.

  • Grain

    Direction of fibers in a sheet of paper governing paper properties such as increased size changes with relative humidity, across the grain, and better folding properties along the grain.

  • Grained Paper

    A paper embossed to resemble various textures, such as leather, alligator, wood, etc.

  • Gravure

    An intaglio or recessed printing process. The recessed areas are like wells that form the image as paper passes through.

  • Gripper

    A series of metal fingers that hold each sheet of paper as it passes through the various stages of the printing process.

  • Gripper Edge

    The grippers of the printing press move the paper through the press by holding onto the leading edge of the sheet; this edge is the gripper edge.

  • Ground sign

    A freestanding sign with no visible support.

  • Groundwood

    Low cost papers such as newsprint made by the mechanical pulping process as opposed to chemical pulping and refining.

  • Gumming

    The application of gum arabic to the non printing areas of a plate.

  • Gutter

    Space between pages in the printing frame of a book, or inside margin towards the back or binding edge. The blank space or margin between the type page and the binding of a book.

  • H Channel Letter

    A letter with baffles at the center to provide support for neon tubes and a location to mount transformers.

  • Hairline register

    Printing registration that lies within the range of plus or minus one half row of dots. It is the thinnest of the standard printers' rules.

  • Halftone

    Tone graduated image composed of varying sized dots or lines, with equidistant centers.

  • Halftone Paper

    A high finish paper that is ideal for halftone printing.

  • Halftone Screen

    A sheet of film or glass containing ruled right-angled lines, used to translate the full tone of a photo to the halftone dot image required for printing.

  • Hard Dot

    The effect in a photograph where a dot has such a small degree of halation that the dot shows quite sharp.

  • Head Margin

    That space which lies between the top of the printed copy and the trimmed edge.

  • Hickies

    Imperfections in presswork due to dirt on press, trapping errors, etc.

  • High Bulk Paper

    Paper stock that is comparatively thick in relation to its basis weight.

  • High Key Halftone

    A halftone that is made utilizing only the highlight tones down through the middle tones.

  • High-Rise Sign

    A tall freestanding sign.

  • Highlight Dot

    The highest density of a halftone image.

  • Highlights

    The lightest tones of a photo, printed halftone or illustration. In the finished halftone, these highlights are represented by the finest dots.

  • Highway Beautification Act

    A federal law enacted in 1965 at the urging of then First Lady Lady Bird Johnson. The act provided limits on roadside signage on federal highways and interstates. The act limits signage to commercial and industrial areas.

  • Hollow

    That space on the spine of a case bound book between the block of the book and the case binding.

  • Hot melt

    An adhesive used in the binding process, which requires heat for application.

  • House Sheet

    This is a term that refers to a paper that a printer keeps on hand in his shop.

  • IBC

    Inside back cover.

  • IFC

    Inside front cover.

  • ISA

    The International Sign Association, the industry’s leading trade association. Its website, www.signs.org, provides a membership directory that is searchable by those looking for sign companies and provides current information on news and legal issues.

  • Illegal Sign

    A sign that fails to meet the current codes and regulations when erected. It differs from a non-conforming sign, which is legal when created, but as laws and ordinances change, it no longer conforms to the codes.

  • Image Area

    That portion of the printing plate that carries the ink and prints on paper.

  • Image Setter

    High resolution, large format device for producing film from electronically generated page layouts.

  • Imposition

    Arrangement of pages so that they print correctly on a press sheet, and the pages are in proper order when the sheets are folded.

  • Impression

    Product resulting from one cycle of printing machine. The pressure of the image carrier, whether it be the type, plate or blanket, when it contacts the paper.

  • Impulse Buying

    An unplanned purchase; studies show that as much as 55 percent of retail purchases are on impulse, making signage that draws customers into a retail operation very important.

  • Incandescent Bulb

    A light that applies energy to a wire filament, with its energy usage measured in watts. This is still the most common type of light bulb in everyday use, though the use of energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs is growing.

  • Index Bristol

    A relatively thick paper stock; basis size---25 1/2 x 30 1/2.

  • Indicia

    Markings pre-printed on mailing envelopes to replace the stamp.

  • Industrial Papers

    A term used to denote papers such as janitorial, sanitary or heavy packing papers.

  • Ink Fountain

    The device which stores and meters ink to the inking rollers.

  • Ink Holdout

    A quality of paper to be resistant to ink absorption, allowing the ink to dry on the paper surface.

  • Ink Mist

    Any threads or filaments which protrude from the main printed letter body of long inks, as seen in newsprint.

  • Ink Setting

    The inertial resistance to flow that occurs to ink as soon as it is printed.

  • Inkometer

    A device used to measure the tack of ink.

  • Inserts

    Extra printed pages inserted loosely into printed pieces.

  • Integral Proof

    A proof made by exposing each of the four-color separations to an emulsion layer of primary colors. These emulsion sheets are stacked in register with a white sheet of paper in the background. Types of integral proofs are cromalin, matchprint, ektaflex, and spactraproof.

  • Interior Signs

    Signs that are located inside a building, even though they may be visible from outside.

  • Interleaves

    Extra blank pages inserted loosely into book after printing.

  • Internally Illuminated Sign

    A light source contained within the sign provides its illumination.

  • Iridescent Paper

    A coated stock finished in mother-of-pearl.

  • Italic

    Text that is used to denote emphasis by slanting the type body forward.

  • Jacket

    The paper cover sometimes called the "dust cover" of a hardbound book.

  • Job Number

    A number assigned to a printing project used for record keeping and job tracking. Also used to retrieve old jobs for reprints or reworking by customer.

  • Jog

    To vibrate a stack of finished pages so that they are tightly aligned for final trimming.

  • Jogger

    Vibrating, sloping platform that evens up the edges of stacks of paper.

  • Joint Tenant Sign

    Displays the various tenants of a business complex or shopping center and is most likely located near the entrance to the property.

  • Just Compensation

    When a property is taken by the government, the full monetary value—just compensation—must be paid to the property owner.

  • Kerning

    The narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page.

  • Key Plate

    The printing plate that is used as a guide for the other plates in the color printing process; it usually has the most detail.

  • Keying

    The use of symbols, usually letters, to code copy that will appear on a dummy.

  • Keyline

    Lines that are drawn on artwork that indicate the exact placement, shape and size of elements including halftones, illustrations etc.

  • Kiss Impression

    A delicate printed impression, just heavy enough to be seen.

  • Kraft

    A coarse unbleached paper used for printing and industrial products.

  • Lacquer

    A clear gloss coating applied to printed material for strength, appearance and protection.

  • Laid Finish

    A parallel lined paper that has a handmade look.

  • Laser Engraving

    A paper cutting technique whereby laser technology is utilized to cut away certain unmasked areas of the paper. The cutting is a result of the exposure of the paper to the laser ray, which actually evaporates the paper.

  • Lay Edge

    Edge of a sheet of paper being fed into a printing press.

  • Layout

    A rendition that shows the placement of all the elements, roughs, thumbnails etc., of the final printed piece before it goes to print.

  • Leaders

    The dots or dashes used in type to guide the eye from one set of type to the next.

  • Leading

    Space between lines of type; the distance in points between one baseline and the next.

  • Leaf

    One of a number of folds (each containing two pages) which comprises a book or manuscript.

  • Leaf Stamping

    A metal die, either (flat, or embossed), created from the image or copy, which is then heated to a specific temperature which allows the transfer of a film of pigmented polyester to the paper.

  • Ledger Paper

    A stiff heavy business paper generally used for keeping records.

  • Legibility

    How easy a sign is to read. This is based on the characteristics of letters, numbers, and characters that make it possible to differentiate one from another.

  • Length

    The optimum length of a filament of ink.

  • Letterpress

    Printing that utilizes inked raised surfaces to create the image.

  • Letterspacing

    The addition of space between typeset letters.

  • Light-Emitting Diode (LED) and Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)

    Electronic devices that channel light through tubes to create patterns that can produce changing video displays. Both are becoming more common in signage. LEDs often provide more energy efficiency while LCDs provide sharper displays.

  • Line Copy

    Any copy that can be reproduced without the use of halftone screens.

  • Linen

    A paper that emulates the look and texture of linen cloth.

  • Listed Sign

    A listed sign indicates that the manufacturer has produced signs in compliance with the applicable standards. These manufacturers are identified on a list published by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.

  • Lithocoated Paper

    A paper that is coated with a special water-resistant material which is able to withstand the lithographic process.

  • Lithography

    The process of printing that utilizes flat inked surfaces to create the printed images.

  • Logo

    A design or symbol that represents a product, identity, or service.

  • Logo Program (Federal)

    Road signs that provide information about gas, food, lodging and attractions at an exit. The number of established listed is limited to six at any one interchange. These also are known as specific service signs and, in addition to featuring the logos of the businesses at the exit, provide directional information.

  • Logotype

    A personalized type or design symbol for a company or product.

  • Luminance

    The perceived brightness of an illuminated sign. The standard measurement is candelas per square foot.

  • M weight

    The actual weight of 1000 sheets of any given size of paper.

  • Machine Coated

    Paper that has had a coating applied to either one or two of its sides during the papermaking process.

  • Machine Direction

    An alternate term for grain direction.

  • Machine Finish

    A paper finish that results from the interaction of the paper with the Fourdrinier process as opposed to post machine embossing. Reference, Fourdrinier

  • Magnetic Black

    Black pigments containing black iron oxides, used for magnetic ink character recognition.

  • Make Rready

    Process of adjusting final plate on the press to fine tune or modify plate surface.

  • Mansard

    A type of roof that includes two slopes on each of its sides.

  • Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)

    A manual produced by the Federal Highway Administration that addresses three specific types of signs: guide, warning, and directional. The manual includes minimum size, height, and placement standards to achieve readability and prevent traffic accidents. Though intended for public agencies, the research contained can be used by private signage as well.

  • Margin

    Imprinted space around edge of page.

  • Mark-up

    To write up instructions, as on a dummy.

  • Marquee

    A permanent canopy often of metal and glass projecting over an entrance.

  • Marquee Sign

    (1) A sign mounted on a permanent canopy.
    (2) A traditional industry term for the variable-message section of a canopy sign.
    (3) An integral sign and permanent canopy.

  • Mask (1)

    The blocking out of a portion of the printing plate during the exposure process.

  • Mask (2)

    A photo negative or positive used in the color separation process to color correct. Reference, PRINTING, mask.

  • Match Print

    Photographic proof made from all color flats and form composite proof showing color quality as well as accuracy, layout, and imposition before plates are made.

  • Matte Finish

    A coated paper finish that goes through minimal calendaring. Reference, calendaring.

  • Measure

    The width of type as measured in picas. Reference, picas.

  • Mechanical

    A term used to describe finished artwork that is camera ready for reproduction, including all type, photos, illustrations etc.

  • Menu Board

    A variable-message sign that allows a retailer to list products and prices.

  • Message Center

    An electronically or mechanically variable-message sign, in which changes are made from locations other than at the sign.

  • Metropolitan Service Area

    A group of ZIP codes usually in close proximity defining a large metropolitan area (e.g. New York City or Los Angeles).

  • Midtone Dot

    Commonly taken as the area between highlight and shadow area of a subject's face in halftone image.

  • Mobile Sign

    A portable sign mounted on a trailer.

  • Moire

    An undesirable halftone pattern produced by the incorrect angles of overprinting halftone screens.

  • Molleton

    A cotton fabric used on the dampening rollers of a printing press.

  • Molybdate Orange

    An ink pigment made from precipitating lead molybdate, lead sulfate and lead chromate.

  • Monument Sign

    A ground sign with low overall height. (See freestanding sign.)

  • Mottle

    A term used to describe spotty or uneven ink absorption.

  • Mull

    Coarse muslin glue placed on the back of book or pads for strengthening.

  • Mullen Testing

    A specific test of tensile paper strength; an important factor if web presses are used for printing.

  • NEC

    The National Electric Code, a series of standards to which all electrified devices must comply. Many cities and states reference the NEC in their own codes, though the NEC is not a law in itself.

  • Natural

    A term to describe papers that have a color similar to that of wood; also called cream, off-white or ivory.

  • Negative

    Film that contains the same images as the original print, except that all colors and shades are reversed. Reference, positive.

  • Neon Sign or Tube

    A sign that uses a cold-cathode gas-discharge tube that may be straight or formed. This is generally referred to as neon, though the gas contained inside may be a mixture of two or more inert gases, such as argon, helium, krypton, or xenon. Neon tube lighting is custom designed and may include letters, tubing, outline lighting, and decorative art. A cold-cathode tube has a relatively long life, compared to a hot-cathode fluorescent lamp or an incandescent bulb.

  • Newsprint

    A light, low cost groundwood paper made especially for newspapers. Reference, groundwood.

  • Nominal Weight

    When the basis weight of paper differs from the actual weight, the term nominal weight is used.

  • Non-Conforming Sign

    A sign that was legally erected and maintained but does not comply with subsequently enacted sign restrictions. In these cases, the sign may be removed—with compensation provided by the governing agency—or be allowed to remain for a set period of years, called amortization.

  • OA Of Register

    When two sheet passes on a press are misaligned.

  • OBC

    Outside back cover.

  • OFC

    Outside front cover.

  • Oblong

    A term used to describe printed books, catalogs etc., that are bound on their shorter side; also referred to as album bound.

  • Off-Premise Sign

    A sign that is not located on the property of the business which is advertising. Also known as a third-party sign or outdoor advertising. This is considered out-of-home media.

  • Off-shore Paper

    Any papers made outside the US and Canada.

  • Offset

    The most commonly used printing method, whereby the printed material does not receive the ink directly from the printing plate but from an intermediary cylinder called a blanket which receives the ink from the plate and transfers it to the paper.

  • Offset Gravure

    A complex offset process involving multiple transfers between the gravure plate, the plate cylinder and a solid rubber plate.

  • Offset Lithography

    Indirect printing method in which the inked image on the press-plate is first printed onto a rubber blanket, then in turn offsets the inked impression on to the sheet of paper.

  • Offset Paper

    A term for uncoated book paper.

  • Onionskin

    A light bond paper used for typing and used with carbon paper because of its thinness.

  • Opacity

    Quality of papers that defines its opaqueness or ability to prevent two-sided printing from showing through.

  • Opaque

    A quality of paper that allows relatively little light to pass through.

  • Opaque Ink

    Ink that completely covers any ink under itself.

  • Open Channel Letter

    A letter that has no face, though a clear face may be used to protect internal components. If illuminated, the light source is visible.

  • Orthochromatic

    Any light sensitive surfaces that are not sensitive to red.

  • Outside Panel

    Where two or more panels are positioned side by side, this is the advertising panel located closest to the edge of the street.

  • Over Run

    Surplus of copies printed.

  • Overhang Cover

    A cover of a book that extends over the trimmed signatures it contains.

  • Overlay

    A transparent sheet placed over artwork, in register with the work it covers; this is used to call out other color components of the work, instructions or corrections.

  • Overlay (Snipe)

    A paper strip or price designation, which is pasted on the face of an existing advertising panel.

  • Overlay Proof

    A process of proof making whereby the color separations are individually exposed to light sensitive film. This film is then set in registration with a piece of white paper in the background.

  • Overprinting

    Any printing that is done on an area that has already been printed.

  • Overset

    Type that is set in excess of the allotted space.

  • PMT

    Photomechanical transfer.

  • Page

    One side of a leaf.

  • Page Makeup

    The assemblage of all the necessary elements required to complete a page.

  • Page Proofs

    Proofs made up from pages.

  • Painted Wall Sign

    A sign painted directly on a building surface. If the sign is a third-party/outdoor advertising display, it may be several stories high and designed for high-impact visibility. (See building-mounted sign.)

  • Pan Channel Letter

    One of the most common types of signage; each letter is constructed with four sides—a face, sidewalls, and a back—making the letter a solid unit.

  • Pan Face

    A plastic sign face molded into a three-dimensional shape. Also called a molded face, molded and embossed face, or molded and debossed face.

  • Panchromatic

    Films or other photographic materials that are sensitive to all colors.

  • Paperboard

    Any paper with a thickness (caliper) of 12 points (.3mm) or more.

  • Papeterie

    A high-grade soft paper used for personal stationery because it accepts handwriting well.

  • Parapet Sign

    A sign mounted on the building’s parapet, which is a wall or railing that runs along the edge of a roof.

  • Parchment

    A hard finished paper that emulates animal skin; used for documents, such as awards, that require writing by hand.

  • Parent Sheet

    A sheet that is larger than the cut stock of the same paper.

  • Paste Drier

    Any of a variety of compounds used in enhancing the drying properties of printing inks.

  • Paste Ink

    An ink having a high level of viscosity.

  • Paste-up

    Preparation of positive materials into a layout for photographing to film negatives.

  • Peeling

    Delamination.

  • Perf Marks

    Markings usually dotted lines at edges showing where perforations should occur.

  • Perfect

    A term used to describe the binding process where the signatures of a book are held together by a flexible adhesive.

  • Perfect Binding

    Binding process where backs of sections are cut off, roughened and glued together, and rung in a cover.

  • Perfecting

    Printing both sides of the paper (or other material) on the same pass through the printing machine.

  • Perfecting Press

    A printing press that prints on both sides of the page in a single pass.

  • Perforating

    Punching small holes or slits in a sheet of paper or cardboard to facilitate tearing along a desired line.

  • Permanent Sign

    A sign that is attached in such a way that it enables the sign to resist wind and is difficult to remove or move. It may be attached to a building or to the ground.

  • Phloxine

    A blue red pigment used mostly in news inks; not a good ink for lithographers as it bleeds in alcohol and water.

  • Photoengraving

    Making printing plates by exposure of line and halftone negatives on sensitized metal, converting the image into an acid resist, and etching the print to the relief required for letterpress printing.

  • Photomechanical

    The platemaking process where plates are coated with photosensitive coatings and exposed to photo negatives or positives.

  • Photostat

    A photographic print creating an image using photography and electrostatic processes; also called a stat.

  • Phthalocyanine

    The main pigment in the manufacture of cyan ink.

  • Pica

    Standard of measurement, 1/6 inch. 1 pica = 12 points 72 points = 1 inch

  • Picking (1)

    When the tack of ink is stronger than the surface strength of the paper, some lifting of the paper surface occurs; this is referred to as picking.

  • Picking (2)

    An occurrence in printing whereby the tack of ink pulls fibers or coating off the paper surface, leaving spots on the printed surface.

  • Piling

    A build up of pigment or paper coatings onto the plate, blankets or rollers.

  • Pin Register

    Using metal pins fitted into preset holes of copy sheets, films, plates and presses that will assure the proper registration.

  • Pinholing

    Failure of printed ink to form a completely continuous film, visible in the form of small holes in the printed areas.

  • Plastic Comb

    A method of binding books whereby holes are drilled on the side closest the spine, and a plastic grasping device is inserted to hold the pages together.

  • Plasticizer

    An ink additive that adds flexibility, softness and adhesion.

  • Plate

    Reproduction of type or cuts in metal, plastic, rubber, or other material, to form a plate bearing a relief, planographic or intaglio printing surface.

  • Plate Cylinder

    The cylinder on a printing press on which the plate is mounted.

  • Plate Finish

    Any bond, cover or bristol stock with an extremely smooth finish achieved by calendaring.

  • Platemaking

    Making a printing plate from a film or flat including preparation of the plate surface, sensitizing, exposing through the flat, developing or processing, and finishing.

  • Point

    A measurement unit equal to 1/72 of an inch. 12 points to a pica, 72 points to an inch.

  • Point of Purchase

    A sign or display located at the point of sale. Studies have shown that the right signage can have a dramatic impact on a product’s sales.

  • Pole Sign

    A freestanding sign with a visible support structure.

  • Pole or Pylon Cover

    An enclosure for concealing and/or decorating poles or other structural supports of a ground sign.

  • Portable Sign

    A sign not permanently attached to the ground or a building, and easily removable using ordinary hand tools.

  • Positive

    Film that contains an image with the same tonal values as the original; opposite of a negative.

  • Post and Panel Sign

    A sign which uses one or more visible posts and is unlighted.

  • Ppi

    Pixels per inch.

  • Premium

    Any paper that is considered better than #1 by its manufacturer.

  • Presensitized Plate

    A plate that has been treated with light sensitive coatings by the manufacturer.

  • Press-Proof

    Actual press sheet to show image, tone values and colors as well as imposition of frame or press-plate.

  • Primary Colors

    In printing the four primary colors are cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black.

  • Printability

    The quality of papers to show reproduced printed images.

  • Printers Pairs

    Two consecutive pages as they appear on a flat or signature.

  • Process Inks

    Printing inks, usually in sets of four colors. The most frequent combination is yellow, magenta, cyan, and black, which are printed, one over another in that order, to obtain a colored print with the desired hues, whites, blacks, and grays.

  • Process Lens

    A high quality specialty lens made for line art, halftone and color photography.

  • Process Printing

    Printing from two or more half tones to produce intermediate colors and shades.

  • Progressive Proofs

    Any proofs made from the separate plates of a multi-plate-printing project.

  • Projecting Sign

    A building-mounted sign that projects from and is perpendicular to the building’s fascia.

  • Proof

    Impression from composed type or blocks, taken for checking and correction, from a lithographic plate to check accuracy of layout, type matter, tone and color reproduction.

  • Pull For Position

    Guide sheet for the positioning of type, blocks, etc.

  • Push-Through

    A letter or logo that is cut out of a backing material as thick or thicker than the sign face. The material is then mounted on the inside of the sign face so that it is flush with or extends through and beyond the front of the sign face.

  • Pylon Sign

    A freestanding sign with a visible support structure. It may or may not be enclosed by a pole cover.

  • Raceway

    An electrical enclosure, which can also be used to attach a sign to the structure.

  • Rag paper

    Papers with a complete or partial content of cotton fibers.

  • Ragged Left

    The term given to right-justified type that is uneven on the left.

  • Ragged Right

    The term given to left-justified type that is uneven on the right.

  • Railroad Board

    A thick, coated paper used for signs; usually waterproof.

  • Readability

    All of the characteristics of the letters, numbers, and symbols that allow the observer to perceive the right message.

  • Readers Pairs

    Two consecutive pages as they appear in printed piece.

  • Ream

    500 sheets of paper.

  • Recall

    The ability of a viewer or listener to remember an advertising message. Vehicle wraps offer one of the highest forms of advertising recall.

  • Recognition

    The ability to connect a message with a particular advertiser.

  • Recto

    The odd numbered pages (right hand side) of books.

  • Red Lake "C"

    A common pigment for paste and liquid red inks.

  • Reducer

    Any substance that softens and reduces the tack of ink.

  • Reel

    The master roll of paper as it comes off the papermaking machine. It is in its original width and is then cut into smaller rolls.

  • Register

    The arrangement of two or more images in exact alignment with each other.

  • Register Marks

    Any crossmarks or other symbols used on layout to assure proper registration.

  • Regulatory Sign

    A sign used to convey information about rules, ordinances, or laws.

  • Retainer

    A framing member designed to attach a face to the cabinet and/or to provide a decorative trim. It is mounted around the perimeter of a sign face and attached to the sign cabinet structure.

  • Retroreflective

    The quality of a surface that reflects light directly back toward its original source.

  • Return

    The side of a channel letter.

  • Reveal

    An indented detail on a sign.

  • Reverse Channel Letter

    Letters mounted away from a wall, forming a halo behind the letters, often lighted by neon.

  • Right Angle Fold

    A term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other.

  • Right of Way (ROW)

    The area that is adjacent to a public street. Permanent commercial signs are typically placed on the private land near the public right of way. Local codes may have requirements on how near or far away from the right of way a sign can be placed.

  • Roll To Roll

    A web press printing process where the roll of paper is printed and stored on a roll to be shipped.

  • Roof Sign

    A building-mounted sign erected upon and completely over the roof of the building.

  • Rub Proof

    That stage of printed ink where the maximum dryness is achieved, and the ink will not smudge.

  • Rubine

    A pigment somewhat redder than true magenta.

  • Run-Around

    A term given to copy that accommodates the lines of a picture or other image or copy.

  • Runability

    A term used to describe how well a paper runs on a printing press.

  • Running Head

    A title at the top of a page that appears on all pages of a book or chapter of a book.

  • Saddle Stitching

    Stitching where the wire staples pass through the spine from the outside and are clinched in the center. Only used with folded sections, either single sections or two or more sections inset to form a single section.

  • Safety Paper

    A paper that shows sign of erasure so that it cannot be altered or tampered with easily.

  • Sandwich Board/Sidewalk Sign

    A sign not secured or attached to the ground or surface upon which it is located, but supported by its own frame, which is typically in the shape of an A.

  • Satin Finish

    A smooth delicately embossed finished paper with sheen.

  • Scaling

    The enlargement or reduction of an image or copy to fit a specific area.

  • Score

    Impressions or cuts in flat material to facilitate bending or tearing.

  • Screen Angles

    The placement of halftone screens to avoid unwanted moire patterns. Frequently used angles are black 45deg, magenta 75deg, yellow 90deg, and cyan 105deg.

  • Screen Ruling

    A measurement equaling the number of lines or dots per inch on a halftone screen.

  • Screened Print

    A photo print made by using a halftone negative; also called a velox.

  • Scum

    Unwanted ink marks in the non-image area.

  • Self Cover

    A cover made out of the same paper stock as the internal sheets.

  • Shadow Dot

    The lowest density of a halftone image.

  • Sharpen

    To decrease the dot size of the halftone which in turn decreases the color strength.

  • Sheetwise

    The printing of two different images on two different sides of a sheet of paper by turning the page over after the first side is printed and using the same gripper and side guides.

  • Short Ink

    Ink that is smooth and creamy but does not flow freely.

  • Show Through

    A problem that occurs when the printing on one side of a sheet is seen from the other side.

  • Side Guide

    The guides on the sides of the sheet fed press that position the sheet sideways as the paper is led towards the front guides.

  • Side Stitching

    Stitching where the wire staples pass through the pile of sections or leaves gathered upon each other and are clinched on the underside.

  • Sign

    Any device, structure, fixture, painting, or visual image using words, graphics, symbols, numbers, or letters designed for the purpose of conveying information or attracting attention.

  • Sign Band

    In a complex with multiple tenants, a sign band runs along the top of the building, with room to accommodate each business’s signs.

  • Sign Face

    The area of a sign on which words and images are placed.

  • Signature (Section)

    Printed sheet (or its flat) that consists of a number of pages of a book, placed so that they will fold and bind together as a section of a book. The printed sheet after folding.

  • Signature Building

    A building designed and/or painted to reinforce a traditional sign’s message or display. It may also be incorporated into advertising programs.

  • Signcentric Design

    Building or site that is designed to make the on-premise signage the prominent visual feature.

  • Silhouette halftone

    A halftone with the background screen removed.

  • Silverprint

    Reference, brownline proof.

  • Single-Face Sign

    A sign with only one face plane.

  • Slitting

    A term to describe the process of cutting of printed sheets by the cutting wheels of a printing press.

  • Smoothness

    That quality of paper defined by its levelness which allows for pressure consistency in printing, assuring uniformity of print.

  • Snipe (Overlay)

    A paper strip or price designation, which is pasted on the face of an existing advertising panel.

  • Soft Dot

    An excessively large halo around a dot in a photograph that causes a fringe that diminishes the dot intensity.

  • Solar-Powered

    A product that derives its energy from the sun. Solar-powered signage may be a good option in certain circumstances.

  • Spine

    Back edge of a book.

  • Spiral Bind

    A binding whereby a wire or plastic is spiraled through holes punched along the binding side.

  • Spot Color

    Small area printed in a second color.

  • Spread

    A film image that is larger than the original image to accommodate ink trapping. Reference, trapping

  • Stabbing

    To bind a series of pages with wire staples such that staples enter from the front and back simultaneously, neither side being long enough to exit the opposite side.

  • Stability

    The quality of paper to maintain its original size when it undergoes pressure and moisture changes.

  • Stagger Cutting

    A process of cutting many sheets from the same parent sheet in which the smaller sheets have different grain directions; also called dutch or bastard cutting.

  • Star Target

    The Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, GATF has established various quality control images; the star target appears along with the color bar and helps the pressman detect any irregularity in the ink spread. Reference, Color Bars

  • Static Neutralizer

    A device on a printing press that minimizes the amount of static build up on paper as it passes through the press.

  • Step And Repeat

    A process of generating multiple exposures by taking an image and stepping it according to a predetermined layout.

  • Stet

    A proofreader's symbol that is usually written in the copy margin, that indicates that the copy, which was marked for correction, should be left as it was.

  • Stock

    A term for unprinted paper or other material to be printed.

  • Street Furniture

    Advertising displays, which may also serve as a public amenity, such as a bus bench. These are positioned in close proximity to pedestrians for eye-level viewing and at curbside to be read by those in vehicles.

  • Strip-In

    To add an element, such as copy that is shot separately, and then stripped into place on a goldenrod flat.

  • Stripping

    Originally, the removal of the photographic emulsion with its image from individual negatives and combining them in position on a glass plate. Now the use of stripfilm materials, and the cutting, attachment, and other operations for assembling. The positioning of positives and negatives on the flat before proceeding to platemaking.

  • Stumping Or Blocking

    Impressing book covers, etc., by means of hot die, brass types or blocks.

  • Super Calendaring

    A machine procedure that produces a high finished paper surface that is extremely smooth and exceptional for printing.

  • Synthetic Papers

    Any petroleum based waterproof papers with a high tensile strength.

  • Tack

    The adhesive quality of inks.

  • Tag

    A dense, strong paper stock.

  • Target Audience

    The most desirable consumer for a particular product or service.

  • Temporary Sign

    Any sign intended to be used for a limited period of time, not for a permanent installation.

  • Tensile Strength

    A paper's ability to withstand pressure.

  • Text

    A high quality printing paper.

  • Thermography

    A printing process whereby slow drying ink is applied to paper and while the ink is still wet, it is lightly dusted with a resinous powder. The paper then passes through a heat chamber where the powder melts and fuses with the ink to produce a raised surface.

  • Through Drier

    A slower drier that dries the ink throughout without forming a hard crust.

  • Ticket Envelope

    Envelopes used mostly for theater tickets, with no other particular usage.

  • Time-and-Temperature Display

    A variable-message sign that displays current time and temperature in a stationary or alternating manner. Some also display simple messages.

  • Tint

    A halftone screen that contains all the same sized dots.

  • Titanium Oxide

    A bright white pigment (opaque) used for printing on metal and flexible packaging.

  • Toluidine Red

    A red pigment with poor bleed resistance.

  • Tooth

    The rough surfaced finish of papers such as vellum or antique.

  • Tourist-Oriented Directional Signs (TODs)

    A federal sign program that provides business identification and directional information for businesses and activities that appeal to travelers. Sign content is limited to the identification of the business, service or activity, and directional information. TODS do not include promotional advertising.

  • Trade Area

    The fixed area from which most business is derived, typically either the home or work of a potential client or customer. For most small businesses, the trade area is three to five miles, though a highly mobile society is making clearly defined trade areas difficult.

  • Trademark (Service Mark)

    A symbol that distinguishes a business and its products from the competition. This may include a name, symbol, word, or any combination thereof. Trademarks are protected by the federal government and considered to have financial value.

  • Transformer

    Electrical equipment that converts incoming voltage and current to a different outgoing voltage and current.

  • Transparent

    Inks that do not block out the colored inks that they print over, but instead blend with them to create intermediate colors.

  • Trapping

    The process of printing wet ink over printed ink which may be wet or dry.

  • Trim Marks

    Marks placed on the sheet to indicate where to cut the page.

  • Twin Wire Machine

    Fourdrinier papermaking machines with two wires, instead of a wire and felt side. This assures higher quality when two sides are used for printing.

  • Two-sidedness

    The difference in feel and appearance of either side of a sheet of paper due to the papermaking process having a felt and wire side.

  • UL

    Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., a nationally recognized testing laboratory that provides safety certification.

  • Uncalendared

    Papers that are not smoothed by going through the calendaring process.

  • Under-Canopy Sign

    A sign mounted underneath a canopy.

  • Up

    A term used to describe how many similar sheets can be produced on a larger sheet; two up, four up, etc.

  • Upright

    A term given to books bound on the longer dimension.

  • Vacuum Frame

    Also called a contact frame; used in the platemaking process to hold materials in tight contact during exposure.

  • Vandyke

    Brown print

  • Variable-Message Sign

    A sign that allows the message to be easily changed.

  • Variance

    An allowance that provides an exception to zoning rules.

  • Varnish

    A clear shiny ink used to add gloss to printed pieces. The primary component of the ink vehicle. Reference, vehicle.

  • Vehicle

    A combination of varnish, waxes, dryers etc., that contain the pigment of inks and control the flow, the drying and the adhesion of the pigments to the printed surface.

  • Vehicle Wraps

    A vinyl graphic applied to a car, truck, van, or trailer, essentially creating a rolling billboard.

  • Vellum

    A finish of paper that is rough, bulky and has a degree of tooth.

  • Velour Paper

    A term given to papers that are coated with an adhesive and then flock dusted.

  • Velox

    A photographic print which is made from a negative.

  • Verso

    A term given to the left-hand or even-numbered pages of a book.

  • Vignette

    Fade to white or small decorative design or illustration. A photo or illustration etc., in which the tones fade gradually away until they blend with the surface they are printed on.

  • Vinyl (Flexible Face)

    A substrate upon which an advertising message is rendered, either by computer production or hand painting.

  • Visibility

    The physical attributes of a sign and its contents that allow the sign to be seen—if not fully legible—at a given distance.

  • W&B

    An abbreviation for work and back. Reference, sheetwise.

  • W&T

    An abbreviation for work and turn.

  • Walk-off

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

  • Wall Mural

    A display applied directly to a building’s exterior. Painting may be the most common method, though a painted or printed vinyl substance may be applied as well.

  • Wall Sign

    A building-mounted sign attached to, displayed, or painted on an exterior wall in a manner parallel with the wall surface, and not projecting more than 16 inches from such surface.

  • Washup

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

  • Watermark

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

  • Wayfinding

    A type of sign that allows users to find their way, using information provided along the travel path.

  • Web

    The roll of paper that is used in web or rotary printing.

  • Web Break

    A tear in a web roll during the printing process.

  • Web Press

    Cylinder printing machine in which the paper is fed from a continuous reel, as opposed to sheet fed.

  • Web Tension

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

  • Wedding Paper

    A soft paper that is thick and holds up well under embossing.

  • Wet Trapping

    The ability of an ink film to accept subsequent ink films.

  • Widow

    A single word or two left at the end of a paragraph, or a part of a sentence ending a paragraph, which loops over to the next page and stands alone. Also, the last sentence of a paragraph which contains only one or two short words.

  • Window Sign

    A sign that is painted on, attached to, or suspended directly behind or in front of a window or the glass portion of a door.

  • 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 Stitching Or Stapling

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

  • Wove

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

  • Wrinkles

    The unevenly dried surface of printed inks.

  • Writing Paper

    Another name for bond paper.

  • Xerographic Paper

    Papers made to reproduce well in copy machines and laser printers.

  • Yield Value

    The actual amount of force needed to start an ink flowing.

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