01471 822 555 info@strathprint.co.uk

Glossary of Printing & Design Terms

Do you get the lingo?

You don’t need a degree in print processes to make sense of print terminology, but here is a simple guide to help you along.

In the meantime, if you have a query about any terms or strange sentences just give us a call on 01471 822 555 or email us.

A-C  |  D-F  |  G-I  |  J-M  |  N-Q  |  R-S  |  T-V  |  W-Z



A transparent sheet placed over originals or artwork, allowing the designer to write instructions and/or indicate a second colour for placement.

Acid-free Paper

Paper that is made from pulp containing little or no acid so it resists deterioration from age. Also called alkaline paper, archival paper, neutral pH paper, permanent paper and thesis paper.

Acid Resist

An acid-proof protective coating applied to metal plates prior to etching.

Additive Colour

Colour that is produced by light falling onto a surface, as compared to subtractive color. The additive primary colors are red, green and blue.

A4 Paper

ISO paper size 210 x 297mm used for Letterhead.

Against the Grain

At right angles to the grain direction of the paper being used, as compared to with the grain. Also called across the grain and cross grain. See also Grain Direction.


Pen-shaped tool that sprays a fine mist of ink or paint to retouch photos and create continuous-tone illustrations.


Any change made by the customer after copy or artwork has been given to the service bureau, separator or printer. The change could be in copy, specifications or both. 

Antique Paper

Roughest finish offered on offset paper.


All original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, intended for printing. Also called art.

Author’s Alterations (AA’s)

At the proofing stage, changes that the client requests to be made concerning original art provided. AA’s are considered an additional cost to the client usually.





Printing defect appearing as blurring or shadowing of the image. Doubling may be caused by problems with paper, cylinder alignment, blanket pressures or dirty cylinders.


Considered as “dots per square inch,” a measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters and monitors.


Sample of inks specified for a job applied to the substrate specified for a job. Also called pulldown.


In the printing arena, to drill a whole in a printed matter.


Halftone dots or fine lines eliminated from highlights by overexposure during camera work.

Dropout Halftone

Halftone in which contrast has been increased by eliminating dots from highlights.

Dry Back

Phenomenon of printed ink colors becoming less dense as the ink dries.



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