C – Glossary of Print and Design Terms

Welcome to our comprehensive glossary of print and design terms. We are continually seeking to grow and improve this glossary, so if you spot any definition you do not agree with, a term that is missing, or have any comments in general, please email our reference team.

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C SizesPaper sizes – the C series within the ISO International paper sizes range, and relates to envelopes or folders suitable for enclosing stationery in the A sizes
C1S and C2SAbbreviations for coated one side and coated two sides
Cable paperA strong paper used to wrap electrical cables
CADComputer Aided Design. Software widely used in design and architecture to assist in precise draftsmanship
Cadmium YellowA pigment made from cadmium sulfide and cadmium selenide
CalenderProcess used to compact paper fibres and to impart a smooth finish by passing paper through a series of polished steel rolls with chilled surfaces. Rolls can be individually controlled to maintain desired smoothness, gloss and caliper of sheet
Calender BoardA strong paperboard used for calenders and displays
Calender RollsA 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./td>
Calender RollsStack or set of horizontal metal rolls used to produce the required smoothness and finish to paper. Rolls are located at the dry end of a paper machine
Calliper1. Thickness of paper or other substrate expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils or points), pages per inch (ppi), thousandths of a millimetre (microns) or pages per centimetre (ppc).2. Device on a sheet-fed press that detects double sheets or on a binding machine that detects missing signatures or inserts
CameoA dull coated paper, which is particularly useful in reproducing halftones and engravings
Camera Ready Copy (CRC)Mechanicals, photographs and art fully prepared for reproduction according to the technical requirements of the printing process being used. Also called finished art and reproduction copy
Canadian BindingA wiro-bound book with a wrapped-around cover
Canvas boardA paperboard with a surface of simulated canvas, used for painting
Cap LineAn imaginary horizontal line running across the tops of capital letters
Caps & Lower CaseInstructions 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 CapsTwo sizes of capital letters made in one size of type.
CaptureRecording a subject in a digital form
Capture DeviceThese include flatbed scanners, drum scanners, film scanners, digital cameras. They use electronic devices to capture images rather than photographic film
Carbon BlackA pigment made of elemental carbon and ash
Carbon TissueA colour printing process utilising pigmented gelatin coatings on paper, which become the resist for etching gravure plates or cylinders
Carbonate PaperA chemical pulp paper (calcium carbonate), used mostly for the printing of magazines
Carbonless PaperPaper coated with chemicals that enable transfer of images from one sheet to another with pressure from writing or typing
CartonSelling unit of paper weighing approximately 150 pounds (60 kilos). A carton can contain anywhere from 500 to 5,000 sheets, depending on the size of sheets and their basis weight
CartridgeTough, opaque paper, sometimes a cream shade with a rough surface
Case1. Covers and spine that, as a unit, enclose the pages of a casebound book.2. Term given to appearance of alphabetical characters – capitalised characters are upper case, non-capitalised are lower case
Case BindTo bind using glue to hold signatures to a case made of binder board covered with fabric, plastic or leather. Also called cloth bind, edition bind, hard bind and hard cover
CaseinA milk byproduct used as an adhesive in making coated papers
Casing InThe process of placing in and adhering a book to its case covers
Cast CoatedA paper that is coated and then pressure dried using a polished roller that imparts an enamel like hard gloss finish
Cast Coated PaperHigh gloss, coated paper made by pressing the paper against a polished, hot, metal drum while the coating is still wet
Catalogue PaperCoated paper with basis weight from 50 to 75gsm commonly used for catalogues and magazines
Catch UpCatch-up is a lithographic printing problem. It occurs when the printing plate accepts ink in the non-image areas. This unwanted ink prints as ‘scumming’. Adjustment of the dampening solution usually solves this problem. Sometimes called dry-up
CBIRContent-Based Image Retrieval. Pictures are located using the image content rather than with the metadata
CCD ArrayCharge Coupled Device. The two main types being linear array and area array. Used in image scanners, digital cameras, video cameras
CD-ROMCD-ROM is a system for recording, storing, and retrieving data on a compact disk. This can then be read using an optical drive
CF Spot ProcessPartial transfer of carbon inks printed using letterpress, dry offset or flexographic printing processes and special ink. Inks should only be printed on standard uncoated grades of paper
CGMComputer Graphics Metafile. A standard vector graphics file format
Chain Dot1. Alternate term for elliptical dot, so called because midtone dots touch at two points, so look like links in a chain.2. Generic term for any midtone dots whose corners touch
Chain Lines1. Widely spaced lines in laid paper.2. Lines that appear on laid paper as a result of the wires of the papermaking machine
ChalkingA 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
ChampherThe effect of roughing on the cut edge of a finished product caused by the product being trimmed with guillotine blades which are insufficiently sharp
Chancery ItalicA 13th century handwriting style that is the root of italic design
Check Copy1. Production copy of a publication verified by the customer as printed, finished and bound correctly.2. One set of gathered book signatures approved by the customer as ready for binding. See also Pass for Press, OKTP
Chemical Mayed [CF] [CFB]Carbon paper term. [coated front] [coated front-and-back]
Chemical Wood PulpPulp made from chipped wood, treated with chemicals to remove non-cellulose materials when it can then be used in better grade of wood pulp papers. Improves qualities of mechanical pulp when chemical wood pulp is mixed with better grade wood pulp
Cheque PaperChemically treated paper process to highlight tampering with writing on cheques
China ClayAn aluminum silica compound used in gravure and screen printing inks. Also called kaolin
Chip BoardLow quality board made from mechanical wood and waste materials
Chlorine-FreePaper pulp bleaching process which does not use organic chlorine compounds, but uses such materials as oxygen peroxide. This is a more environmentally friendly process
ChromaStrength of a colour as compared to how close it seems to neutral grey. Also called depth, intensity, purity and saturation
ChromalinA registered trade mark of Agfa. An accurate colour proof that is made from imaged film using a powder instead of ink. Four separate, extremely thin plastic sheets (one of each Colour) are overlaid, producing a colour reproduction of the film separations
Chrome GreenThe resulting ink pigment attained from the mixture of chrome yellow and iron blue
Chrome YellowA lead chromate yellow ink pigment
CIELab (LAB)A system of colour measurement. LAB measurements are the numerical representation of any colour
Circular ScreenA 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 BoxboardA strong, easily folded boxboard with clay coating used for making folding boxes
Clay CoatingCoating treatment of paper to improve smoothness and opacity
Clipped DataWhen highlight or shadow information has been forced to appear black or white as a result of over adjusting tone or contrast
CloneA common tool found in image optimisation programs which allows image data to be sampled and placed elsewhere in a picture. Often used to remove blemishes from an image
Close-UpA proof-reader’s mark used to indicate closing space between characters or words
CMOSComplementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. A type of detector within a digital camera
CMYKCyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black. These are the physical colours used by the printer to create colours on the printout
Coarse ScreenHalftone screen with a ruling of 65, 85 or 100 lines per inch
Coated PaperProcess during manufacture to decrease porosity and absorbency and improve printability and appearance. Paper has undergone sizing and calendering and the coating consists of finely divided pigments and water based bind
Cold ColourAny colour that moves toward the blue side in the colour spectrum
Cold-Set InksA variety of inks that are in solid form originally but are melted in a hot press and then solidified when they contact paper
Cold-Set WebWeb press without an oven to dry ink, thus able to print on uncoated papers only
CollateTo gather sheets or signatures together in their correct order
Collating MarksMostly used in the bookwork field, specific marks on the back of signatures indicating exact position in the collating stage. Also called binder’s marks
ColophonA printers’ or publishers’ identifying symbol or emblem
Colour AccuracyFidelity of colour in the scanned image with that in the original
Colour BalanceRefers to amounts of process colours that simulate the colours of the original scene or photograph
Colour BarsA colour test strip that is printed on the waste portion of a press sheet. It is a standardized (GATF-Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) process that 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
Colour BlanksPress sheets printed with photos or illustrations, but without type. Also called shells
Colour BreakIn multicolour printing, the point, line or space at which one ink colour stops and another begins. Also called break for colour
Colour CastUnwanted colour affecting an entire image or portion of an image
Colour Cast RemovalRemoval of an unwanted ‘wash’ of colour, performed in an image editing application
Colour Control BarStrip of small blocks of colour on a proof or press sheet to help evaluate features such as density and dot gain. Also called colour bar, colour guide and standard offset colour bar
Colour CorrectTo adjust the relationship among the process colours to achieve desirable colours
Colour CorrectionPerformed with image editing software or scanning software, ensuring scanned colour fidelity with the original
Colour CurvesInstructions in computer software that allow users to change or correct colours. Also called HLS and HVS tables
Colour DepthSee Bit Depth
Colour GamutThe entire range of hues possible to reproduce using a specific device, such as a computer screen, or system, such as four-colour process printing
Colour Look Up TableA table containing the RGB values for 256 colours. Storage space is saved as an 8-bit number links each image pixel to a RGB value held in the table instead of each pixel holding a 24-bit description of its colour
Colour Management System (CMS)Calibration of system components which allows predictability in colour reproduction and consistency of performance
Colour ModelWay of categorising and describing the infinite array of colours found in nature
Colour RegistrationThe CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) printing process uses overlapping inks of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. To produce the best possible output, the colours must print in specific positions so that overlaps are accurate. If the colours are not aligned, the resulting print may appear to be blurred, or have white space around text or produce undesired colour
Colour ResolutionSee Bit Depth
Colour SeparatingThe processes of separating the primary colour components for printing
Colour Separation1. Technique of using a camera, scanner or computer to divide continuous-tone colour images into four halftone negatives.2. The product resulting from colour separating and subsequent four-colour process printing. Also called separation
Colour SequenceOrder in which inks are printed. The sequence can have an effect on final printed colours. Also called laydown sequence and rotation
Colour ShiftChange in image colour resulting from changes in register, ink densities or dot gain during four-colour process printing
Colour SpaceOr colour model. Mathematical definitions of colour used for aiding communication of colour information
Colour StrengthA term referring to the relative amount of pigmentation in an ink
Colour TransparencyTransparent film containing a positive photographic colour image
Comb BindTo bind by inserting the teeth of a flexible plastic comb through holes punched along the edge of a stack of paper. Also called plastic bind and GBC bind (a brand name)
Commercial RegisterColour registration measured within plus or minus one row of dots
Composite ProofProof of colour separations in position with graphics and type. Also called final proof, imposition proof and stripping proof
Composition1. In typography, the assembly of typographic elements, such as words and paragraphs, into pages ready for printing.2. In graphic design, the arrangement of type, graphics and other elements on the page
CompressibilityPaper grade. If paper is too strongly compressed it will not be suitable for printing forms, as it will not have the correct runnability and will not absorb ink quickly enough therefore calendered papers only used in special circumstances
CompressionAn algorithm that is applied to a digital image to reduce its file size. Compression can be either Lossy or Lossless
Condensed TypeA narrow, elongated typeface
ConditionTo keep paper in the pressroom for a few hours or days before printing so that its moisture level and temperature equal that in the pressroom. Also called cure, mature and season
ConsumablesIn printing terms, consumables or consumable items refer to parts of the printer which have to be replaced once their life has expired. For example, a toner cartridge is classified as a consumable item
Contact PrintA print made from contact of a sensitive surface to a negative or positive photograph
Contact screenA halftone screen made on film of graded density, and used in a vacuum contact with the film
Content Management Systems (CMS)Content Management Systems (also known as Image Management Systems) help the user to view, manage, edit and distribute files in their collection
Continuous ToneA photographic image that contains gradient tones from black to white
Continuous-Tone CopyAll photographs and those illustrations having a range of shades not made up of dots, as compared to line copy or halftones
ContrastThe tonal gradation between the highlights, middle tones, and shadows in an original or reproduction
Contrast AdjustmentAdjusting the difference between the lightest and darkest areas of an image
Contre JourTaking a picture with the camera lens facing the light source
Control PunchingSeries of holes running parallel to edge of paper web. Used to control paper movement in manufacturing, or forms writing machine, burster or end-user equipment
Controlled VocabularyA collection of terms compiled with control over form, format, inclusion and exclusion of terms e.g. a thesaurus or list of place names
ConvertingProcess of changing physical form of paper
CopyThis can refer to any quantity of text, from the descriptive texts used in marketing and promotional literature, to the entire manuscript. It can be in print or electronic form
CopyboardA board upon which the copy is pasted for the purpose of photographing
CopyrightThe right of an author to control the use of their original work. Copyright is broadly controlled by international agreement, but there are substantial differences between countries/td>
Corner MarksMarks on a final printed sheet that indicate the trim lines or register indicators
Cotton Fibre Content PaperPaper containing cotton fibre using 25, 50, 75 or 100% cotton. Suitable for letterheads, stock certificate pages, onionskin copies and index cards
CoverThick paper that protects a publication and advertises its title. Parts of covers are often described as follows: Cover 1 = outside front; Cover 2 = inside front; Cover 3 = inside back, Cover 4 = outside back
Cover PaperCategory of thick paper used for products such as posters, menus, folders and covers of paperback books
CoverageExtent to which ink covers the surface of a substrate. Ink coverage is usually expressed as light, medium or heavy
CrashCoarse cloth embedded in the glue along the spine of a book to increase strength of binding. Also called gauze, mull and scrim.
CreepPhenomenon of middle pages of a folded signature extending slightly beyond outside pages. Also called feathering, outpush, push out and thrust
CropEdges of a picture or page are trimmed or cropped to make it fit a certain size or to generally just remove unwanted parts of an image or page
Crop MarksLines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks and tick marks
Cross DirectionIn paper the direction across the grain. Paper is weaker and more sensitive to changes in relative humidity in the cross direction than the grain direction
CrossmarksMarks of fine lines, which intersect to indicate accurate alignment of art elements
CrossoverType or art that continues from one page of a book or magazine across the gutter to the opposite page. Also called bridge, gutter bleed and gutter jump
CrosstalkA degradation of the scanned image commonly associated with budget scanners, bright highlights spread into darker neighbouring areas of tone
CTPComputer to Plate’ The process of producing printer’s plates directly from the computer with no films involved
Cure1. To dry inks, varnishes or other coatings after printing to ensure good adhesion and prevent setoff.2. To acclimatise paper in the press room prior to printing
CurlWaviness or rolling effect which sometimes occurs at edge of sheet of paper. Associated with improper moisture balance in sheet, uneven drying as sheet comes off press, fiber orientation within sheet, improper refining of pulp or mechanical stress
CurvesA powerful tonal adjustment function found in some scanner drivers and image optimisation programs
Customer CopyThe data (text, images etc), which form the content of a publication as presented to the press for production. Customer Copy may be supplied in manuscript, hard copy or electronic formats. Also called copy and Author’s Copy
Cut SizesPaper sizes used with office machines and small presses
Cut-OffA 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
Cutting DieUsually a custom ordered item to trim specific and unusual sized printing projects
Cutting MachineA machine that cuts stacks of paper to desired sizes. The machine can also be used in scoring or creasing
CyanHue of a subtractive primary and a 4-Colour process ink. It reflects or transmits blue and green light and absorbs red light.
Cylinder GapIn printing presses, the gap or space of a press where the mechanism for plate (or blanket), clamps and grippers (sheeted) is housed