K – 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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KAbbreviation for black in four-colour process printing. Hence the ‘K’ in CMYK
KerningThe narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page
Key1. The screw that controls ink flow from the ink fountain of a printing press.2. To relate loose pieces of copy to their positions on a layout or mechanical using a system of numbers or letters.3. Alternate term for the colour black, as in ‘key plate’
Key PlatePlate that prints the most detail, thus whose image guides the register of images from other plates. Also called key printer
KeyingThe use of symbols, usually letters, to code copy that will appear on a dummy
KeylineLines that are drawn on artwork that indicate the exact placement, shape and size of elements including halftones, illustrations, etc
Keyword SearchesSearching text, in metadata associated with images, for a descriptive word
Kiss Die CutTo die cut the top layer, but not the backing layer, of self-adhesive paper. Also called face cut
Kiss ImpressionLightest possible impression that will transfer ink to a Substrate.
KorrexA litho proofing press used for the production of vellum copies
KraftA coarse unbleached paper used for printing and industrial products