M – 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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M WeightWeight of 1,000 sheets of paper in any specific size
Machine CoatedPaper that has had a coating applied to either one or two of its sides during the papermaking process
Machine DirectionDirection of lie of cellulose fibres dur to motion of papermaking machine – long way or web of paper. Also direction in which product is printed in reel-fed machine i.e. head or foot of label first, or wide edge or narrow edge leading along web
Machine FinishA paper finish that results from the interaction of the paper with the Fourdrinier process as opposed to post machine embossing. See also Fourdrinier
Machine Glazed (MG)Paper holding a high-gloss finish only on one side
MagentaHue of a subtractive primary and a 4-Colour process ink. It reflects or transmits blue and red light and absorbs green light
Magnetic BlackBlack pigments containing black iron oxides, used for magnetic ink character recognition
Mailing HouseGeneric term used to describe a business who’s core activity is the collation and mailing out of printed matter on a large scale
Make-Ready1. All activities required to prepare a press or other machine to function for a specific printing or bindery job, as compared to production run.2. Paper used in the make-ready process at any stage in production. Make-ready paper is part of waste or spoilage
Making OrderOrder for paper that a mill makes to the customer’s specifications, as compared to a mill order or stock order
Male DieDie that applies pressure during embossing or debossing. Also called force card
Management Information System (MIS)This is a computer system, linked to external production equipment and data capture/input devices for the purpose of gathering, collating and allowing for the analysis of production-related information
ManifoldPaper which is thin, strong, and has a smooth surface and is used for duplicating or copying of substance un 45gsm
Manuscript (MS)An author’s original form of work (hand written, typed or on disk) submitted for publication
MARCMachine Readable Cataloguing – a standard bibliographic format used in libraries
MarginWhite space around the edge of the printed material
Mark-UpInstructions to a typesetter or printer, written usually on a “dummy”
MaskThe blocking out of a portion of the printing plate during the exposure process.
MasterPaper or plastic plate used on a duplicating press
Master ArchiveA collection of images which have been stored in their original captured state prior to optimisation
Match PrintA form of a four-colour-process proofing system
Matt ArtArt paper with dull eggshell finish
Matt FinishPaper finish with level, smooth-coated surface and little or no gloss
MeasureThe width of type as measured in picas. See also pica
MechanicalCamera-ready assembly of type, graphic and other copy complete with instructions to the printer. A hard mechanical consists of paper and/or acetate, is made using paste-up techniques, and may also be called an artboard, board or paste-up. A soft mechanical, also called an electronic mechanical, exists as a file of type and other images assembled using a computer
Mechanical BindTo bind using a comb, coil, ring binder, post or any other technique not requiring gluing, sewing or stitching
Mechanical PaperPaper containing a proportion of mechanical wood pulp
Mechanical SeparationColour breaks made on the mechanical using a separate overlay for each colour to be printed
Mechanical TintLines or patterns formed with dots creating artwork for reproduction
Mechanical Wood PulpPulp produced by grinding wood mechanically. Used for cheap papers i.e. newsprint, combined with larger proportions of chemical wood pulp for more superior qualities of paper
MemoryTendency of a substance to return to its original state. e.g. whether or not a piece of folded paper can return to its flat state without evidence of it having ever been folded
MetadataDescriptive textual data associated with an image file
Metadata ElementAn individual part of a metadata structure or schema . Contains a particular category of information, such as Date or Creator
Metadata SchemaA structured set of metadata elements
MetafilesA file containing information that describes or specifies another file
Metallic InkInk containing powdered metal or pigments that simulate metal
Metallic PaperPaper coated with a thin film of plastic or pigment whose colour and gloss simulate metal
MFPIn printing, MFP is a commonly used term to represent Multi Function Products which are devices that that have more than one function such as being able to print, scan and fax
Middle Tones / MidtonesIn a photograph or illustration, tones created by dots between 30 percent and 70 percent of coverage, as compared to highlights and shadows
Mill BoardHigh grade board, made from rope and other materials
Mill FinishedMachine-finished or mill-finished. Paper that is not supercalendered
Mill GlazedMill-glazed or machine-glazed paper. Applied to a large range of papers which are characteristically rough on one side and highly glazed on the other
Mill RollPaper roll as delivered from paper mill
MillboardBoard of high grade, made from rope and other materials and btown in colour. It is very hard, very touch and has a good finish. Used for the covers of better quality bound books
MistingPhenomenon of droplets of ink being thrown off the roller train. Also called flying ink
Mock UpA reproduction of the original printed matter and possibly containing instructions or direction
MoiréUndesirable pattern resulting when halftones and screen tints are made with improperly aligned screens, or when a pattern in a photo, such as a plaid, interfaces with a halftone dot pattern
MolletonA cotton fabric used on the dampening rollers of a printing press
Molybdate OrangeAn ink pigment made from precipitating lead molybdate, lead sulfate and lead chromate
MonochromeA Monochrome printer only uses one colour of toner. The term Monochrome Printing is quite often described as black and white printing as the toner is normally black and the paper is often white in colour
Moral RightsGained after copyright clearance has been gained and may be concerned with derogatory use of images, not crediting the creator, use of only part of an image etc. Must be asserted by creator
MottleSpotty, uneven ink absorption. Also called sinkage or mealy.
MullA specific type of glue used for books binding and personal pads needing strength
Mullen TestingA specific test of tensile paper strength; an important factor if web presses are used for printing
Multicolour PrintingPrinting in more than one ink colour (but not four-colour process). Also called polychrome printing
Multi-Purpose Tray (MPT)A multi-purpose tray is an input tray which can handle different types and sizes of media such as paper, envelopes, transparencies, labels etc