O – 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.

glossary_a glossary_b glossary_c glossary_d glossary_e glossary_f glossary_g glossary_h glossary_i glossary_j glossary_k glossary_l glossary_m glossary_n glossary_o glossary_p glossary_q glossary_r glossary_s glossary_t glossary_u glossary_v glossary_w glossary_x glossary_y glossary_z

OCROptical Character Recognition. An application which can recognise scanned printed type and convert it into editable text on a computer
OffsetThe 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 that receives the ink from the plate and transfers it to the paper
Offset GravureA complex offset process involving multiple transfers between the gravure plate, the plate cylinder and a solid rubber plate
Offset PaperPaper which is uncoated or coated and strong enough to resist the pull of tacky inks used in offset lithography
Offset PrintingA lithographic method of printing in which the ink is first transferred from the image to an offset blanket and then to the stock
OKTPGeneric abbreviation for OK To Print. An indication of approval for press
On DemandUsually refers to printing output only when it is needed instead of having it stored on the shelf
OnionskinA light bond paper used for typing and used with carbon paper because of its thinness.
Opacity1. Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents printing on one side from showing through the other side. 2. Characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through
OpaqueA quality of paper that allows relatively little light to pass through
Opaque InkInk that completely covers any ink under itself
Open FormatA file format which can be used royalty free. The TIFF file format in its uncompressed state can be used freely while the LZW compression function is used under licence
Open Prepress Interface (OPI)Hardware and software that link desktop publishing systems with colour electronic prepress systems
Operating SystemAn operating system is the core program that manages all other resources and applications on a computer. Examples of operating systems include Microsoft Windows, UNIX, Apple MacOS
Optical DensityThis is the range of tones that can be captured by a device. Optical density is measured on a scale of 0 for white to 4, which is black
Optical ResolutionMaximum spatial resolution without recourse to interpolation. Resolution imaged by optical system in a capture device – without subsequent software interpolated pixels
OriginationThe preparatory stages for printing a book. It can include typesetting, redrawing artwork, making halftones and colour reproduction of photographs
OrphanFirst line of a longer paragraph that prints as the last line of text on the page
OrthochromaticAny light sensitive surfaces that are not sensitive to red
Outer FormeForme (side of a press sheet) containing images for the first and last pages of the folded signature (its outside pages) as compared to inner forme
Outline HalftoneHalftone in which background has been removed or replaced to isolate or silhouette the main image. Also called knockout halftone and silhouette halftone
Overhang CoverA cover of a book that extends over the trimmed signatures it contains
OverlayLayer of material taped to a mechanical, photo or proof. Acetate overlays are used to separate colours by having some type or art on them instead of on the mounting board. Tissue overlays are used to carry instructions about the underlying copy and to protect the base art
Overlay ProofColour proof consisting of polyester sheets laid on top of each other with their image in register, as compared to integral proof. Each sheet represents the image to be printed in one colour. Also called celluloid proof and layered proof
OverprintTo print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint. Also called surprint
OverrunQuantities of sheets printed over the requested number of copies
OversNon-waste copies which, at the end of a production run, are additional to the quantity required
OversetType that is set in excess of the allotted space