P – 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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PageOne side of a leaf in a publication
Page CountTotal number of pages that a publication has. Also called extent
Page DescriptorsFiles containing both vector and bitmap information in addition to text, page layout and device information
Page MakeupThe assemblage of all the necessary elements required to complete a page
Page ProofProof of type and graphics as they will look on the finished page complete with elements such as headings, rules and folios
PaginationIn the bookwork field, the numbering of pages
Painted SheetSheet printed with ink edge to edge, as compared to spot colour. The painted sheet refers to the final product, not the press sheet, and means that 100 percent coverage results from bleeds off all four sides
PaletteSee Colour Lookup Table
PanchromaticFilms or other photographic materials that are sensitive to all colours
PanelOne page of a brochure, such as one panel of a rack brochure. One panel is on one side of the paper. A letter-folded sheet has six panels, not three
Paper GrainPredominant alignment of fibres corresponding to direction in which paper flows on wire screen of papermaking machine
Paper PlateA printing plate made of strong and durable paper in the short run offset arena (cost effective with short runs)
Paper SmoothnessPaper resistence to air flow, used as a measure
Paper TrayPaper tray refers to the area within a printer where the paper is stored. The input tray is where the blank paper is stored before printing whereas the output tray is where the printed documents are stored
PaperboardAny paper with a thickness (caliper) of 12 points (.3mm) or more
PaperweightWeight of paper which is measured in grams per square metre. [GSM/gm2] e.g. 60 gsm usually used for single part listing paper
PapeterieA high-grade soft paper used for personal stationery because it accepts handwriting well
Parallel FoldMethod of folding. Two parallel folds to a sheet will produce 6 panels
ParchmentA hard finished paper that emulates animal skin; used for documents, such as awards, that require writing by hand
Parent SheetA sheet that is larger than the cut stock of the same paper
Paste BoardTwo or more laminations of paper with middle or lower quality
Paste DrierAny of a variety of compounds used in enhancing the drying properties of printing inks
Paste InkAn ink having a high level of viscosity
PDF (Portable Document Format)Portable Document Format. Developed by Adobe PDF is the open de facto standard for electronic document distribution worldwide. PDF is a universal file format that preserves all of the fonts, formatting, colours, and graphics of any source document, regardless of the application and platform used to create it. PDF files are compact and can be shared, viewed, navigated, and printed exactly as intended by anyone with a free Adobe Acrobat Reader
Perf MarksOn a “dummy” marking where the perforation is to occur
Perfect BindTo bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue. Also called adhesive bind, cut-back bind, glue bind, paper bind, patent bind, perfecting bind, soft bind and soft cover
Perfecting PressA printing press that prints both sides of the paper in one pass through the press
PerforatingTaking place on a press or a binder machine, creating a line of small dotted wholes for the purpose of tearing-off a part of a printed matter (usually straight lines, vertical or horizontal). Also called Perfing
Perforation Tear StrengthTear strength of perforated paper, measured perpendicular to perforation and related to combination of perforation pattern and type of paper. Expressed in weight per unit area
PermissionsIf you include material in your book, which has been previously published elsewhere, you will need to seek permission from the original copyright holder to reuse that material. There is often a cost attached to the use of such material, this is a permission fee
PHA number used for expressing the acidity or alkalinity of solutions. A value of 7 is neutral in a scale ranging from 0 to 14. Solutions with values below 7 are acid, above 7 are alkaline
PhloxineA blue red pigment used mostly in news inks; not a good ink for lithographers, as it bleeds in alcohol and water
Photo CDCompact Disk type storage technology developed by Kodak in the early 1990s
Photographic FilmSubstrate coated with emulsion containing light sensitive silver halide grains
PhotomechanicalThe platemaking process where plates are coated with photosensitive coatings and exposed to photo negatives or positives
PhotoShopImage editing computer application program widely used in imaging. Published by Adobe, it is generally regarded as the industry standard
PhotostatA photographic print creating an image using photography and electrostatic processes; also called a stat
PhthalocyanineThe main pigment in the manufacture of cyan ink
PicaA unit of measure in the printing industry. A pica is approximately 0.166 in. There are 12 points to a pica.
PickingPhenomenon of ink pulling bits of coating or fibre away from the surface of paper as it travels through the press, thus leaving unprinted spots in the image area.
PilingA printing problem caused by the accumulation of paper fibres (called lint), pieces of detached coating particles or other paper debris on the printing plate or blanket
Pin RegisterTechnique of registering separations, flats and printing plates by using small holes, all of equal diameter, at the edges of both flats and plates
PinholingSmall holes (unwanted) in printed areas because of a variety of reasons
PixelShort for “picture element”. A pixel is the smallest resolvable point of a raster image. It is the basic unit of digital imaging
PixelationWhen an image is displayed at a normal viewing magnification and the pixels are apparent it is said to be pixelated
Planographic PrintingPrinting method whose image carriers are level surfaces with inked areas separated from non-inked areas by chemical means. Planographic printing includes lithography, offset lithography and spirit duplicating
Plastic CombA method of binding books whereby holes are drilled on the side closest to the spine, and a plastic grasping device is inserted to hold the pages together
PlasticiserAn ink additive that adds flexibility, softness and adhesion
PlateA metal or paper light-sensitive sheet. It holds the image to be printed. The image gets on the plate by a photographic process. During printing, the image on the plate picks up ink, which is then indirectly transferred to paper
Plate CylinderThe cylinder of a press on which the plate is mounted
Plate FinishAny bond, cover or bristol stock with an extremely smooth finish achieved by calendering
Plate SectionA collection of pages of photographs, usually colour, which are bound together in sections in the book. This is the most cost-effective way of incorporating colour into specialist books
Plate-Ready FilmStripped negatives or positives fully prepared for platemaking
PMS (Pantone Matching System )A colour guide to help visualize, communicate and control applied process colours for type, logos, borders, backgrounds and other graphics treatments
PMTPhotomechanical transfer
PNGA PNG (Portable Network Graphics) file is an open source image file format, which supports 24 bit colour, transparency and lossless compression
Point1. Regarding paper, a unit of thickness equating 1/1000 inch.2. Regarding type, a unit of measure equalling 1/12 pica and .013875 inch (.351mm). The point size of a font is measured from the bottom of the descenders to the top of the ascenders. Points are always used to express type size and leading
PorosityCharacteristic of being permeable to liquids
PortraitIn printing terms, Portrait is used when describing the paper orientation. In this case the height of the page is greater than the width
PositiveFilm that contains an image with the same tonal values as the original; opposite of a negative. See also negative
Positive FilmFilm that prevents light from passing through images, as compared to negative film that allows light to pass through. Also called knockout film
Post BindTo bind using a screw and post inserted through a hole in a pile of loose sheets
Poster PrintPoster print is an option where a page of a document can be enlarged by printing it across multiple pages
PostScript (PS)PostScript is a page description language that was developed by Adobe
PPIPixels per inch
PPMPages per minute – A unit for measuring print speed
PreflightIn digital prepress, the test used to evaluate or analyze every component needed to produce a printing job. Preflight confirms the type of disk being submitted, the colour gamut, colour breaks, and any art required (illustrations, transparencies, reflective photos, etc.) plus layout files, screen fonts, printer fonts, EPS or TIFF files, laser proofs, page sizes, print driver, crop marks, etc
PrelimsThe prelims are the introductory pages at the beginning of a book before the actual text itself begins. The prelims will contain a title page, half title page, the copyright page, preface, acknowledgements, forwards, and any other material not forming the main part of the book
PremiumAny paper that is considered better than #1 by its manufacturer
PrepressGeneric term used to describe any process which is carried out on a product prior to it going onto press (litho or digital)
Prepress ProofAny colour proof made using ink jet, toner, dyes or overlays, as compared to a press proof printed using ink. Also called dry proof and off-press proof
PreprintTo print portions of sheets that will be used for later over printing
Preprinted FormA cutsheet, fanfolded or continuous-roll form that has been offset printed with constant copy or design onto which variable data can be imaged
Presensitised plateA plate that has been treated with light sensitive coatings by the manufacturer
Press CheckEvent at which make-ready sheets from the press are examined before authorizing full production to begin
Press TimeAmount of time that one printing job spends on press, including time required for make-ready
Price BreakQuantity at which unit cost of paper or printing drops
Primary ColoursIn printing the four primary colours are cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black
Print MediaPrint media refers to the material being used to print on. Typical office print media consists of paper, transparencies, labels, envelopes
PrintabilityThe quality of papers to show reproduced printed images
Printer PairsUsually in the bookwork field, consecutive pages as they appear on a flat or signature
Printer SpreadsMechanicals made so they are imposed for printing, as compared to reader spreads
PrintingAny process that transfers to paper or another substrate an image from an original such as a film negative or positive, electronic memory, stencil, die or plate
Printing UnitAssembly of fountain, rollers and cylinders that will print one ink colour. Also called colour station, deck, ink station, printer, station and tower
Process Colour (Inks)The colours used for four-colour process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan and black
Process LensA high quality specialty lens made for line art, halftone and colour photography
Process PrintingPrinting from two or more half tones to produce intermediate colours and shades
Production RunPress run intended to manufacture products as specified, as compared to make-ready
Progressive ProofsAny proofs made from the separate plates of a multi-plate-printing project
ProofTest sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished
Proofreaders MarksBSI standard symbols and abbreviations used to mark up manuscripts and proofs
ProofreadingThe process by which a galley proof is compared to the customer’s copy and the style copy for accuracy before being presented to the client
Proportion ScaleRound device used to calculate percent that an original image must be reduced or enlarged by to yield a specific reproduction size. Also called percentage wheel, proportion dial, proportion wheel and scaling wheel
Proprietary FormatA file format, which is protected by a patent, use of which may require the payment of royalties. The native Adobe Photoshop (PSD) format is an example of a proprietary format
Pulp BoardHomogeneous sheet which breaks very easily when bent, and is manufacturerd from pulp on a cylinder machine