R – 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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Rag paperStationery or other forms of stock having a strong percentage content of “cotton rags”
Ragged LeftThe term given to right-justified type that is uneven on the left
Ragged RightThe term given to left-justified type that is uneven on the right
Railroad A thick, coated paper used for signs; usually waterproof
Rainbow FountainTechnique of putting ink colours next to each other in the same ink fountain and oscillating the ink rollers to make the colours merge where they touch, producing a rainbow effect
Raster ImageAn image that is composed of pixels. An image represented with a matrix of dots
Raster Image ProcessorDevice that translates page description commands into bitmapped information for an output device such as a laser printer or imagesetter
RAWA native file format offered by some of the more advanced digital cameras. While this format is proprietary it also offers higher quality than the standard TIFF and JPEG formats. Adobe is developing an open source format (DNG) file which will retain all the data stored in the original proprietary RAW image while making the file more widely supported
Reader SpreadMechanicals made in two page spreads as readers would see the pages, as compared to printer spread
Ream500 sheets of paper
RectoThe odd numbered pages (right hand side) of books
Recycled PaperNew paper made entirely or in part from old paper
Red Lake “C”A common pigment for paste and liquid red inks
ReducerAny substance that softens and reduces the tack of ink
ReelA continuous length of paper wound title onto a central core to feed a continuous web press
Reel EndThe paper left around the core when a reel has been used up
RefreshingTransferring digital data to new storage media to avoid the effects of media deterioration
RegisterTo place printing properly with regard to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet. Such printing is said to be in register
Register BondGrade of writing and printing paper
Register MarksCross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register. Also called crossmarks and position marks
ReissueA reissue is a kind of reprint but one which involves either changes to the text or to the cover. Typically, a reissue will generate more attention from booksellers and reviewers than a reprint
Relative HumidityMoisture of the surrounding air and any packaging materials which affects dimensional stability of paper
Release PaperCarrier for self adhesive material such as labels. The backing readily separates from the adhesive label prior to the application of the material to a surface. See also Backing Paper
Relief PrintingPrinting method whose image carriers are surfaces with two levels having inked areas higher than non-inked areas. Relief printing includes block printing, flexography and letter press
RepeatabilityAbility of a device, such as an imagesetter, to produce film or plates that yield images in register
ReprintAny printing of a book, subsequent to the first edition, that involves little or no change to that edition. If small changes are required this is called a revised reprint; the changes are not significant enough for a new edition
ResamplingChanging the resolution of an image by increasing or decreasing the number of pixels
ResizeSee Resampling
ResolutionSpatial resolution is normally expressed as the number of pixels per linear unit e.g. 300ppi (pixels per inch), sometimes dpi (dots per inch) or spi (samples per inch). For colour resolution see Bit Depth
Resolution TargetAn image, such as the GATF Star Target, that permits evaluation of resolution on film, proofs or plates
ReverseType, graphic or illustration reproduced by printing ink around its outline, thus allowing the underlying colour or paper to show through and form the image. The image ‘reverses out’ of the ink colour. Also called knockout and liftout
Reverse ImpositionAn imposition scheme where pages are in the reverse position to where they would be in a regular imposition, effectively resulting in a folded section with the last page where the first page would be expected to be. Used primarily in the production of matter for loose leaf matter for a ring binder, which has to be drilled
RGBRGB (Red, Green and Blue) refers to a colour system used in video technology equipment such as computer monitors and television screens. These types of imaging technology use Additive Colour Reproduction
Rich BlackRich black is colour made up of 100%K and 60%C. It is designed to give good coverage to solid areas of black and to “lift” the flatness from a process black
Right Angle FoldA term that denotes folds that are 90 degrees to each other
Right Reading1. Copy that reads correctly in the language in which it is written.2. A photo whose orientation looks like the original scene, as compared to a flopped image
Roll to RollA web press printing process where the roll of paper is printed and stored on a roll to be shipped
Rotary PressPrinting press which passes the substrate between two rotating cylinders when making an impression
Round Back BindTo casebind with a rounded (convex) spine, as compared to flat back bind
RoyaltiesAll authors receive a percentage of revenue from each copy of their book sold, these are called royalties. The level of royalties will vary according to the type of book
Rub ProofThat stage of printed ink where the maximum dryness is achieved, and the ink will not smudge
RubineA pigment somewhat redder than true magenta
RuleLine used as a graphic element to separate or organize copy
Rule UpMap or drawing given by a printer to a stripper showing how a printing job must be imposed using a specific press and sheet size. Also called press layout, printer’s layout and rule-out
Run AroundA term given to copy that accommodates the lines of a picture or other image or copy
RunabilityA term used to describe how well a paper runs on a printing press
Running HeadA title at the top of a page that appears on all pages of a book or chapter of a book